Well, I never thought I would be writing those three words on this blog.
Toby has cancer.
I have shared so much of Toby’s life on this blog and our Facebook page. Yet, sharing this, on my personal Facebook page Friday, and writing this post, has been really difficult. I thought numerous times about whether or not to do it.
Ultimately, I decided I should.
I shared the information on Facebook Friday evening, and then didn’t open the app for a number of hours. For the most part, I didn’t respond to text messages and selectively answered my phone also for hours after.
I kept the update, posted along with the photo above, simple: “We found out this morning that this little furry face has stage 3 lymphoma. He received his first chemo treatment this afternoon. It all happened very fast and I’m still kind of in disbelief. But, he is acting normal, running and playing and being his mostly, typical Toby self.”
There were a lot of questions about how we knew and what the vet said. In many cases I couldn’t/wasn’t ready to go through all that information. I figured writing this would be an easier way to answer all those questions.
So, here we go …
I got back from a business trip to Italy very late on Monday night. As soon as I walked in the door and looked at Toby I noticed his neck swollen on both sides. I thought it was an allergic reaction, but we quickly ruled that out.
Before the vet even opened Tuesday, I called and got an appointment that morning. He was just there a few weeks ago for his yearly, and got a clean bill of health.
The lumps on either side of his neck were symmetrically enlarged. She checked his other lympnodes, and just the one in the back knee was slightly big, but nothing of concern, at that point.
They drew blood, did a needle biopsy, and sent him home with antibiotics, because she said his gums did show a little gingervitis. The blood work came back later that afternoon and showed his white blood cell count was slightly elevated, but nothing crazy.
The pathology test didn’t come back for another two days. I called Friday morning, and knew something was wrong when they said the vet would call me back. As soon as I heard her voice, my heart sunk ~ “We got the test back and it’s not good news for Toby. He has high grade lymphoma.”
There were some other things she said, and then it ended with, “make an appointment with an oncologist as soon as possible.”
So, that’s what I did. We talked to the vet around 10 a.m. and by 3 p.m we were sitting in an oncologists office 45 minutes away listening to treatment options.
As I always say, a good veterinarian is so important. These two new veterinarians, one an oncologist, were great. After staging Toby’s cancer, (Stage 3) they spend time explaining all the treatment options, tests that could be performed, costs, etc. I felt very comfortable that I had all the information I needed to make the best decision – a middle of the road treatment plan that included chemo through IV every three weeks for a minimum of five treatments, plus prednisone at home.
And just like that, Toby was having his first chemo treatment. They said he did great, and part of why I decided to stick with these guys, was because Toby was very calm in the office and seems comfortable with both veterinarians.
My biggest concern is, and always will be, Toby’s comfort.
Everyone keeps asking how he is doing/what symptoms he is/was showing. The scary part is, he wasn’t. The doctor said this can come on sudden.
The other question I keep getting is what’s the prognosis. Althought I’ve said it for what feels like a million times, I’m not ready to write it. I will say, it’s not the greatest. So, please send Toby good vibes.
It’s taken me three days to write this. Maybe I will write more eventually, but for now, this is all my brain, and heart, can handle.