Friday, August 24, 2012

Furry Friday: Screw You, Lymphoma

conan and lily

On Wednesday night, I got some heartbreaking news from the vet: the results from Conan's recent lymph node biopsy came back positive for lymphoma. Conan has cancer.

Somehow I managed to hold it together through the entire 10-minute phone conversation with the vet, but as soon as I hung up I disintegrated into a sobbing mess. And my sweet, sweet Conan patiently licked the tears and snot off my face as I balled into his fur for half an hour.

Lymphoma isn't curable -- the best we can hope for is a lengthy remission. And, according to the vet, lengthy in this case means a year. If she's right, our dear Mr. Nub most likely won't make it to his seventh birthday.

I've done some research in the past two days (and so has Jarrod in Afghanistan) and tomorrow we'll convene on Skype to discuss the treatment options the vet laid out for us. Option 1 is to give Conan prednisone, an oral steroid, which will help with the symptoms but not do anything to ward off the cancer's progression, with a likely prognosis of three months. Option 2 is a one-drug chemotherapy program. And Option 3 is an aggressive five-drug, 25-week chemotherapy regimen in which Conan would spend one day a week at the vet and hopefully attain a one-year remission. Option 3, which may be the most likely candidate at this point, comes with a gasp-inducing price tag of $5,000 to $7,000, not including costs for any "complications" Conan may have along the way.

During the small bit of research I've accomplished, I've learned that a diet makeover will likely be in order for Conan. Carbs and sugars feed cancer cells -- bad! -- and we'll want to cut those out as much as safely possible. Conan already eats a grain-free kibble (Blue Buffalo Wilderness) but I'm going to get some information from the vet on a home-cooked protein-based diet.

Apparently lymphoma is an aggressive, fast-moving cancer. It's just astonishing to me that Conan, who seems to have no symptoms whatsoever other than an enlarged lymph node and is still as happy and energetic as ever, could deteriorate to the point of death in just two or three months without chemotherapy treatment.

As devastating as it was to learn that our Nubby has incurable cancer, I have hope that we'll make the right decision treatment-wise and give Conan every ounce of love and TLC we can for however long we're lucky enough to have him with us.


  1. Sad news for Conan. You and Jarrod will make the best deicison for all of you. It will be interesting to learn about his new diet and how he adjust to it. Maybe a new blog?

  2. omg, Lindsay. I just read this and am crying... I didn't realize the vet diagnosed him with lymphoma. what you wrote about Conan not recovering is heart-breaking. I'm so sorry :( poor boy.. shit. I need to stop looking at these pictures


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