Holly is the Angel who took in Blaze and watched over her, getting her to the vet, caring, visiting and updating us every day. Without Holly, Blaze would have just been put to sleep at the shelter and that would have been the end of her story. But she never gave up on Blaze - and she has shared the story of Nancy, her other miracle dog, so that everyone knows that where there is love, there is hope. Enjoy Nancy's story.
For those of you who don’t know, my Nancy, who turned 13 in August, was diagnosed in May of 2009 with Level 3 spindle cell sarcoma, with a lump presenting on her left side. This is an extremely deadly kind of cancer that metastasizes by putting out tentacle things from the main growth. Fortunately, I had sense enough to recognize that it wasn’t like the ordinary old dog fatty tumor (lipoma like Blaze’s) and had it checked out. Dr. Joanie Brower at Ansley removed the tumor, then set us up for consultation with Dr. Terrence Hamilton at Georgia Veterinary Specialty, who is reputed to be the best animal oncologist on the east coast. Hamilton’s bedside manner is what some would call… pragmatic… but if my good friend, Stacy Andrew (the Ophthalmology Specialist at GVS) had not sat thru the consult with me, I would’ve missed his whole conversation in my shock and tears. He stated it plainly: with no treatment, Nancy would live 2 to 4 months. With a complete round of chemo, we could expect 18 – 24 months. However, with radiation first, then chemo, we could expect more time, if not a cure. When the word “cure” came out of his mouth, it was a done deal in my head.
As soon as Nancy’s surgery site was healed enough, they started her radiation treatments. We drove up to GVS every morning for 18 days (weekends off). They put her in “twilight sleep” for each treatment. She was so amazingly tough, skin inked to mark the position, shaved and burned from the laser -- every single day she was delighted to hop in the car, pranced through the doors at GVS like a rock star, then slept in my lap, exhausted, all the way home after the treatment. I still can’t believe how tough she was. Ten days after the radiation was completed, she started a 15 week regimen of chemotherapy – two different cocktails: Vincristine two times, then every 3rd week she had Adriamycin/Cytoxan cocktail, a combo that makes many dogs so desperately ill that they cannot eat and lose their battle with cancer that way.
My poor baby Nancy was SO tired during that 15 week stretch, stopped chasing chipmunks and having fun doing anything, slept all the time – but fortunately never stopped eating and never stopped being loving and affectionate. She finished the chemo on November 2, 2010. Once the chemo was out of her system, she gradually turned back into the silly, fun loving, rodent killing little girl she was before. Since last November, we have gone back every 3 months for chest x-ray (lungs/chest are where her type of cancer typically metastasizes) and blood work and other exam. For days before each scheduled check-up (especially in the first few months) I was always a wreck. Couldn’t sleep, prayed to God or Allah or Colonel Sanders or anybody else I could think of to save my baby’s life; and every time, my prayers have been answered. They were answered again this morning, when Dr. Hamilton proclaimed her x-ray and other results “perfect” and said we don’t have to come for check-up again for six months.
So, I’m frantic with work and can’t figure out how to rob Peter to pay Paul again this month, and the endless crap of ordinary life still goes on, but today, ladies and gentlemen, today is a banner day!
I’m not so stupid or arrogant to think that I have made any of this happen. Blaze survives and is cancer free because that is what was meant to be. Nancy survives and is cancer free because that was also meant to be. Things may change later, and I know neither of them will live forever, but for now all I can do is say thank you so much. Thank all of you who have continued to pray, send your love and encouragement and good wishes. WHATEVER IT IS, IT WORKS!!!
In the meantime, Blaze and Nancy send happy foxie kisses to all of you – honestly, I know your caring made this happen, each and every one of you.