All of Delilah's Oncology Reports have come back, and she has a Squamous Cell Carcinoma on her left maxilla. After extensive evaluation of the tumor and scans, Delilah's Surgeon, Dr. Michelle Nanfelt came to the conclusion that there was no way to remove the tumor without destroying her face. It was not a cosmetic concern but a functional one. Instead, we have consulted with our Oncologist, Dr. Claudia McFadden and have come up with a plan that will give Delilah hopefully another year and will also improve her quality of Life.
We have decided to do five days of palliative radiation to shrink the tumor and hopefully stop the growth of it. We will not know how effective the radiation will be for approximately four weeks. If the tumor begins to shrink during this time, then the radiation has destroyed a major part of it. We do not expect the radiation to completely kill the tumor but are hopeful it will set it back long enough for sweet Delilah to enjoy the remainder of her older years.
We have also opted to administer an IV dose of Zoledronate, a bone strengthening medication that can also help with bone pain. Before the Radiation began, we noticed Delilah had developed an abnormal gait. Dr. Bergman, her Neurologist, ordered an MRI to determine if the cancer had spread to her brain. The good news is that it had not metastasized and the only place she has cancer is on her face. Once the Radiation is complete, she will be started on a chemotherapy drug called Palladia to keep the cancer from spreading to her lungs.
We have done two rounds of radiation and Delilah is doing great. The radiation causes the tumor to shrink and slough off some of the dead tissue which is why her tumor now looks flatter and very red. It looks like Delilah only has one eye, but that is not correct. The eye near the tumor is being covered up by the tumor since it is not as bulbous as it was. She does not appear to see anything out of that eye. Delilah is eating and drinking well and does not appear to be in any discomfort from the radiation. She was a very emaciated dog when we first rescued her. She is gaining weight, and her blood values are improving.
In one month, we will have a better understanding of exactly what the radiation has destroyed. If any reconstructive surgery needs to be performed, we will determine that after the four weeks are up. We have had lots of dogs that have done remarkable with radiation, and some are alive today because of it.
I apologize for the graphic pictures, but there is no way to show you Delilah's progress without showing you her tumor. Delilah is surrounded by lots of Noah's Arks Rescue pups. We have nine dogs all going in and out of ICU that we have taken in this past week. We will post updates and let you know about the new ones as soon as we can. If you have any questions concerning a particular dog, please, drop me a note, and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion. Thanks for caring and helping us with all of these wonderful animals.