A Little Lymphoma Scare

Toby always likes to keep things interesting. He is not only going to depleate my bank account, but also give me a heart attack.

This was the scene at about 3 a.m. this morning. Toby in his bed, acting very much unlike himself and me sleeping on the floor next to him using their large dog bed, as my resting spot.

Let’s rewind to about 6:30 yesterday morning. After fun a Sunday, that included a little road trip to Virginia and back to see a friend, we went through our normal routine. Woke up, went out, ate breakfast and then snuggled on the couch for a few moments before getting ready for work.

Toby was spread out across my stomach and chest when, while I was petting him, I noticed his neck was a bit swollen and I could feel his lymphnodes on his right side. I panicked and immediately made an appointment with his oncologist for this morning.

When I got home yesterday evening, already a mess from worrying all day about the lymphoma possibly not being controlled, I had also gotten some other bad news, which was going to cost me more money than I was expecting. I was an uncontrollable mess and gave myself a terrible headache, and fell asleep for a few hours on the couch because I honestly couldn’t handle it.

When I woke up, that’s when things started to get weird.

I took Toby out and all he wanted to do was eat grass. He had absolutely no interest in doing anything else.

After he ate dinner, I noticed he was fussing with his back leg a lot, but I didn’t pay much attention. Still very much upset, I went back on the couch. We fell asleep again and when Toby woke up he was acting completely odd. Again, he didn’t want to do anything but eat grass when we were outside. When we came back in, he started holding his head and neck in a weird way, and was walking a little wabbaly. He also kept looking like he was going to throw up, but didn’t. He finally settled in his bed, instead of his normal spot on the couch and couldn’t keep his eyes open, but also couldn’t shut them.

Something was not right.

I stayed with him on the floor for a few hours, checking to make sure he was breathing every few minutes. Finally, about 6am, he got up and went over to the couch. I picked him up and put him there and snuggled in next to him. He stayed like that till about 7am when my alarm went off, after also being able to get an hour or so of sleep.

Because I no longer have a flexible schedule, my dad took him to the oncologist this morning, which resulted in good and bad news.

On their way there it dawned on me that Toby’s actions over night was very similar to vestibular episodes he has had in the past, where he’s actually fallen over, and were also in the Spring. I think because he didn’t fall over, or throw up, it didn’t occur to me. The oncologist agreed, it was something to note, but not totally freak putt about or think was related to the lymphoma.
His swollen lymphnode, was a different story, but still not anything to totally freak out over. Basically, his right lymphnode was slightly enlarged since the last time he was at the oncologist 10-ish days ago. And, when I say slightly, I mean slightly – the oncologist is always surprised at how I can tell the littlest change in Toby’s glands.

They couldn’t say 100 percent it was because of the lymphoma. It could be allergies. The good news was that none of his other lymphnodes were swollen and he still looked and was acting totally normal. The excitement of our trip might have even just gotten to him and stressed him out a little.

On the other hand, we had stopped the prednisone after his last chemo, and it could be the lymphoma. According to his doctor, some lymphoma dogs need the combination of the prednisone and the chemo.

He gave me several options, including to wait and see if the lymphnodes continued to enlarge.  In the end, we decided to put him on a low dose of prednisone and see how he does and then revalue when he goes for his next chemo treatment in a few weeks.

Not sure if this is good or bad, but I have to say, Toby has gotten pretty comfortable with the oncologist’s office. Last time we went he was totally chil and actually whined to go inside. This time, my dad said he wasn’t even nervous and was completely calm.

My thought is that if he could talk, he would say, “here we go again. My paranoid mother is going through one of her episodes agains.”

Better to be safe than sorry.

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