Showing posts with label Dr. Dressler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr. Dressler. Show all posts

May 17, 2011

The Cancer Tour de France

I've decided I prefer to think of this as the Cancer Tour de France, rather than the Cancer Iditarod. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the Iditarod. We used to love it when they televised it, back a few years ago. Love the dogs and their over-the-top tongue-wagging joy as they pull those sleds through that crazy-harsh countryside in their little bootied feet. Both the Iditarod and the TdF are hard slogs through the countryside; both are serious tests of physical endurance; both have made idols of cancer-butt-kicking Lances (Mackey for one and Armstrong for the other). But... the Iditarod mainly brings up images of scenes that are generally cold and dark and for the most part seem pretty inhospitable. On the other hand, the Tour de France, which is my favorite sporting event of all, brings with it lots of beautiful imagery: the hillsides covered with lavender, fields of sun-worshiping sunflowers, the rainbow colors of the peloton streaming by.
So, the Cancer Tour de France... it's got mad-dash sprints, gut-wrenching climbs up towering mountains, and beautiful days in gorgeous countryside. And last week while I was having a meltdown, that was sort of like one of those hard mountain stages. But I've mellowed out and hopefully we are in for a long stretch of beautiful days. Although... today wasn't exactly one of those. At least it didn't start out that way.

It was spitting here this morning at the house. Kept waiting for a break in the weather to take Abby for a quick walk, but it wouldn't let up. I figured if she was going to get wet we might as well go to Fiesta Island since she gets wet there anyway running in the water. Well, it was not just spitting at FI; it was raining pretty good and being driven by plant-your-feet-&-hold-onto-your-hat wind. As soon as I opened the car door, I knew I was in trouble, but by then there was no turning back. Abby had already jumped out of the car and ran down to the beach, looking back like "What's keeping you??" It was cold, it was windy, I was not at all dressed warmly enough. There are usually dozens of folks/dogs down there, but there were only 3 or 4 other crazy souls down there today. But the dogs were all quite happy. They don't care. Abby had a great time. She ran, she romped, she chased seaguls. What's a little rain?

My toes are still not quite warmed up again, but at least Abby had fun. (And I got some exercise, so that was a bonus.) I was thinking that if one of us is to be blissfully unaware and happy, and one of us has to be painfully aware, I'm glad I'm the one who knows she is sick and she doesn't, and not the other way around.

Oh, and that diarrhea the other day ... that started my whole freak out session... (sorry to bring up her poop again...) anyway, I'm not really sure it was caused by the Palladia now. The other day we caught her in the yard tossing around and nibbling on something small, clumpy and brown. The hubster and I both looked at each other and said at the same time, "Is that...poop?" Thank god it wasn't! On closer inspection -- but not THAT close cuz we were afraid it really was poop -- we realized it was an oxidized plum off one of our trees. We are new to this whole fruit tree thing, not having had any at our old house. Well, that got us wondering if the fruit was ripe enough to pick and we went around to the side of the house where the trees are hiding, and Abby came along and did this:

Yep, she's standing on her back legs, trying to help herself to the not-so-low-hanging not-fully-ripened fruit. So... I'm thinking that could be the cause of the diarrhea, and I went ahead and re-started the Palladia. We'll see how it goes. 

I'll let you know how the follow-up appointment goes with Dr. V. on Friday. Plan to ask him about making her diet more starch-free (instead of just mostly grain-free, like it is now) and about adding in some of the more holistic supplements suggested in Dr. Dressler's book. Hoping he'll be cool with the idea of being a bit more East-meets-West-esque.

The Cancer Iditarod

I know I sounded all optimistic about Abby and how she's doing in yesterday's post... but then this morning (after only being back on the Palladia for one dose) her diarrhea troubles were back. Damn. So I started worrying about having to take her off the Palladia (we are definitely not taking it again - at least until I talk to Dr. V. at her next appointment Friday the 20th) and then I started to worry that The Lone Met would turn into a big ol' bad-ass tumor without Captian Palladia there to keep it bay. Worrying worrying worrying.

Then, also today, some holistic options came up via various channels... and then I started freaking out that maybe we never should have been giving her the Palladia/Cytoxan in the first place! Saw some info online (not the actual research but comments on research) that chemo can do more harm than good because basically, whatever cancer cells survive the chemo become even more aggressive and actually end up promoting metastasis. [Also found what seemed to be the original research about that later on on WebMD. It said, yes, the cancer that survives becomes a "healthier" form of the cancer - but it also said it doesn't mean chemo doesn't work - just that you need new, additional treatment options. But...who knows, maybe the drug companies that makes the chemo paid for that article.] I also saw online that supposedly 80% of oncologists in a survey said they would not choose chemo for themselves, even though they recommend it to their patients. No clue if that is really true.

That all prompted a little melt down/freak out. Spent hours on end in front of the computer researching/reading and continuing to freak out. Posted a comment on the Tripawds site and some folks there tried to talk me down from my nuttiness. Tripawds recommends the "Dog Cancer Survival Guide" from Dr. Dressler - who funnily enough works out of Kihei in Maui - which is exactly where we just were... So, I downloaded that and need to start speed reading through it. Seems like there is a lot of good advice in there. I'm also considering doing a phone consult with a holistic vet that comes highly recommended by some of the Tripawds' folks... Adding to my freak out was the thought that we should have been doing more holistic stuff (diet and supplements) from the get-go. Trying not to think "We wasted 6 months when we could have been doing more!!" Trying...

Anyway, not sure where all this will lead - most likely to: dropping the Palladia, rethinking the Cytoxan (although I'm kinda afraid to go wholly holistic - maybe we'll go "halflistic"), maybe to adding some new supplements to her diet, and getting very strict about the grain free/low carb stuff. (She's on a kibble, Blue Buffalo Wilderness formula, that is supposed to be good, but I need to research it more.)

Ugh. I reread this post and it's just a big jumbled mess, but that is how my brain has been all afternoon. This stuff is all so confusing and its hard to know what info you read is right and what is just hype. Thought about not even posting it, but, well, this is the roller-coaster ride we are on. (Dr. Dressler calls it the Cancer Iditarod, which I've stolen for the title of this post.) Will keep you posted on what changes we make to her routine. I just want her to be around as long as possible -- as long as her quality of life remains as good as it's been. (She has a pretty darn awesome life at the moment...)

Speaking of her awesome life, we went to Fiesta Island this morning, as we've done every morning now since we got back from Maui, and she ran like crazy on the beach with Dakota. Then this afternoon, while I was freaking out and doing research on the computer, she was happily napping, oblivious, in the other room.  

For today's photo, here's an update on her new toys: (The 7-rated shark has an even bigger hole in his head; the squeaky dog has lost all of its limbs - but it keeps on smiling.)

Trying to keep smiling and have a called a moratorium on freaking out.