We went to the vet this morning because Mocha's lymph nodes were swollen, it happened over night, the vet took some blood, we got Mocha to stop bleeding after 6 hours, turns out his platelet count is very low. The vet is going to refer Mocha to an oncologist on Monday, in the mean time I will monitor him closely.
Two things the vet and I can't figure out:
1.We don't know why his lymph nodes got so big in the last 24 hours?
2. How did his platelet count got so low? What exactly is causing his body to attack itself?
Please keep Mocha in your prayers. I feel like I heaven't been a good dad to him due to me being away - taking care of grandpa at the hospital :(
UPDATE#2 Apr 21 - 9:41pm
After consulting with 4 different emergency vets within the Toronto area, we have a new game plan and it is a double edge sword:
We will treat Mocha with Prednisone / Doxycycline.
if Mocha reacts to this treatment positively, we may just bought some extra time for him but at the same time murky the Lymphoma diagnosis for the Oncologist.
Mocha reacts to this treatment well because it was truly due to a legitimate tick borne disease / other infection.
On the other hand...
IF Mocha doesn't react to this treatment, he may not live pass this weekend. So, we've made the decision to do something rather than NOTHING at all.
Thank you for all your prayers, I really appreciate it.
UPDATE#3 Apr 22 - 7:50am
I slept for 4 hours, only to find myself in tears typing this. Mocha never left my side, this is not his style, he's always been independent and choose to sleep wherever he wants. Every breathe he takes sounds like a loud snore due to the size his lymph nodes, it's comforting to hear he's alive yet it breaks my heart to hear him breathe like this.
My wife and I cried all night, at the back of our head we already know this could be Lymphoma, all the signs are pointing in this direction, I'm selfishly hoping its just a curable tick borne disease. A million thoughts went through my head, how could this happen so fast? It was only a couple of weeks ago I took Mocha to see grandpa, everyone was praising how handsome and smart he was. Lord, how much I would give to see my boy's signature smile again? I want to see that nub wagging again. Something is terribly wrong and my head is not ready to accept this reality.
What I'm witnessing right now is only the beginning, do I have the strength to walk down this path with my friend? How do I make sure I'm not doing this for my own selfish fantasy? I just want Mocha to feel no pain. Perhaps this is what heart break really feels like? God please give me the strength and wisdom. I'm supposed to host a brunch in 4 hours, how am I supposed to do this?
UPDATE#4 Apr 23 - 7:46am
Doxy and Pred are doing their job, Mocha's lymph nodes did calm down enough for him to breathe better. However, we are not out of the woods yet. Due to his platelet count being SO LOW, he does not meet the minimum requirement for chemo in the first place. The vet and I talked yesterday, he wants Mocha confined, he doesn't want him walked / bumped / bruised / due to possible internal bleeding.
While I was entertaining guest / patting Mocha yesterday, my prayers were answered, I was able to catch a glimpse of his signature smile. It reminds me to appreciate the little things in life, treasure each moment because they are not forever.
I am at the hospital all day with Grandpa today, Mocha is at home with Vienna (my other corgi). I will talk to the vet sometime today, we'll determine what the next step is and when to take further tests because we can't do anything when Mocha can't stop bleeding.
I want to thank each one of you for writing, you have no idea how much it means to me and my wife (Silvia). We try to read them while we're on the go, sorry we may not be able to reply to all of them, but those comfort words do bring a smile to our face. Thank you once again and have a wonderful day!
UPDATE#5 Apr 23 - 6:34pm
Silvia just got off the phone conference with the vet / oncologist, cytology report came back - Mocha has Lymphoma :( Approximately 2 months to live. We will continue to limit his activity (avoid internal bleeding) and follow up with the vet tomorrow or later this week.
I overhead two chemo patients exchanging bucket lists on my lunch break today, their positive attitude and laughter changed my view. Instead of drowning in sorrow, I will focus on Mocha's living quality and creating new memories with his remaining time. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" Proverbs 17:22
MyCorgi.com exist because we got Mocha back in 03, we wanted to create a friendly community for owners to help each other, Thank you for all your well wishes and private messages! I hope you will give an extra hug and kiss to your corgis today, live life and laugh :)
PS: I'm open to bucket list suggestions :)
UPDATE 6 Apr 25 5:27am
I've been up since 4am, couldn't fall back to sleep.
I took Mocha back to the Vet for a check up yesterday, he is now anemic, which means the cancer had already spread to the bone marrow (stage 5 Lymphoma). His gum is losing its colour, he is bleeding somewhere in the GI tract, black tarry stool. We are still waiting for his latest blood platelet result, it'll be in today.
From the outside Mocha is doing super, he had his signature smile when I let him sit in the front passenger seat, he loved watching the traffic, I snapped lots of pictures. He also love meeting new friends, I caught his nub wag yesterday at the vet, little gesture like that made my day.
While we were on our way to see grandpa last night, My wife and I started discussing euthanasia, its not a topic we want to talk about but a much needed one. We didn't get too far, I was trying to hold back tears while driving, my wife was balling her eyes out. It was very hard putting our game face on for grandpa.
Grandpa was super high last night (anti-psych rx), he was in an exceptionally good mood, even advised us on helping Mocha with Chinese medicine. It's been a while since we had a good laugh at the hospital, a much needed one.
After we got home, my wife suggested we take pictures in our photo studio. Mocha and Vienna were smiling the whole time. I was holding Mocha while taking pictures but I can't seem to relax and smile for them. My wife picked up on it, I'm a terrible liar.
I have no problem falling asleep, but once I wake up in the middle of the night, I can't help but recheck Mocha's respiration rate, I jumped at any sound he makes.
It's 6:10am, I need to get some sleep.
UPDATE 7 Apr 27 9:18am
Grandpa was discharged from the hospital yesterday, so I have more time to take care of Mocha now. Blood work came back, platelet count is up, red blood cell is down (boo), white blood cell is up (boo). During the day time Mocha is quite normal, at night his respiratory rate kept us up. We know if it's greater than 30 breathe per minute = clear sign of distress, but it always gets better in the morning.
My wife and I have finalized Mocha's euthanasia plan, we will have it at the vets office instead of home, we did ask the vet about donating his body for education / medical research, but apprently U of Guelph don't need any this year. Public cremation is the choice we'll make and the total cost will be $2XX CDN. I'm so glad that we were able to talk about it and made the decision together, since the plan is now in place, we can focus on the spoiling now.
I just took Mocha out, he made a healthy colour poop, NOT black and tarry!!! I'm sure the neighbour thinks I'm crazy, weird asian guy dancing with a bag of poop :) YES, healthy poop makes me smile.
UPDATE 8 May 4th 12:04pm
Thank you for all your prayers and messages. Mocha is doing well, his respiratory rate is still a bit faster than I like, but his spirit is good. He is comfortable enough to sleep / roll on his back, put a smile on and look forward to everything we eat. We took him and Vienna to visit grandpa last week, he was back to his charming self and made the family smile :)
Mocha is no longer on Doxy and we've also stopped using sulcrate + to line his stomach. Right now he's on Omeprazole once daily and Prednisone every 12 hours. Due to the pred's side effect, Mocha drinks and pees a lot, so I have to take him out every two hours, it reminds me of his puppy years.
We will take Mocha in for another blood work soon. wish us luck :)
UPDATE 9 May 15th 12:54pm
We just got back from the vet, he is very pleased with Mocha's progress and gave him the okay to the dog park.
Mocha is losing weight still, currently at 23lbs, we'll need to step up the spoiling and fatten him up, stat!
There must have been 50+ dogs at the park today, all the dog walkers are out. Mocha had a great time, did several chest bumps and messed with the big dogs :) (video)
The family will go camping @ Bruce Peninsula national park this weekend, it is Mocha and my favourite place.
this pic was shot 2 years ago.
Thank you for all your prayers and messages, we are doing ok, taking it one day at a time.
UPDATE 10 Jun 13th 9:52AM
The update continues on another thread... Aug 1st 5:58pm
Thank you so much for all your messages, our phones were beeping non stop from notifications. Your words brought tears to our eyes and we are filled with love.
I took Vienna to the vet yesterday, the cytology result came back today, she also has stage 5 Lymphoma. So this thread will continues and I'm starting another bucket list for Vienna as well.
Oh Sam I am praying here for Mocha and for you and your wife. Sending much strength and Corgi love as you face this scary thing. OXOXOXOXOXOX
You're not alone in this. Thousands of us are with you, whatever you are facing.
Corgi Power and Solidarity,
The Daily Corgi
You will be in our hearts and in our prayers. We just walked a very similar road with our Cardigan Corgi Dylan. I would advise you to try the prednisone. I realize it does have side affects but you won't feel right about any decision you make unless you have tried the options. If it has not worked within two weeks it is not going to work.
Dylan was my heart dog and I never thought that I would have the strength to let him go but that is the power of love. You will do whatever you have to do to make sure that they don't suffer. It is the last expression of our love for them and their trust in us to do what is right for them. None of us want our babies to suffer.
Spoil him rotten. Appreciate every moment and we will all pray that he will be back to his old nub shaking, wacky corgi grinning self very soon. You are not alone. The corgi community is amazing in it's caring for others and for it's support. Lean on us and we will be there to support you.
Fingers crossed for Mocha and your family. I'm so sorry. As someone who's been in a similar position, I'd make the same choices... do exactly what you're doing.
My crew sends their love. :(
Thank you Shepdog, I searched your post (Piper) last Saturday when I was at the vet, it gave me strength and perspective in making the initial decision :)
Praying for little Mocha.
We are sending lots of hugs and prayers to you and your family. Hang in there. I'm hoping it's just an immune response to something environmental, since it came on so suddenly. Please keep us posted when you can.
Sam, my heart goes out to you and Mocha. You just make it through one day at a time. Our whole family has you and your family in our prayers.
Oh Sam, I am so sorry. This is one of the hardest parts of life. My springer spaniel/golden retriever mix had a similar issue right before she died. She had I believe ITP, but had the low platelets and internal bleeding. We had no idea she was even sick until she collapsed in the yard one morning. We did a blood transfusion which helped for two days, but then she started deteriorating and we had to put her down three days after she collapsed. My own feeling as a human and a nurse, is that when they no longer eat/drink/or seek out your attention, it is time. It is the most horrible, heart-wrenching decision to make, but the right one for the one you love. You can do it when it is time, even though you think you'll never be able to. Just remember that is OK to cry, as your heart is breaking. Give yourself time to grieve, just as you would with a loved family member, for that's what he is. When it is time you will know, and we will be here to give you support. I am so, so sorry that you have had to go through all of recently. Let us know if we can do anything for you. *Hug*
So sad to hear. Hope for a good outcome. Prayers and thoughts for your family and Mocha.
For what it's worth, Jack says that it could be an allergic reaction/auto-immune disease and a high-dose of steroids could work. He also said it could be a virus. He couldn't imagine a lymphoma causing the platelet count to get so low overnight. But, he's a neurologist, not a vet. He's rooting for Mocha, too. You are in our prayers.