As much as I try to catch this blog up, it is now running about 6 weeks behind real-time life. I promise to finish up the Baja trip posts soon, but wanted to give everyone an update on this past week’s events with Millie.
Last September, Millie’s mast cell cancer returned after a 3 year remission. She showed no symptoms, but I knew that her long-term prognosis was not good and knew I didn’t want to put her through any more heroic cancer treatments. So, our hometown vet suggested a regime of Benadryl and Pepcid AC, and we hoped for as many happy, active months as possible.
Millie had an amazing 2 months in Baja doing what she loves more than anything else in this world – to swim and frolic on sunny, sandy beaches. Whenever she’d get in the water, the slow-moving 10-year-old body was suddenly transformed into that of a playful, year-old puppy. Her energy seemed boundless!
But, a week ago, she started having some inflammation in her eyes and neck. I took her to a vet in Yuma who prescribed some antibiotics, but more shocking was seeing the numbers on the scale when they went to weigh her-- she had lost 10 lbs since September, and 20 lbs in the past year (Millie now weighs just 48 pounds). I immediately expedited our travel plans to get back to Tucson and follow up with her oncologist, Dr. Mary Kay Klein, at Southern Arizona Veterinary.
Just a few hours after we arrived to Tucson last Thursday, Millie’s health seemed to suddenly nose-dive. She refused to eat or drink, and when she tried to sleep, kept tossing and turning every minute or two unable to get comfortable. By early the next morning, she was too weak to stand, so I carried her into SAV’s 24-hour Emergency Clinic and posted a quick prayer request to my friends on Facebook.
While the E/R team began running tests and re-hydrating Millie, the comments from friends began flooding my Facebook account with support and prayers. The E/R sent me home with a few new drugs and we would follow up with our previously-scheduled oncology appointment on Monday.
Friday night, she was no longer fidgeting, but still very out of it (sleeping most of the time), but by Saturday, she was now able to eat and drink again and could walk around our campsite. Still, I was not sure she would make it through the weekend.
On Sunday, our sweet Baja travel buddies Hans and Ursula (who were now staying up in the Phoenix area), decided to rent a car and drive down to Tucson to see Millie and me for a few hours. That seemed to start perking Millie back up again (and it perked me up as well).
Meanwhile, the Prednisone the E/R vet had given us started doing its job and by Monday, it seemed nothing short of a miracle that Millie was now alert, walking, and wagging her tail again as we headed back to the clinic to see the oncologist.
It turns out that Millie is now fighting not just one, but two kinds of cancer—her recurrent mast cell disease, and now, advanced-stage lymphoma that has spread to her spleen and liver.
While the odds are now stacked further up against her, we’re hoping the prednisone and one or two doses of light chemo will give her a few more quality weeks. Seeing as that’s better than the few hours I thought she had left last Friday, we’ll take it.
We will continue plans to head to New Mexico late next week to park and be still for a few months (more about that news later). Springtime in the “Land of Enchantment” should be a good place to savor each and every one of these “bonus days” here on earth that Millie’s angel is surely now giving her.