So after a very rough weekend, the worst being Sunday night (neither B nor I slept much at all), B-dog was diagnosed with stage 5 lymphoma (likely T-cell, which is harder to treat than B-cell).
They've given her some treatments, including steroids, which have made her feel a lot better. (She had a very high calcium level in her blood, and the treatments have reduced that so that it is back to normal- that's what was causing her so much pain.) Part of the treatment is a chemotherapy. I remember, pre-dog, thinking people who gave their dogs chemo were crazy and cruel. However, now that I have a dog, I can see why people make that choice. For us, the main part of the choice was that dogs, unlike humans, often feel BETTER while on chemo. And sure enough, when I visited B yesterday at the vet (she was there for 2 nights- I get to pick her up tonight) she was moving better and having very little pain (though still some muscle weakness).
It's also been hard because people at work know I'm upset, but if they're not dog people I feel stupid saying "Oh, my dog's really sick" because some people are probably thinking "That's all? At least it's not your child/husband/mother/etc." But for me, this experience is probably close to what would happen if it was one of those people (knock on wood it never will be). I had the panic, the grief, the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness... What can I say? I'm a dog person- and that's probably an understatement.
At this point, we know that B will die from the lymphoma, but we just have no idea when. Considering that I thought that we were going to have to put her to sleep this week, because she was in such misery over the weekend, I am grateful for any additional time we get to spend with her. Our plan is to just take it week by week, and hopefully she will respond well to the medication they have given her. I don't know if we have weeks, months, or a year, but I plan to love her up for as long as we have her.
My old roommate told me "She is so, so lucky that you found her," but I know that I'm the lucky one. I couldn't have asked for a better dog to have for my first dog- she is, as cliched as this is, my best friend, my love, my baby.