Posted by: jility | September 26, 2012

Do You Believe in Miracles?

When they found the tumor on Crush’s right shoulder, we were scared to death. We held our breath waiting for the return of the biopsy results. We were told it was most probably cancer. We could hardly breathe. Crushie’s friend and vet, Dr. Kathy Wendt, was in Texas attending continuing education, so Dr. Uhler took great care of us and Crushie through that very trying time. Throughout the process, Kathy continued to tell me she didn’t believe it was cancer. It was Crushie and she could never get cancer! Our friend Uncle Jef said the same thing. Kathy felt it was due to an injury of some kind. We hoped she was correct, but when the biopsy came back, our hearts sank.

Here is the report:

SOURCE: Firm mass within caudal aspect of right triceps muscle DESCRIPTION/MICROSCOPIC FINDINGS/COMMENTS:

DESCRIPTION: The slides contain a small amount of peripheral blood as well as a moderate number of mesenchymal cells. These cells have oval to elliptical nuclei with prominent nucleoli. Cytoplasm is variable with some circumferential and some polar. The cells are present singly and in variably sized clusters. No infectious agents are seen. There is no evidence of inflammation. MICROSCOPIC FINDINGS: PROBABLE SPINDLE CELL TUMOR. COMMENTS: Granulation tissue formation, fibrosis/fibroplasia, and spindle cell tumors may all appear similar cytologically and should be included in the list of differentials. This group of tumors include nerve sheath tumor, hemangiopericytoma, among others. These tumors are all locally aggressive and commonly recur after surgical excision. However, metastasis is rare. Other more aggressive mesenchymal tumors such asfibrosarcoma, liposarcoma, lymphangiosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma should also be considered. Biopsy or complete surgical excision with histopathologic evaluation is recommended for a definitive diagnosis and accurate prognosis.

Scary stuff!

The surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled immediately, and it went well. Dr. Uhler said he thought he got it all, but that it had invaded the triceps muscle so he had to remove some of that muscle along with the tumor. The mass was sent in to the lab. Once again, we held our breath. It seemed like an eternity before the report came back. When it finally came in, it wasn’t good. Our hearts sank as we wondered what would happen to our Little Red Rocket.

Here is the report:

CLINICAL INFORMATION: Mass removed from right triceps muscle. Previous cytologySEBC03210057 (08/30/2012) – PROBABLE SPINDLE CELL TUMOR.

SOURCE: Right triceps muscle. Received a 2 X 3 cm tissue.


DESCRIPTION: This is a mass type lesion involving fascia and skeletal muscle. It is moderately infiltrative into skeletal muscle and there is mild fibroatrophy along the parameter of the mass. The mass is composed of fairly dense intersecting streams, fascicle and bundles of spindle to fusiform shaped cells. They are accompanied by fairly abundant dense fibrous stroma. The cells have fibrillar osinophiliccytoplasm or poorly defined margins.

The nuclei are ovoid shaped, with moderate pleomorphism. They are slightly vesicular. Mitoses are fairly uncommon, at 1 per 3 high power fields. There are few neocapillaries and minimal nonsuppurative inflammation within the mass.


PROGNOSIS: Potentially guarded.

COMMENTS: Very difficult biopsy in attempting to distinguish markedly proplastic and reactive

granulation tissue from an area of injury to skeletal muscle, thus representing reparative highly cellular scar tissue, from possibility of a spindle cell sarcoma. In some areas the mass appears as granulation tissue with mild inflammation whereas in other areas it has the appearance of a spindle cell tumor. I suspect this is a lowgrade fibrosing nerve sheath tumor, infiltrating skeletal muscle. It does appear completely excised, though some margins of excision are very narrow at 1-2 mm. Watch the site for possibility of local recurrence.

Even scarier stuff!

 Mel & I cried together for our little Fwushie. If we lost her at such a young age, we would feel so robbed. Sure, she has her quirks and is difficult to live with, but she is our little nut job, and we adore her! Life would go on, but we would always wonder if the tumor would come back or if it would spread. Nobody knew for sure.

We had so many questions and so few answers. How did she get cancer? Why did she get cancer? Was it something we did? Could we have prevented it from happening? Nobody had answers.

Kathy continued to tell me she didn’t believe it was cancer. She asked how I would feel if she sent the mass to a pathologist she really respected. I said, “SURE!” Then I forgot about it. I figured the report would come back telling us what we already knew.

Today, when we were at rehab with the redheads, I got a call from Kathy. I knew she was at the USDAA National Agility Championships, so it must be important. I stepped outside the rehab room to talk.

“I HAVE GREAT NEWS!” Kathy explained that she had gotten the results back and it was not good news, it was GREAT news! The new report found no evidence of cancer!

WHAT???? How could that be? How was that possible? It was just as Kathy has originally suspected: an old injury that had thickened into a tumor like mass. It explained why she had been slowing down for the past couple of years, but IT WASN’T CANCER!


Here is the report:

So, in the pile of dung under which we have been living lately, there is a shaft of light and hope! Our Little Red Rocket may never be the same in agility as she was two years ago, but she DOESN’T HAVE CANCER! I am convinced all those prayers and well wishes did the trick. SOMEBODY was listening J.

Little Xoom continues to recover. Her gait is stilted and wobbly, but her spirits are high and getting higher by the day. She would love nothing more than to take off running and body slam Barque. The leash prevents that (much to her dismay).

Now, if you will all focus your positive energy and good thoughts on Xoom, Mel and his back… 🙂

Helen Grinnell King



  1. […] […]

  2. Helen and Mel
    How very exciting for Crush!! Thrilled for you. And, of course, great visions for Xoom. XOXO Lynn and the aussies

  3. Helen, always look forward to your blogs. So wonderful about the
    dogs and their road to recovery. Hope and prayers for Mel’s speedy
    recovery also. Sandy + 3 Schnauzers

  4. Wow! That is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. How wonderful to have such hope for Crushie. Xoom has lots to recover from, but there is nothing like youth for resilience and remarkable healing. Thanks for the good news!

  5. Best news ever!! I will continue praying for total recovery of the girls and for Mel’s back. 🙂

  6. Great news. You all deserve it. Prayers for Xoom
    And Mel.

  7. Tears of joy,

  8. Wow! That’s it.

  9. Wonderful news!!! I keep crying everytime lately that I read your blog. Tears of happiness or tears of despair. This time tears of happiness. I’ll be sending lots of positive thoughts for Xoom and Mel and for you all! ❤

  10. Wonderful news Helen and Mel. So happy for all of you!!!
    Whoop Whoop!!!!

  11. Fantastically Fabulous news !!!! Sweet little Crushie.
    And now, onward and upward Xoooooom !!

  12. Whew! Go Fwushie! Go Xoom!

  13. I’m so happy she doesn’t have cancer. I’ve gone through that with two dogs now and it isn’t fun! Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way you, Mel and the entire dog family. Loud smoochie kisses to my favorite, Bella Isabella!

    • Thank you Sande! Isabella is kissed for you 🙂

  14. Hi Helen,

    Definitely, great news ! Hope the good news continues and Crushie, Xoom, and Mel all have fantastic recoveries ! Keep us posted . . .

    Ron King

    • thanks Ron. We can only hope 🙂

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