This is Mojo, my 10 year old Great Dane/American Bull mix who stole my heart the minute I saw him when he was about 5 months old. He is a sweet, sweet boy who has been through a lot in the last year to 15 months.
Yesterday I wrote about the trouble he has been having this week with a swollen anal gland.
Despite being on antibiotics and doing warm compresses he just wasn't getting better. While doing a warm compress yesterday morning I noticed that his left hind leg was swollen quite a bit. Within an hour it had gotten much worse. I called the vet and they told me not to do anything until I come in later to see Dr. McCormick.
Two o'clock didn't get there fast enough. His leg got even worse by the time I got to the vet. Dr. M did another rectal exam and said there's a lumbar sub-lymph node that is swollen and obstructing his rectum keeping him from moving his bowels. He said the leg swelling is edema and he felt that all of it, even the initial swollen anal gland, was due to Mojo's compromised lymph system (from lymphoma) and his immune system being run down from all the chemo. He called Blue Pearl to talk to Dr. Johnson, Mojo's oncologist, but she is out of town this week. The vet on staff that day, Dr. Holste, was in surgery so Dr. M sent me home and said he would call me when he hears back from them.
I had justgotten home when he called and said Dr. Holste would like to see Mojo and do an ultrasound. So I drove out to Blue Pearl and met with Dr. Holste. I explained what had been happening, she did a quick exam, then took him to run some tests. She said it could take two hours and she would call me when she is done. I drove to Target and wandered around but was too worried about Mojo and drove back to the clinic to wait there. She had actually just gotten done with some tests and called me in. I was not expecting to hear what she said. Mojo is out of remission, the cancer is back, and his lymph nodes from the belly down are all swollen. This is what was causing the swelling and she said eventually the other leg would swell as well. Here's a picture of what it looked like yesterday.
She said that she would like to administer L-Spar (sp?) which is the same chemo drug he got last year when we first started chemo. It made his lymph nodes go down within 12 to 24 hours. I said that was fine and went home to take care of Pepper while Mojo was at Blue Pearl. Dr. Holste had said she wanted to monitor Mojo for about 2 hours after chemo to make sure there is no anaphylactic shock from the chemo and to come back around 7:30 PM to pick him up.
I called Bob on the way home to fill him in and pretty much cried the entire time. When all this started end of last week I was not thinking cancer at all. It didn't even occur to me that what seemed like some constipation could be from him being out of remission.
The weather was getting worse and worse and as I was on my way to pick him up a tornado touched down about 5 miles south of the clinic. It was a totally crazy and horrible day all the way around.
This morning Mojo's leg was less swollen and his groin, which had gotten huge by last night, was reduced as well. He was also a bit happier but still unable to move his bowels. I took him back to see Dr. McCormick to get checked out and to discuss whether we should even go on vacation. Dr. McCormick said his leg is definitely less swollen and once the swelling goes down everywhere (including in his rectum) he should be able to have a bowel movement as well. He said he sees no reason for us to cancel the vacation. I asked what the odds are of Mojo not responding to the chemo this time and if that happens, how fast things would progress. Like Dr. Johnson he feels that he will respond well since he responded well the first time. He said if not, that he highly doubts that Mojo will go downhill so fast that they would have to put him to sleep before we get back. Of course there are no guarantees!
Bob and I decided that I would go ahead and fly out today and we’ll call the vet later today and tomorrow. If he is worse we will fly home. If he seems to be improving then we will go on the cruise. Our pet sitter will call the vet daily and send me an email with an update. Dr. McCormick also gave me his email address and said to email him directly. After he speaks with Dr. Johnson on Monday he will let me know if she suggests more treatment while we are gone and will get an ok from me via email.
I am not sure how I feel about our decision. It didn't seem necessary to cancel the vacation, but leaving Mojo there, looking at his sweet, confused face when I walked away without him, broke my heart. I cried the whole way home and between all the crying last night and this morning, and only sleeping about 4 crappy hours, I look and feel miserable. My head feels like it is going to explode, my eyes are red and burning, the heart racing has gotten much worse again, and I am emotionally and physically worn out. This is definitely not how I wanted to start a vacation and I definitely did not expect the cancer to return this fast.