This is a post never wanted to write, but knew that some day I would have to.
Toby passed away naturally in his bed at home with me by his side, Sept. 11, 2017, after a 17-month battle with stage 3 lymphoma.
Thanks to the wonderful staff at Woodbridge Veterinary Hospital in Woodbridge, N.J., I was able to immediately rush him to their office where they removed a portion of a lymphnode, making it still possible to donate it to Cornell for research purposes.
His body will be cremated.
Although there is never enough time, I know how lucky we were to have Toby with us both longer than expected, as well as longer than other people we know whose dogs have been diagnosed with cancer, specifically Lymphoma. Toby continued fighting till the end and was never in pain, or suffered. He was loved by so many people and we tried our hardest to make the past 17 months fun, filled with adventures and give him everything medically available to help him fight this terrible disease.
When Toby was diagnosed in April 2016, a day I can remember like it was yesterday, they told me he could have 24 hours to 4 months. He lived 17 months after his initial diagnoses. I can’t help but think that all the love and good vibes sent his way, played an integral part in his ability to battle canine lymphoma – a disease with no cure.
Of course, with that fight comes the medical care Toby received. I truly believe getting him treatment the same day he was diagnosed was critical in his ability to go into clinical remission for more than 6 months. Thanks to Garden State Veterinary Specialists, Toby was immediately seen by the clinic’s oncologist at the time, Dr. Sherger.
Dr. Sherger took the time to explain all my options and we were able to give Toby his first chemo treatment the same day he was diagnosed. When Dr. Sherger moved to another practice, Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Paramus, N.J. a few months later, we followed. At the time, Toby was in clinical remission and we were going for routine check ups until the cancer resurfaced in January 2017. At the time, treatment was every three weeks and then moved toward the end to every 10 days.
Everyone there got to know Toby, my Dad and me, very well. We spent a lot of time in their waiting room. At every visit the staff, from the receptionists to the oncology nurse Allison, were incredibly compassionate, understanding and beyond helpful no matter what the situation – like when I showed up one Saturday without an appointment. They found a way to take Toby in, despite me forgetting to actually make the appointment, even though I thought I did.
It’s difficult for me to put into words how grateful I am to Dr. Sherger and the staff at Blue Pearl. He treated Toby every step of the way with dignity, honesty and compassion. He never gave us false hope, was always honest with us whether it was good or bad news, and took the time to explain things in detail when I asked – and I asked an enormous amount of questions. When I felt that Toby’s lymphnodes were enlarged again and the cancer was back, he took me seriously and ran the tests, despite it not being as clear cut as it could have been. As a result, Toby again was able to get early treatment, because the tests showed the cancer had in fact resurfaced.
I can’t even begin to write about how much Toby has impacted my life. He was a special little dog that changed my world. I’m hoping he is somewhere that cancer doesn’t exist, and is having fun playing with his doggie buddies, Jenks, Sugar, Cosmo and Missy.
Toby, I love, and miss, you enormously.