The mass in Emmi’s brain can not be removed and we can’t afford the $9 to $11,000 shunt that would save her life IF the mass is the result of Valley Fever. We can not determine if the mass is a cancer because it’s position makes it too dangerous for Emmi to undergo a spinal tap. If it is a cancer, chemotherapy would be the treatment of choice, though if it is a non-cancerous mass, chemo would only ‘maybe’ help.
With further investigation by the neurologist, in consultation with others in the veterinary field, it was determined that Emmi can not simultaneously take chemo and Valley Fever treatments as each would negate the effects of the other.
Since brain cancers are very aggressive and chemo is very hard on on the patient, given Emmi’s current state, the unanimous veterinary opinion is not to put her through it.
Brain disseminated Valley Fever cases are the most difficult to treat, but the treatment is not as hard on the patient as chemo. Valley Fever medications are very slow acting. IF the mass is related to Valley Fever, treatment may not work, or start to work, in time. Brain disseminated Valley Fever cases are also the most fatal.
In the end, we’re doing a crap shoot. Emmi was started back on Fluconazole for Valley Fever. She is also on prednisone to reduce the brain swelling, as well as a separate medication to counter act the negative effects prednisone has on Emmi as was shown when she was given the drug last year for another problem. All we can do now is wait and see. There are no other options.
We could lose Emmi any day now, or a week or month from now, or, if we’re lucky and what I am wishing for, at least 2 years from now.
For now, we have to keep Emmi very quiet for at least a couple weeks. No running, jumping or anything that would jiggle her swollen brain. She is much improved from last week with the anti-inflammatory effects of the prednisone, but she is still not as Emmi as she was.
This will be the last sad post about Emmi and her condition until we lose her. Life has to return to normal for the sake of the other dogs and for our own sake. Every accommodation will be made for Emmi’s comfort, every vet directive followed to the letter, but we will stop making it All About Emmi from this day forward, though I can promise she will be hugged and cuddled more.
I will end this sad post with some humor for you:
Emmi is not allowed to jump. Despite her condition, she gets on the couch and we’ve caught her getting ready to jump on the people bed. Since she can’t be monitored when we’re asleep, and she may try to jump then, the answer is to get rid of the people bed. Yup – it’s going away. Any rational person would get rid of civilized sleeping accouterments for the sake of a dog, wouldn’t they?
As luck would have it, Crabby’s camping sleeping mats on the hard floors are actually more comfortable for our aging backs than the people bed mattress anyway. Bonus, since Emmi sleeps with people, if you put the people on the floor, Emmi has no reason to try to get on [or more dangerously, off] the people bed.
Today we invested in air mattresses and sleeping mats.
Until the people bed is gone, all we have are narrow strips of floor to put our (as in human) sleeping mats. Surely the more back supportive floor, even if it’s a narrow strip, will afford a more roomy people sleeping space…. Not!
I’m sure once we can get rid of the bed, and possibly some other furniture, not only will Emmi be safe, but there will be ample space for humans and dogs to cohabitate peacefully with ALL able to sit and sleep on soft surfaces. For now though, it’s a work in progress.
But when it’s all said and done, we will have another problem: