Thursday, September 13, 2012

Conan's Canine Lymphoma: Chemo Day 3 and WTF?!


Today -- Chemo Day 3 -- did not get off to a great start. Last night, my normally sane and not particularly naughty boy got into the cat's litter box, made a stunningly large mess and ate god knows what. And then he nosed around in the bathroom trash cans and ate some tissues! He hasn't done either of those things in a long while and he usually only acts up like that when he wants attention and isn't getting it. But he got plenty of attention last night. WTF, Conan?!

This morning I woke up before my alarm with a pit of anxiety in my stomach, just as I do every Thursday. Conan ate his breakfast and we left for the vet about 7:40 a.m. Then we had the pleasure of sitting there for 20 minutes waiting for one of the receptionists to inprocess Conan and a vet tech to come out and retrieve him... which is pretty ridiculous, considering Conan and I were the only people in the waiting room. To top it off, another receptionist was on the phone with a client talking about the cost and options for euthanasia and cremation. That's pretty much the last thing the mom of a cancer dog needs to hear! When the vet tech finally appeared, I asked to weigh Conan since I've noticed he's looking a bit skinnier. And the scale revealed that he's lost a startling 10 pounds! I need to consult with the vet about that when she calls this afternoon, but in the meantime I'm fretting that Conan's home-cooked low-carb cancer diet is responsible. He gets at least a pound of meat a day, though, and it's hard to believe that he's being underfed... but if he's not lacking for food, that means something else -- probably worse -- is causing the weight loss. After all that, I almost had a mini meltdown on the drive home but managed to hold it in. WTF, vet?!

Here's a bit of a sidenote rant: I hate our vet office. We go to a VCA, and it's insanely busy and chaotic. There are upwards of 10 vets who work there and tons of receptionists. At any given time, there are usually three to six receptionists working at the front counter. Because the vet office is so large, they have terrible customer service. Not only do most of the vet techs and receptionists not know me or Conan -- even after seeing Conan many, many times in the past year and a half -- but we inevitably spend a ridiculous amount of time sitting in the waiting room, which is a marked contrast from the small "mom-and-pop" vets we're used to visiting. Waiting for 20 minutes to simply have someone take Conan to the back is not abnormal at our vet. And I'll most definitely sit and impatiently jiggle my foot for at least 15 minutes this evening when I go to pick up Conan -- and at that point the vet office will be crazy busy and there might not even be a chair for me to sit in! In addition to all that, their prices are very high, even compared to other vets on Oahu (which all are more expensive than Mainland vets.) I can tell you that we will never again go to a vet office run by a national for-profit veterinary company. So why do we stay now? Because, rather unfortunately, we've become attached to our actual vet. In short, she's great. And, coincidentally, she went to Colorado State University for her bachelor's and vet degrees, which is where I went!

Anyway, today Conan will receive a vincristine IV. That's what we had the first week and he didn't seem to have any issues with it, thank goodness, so perhaps I'll get a week off from worrying. For his second treatment this past week he was given cyclophosphamide, which comes with lots of potential side effects -- especially stomach issues. I woke up every 30 minutes or hour last Thursday night to check on Conan because I was so afraid he'd start violently throwing up -- which is not uncommon with that drug. He didn't look great after breakfast the next morning, so I gave him an anti-nausea pill and he has been fine stomach-wise since. I did notice this week that Conan has had a lot less energy than usual, but I've read that fatigue is the most common chemo side effect for dogs. And that's really small potatoes compared to the acute vomiting, heart and bladder issues, wasting and tissue damage that are possible, so if having a dog who'd rather snuggle than play is the main issue we have to deal with I'll feel like one lucky mama!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you are posting your thoughts for the week about Conan's treatments. I like this week's picture.


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