Beagle Layla's Battle Against Lung Cancer
I'm grateful to have found this website with such great information.
My seven year old Beagle girl Layla is sadly starting her journey to begin the battle with lung cancer.
It all started in March of this year with a cough. I initially thought it might be allergies so waited a little while to see if it just went away. It didn't, so I took her to the vet. They thought initially it may be a respiratory infection and put her on medications. It seemed to improve after that but soon enough her coughing continued, now with her coughing up phlegm.
So, back to the doctor we went. She took x-rays and it showed a grayish area and the doctor initially believed Layla may have pneumonia.
The sad phone call came a few days later that the radiologist believes there is a mass in Layla's lung. My vet recommended taking her to a specialist for a biopsy.
The next day I called my vet to find out why we would have to do a biopsy and not just get in there and remove it and THEN test the tumor. She explained that without knowing what the mass is, they would not put the dog through surgery. She was sadly wrong.
It took a week to get an appointment with the specialist in Pittsburgh and all my hope throughout the week that the mass might be something other than a tumor was shattered rather quickly. It was like running into a steel beam.
The specialist doctor advised doing a biopsy is not a good idea because of the chance for leakage. He recommends surgery to remove the large mass (6cm) and the option for chemotherapy. He kept talking and I just stood there doing everything I could to hold back the tears. He went on and on, CT Scan... abdominal ultrasound... blah blah blah.
I was amazed that within hours after I was home, the specialist doctor sent a full detailed report of our visit. Reading it through tears still, I was better able to understand what is going on.
At that point, I was faced with the decision to put her through the surgery or not. Money is not an issue, it was trying to figure out what is best for Layla. Because of the size of the tumor, they indicate she may at best have 8 months after the surgery. Everything I had read online was confirmed. I was told that we really wouldn't have a clearer picture until after the tumor is removed and they can determine what kind of cancer it is.
I spent that night talking to friends and family, everybody with a different opinion as to what I should do. After thinking everything over, I decided to first go with the CT Scan and abdominal ultrasound though I have already scheduled the surgery for tomorrow. If the CT scan and abdominal ultrasound still suggest surgery is in her best interest, I will proceed with it. The testing is recommended but not required. Even though it adds significant cost to the surgery, I would rather know beforehand exactly what we're dealing with. So, the surgery is coming five days after the initial consult with the specialist.
I'm terrified for tomorrow. I'm realizing that it is all just one little step at a time... first the initial testing, then the surgery if it is still recommended... then the biopsy to determine what kind of cancer... then the decision for Chemotherapy and how that will affect the ultimate outcome of the disease.
Wow, I am still in a state of shock even as I'm writing this. A few months ago I had what appeared to be a healthy energetic Beagle and now I have a lethargic dog who has nothing but the look of sadness in her eyes. There are good days and not as good days though. Though she wants to sleep a lot, she is still eating (though as fussy as she's always been).
I'm trying to remain positive. Her bloodwork came back fine and all other physical exam points were unremarkable this past Wednesday at the specialist so I'm just trying to use the power of positive thinking to get through this.
This website is making me realize there is so much more I can do for her after the surgery if that happens tomorrow. I'm trying to not focus on her death sentence, but figure out how to better manage her future life sentence. Clearly it's all one day at a time.