Cancer. It's the six letter word that strikes fear into the heart of anyone that hears it mentioned from their doctor. Whether that be a human or pet doctor.
My pointer mix, Haley has been diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoma. From the beginning, it had me fearful for her, and my immediate reaction was that she needed chemo to fix this STAT. But there was a wait. First, the wait for an official diagnosis that took two weeks. Then another two-week wait to get into seeing the Oncologist.
All the while I couldn't stop myself from thinking that the longer she waits, the more the cancer is spreading and the sicker she was getting. I pretty much put myself into a bubble of worry. And the inappetence! Diet is a crucial part and her not eating didn't help. That just made me worry that much more.
I had nightmares that I would wake up and find her dead or be woken in the middle of the night for an emergency trip to the vet. I have dealt with sick dogs before, and it echoed that she would be another to leave me. Haley doesn't seem to be one for giving up.
My biggest fear was that she wouldn't hold until the Oncology appointment. Some days she would sleep all day and barely even notice the rest of the family around her other than when we would pop in to check on her.
There are so many questions that come along with cancer. What's the best protocol for chemotherapy? What do you feed your cancer dog? How do you deal with a lack of appetite? And so many more. I'm learning as I go. It's not easy, and it's definitely a hard pill to swallow.
Today, Haley had her visit with the oncologist, Dr. Post. He seems to know his stuff and was patient enough to explain things that we didn't understand. I was almost dreading going to the visit because I didn't want to talk numbers of months that we had left with our little girl. The staff put us at ease and made it a pleasant experience.
It only took about two hours for the visit, that's including Haley's first chemo treatment. Before treatment Haley flopped down on the exam room floor and just laid there. She didn't even want to get up when Dr. Post said it was time to go for chemo, in my heart I was like, That's a bad sign, and she's worse off than we realized. I eventually got my girl to her feet, and Dr. Post took her in for blood tests just to make sure that she was well enough for treatment.
He took her back and a few minutes later gave us the news that Kidneys and all looked unaffected at this point. That was a major relief! I didn't want her to have other issues because her blood calcium was elevated for so long.
Finally, the nurse let us know that Haley was all done and ready to go home. We pay and get her prescriptions, and I'm thinking to myself that hopefully in a couple of days we'll see a difference in her attitude. Haley comes out, and her tail is up and wagging. She seemed brighter and happier already. I didn't think it would make such a change so quickly.
This is just the first treatment, and I really hope and pray to God above that she gets better and into remission quickly.
Haley has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but I believe in my girl, and I know that she will fight this terrible disease.
Just a few words of wisdom for the cancer dog parents:
- Not eating doesn't mean they are ready to give up.
-Chemotherapy IS helpful.
-Patience is a must!
-Talk to your pet's Oncologist. They will take the time to listen.
-There is a ton of info to read and research, but in the end, your pet's Oncologist knows best.
Cancer is scary, but it's because there is so much that we don't know. We don't really fear cancer; it's the unknown that we fear.