I am starting this blog to help keep my sanity after my beloved Lily was diagnosed with Leukaemia on 13/03/2017. It might just help someone else going through something similar in the future, or maybe you are going through it now.
This our journey.
Lily is a rescue Greyhound from Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare (Hersham Hounds). She turned 10 years old on 24th March 2017. I have had her since 2009 when she joined our pack, making it four. We already had Rex, another rescue Greyhound from WGW and Lucy and Gemma, two naughty Yorkshire Terriers. All 3 are now at the Rainbow Bridge, which makes Lily even more precious.
Over the last year or so, Lily had times when she wasn’t that keen on her food, I put this partly down to losing Rex in August 2015. She always had to finish it when he was around, or the gannet would eat all of hers too given half a chance. Once he had gone (leaving us all heartbroken- thats another story) she didn’t need to eat it all at once. She also had a neck/shoulder problem which meant having X-rays and blood tests which showed her lymphocyte levels were up and down. She had numerous tests for Cushings Disease amongst other things but everything came back negative. One day her lymph nodes were swollen so one was removed for biopsy. Fearing lymphoma we were elated when the results did not indicate this. She appeared well in herself apart chronic vaginitis which was treated with antibiotics and would then go away and had the odd quiet day, so with the tests not revealing anything we got on with our lives, although a small part of me feared there was something wrong.
At the end of February 2017 she was overdue her yearly boosters so I had a titre blood test done at my local vets and asked for a general profile to check her Lymphocyte levels. She also had signs of vaginitis again so she went back on antibiotics. Her blood test showed her lymphocytes were very high again and on the same day I got the results she was off her food and only by hand feeding her was I able to get her to eat anything. I knew then something more was wrong and took her to see another vet which is a 100 mile round trip away but deal with a lot of Greyhounds so I feel more comfortable them seeing her when its something more than trivial.
Lily had ultrasound and X-rays which showed up nothing, was given more antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and pain killers but she was becoming more and more unwell and had virtually stopped eating all together. She was panting a lot, unable to settle and clearly in distress which was breaking my heart. We then had a bone marrow biopsy. I swear waiting for those results seemed to go on forever and I thought we would lose her before we got them back. It was Monday 13th March when we rushed her back to the vets because she was so poorly and I had been up with her all night. When we arrived at the vets they had just got the bone marrow results through. I knew deep down it would be bad news. The lovely vet explained that although it wasn’t a 100% diagnosis, cancer cells had been found and everything pointed to leukaemia. We had 3 choices, let her go, get her referred to a specialist for more tests (by which time I knew she would most likely be dead), or begin Chemotherapy straight away. It could not be cured but we could try and get her in remission and have a good quality of life for as long as possible. Through tears, we opted for the latter and left Lily at the surgery, not convinced we would see her again as she seemed so unwell that it would take a miracle for her to come home again.
2 days later Lily came home. She was very very thin but alive and a different dog to the one we had left there 2 days previously! She was very tired after her ordeal (she is a very nervous soul at the best of times and terrified of the vets) but she soon settled back home and by the following day was eating anything and everything. And so began the gruelling 19 weeks of chemotherapy. As I write this, she has had 4 weekly sessions with her currently on a 1 week break. It has not been an easy ride so far, in fact it’s a rollercoaster ride, so here starts our story.