The oncologist confirmed the histology report indicated a "complete excision" of the tumour. As far as I can tell, the tissue margins removed have not affected Munson's mobility. While he's happy on or beside the bed most of the day, he can't avoid an energetic malamute dance after a particularly good belly or back rub. He gets a short walk in the neighbourhood each day, and a few car rides to keep his mind occupied.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
With all of the stress around Munson’s surgery this week, there hasn’t been enough “us” time for Gustav and myself. We took a sunset walk around Blackwattle Bay on the harbour. I hope you find these photographic memories as soothing as we did.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
|The surgeon called this morning to say that Munson was ready to go home and wouldn’t need the three days of expected post-op care. “Great! I’ll collect him now.” I’d put his blanket on the bed this morning as a symbolic gesture, never imagining he might be on it within hours rather than days. |
Now wasn’t practical; he would need one more round of analgesia mid-afternoon and then I could pick him up. I had butterflies in my stomach all day, but at least these were better than the teeth-grinding anxiety I experienced the night before his surgery, which left my jaw so sore by midday I had to go home to find some pain-killers.
Much of this stress was soothed by the incredible reaction to the Munson v Cancer fund-raising drive on GoFundMe which pulled in nearly a thousand dollars towards his surgical costs in the first day. I woke to the sound of my email inbox ringing in each donation like a New Year bell. Further generous donations appeared in my letter-box and by direct deposit. Thank you all, thank you all so much.
One side effect of my anxiety was that I got last year’s tax done in a few hours, so I could throw my small refund into Munson’s hospital kitty.
At our 4.20pm reunion he was quite perky, even with a band of stitches extending along half a shorn leg. He was quite the patchwork toy with bands of shaved hair where surgical tubes had been planted, all crowned with a fresh new plastic collar. With the hair gone, you can see what a slim leg he has, appearing to be tucked into a giant malamute-paw slipper.
For the curious, I’ve included a picture of the tumour last week after the biopsy, but scaled it down so you can avoid it, unless you care to click through. It demonstrates just how aggressive it was, coming out of nowhere to have a height comparable to the thickness of the joint. It’s been essential to attack it before it metastasized.
I had a debrief from one of the other doctors about his pain-killer and antibiotic regimen, and then Munson decided that I’d dilly-dallied enough and we should get out of there.
It’s been a rough year for Munson, with unexplainable separations for his quarantine, and now several days of veterinary comings and goings, alternated with the space-helmet. All probably seem like terrible punishments, so I need to ensure that everything else is stable and reassuring. Once again, thank you to all readers for your love and support.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
|I saw Munson briefly this morning at SASH, still in good spirits and giving malamutes a great name due to his sweet nature. I took him for a spirited walk around the hospital before returning him to one of the veterinary nurses. There were a few confused looks back over the shoulder as he was escorted up the corridor, with only my verbal encouragement to set him at ease again. |
Surgery was completed a short time ago, with the report that everything went well and no fancy tricks like skin-flap transplants were needed to close the wound. When such transplant options were discussed with me on Monday, the warning was that “hair would be going in every direction”, but I assured the doctor that this was not an unfamiliar hazard to a malamute owner. His youth, vitality and positive demeanour are just as conducive to getting through this as with any human facing a cancer diagnosis.
Munson’s oncologist will update me in the morning with his recuperation progress and talk to me more about radio/chemo-therapy options.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Sunday, August 18, 2013
This video excerpts one of my favourite film scores in recent years, from a remake of Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D. The music in Un homme et son chien is by Philippe Rombi.
After a visit with Gustav and Munson to Marrickville Markets this morning, I opened a book of miscellaneous music at the piano, and settled into a medley of Olafur Arnalds, Dustin O’Halloran, Bartok and then this lovely film theme. Munson trotted out after a couple of pieces and settled himself by the piano bench, one paw resting on my foot.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
|The vet called me at work at 11.30 this morning. She always sounds chirpy, whatever news she’s delivering. The news from the pathology lab quickly detuned me from her delivery. Grade 3 soft tissue sarcoma … histiocytic (that’s like evil icing on the bad news cake). I’m scrawling diagnoses, names of tests, costs, and treatment approaches on post-it notes that bleed across my desk. I can’t leave for another ninety minutes |
The next step is to do a staging – work out via X-ray, ultrasound and blood test if and where it has spread to. A subsequent lumpectomy demands 3 cm of clearance around the horrible swollen mess, with two planes of tissue to be taken out - fatty (easy) and muscular (difficult) – and because it’s sitting near his knee there’s not much room to move, so some level of amputation may be necessary.
We’re booked into SASH in North Ryde on Monday morning to start these tests.
I don’t know how ready I am for this. Since the phone call some seven hours ago, I’ve been with Munson, walking, moving, trying to outpace the dam of tears behind my eyes. But he’s in no obvious discomfort, and is less fixated on licking the site than he was two days ago.
Summer is coming, and Munson has to be fit and ready for the beach again.