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Old 01-15-2018, 07:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible Lymphoma

Hello there,

I write this with a heavy heart. I've read through the other posts that I could find easily with lymphoma but they were several years old. My girl, Gracie, is coming up to 10 years this spring. Saturday morning, I found what scares the crap out of any former veterinary professional, swollen lymph nodes. I spent the whole weekend pulling out my text books, reading through forums, reading scholarly journals about the disease. I read the dreadful words: 30 days.

This is a total shock to me, my girl means everything to me.

I took her to the vet today, we did chest xrays(nothing was in her chest, we wanted to cover our grounds as she has a billion lumps and bumps, which I've always had all aspirated), blood work and we sent out 4 aspirates from 4 lymph nodes.
She's acting fine, hungry as ever, happy, runs to the food bowl. It will be a few days before we get all the results back from the lab.

My real question is, how many people have done chemo and not had bad results? I used to work for my vet and he told me that chemo really isn't that expensive anymore for lymphoma, it's not the 5k total I was reading about online, but more under a thousand or less. He can do in-house chemo there and I could sit with her while it was done, lowering my costs as I would be her technician.

Also, I have another vet tech friend I went to school with who works at a holistic vet and they have lots of Chinese herb supplements for the immune system.

Lastly, I researched CBD oil. I read lots of positive things of people with dogs who didn't even keep their dogs on the steroids and got 3 months extra just off using CBD.

I want to know what you have tried, what has worked, etc.
This isn't a definite diagnosis yet, but I feel in my gut, I know it is.
I want to try all of the things above, I just want her to be comfortable.
I'm an absolute wreck for the past 2 days and I'm trying to be positive as I can be for her though.
Thank you for reading.
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When one of ours' was diagnosed with this, after much discussion with our then super vet, we all decided that given his advanced years (into his 14th - he was 13 and a month when we had to let him go) Chemo was only really likely to give him a few more months - given he was otherwise in such good shape - it was only finding the mass in his neck that took me to my vet. She took a sample from the back lymphs which came back positive. Fact is he had 6 more months of life, showing NO symptoms whatsoever to the point I went into total denial about him having Lymphoma. In the end, that evening I called them all in from the garden for their second meal, and he didn't come. I went to find him and he'd collapsed out there. So we got him in and off to our vet who gave him a shot which she hoped would perk him up, but it wasn't to be. We had to let him go the following morning.

It's up to you whether you do Chemo - dogs do appear to tolerate it better than we do but it still means numerous visits to the vet which alone could be stressful. If you feel it worth doing, for ? many more months, that's up to you. Do keep OFF the internet - especially if you've not actually had a diagnosis yet ..... the lymphs will be enlarged if the body is fighting infection, not just re cancer.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Haven't had to deal with Lymphoma, but did have to deal with swollen lymph nodes when my dog was dealing with allergies and ear/skin infections. The vet was concerned about the possibility of lymphoma, but once I got the allergies and infections under control the lymph nodes went back to normal.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the diagnosis comes back cancer, I would try chemo. If she does poorly, you can always stop. We discussed this with our vet for Esther, but opted not to, as her masses were more widespread, and we did not know her age or medical history, given that she was an elderly rescue. They also would have to refer us, as they do not do it in house. I would consider other supplements, but not INSTEAD of chemo, and only with the vets approval.
As Soundtrack said, might well be something else. With elderly dogs, lumps and bumps are the norm, really most often nothing to worry about. Make sure she is getting good nutrition, maybe add a probiotic to help with the uptake of her food. (I am big on those for the elderly dogs). Meanwhile try to take her for a good walk, and love her a lot, cry a little. Hang in there....good luck.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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a You might also want to look into making a "cancer diet" - High fat, adequate high-quality protein and very little carbohydrate. We've been doing that with Deela, since her soft-tissue sarcoma was diagnosed - it was removed but because of the location they couldn't take it all, back in 2013 She is in remission following chemo and the diet. Only on the diet now. The theory is that cancer feeds primarily on sugar, so you want to keep the carbohydrate as low as possible. You want the dog to get enough good protein because one of the side effects of cancer is muscle wasting, and you want it to be high fat as it is a source of energy for the dog which the cancer cannot use. I figure it can't hurt.....and the dog sure likes it!
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you all kindly for your responses. She came back positive for lymphoma.
So our journey through cancer begins. I'm currently waiting for a quote on how much it's going to cost me and what the process is.

The only good thing about all of this is: she doesn't even know she's sick. She acts just like her normal self and I hope I can keep that for most of this dreadful journey.
I will stay updated with this as I know more.
Thank you all again.

I've created a gofundme for extra expenses. Things are going to be tight around here: https://www.gofundme.com/graciefightslymphoma

My instagram is listed at the bottom of the post if you'd like to follow our journey.

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Old 01-19-2018, 06:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGracie View Post
.

The only good thing about all of this is: she doesn't even know she's sick. She acts just like her normal self and I hope I can keep that for most of this dreadful journey.
So sorry for this result - but PLEASE think about what's right for your girl - throwing money at this situation may not be the right thing to do. As said, when our lad, who admittedly was a few years older at the time, was diagnosed with this, he too was showing no illness and this continued for 6 MONTH to the final day when his system shut down. He had a normal life to his final day. Even with the financial ability to treat would I have put my boy through that. Further, my good neighbour, who could afford the treatment, put her elderly Whippet through treatment, which gave him a few more months and said afterwards ' never again'.

I hope your vet doesn't push you into doing something that's not in the best interests of your hound.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If she reacts badly to the chemo, I can stop it at anytime. I think I would live the rest of my life regretting and saying what if, if I never even tried.

I think my dog might be one of the oddballs that could live ok without the chemo as she is showing no signs, but I don't want to have a month of time either if she isn't. Chemo isn't a promise to life, I could end up spending all this money and she die in 2 or 4 months regardless, I still want to try.

I really do appreciate the advice and it's something maybe I'll have to learn on my own.
Again, if I think she is really suffering and not benefiting from the chemotherapy, I will stop it and let life take it's course.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think you are wise to give it a try. If she doesn't do well select a hospice approach. Make sure that the pain meds you get for her (eventually) are adequate. The doses can be increased as she needs, and there are a number of them out there, so if you think she is uncomfortable at any point, DO be her advocate....TELL the vet she is not comfortable, and get the appropriate meds.
We managed to keep both Polly and Ester pretty much pain free by staying on top of this. I have found that many times vets do the minimum for pain....and you NEED to ask for more to keep them comfortable. Don't forget to take care of yourself too...good luck.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reply. I will make sure she has enough pain management and anti-nausea meds on board. I'm friends and old employee of my vet so he knows he can trust me with pain injections if need be.

We have our appointment set up for Tuesday. Hope all goes well, will update.
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