Cancer

Cancer – A word everyone dreads to hear. Cancer doesn’t wait for anyone. It doesn’t see the gender or age or human or dog. I was one of the unfortunate ones to hear it. Cancer is a very scary word, and on one forlorn morning, I got a call with Junior’s diagnosis. He was deducted with Mastocytoma, a type of Skin Cancer.

Around 2 months ago, Junior had developed skin infection, where his skin had become flaky and his body was covered in tiny boils. The Vet gave some medicines and vitamin E injection. He told me that there was nothing to worry and Junior will be fine. Junior’s skin started improving but there was a small puss boil between his stomach and behind legs. Earlier it was very small in size, but in no time, it grew bigger and started oozing a little blood.

I immediately showed it to the Vet and he recommended me to get it surgically removed on urgent basis. I did exactly the same and Junior underwent a surgery the next day. The vet sent the lump for biopsy and informed me that the results will take about a week to 10 days to come. He also warned me that it could be cancerous, but most likely a local Cancer as his blood reports were normal and the lump was only on the outer layer of his skin.

I was definitely scared. As Junior was recovering from the surgery, I was slipping into Anxiety. But I kept myself sane by repeating two things that my brother and the vet said. 1) My brother told me to forget about the lump and only remember that his blood reports were absolutely normal, and 2) The Vet told me it was most likely Cancer, but at an early stage or local.

I tried keeping a positive attitude throughout till I received the biopsy results. And then, that unlucky day came where I was getting ready to leave for office and my mobile rang. It was the Vet. He confirmed – it was Cancer. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I was speechless. It took me sometime to register the news, but then, I cried uncontrollably. But there was a twist. The reports didn’t mention the grade of Cancer. It just told the type of Cancer, so the Vet recommended me to an Oncologist.

I got an appointment with the Oncologist after 4 days. Till that time, I had already started having episodes of Panic Attacks and severe Anxiety. But I had to hold myself together for Junior.

The day of the appointment arrived and I reached the Oncologist’s clinic with Junior. She took an entire history of Junior, checked his reports and did a physical examination. She suggested we send the sample for a second histopath (biopsy) and know exactly what grade it was. Since Junior was active and he was eating and pooping well, she too thought and told me that hopefully it was an early stage, but we could only be sure once the second opinion comes which would take another 8-10 days. She explained to me the further plan of action if the Cancer was grade 3 and above.

Another 8-10 days of waiting. Each day was like living in hell. But I kept myself extremely strong and didn’t entertain any negative thoughts. This was the first time in my life that I was going through a bad time but my mind had remained strong. This time, I didn’t let Anxiety win. I took complete control over my thoughts and kept telling myself, “Whatever the results come, I will do whatever it takes.”

8 days had passed. I called the Oncologist in the morning to know if the results were back. She informed me that they had not arrived yet and she would call me once they come. I had kept myself strong till then and was still being optimistic. The same day in the afternoon I received a call from the Oncologist’s clinic. The receptionist told me that the results had come the doctor would like to talk to me. My heartbeats had started racing till the time I was on hold. Finally, the doctor answered the call and her first sentence was, “its good news.” I was extremely ecstatic. Something like, I didn’t want to hear anything further. The results were a Grade II (low grade) Cancer which was gone as soon as the lump was removed surgically.

My happiness knew no bound. I was crying once again, but happy tears. Tears that I was holding on for so many weeks. The Oncologist advised me to get a regular check up done every 3 months with our vet. Though the chances of reoccurrence of such low grade Cancers are unlikely, but now we have to be vigilant. I informed my Vet about the same. He too relived a sigh of relief.

Today, I am extremely grateful that Junior is fit and fine, and lives every day like an active puppy. Such a fighter! In the past 2 years, Junior has been through so much and each time he wins. My baby has beat Cancer and is Cancer-free at the moment and I pray this dreaded disease doesn’t make a comeback ever.

Life has become very fragile and unpredictable, but I would like to share a personal experience of how I coped with Anxiety this time. If there is something you cannot control, just give in your best and leave the rest in the hands of God. Prayers are very powerful.

My dog had a surgery

You are sitting on the couch, all cuddled up with your dog, giving him belly rubs, running your hand on his body, and all of a sudden you feel a lump. Within micro-seconds your mind starts running and is fogged with questions. You try to remember if this is new or whether the lump has been there for some time now. You are on your feet by now and start examining his body in search of other lumps.

Your first thought right now is – is it Cancer? You open Google and start looking for answers. Unfortunately, anything and everything on the internet leads to a life threatening disease. We know this very well, but human nature, we still look for answers on the internet. By now, you have reached the highest level of panic. Next morning, the first thing you do is visit the Vet. The Vet runs some tests and asks you to wait for the results. You are on complete panic mode now and desperately waiting for the results.

The results have arrived. All his blood work, CT scan and Fine Needle Test are normal. They are just fat lumps and NOT CANCER. However, they are still called Tumours. All of the above has happened with me twice. Yes, I just narrated my story to you’ll.

Two years ago, I had discovered 5 lumps on Junior’s body. I was in a state of despair and completely paranoid. I had turned into an over thinking mental woman till the results of his tests came. Fortunately, they were only fat lumps. But, there was this one particular lump which was on Junior’s face and had to be surgically removed. The other 4 lumps are still there and don’t need surgery. The one on the face was big and had spread uptil his inner jaw for which we had to even get some of Junior’s teeth removed. The surgery went very well and Junior was absolutely fine after that.

Last year when Junior got Pancreatitis, we noticed a small growth on his eyelid. The Vet prescribed an ointment and hot compression for that area. The growth went away. But in the past few months, the growth was back and bigger. The Vet prescribed the same procedure and asked me to observe. He suggested that if the lump reduces in size by external treatment, then we will not have to opt for surgery. Unfortunately, nothing like that happened and we decided to get it surgically removed. Before that, we again ran some tests to make sure it was not Cancerous. Again, I was in a state of panic till the results came in. The Vet also recommended taking a second opinion before surgery. I did that. Now, we all were waiting for the test results.

Whoola! Cancer Negative. It’s a stye, but with a tumour growth underneath. The surgery is scheduled and now I am anxiously waiting for the day to arrive and Junior to be pain free. This lump on the eyelid was painful. Junior’s eyes were always watering and scratchy. He would even have puss filled discharge sometimes.

The morning of the surgery, my brother and I arrive at the clinic with Junior and they take him in. After 5 minutes, they bring Junior outside and inform me that they have injected Junior and he might throw up. I have to wait till he falls asleep. In 15 minutes, Junior threw up once and then fell asleep. The doctor comes and asks his helpers to take Junior in the operation theatre. I am informed that it is a 10 minutes procedure and I will be called once it is done. Those 10 minutes turned into an hour and I was losing patience. Finally the doctor came out and told me that the surgery went well and Junior was doing fine. I asked her the reason for the delay. She said that first they thought it was a small tumour and they could easily drain it out. But when they opened it up, it had spread all over his eyelid. Had we not got the surgery done, Junior would have lost his eye.

I was so happy that the surgery went well and Junior was gaining consciousness. We were allowed to take Junior home but with precaution. The doctor explained to me the protocol to follow for some days for faster recovery.

As soon as we reached home, Junior started throwing up. Not once, not twice, but Junior threw up 10 times. I immediately called the Vet and she said it is normal as he is still under the influence of aesthesia. However, if he doesn’t stop vomiting after the effects of anaesthesia have gone, then I should take him to my family Vet for saline. But Junior stopped vomiting. Thank God! Once he gained complete consciousness, he drank water and I fed him semi solid food. He slept the whole day and next day he was very weak. His eye had started oozing and stomach growling. I was informed about this by the vet. These were the after effects of the surgery.

It’s been 5 days today since the surgery. Junior is back to his routine, jumping around, going for walks, playing, etc. He is a little slow and I don’t even push him and his eyelid is sore and recovering. All’s well that ends well. There is one advice I would like to give to all the pet parents. DO NOT BE A GOOGLE DOCTOR. Always take advice from the experts and take Google results with a pinch of salt. Get yours dogs checked immediately if you notice an abnormal growth.

I am exhausted at this moment, but it’s all worth it as far as Junior is fit and fine. After all, we pet parents can cross oceans for them to see them healthy and safe.