Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It's good to have Pippin back home with us! There are so many things you take for granted when the doggie of the house is missing from his duties - like having to pick up food you drop when cooking, the constant weather updates you get from sending them in and out to do their business and we've nearly set off the house alarm a few times because we forget no one has already had to turn it off to let the dog out. Lilli dropped some food on the ground at lunch today and our instant Spidey reflexes to grab it before Pippin could get to it were in vain since there wasn't anyone here to challenge.

Lilli woke up from her nap around 3 today so we called and told them we'd be on our way to pick him up shortly. We did warn her that he would have a new hat that might look funny. They came walking with him up from the back, we were really surprised that he would just be walking around like he hadn't had major surgery! He was happy to see us and Lilli was in absolute hysterics over his "hat".It's pretty amazing how much energy he has. It's crazy how active you can be when you have red blood cells and no tumors in your stomach! His bloodwork has remained at a constant 33 (normal range) since his emergency blood transfusion Thurs night, so that's great news. He was down at a 6 then. Hopefully the surgery has stopped the internal bleeding. It will still be Thurs/Fri of next week before we know if the tumors were benign or not.
We were sent home with all the instructions for caring for him, no bathing or water on the incision (and keeping him from doing something to hurt it) are the biggest ones. He is to eat smaller meals for a little bit so it's easier for his stomach to digest it. No exercise. He's on one pain med, one antibiotic and one for something related to his stomach (I think like an antacid.). And of course the cone, our old friend. This is his third cone - he had one for his knee surgery 4.5 years ago, one for ripping his dew claw about three years ago and now this one.
He's terrible with the cone, he gets stuck all the time and runs into everything. Lilli gets pretty perturbed when he runs into her. Last time he had one he kept getting stuck under the coffee table with it and couldn't get out.
He looks so pitiful, all shaven, coned up, bandages on his arm and the incision and staples run all the way down his stomach. They'll be removed two weeks from Monday. His poor stomach is all bloated and looks terrible.
Even though all these pictures are of him asleep he really hasn't slept much tonight. He's been cleaning the kitchen floor with his tongue, following me around absolutely everywhere, sitting up a lot, eating, drinking and going in and outside. We can tell he is uncomfortable, and we've had his cone off most of the night since one of us has had an eye on him at all times. He just has a hard time kind of curling up and getting comfy since the incision is so long and all the way down his stomach.
After her bath, we asked her if she had a good day and what she did today and the first thing she said was "Pippin Home!"And for the not faint of heart - some pictures of his poor stomach. It runs pretty much the length of his little body, and he's all bruised up and very bloated from all the fluids and everything.Another angle. We wanted lots of good pictures just in case it does change (we're supposed to watch for any strange discharge, etc) we'll know for sure what it looked like the day we brought him home. Clearly we're pros at stuff like this.

Great News!

While we were out cheering on the marathoners this morning Brent got a call from Dr Au and we can bring home Pippin today! He is doing well, his bloodwork has remained stable and he's been up and walking around some. He's still on pain pills, but not the pain IV anymore so they think he can rest better at home now. Once the race road closures are done we can go and pick him up anytime and they'll brief us on his home care. So glad for blue skies and good news today!

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Like Pink

Brent just called to get a pre-bedtime check-up on Pippin. They said his recovery is going well, as expected. He's still on an IV for pain meds from the surgery so he's mostly just resting and occasionally sitting up, etc. His bloodwork at 6 pm looked good and then they will take it again at 2 am. Of course Lilli wanted to know where Pippin was tonight (every day when we get home she proclaims "Pippin's home!" if he normally goes places on his own...). She knows he has been sick this week, so I explained to her that his tummy was hurting so he was with the doctors and they were making him better. A few times tonight she told Brent that the doctors were helping Pippin's tummy, and right before bed when she normally goes to tuck him into his bed she told us once more that the doctors were taking care of Pippin's tummy. Although she doesn't understand what's going on, it's not lost on her either. Last night was rough and I spent most of it crying, of course she saw that and tonight when we picked her up from school not long after we got in the car she told me "Mommy, no sad tonight, ok?". Ok.

Some pictures from this long day - outside the emergency vet this morning. We were there from 6:30 until 8 am.Pippin's "BandAids". The black with the "ouch" is where he got his blood transfusion, the purple is where they went ahead and put a catheter in for quick blood access. Lilli would be SO jealous. I've got a BandAid on my thumb and I wasn't in her classroom for two minutes tonight before three of her classmates noticed and wanted to know about my boo-boo. So sympathetic.
At his regular vet. We were there from 8 until 8:45. Third time for me there this week. Best part was they didn't charge us for a consult today, woo hoo!
At the specialist following our surgery and critical care consults, we were there from 9 until 11. Both starving, we shared a can of Coke for our breakfast. Best can of coke ever. This was right after all the consultations when they brought Pippin back to us for us to give him a pre-surgery pep talk. They follow that with the estimate of fees, I think they do it in that order so you are very mushy and will sign anything. And it works.
Kristi and Cole. Once Brent got home he ran out to take her the dinner we had made for them. I wish I could have gone but I was a disaster and needed to hang easily by the phone in case they needed to talk to us during the surgery. I have always wanted to see their house (they also live in an old house) so I guess we will just have to take them more food soon, and I know Lil will want to meet Cole asap.
And Lilli. Her giant contribution for the day was going to school as normal, making lots of fun arts and crafts, taking a good nap and wearing (one of) her Pippin shirts for support. And being pretty easy going tonight when we were pretty zonked!
Tomorrow mid-morning they are supposed to call us with an update, and maybe a release date for her. They initially thought Sunday would be when he would get to come home so we'll just have to see what they think about his recovery. Although the house is strangely quiet without him we are all for them keeping him under observation as long as needed. Until then we'll just rest up and we're planning to head down to the Country Music Marathon tomorrow morning and cheer for the runners. The new marathon course comes within 5 blocks of our house so we have great access. And this will be Lilli's third year to cheerlead at it, she is an old pro!

Quick Update

Dr Au just called and Pippin has made it through his surgery! The tumor we were most worried about (due to its delicate positioning) was removed very easily and wasn't actually attached to anything. There's a lot of technical terms we have heard today, but basically that one was near a lot of important "stuff" in the stomach/small intestine that could have made its removal very difficult, and could have resulted in some really intense rebuilding of that area which can have a pretty high mortality rate. The other tumor was actually much larger than thought (2.5-3 inches instead of the centimeters they had thought) but since it was in a less critical place in the stomach it's removal was not as difficult. He is already out of anesthesia and was sitting up on his own already! He is nothing if not persistent about being active (which was the first clue something was wrong!). Both tumors are now being sent to Mississippi State for testing, to determine if it was a benign or malignant tumor. We truly hope it is benign, and there's no way for the doctors to tell by just sight. We also have to now hope that the internal bleeding he was experiencing was related to these tumors, and not something else. There's no guarantees other than that, but now he is in their doggie ICU and his blood levels will be continually monitored all throughout the night. He is in the best possible hands. We are by no means out of the woods, but we have so much to be thankful for tonight!

The Adventures of Pippin.

Pippin made it through the night ok at NPEC. They immediately rushed him back to get fluids going and put him under a warmer as his temp had dropped. His red blood cell count was so low his tongue and gums were pretty much the same color as his teeth, and his nails were completely white, too. The doctor said he was literally so critical he was down to hours to live. They called our vet and did some additional x-rays themselves, talked over a plan with Brent, and send him home around 10:30. Pippin got fluids and a blood transfusion over night, and his red blood cell count went from a 7 earlier in the evening to a 33 by this morning. He was at a 9 earlier in the week on Tuesday, and a 15 is where they start transfusions. He was in really great spirits this morning, tail wagging when he saw us and licking everyone, and his tongue and gums were much pinker than they had been all week. Brent took some pictures of him but my camera is with him (he is out delivering food to new baby Cole right now, we figured it would be better to get them their dinner early in case we have to run out during Pippin's surgery.) Both front legs are bandaged up, one of them has the cutest wrap with an Ouch BandAid that Lilli would literally be so jealous of, and they went ahead and put a catheter in the other for quick needle access for all the vets.

The ER vet team went over that set of Xrays in detail with us this morning, and were so nice to stay open until close to 8 when our regular vet opens so we could go straight there (they're just 4 blocks apart). This particular ER is only open overnight, weekends and holidays to fill the gap when your regular office is not open. Our vet was already expecting us and immediately got us back in a room and they had his cytology reports waiting, they had been faxed in at 5:15 that morning. The bioposy of his tumors did not show cancer, however they really didn't show anything. That can be good and bad, good in that he isn't so rampant that it picked up something widespread, but bad in that it didn't give us any answers after waiting two days for them. Apparently that test is only 60% effective though, and we could fall in that other 40%. Dr Ganzberger said our best bet was to head down to BluePearl and get Pippin in surgery since we was finally stable enough to handle it.

So our next stop was down in Brentwood. They had called ahead so once again we were expected. I'd already done some research on them and they really are the top of the game for specialty vet stuff in Nashville. They're 24-7 and run a full ship around the clock with usually several vets on staff at a time. First we met with the critical care vet, Dr P, and talked over his case and just basically his care. Then we met Dr Au. Brent thought they kept saying Dr Oz and that if Dr Oz was working on him it would be a slam dunk! As much as the regular doc is costing there's no WAY we could afford Dr Oz! Dr Au is insanely knowledgeable and went over all the numerous ways to surgically help Pippin, since that really is our only option at this point. All the Xrays and ultrasounds have just been inconclusive and at this point the only way we will know if he can be saved is to actually get in there and see what's in his stomach, and see where he's bleeding from. He was very optimistic about being able to remove the two tumors, the unknown is whether or not that will stop the bleeding, and whether or not there really is cancer in there that has spread. But if we didn't at least try we'd never know. Just expect a can at our front door that says "Funds for Pippin's medical bills" the next time you come over.

And since he is in stable shape for surgery we left him there and they should be operating on him as I type this. They'll call us as soon as he's out and update us, however the sample of the tumors will have to be sent off for testing and results on whether or not they are benign or malignant won't be known until probably next Thursday. Should his surgery go well, he would recover there for anywhere from 1 -3 nights depending on the depth of the surgery and how he handles recovery before we would get to bring him home. But so much of it really depends on how the surgery goes and what all they see in there.

We are just amazed at the outpouring of love and texts and emails and prayers we've had from all our great friends. He is so loved and we are really trying to hope for the best for our Pippin. Brent dropped Lilli off at school this morning right when they opened at 6:30 (normally he drops her off around 7:15 or so), so thankfully we've been able to make all our stops and visits with just us and be able to pay attention to all the great vets we have met with today. I think our vet count today is up to 5 vets and 5 vet techs across 3 different practices this morning. Lilli did wear one of her many Pippin shirts to school today (which I normally wouldn't let her wear to daycare in a million years) to show her support.

So hopefully the next diary entry here will contain some good news!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Pippin seemed to be ok when I first got home, he didn't have any trouble going outside and going to the bathroom and was pretty happy about the Beggin Strip I gave him since normally we just give him the healthy junk these days. From there though his breathing any time he tried to exert himself (like trying to follow us around the house) was getting pretty labored and he didn't even have the energy to get out of bed when I dropped some cheese on the floor and that's a pretty major sign for him. I took him out a few minutes before 9 to see if he would be able to go outside and he got so shaky that Brent has taken him to the emergency vet. Living downtown we're lucky to be near one, and we've been there before on Christmas Eve 4 years ago when he dislocated his knee so we know they're good.Before Lilli went to bed she tucked him in with a blanket. I had cuddled with him all night and he never tried to lick me (and he is SUCH a licker), but he mustered up the energy to give her several before she went off to bed. I am so thankful for this picture.
And for this one, the last one we took today. They are so sweet together.

Brent's the only one at the emergency vet and they've rushed him back. His temperature is a low and the vet on staff said he is "white as a sheet". The low blood cell count is causing his tongue and gums to be very pale and Brent said they said something about fluid on his lungs, which is new. All in all, it just doesn't sound good.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pippin's Day

What a night, another night of storms and not much sleep around here. Lilli was in and out of our bed all night long and that means horrible sleep for all of us. She first woke up when the first round went through at 11:30, and when I went in to grab her Pippin was stretched out asleep in her room! He does that all the time and we'll hear his snoring over the baby monitor. I think she was in our bed until around 2:45 when she got the boot out and then back in around 4:45 until she and Brent got up. Pippin slept good all night, and Lilli was so sweet to him this morning and gave him her lovie while he was still asleep in his bed.We've been trying to talk to her about Pippin not feeling good and being extra gentle with him. She thought it was pretty much wonderful that he got to ride to school with her today, then Brent dropped him off at the vet for his tests. The abdominal ultrasound showed two large masses on his stomach, one of them is between the stomach and small intestine and the other one is near some organ I've never heard of. It would be really difficult to remove the tumors and for his stomach to still function properly, they got our approval to do a biopsy on it and we would know exactly what it is and how to best proceed. The doc thinks it's lymphoma, so he could possibly undergo chemo/radiation. We just have to know exactly what this is first, and then there's the challenge of if there's any protocols or doctors in the area that could work on him. She did have good news regarding his platelets and they are in good shape so he can still clot well, but his red blood count is very low and there's not really anything they can do about it until the cause of the bleeding in his stomach is determined.
But once again he is amazing the vets with his energy level, he shouldn't be as active as he is for the shape he's in and even after the long day he had of being poked and prodded he was more than happy to clean up under Lilli's chair after dinner tonight, and he still wanted to hang out with us after dinner while we played in her room.
The poor thing had to be shaved for the tests today!! He has a long "racing stripe" down his back of fur. He's definitely more sleepy tonight as the anethesia is still wearing off. It will be about 48 hours (Friday) before we have results back.
Until then, he's getting spoiled and getting anything he wants! He has to take 3 pills twice per day each, so he's getting some nice spoonfuls of peanut butter and cheese stuffed with pills.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Pippin

Last week seems sort of like a parade at Disney compared to today. Pippin just hasn't seemed himself the last week and a half, very lethargic and we saw a lump around his stomach right at a week ago. He hasn't been very interested in enjoying the pretty weather outside, and has just been too calm. The lump didn't change (we thought it might be a bruise or something...) and he's become obsessed with eating dirt, so I made him an appointment for this afternoon with the vet.
As soon as she looked at him she immediately said "this isn't good". She had them do bloodwork asap, but was already throwing out words like kidney failure, liver disease, cancer, blood disorders all of it. So of course I break down crying (I was there alone while Brent was picking up Lilli). She came back in and said it was very bad, and showed me all his numbers. Most of his numbers were not even registering on charts, some blood level was at a 9, with lower numbers being worse, and they start blood transfusions at 15. Some other number was barely over 1 with 35 being a very low number. She couldn't even understand how a dog with numbers like his was even able to breath and walk on his own, much less lick their faces off while they were taking his blood, checking him, and clipping his nails. The first option was to spend several thousand and ship him off locally for some immediate blood transfusions, but the better option was to bring him back tomorrow for some heart and stomach ultrasounds they can do there, and then decide exactly what it is, and how/if to treat it. Either way he is described as extremely critical, which I believe, because he is just not himself, but he was still snorting around the table tonight for food, and I had to pick him up out of cleaning my dishwasher last night. It just doesn't register that he might literally have "days", but his lymphnoids are swollen, his gums white and his eyes are too yellow (all stuff I don't even know about).

They sent home a bag of meds (stomach acid stuff, antibiotic, steriod, etc) and we drop him off tomorrow first thing for more tests. Today he had Xrays and bloodwork, and she could see a large mass on his stomach. I was at the vet for over 2 hours and didn't get home until about 6:45 or so tonight. A long day. The vet techs were crying when I left, he really is a favorite there.

We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we're ready to do whatever we need to for our Pippin. This house just wouldn't be the same without him and that tongue of his.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Almost Wordless Monday

Because some days you're just so proud you put your socks on yourself, even if they are totally backwards. I mean, why should the pretty bow and all the letters go on the back side anyway??(One of the skills they have been working on at school is putting your socks and shoes on yourself. I'm sure they have no ulterior motives in wanting them to get that one figured out.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

We hope you had a great day! Even though all Easters seem to be marred by viruses around here we still had a nice one. (Lilli was a little puny again on Saturday, no fever but her stomach was just off. This morning she was back to 100% again so we just took her to early service and skipped classes.)The traditional Easter bunny ear shot....
I think my mom will get great joy out of these dresses, especially since she and I are practically matching. You know, one of those things I said I would never do to my own child. My dress was from Macy's and her was from Janie and Jack.
Brent wouldn't wear a white suit. Maybe next year.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Eats and Looking Good

We haven't done a ton of new recipes the last couple of weeks, with our big sandwich party last weekend (which will be the next post when I am caught up!!) and Lilli being sick this week. We made the Crock Pot BBQ recipe which we absolutely love again and it was delicious. This time we totally skipped the oven and BBQ sauce part at the end and decided we like it better that way. Brent dipped his in BBQ sauce and I ate mine without the bun and sauce altogether.

I bought this little ballerina skirt (with matching leotard) from a guy at work that sells me a lot of his girls' old clothes at some great prices. Lilli LOVES it and it at least helps since she rarely wears pants at home. She is actually getting better about the pants thing.We absolutely loved this pork and pineapple taco recipe. I let my pork marinade all day while we were at work and then grilled it on the George Foreman once we got home. So delicious and easy. It's hard to beat grilled pineapple and that totally made the recipe.

Here's how the yard reno looked last Saturday night, with the start of the retaining wall going in:

Brent really hasn't done much with it this week, so it still pretty much looks like that. We also had some things like kielbasa and rice (always a favorite of everyone), spaghetti night, beef pot roast, breakfast for dinner and some soups and sammie nights since it's been a little chilly lately.
It was pretty chilly last Saturday and Sunday morning, so it was perfect for this little dress I got at a spring consignment sale. It came with the cutest little jacket and the whole set was just $6! Ridiculous!!! It's a 2T so the jacket was a bit big on her so I think it will really fit better this fall and hopefully not swallow her so much. It was a battle to get her to wear the white shoes, she REALLY wanted to wear her coral sandals that she's addicted to. The ruffly socks are what won her over.

The inside of the coat is lined just like the dress. Lots of detail there!
And this is when she got tired of wearing the coat and didn't want to keep it on anymore, otherwise known as taking too many pictures.
Her favorite sunglasses perked her right back up though.
Thankfully it was already nice and warm after church and kept warming up where we could have our party outdoors. Major YEAH!
Brent didn't get much of her after church. She was in a mood with her teeth all weekend. The only thing that was making her semi-happy was this Capri Sun she saw in the fridge when she was helping me put up groceries.
I do like this one with her little foot kicked out!
Hopefully she will be a much more willing model this Easter weekend!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boo-boos & Dancing Shoes

Lilli is feeling a lot better today!!! She slept in until 8:45 (heaven!!) and hasn't had a fever at all today. Her stomach was a little upset earlier this morning but she told me she had to go and we made it to the potty and everything (yay!) It's pretty common for her stomach to be a little off when her fever breaks, and when she was younger she usually had a slight rash as well. She ate a little breakfast and lunch, and has mostly just wanted to hang out and watch some TV this morning and play with her Easter eggs. It's been a pretty relaxing day and I've gotten some things done around the house, too. My house would be SO clean and organized if I was home everyday!!!

One of her favorite things to do is line up a bunch of my shoes and try them all on. She's actually really great at walking in heels.
For the taller boots and some of the more wobbly ones she's also smart enough to realize it helps to use the door handle for balance in getting them on. Smart kid.
I think the boots are some of her favorite ones to wear. At school they put their names on their back in tape each day, I think it helps with the drop-in program they also have. Church does the same thing with bigger stickers for security reasons, and the last two Sundays at Kroger we've had people stop us and ask if we knew she had a sticker on her back. Ha! I'm really not sure why people would be so worried about a kid having a sticker on her back???
Last Thursday night a root attacked Brent while he was digging out for the backyard reno. Pretty nasty looking gash.
Of course Lilli thought he needed a Barbie Band-Aid to make it better.
And a kiss makes every boo-boo better. Clearly if you put together Lilli's shirt and Brent's pants I might not be the only person in this family who can put together an entire outfit.
Last Friday night we braved that day's storms and headed out to Target which usually means dinner at Jack in the Box. That place is so awful I don't think we can ever go back. The service there is 100% terrible and the bathrooms are even worse. Lilli cracks us up - she just loves to pose for the camera. If you ask her to take her pic with someone she automatically puts her arm around them and she's started squinting but keeping one eye open so she can see what's going on.
I don't know why, but for some reason the spirit was with her and when she was almost done eating she asked if she could get up and dance. We were the only people in their so we figured why not. It's a completely bizarre song to feel moved to dance for, but whatever floats her boat!

And yes, her outfit choice was completely hers. Awful! I don't think a single thing matched.
She ended her dance with something that I think she intended to be the splits. Where in the world does she learn this stuff????