Chemo continued…

Tuesday October 12: today was Cody’s second round of chemo. They checked his CBC count and he is back up to normal for his white cells at 9.59. That makes me happy that he is more healthy again. So he got his second chemo shot, Cyclophosphamide. Clearly this shot took a bit out of him… he was immediately mopey… lethargic. He could barely get in the car I had to boost him and let him in the back rather than the front seat like he normally does. He crawled into the front seat while I was driving home and curled into a ball with the leg that got the shot hanging down off the seat. I almost turned around to take him back to the vet as he was just not acting right. Seems a bit spaced out right now… breathing a bit heavy…

I guess he is just very sensitive to all these meds… I asked Butzer if I should watch for side effects and he said this one should be another mild shot… the big tough one comes in two weeks.

Now that we are home he is very sleepy and kind of spaced out. He seems to be laboring in his breath and it makes me nervous. He just seems like he does not feel well right now. I am going to watch him for the rest of the afternoon keeping a close eye on how he feels…

This visit to the vet with the CBC and the shot came to a grande total of $142.37… Bringing the total so far to:

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
10/12 – $142.37
Total – $919.33

———————————————————————————————————————–

Wednesday october 13: Cody got his new food today. Birkdale MetMix which is a veggie mix that you mix in with slow cooked ground meat. No carbs, no grains. I also got him some K9 Critical Care chewable tablets that are made with medicinal mushrooms, organic heteropolysaccharides, that trigger and boost his immunity to attack abnormal cells. He loves them. So now he is completely off dry food and grains. This gigantic bag of food and supplements cost me $166.79 for the 18lb food, and the wafers.

———————————————————————————————————————–

Tuesday October 19: today Cody got his third round of chemo. I was not sure if he would get it, worried about his white cell counts. His appointment was later today than normal, it is usually at 10am but today it was at noon. When i got there it seemed they had no idea I had an appointment, and the topper… They lost his file. My entire file actually with Cody and the two cats as well. Now I am really worried. I am fearing their competence in giving him the correct drugs and making sure they are following his health as carefully as i am. It is a good thing I am a nut about keeping track of all of his history. When we finally got into a room I gave his entire history to the vet tech. They took his CBC test and his white cells were on the low side of normal, and his red cells are low as well but not too bad. He is anemic. Butzer said that is normal as well and that he can not give Cody any iron shots. He used to do that but now it is said to be bad for them. Butzer seemed pretty on the ball about cody’s history and recited the status so far… So I a felt good about going ahead with the treatment. Cody got one shot today of Vincristine which Butzer said was pretty mild comparatively. Next week he gets the real heavy hitter which is an IV drip for two hours of the strongest drug so far. This one today was one of two he got the first visit, which we are not sure which of the two took out his white cells. So we are going to watch him pretty closely this week. His white cells today were 5.96 and his reds were 4.87. I need to make sure he has a lot of meat and fats in his diet to naturally boost his iron. His new food helps with that as well.

This visit cost me $142.37…

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
10/12 – $142.37
10/19 – $142.37
Total – $1061.70

———————————————————————————————————————–

Tuesday October 26 : today Cody was supposed to get his heavy duty dose of chemo in the form of a two hour IV drip. This was guaranteed to make him sick and I have been nervous about it all week. He had a big week this week with yet another house guest and two days this weekend hanging out with Sheriff the little dog he is buddies with. He was definitely tired this weekend. So I took him in for his 11am visit and they do his CBCs. His white cells are 4.09 which is lower than last week, and his reds are 5.31. Because his whites are lower, and this IV dose is pretty hardcore and will likely drop his white count down at least four points, which would put him at zero, Butzer and i decided not to give it to him and skip another week. This made me feel much better. I want him to battle this as healthy as he can be. So we will try again next week. Clearly he is a bit sensitive to the chemo… And maybe his protocol is tailored more to fit his reactions. So is visit cost me $61.20 for his test… Give or take a few dollars for tax. I also ended up getting Jimi some anti-anxiety meds to see if it stops him from shitting all over the house. Jimi is my ten year old tabby cat that I have had since he was a kitten and I was living in Los Angeles, working for Disney. Jimi does not do well with any change or excitement. Jimi’s new in town. (sorry could not resist that Seinfeld reference) Jimi needs to relax.

So grand total so far is:

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
10/12 – $142.37
10/19 – $142.37
10/26 – $61.20
Total – $1122.90

———————————————————————————————————————–

Tuesday November 2: We got to the vet at 10am and they told me they found his chart. I have not seen it. Regardless they put us in a room and then took him to get weighed. They said he was 64 lbs, down from last week but he was moving around quite a bit. He seems agitated this morning. They took his CBC and his whites are up a bit to 5.7, reds are 5.33 so we are going ahead with the treatment. I also told Dr Butzer about his lymph nodes in his neck. I can feel them again. They are not huge but they are noticeable and this is a new occurrence, i dig around in his neck almost daily to feel for them.

We talked about his levels and Butzer suggested that we change his chemo regimen to a standard of every two weeks instead of trying to do it every week and spending the time and money on that visit. It always seems he is not ready so we may as well count on that. Anyway, they took Cody to the back to put in his IV and I found myself waiting for almost 30 minutes. I was getting worried, it should not take that long. I poked my head out to talk to someone to ask about him and saw Dr Delatorre, and he went to check on him. A few minutes later Dr Butzer came in with Cody who looked TERRIBLE! I was absolutely horrified! And pissed!

Cody apparently was hyper and would not behave in the back, so they tranquilized him. I ran through all the anger and horrific panic in my head, but realized as I talked myself through it all in my head instantaneously that it was already done… What could I do about it? I could get mad and freak out on them for doing this without my permission or coming to get me, HIS MAMA, to calm him down so he would not need a tranquilizer… but what good would freaking out do HIM? This is all about him and i need to focus and take care of him first and foremost. Priorities.

They gave him:
Dexamethasone injection
Benedryl injection
Pencillin injection
Vitamin injection
Fluid IV
Doxyrubicin IV

Cody was an absolute mess. I was so upset, but hid it well. He was breathing heavy, totally agitated, panting like crazy. His heart was racing. He was drooling. He was totally out of it and basically collapsed at my feet. I sat down on the floor next to him and held him and he continued to pant like crazy. His eyes were saggy and rolling… he could not hold his own head up. I am fighting back tears and most of all anger at the staff. They gave me a fake wool blanket and i put it on the floor in front of him and pulled it under him, lifting his front end of his body to pull it under his head and arms. He continued to pant and started to howl a bit, and whine. He howled and whined in protest about four times. Dr Butzer sat there with us for a bit and pet him with me, and i guess watched him to see how he was doing. Then he left and closed the door, and it was just me and Cody. I laid down next to him on that nasty dirty vet floor and held him in my arms, cuddling him and stroking his head and ears. He loves his ears rubbed. And finally Cody calmed down. He laid there and fidgeted a bit but started to breathe normally and his heart rate went down. I laid there with him on the floor while the IV finished. He was so groggy and loopy, but at least he was calm. He just needed his Mama. They should have let me stay with him when they prepped him, they would not have needed the tranquilizer. So pissed!

I laid there with him on that nasty floor for about an hour and we finished the IV. I saw the blood in the catheter and that’s how i noticed the bag was done. I went out into the hallway to get the nurse and Cody tried to jump up, but sadly was unable to get up or even lift his head, then the nurse came in to take out the catheter. She wanted to take him in the back but I said no way and asked for her to do it in the room with me. She went to get the supplies and came back, and while I hugged him she took out the IV and catheter and wrapped his arm. He looked like he wanted to get up but he could not get his legs. I asked her to stay with him while I paid so I could come back and carry him right out if needed. Unfortunately there was a crazy lady and her dog in line ahead of me and she was buying Iverheart and taking forever, so i went back to the room. The nurse had Cody walking a bit but he was unsteady on his feet and totally groggy, bumping into the table and my legs so I made him lay down again. She said it helps to have them try to walk it off. Whatever… he can not walk you idiot! Then she left for something and I helped Cody up again, gathered my stuff, and Cody and I walked very slowly out to the front. I got to the counter, he laid at my feet and I paid, and then we VERY slowly walked out to the car. He was a mess. I opened the truck and threw my stuff on the back seat, and he tried to jump in the back but slipped out. I grabbed him and his butt, and lifted him in the truck. He laid down on the floor in the back and i drove slowly home. When i got him in the driveway, I opened the back and actually lifted the 65 lb dog out of the back of the truck onto the ground. I can not believe i did it.

He walked slowly into the house and I led him to the living room and he laid down on his bed. He is very very groggy and sleeping it off right now. He did however eat two treats I gave him which is a good sign to me. He laid down and I gave him his UNstuffed racoon (woobie) and his rubber chicken… his two favorite toys…

I should expect to see diarrhea, maybe some puking, grogginess and lethargy this week. They gave me some more Endosorb and I just need to make sure he stays hydrated and away from other dogs.

They only charged me for the CBC and the Doxyrubicin which was $322, so the total today was $408.22.

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
10/12 – $142.37
10/19 – $142.37
10/26 – $61.20
11/2 – $408.22
Total – $1531.12

If they had charged me for the tranquilizer I would have demanded they take it off. I am still pissed about that.

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on November 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Chemo continued…”

  1. Thank you for doing this. It must be painful but I hope in some way a relief in the manner of “a burden shared is a burden halved.” I don’t know what scares me more – the disease itself or the horrible “Sophie’s choice” situations you have to make when you only have so much money and a sick pet. I will keep checking in on you and Cody, and give you all my love and best wishes for a good outcome. Alex and family, Toronto.

    • Thanks Alex. I have already resigned myself that money will not stand in the way of his care. He is worth it. He is worth anything. Typical example is this morning… Waking up in the chill and he wants to get on the bed. He climbs up, i am not awake at all… He nudges my elbow and shoves his nose under my arm. I look at him and he worms his way to where i am spooning him and he falls asleep with me for another 20 minutes. Ya can’t beat that!

      I hope our story helps someone else deal with this.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Happy Holidays!

      M

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