Bam Update #1: Not What I Expected

Bam Update - doctor

7:30 Wednesday Wheels Up!

Bam in is the car, stopped and got Starbucks and headed to my Aunt’s house to pick her up because misery loves company. We are off to Washington State University for Bam’s MRI today. We are ready to find out what is going on with his back end and how we can help him. Bam slept soundly in the car the whole way. I coughed and coughed as I am fighting off a cold or bronchitis or both. Tissue please.

9:30 We arrived.

We got checked in and found a place to sit because the consultation appointment wasn’t until 10. Our 4th year med student came and got us and we were off to our private room. We sat and talked about Bam’s medical history or all that I could remember. She asked about EVERYTHING. Bam got his temperature checked and then we wrapped everything up and was told to go wait in the waiting room again and they would come and get us when she had a chance to go over everything with her superior. It should only take about an hour.

2.5 hrs. later. . . . .

Back in the private room sitting with both the actual vet and the 4th year student. The Dr. spoke saying they concluded Bam could be suffering from any one of three things; Degenerative Myelopathy (what Charlie had if you followed her story), a disk problem/Lumbosacral Disease (yup that’s what we are here to find out), or the ‘C’ word. Yep, cancer. She then went on to say she thought it was very likely cancer that was the cause of the problem. Hold up! Stop right there! I was not mentally prepared for this topic! Hold back the tears. LOCK IT UP, STEPH! LOCK IT UP!

The two across from me recommended we do a chest x-ray, blood samples for this and blood samples for that, spinal taps here and there and an MRI and a blood transfusion and a test to see if he is allergic to broccoli and, and, and. . …. I simply could not follow everything they were throwing at me. I had to stop them and say, “What are we going to do today?”

“Today,” they said, “ We are going to run a blood panel to look at his white and red blood cells. We will also do a chest x-ray because if cancer is going to spread, it will be in the lungs”. We should push the MRI to tomorrow because we strongly believe this should come first and we will not have time to do the MRI anymore today.

With my eyes half full of tears, I said ok. I was tired, sick and not prepared for the “C” word. Of course tears were going to come.

We waited and waited and waited the rest of the day and finally they came back with him and said the x rays came back crystal clear. “His lungs look great!” they said. “Go ahead and take him home and we will call with the results of the blood test. See you tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. at drop off for the MRI.”

We packed up, got some food and headed down the road back to home. We discussed whether or not we should go home, let out the dogs and head back and get a hotel so we didn’t have to drive at 5:30 in the morning. I was so tired I just couldn’t turn around and drive back down there again. I chose to go to bed early and get up at the crack of dawn and head out again. So that is what we did.

Right before reaching home I got the call about his blood cells, they were at perfect levels. Looks like cancer is off the table.

5:30 a.m. Thursday, Wheels Up

We made it to WSU at 7:30 a.m., checked Bam in and off he went to get prepped for his MRI at 10. Why we had to be there at 7:30 when his MRI wasn’t until 10, I have no idea. I will just trust they know what they are doing and there is a perfectly good reason for it.

We walked to a café and had some breakfast. It was a short 12 minute walk to the Zoe Café. I recommend it! It was lovely and the pancakes are HUGE! We ate and headed back up the hill. We got back to the clinic waiting room about 8:45 and we settled in. I got out my crochet project and half heartedly started working on it. I was having a hard time focusing on anything. At about 10 a.m. the vets came out. I thought they were just kindly coming to tell me they are about to take Bam into his MRI. Nope.

“We wanted to tell you that some emergency cases came in last night so Bam’s MRI has been bumped until 3:30. He may get it at 3:30 but he may not. It all depends on how the day goes. A horse came in and if that horse needs surgery, Bam will not be seen today. You can stay and wait and see if you like or take him home and come back tomorrow. We will be back in 10 minutes to let you think about what you would like to do”.

So I drove here for nothing? NOTHING! I know nothing more than I did on Tuesday before I even started my many trips here!!!!! GRRRRR! I decided it was not worth cancelling my classes this evening to stay all day in the waiting area just to be told to leave and come back tomorrow. I decided to leave and come back at 7:30 the next morning in the hopes Bam can get his MRI at his scheduled time.

The Dr. and resident agreed that that was probably the most likely chance of Bam getting in. They also offered to keep Bam overnight for free in case they could get him in at the end of the day. If not, I would not have to leave my house early because he would already be there. I could leave at a more respectable hour like 8 or 9 a.m.

My aunt and I got back in the car and drove all the way back to Spokane. I know nothing more than I did. I am frustrated at the process to say the least. I also hate leaving Bam and feel the void greatly. YUCK! Just YUCK!

I will be headed back out tomorrow to sit and sit because I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. Bam’s momma is faithful one hundred percent.

Bam Spinal Tap
Where they did the spinal tap.
Bam Asleep Snoring
Sound asleep and snoring

Bam was so excited to see me and finally settled down after being manic. I got down on the floor to help settle him. He crawled in my lap and was snoring in no time. He was exhausted! He simply fell asleep in my arms as if a lap dog in the middle of the waiting area. We sat there for another hour and a half waiting for our bill and medications. So much waiting. We just wanted to go home.

Finally, we got all our things and I paid which was surprisingly low given what was expected. Not having surgery had something to do with it but we added on the spinal tap and sent blood off across the country and had an xray, so I was bracing for more of a bill. However, I didn’t argue, paid and headed quickly out the door.

I ran into a former student before leaving. They were there because their pup slipped a disc and was paralyzed. They had no idea what the prognosis would be but they were given an $12,000 estimate to get their 5 year old active girl back on four legs. My gut sank. I was very grateful for what I just paid. It certainly keeps things into perspective.

I loaded Bamarama up in the car and he went straight to the dog bed and went back to sleep. He didn’t make a peep, nor move, the entire ride.

As we drove back, I got to thinking how many things I have to be grateful for even if this was a week I don’t wish to repeat. As I was dealing with Bam, a friend of mine was putting her dog to sleep. Although I was having a pity party for myself and Bam, I wasn’t having to make that choice. I am grateful. I am grateful the roads were clear, my car hummed back and forth without fault. I am grateful for my Aunt Lu who went with me every day to sit with me, offer up random conversation to pass the time and offered to drive if I was too tired. I am so grateful to have her in my life. I love you to the moon Aunt Lu. I am grateful for all who came and got their pup’s photos taken in support of Bam’s procedures and mounting vet bills. I am grateful for my vet who kept in touch each day I was at WSU. My vet pretty much rocks. I am grateful for Charlie Girl who taught me so much about DM that I am going to be even better for Rama. That darn dog taught me so much. I am grateful Bam is happy and has no idea what is before him. I am grateful he isn’t in pain or suffering in the least. I am going to be more like a dog and just be in this moment now and try not to cry over something that hasn’t happened yet. There will be plenty of time for tears when he leaves me. Oh my goodness, there will be no “locking it up”. The flood gates will be wide open, but today is not that day.

In the meantime, I am gathering up information and making a plan to help keep him strong, happy and healthy be it with vitamins, supplements, booties, exercises, games and massages. I will still be putting out my future blog post on enrichment for dogs post-surgery even though Rama didn’t have surgery. It is still great information and should be shared. How would a drill and a colander help your healing dog? Wait for it! It will be out soon.

Love on your babies. I will be loving on mine. In this moment, everything is fine. -Stephanie


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