A few weeks ago I took Sully in for his annual check up since he just turned 4. After being given a clean bill of health, his vet called while I waited in the car to let me know was we already knew- he’s a healthy, happy boy, and to get permission to give him his two vaccines he was due for. One, a normal vaccine, and another, the kind they spray up your nose. About ten minutes later they called again to say that they had discovered something surprising. While lifting Sully’s head up to give his nasal spray vaccine, the vet tech felt a large mass in his throat/neck area. Since then, we have been undergoing testing, imaging and more testing and I am sad to say my sweet son has thyroid cancer.
Since his diagnosis, Sully has been referred to Bridge Animal Referral Center (BARC) in Edmonds for upcoming treatment. After completing a CT scan, what we now know is that the tumor is 6cm (they prefer to see under 4cm) but that it is only on one side of his thyroid, meaning they will be able to save half of it, and that the tumor is movable and not wrapped around his esophagus. At this point his thyroid is functioning normally as well which is a positive. We have to take the good news where we can right?!
That being said, Sully has a long road ahead of him. The first step in Sully’s treatment will be surgery on Monday, November 1st which given the above info he is a good candidate for. The estimate BARC gave us is between $4000-$4800. Following surgery, the surgeon and oncologist will develop a care plan depending on how things look. This may include radiation, electro chemotherapy, chemo pills or immunotherapy, all of which are very expensive. We will keep folks updated on what comes next, but right now we are focusing on making sure surgery goes smoothly.
We are hopeful that because we caught it and because it hasn’t appeared to spread (will know more after surgery) we will be able to save my sweet Sully, but to say I am terrified is an understatement. He is far too young to be facing such a scary battle and I feel so bad that he doesn’t understand what’s going on and why he has to keep going to the vet and being poked and put under.
Like many other tragic stories we see, hear and experience, the sadness and fear is further exaggerated because of the cost of care. Diagnosing his cancer alone has cost over $2000 on top of the $4-4.8k coming in a few weeks and possible treatment following surgery too. I am extremely lucky to have a supportive family helping Sully and I, but any additional help in covering these expenses as we head into the holidays would mean the world to us.
If you can take anything away from this, please take your animals to the vet for their yearly checkups. Sully is a perfect, young, happy, energetic and healthy dog and if this would have gone undetected this would be far more tragic with much less of a shot of saving him than than there is now. Lastly, spend time with your pets while you can. The main reason we took our road trip April-June was because I knew Sully was getting older and I wanted him to see, sniff and explore while he is still young and healthy. I will never regret a moment of the time I have spent with him and you’ll never regret a moment you spend with your pets too.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and for caring about Sully. If you aren’t able to donate, please share and please send positive vibes to my Sully boy. I will keep this page updated on how surgery goes and what comes next!