Pupdate: the not great, but not terrible news

I had a bit of an adventure today. I went home to walk dogs over lunch and discovered this:



That’s not Josey’s blood; she’s just there for scale. That’s Biggie’s blood, because she popped out a stitch. Based on the location of the spill, I’m guessing she popped a stitch while barking out the window at something. Like an elderly person pushing a baby carriage with a dog tethered to it. Just guessing.

So I hustled her back to the vet, where they kindly repaired the stitch and delivered the lab results for Biggie’s tumor. It’s a Grade II mast cell tumor, with clean surgical margins. So while the grade is higher, and so more likely to suggest a possibility of metastasis, the clean margins means they got it all. No further treatment. We’ll just keep a close eye on any future lumps and bumps, and do close examination of her lymph nodes at her annual checkup in July.

Blurter apparently still reads this blog on occasion, as he contacted me about Biggie’s surgery. The one thing I’ve been nagging him about for ages is sending me Biggie’s baby pictures. Now that she’s my dog, I think I should have some. He sent this one:



That’s Biggie with her sister Chloe (on the right). I think they must be 3 or 4 months old here, riding in a motorcycle sidecar. I only met Chloe the one time, because she died of a heart attack at only 2. Bigs still gives me that mule look sometimes.

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The good stuff

Biggie got to come home tonight, but she’s still floating on a cloud of morphine. She’s wobbly and confused and needy. She will only lie down and rest if I’m right there.

Dr. Tom talked to me before I saw her and drew me a sketch of her surgical site. I said, “Jayzus! That’s bigger than my hand!” And it is. They took out so much flesh and skin to be sure they got it all that she has about 6″ of stitches. To get the incision to close, they has to stretch the nipples on the side out of alignment. She got a tummy tuck!


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Biggie Bigs and Her Very Large Nipple

For a while now, Biggie has had a mutant nipple. It started as a lump on the nipple and then it moved in and took over. The vet (both new and old) figured it was a fatty cyst and suggested that the next time she had her teeth cleaned, they’d just nip it off.

Then about the same time as Josey’s knee surgery, the mutant nipple started to grow. By the time I left for hillbilly holiday, the nipple was Very Large. And dangly. So I made an appointment to have it removed when I got back to town. The vet figured it would be about a ten minute procedure with a local anesthetic. No big deal, and a good choice to save her any trauma, like catching it on something at the dog park.

The nipple in question

The nipple in question

I dropped her off at the vet this morning for her nipple-ectomy, leaving little lazy dog still sleeping. They told me I could probably pick her up at lunch.

Then came the call. You know, that call. The one where the vet says, “This isn’t what we thought it was.” The Very Large Nipple doesn’t contain a harmless fatty cyst. It contains a mast cell tumor. She is back in surgery now, so Dr. Tom can remove a lot more tissue in hopes of getting a clean margin around the tumor. He warned me it’s likely to be a 4-5 inch incision. After that, we wait for the lab report to tell us what grade the tumor is. Grade I means we go on with our lives and keep an eye out. Grade II means she’s likely to have a recurrence, and I have to consider things like the risks of vaccinations from here out. Grade III means she’s on a limited timeline.

She’s nearly seven years old and I know boxers are not noted for their longevity. (I get so excited when I see the 10-year-old boxer at dog park. She’s stiff as hell and nearly blind, but she seems to enjoy herself.) Still, I’ve only had Bigs for three years. I’m not ready to start considering life without her. Please think positive thoughts for her today.


ETA: and now it occurs to me that I should probably contact Blurter, even though I have happily been out of contact with him for about two months. I mean, it would be wrong of me not to let him know, wouldn’t it? Ugh. Maybe I’ll just wait til I have more news.

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Hillbilly Holiday!

Yep, this year I am going on Hillbilly Holiday with my sisters. This is the first time in a long time, and I will probably live to regret it. HilHol involves driving down to East Texas, hanging out with my father on his armed compound, and generally being rednecks. Think huntin’ wild hogs, boatin’ on the river, shootin’ shit up with big guns, and eatin’ fried pies, all while wearing a heavy layer of bug spray and a pair of rubber waders.

In making my uncertain preparations for this trip (which clothes won’t I be sad to throw away when it’s all over?) I realized that I haven’t seen my father since he came to visit me in Florida some time around 2003. He came down for the Daytona bike rally and swung through Tampa with his 2nd (or 3rd) wife. (Things are a little muddled there.)

At the time, Exhubbicula was deployed to somewhere sandier than Florida, so I went to dinner with my father and Mary Jo by myself. Or I thought it was just going to be the three of us, but a fourth dinner guest was invited: one of my father’s business associates.

There was a time when my father’s business associates were drug dealers, drug manufacturers, and various well-armed men who kept the drugs flowing. Now his business associates are glass manufacturers. Although my father no longer sells drugs, he does a booming business in drug paraphernalia, including blown-glass water pipes. You may know them by their more common name: bongs.

At any rate, the man who met us for dinner was not a drug dealer, nor even a dealer in drug paraphernalia. He sold glass to glass blowers. Artists mostly, and it was clear to me that he was out of his league. My father looks like this:

Black sheep biker

What you may not be able to discern in this photo is that a.) he has no teeth, b.) he has a swastika tattoo on his left arm, and c.) he is the kind of man who casually drops the word nigger into conversation. Mary Jo is a suitable help-meet.

The glass salesman had been doing all his business transactions with my father over the internet, so they had only ever exchanged professional emails about buying and selling glass. He nearly panicked when he shook my father’s hand, and he spent the whole meal looking at the only safe thing he could see: me. Harmless little redheaded, sandal-and-capri-wearing-has-all-her-teeth-and-talks-like-a-hillbilly-English-major me. He could barely eat and no matter who spoke, he directed his responses to me.

He ran away as soon as he could, leaping into his late model Volvo and speeding away to the safety of suburbia. I imagine he turned this night into a funny story to tell his friends, never letting on how horrified he was.

So after a ten-year hiatus from my father, I’m curious how things will be over Hillbilly Holiday. Wish me luck.

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The unspoken thank you

I could only post the link on the fly from my phone, but here is the embedded video of Josey’s first post-surgery trip to the dog park. It has been four months since her surgery and six months since she was able to run and play pain-free. At first, she was almost confused about being off her leash in an open space. After a little warmup, though, she was raring to go bumpus alongside big sister. She is likely to always be slower than before, but I imagine she’ll eventually get back to something like normal. Yesterday, we just did a ten minute jaunt, but as the weather warms up (someday), we’ll get to spend more time at the park.

In the last frame of the video, you can see the surgical scar on her hind leg. She’s never going to grow enough fur to cover it. More importantly, though, in that last frame, you can see how incredibly happy and comfortable she is to be back to running and playing. That’s entirely down to the help of so many kind friends from all over the world. You sent money, you sent advice, you sent treats, and you sent good thoughts.

Josey has no clue. I’m sure in her mind it’s as simple as “My knee was hurted but now it’s better.” She doesn’t know that more than 50 people from 6 of the 7 continents* paid for her surgery. She doesn’t know that hundreds more have been checking up on her progress and rooting for her. She’s just grateful to be free to run and not have any pain.

So from Josey, and me, and even from Biggie, who has missed having little sister to play with:


*it’s not that the people of Antarctica are cheap. I just don’t know anybody down there.

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Pupdate: we are go for bumpus

Straight from the vet’s office to the dog park. We did a warmup lap and then I took their leashes off. Today for only 15 minutes, but eventually she’ll be back to full speed.
Video here.

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Your inbox is almost full!

That is the message I had in my email when I got to work. You know what, I think the university might just have to increase the size of my inbox, because the influx of crazy is right off the fucking scales. I used to just get one department’s worth of crazy. Now I get 4 departments of crazy. And I’m still basically two weeks behind on everything, because of the two weeks I spent dealing with Mme. Noir’s demise.

I’m pretty much surrounded by people who are either purposely gaslighting me, or who are themselves so fucking crazy that it just spills over like a clogged up toilet.

This is the time of year when all tenured faculty members have to submit to an annual review. It’s not a big deal. Turn in your class evaluations and whatever articles you’ve had published in the last year, alongside a pretty basic three-page form. Then I upload all the electronic files to a main webpage where they can all look at each other’s files. Simple, right?

OMG, no. One faculty member gave me a flash drive with 9 folders, each containing at least 5 subfolders, and in one instance, 11 subfolders, each of which contained anywhere from 4 to 17 files. I did what any sane, and hoping to stay that way, secretary would do: I combined them all into a PDF portfolio. Today, she is LIVID. She wants them all uploaded in their correct folders as separate documents! Thankfully, my boss also wants me to stay sane, because she said, “Do whatever is best.” What’s best is nothing. The PDF portfolio works fine and it saved me about 3 hours of work. Suck it, Professoressa Infinitesimale. (Truth: she is the smallest adult I have ever met who was not actually a dwarf. When we hired her, we had to have a desk and chair custom made for her.)

Second faculty member sent me an uncompressed PDF that was 78 MB. WTF? It’s literally every scrap of paper he produced last year, including some 140 emails he exchanged with his publisher.

Third faculty member emailed me two photos from his phone–the two halves of a holiday card he got from a former student. Photos. That I had to piece together. Because never mind that many-thousand-dollar Konica Minolta that would have scanned the card and turned it into a PDF in about 30 seconds. Oy. Oy.

And you know what my very first task of the day was? Deleting Mme. Noir from the department’s website. I know it has to be done, but it wasn’t a great thing to get this popup. I am become Death. >delete<

This action cannot be undone.

This action cannot be undone.

This afternoon, I hope, will be significantly better. Princess Josey B. Wiggles has what is likely to be her final post-surgery follow up appointment. If the knee is deemed stable and healed, she will be cleared for bumpusing. After 4 months of no bumpusing, she is more than ready for it. Just in time for another cold front and more snow. Of course, she loves snow, and so there may well be a trip to dog park, no matter how much I don’t want to go in the snow.

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