March 26, 2016

It was a sunny, remarkably warm Thursday in March and Layla was due for her fourth round of chemotherapy and ultrasound re-check. This day started like any other “chemotherapy/ultrasound” day – we prayed together as a family, thanked God ahead of time that the tumor would be smaller and believed that we would receive good news – even though we hadn’t received much since her cancer diagnosis in January. Our motto was, “Never give up hope” …

On a typical chemotherapy/ultrasound day, my husband would drop Layla off at the hospital early the morning, call me between 11 am and 1 pm with the ultrasound results, and then pick her up around 3:30 pm and head home. That day was not a typical day … It was 2 pm and I had yet to receive a phone call from him. I couldn’t wait any longer – it was either great news he wanted to share later or it was very, very bad news and he didn’t want me to freak out and cry at work. I decided to call – I could feel a knot in my stomach the size of a softball start to form when I asked him how everything was going and he was completely silent. still had not heard from him. The conversation pretty much happened in slow motion … “It’s not good, the cancer spread and is now in the Trigone of her bladder”. My heart was pounding, I was shaking, I started to cry and hung up the phone. All that was racing through my mind was that I had to get to where Layla was. On the 8 minute drive over to the hospital from work, I kept thinking, how could this have happened, we were doing everything we could, why was nothing working! I cried all the way there, barely could contain myself once I saw the building, driving like a mad person to the parking lot, haphazardly parked my car (thankfully remembering to turn it off) before I flew through the hospital doors to talk to an oncologist.

I wasn’t waiting long before I was called into one of those waiting rooms … I hate those rooms. If the walls could talk, they would tell you we have spent many days and nights there over the 12.5 years we spent with Layla. Those rooms have seen our tears, fears, smiles, happy and sad moments. As of late, it was only fear and sadness that filled those rooms when I walked in and as I entered to wait for the doctor, I began to get sick to my stomach … I really, really hate those rooms.

I was waiting all of 5 minutes when an oncologist I had never met before (which isn’t uncommon for a VTH), walked in and started telling me about the results of the ultrasound – the tumor had spread, blah, blah, blah and that they had already tried the two best types of intravenous chemotherapy drugs for this type of cancer. At this point I am thinking, why did you stop there, what is your action plan? I asked her, “so now what?” Her response to me, “there is no hope for Layla, we’ve done all we can do”. I responded with, “Really? That’s it?” I wanted to say, WTF are you talking about? This is one of the top-rated VTH in the country and you tell me that? Who the F do you think you are! Can you tell I’m still angry?  I thanked her for talking to me, grabbed Layla’s leash and walked out of there. I was fine until I got to the parking lot and then swear words of complete rage and anger spewed out of my mouth like a volcano erupting! I was so angry! I couldn’t believe how cold and unfeeling this doctor was to me and to Layla. We had been going there for so many years and for them to treat her like a number and that her time was basically up was completely and 100% unforgivable.

I drove home, stewing about the events that had just transpired. When I arrived home, I immediately got to work researching TCC in dogs and canine cancer diets, supplements/natural remedies. I searched the internet high and low until morning, compiling as much information as I could so that I could put together an action plan for my sweet Layla. During my endless search, I found on one of the canine cancer forums that there was a TCC dogs Facebook group – WOW- cool! I requested to join, but it would take a week or so to accept my request. At the time, I kept wondering why is it taking so long to be accepted into the group, I need help, but God had other plans …

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