you guys are awesome. seriously. i have to thank you guys for all the nice things you said about loki.
last week i found a lump on her neck. i took her to the vet to get it checked out, and got the results back monday. the results were not what any of the vets expected. they thought it was either an inflamed salivary gland, or early signs of lymphoma. as it turns out, it’s a mast cell tumor. which is apparently common in dogs, but not as common in the area that loki has it in.
the vet referred her to an oncologist, so i took her this morning. we spent 2 hours there. there was lots of crying involved (i am a wuss, and i love my dog), and lots of talk of money and my options.
initially, the doctor thought the lump was attached to loki’s lymph nodes, which should require a CT scan, if we wanted to be on the safe side. otherwise we should jump right into chemo. i expressed that i wasn’t comfortable with chemo if it didn’t absolutely have to be done. not to mention, it’s $2400 for all 6 rounds.
the x-rays came back with no signs of it in her chest, and all of her other lymph nodes were fine–also good. but they still couldn’t tell how attached it was.
the doctor kept prodding at the lump to see if they could discern any separation from the lymph nodes, in hopes of being able to get around a $1000 CT scan. to my surprise (and my bank account’s), all of the prodding caused the lump to swell enough to tell if it was separated or not. apparently, these tumors change in size on a daily basis. sunday it was like a golf ball, today it was almost like a pea, so it was difficult.
the small miracle for today was that the swelling showed a significant distance between the lymph node and the tumor, so surgery is doable. they are 100% certain it isn’t on her lymph node, so no CT scan. just surgery for now–$2000. painful, but so worth it, and doable.
so chemotherapy isn’t necessary just yet. once they do a biopsy on the removed tumor (which will hopefully be completely and cleanly removed since it’s only in her skin and fairly centralized), that will tell them what grade it is in and whether it is malignant (and if it will ultimately spread) or not. if it is not acting as grade 3, they say the surgery should do the job. otherwise, it’s looking like chemo. and a lot more money.
to shed a little light on the chemo, i thought what everyone else i’ve talked to thought when chemo came up. i think of pain, suffering, vomiting, and overall miserableness. in actuality, it isn’t like that for dogs. come to find out, the doctor said that chemo in animals is very different, and will make loki feel better.
i don’t really even want to think about the chemo portion, as she has a 60-70% chance of not even needing it, according to the doc. the odds are in her favor, so i’m going to lean on that notion for a while. a while being 24 hours.
i called the oncologist back as soon as i talked to my dad (i needed a sanity check when dealing with that much $), and told them i wanted to go ahead with the surgery. she is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and the whole procedure takes about an hour. which means until i get a phone call from the vet tomorrow, i am going to be a nervous wreck.
loki is such a sweet dog. i know i am an uber bitch more often than i should be, but loki totally deserves all that love. :) so thank you for all the awesome responses, and continue the happy thoughts for tomorrow.