Three Week Ampuversary…Chemo Started Today

Tate has had some really good, “new normal” days in the past week, and some days of long naps.  His paw licking is rising to new heights!  His appetite is ravenous.  And everyone once in awhile, he will just sit bolt upright and stare at me.  For a long time.  What’s up with that?

We met with the oncologist today, and he is sticking with his 1-year prognosis.

They did not assess any lymph nodes because they couldn’t find any.  They couldn’t find any lymph nodes.  They were so focused on (bla bla bla and all that) they couldn’t find any lymph nodes.  At least he had the decency to struggle with remaining unemotional while he delivered this news, because it sounds to me like someone screwed up and just forgot that, gee, maybe the lymph node would be important.  So we don’t know if Tate’s cancer is really localized.

So we are without that bit of information.  Doesn’t matter, our Tate is in the hands of a Power higher than either the pathologist or the oncologist (which is not to say he’ll live a normal life span because, after all, God is not Santa Claus…just my own personal theological hot button.)

We are proceeding with chemo, CCNU, the same drug almost everyone else with histiocytic sarcoma gets.  Luckily for us, it is pill form (much cheaper than the IV form).  Blood work in one week to watch especially his white blood cell count and platelets, then again on the day of his next dose in three weeks.  One risk of CCNU is it damages the bone marrow and this would affect platelet production.  With insufficient platelets, his blood will have trouble clotting.  This damage is permanent.  Of course, there are other potential risks but this one sounded the most troublesome to me.

Interestingly, he put Tate back on Rimadyl because it has cancer-fighting properties.  I asked about the risk of liver damage with Rimadyl and he basically said I spend too much time on the internet.  Needless to say, he was not big on any supplements, either.

I’d like to consult a holistic vet but the $170 consultation fee put me off a bit, still reeling from the $400 for a second opinion (they said it might be blasto…in January?)  I’m on the nutrition/diet research trip and boy, there’s a lot of information out there.  Thanks to everyone that posted their pup’s regimen, very helpful.

So for now, until I unravel this, we’re sticking with Taste of the Wild adding a bit of olive oil and chopped-up green veggies, adding sardines to his list of snacks or mix-ins.  Cutting out the canned pumpkin and all the fruit.  Tate loves fruit, bananas, pears, watermelon especially but we don’t want to be feeding any cells that we should be starving.  On the other hand, this feels a little bit like using a pea-shooter against, I dunno…maybe King Kong.

Author: tatespeeps

Tate came to us in October 2007, was diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma in February 2011, had a hemipelvectomy on March 15, 2011, and left us on November 28, 2011. He was 5 years old.

8 thoughts on “Three Week Ampuversary…Chemo Started Today”

  1. David brought down Goliath with the equivalent of a pea shooter. And if Tate is protected by a higher power, does it matter? If God (or Santa) wants to arm Tate with a pea shooter, then Tate should learn how to shoot peas.

    I know how much work this can be, all the researching and reading and questioning and consultations and back to researching. Just remember to breathe, to eat, to rest and to have some fun. Make time for fun. Tate needs that, as do you all.


  2. Well, we did have results from Maggie’s lymph node removed with the leg- showed it was full of cancerous mast cells. We had tested before surgery and saw no evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes (of course actually dissecting the lymph node gives you a better sample than a needle aspirate). Anyway- her prognosis was 6 to 9 months with chemo, which we did. She lived almost 4 years and did not die from mast cell cancer. She definitely beat the odds- but just goes to show that it can and does happen.
    And she was on CCNU- one of two chemo drugs she was on. She handled it just fine.
    I know you want to do the best you can for Tate- but don’t forget to let him be a dog- and enjoy every moment you have. I made the mistake of taking the original prognosis to heart- sort of expected her to disappear when the ‘timer’ went off. But I learned- when her second cancer was diagnosed I did not ask for a prognosis. Every day was the best day after that!
    Good luck with the chemo- hope Tate does well with it.
    Karen and the pugapalooza

  3. Tate doesn’t know about all that blah, blah, blah… don’t forget to take a break from all your research to stop and smell the roses with him! Then be sure to report back with whatever you find out in your research.

  4. Yes, and I’m the one that said statistics don’t matter! But the “blah, blah, blah” DOES matter. : )

    Tate is doing new things every day, our neighbor said he looks perkier tonight than even just a couple days ago. So glad he’s on the upswing.

  5. They had a really hard time finding lymph tissue to test with Rio, and yes, she does have involvement, but not excessive. We had two whole years cancer free after the last chemo, and I’m hopeful we’ll have the same results this time.

    I would take issue with my vet if they told me I spent too much time on the internet. You can never have too much info when it comes to making decisions about your dog. All NSAIDS have have a potential to cause liver or kidney damage, and Rimadyl is no different. For your vet to suggest otherwise is reprehensible.

  6. I was confused because the surgeon commented on the lymph node when she did the surgical biopsy so I thought it was right there in plain view. But what do I know…obviously not much!

    I know what you mean about the Rimadyl; it was the oncologist not Tate’s regular vet, who I like much better and is much more personable. But the oncologist came highly recommended, although with the caveat that he doesn’t have much of a bedside manner. Which is true. We had a good laugh on the way home because he actually almost smiled once. : )

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