You, Me and Lilly make three!
In July, we found a lump on the left side of her neck which seemed to get bigger over a few weeks’ time. We took her to see her regular vet and they did some testing.
She even hugs bears!
The next day our vet called and the news was not good. Dr. Moral said “We got the cytology results back. There is no easy way to say this. Lilly has a malignant thyroid carcinoma.” This is the first case of thyroid cancer in a dog that she had seen in her 27 years of practice. She referred us to oncology to discuss Lilly’s treatment options. We were speechless and stunned. We didn’t know what to think, how to feel or what to do, besides cry.
All pretty after her spa day.
To say that we were devastated is a gross understatement. We felt lost, concerned, sad, helpless, scared and confused. All the while trying to stay positive. We were experiencing so many thoughts and feelings that it was just overwhelming. We had so many questions. Was she in pain? What can we do for her? Why is this happening to her? Did we do something wrong? Why can’t dog’s talk?
Lilly digging up rocks and playing in the ocean.
Creating the plan
We saw Dr. Choy, Lilly's oncologist the next week. He explained everything to us and went through all the possible scenarios and treatment options. He felt surgery was our best option but needed a few more tests. The results confirmed that Lilly had a tumor in her left thyroid gland and that the cancer had also spread to one lymph node. Dr. Leeman from surgery also saw Lilly and agreed with Dr. Choy that surgery was the best option. Dr. Leeman planned to remove her left thyroid gland, tumor and lymph node. She said it would be a straight forward surgery.
Enjoying a sunny day. 3 days after diagnosis
Lilly's surgery on August 15 was scheduled for one hour but took three. Waiting for the call was horrible. We were anxious and scared. What was taking so long? Were things worse than what they thought? Had something gone wrong during surgery?
Taken at the hospital 4 hours after surgery.
When the phone rang we were relieved yet apprehensive. Dr. Leeman said that Lilly had come through surgery fine which was wonderful. They removed the left thyroid gland and lymph node as planned. That was when conversation took a dramatic turn.
The tumor was much larger than expected. It had spread to the muscles in her neck as well as wrapped itself around her esophagus and larynx. The tumor also invaded 6” of her jugular vein and 3” of another vein that branched off the jugular vein. Both of those veins were removed. They removed everything that they could see. However, because it was so invasive, there were microscopic cancer cells left behind and Lilly would require further treatment. Dr. Leeman said it was the most invasive thyroid tumor she had ever seen.
Lilly's incision, 1 week after surgery.
Lilly is Denise's Support Dog
Denise has Multiple Sclerosis. Lilly is not a Service Dog but is absolutely her Support Dog. We got Lilly when she was just 6 weeks old. This was shortly after Denise had to stop working because of her MS. Lilly knows when and where Denise is hurting. Lilly let's Denise know when it is time to sit down and take care of herself. Lilly's love and support has been crucial in helping Denise fight MS.
Lilly does this with other people as well. The connection that she has with her humans and friends is unmatched. She gives the best hugs, yes actual hugs. She loves life and has so much left to give.
Lilly reminding Denise to take her walker when they go for a walk.
Lilly's doctors have recommended that she get Definitive Radiation Therapy. This treatment will kill the cancer cells that remain. This is only done at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. It is a course of 18 treatments that is given over 4 weeks. We have decided to go forward with this treatment and we need your help.
Day after surgery at home icing her incision
We need your help. Denise and Lilly will be going to Pullman (317 miles from home) October 4 and will be back November 1. They will be staying with family which is a huge cost savings.
The estimate for the treatment is $4,500 - $5,000. We can pay for part of this but not all of it. We have gone through most of our savings paying $7,141.54 for the treatments she has already had since July. (Statements showing what we have paid thus far are located in Update 1 and 2).
We must pay $2,000 on October 5, 2017. The balance will be due at discharge on November 1, 2017.
All GoFundMe donations will be used for Lilly's veterinary care. We will post updates and bills so you can follow her treatment and recovery. The funds will first go toward paying for her Definitive Radiation Therapy. Any money raised beyond our goal will be used for Lilly's follow up care (follow up appointments, treatment, labs, medications, imaging and other testing as needed).
Hanging out in bed, 4 days after surgery
Any help you can give us is more appreciated that you could ever know.
Please help spread the word about Lilly. Share our link on your Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you in advance, you truly don’t know how much your support means to all of us.
Lilly, Scott and Denise
- Sherryl Mitchell
- Kimberly Delcuore
- Cansu Edeoglu
- Melissa and Kevin Croft
- Dianne Ranck
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