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Old 09-29-2015, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Mass in stomach plus lumps

Recently, we had taken our hedgie of 9 months to the vet because she had a small lump under her chin which turned into two in about a week. The second one became very large as was more on the side of her face. We spoke with the vet who suggested surgery would be the only option. (She did do an FNA - but she did not see cancer cells, and instead sent us home with antibiotics for infection.) We decided after pulling the money means to get the surgery and scheduled it for about a week later. The vet called me this morning before operating and stated that the two lumps has turned to four lumps once they shaved her and felt her more. Also pre-surgery when the vet was feeling her stomach she noticed it was hard and decided to x-ray. The x-ray showed a mass in her stomach that was pushing on her intestines. I told the vet to hold off on the surgery so I could speak with my husband.

I am going to ask the vet more questions tonight, but I'm just not sure where to proceed. I've been crying all day because I've only had my hedige for 3 months if that.. The weight of the one lump is causing her to walk sideways a bit and she has to sit down every few moments or so like she is exhausted, but eating seems fine. Her activity level however is a zero. I am just scared of letting go too soon, but I'm also scared what if she is in pain due to either the lumps or the mass in her stomach and I can't see it?
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry that you've gotten such bad news. It seems really strange that the masses appeared so quickly but the vet didn't find any cancer cells...Did she mention why that might be or if the masses might be something else?

It can be really hard to decide when to let them go. It's hard to know if hedgies are in pain sometimes since they're so good at hiding it. She could be doing fine, since she's eating, or she could be in some pain, or just uncomfortable. I would guess at the very least uncomfortable due to the locations & sizes. And it sounds like the cancer is progressing rapidly, so it's hard to know what will happen next too.

When I was facing this decision with my Lily, a quote I read from Nancy was going through my mind - Better a day too soon than a minute too late. The best thing we can do for our pets is to alleviate their suffering and help keep them from suffering more than necessary. Some things to consider if you decide to wait for a bit longer & enjoy some last few days or weeks with her -

- Make sure you're capable of judging her condition day by day. It can be hard to see if things are getting worse or how quickly when you're looking at them every single day. Second opinions can help, from the vet or another person. Also I would ask the vet about getting pain meds or if they're necessary at this point. She should know more about whether the mass could be causing pain or not.

- Make a list of things she enjoys doing. Running on her wheel, any toys she might like, eating, sleeping in a favorite place or position, etc. Cross of what she can't do. Decide where your cut-off point is - if she's too uncomfortable to sleep in her favorite place or position, or if she stops eating on her own & needs to be syringe-fed, or if she struggles to move. Quality of life is more important than quantity, especially in cases like this.

- Make sure you have back up plans in case she happens to hit a bad point on a weekend, holiday, or the middle of the night. You don't want to hit a point where she starts suffering quite a bit & you don't have someplace to take her to help her cross or get her pain meds. That's what I was most afraid of with Lily & part of why I chose to let her go when I did. I didn't want to watch her suffer more if I couldn't get her in when she needed to go. That's where the quote helped with my decision.

- Make sure you're considering her first. I know it's really hard to let them go, and you always want more time. More time is fine...if they're in a position where they're still doing okay, still happy, and still able to enjoy some of their usual things. An extra day or two to get some good cuddles in & say goodbye is nothing to feel guilty about if she's not in pain. Just make sure you're able to let her go when she needs to.

I don't want to convince you either way, just mention things to consider. If she still seems alert & content, and since she's still eating, those are good signs, IMO. That's better than where Lily was at when I decided to euthanize her. She was having to be syringe-fed, didn't want to run, and clearly didn't feel good at all. So it was a clear decision for me, but rarely is it that easy to decide. Only you can decide when is right. But we'll be here to support you either way. Lots of us know how much it sucks to be in this position. Good luck and hang in there. And give your little girl some extra cuddles from the forum.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilysmommy View Post
I'm so sorry that you've gotten such bad news. It seems really strange that the masses appeared so quickly but the vet didn't find any cancer cells...Did she mention why that might be or if the masses might be something else?

It can be really hard to decide when to let them go. It's hard to know if hedgies are in pain sometimes since they're so good at hiding it. She could be doing fine, since she's eating, or she could be in some pain, or just uncomfortable. I would guess at the very least uncomfortable due to the locations & sizes. And it sounds like the cancer is progressing rapidly, so it's hard to know what will happen next too.

When I was facing this decision with my Lily, a quote I read from Nancy was going through my mind - Better a day too soon than a minute too late. The best thing we can do for our pets is to alleviate their suffering and help keep them from suffering more than necessary. Some things to consider if you decide to wait for a bit longer & enjoy some last few days or weeks with her -

- Make sure you're capable of judging her condition day by day. It can be hard to see if things are getting worse or how quickly when you're looking at them every single day. Second opinions can help, from the vet or another person. Also I would ask the vet about getting pain meds or if they're necessary at this point. She should know more about whether the mass could be causing pain or not.

- Make a list of things she enjoys doing. Running on her wheel, any toys she might like, eating, sleeping in a favorite place or position, etc. Cross of what she can't do. Decide where your cut-off point is - if she's too uncomfortable to sleep in her favorite place or position, or if she stops eating on her own & needs to be syringe-fed, or if she struggles to move. Quality of life is more important than quantity, especially in cases like this.

- Make sure you have back up plans in case she happens to hit a bad point on a weekend, holiday, or the middle of the night. You don't want to hit a point where she starts suffering quite a bit & you don't have someplace to take her to help her cross or get her pain meds. That's what I was most afraid of with Lily & part of why I chose to let her go when I did. I didn't want to watch her suffer more if I couldn't get her in when she needed to go. That's where the quote helped with my decision.

- Make sure you're considering her first. I know it's really hard to let them go, and you always want more time. More time is fine...if they're in a position where they're still doing okay, still happy, and still able to enjoy some of their usual things. An extra day or two to get some good cuddles in & say goodbye is nothing to feel guilty about if she's not in pain. Just make sure you're able to let her go when she needs to.

I don't want to convince you either way, just mention things to consider. If she still seems alert & content, and since she's still eating, those are good signs, IMO. That's better than where Lily was at when I decided to euthanize her. She was having to be syringe-fed, didn't want to run, and clearly didn't feel good at all. So it was a clear decision for me, but rarely is it that easy to decide. Only you can decide when is right. But we'll be here to support you either way. Lots of us know how much it sucks to be in this position. Good luck and hang in there. And give your little girl some extra cuddles from the forum.
I was in such a shock I didn't think to ask the vet even more questions on top of the other multiples I had. And the more I thought about it, the more questions I had, but she is an overnight vet and was getting ready to head out from her shift. I e-mail her though and left a note to give me a call night to further discuss this mass in her stomach. The vet also suggested maybe a biopsy on the lumps, but I didn't see the point for the surgery to continue if the thing within her stomach is really bad.

Yes, she still eats pretty well. She just doesn't run in her wheel. And she still gives her little puff when you go to look inside her cage because you are disturbing her sleep. Lol. So she still does have some fight in her. And I will keep that quote in mind. All your advice was very helpful and comforting. I feel less alone in situation. So thank you so much.

Are you btw Lilysmom on Etsy by chance?
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I hope you can get some more answers & information from the vet soon! Keep us updated on what you find out and how your girl is doing. I'm glad she's still showing some of that good ol' hedgie attitude, that's great. And I'm not, but I've seen a few other variations on Lily's moms floating around the internet. It still always gives me a moment of "wait, but...".
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