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A SPECIAL CLASS FOR LILY
It has taken me weeks to get the courage to write this.
The following is a snapshot into what the past 6 weeks have been like for our family.
Yoga For Lily: About
In mid-December, while on a leashed walk, Lily randomly broke her leg. It was a fluke and raised immediate red flags to the emergency veterinarian because it shouldn't have happened. Dogs don't just break a leg on a walk.
The tests began and so did Lily's first surgery - a repair of her tibia that we prayed was the only issue and would heal seamlessly. Despite strict rest, clear bloodwork, X-rays and ultrasounds, on January 5th we received the news that our sweet girls leg wasn't healing and the follow up X-rays showed clear signs of Osteosarcoma, aka bone cancer. Out of all the cancers, bone cancer is one of the most painful and quick to spread. At this point, we had a few choices:
1. Amputate Lily's leg to remove the main source of pain and hope for ~3-6 months of good times with our girl.
2. Begin palliative care which could give us weeks or months.
3. Schedule euthanasia.
In the next 24 hours, we decided that amputation was the route that made most sense. With her broken leg not healing, Lily was already in so much pain and it wasn't fair for her to carry around this extra limb that wasn't working (she wasn't weight bearing at all). At the same time, she was still so lively. She was eating, drinking, wagging her tail and just being her regular quirky self with limitations.
Yoga For Lily: Text
We scheduled her amputation for Saturday January 8th. We drove an hour away to a board certified surgeon out of the city and dropped our sweet angel off. Not 45 minutes later, the vet called us to share he had done a final chest X-ray prior to surgery and he was concerned with the soft tissue he was seeing in her lungs. For insight, bone cancer is very aggressive and usually spreads to the organs at a rapid pace. When this happens, the prognosis changes to days... maybe weeks. We were gutted with this news. The surgeon said he wasn't comfortable putting Lily under anesthesia and wanted to have the radiologist look at the X-ray and get additional blood work. We turned around and went to pick up our girl, our hearts shattered. We had lost hope and didn't want Lily to suffer. Over the next few days, we started saying goodbye. We took Lily to her favourite place, the beach. We had family photos done. She got all the treats imaginable. We had our closest friends and her favourite humans over for cuddles and goodbyes. These days are the hardest I have ever experienced. I was waking up crying, I wasn't eating and I couldn't leave her side. I wouldn't wish this grief on anyone.
Yoga For Lily: Image
On Monday afternoon, at the 11th hour, we got a call from the vet. The radiologist had looked at the X-rays and said they were unremarkable - there was nothing to be concerned about. Lily's blood work came back mostly normal with the exception of her being anemic, which is expected when your body is fighting cancer. We booked her amputation for the next day.
Leaving Lily at the vet for the next 24 hours was very difficult, but we felt confident we were doing the right thing for her. Since her amputation, Lily has done incredibly well. She has adapted to a tripod life pretty seamlessly and we are so proud of her bravery. However, amputation does not mean we are out of the woods, unfortunately. With bone cancer, they say once it is found it has already spread. So far, Lily's organs appear clear, but usually the cancer is hiding there on a microscopic level. With the amputation, the life expectancy is 3 to 6 months. Many owners will choose to do chemo post amputation which gives anywhere from 9-12 months.
We have a chemo consultation and Holistic Vet appointment scheduled for the first week of Feb. We are hoping that through our discussions with these professionals, we can figure out a path forward that will increase Lily's chances of living a longer and pain free life.
Yoga For Lily: About
As anyone who has had a sick pet can imagine, the last 6 weeks have not only been filled with pain and grief, but have also been a huge financial burden. We fixed Lily's broken leg only to find out mere weeks later it had to amputated. In addition to the two major surgeries Lily has had, we have had several rounds of X-rays, ultrasounds and labs done and these tests will likely continue for the remainder of her life so we can watch for spread. Lily will be starting water treadmill therapy to get used to her new normal of living a tripod life and we will likely embark on the path of Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbal tinctures, etc), to help our girl live her best life. In addition to these out of home treatments, we also have Lily on an array of supplements such as Turkey Tail (cancer fighting), Turmeric Paste (inflammation), Milk Thistle (liver support), Tri-Acta (joint support), pre & probiotics (gut support), Wheatgrass (immune support), Astralagus (immune support), Rick Simpson Oil (THC/CBD for pain management and cancer fighting) and Krill Oil (omega-3s and cardiovascular support). In addition to her supplements, Lily has transitioned to a strictly raw diet in hopes that eliminating processed foods will help her body become stronger.
Although the surgeries, check ups and supplements have all been incredibly expensive, we planned for this. We have been saving money in a separate bank account for Lily for 5 years in the case that something happened to her (we canceled our pet insurance many years ago when the insurance company denied our claim for Lily's bilateral CCL tears). Thankfully, this consistent saving has put us in decent shape to move forward with whatever treatment Lily needs. Part of having a dog is making sure you can care for them should they need it. Even with our planning and saving over the years, nothing could have prepared us for this. One chemo treatment alone (Lily will likely need 4-5) is $1000. Which brings me here: it didn't feel right to set up a Go Fund Me and ask for money with nothing in return. Offering my services as a yoga and mediation teacher resonated deeply with me. It feels aligned in my soul to ask for help in this way.
Yoga For Lily: Text
To know Lily is to love her. She is sweet, affectionate, quirky, cuddly and brings so much joy to our lives. We feel so blessed to have found her when we did and to have spent the last 5 years making memories with her. We hope to find a treatment plan that will give us the opportunity to make even more.
It would mean the world to us to have you attend this special class for Lily. All proceeds from the class will go to her treatment outlined above. Class will be 75 minutes (60 minutes of movement, 15 minutes of meditation). If you cannot attend the class live, a recording will be provided upon request. If yoga isn't your thing, but you still wish to contribute, please sign up anyway :)
Wednesday January 26th @ 5:30pm
Yoga For Lily: Image
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