As mentioned in my last blog, I found out a few weeks ago that my dog had a cancerous tumor. I knew as soon as I felt it that it was different than the fatty lumps I'd previously found (and biopsied just to be safe). But this one was squishy, asymmetrical, appearing out of nowhere and getting bigger quickly. I immediately took her to the vet, and a few days later my fears were confirmed.
Hannah is ten, and getting older, so the thought of subjecting her to surgery, and potentially radiation or even chemo was frightening.
Even more scary, was awaiting further diagnosis as to the stage of the cancer post-surgery. It took about a week to see if it were stage 1,2, or 3 (one year survival for stage 3 is less than 10%).
We had the surgery about two weeks ago, and everything went very well. I was very concerned about her diet, as I didn't want to inadvertently "feed the cancer" and I also didn't want her to lose weight post-surgery in case she had to have chemo. So, I made special meals for her during this time, consisting mostly of chicken breast, veggies, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, and an organic multivitamin recommended by my vet. There are several good web sites out there with information about what to feed/not feed dogs with cancer. Avoiding carbs in general, and sugar in particular, is key. She loved the diet, and I think she actually gained weight post-op!
About 6 days after the surgery, I got the call from the vet: best-case scenario stage 1. No further treatment required.
I feel so lucky to have this turn out to be a best-case scenario, but I think this also underscores the power of early detection. She's had several lumps before that turned out to be benign fatty deposits, so it would have been easy to put off the trip to the vet. I'm slammed at work, blah, blah, blah. But, I took her to the vet immediately, had the surgery as soon as possible. With this aggressive type of cancer (a mast cell tumor), even a few weeks could have made a difference as to the stage and prognosis.
I guess the lesson here is don't put things off. I'm often the worst offender in this category, but where our health is concerned, prioritizing time for proactive checkups, proper diet, exercise to reduce stress, etc. could really save your life.
My dog is like a child to me, so I'm hoping to have her around for several more quality years!