Today I received the official pathology report from the oncologist. Zainey had a stage 2 soft tissue sarcoma that grew out of her connective tissue (aka: cancerous tumor). *HAD* being the key word. The surgeon at VRCC in Denver was able to completely remove the tumor. While we are thrilled it’s gone– one of the margins was very very narrow, and reoccurrence is possible.
Thankfully Stage 1 and 2 tumors are much less aggressive than stage 3, but again, the tumors can regrow and narrow margins make regrowth a higher possibility than if the surgeon had been able to remove the entire tumor with large, clear borders of healthy tissue around it.
To treat very aggressively, we can do radiation or chemo. But the side effect of radiation is severe localized burn and pain and she must undergo radiation with anesthesia 18 times— 5x a week for three weeks. 18 times. That is insane. The burns will heal, but she will have a lot of pain. And you can imagine the risks involved with so much anesthesia.
I can’t imagine ever putting my dog through that. And after being an oncology nurse for a bit I’ll tell you that chemo is not in the cards for my dog either.
But there is hope!
Since the night we found out about her cancer we have been aggressively treating her holistically. She is on a fully balanced raw diet, she is on high dose CBD, she takes turmeric daily and is on two different whole mushroom supplements.
I share this because three weeks ago I felt completely helpless finding out my dog had cancer. And today, while disappointed that the diagnosis was in fact cancer (I mean, I think deep down I knew it was because everyone we met with said it was. But, you still hold out hope you know?), I am relieved to finally get this news confirmed while I simultaneously know more about cancer treatment options now than I knew a few weeks ago. And treatment options include holistic alternatives to skin burning radiation or cell killing, side effect laden chemo.
If the tumor grows back it will almost definitely grow back within 1 year, However with a very healthy diet, exercise, cbd, mushrooms and turmeric supplements our goal is to fight that regrowth naturally so that it doesn’t. We will continue to build up her immune system with the holistic cancer fighting & immune supporting natural remedies so that if those cells do begin to grow, the body will keep them in check.
If the cancer does come back, we will deal with that situation when it happens. Another surgery. Limb amputation if we absolutely have to. But we’re hoping for the better outcome– that it doesn’t grow back at all.
Undoubtedly there will be friends of mine whose dogs are diagnosed with cancer– let us be a resource. It’s a hard thing to go through from lump finding to surgery to post-op healing to chemo and radiation considerations to holistic alternative research…
Radiation almost guarantees that it won’t come back for 3 years minimum, if ever. But it comes at a physical cost. And I am not willing to put my beloved dog through that, and maybe when the time comes you won’t either.
This is our new reality and there is no heavy sigh of relief today. We’re in this for life. We are so thankful the tumor was a grade 2 and fully removed — but the fight doesn’t stop with this good news, it only intensifies.