At some point it occurred to me that if we went through with Casey’s surgery she would probably never go swimming again; one of her absolute favorite things. So last Monday evening we decided to take her to Jackson Lake where as a puppy she broke through the ice just to get to the water and we didn’t even know if she could even swim.
As she walked towards the lake our hopes were high and we were anticipating a glimmer of her former self. She swam around a little, barely keeping her head above water. There was no glimmer, no spark, or any sign of enjoyment; just the look of misery. As she came out of the water onto the muddy shoreline she lost her footing and fell into the mud, unable to get up. Our hearts were broken.
Today we took Casey to see the surgeon at Advanced Critical Care in Culver City. According to her chart she was “bright, alert and responsive with normal heart and lungs.” Her “oral mass” was noted as being 5mm x 5mm x 5mm which I estimate is about the size of a lady bug. In order to get back to normal tissue a 1-2 cm section of bone around the mass would need to be removed. This procedure is called a partial left maxillectomy. They would need to shave half of her face and use the inside part of her lip to reconstruct her soft palette; the piece the separates the mouth cavity from the nasal passage. She would be hospitalized for 2-3 days and recovery time is estimated at 8-10 days. “Prognosis following surgery is dependent on the type of mass and the extent or tumor excision.” So now what?
Well as you can see below, Casey had every test under the sun and then some. The good news is that the cancer in her jaw is very localized (i.e., in the early stages) and has not spread to her lungs or her stomach. The only suspicious thing they saw was a small growth in her chest. If everything comes back clear, she will be an excellent candidate for surgery followed by 5 sessions /10 weeks of chemotherapy.
Since the entire process took approximately 6 hours, Joe and I went to Santa Monica for a day of surf and sun. We walked the pier, had a delicious lunch at Border Grill (http://www.bordergrill.com/) and spent the remainder of the afternoon on the beach.