Wednesday, July 07, 2021

{ Marley has a diagnosis }

Yesterday started out pretty normal.  I got ready in the morning, and then took Marley to the vet, to drop him at 8am, off for his surgery/biopsy.  I filled out the paperwork, signed the usual pre op sheet and kissed him goodbye.  

The nurse told me that she would give me a call around lunch time when he woke up, to let me know how it went.

I came back home, walked in the door, started the water boiling for a cup of coffee and was talking to my sister in law, when the phone rang from the Vet.

I picked it up and it was his doctor.  She told me that Marley was not well, that he was getting worse quickly, that she wouldn't be able to do his biopsy, because when they drew blood for his Fever of Unknown origin panel, that they had a hard time getting the blood to clot.  She just didn't feel comfortable doing surgery on a dog that wouldn't be able to clot his blood.

To say that I was stunned is an understatement.  I immediately started crying and asked her what now, is my dog ok, is he going to be ok?

She informed me that she would like me to come and pick him up and take him immediately to the big Vet Clinic in Oklahoma City to see one of the Internal Medicine Specialists that has been following his case.  They could better assess the situation and maybe do the biopsy themselves since they have all sorts of equipment at their disposal.

She gave me the number for the Vet and told me she would keep Marley as long as needed and would keep watching him, but that he really was not doing very well and needed to be seen by Internal Medicine as soon as possible.

I hung up the phone and just broke down in tears.  I couldn't understand how everything just went downhill so fast.

I immediately called Curt to let him know what was happening and he rushed home.  While I was feeding Elliott and getting ready to leave, he quickly called the other vets and made the appointment.

We then rushed to our vet to pick up our boy, and got on the road for a 2 and a half hour drive, with a sickly puppy.  He sat on my lap the whole well, breathing hard, panting and extremely uncomfortable sitting on his swollen back legs.

Our vet couldn't give him any steroids to bring down the swelling because she didn't want to interfere with whatever the specialists may need to do for him.

It was one of the hardest drives I've ever had to make.  You are in a truck, with your baby feeling sick, and your mind going over multiple scenarios, none of which seem good to you.  I prayed so hard, the whole way, asking God to please just help us and help Marley.  To give us wisdom, discernment and to just help us get the best treatment for him, no matter what it was.  God's will be done was my last word.

We finally arrived and he was seen immediately.  He was examined by the internal medicine specialist, they also did a sonogram on his belly, and went through all the records from that our vet had sent over.

The specialist told us right off the bat that she was leaning towards Lymphoma.  But she wanted to do a thin needle prick aspiration to send off to the lab and to also draw some blood to make sure his clotting was ok.

We once again said goodbye to our boy, they took him back, sedated him and did what they needed to do.  We waited for an hour and a half, then were able to get our baby, who was sedated and quite out of it, and start our drive home.  She didn't want to give him any steroids for his swelling until she had the results of the biopsy.  So again, we made a drive of 2 and a half hours with a sickly dog, even worse off than he was when we first arrived.  Sick to his stomach, groggy, out of it, still swollen and really hot because of the heat we are experiencing.

About an hour from home, we got the call from the specialist.  The results from the pathologist were in.

Marley has Lymphoma.

It is extremely rare for a 4 year old puppy, but it is also one of the most common cancers in dogs.  Our next step, an oncologist to talk about treatment and so on.

We talked to the doctor, hung up, and stared at each other in shock.  To tell you that I never saw this coming, I never saw it coming.  I have always been very good at relying on my instincts and any time I have asked the Holy Spirit to guide me in something or show me, or just tell me if this was going to be ok, or was that fine, or is this bad or good etc.  I ALWAYS get an answer and it's never been wrong.

From the first moment he developed the swollen nodes, everything within me, and every time I prayed, I got "It's not cancer, he is going to be just fine".

Weird thing?  I still feel that way deep in my heart.  Maybe I'm in denial, but I've never been wrong before, and neither has my husband, so this was shocking.

Shocking to us, and shocking to the vet and specialists because Marley's symptoms have never fit into lymphoma or any other cancer.  He was fitting more into infections, especially with the fevers, rash and so on.

Let me just make something very clear.   The vet and specialists did everything in their power, the past 4 months to nail down what was wrong with him.  We checked off every disease and infection from the list, and were working our way down.  The reason a biopsy was only going to be done now, is because Marley has been fine, playful, happy, eating, drinking, just being Marley.  The only thing wrong that we could see was the swollen nodes which didn't seem to bother him at all.

The biopsy that was supposed to happen Thursday and then changed to yesterday (Tuesday), was practically our last resort, kind of a "it's nothing else, let's just do the biopsy and see if anything shows up".

Unfortunately everything just took a turn yesterday morning.  Out of the blue, from good to bad.

I'm so thankful to God, not only for moving the appointment from Thursday to Tuesday, but for literally saving Marley's life by having us rush him to Oklahoma City, which prompted an immediate aspiration biopsy and rushed lab results.  He was able to start steroids again last night which have saved his life.

This is Marley this morning.  The swelling has almost completely gone, he still has a bit of swelling on his back feet but those are quickly going down as well.

He is still not eating very well.  He didn't eat all day yesterday, and had about 5 blood tests done, sonograms and exams, plus the stress of being left with strange people in two different veterinary clinics, and then super long car rides.  He went through a lot.

Curt and I had to force the steroids down, and we hated doing it, broke our hearts, but we had to get them in him as quickly as possible and he refused to eat.  Had to break down the steroid pills, mixed them with a little water and used a big syringe to get it down into his mouth.  

He is still slowly coming around, but is already feeling much better.  He also ate 3 chicken strips around 10 am which made me so happy.  It's not a lot but it's something.  And he is still drinking water as he normally does and going potty, so that's good.

Please understand that this diagnosis is extremely devastating for my family and I.  My heart is broken, especially since we got Marley to help me with my grief over losing Lola 4 years ago.  To know now that I face losing my baby again, is so painful.

Ultimately, God has the last say and He may use this situation for a testimony in the future, and for praise to be given to Him.  But if not, if Marley is going home soon, then I will have to accept that and deal with it as best as I can.

We have a long road ahead of us, and I can't believe I'm sitting here talking about my Marley having cancer, while also dealing with my SIL's breast cancer diagnosis too.  It's too much, but if God is letting or allowing this at the moment, then it must be for a reason, a good one.

Just keep Marley in your prayers please.  

We are going to do whatever we can to save him, and keep him comfortable for as long as we have him around.  It's not going to be easy, we've been down this road with Lola and with Bella just 4 and 2 years ago, and to think we are facing it again so soon, is just.............

Thank you to all who have reached out, left messages and emails, private messages on social media and have been praying and covering myself, my family and our Marley with so much love.  We appreciate it more than you know.


  1. I am so sorry, this is a lot to be dealing with. Praying for all of you and Marley too.

  2. I'm so sorry for all that Marley and you have been through. It's always hard to hear such devastating news about our fur babies. They truly become part of our families. We'll pray for you all! Prayers and hugs.

  3. I'm so sorry. Praying that Marley will respond to upcoming treatments. I just lost my sweet doggie companion and I know what you are experiencing. My little girl was 17 years old so she lived out her years. Marley is so young, but hopefully that will be a positive to combat this. I will pray hard.

  4. Been thinking/praying for Marley.

  5. My heart is so heavy for you. I know how deeply you love your precious boy. I will be praying! -Kamala

  6. So sorry to hear this news. Don't give up on him just yet though. Still praying for your boy.

  7. Praying for healing for your beautiful fur baby Marley,and for comfort and peace for you during this time. Is a wonderful network of compassionate individuals that would also pray for him,if you want. Thank you God for answered prayers for Marley. In Jesus name. Amen.


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