If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have heard about our vet emergency yesterday. Molly woke up yesterday morning seeming perfectly normal. She ate her blueberry-and-pellet breakfast and fought with Gia over their favorite pieces of hay. She drank some water then went back into her little igloo for her morning nap. All totally normal. Shortly after noon, I went into the kitchen to make some lunch when I heard Gia squeaking very loudly, but it wasn't her normal just-trying-to-get-attention squeak, it was much more distressed. The last time she made those kinds of squeals was when we first brought her home and introduced her to her new environment for the first time.
I went to check on them, thinking something was wrong with Gia. As I approached the cage, Molly came over to me like she normally would, except she was only moving her front paws and dragging her back end. I realized then Gia was sounding the alarm for Molly, not for herself. I picked up Molly to check out her legs and saw a large mass roughly the size of a large cherry sticking out from her bum. There was blood in her cage, and now on my hands, and she had a very confused/freaked out look in her eyes. Something was very wrong.
I had a few seconds of "ohmygod ohmygod" panic, then put her back in the cage and immediately went to look up animal hospitals. Most of the ones in my area only treat cats and dogs but referred me to other vets on the opposite side of town, which would mean at least half an hour in the car for Molly. I looked on Yelp, found All Pets (a 10-minute drive from our apartment), and called them up. After I described what was happening, they said I should I bring her in immediately for emergency care.
At first, the vet suspected it was either a prolapsed rectum or prolapsed uterus. After sedating my poor scared little baby, the vet discovered it was actually a tumor. A 1-inch mass in her vulva that somehow pushed its way outside of her little body. The vet surgically removed it, kept Molly for observation for a few hours, then sent her home with meds and special food. The tumor was sent to the lab for a biopsy. The vet said she'd never actually seen anything like that in a guinea pig, especially with it being in her lady bits, so I'm a little anxious about what the biopsy results might say.
When the vet was examining her, poor Molly was so scared and confused, she started shaking. As soon as the vet finished, she ran into my arms for me to hold her and buried her little head in the crook of my arm. I couldn't stand seeing her so distressed and I started crying there in the office. I felt so helpless and so guilty. This tumor, this massive thing that did not belong in her body had been there for god knows how long and we never noticed. Molly never showed any signs that something might be wrong so how were we to know? And yet, I couldn't help feeling guilty at the thought of my poor little piggy, who relies on me for her safety and well-being, dealing with this thing growing inside of her and I never caught on.
I cried in the doctor's office. I cried in the car on the way home after leaving her all alone with a bunch of strangers. I knew the strangers were good people there to help her, but she didn't know that. She just knew they were not me, this was not home, and her body was not feeling normal. When I hadn't heard back from the vet for a few hours, I cried again, thinking something went wrong. There was a possibility that removal would be too complicated and she could potentially die from the shock/pain. Just the thought of that made me cry some more, and say a few prayers. I'm still saying those prayers, hoping the test results come back showing the tumor was benign and she doesn't need further treatment, but we won't know for sure until Friday. Until then, I'm taking advantage of Molly's good moods, petting her and cuddling her whenever I can (not much different from our usual routine, actually), and reassuring her as much as possible. I know she's a tough little cookie but she doesn't deserve to have her toughness challenged in this way.
I know some might think she's "just a guinea pig," but she's so much more than that to me. For over a year, Molly was my roommate. We lived in our little apartment in Sacramento together, just the two of us, and playing with her was the highlight of my miserable days at the law firm. She keeps me company now that I work from home, and for the last year and a half, before Gia came along, she was my lone companion on many long and stressful days. Petting her is the best stress reliever I know and watching her run around and play, enjoying the leisurely life of a guinea pig, brightens my day like none other. The Fiance refers to her as our guinea pig baby for two reasons 1) she's our "experiment" in caring for another living being before having human babies and 2) she really is like my own little baby, who just happens to be a guinea pig. I can't imagine not having her around and hopefully, after these results come back, that's something we won't have to worry about for a long while.
Thank you for all the well wishes and positive energy yesterday. Molly needed it, I needed it, and I know we both felt it. Please continue to keep our little guinea pig baby in your thoughts this week, and keep your fingers crossed for good news on Friday.