Wave Goodbye

Wave Goodbye

Today was Mina’s final chemotherapy treatment in the modified Wisconsin protocol. It was supposed to take 19 weeks but lasted 20 weeks because of a few days gap between her first Vincristine IV and the Cytoxan. She got sick and had to go to the ER, remember?

This past week has been great. No vomiting, no nausea, no diarrhea, lots and lots of eating – so much eating that I had to cook chickens two days in a row! She’s felt really great.

On to the good stuff:

  • Physical exam: bright, alert, some weight gain (0.6 lb.), tiny popliteal lymph nodes, no other nodes palpable.
  • CBC: within normal (adequate for chemotherapy)
  • Skin scraping: negative for mites (no mange!)
  • Skin impression cytology: cocci bacteria present, no yeast organisms seen, no parasites seen.
  • Fine needle aspirate of left popliteal lymph node: No cancer cells seen. Cytology appears reactive, likely secondary to skin problems/allergies.
  • Adriamycin was infused in the right cephalic vein (20 mg. IV). Infusin went well with no complications.

Tentative diagnosis: At this time, based on lymph node aspirate today and response to chemotherapy, we believe that Mina is in remission.

Treatment plan:

  • Completed 20-week chemotherapy protocol to treat multicentric lymphoma today.
  • Continue twice weekly baths with Malaseb (or equivalent) shampoo to treat yeast/bacerial dermatitis. Could do intermittent warm water baths to soothe her skin and wash off residual shampoo residue as well.
  • Monitor closely for signs of cancer relapse – enlarged lymph nodes. Should palpate peripheral lymph nodes at home when possible and bring her back here or to Dr. Cliver in 3 weeks for full exam.
  • There is no way to tell how long Mina’s cancer will stay in remission. Some dogs will got 6-8 months with no relapse while other dogs will relapse in 8 weeks. The only way to tell is to monitor her lymph nodes closely. If Mina were to relapse, we may discuss re-inducing with the 19 week lymphoma protocol or treating with alternate drugs.

So, there you have it, all of it. Mina needs to be examined once per month and we’ll do that at Dr. Cliver’s because I really think I’d have to carry Mina to get her inside the doors at VIMP again. She is so done with weekly vet visits, lemme tell ya.

Allyson showed me how to check her lymph nodes, starting with the left popliteal. It didn’t feel like much, sort of a little bump on the back of her leg. Then she showed me how to feel for the ones under her chin, which are the ones I felt way back in April when she had the nosebleed at PWEVC.

Just one more ...

Just one more ...

Mina barked and carried on from the time Allyson brought her out to me until we walked out the door. When we got home she ate a good portion of beef/eggs and drank a lot of water. She’s very perky. I’m feeling pretty good, too. I’ve said all along that I want Mina to have a few months of life without cancer so she can enjoy herself. She’s 80 years old, she’s very spry, and right now I have to go squeeze the stuffin’s out of her.



The VIMP budgies were very chatty and playful today!

The VIMP budgies were very chatty and playful today!

Doxorubicin made Mina’s life very difficult this week, but it sure kicked some cancer ASS!

Today she had her regular CBC which indicates a normal white cell count, but she’s slightly more anemic than last week. That’s a side effect of the doxorubicin so we need to hope it elevates over this next week.

Her urinalysis was clean.

“Brief ultrasound today: The spleen is shrunken to a more normal size measuring 1.48 cm in diameter with almost normal texture. No internal lymphadenopathy is noted.”

ALL of her lymph nodes – internal and peripheral – are normal. Her spleen is ::thisclose:: to being normal again, so we’ve scheduled the Vincristine IV for next Tuesday morning.

She stays on the 10 mg. of Prednisone every other day for another week. If the Vincristine makes her sick again that week, Dr. Birnbaum recommends some stronger antiemetic drugs – Cerenia or Zofran. The LVT recommended giving Mina the metoclopramide before every meal because her stomach is likely still dealing with the chemo drugs and she might feel queasy when she eats.

She just ate a bunch of boiled chicken and some rice. Now she’s resting.

Groomer comes at 2 p.m. so Mina will be a very skinny puppy this afternoon. She lost almost all of the two pounds she gained the previous week, which I expected would happen. We’ll see if we can get her eating again this week with some help from the holistic vet we’re seeing on Friday.

I can breathe.

**UPDATE** Dr. Birnbaum says that Mina will continue with the protocol for at least several more weeks before making a decision on actual remission. I’m sorta hoping she won’t have to do the whole 19 weeks but she may have to so the roller coaster is still on the tracks.**