Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Not the news we wanted

It's hard to write this post.

When Bobby got diagnosed with the Big N Word last fall, he was so immediately more comfortable with corrective shoeing that his having navicular took a good long time to set in, and it never really felt like a final thing.

This spring when his feet grew too uncomfortable to hold up to more than an occasional jump on good footing, a sinking feeling started. When he started to get sore flatting in our deeply cushioned indoor, I steeled myself for trying to eek out one last season. Farrier assured me there were more shoeing options we could try, and Vet was willing to move on to coffin joint injections. You can't heal navicular, but you can slow down its effects and you can make the horse more comfortable.

The vet called me Monday morning with preliminary results from Bobby's biopsy samples of Fungus Leg. "Your horse has Sarcoidosis. It's an incredibly rare cancer, and I need you to come down and pick up new meds for him."

I'd heard of sarcoids of course. Little nubbins of usually benign cancer usually found in horses' ears. I didn't think much of it. No one wants to hear their horse has cancer, but I was flustered with dealing with the bank fucking up our first car payment and annoyed I had to drive the forty five minutes to the vet's office.

fungus leg looking really good yesterday.
i'll do a full progression post still at some point.

I met Vet when I got there and showed her the latest round of pictures of his leg. Nope, no fever. Yes, still eating everything great. I handed the receptionist my credit card while Vet pulled out a thin stack of papers. "I'm going to give you all the reading material I have on this because I think you need to prepare yourself."

Sarcoidosis is rare. It presents in less than 1% of horses. They don't know how horses get it. They don't know how best to treat it. There's no one breed, age, or gender that's more likely to get it than another. They can't give you a solid prognosis because it reacts differently in every single case.

Best case scenario is if it's localized to his leg, but even then the treatment is nothing more than throwing steroids at him for months or years--steroids that might affect his already compromised feet. He could go into remission, he could spontaneously heal completely, or he could go downhill and have to be euthanized.

Worst case scenario is that it's generalized and spreads to his organs. There's nothing to be done then. We could nurse him along on steroids and still have to euthanize him.

They're running more tests because they found cells that point to the latter in half the samples.

The good news, or at least the hope I'm clinging to, is that his weight looks fantastic and his temp has stayed steady. He looks incredible everywhere above the knee.

does not look like a sick horse

The bad news--more bad news--is that amidst all this his feet are spiraling downward quickly. Farrier was out to put him back in his aluminium wedges this morning because of the soreness he was showing before his leg exploded and the vet came out.

Overall he was being very shifty while in the aisle like he couldn't get comfortable anywhere. He usually parks himself in the middle and naps, but he kept stepping over to me and leaning his head against me while shifting his feet one after the other.

For the past couple days he's occasionally been resting his LF on his toe instead of putting full weight on it. Farrier said that the outside of it looks great, but we know the inside is a mess. The wedges lift the heel up, but they also run the risk of crushing them so we don't know if we're helping him with those or not because he's uncomfortable everywhere. It's hard to tell where the pain is originating from.

The RF foot is in dangerous territory. It might tip us over the edge before the cancer ever gets a chance to. Because of the prolonged swelling in that leg--a result of vasculitis--it's been impeding the circulation to the hoof. Along the coronet band it's been slowly bulging. Farrier has been keeping an eye on it every time she's been out without even telling me because she didn't want to freak me out. It's to the point now where a crack has split from the top down. He's in danger of the foot going bone cold and losing the hoof capsule, or getting burning hot and foundering.

we love farrier because she's liberal with the cookies

I don't know what to do, how to feel. Until the final results come in it's basically a waiting game to see how long I have until I have to put my horse down.

64 comments:

  1. Aww, shit, Carly. I am sorry to read this. You have done everything right for Bobby and worked so hard with him. I don't know what else to say other than to send you virtual hugs. :-(

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  2. Oh my god I'm so sorry. The N word alone is enough stress to deal with... now this rare cancer... :( Sending hugs.

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  3. This is awful. I'm so sorry. Hugs through the internet.

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  4. Definitely not the type of news anyone wants to hear. I'm so sorry Carly. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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  5. I'm so sorry. That's a lot of things to be going wrong.

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  6. :( this is heartbreaking, I am so sorry.

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  7. ugh girl my heart is really heavy with all this. i know you're doing literally everything plus some for bobby, and sincerely hope that you and your team will quickly come across some combination of efforts that makes a difference! hang in there :(

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  8. Oh Carly... I am so sorry you are going through this terrible time with Bobby. Thank you for being brave and strong enough to share your story with us, and I hope you feel supported near and far. Hugs.

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  9. Wow Carly - so very sorry. Hoping that things look brighter after the results come back.

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  10. Words cannot express how sad I am that you and Bobby are going through this. Having been there myself all too recently, this brought back all the memories.

    You'll do what's right for him, whatever that happens to be, whenever you need to do it. I sincerely hope that's stuffing him full of cookies for another 10 years.

    I really wish there was something more I could do or say that would make it easier, other than I'm really pulling for you and Bobby both. Hugs and lots of takeout Chinese.

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  11. I am so sorry Carly, this is heartbreaking. I hope you get some good results back that will give you more cookie stuffing time.

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  12. I'm so sorry. Thinking of you both

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  13. This is really tough news. I'll be thinking about you both and sending strength for the decisions and treatments ahead.

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  14. Oh I'm so sorry. That fucking sucks.

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  15. Jesus. Wow. I am so sorry. This is just *shakes head*. Horses, man - they break our hearts. I'm sorry Carly.

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  16. I've been following your journey with Bobby via your blog for a few years. What horrible news. Sending good thoughts, prayers and virtual hugs your way!!

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  17. Internet hugs from a stranger... I am so, so sorry.

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  18. Oh Carly, I'm so sorry. I've been following along (silently) but am shocked by this news. Thinking of you both :(

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  19. No one should ever have to go through this, I am so sorry that you are. Sending all my love and prayers to you and Bobby <3

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  20. Oh dear, that is an awful lot to process. I'm so sorry all this is coming crashing down at once. I really hope he's in the group that spontaneously heals. Crossing my fingers and thinking good thoughts!

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  21. This wasn't the news I had hoped for. Oh gosh Carly I am so very sorry. 😪

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  22. This sucks. I'm sorry. I'm a huge Bobby and Carly fan. Fingers crossed hard the test results come back best case scenario.

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  23. So very, very sorry... horrible news.. :( :(

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  24. Heart is aching for you, sweet Bobby and the decision at hand. You're an excellent horse mom and will do what's best for sure.

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  25. That is completely heartbreaking. I'm so sorry and there are no words. We all know you'll do what's best, he's so lucky to have you.

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  26. Oh my god :( I am so sorry for you and Bobby.

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  27. Oh Carly, that is surprising. I am not sure if she can help at all, but Dr. Joyce Harman is a holistic vet who helped us over the years to treat our horses sarcoids. She does phone consults. http://harmanyequine.com/ Maybe she knows something that can help without effecting his feet.

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  28. Oh my gods Carly, I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this. I never imagined that you'd be needing to make this decision. I'm sending all of the healing thoughts that I can.

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  29. I'm a long-time blog stalker, but FB & IG like-er. I'm so so sorry you're going through this. Nothing anyone says or does can make it better. But I hope you have many years ahead to shove cookies in his face and Taco Bell in yours. *Internet stranger hugs*

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  30. I'm so so sorry Carly. My heart is breaking for you.

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  31. Oh Carly I am so sorry. This is so heartbreaking. Hoping for the best for Bobby.

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  32. What.the.fuck. I really hope the universe gives you & Bobby a break soon. Best wishes for good treatment options.

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  33. Well hell, I am so sorry. You've done everything you can so far and you will keep on doing it. That is certainly not the news any of us were expecting for fungus leg :(

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  34. Jesus, I did not expect that from a fungus leg. You guys can't catch a break. Thinking of both of you and hoping for good news on the next results.

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  35. I am very-very sorry - Huge Hugzzzzzzz!!!

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  36. I am very-very sorry - Huge Hugzzzzzzz!!!

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  37. Rooting for you and Bobby for good news - hugs!!!

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  38. Damnit. This is not what I wanted to read. I only wish you the best and hope whatever presents next is easy for you to deal with. I wish I could fix it all, I really do. I'm so sorry.

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  39. Oh Carly. I cannot adequately express my feeling about this post. You must be reeling. There is little I can offer in tangible support but i offer what I can through the internet. I know how much you love Bobby and that you will do what is best for him while your heart is breaking. It is all we can do and it fucking sucks. I have never met you or Bobby but I can feel your pain and I am in tears over this. Sending love and support.

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  40. Goddammit. I am so sorry. You've been rolling with the punches so well. What a strange fucking diagnosis. I mean. We don't even know wtf is up with that disease in people. Jesus.

    Honestly, I'm all hugs over here. If you need anything (including acerbic sarcasm and many hugs) don't hesitate to reach out. I'll be here.

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  41. Hoping it all works out for the best, but I'm very sorry Carly. Please give Bobby some scritches from me.

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  42. Damn. That is such crap. That current picture does look a lot better...but man. Sorry to hear this...crossing fingers for a little bit of good newsp

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  43. I am so sorry. I thought this might just be one of those patches where a horse breaks everything possible and you have to slowly reset. Cancer is never a word that is easy to hear. I will send prayers and good vibrations your way.

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  44. Wow, that is so sucky. I'm so sorry. I'm rooting for you guys.

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  45. Oh my god, Carly. I am so, so sorry. We all love the snarky bastard and I can't believe it's come to this. You'll make the best decision for him, you always do.

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  46. Haven't been on blog land in a while but popping over to say that I'm so sorry to hear this. He might be the most loved pone on the net <3 We are here for you!

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  47. I'm so sorry to hear this. Bobby is lucky to have you.

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  48. Oh, I'm so utterly heartbroken for you. What a horrible rock and a hard place. Bobby is so lucky to have you as a person. I hope that you know that.

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  49. Oh Bobby, proving to be such a rare pony indeed. Hugs.

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  50. I am so sorry to read all of this :( What a shitstorm :(

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  51. I seriously don't know what to say. What a hand of cards you and Bobby have been dealt. Sending all the best to you both! Hugs.

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  52. Noooo, not what I wanted to catch up to. Carly, I'm so sorry you are going through this huge, horrible, shitty, ordeal. You have done everything for Bobby and it is heartbreaking that the shit just keeps piling on. Don't give up yet, I'm still rooting for you. Hugs (and slime from Mo)

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  53. My heart is broken for you. I know the feeling of trying everything, loving relentlessly, then waiting for the end. It is the absolute worst. I'm so sorry and pray that there's good news coming and better days ahead for both of you.

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  54. I've been lurking on your blog for a long time and I'm sending you internet hugs. I hope there is some positive news coming to you soon.

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  55. http://www.thehorse.com/articles/31557/researchers-review-equine-sarcoidosis-cases

    Jesus that's awful. I am so sorry. I know your vet gave you stuff to read, I am not sure if this artcle from the horse.com might help further. I am a people doctor, not a vet, but it explained it pretty well.

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  56. Oh no... I'm so sorry about the horrible news. How heartbreaking. I hope you get better news when the rest of the results come back.

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  57. I am so sorry to hear this. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Sending you both all the hugs, wine, and pony cookies... :(

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  58. Oh Carly, I am so, so sorry <3 Sending all my love for you and Bobby

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  59. I'm super behind on blog reading, so I'm sorry to first chime in so late. I saw on FB that you got some good news on the Bobby front though, so I'm crossing all my crossables that you get him comfortable and healthy again for a good long time. Sending virtual chocolate and hugs to you and cookies to Bobby.

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.