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