Buzz's Buzz and Chemo Coming

Yesterday was a rough, rough day.  To add insult to the already injurious Brookside, beloved Buzz had a big and brutal breakdown.

He collapsed (yes, F-Bomb collapsed) four times on our hike.  FOUR.  In addition, he panted so heavily that I thought he was going to have a heart attack.  I’m not kidding. Seriously. FFS (For F**k’s Sake).

Have I mentioned that despite the fact that he has lived with us for just a few short months (he was “Career Redirected” from Leader Dogs for the Blind in November), I am in LOVE with this dog? Seeing him on the ground, gasping for breath was nothing short of devastating for this bald girl.  I just wanted to lay down with him. And cry.

Thankfully, I was with two very dear and resourceful friends (Silver Lining).  We managed to give him water and get him off of the mountain.

At that point, I was SERIOUSLY beginning to wonder how much a girl can endure.  Seriously. Wondering.

However, when I needed them the most, Silver Linings simply and magically appear.

Silver Lining's Always are always behind dark clouds!

For example, Buzz (as a new patient!) was fortunately worked into a fabulous veterinary clinic in Carpinteria, California on extremely short notice (SL).

The Carpinteria Veterinary Hospital: A warm and loving place!

Upon arrival, I explained what happened (twice), first to the (a very sweet) vet tech and THEN to the (to the equally kind) vet.

I have a question: Why do you always have to tell a story at a doctor’s office twice? Bad dictation? Faulty transcription? That repetition really gets on my nerves.

On another note, did I mention that I have chemo tomorrow? Not kidding.

As you may recall, the day before, day of and day after chemo, I am required to take the crazy-inducing, middle-of-the-night musing Decadron (steroids required the day before chemo, the day of chemo and the day after chemo). The subsequent jitters and ‘roid rage had officially kicked in by the time I made it to the Vet Hospital?  Baaaaaad timing! Shooooort temper.

Back to Buzz.

Our Vet did a physical exam on him and sure enough he yelped in pain when she felt around his left leg.  I wanted to cry.  (I’ll take whatever F-bomb that FBC wants to dish out, but don’t hurt my family, including my dog.)  She said that it was a good sign that he yelped because she was able to pinpoint a specific spot (SL-questionable).

A not-so-happy Buzz during the physical exam

According to the (very kind, patient and calm) Vet, there are many things that cause a dog to spontaneously collapse. Seriously? Here they are:

  1. Pain from musculoskeletal issue She doubted this in Buzz because when there are musculoskeletal problems, dogs are usually lame (i.e., they limp) prior to a collapse, i.e., they don’t usually walk along normally and then drop to the ground.
  2. Neuromuscular problem The principle clinical sign of neuromuscular disorders is generalized or localized muscle weakness. Weakness may be manifested by paresis or paralysis, gait abnormalities and exercise-related weakness, dysphagia, dysphonia, dyspnea, or regurgitation. Muscle atrophy, hypotrophy, hypertrophy and skeletal deformities may be present. [1.]
  3. Brain Related Neuromuscular Disorder Neuromuscular disorders develop in dogs when electrical signals are between the brain and the muscles are obstructed.  Our Vet said that because Buzz is so alert and attentive, she doesn’t think that his is a brain related neurological disorder (but isn’t ruling anything out).
  4. Myopathy is one form of neuromuscular disease in which dysfunctional muscle fibers result in pain and weakness. What this means is that there is only a certain amount of exercise that a dog can do before pain occurs, our Vet said. The treatment for this to know how much a dog can do and then avoid doing more.
  5. Respiratory (i.e., Lungs) She also doesn’t think that his lungs are a problem because he shows no signs or symptoms of spontaneously collapsing at home (e.g., panting and coughing at rest). SL!
  6. Cardiac (i.e., Heart) No murmur or arrhythmia was heard on auscultation (i.e., listening to internal organs with a stethescope). SL!
  7. Fungal. Because he came from  Detroit, she thought that he might have been exposed to histoplasmosis (which is generally NOT found in California).  For those of you NOT in California, first of all, I’m sorry. Secondly, histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that can infect dogs, cats, and people. It is caused by the Histoplasma capsulatum, which is found in the soil and enters the body through the lungs. The disease causes a variety of respiratory and intestinal symptoms. [2.]

This was a lot to take in.

Further testing needed to be done, including:

  1. X-rays of hips and chest
  2. Urine
  3. Blood Panel

Our Vet planned to do the testing immediately. For the x-ray, she said that he might need a mild sedative (because his painful left leg would have to be stretched out), but that they could try it without the sedative.  WTF (as in “why”) without the sedative?  I didn’t want Buzz to have another ounce of pain…or anxiety, by the way (for being pinned down under a big machine).

As you may recall, I am a HUGE fan of pain and anti-anxiety medication, especially during testing that might cause undue pain or anxiety.  I asked her to go ahead and give the medication so that he could be nice and cool, calm, and collected (i.e., BUZZED).  She said a-ok to that.

Our vet said that she needed several hours to do the testing. So, I signed the release form for the sedation that included the possible risk of death (and asked her not to kill him with it), kissed Buzz and headed out…to await her call.

In the meantime, I had my own mishegoss to deal with (i.e., chemo-prep).  Well, as it turns out, I have come down with a cold.  Cold and chemo do NOT mix.  At all.  As much as I would love to skip chemo tomorrow – it’s NOT a good idea. So, I ran to the Santa Barbara Herbal Center and loaded up on a boatload of smelly herbs. Then, I had to have blood drawn (a requirement pre-chemo)…all of this so that I can HAVE chemo tomorrow.

So there we were, Buzz getting worked up at the veterinary hospital and me getting worked up all over town.  Comedy of the absurd. Again.

When I picked up the Buzzed Buzz, he was ready to go home.  Moaning. Groaning. And looking at me asking, “Why?” Sorry, Buzz. So sorry.

Buzz glassy and cross-eyed in the car, post visit

All of our test results will be Buzzed back tomorrow.  As always, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with our much-needed, SL quote.

The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured

– Dean Acheson

Leave a comment


  1. says

    Hi Hollye, I am so very sorry for what you and Buzz are going through. I am a cancer survivor – 11 years now, so I know how horrible chemo can be – I had two types of cancer at the same time, so yea for me – I got 2 different chemo drugs at the same time. My heart and prayers are with you. Buzz is a doll, just looking at him is enough to make you fall in love with him. I can understand how concerned you are for him. I have 3 furry angels who I miss so very much, with that said we (Timber, Khamir, Destiny & me) are sending our love and prayers for a good diagnosis – so Buzz is treated and able to play and run as usual. I will definitely be checking on both of you. Thanks for telling us your story.

  2. Wanda Sue Thomason T says

    My Grandaughter,Trina Harper's dog "Millie" (who 's face looked like "Buzz") was killed,when hit by a car one year ago. Millie was a sweetheart,who loved having her picture taken lol. It is so easy to get attached to our pets!! Hope Buzz gets better soon !! Most important, I PRAY you go through your treatments well. BE BLESSED

    • says

      Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful note, Wanda Sue. I'm so sad to hear about Millie. How awful. It is indeed easy to get attached to our pets – they are the BEST!

  3. Michele Cuttler says

    Poor, sweet Buzz. I hope he recovers quickly, and is ready to hit the trails again soon. Dr. Otto's office is the BEST! He's in good hands, particularly with you on his side. Hope your 2nd round of chemo is better than the 1st. xo Michele

  4. karen bookshesterboo says

    pooooor Buzzy i hope he is doing better anddddddd back to our sweet Hollye
    hope your day goes by comfortably
    thinking of you each and every day
    love karkarboo

  5. Jody Soosman says

    I'm sooooooooo sorry!!!! I can't believe this is happening
    to your precious Buzz!!!!Good luck with your chemo today!
    Jody and the boys

  6. beth wexner says

    I feel so badly for BUZZ. We can only imagine how much joy and energy the pup has brought to your lives and home. My fingers are crossed that there will be a huge SL to this episode. I am sending out ONLY good and positive thoughts to you and yours.

    Continue to be the tower of strength and grace that you are……we think of you constantly.

    XO B and R