I thought this was going to be a fairly low key weekend. Write some Pokemon articles, write a review of Glory of Heracles, play with the bunnies and just veg. Well it turns out most of the weekend was an adrenaline high I’m still coming down off of.
Friday morning I brought Chewie to the vet for his annual physical. It was nothing major, although I was concerned about a little tiny bump on his shoulder. It had started out as a place where baby licked him raw from her OCD grooming. The sore healed over, but there was still a bump so I was thinking, “We’ll make sure it’s not cancer.” when I brought him in. The vet said it was 95% likely to just be scar tissue, especially since it’s around where he was burned and he checked out great in his exam. His eyes were perfect, his lungs and heart were in excellent shape, his coat was gorgeous. He was a super healthy rabbit. They drew a sample of his blood and we called it a day.
They called me back around 4:30pm with the results of the bloodwork and although everything was good, his white blood cell count was so wacky that those readings usually indicated a Thymoma or heart/chest tumour that slowly but eventually takes up the entire chest cavity of the rabbit and kills them. Needless to say I freaked. We made an appointment to get him x-ray’d the next morning and she did say there was a chance the test was just botched or it was a strange fluke. I spent the night cuddling Chewie, spoiling him rotten and looking up everything I could about the cancer he might possible have. I felt better as I read that only 8% of all rabbits every get this tumour and that it was least likely in male rexes, which is exactly what Chewie was. He also wasn’t displaying any of the warning signs such as a lack of appetite or little motion. if anything he’s more energetic and hungry at five than he was as a baby. I tried to convince myself he was fine and it was indeed a fluke, but the fear overwhelmed me and I was shaking pretty much all night and got little to no sleep from it. Chewie however, thought something was wrong with ME since I was so stressed and worried than he let me pet him for fifty minutes straight. This is a Mr. Biteums record.
We brought him to the vet Saturday morning and it took about 30 minutes to do his x-rays. I was still panicking even though I knew, I KNEW, in my heart he didn’t have cancer, but I just couldn’t stop being scared for him. Zuel developed uterine cancer and although it is almost fatal to bunnies, she lived for three to four years since it was benign. She eventually died of old age. Thymoma however gives a rabbit weeks to months to live. From what I read surgery is a 50-50 shot and although Radiation has an 80% success rate, the tumour may come back and there will be internal scarring of the bunny from the chemo.
The vet scared the living shit out of me when she asked me to come back to the x-ray room to see what they learned. At that point my confidence that he was okay was shattered and I didn’t want to leave Chewie, even though his general reaction was, “I’m hungry. Can we go home?” I went back with her and thank whatever God you worship, he had no sign of cancer in him at all. They took x-rays of his whole bunny body and showed me all the places he could have possibly developed cancer and that they were totally free and clear. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see those. She then showed me x-rays of other bunnies with tumours in those spots and I felt so bad for them but was also thinking, “as long as It’s not Chewie Biteums” over and over again.
So we’re bringing him back to the vet on Feb 11th for a second blood work evaluation. More than likely this was a fluke but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the blood levels are still weird, it means one of three things
A) Chewie does have Thymoma but it is too small to be seen even by medical devices
B) He has some other form of cancer, which is most likely a benign skin tumour(s)
C) His blood had just gone weird, which is neither bad nor fatal.
So I’m still nervous and god knows he’s already sick of me scouring his body for lumps several times a day.
It’s funny that after Zuel died I never planned to own another pet and then Mr. Chewie Biteums ended up at my doorstep unexpectedly. I love that little guy so much and this little scare showed me how unwilling I am to let him go. I mean, I know he’s going to die eventually, but I’d prefer for it to be like Zuel or Thlyali who died peacefully and happy - not from a slow growing tumour that crushes him from the inside. So we’ll see what happens. Thankfully Guin will be in town the day of the next trip to the vet, but I’m equally worried the blood will still be off and confident that he’s okay. Regardless, this has kind of confirmed his mortality to me and I’ve been heartbroken about it ever since. With both of Baby’s trips to the vet in November and December, I knew she was going to be okay even though they were both life threatening issues. They were things you could take care off as long as you got to them in time. With cancer…I can’t stop or prevent that at all and that’s what scares me the most.
I just keep trying to tell myself if he would have died the same night I found him, the poor scared burned little baby bunny left out in a snowstorm, so at the very least he’s gotten five extra years of life and that’s what counts. I just…hate the thought of there ever being a time where he doesn’t wake me up in the morning, eat my walls, climb on my chest to try and steal food from my mouth, or snuggle up next to me at night when he thinks I’m sleeping so I won’t see him being affectionate. But I know it’s coming now and it’s hard to take my mind of it. So, i’m being a helicopter parent and fretting a bit when he stops eating before Baby (which is silly because it’s always been that way) or the like. Hopefully it’ll pass once the 11th rolls around and he gets a thumb’s up on his blood work.