Save Chopper

It’s been 6 months. 6 months ago we noticed a change in Choppers breathing. He was kinda making a wheezing noise through his nose. I thought at first he had a cold. It was odd though because in his 8+ years he’d never been sick. So I brought him in to the doctor. No cold. X Ray showed a mass in his head. For a moment I thought I would lose my best friend then and there. But with encouragement from my friends I reached out to the University of Minnesota and met Dr Goldschmidt. She changed the course of Choppers life forever! We did imaging biopsy and then surgery and found out the mass was a non aggressive slow growing cancerous tumor that ended up looking like asphalt! The tumor had its own little capsule and blood supply and during surgery Choppers right carotid artery needed to be tied off and he needed a unit of blood. We believed that once it was removed it would buy chopper years and years with us. This was not to be though because when the capsule it was encased in was breached it change its behavior and started to grow very rapidly. While we were enjoying our time with chopper it was growing like crazy! Around Christmas I hear it again. The noise of forced air. I wanted to ignore it. I wasn’t ready it was too soon! But I had to face reality. Bravely I contacted Dr Goldschmidt she saw chopper and we both agreed he’s just too young heathy and puppyish to let this stop him! He has too much life left to live! So I worked a lot of overtime scrounged up every penny I could find and we proceeded 2 weeks ago right before Valentine’s Day with surgery. It was a roaring success! We were more aggressive this time taking part of the jaw bone that was the likely source of the cancer and being able to get good margins without that bone in the way! And low and behold when we got the pathology reports back they came back clean 100%clear margin! Chopper beat cancer!! He won! But then it happened... the cough it had been a little over a week. We were playing ball (a tame version that a dog recovering with a missing jaw and braces and rubber bands training his jaw to stay in place can play) it started slow and then it started to grow. And get worse and more frequent! In a panic because I had used ever stinking last dollar for his surgery I brought in him to see our doc. It was time for his stitches to come out. I thought maybe he had chocked on a piece of food I didn’t know. He was diagnosed with pharyngitis and possibly kennel cough we didn’t do an x Ray because I frankly didn’t have the money to pay for it that day but I thought we were making good decisions. We started the medications but chopper continued to worsen. I messaged Dr Goldschmidt Saturday and she prescribed another medication to try. It was expensive and Tina at our pharmacy really came though for us. She not only got us a discount but paid the remainder out of her own pocket without even a blink. You see I cried in gratitude when she told me she had given us a discount and told her Choppers story. Well the bed medication didn’t work and by Sunday morning chopper was so sick. His younger had turned blue he was struggling so badly. We all gave home hugs and kisses and sobbing brought him to the emergency room at university of Minnesota. It was then that very moment on the drive talking with doctor Goldschmidt that we found out that he had beaten cancer! How can I let him beat cancer to die. I knew we had to find out what was going on so we did diagnostic work up on my pup who was in full respiratory distress. X Ray showed collapsed lungs. He received a chest tube and immediately improved. This is when it starts to hurt. As a nurse I have worked with ppl all the time who have chest tubes I really thought he’d just have it a little bit and he would heal and we would all go home. But the air pour into Choppers chest cavity causing the lungs to collapse wouldn’t quit. Monday morning they called and gave me 3 choices. 1 Chopper can have ct to identify cause of leak and surgery to repair cost of 5-7 thousand gold standard chopper comes home. Option 2 surgery without imaging they go in blind and hope they find everything 4-6 thousand pretty good chance... and option 3 am experimental less often used blood patch 1 thousand a day would probably need 2 to work. Well like I said before I’d used ALL my money. I did have a few things I needed to pay that o could skip but I have no where close to 4-7 thousand to pay for surgery! Sobbing inconsolable I told them they’d have to try the blood patch. It was all I could do. I was completely devastated. He beat fricking cancer! They believe that the leaks are caused by blebs which are little bubbles on the lungs. When Chopper started coughing so violently they burst and caused the air to leak into chis chest changing the pressure in his chest cavity and collapsing his lung. I wish more than anything I could offer this dog surgery! I have backed myself into a financial corner in the last 6 months to pay for his surgeries and I have recently accepted a position that is salaried and cannot work overtime any more as it doesn’t pay. I work a parting job putting in picc lines at hospitals for a small company. Unfortunately they haven’t had shifts for me and I am out of choices and chopper is out of time. I talked to the doctor last night and he was cautiously optimistic that the blood patch may be helping after it chopper put out less air... but he was still putting out air... I’m completely distraught and devastated thing that my pup is going to lose after winning and it’s all my fault because I don’t have any more money! That is just cruel. Please if you can donate we would be so grateful to be able to give chopper a chance!!

Original post from September: My best buddy is dying before my eyes. His every breath is labored and he is struggling. Chopper is the healthiest of dogs until last week when he started struggling to breathe. This dog has gotten me through nursing school the birth of twins the birth of a singleton. He is my husbands and my first "child". I owe it to him to be the best friend and Mom I can. To get him the care he needs. The only problem is that it's damn expensive. With the 3 kids around you can imagine that there's not a lot left hanging around at the end of the month! That being said I'm doing something that is so hard to do. I am asking for your help to save my friend. My baby. Please donate to help me get the "mass" that is obstructing my poor dogs airway removed. This dog still acts and thinks like a puppy. Even gasping for air his tail wags. This dog loves Everyone! He deserves the chance to live. Even if I don't raise a dime I will go into tremendous debt to help this dog live. I just want what's best for him but your help would be tremendously helpful. To make sure that I can afford to keep ALL my family healthy and happy. Thank you for even reading this from the bottom of my heart. Your prayers and well wishes are so appreciated!

As of 2/25/18 Chopper is in the ICU with a pneumothorax. Now that he has been tapped he is breathing much better! He is currently cancer FREE the aggressive procedure they did 2 weeks ago removing part of his jaw worked and his margins from the biopsy came back clear!! Cost continue to mount but our boy will hopefully beat the odds! In the last 6 months we have spent $11000. We are completely at the limit of what we can afford! Please pray there are no more surprises and that chopper can go back to being our happy family dog!


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Brittany Munger 
River Falls, WI
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