Tilda Reports On Her CSU Oncology Appointment

Originally written June 20th, 2011: I asked dad if he would sit for a while and write to my friends as so many of them have written wanting to know how things went today on my checkup visit with the Oncology Dept at Colorado State University.  First of all, I am the most lucky dog in the entire world as I have so many friends sending their thoughts and prayers.  Thanks to every one of you for trying so hard to help me.  It is really appreciated!

Tilda at the Doctor's Office

My appointment today was for 9:30am and mom went along with dad and I today so that was a lot of fun.  They took samples of my bumps, counted my bumps and they agreed with dad’s count on Saturday night of 54 bumps (tumors) all over my body.  They also shaved my belly and did an ultrascan of all my organs.  Dad told them I probably wouldn’t need any anesthetic if they just would let me know what they wanted to do.  They following that advice and said I was the perfect patient with only mild sedation, no anesthetic.  They said I was the easiest dog to handle they had ever seen.  Well, nothing tough about this……..they were very good to me and spoke to me nicely and I can follow right along when people do that with me.  They also took blood samples, liver samples, and several other samples such as urine and of course the tumor tissue samples.

The doctor lady called mom and dad back together around 4pm after all the work was completed.  They offered to show dad the ultrasound photos on the computer so he studied them with the doctor.  In a nutshell, here is what they found today:

1.  All the bumps they sampled were indeed Mast Cell Tumors.  All 54 bumps look the same although they did not sample them all as that would aggravate the situation and not really help matters.

2.  The lungs are clear, the heart looks good……….but the spleen has tumors which look to be Mast Cell tumors and the liver is oversized and irregular shaped with many cystic spots that appear to be Mast Cell Tumors also.  They sample one of those cysts on the liver and it was Mast Cell Tumor cells.

3.  As if I don’t have enough problems, my kidney stones are back again.  Good grief!  I sure hope one of the big ones don’t try to escape as that is what happened to me 7 years ago right after I adopted mom and dad.  I spent several days in the hospital over that episode.  Oh well, the stones are the least of my problems at the moment.

Bad News Summary:
This is the Mast Cell Tumor complex disease of the worst kind.

I guess I'll get used to it!

This doesn’t make me happy for sure, but at least we all know now what we are dealing with.  They are not going to remove the tumors as that would be a redundant exercise at this point and impossible with 54 of them as they need to take a good amount around each tumor and I wouldn’t have any body left, plus more would just take their place anyway.  They can do Chemo treatments in an attempt to have a bit better quality of life and many add a couple months.   This situation is very terminal and it could be weeks or it might be months before it finally wins.  No one knows that for sure.   Dad and mom don’t like this much at all, but they were prepared for that outcome.

Good News Summary: The nice folks at CSU were so impressed how calm and cooperative I was, they offered me an opportunity to possibly do some good ONE MORE TIME.  I have been helping people for a long time now……hundreds of people.  CSU said they would like me to participate in a trial program of a new drug for dogs that was especially made for this disease.  Dad asked me what I thought and I let him know pronto that this is what I want to do.  If I can help some doggies live a few months longer so they can help their people just a bit more, then I have fulfilled my goals and aspirations of making this world just a bit better for people with the help of their good doggies.  Watching people with their dogs in the waiting room today tells the whole story.  Peoples lives are built entirely around their beloved doggies and it is the most wonderful thing to witness.  I want to help make that even better if I can.

My Therapy Dog friends, Jake & Tillie

Next: Dad takes me back to CSU tomorrow so they can enroll me in a special program that is closely monitored and administered.  They say I have the perfect setup to be involved in this clinical program.  I am glad they think something about me is perfect as to me nothing is going right at the moment except for this clinical program.  Maybe I can do some good before this has to end, at least it is worth a try.  The program I will be on is not a cure……there is no cure for this disease.  However, it is possible that it will greatly increase the life expectancy or if not, the quality of whatever remains.  I am  honored to take part in this trial and look forward to it.  So tomorrow it is a bunch more tests, proding and poking, measuring, photographing, x-rays…………….all in order to create my benchmark before starting this task.  Then, treatment begins and they say that part won’t be too drastic at all.

Now About Your Thoughts & Prayers: Thank you all from the bottom of my heart (which is still in great shape by the way) for all the thoughts and prayers you extended.  I could feel them all and you know what?  THEY WORKED!!!   No, they weren’t meant to be any miracle for me, but they might just work some miracles for some other dogs in the future.  Isn’t this just the best thing that could come out of this situation?  Thank all of you for what you have done!

Dad said we were going to take one day at a time here for a couple weeks and see how all this works through.  The really good news is that I felt GREAT today and my right leg swelling is gone again (that is a Mast Cell Tumor inside the leg muscle by the way) so I can walk on all 4 legs today………my attitude was great as I got to see a lot of people today and YES, I had to go around the waiting room and meet all the people and their doggies.   My tail was wagging high today and my head was held high with a smile on my face.  Meeting lots of people and getting them to smile at me just makes my day.   Dad said we have lots of good days yet to spend some great times together.  He promised we would go to Tilda’s Park in the mountains and to Tilda’s Lake.  He said on a good day we could walk and meet people in Estes Park which is about my favorite thing to do.  AND, hopefully when I am feeling good with everything healed up for a bit, maybe I can come see some of my good friends at the hospitals.

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