Wednesday, October 31, 2012



That is the headline today here at our household.

And there is much rejoicing!

Let me back-fill the story over the last few days. They had been running tests down at VMSG since we took her down Monday evening, the most important was the CT scan. This morning was the first time we saw the results, as we both took the day off work and drove down to be with her prior to her scheduled surgery this afternoon. The surgeon showed us the hulk-leg in 3d from any angle....(modern medical technology is just amazing!). They still weren't sure exactly WHAT the mass was, but it was plain that there was a HUGE mass of something inside the thigh muscles, which were acting like a balloon containing said mass. The speculation was that it was a tumor of some sort (of unknown size and type, it could have literally been the size of a pencil eraser according to the surgeon) that had started bleeding, and the leg muscles contained it and the leg just ballooned out until the pressure was enough to stop the bleeding. The big surgical danger was when they opened it up to see just what was in there, the moment they relieved the pressure in that balloon it could start bleeding profusely, and she could bleed-out before they had a chance to find the source. Also of great scary possibility was that the tumor-type was a blood-vessel cancer (can't even say the name of that one, but suffice to say it sounds very scary!). If that was the case (and they wouldn't know until days after the surgery) then the final outcome would be very bad, as it is microscopic and already in the blood and spread throughout the body, and no matter what they did today it would come back somewhere else.

Here is what the leg looked like as of Monday afternoon (it has now been like this for going on 7 days). This picture doesn't do it justice as to the 'hulkiness' of the leg (to touch it is's HARD).

So the plan going into surgery was to open it up and see what was in there, and IF there was a way to remove the mass they would, however if at any time it started to bleed-out they would tourniquet the leg and amputate it, if that was even possible. Because that all depended on where the bleeding was from and if they could slow it enough (while adding massive amounts of blood to keep her alive). It was a very scary prognosis....but we both were visualizing her coming out of this and back home. I was very afraid that there was no way to save the leg (she hasn't had feeling in the foot for days now...the massive 'hulk-leg' syndrome has now been that way for 10 days). I was totally prepared for them to take the leg to save her life...she is such a fiesty little girl that she would have been a 3-legged terror, and I would have been thankful. Jeannie held out hope that they could save the leg and her life...and out-visualized me (THANK YOU JEANNIE!!).

We got the call from the surgeon about 3:30 this afternoon that she was out of surgery. They saw the mass appeared to be a HUGE clotted area of blood, and very carefully started sucking it out, looking for the source. They removed over 400ml of blood/clot, and found what she thought was a "Fatty tumor", along with one or 2 other possible tumor-things. They took biopsies of all and those will be back in a few days...if they are all benign (SP?) then we are living on cloud-9. But for now our little baby is out of surgery, and she has a drainage tube in her leg so they can monitor in case anything starts bleeding again. I know both Jeannie and were SO very happy to have this news...our little baby girl is going to come home in a few more days (they will keep her probably at least 3 or 4 more in the ICU).

HAPPY HALLOWEEN by the way! I know it's been on our WAY low on our priority list...we had pumpkins sitting outside, but if we had bad news then we were going to pull them inside and turn out the lights and hermit-up....knowing we would not be very good Halloween hosts for the kiddies. But after receiving our joyous news I quickly mowed the lawn (it had been neglected for 2 weeks now), scooped out the pumpkin guts, and we both carved them up. I thought it as funny that we both had the exact same motif this year: HAPPY PUMPKINS!

We truly will have a wonderful Halloween here!

And one final shot of our little PG taken a week ago Saturday (later in the day is when she started limping and the current dilemma began). Here she is 'helping' me as I am working in our back-yard/jungle. She loves it up there, and we are so happy that she will have more chances to play in the dirt!

And so....we wish you a happy Halloween, we WISH you a Happy Halloween, we WISH YOU a happy Halloween, and a HAPPY HALLOWEEEEENNNNN!

And we can breath again. It's been a very trying last 2 weeks or so.



  1. OH, and Rae, so VERY sorry to hear about your mother...may peace and strength be with you!

  2. Matt,

    I hope that as you read this things have settled down and the pup is back home. It is a hard thing with dogs because they can communicate so much devotion and trust but they can't come right out and say what is going on. As their caretakers it can be maddening at times to find the answer and sometimes we fail. Then the guilt starts, deserved or not. It is obvious that you are not one of the guilty ones and your kids are lucky dogs indeed.

    As far as Antarctica goes: Oh well. I am pretty sure that after the novelty wore off it would have been about the money and if the money ain't right nothin' else is either. I always said that's why they call it work: if it was fun we would have to pay THEM. I understand that many people enjoy their work, I do myself. But I wouldn't do it for free. That's what bicycles are for.

    Fair Winds

  3. Gosh! So much news! 1st, Rae, I'm so very sorry for your loss & hope you're ok. Know that all here at the IA are thinking of you & sending good wishes/prayers your way.

    And thanks SO much Matt & Rae for asking about the storm. We were VERY, VERY lucky compared to those poor souls in NJ & NY. We had 4 days of rain & then Matt's nemesis (MR WIND!) came to visit late Sunday thru ALL of Monday & into Tues AM & WOULD.NOT.LEAVE! Don't ya just HATE "guests" who do that?! Anyway, I was so worried about all the noises my roof & siding were making all day Monday but I think it's ok. A HUGE shock is that I barely lost power! Just a few outs on Monday & then right back up each time! I stayed home all day (from late Sunday night all thru Monday, all the local TV stations kept telling everyone to "STAY OFF THE ROADS! STAY HOME!" So, I did. :) My company was open but then shut down at noon & made everyone go home. I would have been livid if I had braved the roads with no intersection lights & trees down & leaves everywhere, just to go home 3 hours later! I went into work Tues & even though about half the company stayed home again, the roads & intersection lights were all fine. Just still massive amounts of leaves all over the roads.

    But those poor people in NJ & MY & beach areas of Delaware & Ocean City, MD! I think NJ & NY got the worst of it. I don't remember those areas ever getting hit this hard by a storm. Houses gone or wrecked. Power still out & still areas flooded. I feel for all the runners who have been training for the NYC Marathon but I think it is a TERRIBLE decision to hold that race this weekend. People are dead! No place to live! Food/gas shortages & still massive power outgages with no clear idea WHEN they will get it back. As someone who has gone 2-4 days without power (repeatedly, arghhhhh!), I can state it is NO fun & makes you start to panic &/or feel very hopeless. And sorry, that "show of resilency" they keep jabbering on about is GARBAGE when you've lost your house or even just your normal life for a week.

  4. And Matt! So MUCH to endure! I think I would have curled up on the floor of a closet & just bawled! Gum surgery & skin cancer procedures at the SAME TIME?! Man, I am a WUSS compared to you! How are you feeling now? Can you eat solid food yet? And how's your skin areas? I hope you at least took SOME time to get babied a bit. You deserved it. Owwwww!

    How's the furnace? I had to have my entire furnace & AC unit replaced just 2 years ago & it was NOT cheap! This will sound really stupid but I guess I did'nt think you used a furnace that much out there in CA. I know, I know, how did I ever graduate not just college, but high school being so ignorant?! In my defense, I blame TV - all those LA-based shows make you think the entire state is one big freakin summer holiday all year long! :) :)

    And poor PG! How is she? Do they know yet if the tumors are benign? Poor baby! But, she is VERY lucky to have you & Jeannie as "parents"! Give her a kiss for me.

    And last but not least - your dream of Antarctica is not to be. At least for now. I'm so sorry. Even though living in ANTARTICA is MY version of Hell, you were so excited & I was hopeful for you! I know very little about that area & what I do know is from that Disney movie a few years ago about the sled dogs that had to be left behind & how they survived on their own til the humans came back (based on a true story). It was very entertaining! That guy from the 'Fast & Furious' movies starred (not Vin Diesel, the Walker guy, can't remember his 1st name). If you haven't seen it, you should rent it or Netflix it, as I think you'd LOVE it - dogs AND Antarctica!

    Alrighty, hope everyone else is doing well. Question - Have ya'll come to personal terms over the Lance/Postal mess? I haven't, still SO angry & disgusted with the people involved in that sport that after 28 YEARS of watching the TDF EVERY JULY, I may never watch another. That race or any other cycling race. I am enraged with the cycling media & with the riders (present & past) & most of all, the team managers, owners & sponsors. HYPOCRITS! EVERY DAMN ONE. I've told myself to let time pass (months) before I make a decision but right now I'm just filled with revulsion.

    At least I've had college football to divert some attention this Fall. After not having a team to root for last year & consequently not having near as much fun, this year I picked 2 teams to cheer/follow : Notre Dame & (sorry, Matt), Ohio State. Plus, I started rooting for 'my' previous team - the Florida Gators too. All are somewhat surprisingly doing great! I picked OS because Urban's the Coach there now & I picked ND because I started watching Mike & Mike on ESPN2 last November (wanted to get updates on Sweet Cheeks) & became a fan of them & that show. Except during the Tour & the Olympics, I've watched/listened to it every weekday for the past year. Anyway, Mike Golic played there & his 2 boys are on the team now. I starting reading a lot about the team in 2007 because of then-NBCsports blogger John Walters & have followed them ever since, even though I didn't really root for them til I decided I had to pick a team this year. NOBODY seemed to think they'd do that much this year but they slaughtered poor Navy over in Ireland right out of the gate & they've been getting better every week. And I just LOVE it when the blowhard "experts" are WRONG!

    Take care everyone & 'see' ya next week! :)

  5. Hey everybody, thanks for stopping by and the kind words...Susie, glad to hear you're ok over there.

    Well...turns out we are not out of the woods yet. The surgeon called today on PG's biopsy's...all malignant (some uber-scary name). The big issue here is that it was the tumor that was leaking blood causing the huge ballooned leg. So all that blood that passed thru the tumor could very well have had tumor cells in it. She also said all the bruising all throughout the leg is also part of the cancer. So even going ahead with having the leg removed is at best a 50/50...she said the blood from the clot was up clear into her pelvic area...she basically said it just wouldn't be worth it to take the leg at this point. So that leaves us radiation. We're going to try to see the oncologist on Monday (supposedly if things hold as they are our PG can come home with us then)...the tumor is still in there though, and if we do nothing then it's game over most likely fairly soon.

    However the closest oncologist is down in Oxnard/Ventura (100 miles south, close to where she is now). The surgeon gave us the 25 cent description of our rough options: the lower level treatment that would maybe buy her a year or so (keep it under control, more or less for a while), or the full monty that might give her 3-5 years if it works. And the problem even with the full monty is that they have to leave some of the leg area un-radiated (the nerve/bone area so that there will be blood flow and such...and if the cells are in that part then it will come back anyway.

    She was just guessing that the lower level treatment would be around $3,000, and the full blown around 7...And doing either we would somehow need to get her to/from Venture every other day for up to 20 treatments (the full version) somehow.

    Quite honestly we are devastated and have no idea what to do at this time...I still want to talk to the oncologist...but I don't see any way possible we can do the treatments living as far north as we do (not to mention the money). I just don't have very much vacation nor sick days...and taking days without pay isn't really an option. I'm not sure if Jeannie and I could alternate...a lot depends on his hours (so I'd know how soon I'd have to leave here for the drive). We have a lot of unknowns, but the outlook isn't very promising at this moment. I'll keep you posted as we learn more.