When Jen and Sarah were little, and would whine “that’s not fair..!!”, I would respond “Life is not fair..!!”. And I guess that kind of sums up this blog entry.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. It has been almost a month and a half since I made an entry here. Not sure how worth while it is as I don’t think anyone actually reads this, but if nothing else, it gives me a chance to reflect on what has transpired.
So, where to start… Basty had been in Rehab; at first all seemed to be going well. He seemed to be responding well, and was gaining strength in his left hind leg. Then, towards the end of August, we started to see regression; he was again loosing movement and control in his left leg. When I brought him in for his Physio session on August 28, the therapists noticed the regression right away. We decided that Dr Higgins in Neurology needed to have another look at him.
Dr Higgins concurred that there might still be something going on, and was starting to show again. The only way to know for sure was to do another MRI. So, Basty was scheduled in, and the MRI was performed on September 11.
During the first MRI that was performed on Basty, they elected not to use a dye; for this one, a dye was used so that soft tissue anomalies would be more visible. In fact, they first did one without the dye and then administered the dye before they did a second series. This required Basty to be under anesthetic for an extended period, which affected his recovery from the anesthetic more than usual. He has never had problems recovering from anesthetic before, but this time he was not himself again until the next day. It took a good nights sleep for him to recover (needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night).
The results of the MRI were less than encouraging. And honestly, I really expected the results to show that he was indeed showing progress, and that this little bit of regression in his progress was nothing more than part of the healing process. That was not to be. The first of the two scans that were done during this MRI session were generally uninteresting from the perspective that they looked the same as the original MRI that was done back in July. In the second of the series, which was done with the dye, light patches were showing up in the same area where it was originally thought he had a ruptured disc… the same area where he was operated on. As Dr Higgins stepped me through, comparing the scans, he explained that there were two likely explanations for the light patches that were showing up in the dye series.
During Basty’s operation in July, just before closing, a gel foam was injected to protect the spinal cord during the healing process. Over time, this gel foam will disappear as it is absorbed into the body. The first possibility was that it was this gel foam that was showing up as the light patches in the dye MRI. I was optomistic.
The second possibility was a little more disconcerting… the light patches could be showing a tumor. I acknowledged it as a possibility, but honestly, never believed it could be. Basty was very healthy, after all. And all of the other tests that were done back in July (blood, urine, Ultrasound, etc) proved it. Except for the Sryingo and the chronically herniated discs, he was in good shape.
Because a dye was not used in his first MRI series back in July, there was nothing to compare the results to; no way to know for sure if the light patches showing up in this MRI were indeed the gel foam. The resolution of the MRI was not clear enough to say for sure what we were seeing.
The recommendation was a third MRI series, this time using a human machine. A human machine has much larger magnets and therefore much better resolution. Canada West has an agreement with a human MRI clinic, where they are allotted time to use their machine for special cases (usually for larger dogs that wouldn’t fit in Canada West’s smaller machine). A time slot was reserved for Thursday September 16th. I had some reservations about doing another MRI, especially as it meant putting Basty under anesthetic again so soon; given his difficulty coming out last time, I was not sure I wanted him to go under again so soon. And, I guess I also was in a bit of denial… I didn’t want to find out he had cancer. In the end, I went along with the recommendation… how could I not..!?!
Life certainly is not fair. Anyone who has even known Bastian, knows that he is a charming, gentle, loving, patient, kind creature. In his entire life, I have never ever heard him growl… he has never even barked at another living creature.
But evolution has no awareness of the concept of fair. Survival of the genetic pool is the only ‘rule’. I have always known that Basty would never survive in the wild. His kind and gentle nature would be his downfall if he were faced with the need to survive on his own.
And so it is that Bastian has been diagnosed with Spinal Lymphoma. He has a 9mm tumor in the middle of his spinal cord. Because of it’s location, the tumor is not operable. On Friday September 17th, additional tests including a spinal tap, liver biopsy, and lymph node biopsy were performed to determine the type of cancer. Although no cancerous cells were found in the spinal tap, they did find lymph cells.
Friday/Saturday September 24/25, Basty underwent his first Chemotherapy treatment. The treatment consisted of four (4) injections of Cytosar (Cytarabine 55.5mg); one every 12 hours. For the 7 days following, his Prednisone was doubled to 5mg; 1 1/2 pills every 12 hours, and back to 1 1/2 pills every 24 hours after that. In addition, due to the side effects of the Prednisone, he was also put on Ranitidine 10mg, 1 hour before his Prednisone, to protect his stomach.
He is scheduled for a second round of Chemo on October 20/21. At the same time, he will undergo followup neurological tests to see how he is progressing.