This is Lucy’s story. She is a 5 year old yellow Labrador who has always been vibrant, full of joy and never sick a day in her life, until recently, her journey took a fork in the road we certainly never expected… cancer. She is the love of our lives and constant companion to our 6 year old yellow Labrador, Maxx. Our world turned upside down.
Her name, Lucy, means light and indeed she is the brightest of lights. We have always said that her eyes are so bright that she only sees beauty and knows pure joy. Although she cannot speak to us in words, she most assuredly speaks to us loudly with her faithful devotion and her exuberant love of life. She wholeheartedly embraces life to its fullest.
The first sign was that she was drinking a lot of water. On Monday, February 20, 2012, we took her to the vet to find out what would cause her to be so thirsty. We had no clue that she was very sick and would soon be hospitalized (for ten days) fighting for her life.
That week turned into one nightmare after another as the doctor ran tests and gave us possible diagnoses. By Wednesday, she began to get sicker and was vomiting and would not eat. Her blood test that day revealed elevated calcium levels and kidney levels approaching the danger zone. That was the first day we heard the “C” word as the most likely cause of her sickness but an ultrasound was needed to verify that diagnosis. An ultrasound was scheduled for the next day.
Driving home from the vet that day, (crying my eyes out), I felt completely powerless to help Lucy. As if my car were in auto-pilot, I drove to my church, with Lucy in tow, and asked for prayers for her. People gathered around her and we all prayed. As the difficult days continued, we continued to pray (and cry). It has been the prayers and encouragement from others that has given us strength to face each day.
The ultrasound revealed enlarged lymph nodes near her kidneys and a biopsy was done and the waiting began for the biopsy report to confirm what we already suspected. Lucy continued to decline (her kidneys were failing) and on Saturday she was hospitalized so that she could receive IV fluids. We were told that she would likely not live more than a week or two. How could this be happening?
Finally, Monday, February 27, 2012, the biopsy report confirmed Lymphoma. Just 10 days before this, we had hiked 5 miles and Lucy and Maxx were running all over the trail happy as can be.
During her hospital stay, she almost died from kidney failure which was indirectly caused by the cancer. Lucy was fighting for her life, yet had such a great attitude. She quickly became everyone’s favorite patient. She seemed to take it in stride much better than we did. We were devastated and grief stricken – she somehow “knew” she needed to be there and still had light in her eyes. It was so hard to believe how very sick our precious girl was.
Once we had the official cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy began. At that time we learned that she had several strikes against her: Stage IV Lymphoma (an aggressive form), hypercalcemia and acute renal distress. She was in the hospital for ten days because of renal failure. We believe it was a miracle that she even made it home and certainly is a miracle that she is still with us. When she came home, we expected to have a very short time left with her but our brave girl has proved that she is a fighter.
She is currently still receiving chemotherapy treatments. The chemotherapy protocol that has been recommended for her type of cancer is the Madison-Wisconsin protocol with a total of 25 weeks of treatments. Her kidneys have not fully recovered so she is on a special diet to help her kidneys heal.
Remarkably, her cancer is in remission, however, in order to have a chance at a longer period of remission, she will need to finish the full 25 weeks.
Her quality of life is good although it is different than before she became sick. She is a little more subdued that she was when she was healthy but she is happy and wags her tail all the time. She has such a great attitude. She loves her walks on the trail and going to the park. She and Maxx are inseparable best buddies as they always have been. She has had some nausea and weakness from the chemo but overall responded very well.
We hope to be able to continue her treatments so she can have the best chance of continued remission with a good quality of life. The financial burden is huge and we have already incurred debt to our limit and wiped out our savings. We have had to consider that we might be forced stop treatments even though she is responding well because we will not be able to afford it.
Just last week, we reached our credit limit with the Care Card and have been praying for a way to continue her treatments. This week, we received notice that the Canine Cancer Awareness was awarding us $500 toward her treatments. This gave us hope! Thank you! We are so grateful for this generous gift and also to have the opportunity to tell you her story and be featured on the Sponsors Needed page. Prayers were answered!
Lucy’s light is still shining bright! We call her Lucy, brave and mighty Princess Warrior – fighting a ruthless foe, cancer. She will participate in her first Canine Cancer Walk event this upcoming weekend; Maxx walking by her side.
—Valerie and Howie
The CCA Board of Directors has allocated $500 to help pay the costs of Lucy’s treatments. Please help Lucy receive the treatment that she needs. Any sponsor donations made on behalf of Lucy will be used to pay unpaid invoices and the checks will be sent directly to Lucy’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 FOR LUCY: