Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Unfortunately, Montana does indeed have a brain tumor. It is probably a meningioma, based on its appearance and location. They are benign (unlikely to spread) but physiologically malignant since they grow in a contained space and push out healthy tissue.

The good news is that so far Montana does not have any other symptoms other than the seizures, and I can control that (for now) with the phenobarb. I guess she could have headaches but I can't tell.

This tumor is in a location that makes surgery a possibility, however, it really doesn't significantly lengthen her long term life expectancy, is extremely risky, and incredibly expensive (like cash out your money market or take out a home equity loan). Besides, Anthony and I are in agreement that we do now want to put her through that. Above all, I don't want to change her sweet personality, and I'm afraid someone opening up her skull and cutting things out of her frontal lobe would do that. Not worth it for maybe 6 more months, with a real, palpable risk she could die on the table.

I don't want to lose Montana because she is so sweet, because I wanted her for so long, but also because she is so good. She is patient and tolerant with the kids, with all children. She is very well mannered. When I bring her to work, everyone loves her, and she stays in the office with the door open, and is a good work guest.

Plus, she is a beautiful dog, with "Breck" hair! It just falls in place, and - truly - repels mud and dirt!

We hope to get 6-12 more months with her. Meanwhile, she is sleeping a lot and shuffling her feet around the house (from the phenobarb).

I have held it together until today. Even though I instinctively knew it was a tumor when Jessica called me during Montana's first seizure, I haven't cried until today, faced with the confirmation of our dreadful suspicion and discussing the crappy options.

And, she's only 10, and we just lost Terlingua 1 year ago.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Montana...there is really nothing anybody can say to make you feel better, so I won't even try. You all are in our prayers......Hang in there

Anonymous said...

I am so sad. That's not the news I hoped for.
Montana is a lovely girl. I'm grieving

Nico was only 9 when we lost him and I still speak his name in error sometimes when I talk about my pet.

I remind myself of Mr Bojangles........not so bad that I'm so

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry,Jenn. Montana has the best spirit of any dog I know...I can't believe this is happening to her. -Bevie

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenn and Anth,

I'm sorry about Montana. We all love her, and are not ready to think about her going through this. Give her a hug for me -Aunt Cinda-

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jenn-Jenn, we are all crying with you about lovely Montana. Realize this - she knows you love her and she loves you! Love, M

Emily said...

Oh, no...I started reading this during a conference call and couldn't stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. I was so afraid of this, too, when I first heard about the seizures. I'm so sorry, Jenn! Just the worst news for such a great dog and a great family.

Cousin Paula said...

Oh Jenn, we are all so very sorry to hear about Montana, I couldn't imagine how awful it must be, we are thinking about you.

Paula XX

Jess said...

Montana, the sweetest, most patient and loving dog. I cannot believe it. I am in a little bit of shock. I am so very sorry for this very sad news. My best wishes and deepest regrets. I was hoping with all my heart that this would not be the outcome. Give Montana a kiss for me! I miss her and you all very much!

Sinda said...


I'm so sorry to read the news. Your post about Terlingua made me cry...and now this.

I'm glad that you were able to diagnose her so soon, so that you'll be able to control any pain from the outset. But I know how yucky it is to see somone on Phenobarb - they're just not the same person. Just better than the seizures, at least.

She's a lucky girl to have you all, and I know you'll shower her with even more love and attention in the months to come.

Take care,

Aunt Norma said...

Well I don't know Montana but I DO know that to see a Dog suffer is excrutiatingly sad...she has a good Mum though who I know will give her the best care in the World..x

Library Lady said...

Sorry to hear this. I lost my first, most beloved cat to a tumour on her shoulder 6 years ago, and I still miss her, so I know how it is. Hope that medications will continue to help Montana and that you'll get more time than expected with her.

Lauren (Alexander) Lawhon said...

Oh Jenn, I'm so sorry! I was skimming the articles below the "hamster mishap" and saw your post thanking everyone for their kindness about Montana. I was almost afraid to read down further. What terrible news, but Montana is so lucky to have such a loving family to take good care of her. I have always thought of Montana as the best and most beautiful dog I've ever seen.

ken said...

I have a dog with the same problem with Meningioma and was in the same spot. He is on the same medication. I took him to U.C.Davis for the operation an opted out. That was in June of 05. He is doing okay. My dog is ten. I know what you are going through. I wish you are the best.