Chemotherapy… hoping for the best!

Tuesday September 28. I call Clint Moore and tell them i want to start chemotherapy today. They tell me to come in as soon as possible to see Dr Butzer who is always in high demand. I see him ride his bike to work all the time through my neighborhood. I saw him only once before with Cody when he was still a puppy and was a bit freaked out by him, although he clearly LOVES animals. He plopped down on the floor dog level and let Cody lick his face and mouth the entire time I was there and he talked to me. Finally after waiting three hours I saw him today again. Dr Butzer does what they term a “Maintenance Free Canine Lymphoma Protocol” and he gave me literature with the breakdown of it compared to the Wisconsin Protocol. The only difference in the protocols come late in the cycle at around week 13 where they keep Cody on the heavy hitter drug instead of switching it out like the Wisconsin does because it is not good for his heart. I will be monitoring this closely when we get to it and may request the switch out. The other thing that obviously differs is the other tests like MRIs etc. Otherwise it is the exact same drugs and the same dosages at the same times. GREATNESS!

Dr Butzer again came in, sat on the floor, let Cody lick him to death and proceeded to confirm his wonderful lunacy. He is a strange fellow for sure, but so incredibly nice and sincere. He speaks at times like a three year old and in the midst of sentences explaining chemotherapy he is telling Cody “I love you! I love you! I love you!” Absolutely hilarious. I love it. He says he will take a CBC of Cody today (white blood cell count) and give him two injections. Asparginase ($181.50) and Vincristine ($72.48). VERY expensive! Thankfully is is the only time he gets the Asparginase in the entire protocol. This visit cost me with tax $335.67. Grande total so far since initially taking Cody to the vet for this:

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
Total – $711.78

And we are just getting started. I do have to say that he is looking and feeling great today. His stool is solid, he is happy and energetic and feeling good. The toxicity does not seem to be affecting him today. He had his shots at 11 am and it is now after 5pm and he is fine. His old self. No more prednisone. He is playful and wagging his tail around the house, dozing here and there… And I am happy. I feel at ease knowing i am actually doing something now and not sentencing him to death. I feel like i am fighting and that makes me feel good. I needed to fight this. After the year I have had I can not go down without a fight here. My dog will not be taken from me fast… No way!

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Wednesday September 29: today Cody is doing great. He seems to be feeling fine and i am not noticing any side effects from his chemo yesterday. I gave him a multi-vitamin and an Omega 3 this morning in a pill pocket and that was it for the day. He slept for a while, played and his poop was soft but solid. I have been feeling for his lymph nodes on his neck since we stopped the prednisone but they are undetectable which makes me happy. I also started some research on what i can do to add to his own immune system’s defense and try to build it up with diet and supplements. I found on the AMHVA website (American Holistic Veterinarian Association) a list of holistic doctors in Florida. I made some calls trying to get some advice over the phone with no results. Amazing how heartless these people are. One place I called in Tampa said they can’t even talk to me on the phone and I should see someone in my area. Another in boynton beach told me they had a waiting list a mile long and I could be put on that list and the cancelation list, but they could not see me nor give me any advice over the phone. Why? Because i am not PAYING them. My dog has cancer and you can not just throw me a bone here and tell me some supplements that I can purchase or diet advice? Give me a break here. That is absolutely heartless, greedy and rapacious. And it is also sad that this is what this area is like. No one does anything for the good or to be helpful or out of kindness. It says a lot about our culture of today. I should try to call some holistic vets in other states and see if they are more responsive.

Tim’s Mom came over for pizza and to see Cody since his diagnosis. He was playful and happy and it was a nice visit. Cody has been sleeping a lot which is understandable. He is a bit groggy in the mornings and takes a while to wake up but I want him to get his rest so i am not worried.

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Thursday September 30 2010: today is gorgeous weather, we woke up to 75 degrees for the first time since probably March. The sun was out and it was clear and nice after torrential rain yesterday all day with tropical storm Nicole. So I gave Cody his multivitamin and his omega 3, then fed him and took him for a walk. He has a bit of diarrhea again so when we got back I gave him one flagyl and one endosorb to tighten him up. I went for a three mile run and when I got back i took him running with the ChuckIt and ball across the street. It was still pretty wet out and because he has not been in a while I did not want to overdue it, so we played for about 15 minutes and then we were done. I saw him slip a few times and the last thing I want him todo is pull a muscle or get an injury while we are killing his immune system. So i am being extra cautious.

I took him for a lot of walks today to make sure he got some air and circulation. I noticed he still had diarrhea so i gave him one more Endosorb after dinner. I have been feeding him a bit more than usual to keep his energy, vitamins and immune system up. He seems a bit lethargic but I may be over analyzing him too.

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Friday October 1: today cody is acting like his old normal self. He has a bit of trouble waking up in the mornings but once he is up and around he is great. He had a bit of soft poo this morning so I gave him an endosorb after he ate. He also had his multi and omega 3. I went to Whole Foods this morning and got a lot of various ground meats for him so i can start to cook his food. This way I know he is getting the best nutrition he can get. I got some ground lamb which is his normal protein (at least that is what the bag claims), ground beef and ground turkey. He has been high energy today and curious like his normal self, so much so i actually had to correct him a few times today! He has not been yelled at in weeks! Haha! He also got a care package from Aunt Beth in New Orleans! Wowza! Some mardi gras beads, chicken apple wraps doggie treats made of free range chicken, a stuffed lady bug toy that squeaks, an outward hound travel dog bowl and a lovely card from Maya. Very sweet!

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Saturday October 2: cody had a great day today! Both Tim and I took him across the street in the morning to play with the ball and he had a blast. He was very energetic and lively and played. We hung around doing some fixes to the house like the back porch door needed replacing. Then after working outside for a while i jumped in the pool and let cody come in. He swam and played catch with a tennis ball with me for a while totally loving it again. Lots of exercise for him today! Dried him off and brought him in, then I made him some boiled ground lamb for his dinner, and mixed in in with his food. His eyes were huge! He never gets people food so he was peaking out! I gave him two omega 3 tabs and a multi today too. He passed out from his active day a very contented boy!

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Sunday October 3: Cody had a multi and omega 3, nice solid poo and a relaxing morning with some ground lamb mixed in with his food again. His eyes get huge when he eats that! So funny! I am taking it easy with him today so he can recover from his very active day yesterday.

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Monday October 4: good day today. Cody had his vitamins and his ground lamb food which he loves. I took him across the street to run with the ball for a little while. Saw some guys spraying the canal near the houses while I was out there. That pisses me off since it is a well known fact that herbicides give dogs cancer and who knows what they are spraying over there’s. I know they spray the grass around here, they leave little fliers stuck in the grass on stilts. “keep off the grass until dry” with a picture of a dog. Nice. Cody has his second round of chemo tomorrow. Poor guy. He had a nice solid poo this morning but very soft in the afternoon. Other than that he is acting fine and happy.

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Tuesday october 5: Cody was scheduled for his second round of chemo today, but when we went for the appointment they did a CBC and his White Blood Cell count was too low. Last week on September 28th it was 9.17 which is a normal range. This week they measured it twice to make sure it was as low as they thought. One test came back 1.81, and the other came back 2.14! Way too low for chemo, he has no immune system right now! So we rescheduled for next week and hopefully his counts will be back in the normal range again. He also lost two pounds so he is at 65lbs now. I talked to Dr Butzer about supplementing him so his immune system kicks back in and so he is now on this regimen (below) every day mixed in with his food which I am also slowly changing to more barley boiled ground meat and less carbs. Carbs and sugars feed the cancer and from what I have researched, because grains are not normal for a carnivores diet it is hard for them to digest. Most pet food is largely grain based (rice, corn, barley etc) and not protein based. And the proteins that are in pet food are highly suspect, being mostly whatever is on the slaughterhouse floor or even ROAD KILL. Look at your pet’s food lables… if you see DIGEST on there… it is road kill. Nice. The ground meats I am using for Cody are from Whole Foods and are organic grass fed… no antibiotics. :

Multivitamin
Omega 3
Echinacea for his immune system
Tahitian Noni for cancer fighting
Probiotics for his digestion
CoQ10 for his heart

I am waiting for a sample of this new food mix to get here so i can see if he likes it. It is all veggies and i mix it with ground meat that i have very lightly heated with water on a very low temperature. I know he will love it so i really should just order a big bag but i want to make sure first. It is expensive. Isn’t everything expensive? Needless to say i am a little worried about him and his immunity to whatever he comes in contact with. Kevin said to just keep him away from other dogs right now. I would have never had a clue since he is acting so normal and happy… Just no sign at all that he is sick. And he is eating like a horse too… I am surprised he lost two pounds. Anyway even though he did not get chemo they charged me $65.18 for the CBC and the visit. I am wondering how much this chemo is really going to cost me when all is said and done. Grande total now is:

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
Total – $776.96

Ugh! But i have said this countless times before… i will do whatever I can to keep him healthy and happy.. regardless.

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

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