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18 Jul 2014, 4:09pm
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Barty…Back Again!!

Hoppy Friday!!

We are looking forward to the weekend for no other reason but that it gives me 2 full days of uninterrupted Barty time!!

Bart is back to feeling his old self. He is no longer taking any anti-nausea or appetite stimulants and is eating great!!

After our last post, I spoke to his oncologist whose opinion, experience and kindness I value with all my heart. He helped save Bart’s life in 2008, and has been a wonderful person to work with this time as well. He advised that Bart’s symptoms were very dose dependent and he could reduce the amount of chemo since he was having such a terrible time rebounding. I held that idea in my head and my heart for a week, so I could see how it resonated with me. It did not bode well with my instincts for Bart. In my heart, I know that the right decision is to stop chemo.  Today I cancelled his chemo appointment for next Wednesday and left a message for his oncologist about my final decision. I look forward to speaking to his oncologist so I can tell him what a difficult decision it was, that I took everything he told him into consideration, but that as Bart’s mom and advocate I know this is the right decision.

I was reading a post by Bailey’s mom, who also decided to stop chemo. I bet she is glad to see Bailey rebounding. I hope she is at peace with her decision as much as I am with mine.

At this point, I am relishing in the fact that Bart has his sparkle back in his eyes. He is no longer looking to me for help. He is now looking to me for friendship. He no longer looks confused and scared. He now looks confident. He looks at me as if to say, “Thanks, Mom, for keeping your promise to me and making sure that I can BE ME for whatever amount of time we may have together!” Bart has given me sooo much in my life that I owe it to him to bite the bullet and make the right, albeit difficult decision, for him.

Nothing is certain in the future. What I do know for certain is that right now Bart feels good! Right now Bart has energy! Right now I feel free!!

Hugs to all of you. This journey is not only difficult on our fur babies, but there are forks in the road on this journey where we humans have to make very difficult decisions as well. Although none of this is easy, I would not trade this adventure I have had with Bart for anything in the world. It is made me a better person. It has made me a stronger person. And I have met some of the most wonderful people along the way.

Love,

Darcy & Bart

Barty w ball close up

9 Jul 2014, 12:12pm
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Putting an End to Chemo…what a relief

Good Morning Everypawdy!

It has been a tough couple of weeks for me and Bart. We did get another piece of good news that he does NOT have kidney disease! Hooray!! One less thing to worry about. Thankfully the incontinence has also ceased. It pained me to watch him sleep while dribbling on himself. Dogs are such clean animals and I just hate to think how he felt, even when he had his little britches on to keep him as dry as possible. I hope that is a thing that stays in our past.

I have been mulling over the idea of stopping chemo treatments on Bart for some time now. Last night, I gave that idea a voice and the relief I experienced from letting that stressful energy out of my head and heart and into the world confirmed to me that it is the right decision. Bart has still not rebounded since chemo treatment #3 and treatment #4 didn’t make things any better. The thought of the progression of his decline after 2 more treatments is not something Bart deserves and it is not the life we choose for him. His eating is poor because he does not feel good…period. I know he turns his nose up to food because he feels sick because I can get him to eat decently (at best) after he has had his full doses of Cerenium, Ondansetron & Mirtazapine. Cerenium and Mirtazapine can only be given every 24 hours and we have added the Ondansetron, which can be given every 8 – 12 hours, to keep him from feeling yucky. I have him at work with me today so I can make sure he can get his meds every 8 hours because my work schedule and commute otherwise keep me away for 12 hours. By the time I get home, he is just not himself and it pains me to see him like that.

When we began this journey for the 2nd time, I promised myself that if the chemo was wreaking havoc on his 9 year old body I would not continue. Of course, in the back of my mind I was hoping he would make it through the protocol like he did when he was 3 and that I would not have to contemplate what to do. Honestly, there is nothing to think about. Bart can’t live like this and there is nothing to suggest that he would miraculously do better after another 2 rounds. So, no more chemo, Bart, no more. I promised I would take care of YOU and I will do that even if it requires making tough decisions to give you the quality of life you have earned and so deserve.

Do I feel defeated? A little…

Am I disappointed? A little

Do I believe that caring for Bart in this fashion is the right thing to do? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!!! He is My Barty, in some circles he is knows as Our Barty, and he is going to live life to the fullest…I owe him that for all he has done for me and those he has met in his life.

As soon as we get this nausea under control, we will venture to the next chapter in his life which will include keeping him as healthy as we can. I am blessed to have a great holistic vet in our corner who I trust to lead me in the right direction in a manner that does not include chemical warfare destroying his body.

This is when Strength & Courage take on a real persona.

This is when Strength & Courage are more than just words.

This is when Strength & Courage will shed light in the darkness.

Thank you for allowing me to give his tough decision a voice and to release the energy I have been holding in for a while.

Love & Wiggles,

Darcy & Bart

051

3 Jul 2014, 1:18pm
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Chemo…it’s just tough on everyone involved

Good Morning Everypawdy!

When most of us think of Bart, we think Success Story, Happy-ness, Courage and Strength! All of these adjectives are well deserved and are not taken for granted, for sure. Today I feel compelled to write because I want to share with others the struggles that go on behind the scenes when our beloveds are going through chemo. Basically, chemo just plain sucks.

When Bart beat Osteosarcoma for the 1st time starting in 2008, we were faced with going through chemo at the same time as we were learning to live life as a Tripawd. That is a lot to take on…it just is.  Now that we are in the process of beating OSA once again, we are “only” having to deal with chemo. During Bart’s first couple of treatments, he was doing so fantastic that I thought, “Wow! Compared to going through chemo while also dealing with a recent amputation, this is simple.” Bart was eating well after just a few days of treatment and by his 3rd round he had gained 4 pounds!!

Then, after his 3rd round, which was Cistplastin, he developed incontinence. At first I thought he just couldn’t hold it because he was drinking so much water.  When I then made sure he had plenty of potty breaks and it was still happening, I thought, Oh Crap…chemo is messing with his bladder. My poor boy. He was also not eating “right” and it was getting very difficult to get him to eat much at all.  We were faced with the reality behind chemo and what it does to our fur kids as it is working so hard to destroy the cancer. What a necessary evil it is.

So, we met with his Holistic Vet, who is skilled with cancer patients beyond belief, who first and foremost convinced me not to worry about not feeding him the “right” food at this time, but continue doing what was necessary to get him to eat something, anything to maintain his weight. She was also going to help me fight the nausea head on and provided me not only with Cerenia, but a prescription for another drug to give with the Cerenia to boost its anti-nausea fighting ability (can’t remember the name at this moment).  Once we get the nausea under control, I can add the Mitrazapine for appetite stimulant but until he feels well enough to eat giving him that drug has been pointless.

Now for the toughest pill to swallow…no, cancer has not returned (want to get that out of the way right away), but the Cistplastin is most likely starting to give him stage 1 kidney disease, which is a potential side effect of this drug. Crap!! What’s worse is that a low protein diet is what is needed for kidney disease and that is the exact type of diet he needs to help ward off cancer. Not only that, but about all I can get him to eat is hamburger patties…pure protein!! Ugghhhh….this sucks!!!

Once we get the final results back of a more thorough urinalysis that is being done to “quantify” the protein found in his urine, we will know what we are dealing with and Dr. Wynn feels confident that his kidneys will still outlive Bart and we can deal with this and she will help me. I know she will. I will also meet with the Wonderful Dr. Abby Huggins, Bart’s long time vet, to discuss the results with her and benefit from her wealth of knowledge. She has been a rock to Bart & I during this…everyone who has a vet they love knows what I mean! Bart has only 2 more treatments left, but one of them, the next one, is Cistplastin and I need to know if the benefits outweigh the problems it is creating with his kidney. Yes, Bart is a fighter, but Bart is also a glorious dog who trusts me to make the best decisions for him, which I always try to do. I am pretty sure we are going to be able to complete the protocol since the damage has been done and the likes of Dr. Huggins and Dr. Wynn are in our corner.

So, Chemo Sucks! It just does! For us, it has been a tough 12 weeks. Chemo Sucks! The day in and day out of dealing with chemo is hard and tiring and sometimes it makes you feel like giving up…that is the reality. It makes you sit in front of a computer screen, like I am now, with tears pouring down my face because it just sucks. I find myself driving down the road hoping passerbys don’t think I am crazy as I cry hard about this. It sucks. I hate that my boy has to endure this…I hate it. But, I love him…so I put my big girl panties on and I dig deep to find the courage and strength to keep on going for Bart.

Courage and Strength…that is what gets me through all of this…Courage and Strength

Love to all,

Darcy & Bart

Barty.Strength.Courage

 

Bart – an extraordinary Vizsla is brought to you by Tripawds.
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