Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Miracle

After having a great day this last Sunday, including having her kibbles laced with mushroom gravy, Judi's Princess Sunni had a restless and sleepless night. By early Monday morning, she was panting heavily and seemed a little weak. The weakness advanced rapidly: At 7:00 am she could get around the house, but by 9:00 she couldn't cross a room.

Alarmed, we took her to the vet. We actually had an appointment, but we had to wait an hour and a half past the appointment time to actually be seen. By this time Sunni was so weak she had to lean against the wall to stand (though stand she did -- what a trooper!) The vet quickly (like, you should be quick after having made this obviously very sick patient wait an hour and a half) diagnosed acute anemia. The most likely cause for sudden onset of acute anemia: Internal bleeding. The most likely cause of internal bleeding: A cancerous tumor on her spleen.

Judi was, as you can imagine, beside herself. She had to surrender Princess Sunni into the care of the vet's office -- something she was loathe to do, as the last time we had done this, with my beloved BJ, she had died overnight in their care. But Sunni needed an ultrasound of her abdomen to confirm the diagnosis. If it was a tumor on the spleen, that wasn't the end of the world -- she could have her spleen removed, though only after an expensive blood transfusion to strengthen her for the surgery.

Leaving Sunni behind was one of the hardest things I think Judi has ever done, but she did. And then it got worse: The vet called to tell us that the ultrasound revealed tumors not only in the spleen, which could be removed, but in the liver, which could not. If the bleeding was from the liver, it was over. Our bright light would be extinguished forever.

The only way to tell would be to "open her up." To perform surgery would require that blood transfusion. The vet said the odds were way against Sunni and he recommended euthanasia. Besides the possibility that the bleeding was from the liver and incurable, it was also possible that she would be "riddled with cancer."

But Judi knew that Sunni has beaten the odds before, with the brain tumor. Give her the blood transfusion. Open her up. If the bleeding is solely from the spleen -- the only possible "good" outcome -- remove it and we have a little more time with our Earth Angel. If it's any of the many other dire situations that the doctor fears... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. As long as Sunni doesn't suffer.

Last night our Princess received her blood transfusion. It was a long night. A night when we feared she would die away from home and the people who loved her.

But she didn't. This morning we were able to visit her in the hospital before she was prepped for surgery. We actually got to spend more than two hours with her, which was absolutely incredible. Having had the transfusion, she was much stronger than when we left her yesterday, though of course still not back to her usual self. But she did wag her tail when she first caught sight of her Mommy, and that cheered her Mommy more than my words can say.

The doctor came by to warn us again that he felt that things would go badly, that Sunni would be riddle with cancer, that we needed to be prepared to have her euthanized on the table. That the only possible good outcome would be that the bleeding would be limited to the spleen. Judi said she was prepared. We left a phone number.

Here's a very poor quality picture of the Princess snapped with my phone, before she went for her face-to-face with the Grim Reaper:

We knew the surgery would commence about 11:30, and that the earlier we heard from the surgeon, the worse the news would be: If all went for the best, he wouldn't call until he was actually out of surgery.

At 12:10 the phone rang, and Judi started crying as she picked up the receiver.

The surgeon's words:

"We're out of surgery."


Once again, the little miracle beagle beat the odds. The bleeding was limited to the spleen (she's now spleenless). Tonight, we have been informed, she's awakened from the anesthesia and is resting peacefully. Soon she will be home, and emitting light as always.

We aren't denying the cancer in her liver. It's still there, and probably not treatable, in the long run. But for now, we aren't worrying about the long run. We are thinking about tomorrow, and the prospect of a beautiful little beagle face looking up at us with beautiful brown eyes, and a beautiful white-tipped beagle tail wagging, and a little more time with this angel who came down from Heaven to bless our lives, and is working miracles right and left as she goes.


Hi gs - I am so glad Sunni is going home with you, it is lovely to read about her and how much you and Judi love her. All the best, Jess
I have tears in my eyes. What a special girl! Hang in there, Princess S!

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