Pumpkin’s Journey — The Beginning

My mom encouraged me to write about Pumpkin’s journey through cancer. I was hesitant to do this at first because I thought it would be a time-consuming process that would take time away from being with my fluffy girl. Now, I realize that it is important for other people to know how God has been using Pumpkin and my family’s trials for His glory.

Last October, I noticed that Pumpkin was not acting like her normal, cheerful self. She was showing signs of fatigue and insomnia, but I wasn’t sure why. She was not eating as well as usual, and I was concerned that there was an underlying health condition causing her to have these symptoms. A little over a week later, I got a call that would change my life forever.

On November 8, Pumpkin’s vet called me to reveal her blood test results. I expected him to say that she had a problem with her thyroid (or something else that was very treatable). But he didn’t. The diagnosis was very certain and terrifying — lymphoma.

When I received the news about Pumpkin, I felt like my body was transitioning into a state of paralysis. I wanted to wake up from what was certainly a very bad dream, but I wasn’t waking up. At one point, I even pinched myself, but I just felt a little pain. I continued to be in a partial state of denial as Pumpkin’s vet filled me in on lymphoma stages, treatment options, and recommendations. I had to fight alternating feelings of fear and numbness to attempt to respond to his query of how to proceed.

If I did nothing, Pumpkin would have a life expectancy of three days to one month. Christmas was coming, so the prospect of losing her before then was unfathomable to me. I had to make a decision as soon as possible. Would I choose steroids (which would probably extend her life for a few months) or chemotherapy (which could give her nine months to one year of extended time with us)? My husband and I couldn’t afford the costly chemo treatments, so I would have to ask my dad for help.

The vet gave me the phone number of a veterinary hospital in Urbana. This clinic is one of the few treatment centers in my state with an oncology department.

I called my parents and gave them the news. Thankfully, my dad was very supportive about my desire to treat Pumpkin with chemo. After making an appointment, we took the 90-min. trek to Urbana to determine where we would go from there.