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Brave Little Lucy

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Brave Little Lucy

How we got to this point

June 5th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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Lucy Pre-Diagnosis

It’s news that no one wants to hear: your beloved pet has just been diagnosed with cancer.  After waiting a couple days for a biopsy result, that was the news I was given in January of 2014.  Lucy had a histiocytic sarcoma on her right front leg right near her carpal joint.  I couldn’t help myself and immediately began a Google search to find out what I could and what this diagnosis meant for my little girl.  Unfortunately, what I found didn’t reassure me.

Because of the location of the mass, surgery at that point was not an option.  There just wasn’t enough tissue in the area to get clean margins.  Amputation was briefly mentioned but we were referred to a veterinary oncologist to go over other options.  That was the start of our 3 years of cancer treatments.  First, Lucy was started on chemo until the mass shank enough to be surgically de-bulked.  Her surgery went well and although they were still unable to get completely clean margins, Lucy was considered to be in clinical remission.  Everything was great for about a year with Lucy going to see the oncologist every 3 months and told everything was great.  Until it wasn’t.

In December of 2015, the mass on Lucy’s leg began to grow back.  I took her in to be examined and she was started on another few rounds of chemo and some oral chemo meds as well. The tumor was stable for most of 2016 – not really growing and not bothering Lucy in the slightest.  In November of 2016, the oncologist suggested a nanoparticle treatment with laser therapy that she was starting to use on her other patients.  She said one of two things could happen: either the mass wouldn’t show any response or the tumor would respond and either begin to shrink or completely die and fall off.  At first, it looked like Lucy’s cancer was responding well to the treatment.  Her tumor, while not noticeably smaller, did start to measure slightly smaller at each visit before settling at a stable size.

2017 came and Lucy’s mass began to grow… and grow.  Between April and May it grew a whole centimenter and is now measuring 4cmx4cm and continues to grow. We were faced with a choice: 1) continue on chemo, 2) do another de-bulking surgery, or 3) amputation.  I knew we didn’t want anymore chemo.  It was hard on Lucy: the pills would make her nauseous and honestly, the cost was seriously adding up.  Before making a final decision, we wanted to know more.  Lucy went last week for chest x-rays and a fine needle aspirate of the nearest lymph node since it was slightly enlarged.  Everything came back clear.  The next step is an abdominal ultrasound.  If that also looks clear, we decided to move on to amputation of the right front leg.  I still can’t really wrap my head around it.  I definitely didn’t come to the decision lightly and there was much back and forth over what would be the right thing to do.  Ultimately amputation seemed the right way to go and our veterinarian agreed with us.

Lucy’s ultrasound appointment is tomorrow morning.  Here’s hoping everything looks good and we’ll be able to schedule her surgery.  I am still very worried about whether I am making the right decision and concerned about how Lucy will recover.  She’s 12 years old and surgery comes with its risks.  But during one sleepless night, I stumbled upon this website.  I poured over all the articles, and blogs, and forums.  I haven’t yet gotten through all the reading and still have questions, but I am already feeling reassured.  At least I know that Lucy is in good company.  I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time here in the next week preparing for Lucy’s surgery and learning everything I can.  Thanks to this site for its amazing support and resources.  It has already been invaluable.

 

 


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6 Comments so far ↓

  • midnighter94

    You’ve definitely found the right place! Murphy had histiocytic sarcoma in his right front leg; amputation 4/4/13; 6 doses of CCNU and is still hopping around 🙂
    You’ll get through this!
    Donna

  • mysweetted

    Awww. Lucy is so sweet and has such a loving and dedicated person. I’m so sorry you are here…but you ARE in the right place just like Donna said. It sounds like she is a true warrior and Donna’s Murphy is a BIG TIME warrior around here. For what it’s worth – I think Lucy will do just fine with the amputation. It will be a long week for all of you but you will get more time with her – and she will get more time with you – and with Murphy on your side holy cow!!! The sky is the limit. Please keep all of us updated on your journey.
    w

    • skeearni

      Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement! It’s unfortunate that we all found our way here, but it is a huge comfort knowing that Lucy and I are not alone in this.

      – Keri

  • misterrustybucket

    Miss Lucy and Family,
    When I saw your blog title “Brave Little Lucy” I had to click on it – I had a beloved dog named Lucy too. When I saw her picture I had to do a double take – your Lucy could be my Lucy’s doppelgänger! So of course I am totally biased but she is just gorgeous.
    My Lucy had an emergency splenectomy and was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma at 13 and survived with chemo and additional surgery for 18 months. I know what you mean about the long months of IV chemo and chemo pills and you have been doing that for a long time. My other dog, Rusty, had chondrosarcoma and had his leg amputated one month ago today. I can tell you that this website and blogging and most importantly the absolutely amazing people on this website have been a tremendous blessing and have made dealing with his cancer and amputation so much easier. I wish that I had had the support of a community like this during my Lucy’s cancer fight and I hope that you will find this group to be as incredibly supportive and encouraging as I have found them to be.
    Keep us posted – I’ll be thinking of you and crossing my fingers for a clear ultrasound.
    Love and Best Wishes – Amy & Rusty (and my Angel Lucy)

    • skeearni

      Hi Amy. I appreciate you taking the time to comment – your words brought tears to my eyes. How funny that you also had a similar looking Lucy! She really is the best little dog.

      I took a look at your blog and your Rusty is adorable. I’m so glad he’s adjusting and enjoying his physical therapy. He looks like such a love!

      I dropped Lucy off this morning for her ultrasound so I’ll be sure to update my blog later this evening with the results. Fingers crossed everything looks good!

      – Keri

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