|I’ve had some talks with various veterinary specialists at SASH over the last few hours. |
First the best news: a CT scan shows no evidence of any metastasis of the cancer into his chest cavity. It’s conceivable that there are diabolical cancer-lets lurking at sizes below the screening resolution, but I’m not going to complain because my cup is 0.003% empty.
The good news is that the actual lump should be removable without any amputation BUT it pushes us towards a greater reliance on follow-up chemo/radiation therapy as some of the tiny outer fringes of the tumour remain, with the capacity to regrow and metastasize.
There is a possibility of treating the lump with just chemotherapy but if Munson is going to have any social future then the lump has to go – not least because it may continue to grow and threaten further complications. I’ve had to keep him nearby and leashed at the park because other dogs sniff out the problem and start bothering him. It’s also enough of an irritation to him that it he’s going to spend an inordinate amount of time licking it. So, out out damn lump!
The next hurdle (the not-so good) is mostly financial as the running hospital tally CT scan, surgery and associated costs of anaesthesia, analgesia and is currently sitting around the $6k serious ouch mark. The operation won’t start without a 50% deposit and then the rest immediately on delivery. No negotiation. I was actually rather angry with their delivery of news as the information on costs came only after much delay and then with a “shall we book him in for surgery in the morning” question as if coming up with the money on short notice was not an issue.
Just as I was digesting this information and applying for a loan, the oncologist called to spring the news that the optimal after-surgery requirement was special radiation treatment for a further $6500 – but it’s only available in Brisbane, so add a few more thou for transport and accommodation. The local radiation ( a bargain at $4K ) was offered as a fall-back or, a year of chemotherapy at about $500 per month. I understand that costs are high (and not subsidised as human patients are, and insurance covers a fraction of the costs) and they mean well, but the communication of costs and treatment choices has been rather poor.
For now, Munson is still at the hospital awaiting a familiar face , luckily oblivious to the difficult choices being made for him. The decisions made over the coming days may have bigger ramifications for our household, bringing forward other matters to consider. Is it time for a move to the country ?!?!
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all those of you who’ve sent in messages of good will here, via email, Facebook, YouTube , on the street and by phone. I want Munson to be around to enchant many more good people as he does me every day.