Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's cancer

Adenocarcinoma.

This is a common form of colorectal cancer.
From About.com Definition of Adenocarcinoma

Let's break it down. "Adeno-" is a prefix that means "gland." In general, glands secrete things and are classified as endocrine or exocrine. Endocrine glands secrete things into the bloodstream, like hormones. Exocrine glands secrete things that go outside of the body, like mucus and sweat.

A carcinoma is a malignant tumor that starts in epithelial tissue.

Put the two words together and you get "adenocarcinoma," which means a malignant tumor in epithelial tissue, specifically in a gland.
Cause of Adenocarcinoma

Virtually all adenocarcinomas develop from adenomas. In general, the bigger the adenoma, the more likely it is to become cancerous. For example, polyps larger than two centimeters (about the diameter of a nickel) have a 30-50 percent chance of being cancerous. You can learn more about polyp size and colon cancer risk by viewing the Polyp Size Gallery.

By the time colorectal cancer is diagnosed, it has often been growing for several years, first as a non-cancerous polyp (adenoma) and later as cancer. Research indicates that by age 50, one in four people has polyps.

We had thought it was a polyp. We had hoped. The surgeon was surprised by the contents he withdrew with the biopsy needle, and called for the oncologist to come have a look---he was also surprised. They'd never seen anything like it. I'm not sure what well-differentiated means but I understand malignant and aggressive and atypical and hard to treat and high incidence of recurrence.

The cytology report thought it was an epithelial cell tumor, but the lab was also a little baffled by the make-up of the sample. However, they were fairly certain it was cancerous. The histopathology was definite about it being an adenocarcinoma.

Once again our surgeon was very kind and even a little optimistic, but I could tell it was his attempt to be nice and not suck all the hope out of our universe.

Upon researching this, one online vet seemed to confirm what our surgeon said about being "guarded" (the word the surgeon used). That vet said surgery is the best treatment and there is no proof that radiation or chemotherapy will help.
When the entire tumor is removed and there is no evidence of metastasis to surrounding lymph nodes or organs at the time of surgery the prognosis is still guarded, meaning that recurrence of the tumor is likely even in this case. The average life expectancy post surgery for this type of tumor is probably only six months to a year, but patients do seem to be comfortable most of that time, at least in the very small number of cases in which we have diagnosed this problem and attempted surgery. I found a couple of anecdotal reports in which remission periods
of longer than a year were reported, though.

Mike Richards, DVM

We aren't giving up. Our dog otherwise seems healthy and exhibits none of the symptoms that usually drive people to get their dogs checked. We found it by coincidence. I was worried about his anal sac and my vet is excellent and we persisted until we figured out why that one day he had one odd episode that made me think something was wrong with his anal sac. I have learned not to take, "don't find anything here, so it must all be okay" as an answer, learned it the hard way.

(But oh my gosh. Guarded. What a word. Loaded. Fallible. Improbable.)

So we will meet with the oncologist next week. The surgery site ought to be healed enough by then for an examination.

Our hearts and backs feel broken just now.

And it doesn't matter how many times or how many people tell us this is not our fault, right now it seems like we will probably always wonder what might have been (or not have been) if we had not moved here.

So once again, I plead for understanding of my absence.

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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71 comments:

Mary Alice said...

I am so very sorry. Our dogs are family members, so understand how difficult this is. ((Hug))

thailandchani said...

I'm really sorry! Ugh!

thordora said...

I'm sorry. That sucks. :(

slouching mom said...

Oh, no. I'm so sorry, Julie. You're right -- "guarded" is not a happy word.

Sunshine said...

I hope you have the best possible outcome and give your dog a big puppy lick from our dog.

Gina Pintar said...

Oh no! Your poor doggie. I am so sorry. HUGS.

Aliki2006 said...

I am so so very sorry, Julie--your poor dog, poor all of you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...dogs have strong spirits, too.

Andrea said...

I'm so sorry, Julie.

the end of motherhood said...

I'm so sorry. And of course everyone is going to understand if blogging is not at the top of your To Do list for a while.

Blogversary said...

Sorry to hear the news.

melissa said...

Oh no! And didn't you just have a kitty illness, too? That is a total bummer.

We'll be thinking of you and your family (and your poochie!).

Mayberry said...

Poor guy -- we are all pulling for him. And you. Take care.

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

"Guarded".

That's the same word they're using for Bubba.

Crap on a crap cracker, Julie. I'm sending you all the positive, healing doggie thoughts I can muster.

Sober Briquette said...

Oh, Julie. I am so sorry.

I wish I were there to hug you all and press my cheek up against his slobbery cheek and smell his dogginess. To squeeze his rough paw, stroke his velvety ears, and pat his strong shoulders.

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Roger Caras

Honey, so many dogs get cancer. I'd even say most. Don't go there. Just love him.

Professor J said...

Oh, Julie. My heart is with you.

Kyla said...

Oh, Julie. I'm sorry. I hope there is hope.

And I'm going to say it, regardless, even if you don't take it to heart, it isn't your fault. I mean, no more than any of KayTar's issues are mine. There is a point when we can't allow ourselves to absorb blame. Things happen. If you dwell too much, the load only gets heavier.

another good thing said...

crap. I am so sorry. I wish I knew how to help.

suggestion? I was blown away when I happened across that pet communicator on Sirius the other day- Sonia Fitzpatrick? how do you feel about talking to someone like that? Is that too weird?

atypical said...

Does it convey to you my deepest sympathies when I tell you that my first thought upon reading the title of this post was, "Shit!" when I am not known for cussing at all?

Oh, Julie......

{{{{{hugs}}}}}

-t

dharmamama said...

Hugs to you and your family, Julie. Including your dog.

SciFi Dad said...

I am so sorry it has gone in this direction. There's really nothing more I can say.

Maddy said...

Glad you have experts you feel you can trust. I think I must get the 'thicky' award of the day - are you saying that you think this is connected to the move?
Best wishes

Julie Pippert said...

Maddy, yes, I am.

Adenocarcinoma is related to the endocrine system because it is a glandular cancer.

We live in an area infamous for its polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollution. PAHs are endocrine disruptors.

Since moving here the dog and I have both been fighting different variations of endocrine related sicknesses. We're actually both on similar treatments.

Last summer I was treated for pituitary tumors, which it turned out I didn't have but instead the pollution was disrupting my endocrine system and causing it to mimic having tumors.

I have no proof.

I have strings of facts that are not tied together.

But a logical deduction is yes, I think pollution is a factor. I can't stop thinking it. This environment is toxic...and some bear it better than others.

****

Thanks to all for the sympathy.

Kathryn said...

Oh Julie, I am so sorry.

annenahm said...

Julie, my heart just goes out to you and your family. Sending so many good thoughts out your way.

Michele said...

I am so sorry. But miracles do happen you know ... just maybe your doggie will be one of those miracles : )

wheelsonthebus said...

Oh, Julie. It is not at all your fault, but rather the fault of the polluters. If you do think it is where you are living, is there any way you can move in order to protect the rest of you?

Space Mom said...

I am sorry

Magpie said...

Poor dog...I'm so sorry -

All best to you and yours.

liv said...

Hugs and kisses, honey. Hang in there. It's the best any of us can do. Sending you good thoughts.

OmegaMom said...

I'm sorry, Jules.

Cecilieaux said...

When there are 40 million people -- lots and lots of them children -- in this country who can't afford to get near a doctor it's a huge waste of resources to operate on a dog for cancer.

dharmamama said...

Cecilieaux, I've heard that comment before, but no one's asking anyone to choose between a dog and a child. How far would you carry that? Should I not have a car because 40 million people can't get near a doctor? How 'bout healthcare for me? I shouldn't get treatment for myself?

We can only lives our lives right here, in front of us, right now, and make the best decision we're able. I don't know how Julie believes, but I believe we are all connected - dogs, people, trees. And what's that quote? "Whatever you did for the least of these, you did also for me."

Jodi said...

I am so sorry. Dogs are part of the family around here. I dread the day my children (and myself) have to go through this. Keeping you in our thoughts...

TwoSquareMeals said...

I'm so sorry. Will be thinking of you and your kids and your dog.

Mad Hatter said...

I'm sorry, Julie.

Karen said...

Julie, Julie - I'm so sorry. I've been a bit absent myself recently and am only just checking back in. I'm so very, very sorry. Go take care of hearts, hearth and home. I'll be thinking of you all.

jen said...

ouch, love. am very sorry.

cinnamon gurl said...

I'm so sorry.

the dragonfly said...

Awww...poor puppy. (to me, all dogs are puppies, regardless of age)

Scratch his ears for me?

Jeff said...

That's too too sad. My heart goes out to your dog, you and your family.

Family Adventure said...

Julie, I am so, so sorry! But like you said - it is much too soon to give up. Wait until you've talked to the oncologist and have all the facts and figures on the table.

Until then, please know that you and your family and most importantly your doggie are in my thoughts.

Heidi

Cecilieaux said...

Yes, Dharmamama, there is a choice between children and dogs -- and the dogs of the middle class are winning.

Put the dog down, I say, and donate the money that would have been spent on the absurdity of dog surgery to a shelter that cares for the homeless families that surely exist in Julie's immediacy.

BTW, if we are all connected, get rid of your car: it's killing the planet.

Oh, and Dharmamama, while you're tossing out quotations, how about considering their actual source, context and meaning?

"Whatever you did for the least of these, you did also for me" is a verse in the gospel according to Matthew in which Jesus is explaining the final judgment. Some will be rewarded, the text says, because "I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me."

Then he sets up the quote you chose by having folks in his story ask when that happened, since they never saw Jesus.

The whole passage is Matthew 25:29-46. I challenge you to produce a reputable interpretation that renders the message as anything other than a call to service of fellow humans.

Julie Pippert said...

Cecilieaux, I have never deleted your comments, even when they were untoward and unfounded. I still do not plan to delete these but I will ask you to refrain from further comment in this vein.

My family is dealing with a tough time right now.

If you haven't anything kind or supportive to say, fair enough.

But I ask you to move along please.

This is not a debate post. I haven't asked for opinions.

If I do, I'll be glad to consider yours.

In the meantime, however, I request that you please put your brain power and energy to a different task.

Thank you.

jeanie said...

Oh Julie - lots of hugs and thoughts for you and your family.

I get accused by my loved ones of being hypnotised by my little blog world, and I know how it is when your family needs you more.

ewe are here said...

What sad news ... I'm so sorry.

Laura said...

Oh...so sorry to hear this. You and your family, including the four-legged member, are in my thoughts for a healthy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Bless your hearts. Hugs to you and your family and of course, your precious dog. Hang in there. It's tough when it's something so far out of your control. I know your love for your doggie will see him through.

reddirtroad said...

Oooohhh. That sucks. I just feel for you.

realitytesting said...

Oh, I was so hoping to read something in the vein of better news here today. I'm so sorry, Julie. I can't imagine how weary you must feel...

Leslie said...

Haven't been by in a while, as I have been way to busy myself...but I am sorry to have this post greeting me. I can understand how sad you must be.... those dogs just get under the skin of our families... your's is the second sad dog story today. Don't give up hope...

Catherine said...

Oh Julie, I'm so sorry. I've lost two beloved dogs, and I know a bit of how you feel. We're very understanding.

alejna said...

I'm so sorry. I've been there before. I'll never forget the shock of being told my dog had cancer. I had thought maybe Lyme disease. You know, curable.

I'll be thinking of you and your puppy.

Cathy said...

I am so sorry. I'll be thinking of all of you in the days to come.

Rebecca said...

Julie, my thoughts are with you and your family. We just lost our dear sweet Maggie to lymphosarcoma. I do know what you are going through. You are not alone.

Blessings,
Rebecca

flutter said...

Oh, hell. I am so so sorry.

Kellan said...

Oh Julie - I'm so sorry - I'll keep your sweet dog and your family in my prayers - I hope it all turns out well - poor thing. Take care - Kellan

Jenn said...

oh, I am so sorry. we'll be thinking of all of you.

ALM said...

So, so sorry....

wheelsonthebus said...

Wow. I am really, really impressed you did not delete Cecilieaux's comments. Not sure I could have been so high-minded.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

I am so sorry!
Stay strong.

toddlerplanet said...

Oh, my heart is breaking for you. We lost our 10 year old precious Brittany mix to cancer a few years ago ... osteoscarcoma ... it was diagnosed shortly after Widget's birth, and I blamed myself of course. We moms always do.

Good for you for doing the surgery. My heart goes out to you all.

BadBadIvy said...

I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your dog. I wrote a post for him, linking to ya. He's in my thoughts.

crazymumma said...

There is something aboutt the connection between person and dog that just goes so deep. I'm so sorry. I hope he is ok.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

I am so, so sorry to hear this Julie. But I hope that since you did persist the chances are better then they would have been. Hugs.

Jennifer said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. :(

Jen M. said...

Delurking from my desk here to tell you how very sorry I am to read this.

Karen Sugarpants said...

So sorry Julie...hugs to you sweetie.
xo

feefifoto said...

Just found you by accident and I have to say, I'm terribly sorry about your bad news. Please take good care of your dog and give him lots of kisses and hugs.

painted maypole said...

oh Julie, I'm so sorry.

Mackenzies Momma said...

i stumbled across your blog via suburban oblivian's blog.I just wanted to say that i'm sorry you have to go through this. We recently had to put our beloved boxer to sleep after a battle with lymphoma. So I understand where you're at right now. Unfortunantly for him surgery, radiation, and chemo were not an option by the time we found it.

anne said...

I'm so sorry about your dog.