February 9, 2011

It's Official . . .

. . . the cancer has spread to Abby's lungs. That wee damn spot that the oncologist noticed in her lung x-ray 6 weeks ago has grown -- it hasn't grown super fast (went from ~0.6cm to ~1.0cm), but it's grown and therefore confirmed itself as a "met." Dr. V. says this is not all bad news -- he said we should celebrate the fact that there were no other mets, so we are trying to hang on to that. 

But still . . . it's not great to know that it is officially in her lungs. Also, the fact that it's there brings up more treatment options. He sent us home with info on two different drugs we could try: palladia (a cancer drug developed very recently specifically for dogs) and cytoxan (a chemo drug that I believe is also used in humans and has been around a lot longer). We are trying to do some research and figure out what to do. The goal would be to stop that lone met from getting comfortable and growing and inviting friends over to stay. We do not want her lungs to be a nice place to live!

Anyway, in the case of palladia some dogs have seen the tumors shrink or disappear. The problem with the palladia is that it can have some harsh side effects, so she would need to be monitored closely on it. She's in such great health otherwise, and has such great energy, that I don't want to give her something that will mess that up. Not sure what we are going to do. Might try the palladia and see how it goes. Since she had so few side effects with the carboplatin, maybe she would be fine on the palladia as well. And if not, there is the cytoxan to fall back on. 

Still trying to decide. The other potentially scary thing is that some folks commented online that when their dogs had bad reactions to the palladia and had to go off it, the tumors came back like gang busters. Don't want to piss the tumor off and have it come back all Incredible-Hulkish on us . . .

In happier news, we are definitely going to enjoy every day with her. Today is a beautiful day here in SD, so I took Abby down to Fiesta Island. I didn't bring the camera along because going by myself and carrying her water and her leash and keeping an eye on her seemed like a bit much to also be trying to snap shots of her. But then, of course, I wished I had the camera because (a) there was another tripawd down there (not that she cared, because he was swimming and she was not interested) and (b) there was this 8-mo-old smaller version of a Greater Swiss Mt. Dog down there that she's played with before and they had a great time racing around. 

Abby is so energetic and rambunctious it's hard to believe she is "sick." Dr. V. said that her body really has no idea that little spot of cancer is in there. She's certainly in the envious position of being blissfully ignorant. Of course, even if she did know, I'm pretty sure she'd still be racing around enjoying every minute to the fullest - that's just how dogs are. Definitely need to take a cue from them!


  1. I'm really sorry to hear about the met. I was hoping your dr's x-ray machine was screwed up, but...
    Max was on cytoxan for a few months. However, he did not have any lung mets when he went on it. Once he had lung mets, our dr discontinued the cytoxan. I know "kbryant" and her dog Mackenzie (on Tripawds.com) did the palladia, and from what I remember, she did well on it, and the mets were kept down for a few months. You may want to PM her with some questions. Again, I'm really sorry to hear about the mets. I've been following Abby's story since you began posting on Tripawds. I think the coloring on her face reminds me of our dog Max a little. Anyway, give Kami a PM, I'm sure she'd be more than happy to talk to you about Palladia and any affects it had on Mackenzie. And of course, good luck to Abby and your family. I hope to be reading updates on her playing at Fiesta Island for many months to come. You have a sweet girl there, please give her a hug from us, and let her know her Orange County neighbors are sending well wishes and positive thoughts her way.

  2. Thanks for the advice and continued good wishes for Abby. I did see the posts from "kbryant" about Mackenzie and their experience w/ Palladia, so sent her a PM earlier today. Yes, hopefully there will be many more posts about our girl. She's such a sweet pea. Off to go take her for her another walk. Our sojourn to Fiesta Island didn't wear her out!

  3. I know a lot of humans who could learn something from that dog! Had a patient today with dementia, which she is acutely aware of. She said, "I live for today. I don't know what will happen in the future and I can't remember the past!" Live for today, Abby!

  4. Keep us posted! Hugs and kisses to Abby (and you guys too, I guess)!

  5. She is such a sweet girl and such pretty pictures. The one of her and Tank is so cute.


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