Last night was bad here in the cancer ward. I tried so hard to hide my feelings from Mina, but I might as well try to hide the moon in a paper sack. She knows when something’s wrong and she put on such a brave face for me.

I did get a response from Dr. C. at VIMP. I’m not going to post it here but I sent it to close friends, one of whom shared it with her partner and they agreed with my interpretation. It started with an arrogant and completely unnecessary bit about the doctor’s credentials and went into an explanation of the stages of canine lymphoma. All information I’ve already dug up for myself and that I know. Nothing like following a little arrogance with condescension, eh?

Let’s get this straight: When you ask questions about something this vet tells you, it’s clear that you’re stepping on her professional toes. I should think after 37 years of treating cancer patients that she’d be accustomed to answering all sorts of questions. I guess not.

The note explains that Mina had massively enlarged lymph nodes in her GI tract, but doesn’t give any indication of whether or not those nodes are affected by the chemotherapy treatments. Then she explains that Mina needs to take some pro-biotic supplements and that she shouldn’t have any anti-oxidants, which I also knew after my meeting in May with Dr. Lundquist, the holistic vet, because they “promote cell proliferation of all cells, especially cancer cells and can disrupt the effect of chemotherapy in
targeting the cancer cells.”

This particular sentence was incredibly upsetting: “Therefore Dasuquin MSM, and any anti-oxidants should be discontinued.” WHAT THE HELL? Since when is Dasuquin MSM an anti-oxidant? Mina’s been taking it as a bone/joint supplement for months and months and Dr. B. knows that and it shows up on her list of meds in every single discharge paper!

Oh, there’s more: “We never tell people that we will cure or even provide long term remission with Stage 4-5B/5B malignant lymphoma.”

Well, that’s news to me! I know her cancer can’t be cured, but I remember my initial meeting with Dr. B. when she told me that Mina had a good prognosis for remission with chemotherapy.

After reading this note a couple of times, I was devastated. It was cold and uncaring so I called VIMP and asked Dr. B. to call me to discuss it. That message got back to Dr. Smith and he called me about two hours later. He must’ve been working at the emergency clinic last night, and he’s the business manager for VIMP. I was glad to hear his voice.

Dr. S. told me that he approved the note and just wanted to clarify with me the process of cancer staging. All I can say is that they need a persuasive writing course in that clinic because what I read wasn’t educational, it was condescending and downright rude. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but they should KNOW that their human clients are under a tremendous strain and write and act accordingly. Taking a writing course for “How to Be the Best Grim Reaper Ever,” is NOT effective.

He told me that Dasuquin MSM is not an anti-oxidant, which means the sentence above was very poorly constructed. I searched all over the interwebs looking for evidence that Dasuquin is an anti-oxidant and couldn’t find anything.

When I told him that I want Mina’s gut ultrasounded so I can know the condition of those lymph nodes, he informed me that Dr. B. performs “little ultrasounds” on Mina all the time at no charge to me. He said sometimes the vet just wants a look at what’s going on inside so they perform an ultrasound and Dr. B. does this with Mina. There have been no notes on her discharge papers about any ultrasound since June 23, but he assures me that Mina gets them frequently. He suggested when I bring Mina in for chemo next Tuesday that I tell the tech that I want an ultrasound of Mina’s gut to find out what’s happening to those nodes.

BTW, the June 23 ultrasound note reads: “Spleen was normal size and texture had improved as well. Internal lymph nodes were small in size.”

Now, I have to gather that when Allyson comes out to tell me that Dr. B. is “extremely pleased” with Mina’s progress and that “everything looks good” that must mean EVERYTHING, right? Including those internal lymph nodes? If that’s the case, then how can those same lymph nodes be causing Mina’s diarrhea? Do you see my confusion?

You can also see why I’ve never mentioned Mina’s blog URL to anyone at VIMP. I want this to be an honest record of our experiences with canine lymphoma and chemotherapy. I want anyone who stumbles across this blog in the future to understand that this is incredibly hard, that it’s a daily struggle, and that sometimes the vets working for you have the bedside manner of the Grim Reaper and the communication skills of a laboratory researcher. This is why I chose Dr. B. over Dr. C. and this is why, for the rest of Mina’s treatment at VIMP, I am not dealing with Dr. C. or her staff. Mina needs some pro-biotics? Fine, I’ll get them from Dr. Cliver and Dr. Nolan, her regular vets.

This is twice now that Dr. C. and her LVT have put me, and Mina, through hell for no apparent reason. I’m not going to allow it to happen again. Maybe I sound unreasonable and ungrateful to some, but I don’t give a shit. I’m going to do what’s best for Mina if that means insulting a few lofty professionals along the way.