Against the Odds - When a brave little girl fought Canine lymphoma
2012 in our little Lottie’s life was certainly a year in her life we will never forget.
I still remember that day vividly when my mobile phone rang. I was sitting in a café in London just outside Russell Square after returning from one of my very own hospital outpatient appointments. It was our vet.
“Helga we are terribly sorry. We have some sad news. The biopsy taken from Lottie’s growth in her rectum has picked up that she has canine lymphoma.” I was silent, shocked and couldn’t believe what I had just heard. How can our adorable little girl, at the time just 4 years of age, have cancer?
I left the café in a mad rush, jumped onto the London Underground and went straight home. I walked into our home screaming to my hubby Andy……”Lottie has cancer” We were devastated and completely heart broken. Tears just streamed down both our faces, it was so difficult to comes to terms with it all.
I looked at my girl and saw this healthy looking happy full of life little dog. She showed no signs of cancer and best of all she didn’t know. She was a dog living her life and living for the moment. I think she wondered why I was so upset. But at that moment we made a pact together that we would fight this dreaded lymphoma.
In the days that followed after her diagnosis we had various discussions with our vet and a specialist vet oncologist who specialised in rectal canine lymphoma. It was discussed with us that she would need more surgery deeper in through her rectum and bowel to remove as much of the growth as they could. After surgery there were two options for her chemotherapy (CHOP) protocols for her treatment plan if we wanted to go ahead. One was long and enduring with a period of 12 months of treatment whilst another was a short aggressive form of treatment with more potential side effects but with a better chance of success. After much thought we made the decision given she was still a young and fit dog that we would go the more aggressive treatment protocol. After all, 12 months of feeling rotten in a dog’s life is a long time.
After undergoing more surgery, Lottie then began her gruelling chemotherapy protocol. Each week she would go in for blood tests and then chemotherapy. This went on for a number of weeks as she did have a few side effects along the way and some weeks she couldn’t have treatment. She did become neutropenic (low white blood cells) so the cytotoxic drugs could not be administered. But each week she went for her treatment and was just so exceptionally brave. If we humans could take a leaf out of her book on how to cope during cancer treatment then we would have no worries in the world.
After each day of treatment at the vets she would come home that evening. Some treatment days were tougher than others. She was nauseous and weak at times but she did what her little 5kg body allowed her to do. She oozed the heavy scent of cytotoxic drugs after each treatment as her little body was heavily poisoned to kill the cancerous cells. But not once did she complain and she took each day in her stride. She showed me resilience and determination and taught me more about being brave and living each day to the fullest.
At the time we didn’t know if she would get through it all and we also didn’t know how long she would live for thereafter. Follow up appointments were weekly for some months once treatment had finished. Looking back, it was really a waiting game. Time would tell and hopefully time would heal but there was always the unknown.
But as time went on our brave little girl who had fought so hard to beat canine lymphoma was in fact beating the odds.
Our vets still today say she is a living miracle. And without meaning any offence have said she should really shouldn’t still be with us. But of course we are so happy and delighted that she is a success story.
Lottie is now almost 12.5 years of age and still living life to the fullest. Who says a little dog can’t beat canine lymphoma? Lottie certainly doesn’t.