Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Floating Anxiety

I remember when I was young, my father, who was a medical advertising copywriter, used to go around the house talking about "floating anxiety." One of his clients was the company that made the tranquilizer Librium, and he often read his print ads out loud to my mother, who had also been a medical advertising writer before she had me and forever retired from the world of work. (Mind you, I realize raising me was also work. But it didn't involve getting up really early, showering, putting on a suit and high heels, and marching out the door every morning to catch a bus).

Back to the anxiety. As you can imagine, growing up with two parents in the medical writing field, I got pretty used to the terminology. But sometimes things stuck in my mind.

Floating anxiety was one of those things. It always sounded so ephemeral, a cloud of anxiety floating above someone's head sort of like that little raincloud that was always over the head of that character in L'il Abner (is L'il Abner even in the comics anymore?).

It denotes the type of anxiety where a person doesn't really know why they're anxious; they just are. I often get this during the week when I have to go to work, or on Sunday afternoons when that late afternoon dread starts to mount. (Is there anyone out there who doesn't have this feeling on Sundays before a work week? If so, please tell me what kind of job you have so that I can try to get one like it).

Today I have anxiety -- but it isn't officially floating. It has a cause. I noticed that Diva has another bump on her "arm." The same "arm" that had to have a bump taken off it back in March. I am already sure that it is probably yet another mast cell tumor and will have to be removed.

For those of you who may not have ready my earlier posts, Diva has now had two Grade 1 mast cell tumors removed; one from her shoulder and one from her front leg. The latter one left a nasty scar since she could reach it to lick off the stitches. And this new bump is only about a centimeter or two away from the scar. I wonder whether it is actually a recurrence of the one that was removed, or a new one.

The good news is, it is probably another Grade 1 (least aggressive) tumor. The bad news is, being the third one, she would probably have to have some chemotherapy (in pill form) to try to slow down the next one from popping up. And of course, she would once again have to go under anesthesia and have another nasty cut on her arm that has to heal. I am also concerned because the location may make it more difficult to remove all the tissue because it is right next to the first scar.

I feel as if we're playing "whack a mole" with these things. You get rid of one, and another one pops up. How many times can the poor dog go through this?

I didn't do anything about it today. Tomorrow is a holiday so probably the vet would not be able to see her until later this week anyway. I want to talk to the oncologist and see if she recommends a needle biopsy first, or whether it would be best to take her in for the full surgery given her history. I just can't deal with it at the moment.

Diva is her usual happy, healthy, lively self, and it's hard to imagine this miniscule, almost unnoticeable bump could possibly kill her if we don't remove it. But I have to remind myself that it could. And deal with it.


Liz Hinds said...

Oh, poor Diva, and poor you! I know that sort of anxiety. Like a cold weight that shadows everything you do. Horrid.

I hope you enjoy Independence Day today and can relax with Diva just seeing her as the healthy dog she is.

And I really hope the treatment won't be too horrible and that you get good advice that you feel happy with.

Harvey is so old he has warts all over him. The first couple we had checked out and were nothing to worry about and now he's getting them all over the place. Bit like me really! We could both be turning into toads!

Liz Hinds said...

I just remembered that you tagged me! I've copied out the list and will give it some thought.

Mauigirl said...

Hi Liz, thanks so much for your support. Diva has been through a lot and always comes through like a trooper so it's probably going to be harder on us than on her! She has such a sunny disposition that nothing seems to keep her down.

I'm glad Harvey's warts are nothing to worry about! And you're right not to do anything at his age.

M said...

I think I wrote to you before about Immugen? You might want to look into it. My dog had a mast cell tumor and he was given Immugen to help prevent further ones and he hasn't had one since then. Could be a coincidence, or it could be working, who knows? Can't hurt to find out more, right?