Last year, my sister came over to visit us from Melbourne. While she was giving Toby ear rubs, belly rubs and cuddles she said, ‘Did you know there’s a lump here on the back of Toby’s leg?’
I hadn’t noticed it at all and made a note to book an appointment with the vet in the next few days.
The next few days passed, weeks passed, months passed.
Almost a year later I was giving Toby a bath when I spotted the lump. I felt sick because I realised I had forgotten to make that vet appointment and it had gotten bigger.
My heart sank.
Luckily our friend is a vet and we were going to see her at a party, which Toby was invited to, a few days later.
She looked at it and wasn’t too sure what it could be. She said it looked unusual, it didn’t look like any of the harmless lumps. Because it was movable it may not be cancer but we would need to do a biopsy to make sure.
My heart sank again.
I really wanted her to say something along the lines of, ‘Oh yeah, that’s just this, it’s nothing.’
A few days later we went to see her, she took a few cells and put them under the microscope. While she left the room to analyse, I hugged Toby, gave him kisses and said, ‘You’ll be fine.’
She came back and said the cells were unusual, she hadn’t seen anything like them before and we would need to do a biopsy and send it off to get tested.
We did that, left the vet and driving home, I was crying so hard.
I wanted to leave the vet feeling reassured it was nothing and I left feeling shattered and thinking the worst.
The number one thing you should never do when you are worried about something is Google and that’s exactly what I did when I got home. And as always, all I read was doom and gloom.
Toby’s lump was the size of a 20 cent piece, it was heavily raised, dome like and bright red. Based on those symptoms according to Google, most probably cancer.
I was in absolute tears. I was imagining life without Toby and I couldn’t do it. He completes our family and our home is not a home without him.
A few days later the results came back and they were unclear. From the biopsy they couldn’t tell what it was and they needed a larger sample size.
The best thing to do was cut the lump out and send it off to be tested.
To make things worse, we were leaving for London in a few days and this operation wasn’t able to happen until we had left the country.
I didn’t know what to do.
Do I stay and find out the results and if they’re good, I join Andrew in London a bit later? And if they’re bad, I stay for good?
The plan was for our wonderful friends, who have looked after Toby in the past, to look after him while we were away. They, along with their rabbit Floyd, would move in so we could minimise the disruption to Toby’s life.
Our friends, along with our friend the Vet told us to go, they were more than capable of taking care of him and the situation, should it be bad.
Our friend the Vet told us she would take him in on the day of the operation and he would stay with her for a few days after.
I was still in two minds about the whole situation. Looking at Toby being himself, it was hard to imagine he was sick. He was still running around, playing with his brothers, getting excited about everything. I made the decision that everything was going to be fine. And if it wasn’t, then I would figure out what to do next.
On the day we left for London it was hard saying goodbye to him. I whispered into his ear, ‘You’re going to be fine because we love you and we need you to stay with us forever.’
Once we were in London I got a message from my friend saying, ‘Just letting you know Toby is going in for his operation tomorrow. He is going to be OK and I will keep you updated every step of the way.’
I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept waking up checking my phone to hear from my friend.
At around 3am in the morning a message came through saying Toby was out of theatre and doing great. She sent me a photo of Toby and I whispered to the universe to please make everything ok.
I got lots of photos and follow ups on Toby in the next few days while we waited for the results.
Toby had to be in a cone for a while as he kept licking his stitches every time the cone came off.
Our friends told us how Toby had learnt to play fetch with his cone on, catching the ball in the cone rather than in his mouth, this made me laugh.
In what felt like forever but was really a few days our friend called me with the results.
‘Best news ever, everything is fine. He doesn’t have cancer. It’s an Adnexal Naevus which are uncommonly reported in dogs and is totally benign.’
We went out and celebrated the good news in Toby’s honour over in London.
You can not believe the pure relief that was felt from all of us.
We love you Toby!
^ Poor Toby in the cone of shame.