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Lydia to start chemo tomorrow

by Therese on July 15, 2008

in Dogs, Lydia's cancer, My pets

Yesterday I took Lydia to see an oncologist and he was more optimistic than I had expected. What she has (anal gland adenocarcinoma) isn’t necessarily the death sentence I thought it might be. Since we caught the cancer so early, she’s fairly young, and in good health, he’s optimistic she has a good chance of being with me for a while yet.

While she was there, the vet did x-rays, an ultrasound, and blood work. The x-ray showed her chest to be clear, the blood work was normal, and the ultrasound showed a swollen lymph node. It’s not certain whether the lymph node is swollen because of cancer or if it’s just swollen in reaction to the surgery she had a couple weeks ago. Obviously I’m hoping it’s just a reaction to the surgery.

After all the testing, the vet gave me a run down of all the options – chemo, radiation, or a combination. With this type of cancer, he says a combination of chemo/radiation is most effective. The problem with radiation though, is that since the cancer is near her colon there’s a slight chance the radiation may puncture her colon. If that happens, it’s absolute certain death. He said it’s rare, but it does happen. (Why does it have to have such severe risks?!)

Rather than making any recommendations yesterday, he wanted to go over the results in more detail and talk to her regular vet. He also wanted to give me some time to let everything soak in so I could make a more informed decision.

So I talked to both vets today…Lydia’s primary vet and the oncologist…and just got off the phone with the oncologist. He gave me a few options…pretty much what I expected…chemo and radiation or just chemo. I’m very uncomfortable with the radiation (because of that slight chance) so we’re going to start with chemo. And since we want to know what’s going on with the lymph node, he’s going to get an aspirate of it and send it off to the lab to be analyzed. I’m so hoping it’ll come back benign.

The last thing I said to the vet before we ended the call was, “I just have to say this…I’m scared.” That wasn’t totally right though…I’m freakin’ terrified! I know I don’t have to explain it to most people who will read this, but I’m sad, angry, confused, and ready for battle…all at the same time. I find myself in a world that I want absolutely nothing to do with but here I am! I ask why we have to be here but I know there’s no answer. It just is. What “IS” absolutely sucks but like it or not, I have to deal with it.

Things are definitely better than they could be and I’m very thankful for that. But I’d rather be in the space I was before any of this happened – thinking knowing I have a beautiful, energetic, young, healthy dog. Lydia is absolutely still beautiful, energetic, and young…you wouldn’t know she’s fighting cancer if you saw her…but the healthy part has taken a bit of a turn. The only choice we have is to deal with what we have, enjoy each good moment, and hope for the best.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josie and Sam July 16, 2008 at 9:39 am

Keep the faith and fight the fear. Enjoy every day for it’s self, Lydia can feel your stress and she needs to feel your joy right now. Lydia is in good hands and it sounds like the oncologist is giving you all the info you need to make the right choices. You and Lydia are in my prayers and thought.


jan July 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Your own positive attitude is the best thing for Lydia. Keep it up even though I know how difficult it must be not to project fears.


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