Well, here we are, exactly one week after I realized 2015 was off to the suckiest start imaginable (post linked for those of you who may have missed it). One week after our vet confirmed my worst fear. One week after she uttered those two nasty words: bone cancer.
Lola made new friends at the holistic vet's office on Thursday. I can't say enough wonderful things about our new friend Hannah. The appointment began with some heartache and tough talking - namely she wanted to ensure that we fully understood Lola's diagnosis (sure Dr. C went through the motions on Tuesday, but I'm sure I looked like I was just hoping to spring awake from a terrible dream) and the fact that bone cancer is the most painful type of cancer for any dog or human to get. And, of course, there is no cure (apparently there is a vaccine in the works that would greatly slow down, or possibly even stop the cancer from metastasizing - but that's not an option yet). Our plan was to first and foremost, treat and manage Lola's pain. Hannah warned us of the rollercoaster ride we were about to embark on, indicating there will be good days and bad... and just when we think it might be "time," Lola could surprise us all. She prepared us as best she could for this emotional whirlwind... but I feel like I've been living on that emotional rollercoaster with Zeus for at least a year. I never asked for another seat on this ride, but it is what it is... and I'll do everything in my power to have my baby girl here with us for as long as she can remain a happy girl.
We opted to go forward with the IV treatment that Hannah had told me about when we spoke on the phone. It's not alternative or holistic, but traditional medicine administered by a slow-drip IV which she had recently found out about through another vet who was treating a great dane with bone cancer. The medicine was shown to slow down the growth of the tumor and the bone destruction. Lola stayed at the vet hospital most of the day, as the treatment began with 2 hours of fluids, followed by 2 hours for the medication, and another 2 hours of fluids (the fluids act as a "flush" and are important to the overall treatment). Apparently she made friends with all of the girls, instantly showering them with her charm. They were still finishing up the IV when we arrived to pick her up and while we waited, there was a line of employees coming out to tell us how unbelievably sweet Lola is (believe me, we know... which doesn't make any of this easy) and how they were all showering her with treats all day. If the treatment works as we hope, and things are going smoothly, we can repeat this treatment in 4 - 6 weeks.
We also left with two Chinese herbs to start Lola on, Hoxsey and Power Mushrooms. However, she had some vomiting on Saturday and as a result, we've stopped the Hoxsey for now, gave her a couple doses of anti-nausea medicine and are hopeful that it was the Hoxsey upsetting her stomach and not the Rimadyl (which we added in on Thursday evening). Keep your fingers crossed, because Lola has seemed to be feeling much better since Thursday and not in as much pain or discomfort.
Things have been pretty quiet and low-key at home. Lola spends a lot of time napping (although that's not much different), and I try to get in as much snuggle time as I can. She is still very food motivated and driven. Zeus, Sophie and Teutul are all concerned about their sister and not quite sure what's going on, however I think it may be setting in with them. Tut kept bringing Lola toys and trying to get her to play over the weekend, while Sophie would periodically go over and just lay down next to her sister. Zeus, who often spends time by himself, seems to be a little more concerned about his sister in the past couple of days and has been sticking nearby as well. It is so hard to watch.... and as much as I try to remain positive and keep smiling, I won't lie... we are just devastated. Never did I think we wouldn't have another summer to play outside, another birthday to celebrate, more time to catch up with old friends (including all those foster dog play dates we put off last fall), a chance to take Lola to the race track (really kicking myself for not doing that last season)... Never did I think we'd be loosing the sweetest, most loving dog in the world so terribly soon.
Please keep the paws crossed and continue to send good vibes. While my heart will surely break, I hope it won't be for awhile and that we'll have some good, quality time to spend with our baby girl.
(PS excuse any typos or rambling in this post... I didn't proofread it before hitting "publish" - and please excuse any intermittent blogging during this time)