List of things that will survive an apocalypse : Cockroaches and The Manno's.

Hi, if you're new here, we are the Mannos. I'm mom, I have a podcast hosted on this blog, before that I had a photography company hosted here, and way, way, way back in the old days, like 2006,....a real blog. So if you scroll back in time you'll see a whole variety of shit.

The Manno's have crazy, unbeleivable luck, people literally call it "The Manno luck" but our luck has ZERO CHILL.... so our it's either on point and things are going awesome.'s all going to hell in a hand basket, we get nothin' in between.

You never want to be in any kind of drawing or contest with a Manno, because we're probably going to win. I don't think we've ever gone to a baseball game and not made it on the jumbotron, my kids are huge Blues hockey fans, and we have have randomly bumped into Tarasenko 3 separate times.

But you know that saying when it rains it pours?

Yeah...for us.. when it rains it pours....causes a flood.....flood causes a mudslide..... mudslide causes and earthquake, the earthquake cracks the ground in half and all 5 Manno's get sucked into the flooded, muddy, earthquake crack.

But we are Manno's, so we will climb out of the muddy flooded crack, and at the exact moment we do, a news camera goes will go live and capture our escape, it will be featured on national television, we will be on the cover off every magazine and Ellen will invite us on her show and give us a trip to Disney.

Again, Manno Luck = No Chill. In 2013 our house got hit by a tornado, and 3 minutes later our dog got sprayed by a skunk. The skunk tried to come in our house and I slammed my foot in the sliding glass door and ripped off my toenail. My husband wasn't home because I sent him to get chinese food during a tornado (whole other story)  so I was hopping around on one foot, in the pitch black, trying to find a dog who was rubbing the skunk juice all over our new furniture, that we bought 4 days earlier.

2 years ago my minivan hit a bad spot on an exit ramp and was launched dukes of hazard style into this grassy drainage ditch area on the side of the highway, with a jacked up undercarriage and a flat tire. I called my husband to come rescue the kids out of my car, while I waited for the tow truck. He also had  2 other kids with him because it was Rockys birthday and we had made plans with some of his buddies. Upon my husbands rescue arrival, hit the same damn spot, flew into the air with the same same damn Dukes of Hazard style, and skidded to a stop in the same damn ditch as me, about 50 yards over. But he upstaged me with 2 flat tires instead of one.

So now we had 2 adult Manno,s 5 kids, 2 cars, and 3 flat tires stuck in a ditch on the side of a highway. That was really fun to explain to the parents of the kids we had with us. Or the tow truck company who I had to call back and be like "Can I make that a double?"

And its been like this WAY before the days of social media when we could share these stories for fun. 12 years ago, we planned a small Wrestlemania party at our house. Ordered food and invited a few friends over, only we locked ourselves in basement 20 minutes before the party started (Me, my husband and our 2 year old Rocky) this was BEFORE we carried our phones everywhere so all of our phones were upstairs....We heard our friends show up, ring the doorbell and leave, our pizza guy show up, ring the doorbell and leave, and we could even HEAR Wrestlemania on the television, which we paid a fortune for,  It took 2 hours for someone to come looking for us. We had no pizza, no friends, and had missed 70% of Wrestlemania.

Nothing normal ever happens for us. We can take the most simple task and turn it into something that rivals the movie the Hangover.  Which has an upside, because we are always ready for anything, and someone has to literally be on fire for any of us to panic. At this point shit is upside down so often I'm convinced that I actually function better in chaos than in calm. So I don't know why I ever thought something as minor as at tumor removal for our dog would take such insane turns.
Fair warning, graphic photos in this post that include animal injury but please know 2 things. 1. Susie is fine, and she is not in pain. 2. I would not share these photos if I didn't think they could help someone else.

Last Friday, our 9 year old Golden Retreiver Susie had a cancerous mass removed from her chest. The first 4 days of recovery were great. She had a very large incision, over 30 staples but we were managing it well.
On days 5 and things things started not looking good. I was concerened with the severe bruising and thought it looked infected. I called our vet who said to wait it out another day. On day 6 her wound began to seperate, this was a Thursday morning I emailed our vet again, sent her a photo and showed her what was happening. She told me to put a t-shirt on our dog and as long as it didn't get any bigger that small gap would still heal. 

Fast forward about 12 hours, it's 10:30pm on a Thursday night, my husband is out of town and I am home with my 2 daughters ages 8 and 10.  With virtually no warning  Susies incision ruptured. Burst wide open. The photos below show the start of this. I promise it got even worse.
Me and the girls got Susie in the car and drove to the nearest ER vet.  I was so pre-occupied with my GPS, getting us there fast, and trying to call my husband I didn't realize how much was going on behind me. When I opened the Van door my 10 year old was plugging the hole in Susies chest with her palm, big brave brown eyes full of tears she said "Mom I put my hand here to try and keep her insides in they were trying to spill out" SHIT I should not have to see this. But Luci never complained, or said it was gross, or worried about the blood on her clothes, hell the blood was everywhere. She never even bugged me in the front seat, she knew I was stressed, she just did what she had to do.

The ER vet moved us to the top of triage as soon as we walked in, when they walked Susie to the back with a hole in her chest, covered in blood and her tissue hanging out I saw a grown man, a vet tech, mouth the words "Holy Shit" and I knew it was as bad as I thought it was. 

The ER vet wanted to get into surgery, but it wasnt quite midnight and Susie had recently eaten at 6pm, so she doped her up on pain meds to get her comfy, covered the wound an waited until 1am to start surgery. (During this time Aunt Patti came to rescue the girls and take them home for rest)

Once Susie went back for surgery at 1 am the vet told me to go home and rest...  "no news is good news" she said, and that I should call her first thing in the morning when I wake up for an update. I think I laid my head down with my girls around 1:30am, by 2:00am my phone was ringing, it was the vet. She said she couldn't close the wound. There was too much infection and not enough good skin to use, it would just rip open again. I knew I would have to wake the girls up again, and drive them up to the ER to put our family dog to sleep. 

But then the vet said we had one other option.... It was called a wet to dry packing, she said something about Susie was going to re-grow more tissue?? So they could close the wound at a later date??  She said it was a pretty dramatic route to take with the injury being so large, but Susie didn't have any other options. I was picturing the vet growing her skin in some kind of petri dish? I was so confused, the only other option was to wake the girls back up and drive them to put our family dog down. So I agreed. Then again it was 2 am, I was half delirious, and head was pounding, my heart was hurting, I had been crying so long it looked like someone beat the shit out of my face and cut slits for eyes.  And I gave her my blessing to do whatever she needed to save Susie.
I got about 4 hours of crappy sleep before it was time to pick Susie up at 7am. I barely remembered my conversation with the vet the night before but figured everything would be explained to me when I got there. I was not prepared for what happened next. They walked my dog out of the back room with a hole in her chest the size of a grapefruit, the lady was explaining directions to me but she sounded like the kid on Charlie Brown that just says "Waa Waa Waa" We walked through the parking lot towards my car, it was raining and grey, I can't BELIEVE I agreed to this shit I thought. When I got Susie into my car and it was just me and her,  I lost it. I felt like I failed her, and made the wrong decision. I absolutely should have put her down last night and I failed her.  This was awful, how could I let this happen to her? Now she's going to suffer more, because of me.  I cried and held her face and told her I was so, so sorry. I let her down and she didn't deserve this.

I'll be honest I thought for sure she would be dead in 24 hours. The task ahead of us seemed so large at one point my crazy mind I thought "I bet the vet knows she is going to die too, and she just wants us to feel like we did something before she died.

Later that night my husband came home thank God, because I was out of gas and I needed to figure out how the hell to do this.  I knew it was called "wet to dry" wound packing, something about packing this wound 2-3 times a day with wet bangades, use pure Saline, then dry bandages, then a waterrpoof bandage, I could not use an ace banaged to keep the packing in place, they placed stitches around her wound and I had to sew the packing into place with a shoelace making a star shape???  and I could have sworn she told me to stop at the store on the way home and buy honey???  Holy Shit I must be delirious.

Nope not delirious, a few hours later I was a wet-to-dry youtube expert and at the grocery store looking for unpasteurized honey. 

I still had zero hope of this crazy treatment working. Cleaning out a wound like this, on a 90 pound animal is not for the faint of heart. I have a strong stomach and things was one of the hardest things I've had to do. The first day I was just going through the motions.

I woke up the next morning ready to change her bandage on day two and when I unwrapped her wound I thought....wait a minute.....look how pink the ring is around it now, it was white yesterday. And all that dark yellow stuff on the bottom right is gone, it's pink again, holy shit is this already working?

I took off the bandage on day 3 and my jaw dropped.Did she just grow skin on the bottom left? WTF? How do you grow a chunk of skin like that in 48 hours? If I didn't have photo proof of this I wouldn't believe it for myself.

Day Four....Holy CRAP Is this actually working? It was....Not only was it working but thanks to some serious drugs her pain was even under control, here is a picture of my high as hell dog, 5 minutes after a bandage change. Look how happy she is :) I swear she didn't even know she was sick and was confused as to why she was getting so much attention.
By this point Team Manno was in full effect, looking like a NASCAR pit crew changing Susies bandages. Everyone had a job, Hubby held her head and kept her calm, kids fetched supplies, held pressure and helped wrap. We had to cancel alot of activities because Susie could not be left alone with this injury. So we haven't left her.  Not once since this happened. Someone has been by her side 24 hours a day. Even when she sleeps, she cannot go up a flight of stairs with this injury to we take turns sleeping with her on the couch downstairs.

I'm just going to jump to the good part now. The hope in all this was that Susie would grow enough tissue in one week that Doctors could close the wound.  Well, she's a super dog, obvi, and grew the amount of tissue that would usually take an animal 4 weeks to grow.

See all that beautiful ground beef looking stuff. That's the tissue she grew where there was once a crater. See that blue stitch on the top left? 6 days ago that stitch was right on the edge of her wound, at least 50% closer. The vet could not believe what she saw and cancelled Susies final sugery. She's going to let super-dog keep healing on her own. 
So I just want to tip my hat to medicine, and to science, and to people way smarter than me. The ER doctor saved her life by making this call.

I also want to send out hope to anyone who ever has to go through this. When I googled "Wet to Dry Dressing" all the videos were done on much smaller wounds, most of them were done on fake wounds, or stuffed animals. I couldn't find any case as bad as ours. So if you ever know someone who goes through this send them my way, I'm happy to share this story and help them along.

I 100% gave up hope on this entire situation, that was the wrong thing to do. When stuff gets hard don't give up hope. Life just might surprise you, as it stands today Susie is 10 days passed her incision splitting open and here is what it looks like today.
And a size comparison.  This is a 9 day difference. 
 God is good, medical science is awesome, and my dog is a super dog who can grow her own skin at warp speed.  I LOVE you guys and I promise a podcast is coming soon. We were scheduled to record once the weekend this all happened but we dropped everything to take care of Susie Girl. 

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