Showing posts with label carboplatin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carboplatin. Show all posts

February 16, 2011

Hope in a Little Plastic Bottle

After much research and agonizing, we decided to try the Palladia with Abby, so I went and picked it up today at the Vet Cancer Group office. It's the first drug developed specifically for treating dogs with cancer and was only just approved in 2009, so it's still pretty new. It has, and I quote, "direct anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic activity." I don't totally know what anti-angiogenic means, other than it goes after the type of rapidly growing cells that you get with a tumor, but if you meet someone who bandies that type of word about, they are likely either a doctor or have been through this whole cancer crap before. 

Apparently it can have some rough effects on the tummy, so we have to keep a close eye on her for the first couple of weeks. I'm hoping she'll do well on it since she did so well on the carboplatin (which was her intravenous chemo). We go back to see Dr. Vancil on Feb 25, so hopefully she'll have a good check-up then. One of the side effects can be weight loss, so today she was just under 48lbs, and we'll see what she weighs next time. (I was pretty surprised that she'd gotten up into the 48 lb range! That's practically what she weighed pre-amp!) If she does well on the Palladia (which she will take every M, W, & F) we might add in Cytoxan (another home-dose chemo that works slightly differently) on T, Th, Sat's. Give that stupid met the ol' one-two punch! Take that YOU STUPID MET.

Anyway... of course, I'll keep you posted on how all that's going. On to funner things: in my last post I mentioned going to Fiesta Island without my camera. Made up for it by taking it along this past weekend and snapping a ton of pics. She had such a great time. We ran a bit and she ran along with us. She had tons of energy and people were very impressed with her! Here are some of the best pics:
I love this one. So cute.

My friend said there are never pics of me on the blog, so here...

She met a super cute beagle!

Action shot! Only one paw on the ground!
OK, not dog-related, but on V.Day-eve there was a big pink heart in the sky. (Squint a little to really make it look heart-shaped...)

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!

January 25, 2011

Abby's In Love...

Dr. Vancil's dog, Hank, was at the cancer clinic again today. He came running out from the back to see Abby, all wiggly and excited. They are clearly in love, as evidenced in this photo, which is so cute I decided to make it LARGE. (Apparently Abby had Hank pinned when they were playing in the back after her treatment. I'm certain he was letting her win, since not only is he much bigger than her, he's got a spare leg!) Hopefully he'll be there again next time she goes. 

[Dang. Abby just threw up. This same thing happened after her last treatment: as soon as I started writing on the blog, I had to take a break to go clean up. Maybe she doesn't like the blog?? Anyway, I'm thankful for the wood floors here at the new house, instead of carpet like the old place!] 

Abby was supposed to have had a follow-up x-ray today, to see if that tiny spot on her lung had grown. Dr. Vancil and I talked about the pros and cons of taking the x-ray or waiting another 2 weeks. The thinking was that if the spot was obviously bigger, we'd possibly not have done her final treatment of carboplatin and switched to some other drug. He said ideally you want to re-xray 1 month to 6 weeks out, and we were just short of 1 month, so we decided to wait. I was worried that if we took it today, it would be hard to tell if it was clearly bigger or not. I think waiting was the right decision.

[Dang! She just threw up again. She's never thrown up twice, so, another first: I just gave her one of the nausea pills they gave me after her first session. Had to really coax her to take it with some peanut butter. Poor baby. She seems to be feeling a little puny.]

I told Dr. V. about how tired she was the few days after her last treatment, and he said that happens sometimes -- the dog will breeze through the first batch of treatments but by the 5th or 6th, the cumulative effect starts to hit them. [I guess that is what's happening with her and the nausea as well. Hopefully she'll eat her dinner after a bit...] 

Dr. V. checked her out today and said her lungs and heart sound great. She's also maintaining her weight, which is good. They take blood every time she goes to see how her white count is doing (it's always been great), but last time they took extra blood and sent it out to the lab to make sure the chemo isn't messing with her liver and whatnot. He showed me the results they got back, and how all the indicators were basically ideal. He said she's very healthy . . . if only it weren't for that minor little cancer thing!

So, you all will just have to keep those positive thoughts coming for another 2 weeks until we get that x-ray. In the meantime, once she feels better, we'll have to do something to celebrate her final chemo! (At least, the final one for now...)

January 11, 2011

Chemo #5

Wait, isn't that the title of a song? Oh no, that's Mambo #5... Anyway, today was Abby's penultimate chemo session. Dr. Vancil talked to me some more about that single spot on her lung. He said that at first the radiologist told him she didn't see anything, but then he convinced her there was something small there. (Oh damn.We interrupt this post to go clean up. Abby just threw up... That's weird - other than the time she threw up the popcorn, she's been fine every time after chemo. Poor baby.)

Anyway, back to the spot... Dr. Vancil said he talked to the other oncologists in the group (the Vet Cancer Group has several offices in So Cal, so it's nice - it's like getting 2nd and 3rd opinions without having to go see anyone else). They all agreed with his advice, which is to stay the course. He said usually the only options are: upping the dose (but we are already using the max); increasing the frequency (but we're already doing every 2 weeks instead of every 3); or trying another drug. Right now we are using Carboplatin. He said there's no reason to change when there's no guarantee another drug would work any better, and when we don't even know for sure if the spot is a tumor. He said, "it could be anything." (But, of course, I have a bad feeling about it.)

Next time we go, he'll take another x-ray and he'll also have the original one there from our vet. Then we can compare all three side by side. He said it's possible the original slide won't show anything, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't there. He has a super new, turbo-charged machine and who knows how old the machine at the vet's office is. So... we'll see what happens on the 25th. Best case, it just looks the same. If it's way bigger, then we'll see. 

All in all, Dr. V said she's doing great, and he thought she looked like she'd gotten bigger and more muscular. According to their scale, she'd gained 1 1/2 pounds, but it's hard to know if that's accurate since she was totally wiggly the last time we weighed her there. Hopefully she really did gain some weight. Dr. V. said it's rare that you get a dog that does that during chemo!

In more fun news, Dr. Vancil's dog, Hank, was at the office today - a 10-year-old Weimaraner and 3 year cancer-survivor. While I left Abby there for her treatment and went out to run errands, Hank and Abby had a little play session, which Dr. V recorded for me on his phone. Abby was all over Hank. Wish I had some of my own pics to post of them playing! So cute. Dr. V. said he's going to save the video to show to people who come in and are worried about having to perform an amp on their dog. I told him he could point them to my blog as well!