Echo’s first oncology appointment was yesterday; a long and tiring conversation where we learned quite a few things and made our plans to start her first chemo treatment this Friday. Because the veterinarians speak in averages, I left the appointment not really knowing how much longer we should expect to have with Echo. Considering that this whole thing is going to cost around $10,000 spread out over 6 months or so, it would be nice to know what her expected remission time will be. But since the type of exact cancer she has is more rare, and because she already had surgery to remove the known tumors…we really have no idea what to expect. Not doing chemotherapy didn’t really feel like an option though – because she’s on the mend. It seemed wrong to doom her to go downhill again when we’ve done so much work already removing tumors and treating her.
The good thing is that Echo is feeling great. Slightly sleepier than normal and a bit more finicky about food, but she is eating dog food and she’s pooing almost back to normal. The downside is that the poo is a bit dark in color still, and her blood test came back showing that she has moderate regenerative anemia (21%) so she’s likely still bleeding somewhere in her GI tract. Our thought is maybe an ulcer, so we’re putting her back on Sucralfate along with her Pepcid AC, Omeprazole, and Metronidozole. She’s also still getting Zofran as needed for nausea so that we can make sure she keeps eating and gaining weight. She’s looking a lot better, so that makes me feel great. It’s nice to know she’s almost back to her old self.
The chemo appointments seem rough. She has to go once a week for the first 12 weeks and then every other week after that, and each appointment lasts 2-4 hours. This means we’ll be dropping her off and picking her up later, which is going to be a bit taxing with an incoming baby. Gotta do what we gotta do for these furbabies though, right? I’m pleased that the actual treatment itself is far more tolerated in dogs than it is in humans, and aside from the occasional small side effect (random case of diarrhea, occasional vomiting, lethargy) she should be acting and feeling mostly like herself throughout the duration of the treatment (barring the lymphoma doesn’t get worse). The biggest concern I have right now is the toxicity of the chemotherapy with pregnant women and newborns. For 48 hours after every treatment, I have to be very careful not to make contact with any of her bodily fluids. This will be a challenge because Echo loves to lick me, and she will probably be really wanting to lick our baby boy! But we’ll be diligent about it and I’ll wear gloves whenever I handle medicines as well. It’s nothing that can’t be managed.
We’re waiting until Friday to start treatment because she only had surgery last Monday and we want to make sure that’s all healed up before starting the vincristine. She’ll also be getting the PARR test so we can determine if it’s T-cell or B-cell lymphoma, which will help direct the chemo options. I’m hoping that it goes smoothly and that she doesn’t start hating going to the hospital. I’ll update again once she’s had her first round of 16 chemo treatments on Friday!---------------
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