While petting my three-year-old West Highland White Terrier, Lady Liberty (aka Libby), I noticed that there were a number of very large, raised areas on her chest. I called the Vet’s and made an appointment for later that day. I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed that it had something to do with the tick I had found on her a few days before when I bathed her, although she takes K9advantix monthly to prevent such things.
That evening, Dr. Keith and I talked about several different things this could mean. The veterinarian did a biopsy and said she expected the results to be back in four or five days. She sent us home with an anti-biotic after spending quite a long time on the floor playing and loving on Libby who gave it right back to the doctor! Libby has never met a human or another dog that she has not loved right away. She is the most social butterfly I have ever seen in a canine.
The next day, which was a Saturday, I spent most of the afternoon working in the yard. When I finally went in to clean up, I was surprised to find a message from Dr. Keith. When I returned the call, Dr. Keith said the test results were in already which alarmed me. I was told that Libby had Lymphoma and had about two weeks to live. Stunned, I listened to Dr. Keith say to come in at noon the next day and we would do an X-ray. I remember hanging up the phone, going down to the floor, and crying until there were no tears left. Then I spent the next few hours on the Internet finding out as much as I could about canine Lymphoma.
When I saw Dr. Keith the next day, we both tried to speak at the same time. I talked over her and said that I refused to accept that my sweet little mischievous baby would soon be gone. Dr. Keith apologized for blurting out what she did on the phone but said that the results had upset her way too much. Libby has some kind of endearing quality about her that no one can resist. I truly believe that everyone thinks that Libby has found something extra special in him or her and after meeting, considers that person her best friend! The X-ray that was taken did not show the cancer very wide spread. The doctor and I put our heads together and made a plan to start Libby on chemo treatments ASAP.
I found that there were only three Oncologists in the state, with two being too far away to be practical. On Monday, I talked to the third one and found that they only did chemo on Tuesdays. If I were going to try and pay for Libby’s treatments, I was going to have to keep working for that paycheck. I called numerous veterinarians in our area but no on knew of any one that gave chemo treatments. I enlarged my area and found a pet hospital that not only did the treatments but they were open 24/7. I made an appointment to consult with the owner, Dr. Neel, on Friday evening.
At the consultation, Libby had blood work done and was given an ultra-sound. Then Dr. Neel told me what she thought the best plan was. I was extremely happy to hear hr repeat everything that this layman had figured out in my research. In two days, we were going to begin the Wisconsin-Madison protocol at 11:00 am on Sunday, October 24, 2010. The best thing Dr. Neel confirmed for me was that Libby’s age of three was her most positive attribute in getting her into remission.
Libby and I have made the nearly hour drive most every Sunday since. When my friends remark that it takes a lot of time out of my weekend, I just smile. They don’t know about the private waiting room that Libby and I share while sitting together on the big couch while she gets her treatment. Sometimes there are other clients sitting with us and most people will ask about Libby and then share their pet’s story. There have been many new friends made and a few tears shed for others. The realization to me is that there are the people that really love their pets and it makes it an emotional bonding time.
Libby’s belly had been shaved for her ultra-sound and it still has not grown back in. My friend Miss Patty made Libby a green and black tartan plaid coat with matching blanket to keep her warm during her hospital visits. The first day Libby pranced into the waiting room with her coat on, there were many pleasant sounds heard. Libby seemed to know that she was adorable and the star of the day! She always tries to greet everyone personally, be it human or canine. I think that everyone from doctors and techs, to the young people in charge of the outside playground know Libby and come in to greet her and love on her.
There are some days that Libby’s white blood count is too low to continue with the treatment and we turn around and return home. There are getting to be more days that Libby is too tired to play. But she remains happy to take that ride up to the hospital and greet her friends. She is a real trooper as she really doesn’t protect all the things that she has had to endure! A couple of weeks ago, Libby had what appeared to be an infection from the treatments and had to be hospitalized for four days. I went up and visited her for several hours each day. She only wanted to lie in my lap and sleep on Mommy. The personnel said that animals that have visits from their families fair much better.
Being awarded a grant from Canine Cancer Awareness took some of the financial burden off of me. We are over half way through the protocol and I am confident that Libby will come out of this a winner! She has too many people (and other dogs) that are cheering for her. The wonderful people at Neel’s Pet Hospital think that once Libby becomes a cancer survivor, she needs to be trained as a therapy dog. They imagine all the happy hospitalized people, both adults and children, that can be exposed to Libby’s personality. They are sure that the healing process will be accelerated for anyone that comes in contact with my sweet little Lady Liberty!
CCA has allocated $900 to help pay the costs of Libby’s treatments. Please help Libby fight this disease. Any sponsor donations made on behalf of Libby will be used to pay unpaid invoices and the checks will be sent directly to Libby’s vet.
To help sponsor treatment, you can click on the PayPal donate button below or send a check to:
Canine Cancer Awareness, Inc.
44 Devoe Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
DONATIONS RECEIVED FOR LIBBY: