You're gonna miss these guys when this is all over in a few weeks ...

You're gonna miss these guys when this is all over in a few weeks ...

Mina’s home from her day stay at VIMP for the Adriamycin/doxorubicin chemo treatment. She did very well and they gave her a reduced dose to help prevent any side effects. Mina was pre-treated with a Pepcid IV and a Benadryl IV. Here are the highlights from her discharge papers:

  • Physical exam: bright, alert, some alopecia (hair loss) on medial thighs and where legs were shaved for chemo, left popliteal lymph node palpable at < 1cm, all else within normal.
  • Normal white blood cell count at 6,700, normal HCT 38 percent (not anemic), normal platelets.
  • Urinalysis (free catch): specific gravity 1.025, trace protein, negative glucose, no overt infection.
  • She gained a half pound for a weight of 49.7 pounds!
Today's bandage was pretty cute!

Today's bandage was pretty cute!

I got this note from Dr. B. about the left popliteal lymph node that changes from less than .5cm to less than 1cm from week to week: “Dr. Birnbaum wants to let you know that the notation of the change in size of the lymph node is actually not precise as it is estimated based on feel, not with calipers, and that either ‘less than 1 cm’ or ‘less than ½ cm’ are both meant to indicate ‘barely palpable.’ She also stated that if the lymph node does change in size by this miniscule amount, that it may not even be related to her cancer, but could be related to her resolved UTI or any other process that might trigger the immune system locally. She said that either way it is not an indicator of whether or not Mina is headed for remission. She said she is more interested in the appearance and size of the spleen, which today looked wonderful.”

I thanked Amy for that note because this node has been worrying me a little for weeks now. I’m no longer going to worry about it unless Dr. B. tells me she’s worried about it.

Did you notice in the urinalysis the part about “negative glucose”? That means that Mina’s mild glucosuria has resolved. Her kidneys are working fine, but they do show signs of aging. That said, I still plan to complete the Five Leaf kidney treatment once Mina is done with chemo and has built up her immune system a little. I think a kidney detox can only be beneficial for her.

Resting after lunch

Resting after lunch

We got home and Mina drank a lot of water and I gave her a big helping of the chickens I’d boiled for her this morning, as well as a jar of organic baby food. I’m boiling the carrots for the ground cows dish right now and I’m not adding rice this time. She’ll get organic carrots and organic tomato all pureed and cooked in the ground cows with some safflower oil and parsely (and a little garlic).

Next week is her last rest week in the protocol.

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(points if you know where I got the title of this post)

Mina continues to lose hair. Attend:

Two-thirds of her tail hair is goon ...

Two-thirds of her tail hair is goon ...

Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin ...

Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin ...

Her disappearing facial hair makes her muzzle all pointy

Her disappearing facial hair makes her muzzle all pointy

I see that food in my bowl but what are YOU cooking?

I see that food in my bowl but what are YOU cooking?

Resting in the entry way

Resting in the entry way

My celly phone pics aren’t very good but you can get the idea that she’s losing hair. Someone in the leasing office said a while back that they could tell she was “once a pretty dog.” I responded with a demon scowl. She’s still pretty, no matter what and the hair will eventually grow back.

She’s feeling better and her urination is much more normal. We drove out to Amissville to ECOW yesterday and I stopped three times on the way and a couple of times back so she could pee. She drank some water, too. We cleaned out their supply of the lamb Chow Now so I ordered some more. It is a long drive out there, about 30 miles, but it’s a lovely drive and we have a purpose! It’s also cheaper at ECOW than the closer Marshall IGA – $2.75 per carton cheaper.

s.

Today and tomorrow are the days the doxorubicin will peak in Mina’s little body. After that any side effects should be minimal and she should start feeling a little better every day.

She’s definitely lost weight again. We’re at this point today where I don’t know what to feed her because she’s clearly tired of the baby food and doesn’t seem to love the yogurt any longer. Last night around midnight, she ate the little bit of Chow Now and rice in her dish. This morning I put a little more of each in her bowl and she barely sniffed it. She did eat most of a jar of baby food and a couple of bites of yogurt but not enough to keep her from losing more weight. She’s also twice rejected cups of peanut butter flavored Frosty Paws, a treat she once loved and would gobble in seconds. Maybe she’ll get back her taste for them later on.

But weight isn’t the only thing Mina’s losing – she’s losing hair, too.

See the nice, bushy tail?

See the nice, bushy tail?


See the non-bushy, scraggly tail?

See the non-bushy, scraggly tail?

Her tail hair is considerably thinner and lots of her friends have noticed. She’s also lost her whiskers, and there are thinning spots on her head. The part of her left foreleg that was shaved for the doxorubicin catheter hasn’t grown back a single bit of fuzz in four days. Mina’s hair loss doesn’t bother me because it’ll grow back eventually. I’m more concerned about her shedding the cancer than shedding some hair.

The black staph infections on her lower belly and vulva have not healed. This bothers me a lot but her cancer vets don’t seem too freaked out. I wash the entire area twice a day in chlorohexidine-soaked cloths but they don’t go away and seem to be multiplying. When we go to VIMP on Tuesday for her checkup I’m going to insist that they recommend or give me something to treat these areas. See?

The black spots are the icky staph infections

The black spots are the icky staph infections

Generally speaking, she’s handling this round of chemo pretty well. We went for a walk around 6 a.m. and she went a little further than she has on previous mornings. Her urinary incontinence is still an issue but it’s just spotting now, not the flooding she had when she was taking higher doses of prednisone and drinking enough water for a camel.

The prednisone was also responsible for an improvement in her allergies. Dr. Nolan on Wednesday noticed that Mina’s feet were no longer the usual pinkish-brown color but matched the rest of her blonde-ish hair. Mina, we believe, is allergic to grass and constantly licks her feet. The iron in her saliva turns the hair on her feet this pinkish-brown color that only disappears after she’s been groomed and the hair cut away. But, now that she’s on a greatly reduced dose of the prednisone, I’ve seen her licking at her feet again.

She’s taking the metoclopramide three times a day, until I notice her appetite improving. We’re all done with the Simplicef antibiotic, and have about four days left of the Remeron/mirtazipine.

s.