I wish I was back on the blog for better news, but it feels important for me to share this news, especially for those who may face the same thing or are going through it as well. Roscoe was recently diagnosed with lymphoma after getting very sick in April. I’d been worried about him since late last summer when he began having irritable bowel issues. I took him to the vet a few times and tried a range of things to help, but the issues were so periodic that it didn’t seem too serious. Then in early April he began vomiting and wouldn’t eat and was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
I was concerned after this event that there must be more going on, so I scheduled an appointment with an internal medicine specialist at Great Lakes VCA to find out if we could pinpoint a reason for his stomach troubles. I asked them to do an ultrasound thinking it would uncover that he had IBD, but the scans found an enlarged lymph node near his colon that was biopsied and found to be cancerous. Hearing that anyone you love has cancer is a devastating thing, but it is especially devastating with a dog because you don’t know what can be done to treat it, or that you’ll be able to afford to do so.
The internal medicine specialist referred me to an oncologist at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron. She gave me a prescription for Prednisone and said that most dogs tolerate chemotherapy very well and said the oncologist there would be able to discuss the options with me.
I had no idea what to expect for treatment but went into my appointment feeling optimistic there was something we could do to help him. The oncologist brought me back to reality a little by explaining that many dogs don’t really handle chemo that well, and explaining to me how he may have the T-Cell version of lymphoma that doesn’t respond as well to treatment. Chemo was said to be best option for remission, but he also explained how Prednisone alone can be used as a more affordable treatment option, although less effective. After hearing some of this not-so-optimistic news, I just said that I wanted to do everything I could for Roscoe. I haven’t seen many signs of illness from him and day to day he is the same Roscoe he’s always been, so I couldn’t imagine just giving up and letting the disease take over his body.
He recommended starting him on the UW CHOP-19 protocol which is a 19-week treatment plan where they alternate five different drugs each week, with a couple of breaks in between. An estimate of $7,000-8,000 was given for the treatment.
Roscoe began his chemotherapy on June 9. Since his first treatment, I have learned a lot more about chemotherapy, specialty and emergency vets (thank you all) holistic medicine and pet insurance. I will be sharing our journey in future posts in case this information is helpful for anyone down the road, and if I am being honest, to build my own support network because honestly this all really sucks.
Stay tuned for our next post on Chemotherapy. Don’t worry though, I will try my best to keep it fun, with lots of pictures of this silly guy. I don’t know how this will all turn out, but right now my guy is happy and healthy, begging for his next treat and running agility drills in the basement, so that is what I am focused on.