After I got back from Indiana, cleaned up my stuff, and made some dinner, I called the vet clinic. Dr. Kanter apparently doesn't get to to home and sleep; he was there yesterday evening, this morning when I called in at 7 AM for a quick check, and again at 7 PM. He put me in touch with Dr. Lacoste, the oncologist, and I got the report on the tests they did today.
We now have a positive diagnosis of lymphoma. It is at an advanced stage, but even at this stage, the doctors say there is a good chance that it will respond to drugs. This is the good news; the bad news is that there is a possibility that the reason she wasn't able to walk is that the cancer has spread to her spine. But the symptoms with her back may also be a general reaction to the lymphoma, or arthritis unrelated to the lymphoma. They might be able to tell if they did extensive further tests including an MRI, but their immediate recommendation is to give her a drug called Asparaginase which is specific to the lymphoma and should, they say, clear up the lymphoma immediately, and have a good chance of having her up and about in a day or two. The lymphoma will likely come back with only this treatment, so they also recommend a course of more traditional chemotherapy.
I will be sitting down with Dr. Lacoste tomorrow to discuss the chemotherapy in more detail, but the Asparaginase is a single shot, and because it is so fast acting, it should be given right away so that if it works Lori can go home in a day or two. I went ahead and approved this treatment, and by the time I'm writing this, she's presumably had that shot. If things go well, I actually will get my dog back for a few months. The level of treatment they recommend does not usually completely cure the cancer; it usually returns in a few months. But because Lori is such an old dog, a few more months is all we can really hope for anyway.
Keep those good thoughts coming.