Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If This Were Any Other Dog...

I've had my first post-cancer "If this were any other dog..."  experience. And once I again, I can thank Seamus for leading the way. See, after Seamus was all done with his cancer treatments and we moved into the every month, then every three months, then six months follow-ups, we began to notice a pattern. If anything was wrong with Seamus--if he was tired, if he threw up, if there was a fatty bump appearing, I'd rush him to the vets office and they would inevitably say, "Well if this were any other dog we'd tell you it was simple x or uncomplicated heressomeantibiotics y, or it's nothing but z. But with everything he's been through we should really check for superbadawfulthing that nobody wants happening to their dog." And hundreds of dollars and sheer panic later, we'd find out it was supersimplenobigdeal x. Eventually, I decided (probably two years into this; I'm not a fast learner) that as Seamus had already lived two years longer than anyone had expected (and that's 14 years to you and I) we could probably now treat  him like any other dog...let's rule out the small stuff first and then if need be we'll look into the C word and it's possible recurrence. Life got a lot easier and less expensive. Of course, this is Seamus so I've still had to rush him to the vet for things like, oh, knocking down and inhaling a bowl of dried fruits and nuts that included macadamia nuts (very dangerous to dogs). They gave him medication and up it all came (Dr. Davis assures me there were dried cranberries in the mix; thanks for sharing). Folks in my office (where it occurred) marveled that I knew to take him to the vet for that. When you have a beagle, especially a beagle like Seamus, you know these things. A beagle will eat anything. It's my job to know what will harm him. But at least I've learned it's just "any other beagle" stuff and not a recurrence of cancer.

My own "any other dog" experience happened last night. I go for my first three month check-up on the 28th. I've heard that this can be, much like the first post-treatment mammogram, a stressful time as it brings back memories of the disease and the treatment just about the time one has started to get back to normal. Plus, there is that constant "It might recur" feeling until one hits the magic 5 year mark (and I imagine, even after that). I wasn't really thinking about it or concerned at all. Until Sunday night.

I wasn't feeling good. I was really, really thirsty and having to um, well, uh...pee all the time. Then, I got a killer backache. By yesterday, I also had the chills--which were highly reminiscent of my white blood cell crash experience which Chris described in such glorious detail here. When I took my temperature it was 102. Not good. I got online to look up my symptoms at Web MD. And I should add here, I've never done that before in my life. I either tough it out or call my dad. But I was a little nervous because I felt a lot like I did the morning of the crash. Web MD was pretty good--I either had bladder or kidney cancer, or a bladder or urinary tract infection. WTF?? Then it also had a warning about getting medical attention immediately if the person was x,y, z or had a compromised immune system such as a person in chemotherapy. Um, okay, I'm going to start with the lesser of these choices. I'm going to pretend I am any other dog and rule out the easier one first. I had a compromised immune system (during chemo) but I don't any longer. Do I? I drank lots of cranberry juice, slept like there was no tomorrow, stayed home from work today and got antibiotics. I'm feeling a lot better. I am, I think, just any other dog. With a bladder infection.


  1. Hehehe Buddy (the beagle) at an entire dish of foil covered chocolate kisses and then we saw the wrappers in the yard for weeks!!! They are the best dogs and they are crazy fun, so cute!

    From one who has numerous bladder infections, that's what it sounds like, stay away from caffeine and alcohol for a day or too and it will be much better. AZO works well too!

    Feel better soon!

  2. Probably more than you need to know - but if your dog eats something he shouldn't, all you have to do is give him a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water. It will all come up, very quickly. You can get exact dosages from your vet or a vet website.

  3. OMG. I purposely stay away from WebMD and the like for that very reason. You really could have ANYTHING from a slight "nothing" to the worst conceivable disease known to man. I tend to lean towards the ladder and it's not pretty when I panic. See, even while reading the first few paragraphs of this latest installment I was panicking for you. I'm glad you had a slight case of "nothing" that was cured with cranberry juice. *whew*


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