In November 2012, we noticed Bella's raspy breathing, especially on activity. It seemed as if she had a "cold", like the rest of the family. I took her to our primary veterinarian's office and we saw an associate. The associate vet noticed a growth within Bella's mouth and referred us to a surgeon at the closest veterinary hospital. A few days later, when we saw the surgeon, the surgeon informed me that it was not a growth in Bella's mouth, but rather her tonsils were enlarged. She also then informed me that all of her lymph nodes were enlarged as well. Two biopsies were taken from aspirated lymph nodes and the surgeon informed me that the initial diagnosis was lymphoma. She explained as best she could and then referred us to oncology. We started Prednisone and I went home a complete wreck, to research for financial help and more information on canine lymphoma.
The prognosis given on Prednisone alone was 4-6 weeks. We were devastated and heartbroken to think that we could lose our sweet girl around Christmas. I found and applied online to the Magic Bullet Fund. We were accepted and started a fundraising campaign for 30 days. We also started chemotherapy immediately after being accepted in December. When our campaign ended on January 5, we had only received about a third of the cost of chemotherapy treatment (which is equal to $74 per treatment). It was very difficult to fundraise over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. However, we have already started Bella on the chemo protocol and we must finish it to acheive the best outcome. Bella has been in clinical remission since the end of January. All of her lymph nodes and her tonsils are back to normal size. She has had some side effects to the chemotherapy including nausea and vomiting. I continually have to change her food as she has become very finicky. I also now cook for her and give supplements and probiotics to protect her delicate system from the chemo. The last three months have been very difficult. The cost of chemotherapy is a financial hardship for our family. We have no saved funds to cover the cost of chemotherapy, diagnostics, bloodwork, high quality food, supplements, and probiotics. I am financing the amount not covered by donations with Care Credit. I will eventually have to find a way to cover those payments as the interest rate is extremely high.
Bella has completed 9 out of 16 chemotherapy treatments (the 10th treatment will be on 3/8/13). The treatments are working on the cancer cells, but they are also destroying her healthy cells. We are doing our best to keep the side effects at a minimum. Despite that, Bella still has many days of playfulness and spunk. She continues to wag her tail when she sees us and that alone is a reminder to me that she is still fighting and not ready to give up in her battle against this awful cancer. We love her with all our hearts. She is only 4 years old and we are not ready to give up on her. She has a lot more life to live and lots more love to give!
Any help you can provide for our sweet girl will certainly be greatly appreciated.
Update - April 3, 2013
Bella has lost remission. We have changed veterinary hospitals because the one we were going to does not have all the drugs in a rescue protocol. The vet we were seeing was also an internist (no oncologist on staff) and we are now seeing an oncologist at the new hospital.