Thursday, November 24, 2011
I've got a confession to make: I have been doctoring Makai's photos to hide something slightly... unsavory. Pretty much every picture of Makai's face over the last two years has been modified. Well, I'm coming clean!
Allow me to introduce you to what we've affectionately been calling The Blueberry. Can you spot the difference?
Weird, I know. When it was small no one noticed it, but after a while people who'd meet him on the street would say, "He's beautiful! Oh... What's wrong with his face?" It hurt my feelings for him a little (as silly as that sounds). I would tell them nothing's wrong with his face, and try and give the briefest version of what is going on that I could, before watching their eyes glaze over as they start stepping away.
I just wanted people to see him how I saw him, and of course it wasn't something I paid any attention to until someone would remind me about it. Hence the photo retouching.
A little history. Makai has been getting these growths since just before we moved to Seattle in 2004. They are hemangiosarcomas. And because they are showing up on his skin, they are most likely caused by exposure to the sun - which he got plenty of his first few years in California. (USE SUNSCREEN ON YOUR DOGS!)
The first one he had removed off his tummy when he was about five years old, and the vet gave me a very grave prognosis. He told me that it was cancerous and would eventually spread to the rest of his body, and suggested we go see an oncologist immediately. I chose not to. At that point - even at five - Makai had been through enough health problems that I didn't want to try and fight something that seemed so terribly inevitable. Plus, I was fresh out of college and moving to a new city and had no money to pay for doggy chemo.
Well, seven years later he's fine. They still keep popping up, and when they get big enough to cause him problems, we get get them removed. But still no widespread cancer (knock knock knock knock knock).
There are two types of growths he gets: one is the dark, blueberry looking kind, and the other is fleshy colored and suuuuuper weird and usually turn up on his legs and feet. He had a huge one a couple years ago we named The Wiener Paw. True story.
Recently he had another one of these weird ones on the underside of his front left paw, that actually grew in like a sixth paw pad (you can see it above - that's about 6 months ago when it was still "small"). It eventually got bigger than his other paw pads and was impairing his ability to walk.
So with his foot in pain, and the growth on his face getting big enough I was worried he'd hurt himself (he's ruptured one before - they are very vascular and it can be dangerous), about a month ago we said peace out to the Extra Paw Pad, and sayonara to The Blueberry. Luckily, his vet is AMAZING and she was able to just numb him up a little and do the removals under local anesthetic, which was a huge relief to me since going completely under isn't super safe for the old fogies.
He's all healed up now, stitches are gone, and he is much much happier - probably because his foot isn't in terible pain anymore, and he isn't getting strange stares from the neighbors (okay, maybe I'm the only one who ever noticed that). The REALLY good news is none of his super powers were in the The Blueberry, or the Extra Paw Pad, so the world is still safe.