Status Update on the Dog

While I’ve tweeted about Lucky since the end of June, I haven’t written an update post about how he’s been doing.

The week after that post was was written, Lucky was down to 75 pounds–skin and bones. Over the next two weeks, we got him back up to about 83 pounds, where he held steady until our last doctor’s appointment four weeks ago. He received three rounds of CCNU three weeks apart and at the last CCNU, we suspected he was relapsing. Sure enough, he was. We responded with another elspar treatment followed by another chemo drug. At this point, the oncologist suspected that the lymphomas was affecting his nervous system. We took him for a consult and the neurologist didn’t know if the lymphoma was affecting his nervous system or if it was a disc issue in his spine. We elected not to do an MRI (at $2,000+) because he wasn’t a candidate for surgery if it was a disc and chemo would be the treatment if it was lymphoma. Either way, the oncologist recommended chemo every week or every other week as the best treatment to maintain Lucky’s quality of life for as long as possible. Remission was off the table.

At this point, husband and I took at step back to decide if we felt like we could continue (financially, emotionally, etc…) and whether we felt like Lucky could handle the increased visits to the doctor.

We elected to stop treatment and notified the oncologist last week.

The chemo drugs are now out of his system. He’s on supportive medications. The lymph nodes under his neck are already almost as large as they were before we started treatment in June and he’s stopped vocalizing and barking. We’re concerned that these enlarged nodes will eventually make eating, drinking, and breathing extremely difficult, at which point a decision will be made. He’s sleeping a lot (consistent with pre-treatment Lucky), but his weight appears to be holding steady.

For now, we’re just trying to enjoy every day with him because I never know when I’m going to come home from work and find him gone.

He’s such a good dog.

I never thought…

…I’d pay for chemo for a dog.

But we are. Our dog, Lucky, is our four-legged, furry “kid” and was diagnosed with lymphoma on June 15.

He means more to me than words can explain and getting another six months to a year with him is worth every penny. If we do nothing, he may have as little as two weeks left.

We adopted him about five and a half years ago. We wanted a dog that was about 40 pounds and came home from a rescue/adoption event with an eight year old, 120 pound dog. He broke our hearts and we couldn’t imagine not taking him with us. It was comical watching us put this overweight, terrified dog in the back of a VW Golf. He had a thyroid problem and with medication, we were able to get his weight down to between 90 and 95 pounds.

He’s now down to 82. For several months, we thought his age was catching up with him and that his lethargy and weight loss were “normal.” In hindsight, we should have known better.

Here we are. June 21, 2011. Elspar today. CCNU starting next Tuesday. Vacation canceled. We’ll see how this goes.