Lola was happy to have the IVC catheter removed from her front left leg, along with all the bandage wrap, the medi-boot and the soft cone collar. We spent the night at Sylvan Lake Beach Park campground, then packed up and left for home in the morning, armed with 85 frozen pounds of RAWganics dog food. This was the beginning of two very long weeks, waiting to see if Lola’s own immune system could now take over and fight both the primary tumor in her right lung and the metastasized spots that had spread throughout all lobes of her lungs.
September 21, 2018 – Lola’s clinical signs were so much improved, it felt like a miracle. I posted this video on Facebook of her playing with Alvin. She continued to be spunky throughout the weekend, with virtually no coughing. We were so hopeful.
September 26, 2018 – It was now one week since the end of Lola’s IVC treatments and time to report in about how she was doing. We called SmithRidge and spoke with Jeff, one of the amazing techs who – of course – remembered our sweet girl. I’d sent a link to the video to show Lola’s amazing transformation; now I was reporting that she was again returning to that heart wrenching, horrifying “cough” that brought us to the vet in the first place. Dr. Ruskin’s warning, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” kept playing in my thoughts. I was wondering just how bad it was going to get.
October 2, 2018 – Lola’s almost constant, liquid, hacking cough had gotten so bad that I called our local vet to see if they could squeeze us in ASAP for the x-rays that I originally scheduled for the following morning. They allowed us to come in at 2:30pm, so I called SmithRidge to see if Dr. Ruskin would want any additional bloodwork done while we were there. We added on a CBC (complete blood count) and a chemistry (which would show her liver enzymes and other critical counts.)
After the x-rays were taken, somehow I managed to hold it together while our local vet conveyed the news that Lola’s cancer “had spread everywhere throughout her lungs.” I was numb; half because of the vet’s comments and half because I was sleep deprived due to Lola’s almost hourly coughing jags the past few days. The pics and the report results would all be sent to Dr. Ruskin in time for our 10:50am phone consult on October 4th. I was preparing myself for the devastating news and was so thankful that Paul would be working from home on the day of the phone consult.
October 4, 2018 – I held my breath and listened to Dr. Ruskin’s words, “some areas of her lungs are about the same and some areas are different and look better.” I’d forgotten that our local vet was using their August 14th views as a reference; Dr. Ruskin was making the comparison to her pre-treatment baseline views on September 17th.
We decided to try splitting the 10mg of Prednisone to 5mg w/breakfast and 5mg w/dinner and adding a second Artemisinin capsule right before bedtime. We agreed to touch base in a week to discuss next steps. As we ended the call, the stress and panic released from my body. I burst into tears.
To be continued . . .