Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Things I do for Critters

I love my critters. I do. My beautiful, smart and gentle mare has been battling squamous cell carcinoma for the past three years. The first tumor appeared on her vulva..literally where the sun don't shine. It grew and grew and was nasty and gross. My vet biopsied it and told me it was cancer. I bawled. I am a lucky duck though because Purdue University Large Animal Hospital is an hour and a half away from me. So, I had a friend haul Dixie (my mare) to some of the thought leaders of equine medicine to see what they had to say about it. Dr. Hawkins is the local CO2 lasering expert...see, I'm a lucky duck. He took one look at her tumor and said "Holy Sh*t!" Just kidding. He actually said we'd (meaning he'd) have to do surgery. Anyway, we (he) did surgery. Here's how they do it...the vet students put my mare in the stocks, give her a little local anesthesia, wait for her to get numb then they give her an epidural. Dixie stands there like such a sweet sleepy dopehead while they bandage her tail and tie it up out of the way. Then they make me leave the operating room because they are using a laser and they don't want to accidentally put my eye out. From here I can only speculate..I suppose they get the laser fired up and start cutting out the tumor while a student dabs the trickling blood with a cloth. Then they stitch her up. It doesn't take long after surgery for her to wake up a little and the epidural wears off. She's so dang good and well behaved. She healed up and you couldn't even tell she'd ever had an issue back there. Until the tumor showed up again...two more times. So we did surgery two more times. Dr. Hawkins was frustrated, Dixie was frustrated and I was frustrated. Why won't this cancer take a hint and get lost? Make like a tree and leave....make like a fetus and head out.....scram..beat it...you get the idea. It kept coming back and invading her girl parts. Last August was the latest surgery and I thought we'd beat it with surgery and cisplatin injections.


Until last month. The cancer was back with a brand new tumor and was growing faster than ever. By the time I got her back to Purdue it was the size of a baseball. Her surgery was last Thursday and Dr. Hawkins is optimistic that maybe this time it's just an abscess which is much less worrisome and also benign. I am guarded but slightly hopeful. I'm a bottom line kind of girl, so I'll wait for the official histopathology results. I thought I'd share some photos from my visiting my mare in the hospital today. Don't worry, you won't be able to see the swollen surgical site (it's under her tail, sillies!).

Mmmmm..mama brought peppermints!
Beats hospital food!







She's gittin' my itchy spot! Oh yeah!










Checkin' out the scene of the crime.




Okay, seriously mom, enough with the camera.

Oh yeah, did you see the sexy, gigantic jumpsuit I had to wear into her stall? Mmmhhhhmm you know it. Right after I left her stall they handed me a helmet and I boarded Apollo 13.

Cross your fingers for us! And send money!



8 comments:

The W.O.W. factor said...

Hello ! Can't remember how I got here...but I love your blog!
I sure hope your mare will be fine. Luckily you have a good Vet hospital to help her. We live near WSU, another good one. Thankfully we haven't had to use them....yet!
I'll be back to visit as I truly enjoyed reading your posts!

Elliemae said...

Thanks for your comment, I love to know when people stop by for a visit! I clicked over to yours and as soon as I read "cowboys wife" I knew I was going to be a regular here....always thought I'd end up as a cowboys wife..dated enough of them...ended up with a computer guy!? Go figure.

The W.O.W. factor said...

That's too funny! I always wanted a Cowboy..felt like I was born a century too late...
Married a Computer Guy....
and then found my Cowboy!

Pony Girl said...

Elliemae, thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm glad I you did so I was able to pay you a visit! ;) I have a lot of catching up to do. I think your mare is beautiful. I am sorry to hear about her cancer, goodness, that stuff can be aggressive! I hope she is on the mend soon, I will keep her in my thoughts!

Elliemae said...

Thanks Pony Girl! Can you believe my mares tail used to touch the ground? Uh huh! Then the cancer grew and she started rubbing her tail/rear on anything she could find. *sigh*

Elliemae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karenhappywoman said...

Didn't know I'd be back again so soon. So I read about your mare's problem. I cross my fingers for both of you! I've seen this kind of cancer on a friends mare. But she was already 29 years old and they didn't do surgery on her. It's hard when a dear friend is ill, I know! Hang in there!

Elliemae said...

Thanks Karen! I'll be stopping by your blog...it's interesting that a world apart, things are still so similar...