It has been nearly three weeks since I have posted anything regarding Molly's lymphoma. We did not begin chemotherapy treatment on Thursday March 2nd as originally planned.
Something started To Bother Me. I could not understand why Molly's lymphoma was being treated like high grade lymphoma. If Molly has high grade lymphoma, I could not understand how she was still alive. Compounding that, Molly has T-Cell lymphoma - and T Cell is more aggressive than B Cell. The ominous "lifespan of 4-6 weeks without treatment" is one of the first horrifying facts that you learn about the disease. If Molly has low grade (indolent) lymphoma, I had been reading about very limited treatments or no treatments. So, which is it?
I wanted a Second Opinion. I did not want to feel any uncertainty moving forward. I did not ever want to wonder, "What If?" No regrets. I felt uncomfortable questioning anything, but something was not settling well with me mentally.
Dr C shook my hand when we walked into the exam room and then he sat down on the floor and leaned against the wall. Molly greeted him briefly and then walked back and sat beside me. He said "Let's talk about lymphoma." and shared so much information with me but in such easy to understand terms. I had a list of questions prepared so that I would not forget anything - I did not need to ask those questions. They were answered. There was a focus on Molly's clinical presentation. The way Molly's lymph node would "wax and wane" is classic presentation for low grade lymphoma. In high grade lymphoma, the nodes swell up and stay up and only get larger as the disease progresses.
And, what of treatment? Dr C explained that low grade lymphoma used to be treated the same as high grade, but the dogs would not really respond to it. Survival time is typically the same with or without treatment and so the course of action for low grade lymphoma is to not treat and to monitor closely. Survival time: 2-4 years. We are to have a follow up appointment with Dr C in a month.
The reason I was waiting to post an update about this: Dr C requested the biopsy be repeated by a second pathologist (another second opinion.) The first biopsy reported low mitotic growth (so, low grade!) and he wants a second reading on that to be 100% sure. The results of that repeat biopsy are still not back, but I had some time to sit down and write and I wanted to take advantage of that.
So much relief. So much gratitude that I explored a second opinion. Sometimes you have to find the right match. What brought me the most peace about our visit with Dr C was Molly's behavior. Long ago, Molly tired of veterinarians and techs and all of their poking, prodding, sticking, and manipulating. She is indifferent at best - her reluctance even earned her a cautionary muzzle at her ultrasound appointment. But midway during our visit with Dr C, Molly left my side. She walked over to him, shoved his arm up and snuggled in next to him and sat there with his arm around her shoulders. "This guy." I had been feeling so guilty for taking Molly to appointment after appointment when she was becoming increasingly intolerant and miserable. But she accepted Dr C and it felt like I had her blessing. It felt like she was saying, "Okay." It meant the world to me.
We are so blessed. So lucky. That is two different kinds of cancer now and this girl's body just keeps saying, "No. Not yet." There is a musical called Unsinkable Molly Brown, and a dear friend of ours left a comment on Facebook calling Molly that. I loved it. Keep swimming, Unsinkable Molly!