Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 38 years old. I spent about half the day thinking I was 39 until I sat down and did the math. But this is still better than last year, when I spent several months thinking I was only 36 instead of 37. Regardless, I’m getting up there.
I spent yesterday reading (In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix), playing WoW, and napping. My big accomplishment of the day: I finally got a second character to max level. Yes, I now have both a Horde and Alliance main at level 85.
I also got some good news from our vet. Prepare for a long story.
A few months back, our rat Margaret developed a pea-sized mammary tumor. This isn’t uncommon in rats, and most rat tumors – unlike most mouse tumors - are benign. Dr. David told us to keep an eye on it and call if it started to grow quickly.
For several months the tumor remained the same size. Then in the course of a week or two the damned thing got huge. In addition to raising the spectre of a malignant tumor that could have already metastasized and spread throughout her body, the tumor was now large enough that it was affecting Margaret’s movement and causing her to scratch and chew at it.
Dr. David wasn’t sanguine about Margaret’s chances with surgery. Since we lost Ana earlier this year, Margaret is the oldest of our four living rats at just over three years. That’s old for a rat. She had also become lethargic and reclusive as the tumor grew. And there was no guarantee, even if surgery went well, that she wouldn’t develop another tumor somewhere else. But there wasn’t much else we could try once she started scratching so hard she was hurting herself.
So into surgery she went – and under Dr. David’s talented hands it went really well. She has a long incision down her side right now – when I went to pick her up, Dr. David called her a Frankenstein rat, and he wasn’t wrong – but she recovered quickly from the anesthesia and was mobile and visibly much happier within hours.
And that good news I mentioned? Yesterday, Dr. David called to let me know that the results from analyzing the tumorous tissue were back. The tumor was benign and based on the intact fibrous membrane, they believe he got all of it. Maraget’s chances of living tumor-free for another year or two or five just went up significantly.
So that was very good news to get on my birthday.
By the way, for anyone in the Central Florida area: Dr. David Jourdenais at Geneva Oaks Animal Hospital is an amazing, amazing vet who specializes in birds and exotics. I’ve been taking my reptiles to see him since 1991 … even when that meant a two-hour round trip. He’s just that good.
It’s not just his clinical abilities but the way he treats the animals. They are very clearly his first priority, no matter what. And he talks to them exactly the way I do.
His manner with people is wonderful too – he always lays out exactly what the options are as well as the risks and costs. He understood that we might not be able to afford surgery for a three year old rat and was prepared to provide palliative care; when we opted for surgery … well, either he gave me a discount or he makes less than my mechanic.
So if you are anywhere in the Central Florida area, consider taking your pets to see Dr. David Jourdenais at Geneva Oaks Animal Hospital. (That site, by the way, is very preliminary. I’m still getting it set up for them.)