I asked a question on our Facebook group the other day – What was the first sign you noticed, that made you take your dog to the vet and find our that they had cancer. There were so many good answers and stories. Today, I wanted to share with you Kali’s story! What caught my eye about Kali’s story is that because Lainey was proactive, she was able to catch it early and get treatment that gave her 2 1/2 more years with her sweet girl! It is not very often we get to see this kind of survivor and success story. Her story offers hope when we talk about this mean disease of cancer.
Kali’s story as told by her Mom Lainey:
Kali was only 8 weeks old when I got her and barely a pound and a half. As a puppy she was always getting into trouble. She had a crate downstairs in the living room where she slept in every night.
One morning I came downstairs to find her out of the crate where she quickly climbed back into when she heard me coming down. That was her personality to a T. She was always up to something, but played innocent. Kali loved to lay out in the sun. That was her zen place. Every morning she would be catching some rays in our patio, and if it was too cold, she would lay on the living room floor, in the areas where there were slivers of light coming through. She loved to “play challenge” us and her little sissy. She was such a good big sister. She never played too rough with her sister and she loved to instigate play with her. The way they would play cat and mouse was always funny and entertaining. Kali also liked to have conversations with us pretty regularly. She would let us know if she wanted something, whether it was to play, go out to walk or if she was hungry. She’d howl, then we’d howl, and back and forth until one of us stopped. She had about 5 different types of howls 🙂 She had so much personality! You couldn’t mess with her if she was in one of her feisty moods. I really could go on and on about her.
Kali was diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma in June 2013.
This started when we noticed blood in her urine. Tests were done, antibiotics and meds were prescribed over the course of several weeks, but nothing worked. I was then told that there was a possibility it could be cancer but the vet still wanted to prescribe more meds before doing an ultrasound. I did not want to wait and so had an ultrasound done with a specialist. A mass was found in her bladder. Since it was making her bleed, we opted for surgery and she was a good candidate for it. The mass turned out to be transitional cell carcinoma. I thought this was the end. I immediately started doing research, read books, watched videos and absorbed as much information as humanly possible and found very helpful information online from a reputable vet specialist (Dr. Demian Dressler). Right then and there, I made a commitment and promise to Kali, that I would fight with her on this journey. Kali went through various chemo treatments over the course of 2 1/2 years. There definitely were side effects, typically a couple of days after treatment, sometimes longer though. She also went through a round of radiation. Kali never lost her spirit and resiliency throughout everything. If there is anything I can tell people going through this, is that there are many things we can do to help our beloved companions when it is caught early. If you think something is wrong, go with your instinct and get your dog checked. Be proactive. You know your dog more than anyone.
Once we found out she had cancer we tried many different things to support her fight of cancer. We cooked her food (cancer diet), researched different foods/snacks/vitamins to add to her diet to help her immune system and running it by her doc, went on regular walks (unless she didn’t feel like it), and made sure we were prepared on treatment visits to ask the right questions. It was a difficult journey, but Kali was so brave and never lost her spunk. She loved to play and challenge us and her little sis. Her light shined everyday. Kali lived almost 3 years after diagnosis, with good quality of life. (Docs gave her a prognosis of 8 months max). She fought hard and was so brave even until her last breath.
Kali was not just a pet. She was a part of our family. She really was the light in mine and my family’s lives. She had a bond with each of us that I can’t explain. She was special. She knew my soul. She always sensed whenever I was upset, even just slightly, and she’d lay next to me to comfort me, looking up at me as though she understood. She brought the love out of me always, even when I was in my own moods. Kali had such an effect on all of us. The amount of unconditional love she had given us is truly a gift and something I carry with me everyday.