We hope you've all been enjoying the New Year, but we've had a bit of bad news to deal with over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, we received the regrettable news that Lulu's cancer has returned (now 16 months removed from her initial surgery). But let me back up a bit. 

In November, while chilling on the sofa and lovingly petting our four legged crew member, I noticed a small bump on Lulu's right arm just above her elbow. I had a completely expected reaction...immediately tearing up, fighting the anxiety that crept from my stomach up my esophagus bringing with it a wave of nausea. This is my normal reaction when I feel anything out of sorts on Lulu after her diagnosis of a mast cell tumor and its ultimate removal back in fall 2012.

Alex tried to calm my fears, reminding me that Lulu's vet instructed us to carefully monitor for new bumps, and if we discovered any, to keep an eye on them for any change in size and color. Well, we watched it obsessively for a few weeks and it neither grew nor shrank, much unlike the mast cell tumor she had on her abdomen over a year earlier. When it didn't go away after a reasonable amount of time, we called and made an appointment to have her vet look at it more closely.

The week before Christmas she had an appointment and a sample of the bump was collected with a small needle and sent off for biopsy analysis. I don't know what came over us, but we were really optimistic it was nothing. We had convinced ourselves it was likely nothing after it didn't change in size. We'd made the initial determination that it was hopefully nothing to worry about since it was so much smaller than the first one. And most importantly, we had almost dismissed it as a risk after the bump didn't bleed when it was stuck with the needle several times, which our vet pointed out is very uncharacteristic of mast cell tumors. So we went on our way, feeling pretty positive that the results would come back negative.

A few days before Christmas we got a call from our vet. Much to our and our vet's surprise, the test results came back positive for mast cells. In fact, a mast cell tumor. She was shocked, we were shocked, Lulu...well, Lulu was fine, she didn't know the difference except for the fact that I was now crying and slobbering all over her for no apparent reason.

How had this happened? How had this bump, this tiny little, non color changing, non bleeding, non growing bump, which we had no expectation as being anything more than a benign tumor or fatty deposit, come back as a mast cell tumor? How had she "beaten" this by being tumor free for the prior 16 months (anything more than 6 months without recurrence is considered "cured"), only to have it come back when we least expected it? It just doesn't seem fair.

So where are we now? We're sort of in a waiting game. Today, Lulu is going undergoing tumor removal surgery. We had to drop her off early this morning, and are currently waiting for the call when she's out of surgery. 

The hope is that the tumor is successfully removed with good margins, that it's tested and comes back with a grade 1 rating (the grade with the best long term prognosis), that she recovers quickly and without issue, and that she lives a long and very healthy life, licking our faces whenever she wants. That's the best case scenario, and the one we're obviously hoping for. There are so many scenarios beyond the best case, but that's the one we need to focus on, while simultaneously preparing for one of the many other possible cases.

It's a scary situation, compounded by the fact that our little four legged and very furry and wrinkly baby can't talk to us, can't understand why she's having surgery, and why she has to go to the vet (her most hated place in the world) once again. It's not fair, but it's necessary. We just need to keep reminding ourselves that we will do absolutely whatever is necessary to give our Lulu the best life we possibly can. And at times, that means we need to give her medical care that we're pretty sure she'll hate us for in the moment.

Wish us luck, or better yet, wish Lulu luck, a speedy recovery, favorable lab results, and a longstanding recovery. We want to be able to provide many more years of wrinkle faced and goofy looking photos of her sweet Ori-Pei face or quick video shots of her agility in climbing trees while chasing squirrels.

Comments 33


1/6/2014 at 10:36 AM

Keeping my fingers cross and sending healthy thoughts your way!

Kristin Frykman
1/6/2014 at 10:39 AM

Sending loving, healing vibes to sweet Lulu, and beams of surgical-brilliance-white-light to your veterinarian!

1/6/2014 at 10:46 AM

Prayers and positive thoughts on their way!

1/6/2014 at 11:07 AM

Sending positive thoughts your way! Get well soon, Lulu!

1/6/2014 at 11:12 AM

I'm so sorry to hear this! Wishing her luck today!!

1/6/2014 at 11:14 AM

Oh dear lord this is my nightmare. Guhhhhhh. She's lucky you both take such wonderful care of her. Good luck today!! If you're anything like me, Lulu will be much more "ok" than you. Bask in the puppy snuggles!!

1/6/2014 at 11:21 AM

good luck to lulu! wishing you all the best outcome possible!

Laura C
1/6/2014 at 11:25 AM

Sending lots of positive thoughts your way - I hope everything turns out well.

1/6/2014 at 11:29 AM

Oh, poor baby Lulu. Keeping her - and you - in my thoughts.

1/6/2014 at 12:09 PM

Oh no! I will certainly keep Lulu in my prayers! Y'all stay strong for your fur baby! Much love from the Boyles.

1/6/2014 at 12:33 PM

I'm so sorry to hear. I am rooting for Lulu for a speedy recovery and many many more face licks to come.

1/6/2014 at 12:51 PM

I'm sure Lulu will pull trough this. She'll be shaken, you'll be shaken, but she'll pull trough. Wishing you all the best and all the strengh to pass this ordeal!

1/6/2014 at 1:17 PM

I'm so sorry, you guys. I have everything possible crossed that the best case scenario plays out.

1/6/2014 at 1:43 PM

Oh gosh! I will be hoping so hard that Lulu and you guys get the best possible results. Thinking of you guys.

1/6/2014 at 2:06 PM

Oh no!! Fingers crossed that everything turns out for the best!!

1/6/2014 at 2:22 PM

Awww you guys! I feel so sorry for you and for Lulu, but I'm going to be thinking only positive thoughts for the best possible outcome!!!

1/6/2014 at 2:51 PM

Got everything possible crossed for you and Lulu

1/6/2014 at 4:12 PM

Wishing the best possible outcome & long-distance belly rubs to Lulu. And prayers. And big hugs to both of you.

1/6/2014 at 4:56 PM

What good pet parents you are!! Lulu is lucky to have you as her humans, taking such amazing care of her. Hugs to both of you as you go through this again.

1/6/2014 at 5:23 PM

Hoping for the best for Lulu (and for you).

1/6/2014 at 6:34 PM

Poor Lulu, hope she recovers quickly.

1/6/2014 at 8:18 PM

We're rooting for you, Lulu!

1/6/2014 at 9:28 PM

I cried a little just reading that - thinking happy thoughts for you and Lulu!

1/6/2014 at 11:08 PM

Big hugs and much strength winging their way to y'all and Lulu from AU. mwah heather x

1/6/2014 at 11:41 PM

Prayers for the precious puppy.

1/7/2014 at 9:19 AM

Hoping and praying that everything comes out ok. By taking good care of her, you were able to tell something wasn't right as soon as it happened and you caught it early. Hopefully she'll be all clear after this surgery.

Hugs. I have been there.

1/7/2014 at 10:39 AM

Hope all went well and you have good news. Keeping Lulu in our prayers although my 4 year old got a bit confused as our cat is named Lulu.

So hard when our furbabies aren't doing well. My dog died of a rare form of skin cancer, but there was no treatment and nothing for us to notice or remove either. I feel very lucky to have gotten to be his mommy.

1/7/2014 at 11:53 AM

Mollydog and I are sending virtual hugs to you and Lulu.

Hoping for the best.

1/7/2014 at 11:59 AM

Sending virtual hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery and No. More. Cancer for Lulu. Our Willow beagle is recovering from surgery in December to remove a fibroma that developed right between her eyes last summer. It was getting bigger, so off it came. Fortunately it was benign, but it was a scary time. Make Lulu some nice homemade dog treats and she might just forget about the vet Alt wink

1/9/2014 at 9:42 AM

:( I hope everything works itself out for the best!!! I can't imagine the strain you're under dealing with this. Thoughts and prayers for you all!

1/12/2014 at 12:31 PM

a speedy recovery to you !

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