010Today was my dog Leo’s last chemo treatment. His oncologist (yes, my dog has an oncologist) is very happy with where we are. Six months ago, I wasn’t so sure this day would come and that Leo would be doing so well.

Overall, chemo was an non-event. For the first month, he had weekly injectable Vinblastine treatments. Then he switched to five months of twice monthly treatments, which were a mixture of the injectable Vinblastine and oral Lomustine. There were one or two days over the course of his treatment where he exhibited some side effects–mainly vomiting and decreased appetite. But for the most part, these episodes resolved themselves within a day. For the last six months, his appetite and energy level were just as they were before he was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Mast Cell Tumor (the worst kind) last November. No new masses appeared during the course of his chemo; and more importantly no mass reappeared at the site of the original mass that was surgically removed last November confirming the cancer diagnosis. His regular vet & the oncologist had warned us back when this all started that there was a strong likelihood that that mass would regrow within a couple months. Six months later, there is nothing & that is absolutely wonderful. (more…)

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Leo had his 4th chemo treatment today & the last of phase 1. He gets a week off before he starts phase 2, which spreads out treatment to every 2 weeks. He’ll have an oral dose of chemo medication in 2 weeks, & then 2 weeks after that he’ll go get the injected chemo treatment. This cycle will go on for the next 5 months. One new side effect we’ll have to watch for with the oral medication is liver disease. Apparently, it’s a known side effect, so he’ll have labs done every 2 weeks to monitor his liver function.

It will be  nice to spread these vet visits out a bit–for Leo & me. Even though the appointments only take about an hour, with travel time, etc., it ends up being about 2 hours. (more…)

Leo had his 3rd chemo treatment the morning of New Year’s Eve. His weight maintained between last week & this week, which is good; & his white blood cell count was the same as last week. I’m all for status quo.

Between treatment 2 & 3 he was perfectly fine. No side effects. And 3 days after treatment #3, he’s still good. A relief.

Next Tuesday will be the last treatment of the first part of his chemo protocol & he’ll have a chest x-ray to make sure that a mass that was spotted a couple months earlier on a previous x-ray hasn’t grown. The first part of the chemo treatment involved him getting chemo weekly via an injection (well, not quite an injection, but I don’t know what it’s called; he’s not having it via an IV, but it’s being injected). For part 2, treatments will be spread out to every 2 weeks for the next 5 months & include an oral chemo medication that I’ll be giving him at home. Fingers crossed that part of the treatment will go just as well.

So, that’s where we are. Good so far. Hoping to just stay that way.

I really can’t take much more.

9 weeks ago today my mother died. Today I got the results of my dog Leo’s biopsy results. The mass was malignant.

Not the news I wanted or needed. Believe me, I know life could be worse; but right now, it pretty much fucking sucks.

Having these dogs with me the last 9 weeks has helped me cope with everything. There’s nothing like a dog demanding to be let out or fed to get you out of bed every day. I’ve lost dogs before. But right now, I really can’t handle this. Maybe in a year. Maybe 2. Ok, realistically there will never be an easy time. But some time far off in the future would be much better than now.

I don’t have a lot of details right now. I kind of lost focus as the doctor was talking to me. So, I don’t really remember the specific name or anything else. All I remember is that she is checking on prognosis stats for chemo & no treatment. I should know more later this week, if not by Saturday when Leo goes back in to get his sutures removed.

You know, I could wrap my head around this better if he actually displayed symptoms of being sick. But he’s perfectly himself & every other test result, EXCEPT this biopsy, is normal.

I really miss my mom right now.

I hate this. I really fucking hate this.

Leo’s surgery went fine & he’s home now & sleeping. The vet removed the lump. She said part of it was fatty matter, but the other part was something else. So, now we wait for biopsy results which should be in on Friday.

Right now, he’s sleeping. I know I kid that these dogs are like the children I’ve always been apathetic about having. That couldn’t be more true tonight. I’m having to totally baby him. Leo is wearing one of those plastic cones around his neck to keep him from scratching or licking his incision. He can’t drink water from the bowl unless I hold it up for him. Plus I had to hand feed him his dinner. His right front leg & much of his chest has been shaved. He can’t really bend his leg, so he struggled for the first hour we were home trying to figure out how to lay down. Finally, I picked him up & put him on the sofa with me, & he figured out how to lay down & went right to sleep. I’m supposed to keep him quiet & restrict his movement–no running or jumping. So, I have to carry him up & down the stairs to go outside & to get up on the sofa. Luckily he’s only a medium sized terrier–27 lbs.

I’ll be honest. None of this is easy. I hate doing this on my own. My mother always handled the medical stuff, even with the dogs. I’m a little squeamish. But it’s just that she’s not here. It’s weird to be making all this decisions on my own.

So, we’ll just get through this recovery & after the results come back BENIGN on Friday, we can move on. Whatever moving on is.

(I would post a picture of Leo, but apparently I have none on my computer & my digital camera died so I can’t take any right now. Sorry.)