Back in October, I noticed Lexington looking a little less brawny, and he didn’t seem his usual lively self. He was getting older and was in the beginning stage of renal failure, but I sensed something else was brewing and took him to the vet.
Blood work indicated inflammatory issues, and an ultrasound revealed a mass in his liver. My vet strongly suspected cancer. Getting a tissue biopsy would provide a definitive diagnosis, but would be too risky between Lexington’s weakened condition and age—about 16 years. Treatment options were limited. Steroids would reduce inflammation, but would cause serious, potentially fatal complications. I suggested cannabidiol “CBD” derived from the cannabis herb, known for its anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, pain killing, and appetite stimulant properties. My vet was not legally permitted to prescribe CBD, but he concurred with my suggested modality, asking to see Lexington for a follow-up visit in two months or sooner if his condition worsened.
Within hours of giving Lexington CBD oil, his appetite came back, along with his sweet and playful personality. The two-month visit resulted in no changes—he was maintaining. And I maintained hope that what ailed him was something benign.
By mid-May, Lex’s appetite started to wane and he looked even thinner. He also had a hard time transitioning from standing to reclining. I took him back the vet. This time the diagnosis was definitive. A cancerous tumor had developed off of his liver. My vet advised that Lex had a few weeks to a couple of months to live, suspecting the cancer was aggressive. What a blow to my heart. I hated that my sweet Lexington was suffering. Besides that, he was old, but without this malignancy, Lexington would have been able to advance into his golden years. Instead, he was facing palliative care.
When we got home from the vet’s office, I gave Lexington a higher dose of CBD hoping to alleviate the increased discomfort he was experiencing. His appetite returned. Over the next few days, I observed that he still gingerly lowered himself to a reclining position, but his walk was more purposeful. He ventured off the bed and into the living room, and managed to hoist himself onto the sofa. He was feeling better. I don’t know how long the CBD will keep him going, but it’s clearly helping.
I had planned on attending a writer’s retreat in Palm Springs, which was scheduled three weeks from the day I learned about the tumor. I called the facilitator of the retreat to tell her I would not be able to attend. Rather, I took that week off from work and lavished Lexington with extra love. He got lots of “brushies” (he loves to be brushed), lots of porch time, and lots of time by my side while I wrote, read, listened to podcasts and sipped tea.
It’s been about a month since the diagnosis. Lexington and I will be on a roller coaster ride with the good days and the bad days that will lead to the last day. But for now, Lexington is doing pretty good. He just gobbled down his favorite dinner, baked chicken.
Soon he’ll be sleeping next to me, and I’ll pet him as I fall asleep, and pray that tomorrow he will have another good day.