Wednesday, December 30, 2009

to spleen? or not to spleen? that is the question...

The past week has been such a mixture of joy and holiday cheer mixed with anxiety and sadness.

Christmas was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful! We spent time relaxing, spending time with family, giving gifts to one another and enjoying a holiday feast. And Santa was very very generous to us all (we must have been NICE this past year!).

But all during Christmas, Lucy was so bummed and lethargic and just not acting her normal self. As mentioned in our previous post, we were planning on driving out to California the day after Christmas, but ended up staying behind with Lucy Pants because she was kind of freaking us out. And we have been to the vet ALMOST every day since then:
  • Saturday 12/26 - Saturday's tests determined that Lucy's liver enzymes count was super high awhile her t-cell and platelet counts were super low, causing the doctor to think that her cells and antibodies were off in the liver somewhere fighting an infection. Antibiotics, liver boosters and probiotics were prescribed and an appointment for a bile acids test was set for the next day. The doctor recommended, also, an anti nausea medication, but it was very pricey, so we decided to hold off since she wasn't constantly vomiting.
  • Sunday 12/27 - The bile acids test was performed. During this test, they analyze the bile acids before a meal and two hours after a meal to determine how the liver is functioning. Results would be ready in a couple days' time.
  • Monday 12/28 - Lucy didn't eat much more than 1/2 a cup of food this day and was still very lethargic. She ended up vomiting again so we decided to suck it up and get her the anti-nausea medication. 90 bucks. For 8 doses. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? But it seems to work because she hasn't puked since then.
  • Tuesday 12/29 - Lucy didn't eat at ALL this day and towards the evening started becoming increasingly lethargic and just lying around unmoving. She began shaking uncontrollably and was acting very feverish and out of it. Scary stuff. But, seriously, how are you supposed to know what to do when it's a dog and they can't say "dude, I'm okay, just leave me alone" or "dude, I'm dying so take me somewhere right now." You know what I mean? We were so scared for her because she was so unresponsive and just lying in our arms, unmoving. We called an emergency line and basically she wasn't have seizures or anything and she was still drinking water and was easily roused, so we just kept her warm and decided to take her to the vet in the morning.
  • Wednesday 12/30 - I was supposed to go to work today, but we took Lucy to the vet this morning. We didn't have an appointment, so it took awhile to be seen, but the doctor was very good today. She said that the bile acids test came back normal, meaning her liver is functioning just fine (yay!). But she recommended more bloodwork to rule out other diseases as well as some xrays. Once Lucy was ready to be picked up, the doctor informed us that her platelet counts are up since Saturday (which is awesome) and she also told us that the blood work showed that Lucy doesn't have parvo, giardia, pancreatitis, or any other detectable disease (more awesome!). But...her liver enzymes are still high, which means that there is still some sort of infection somewhere. AND...the xrays showed an enlarged spleen (which would definitely be a cause of Lucy's discomfort, lack of appetite, lethargy and irregular bowel movements). So the doctor advised the following plan of action: getting an ultrasound done tomorrow which will show us if the spleen is enlarged due to (1) a hematoma or (2) a tumor. If it's a hematoma, then the spleen might need to be removed entirely because of the risk of massive internal bleeding. If it's a tumor, then the tumor might possibly need to be removed and/or the spleen removed entirely. That's the plan, as of today. Lord only knows how these things can change day to day. And a side note - can you imagine the bills we've accrued this week alone?
  • Thursday 12/31 (tomorrow) - Back to work and dropping Lucy off for her ultrasound. Only time will tell what the results will be...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

say a little prayer for lucy

For Christmas this year, Joe and I got to spend some really nice time with my family, got some really wonderful and thoughtful gifts from loved ones and secret Santas, and........we got a sick beagle.

Our dog, Lucy, is a million dollar dog. Seriously. A million dollars. That's how much we've spent on her so far. For those who don't know me well, I am sarcastic sometimes. So be aware that we haven't literally spent a million dollars because don't even have a fraction of that, but you probably get the picture.

Anyway, we were planning on driving out to California with my parents and sister the day after Christmas (yesterday) to help prepare my grandmother for her move to Phoenix. We were going to help pack, visit with family and drive my grandma's car back to Phoenix. Well...that was the plan, anyway...

For the past week or so, Lucy has been acting much unlike herself and over the past couple days completely lost her appetite altogether. She started vomiting on Christmas Day and had a really bad fever that night. She woke up in fairly good spirits the next morning, when we were planning on heading out to Cali, but then she got sick again and we made the call to stay behind.

We took her to the vet first thing and they did some bloodwork. The tests they did came back showing that Lucy's liver enzymes were really high and her t-cell and platelet counts were really low. They think this means that all her antibodies are trying to fight something in her liver. The this morning they wanted us to bring her back for a bile acid test to test her liver function. IN this type of test, they take a blood sample to see the baseline level or bile acids, then they feed her, and two hours later take another blood sample to see the level of bile acids. Basically, what they are looking for is any change in levels of bile acids. For example, if the sample from before the meal shows a low level and the sample after the meal shows a high level, then that means her liver isn't working the way it should. Oh goodness...I'm really hoping it doesn't turn out that way.

We were so ready to drive to California yesterday and I'm really sad to not see family, but I am actually pretty glad we were able to get Lucy some help. They hydrated her, gave us a bunch of meds for her and now we're just waiting for the test results, which should be ready in a couple days!! It's kind of been a bank breaking weekend, but I just really really REALLY hope they figure out what's wrong so that we can fix it. It's so sad seeing her so lifeless. And it's so sad because she can't just tell us what's wrong, you know?

The poor beagle breaks my heart.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

do you know what that sound is, highness?....

...those are the shrieking eels!

This post, actually, has nothing to do with the Princess Bride (which is where that quote comes from, for those of us who are uncultured), but it just popped into my head for some reason.


HI EVERYONE!!! I know it's seemed like a bojillion years since we last blogged, so I thought I'd drop you all a line. It really hasn't been a bojillion years, but tons of things have definitely been going on, so we've been a little preoccupied:

  • LUCY - We are not millionaires because Lucy did not win the cutest dog competition. :o( For those of you who actually did vote and continue to show your endless support of our gorgeous beagle dog, THANK YOU! Maybe we'll have better luck next year. Or maybe we'll start a dog talent competition, or something. Lucy's pretty amazing at sitting, laying down, rolling over, speaking, and playing hide and seek! Anyway, to see information on the winner of the competition, click here.
  • SWINE - I'm pretty sure I had the swine flu in October. Joe and Alanna and I had planned a camping trip for the first weekend of October and, even though I started feeling like death with a fever of 103, NOTHING was going to get in the way of camping. I had a fever for a couple days and we were scheduled to go on a Friday night and I really didn't want to pull the plug on the trip. So we headed out of Phoenix and during the ride I think something pretty crazy happened because I don't remember much from that night. My fever seemed to skyrocket and I was freezing and burning up all at the same time. I'm pretty sure I was delirious (Joe and Alanna can probably give more details) and it seriously felt like I was actually dead. Not fun. We stayed one night and packed up first thing in the morning. :o( Sad!! It probably wasn't really the swine flu (I tend to exaggerate), but it was pretty brutal. On the positive side, I've hit my sick quotient for the year, so hopefully I won't be sick again for a long time.
  • LUCY - Lucy turned TWO!! YAHOOOO!!!! Okay, so maybe this is only exciting to us.
  • KIDNEY - Joe celebrated his first anniversary with his new kidney on October 7th!! It's definitely been a roller coaster as far as that goes - being more apt to get diseases and virus due to the suppressed immune system. They are constantly meeting with him, always doing new lab work, adjusting medications due to differences in blood levels and new viruses that pop up, keeping him healthy, etc. The Mayo Clinic and all of Joe's doctors in this city are really top notch. And so is Jen for being the awesome donor!! :o)
  • MOVING - We moved into a new place!! Moving is always super stressful (especially when you realize about 1/3 of the stuff you own could probably just be thrown away), so we are glad to have that over and done with. And, as of yesterday, we have now been in the new place about a month and are pretty much all unpacked and settled in. It's a nice place, too. It's just about 3 miles away from our previous place, so it's in the same general area, but it's about $200 cheaper per month, so we're REALLY excited about saving some extra money. Which is something that isn't easy to do this day and age.
  • WILDLIFE - We take Lucy for nightly walks around the new neighborhood and have had the opportunity of seeing and hearing different wildlife such as rabbits, owls, coyotes and even javelinas!! HOW COOL IS THAT??
  • WORK - The coming of this month signaled my first anniversary at my current job. It's really crazy how time flies when you're Yeah. Amazing. There are DEFINITELY days when things drag and situations get stressful at work (poor Joe never seems to hear the end of it, either) but, for the most part, I have actually grown to really enjoy my new position. This month has been really stressful at work because it's the end of my first year, so I had to work some overtime and work as hard as possible to make sure that I ended it with a bang (want to get some good points on my review!!). It's hard to do with unexpected issues that come up, fires that need to be put out, lives to save, etc. But on the other hand, there is a lot of teamwork involved, so there is a lot of time to continually improve upon communicating effectively with each other. There are great benefits and a lot of opportunity for growth. There are people who really make each day worthwhile. And among all the good and the bad (which you seem to find no matter WHERE you work), it's really been a pretty good experience so far.
  • NEW MOON - I have nothing to say about it that won't make you all roll your eyes. So will spare you my thoughts.
  • THANKSGIVING - It's scary how quickly Thanksgiving has come and gone, you know? My family traveled on a tour of Ireland for the holiday last week (the price was right) but Joe and decided to save our bucks (will visit Ireland someday...) and stuck around Phoenix. We had an awesome dinner celebration at my aunt and uncle's house and hung out and played games afterwards. We went camping amongst coyotes for a few days at Apache Lake, where we went last Thanksgiving. And had a really nice, stress-free weekend. I love Thanksgiving. And I am still so very thankful for everything listed here...and more!!

Dude. Back off. It JUST STARTED!!! he he.

Really, though. December. Ahhh.
  • Weather changes (finally).
  • Holiday decorations.
  • The season of giving.
  • Making new year resolutions.
  • Spending time with family.
  • Enjoying life.
Hmmmm. I utterly love this time of year. :o)

Ciao for now!
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