I have put off writing this in hopes that maybe if I didn't put it down in writing it wouldn't be true, but I need some support and maybe even some advice as things progress along (and I am sure someone here has been through something similar or has some insight). I am a bit of a mess right now, so hopefully I don't forget anything.
I posted about a week ago in this section asking for opinions on Rain's weight as I had noticed she was looking thinner and the general consensus was that she definitely was too thin. I decided it best to take her in for an exam just to make sure she was ok. I took her in on Monday this week expecting to have bloodwork taken and the bump on her back aspirated. This was the first time my new vet has seen Rain, but she has treated Roc numerous times for his various ailments and she is a personal friend - I trust her and I know she takes care of my dogs as if they were her own. As soon as she saw the bump on Rain's nose she said she did not like the way it looked and wanted to have it aspirated which I was a bit alarmed by, but of course I had her aspirate that and the bump on her back. The bump on Rain's back came back as a cyst, but the bump on Rain's nose was diagnosed as a mast cell tumor. Now this bump has been on Rain's nose for probably 3 years and has been diagnosed by 2 previous vets as a histocytoma which is a benign growth, so you can imagine my surprise. On top of that the lymph node on Rain's neck on that side was swollen so she aspirated that as well and found suspicious cells in that as well pointing to a possibility that it has spread.
Because of the location of the mast cell tumor it cannot be easily removed and depending on how far it has spread and the stage of the tumor will decide what type of treatment we can pursue. And also the cost, prognosis, and quality of life. I went home Monday night with the knowledge that if the cancer had spread that Rain was pretty much a dead dog walking and if not that we might be able to radiate the area.
I took Rain in today to get chest x-rays and take more samples from the lymph node to send to the lab for further testing. The chest x-rays were clear, so the cancer has not spread to her lungs which is good. Her bloodwork came back perfectly fine too. And I should hopefully find out a more definitive answer about whether the cancer has spread to her lymph node tomorrow night. I did have her hips x-rayed since she has been having some pain in them and she has some arthritis, so I will be adding some supplements.
I have an appointment scheduled for Friday afternoon to meet with an oncologist who my vet referred me to and who she has already spoken with on the phone about Rain's case. According to the oncologist, if the MCT is only stage 2 and has not spread any farther than the local lymph node than she would probably want to remove what she could of the tumor (not sure how pretty that surgery would be) and then follow up with chemotherapy - my vet thinks this would cost at least $5000. This is best case scenario. The oncologist may want to take needle aspirates from some of her internal organs to make sure it has not spread there first though as if it has spread there than no treatment would be effective. If the MCT is stage 3 or 4 then most likely I will just be treating Rain with supportive care until her quality of life decreases (possibly we could treat her with prednisone which has been used to slow down the progression of MCTs).
At this point this is all just speculation and 2nd hand information from the vet. I will have a better idea of my options or lack of options once I meet with the oncologist on Friday afternoon. I don't have the money to treat this, but I have to find out all of the options as I could never just stand by and do nothing and if by some miracle she has a good chance of survival/beating this then somehow I will have to find it. I also feel like I failed her by somehow not catching this earlier - I should have asked for a 3rd opinion 2 years back instead of just assuming the vets I took her to were correct in their diagnosis. I feel like my world is falling apart. Other than the weight issue she has been acting like her normal goofy self and I just cannot imagine that I could lose her.
I know I am rambling now, so I will stop..... I hope this all makes sense... I will update again after the oncology appt