April 14, 2016

Before I start this post, I have to mention that before we even left for Indiana, I was washing some clothes to take with us and noticed two rumpled up t-shirts in the dryer. I shook them out and they were Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine t-shirts! My husband hadn’t shown much excitement about the trip after we were invited down so I wasn’t sure how he was feeling about the whole thing, and then I found those shirts. Turns out he was hiding it from me. I re-washed the rumbled shirts and packed them up – of course we had to wear our Purdue pride!

I didn’t sleep a wink last night – or maybe I slept for an hour or two, I was so excited and ready to go meet Dr. Debbie Knapp and the Purdue Comparative Oncology team that would handle Layla’s case. I was up early and with the time change from WI to IN – I was tired and wired. No food for little miss Layla that morning, just enough of her favorite free-range organic turkey breast to take her peval megals (that is what we called her pills). Our appointment was at 9 am so we had to check out of the hotel since we were only going to be there a day so we had to pack everything up again, get ice for the cooler, check out of the hotel, go for a puppy potty break and back in our traveling SUV to the Purdue Small Animal Hospital!

The morning started out cloudy and a little misty. We crowded into the truck and headed on our way. We only had about a 10-15 minute drive, but I wanted to be early. We headed on through town – neat little place. I can still see the stop lights, buildings, where we would turn here and there to get to the hospital. I didn’t want to miss a single detail of this trip. We arrived early and sat in the car – took this pictur

As we always had in the past before any procedure, test result, etc. with Layla – we prayed in the car as a family. I was so tired, drained, but had new hope that this was it, that this would work. We always had special family prayer moments in the car in front of many veterinary clinics and hospitals. We said amen, my husband did “elevator daddy” with Layla because she couldn’t get in and out of the car on her own anymore and we headed towards the front door. I had my trusty “Layla” binder with me that had a list of her food, medicines, etc.

We got inside and the hospital was busy! We were in line at the counter and while we were filling out our paperwork there had to be three or four more people come in behind us – whew, busy day. We checked in and sat down – all I could hear was people talking about chemo, radiation, surgery, etc. I couldn’t help wonder if all the dogs in the hospital that day were cancer patients – ugh! I hate cancer!

We weren’t waiting long until one of the students came to get us. Amalia was her name, such a sweet gal! She listened to what we had to say, asked really good questions and was so very personable. Very different from our past experiences – I was quite pleased. She took all the information and left the room. Soon after the lady who I had spoken to on the phone – Patty, walked in with Dr. Knapp, Dr. Ambrosis and Chris -it was like meeting a long lost friends. She walked in, said my name and we just hugged. I knew we made the right decision to come. The team took our picture with Layla talked over some options we had and Dr. Knapp basically gave us a bladder tumor 101 in the room. She is amazing! Easy to talk to, nice, caring, super smart, but speaks to you in a way you can understand – not all Veterinary Oncologists can do that. After our 101, they took Layla back for an ultrasound to get updated images and we sat in the room and talked over our options. Yikes, did we have more than we anticipated. We thought about it and landed on wanting to try the Targeted Folate Receptor Therapy. With that said, we were told that now we would need to stay another day because they would have to do a minor procedure on Layla to get some of the tumor sample to test. Oh gosh … now I was nervous. My husband said that he didn’t drive all the way here to not at least try to get into this one certain clinical trial so that’s what we did. They took Layla back for more tests and we headed out for some lunch and to call the hotel – hopefully they still had a room for us!

We went to the Olive Garden in town for a nice lunch and took the picture of my husband smiling wearing his Purdue t-shirt, which I sent to Patty. We wanted her to see how excited we were to be there. I called the hotel and they reserved our same room for us so we went back, checked in (again) and unpacked (again) and settled in for a bit until we ran back to the hospital. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was shining, it was a beautiful day! We sat inside the waiting room and struck up a wonderful conversation with a lady who we had seen in line earlier that morning. She had the most stunning all black German Shepherd Dog. Turned out, that pup had cancer too – and this was her second relapse. Just ridiculous! We were called back to the exam room where we were greeted by the resident on our case, Dr. Ambrosis and then here comes in Amalia and miss Layla. We were given instructions for the evening and next morning to prep for surgery. We found out we had to be back at the clinic at 6:30 am the next day … whew, we need to head back to the hotel for sleepy – it would be another long day tomorrow. We got back to the hotel and I need to run over to the store and just so happens there was a Wal-Mart nearby and I picked up the few things I needed and for some reason headed over to the toy section. We were browsing around and came across this cute gray bear with a brown nose – Layla would love this! It was the only one they had so we figured he was special. We bought that little teddy for our girl. We came back to the hotel and gave Layla that teddy who we named, “Mr. Teddy Bayo”. Layla loved him! She snuggled up with him and we set in for a relaxing but semi-anxious evening. The next day was a big day … we’ll see what tomorrow bring

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