Part three of Lily girl’s ordeal:
After a weekend of worrying about Lily, I called the vet to see if her needle biopsy had come back. The technician said the vet would call me back. Even that half hour wait was incredibly stressful! Finally, the vet called me and told me that the test came back without any cancer cells. I felt a huge rush of relief! The vet said he was more comfortable diagnosing bone cancer with an x-ray so he felt we needed to have that done as the next step. I guess bone cancer shows up more clearly in the two dimensional picture than the 3D one. We scheduled it that same week. During the few day wait, Patrick and I found ourselves feeling hopeful. We watched Lily carefully and she didn’t seem to be getting any worse. She was incredibly happy and literally very bouncy! She still chased her brothers and ran around the yard. She didn’t appear to be in any pain which seemed strange to me with her cancer
diagnosis. From what I read, bone cancer is incredibly painful. Finally, she received her x-ray and I got the call. NO CANCER!! I cried with relief and joy. Lily has osteoarthritis in her hip that has formed a lot of calcium around that joint. The calcium reacted with the contrast in the MRI and made it appear like she had cancer. When she got home from the vet we all celebrated! The feeling of relief was amazing, even though it took days to feel truly back to normal.
Now we have to figure out how to deal with the arthritis and the degenerating spinal issues. She will have follow up appointments and will be on medication the rest of her life to reduce spinal swelling. We took her to see my long time family vet for yet another opinion and received the same news. No cancer, just a common problem in older dogs. We will take this over cancer any day!
I learned a few valuable things during this process that I want to share in the form of recommendations. The first is to make sure you get a number of opinions and don’t give up after one test. Sure, tests are expensive and there are financial limitations to what we can all do for our pets. However, if Patrick and I had not gotten the biopsy and the x-ray we would still be living in a state of sadness waiting for our dog to die. Eventually we would learn the truth but we would lose weeks or months worrying about a problem that never existed. The second thing I learned is don’t wait to spoil your pets until you’re put in this type of position. Patrick and I found ourselves shelling out many more treats, giving longer doggy massage sessions and taking more time to play with the dogs. after Lily’s cancer scare. We decided any remaining time with them needed to be special and I instantly felt bad we hadn’t been living in that mindset forever!
I am so thankful to the veterinarians who spent hours looking at scans and performing exams to get us the information we really needed. I also can’t thank my family and friends enough for the support we received during all of this. Our situation has changed and we no longer need that same support but sometimes it takes times like this to really understand who you have in your corner!
Hug your fur babies and enjoy your tie with them to the fullest!