OK, so after reading all about the possible side effects of the various drugs used for Mina’s lymphoma treatments, and Berry the dog’s reactions to some of them, I’m kinda freaked out. The one that’s coming up on Thursday is Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). Here’s the info from Berry’s Web site:

Cytoxan is an alkylating agent that interferes with the replication of cells. It is a nitrogen mustard and is related to gases used in chemical warfare. Cytoxan is given in pills, which must be handled with extreme care. Cytoxan is an inactive drug in the capsule. It is activated in your dog’s liver, where it is broken down, and then it is broken down again in the bladder. It is extremely important for dogs to receive ample water while on Cytoxan so that the drug wastes can be flushed out of your dog’s organs. Your dog also needs to be let out often to urinate while taking Cytoxan to remove the waste products from his bladder as quickly as possible. Detailed information about Cytoxan is available at: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_cyclophosphamide_.html.

From what I read on that link, you can’t even touch these pills with your fingers, which makes me wonder how I’m supposed to give them to Mina? I would assume it’s bad if the pill touches the inside of her mouth? Will a Pill Pocket work? I’ll write down my questions today so I have them for our next visit to VIMP on Thursday.

Also, I may not be entirely out of the chicken cooking business, UNFORTUNATELY. I can’t seem to find a doggie snack for Mina that’s not full of grains and stuff she doesn’t need. She’s not bugging me for snacks now because she eats four to five times a day, but it’d be nice for her Aunties Lori and Sherrie to have something easy to give her. Any ideas? Hints? Suggestions? Today, we have some chicken breast in the fridge that she can have for snacks, but I’m not looking forward to doing that on a regular basis because I’M TIRED OF DISMEMBERING CORPSES IN MY KITCHEN.

So, this morning we were up after about five hours of sleep to go outside in the pouring rain. Gotta hand it to Mina, she’s tough because she managed to do all her business while getting soaked as I stood in the breezeway and watched. She got a nice rub-down with the towel when we got inside, something she particularly enjoys. Pills, food, laundry, carpet spraying, pack lunches, eat breakfast, finish laundry, get ready for work, leave a sad-eyed Mina behind. I wish I could set up a little corner for her here in my office but this is not a non-human animal-friendly workplace.

Generally, she seems better, even broke out the trot for a bit this morning and yesterday. She still sleeps an awful lot, but she did invite me to play a couple of times yesterday but wore out after just a few minutes. She’s still eating enough for three Wheaties, though, and still drinking lots of water but I’ve noticed that’s tapered off. She’ll need to drink tons while taking the Cytoxan, so I may employ Colleen’s sneaky method of getting her elderly pooch, Tosca, to drink by putting a little chicken broth in the water. Eww.

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So … Mina is just about off the boiled dead chickens. I put only a tablespoon in her breakfast of mashed potatoes, chicken Chow Now, Udo’s Choice Pet Essentials, and Udo’s Choice 3, 6, 9 Oil. I don’t plan to give her any more boiled dead chickens after today so the remainder will go downstairs to my neighbor’s dog, Turk. He really likes Mina, but right now she can’t handle much enthusiastic behavior from her friends. A nuzzle and a little sniffing is Mina’s speed at the moment.

I still have to cook the chicken Chow Now, but I no longer have to dismember chickens and skin them in my kitchen. You have no idea what a huge relief that is for me. The Chow Now stinks while it’s cooking but a stick of incense gets rid of the stink. Mina seems to love it.

Today, we’re going to boil and mash some gigantic sweet potatoes for her carbohydrate needs, and we’re also driving out to ECOW in Amissville, Virginia to pick up a case of chicken Chow Now. I’ve cleaned out my freezer and moved things around but still not sure how I’ll store 24 16-ounce cartons of it. I may have to beg some freezer space from a neighbor for a while.

I read about prednisone side effects this morning to see if there’s a reason that Mina is drinking a bit less water the last couple of days. She’s peeing less, too. Maybe that’s because I’ve been home for four days and she gets to go out a lot, but her next chemo treatment is highly toxic (you can’t even touch the pills with your hands) and she needs lots of water to avoid cystitis.

The tile entryway is her new favorite spot to nap.

The tile entryway is her new favorite spot to nap.

Then I found a very cool Web site written by two parents whose beloved Golden Retriever, Berry, was a lymphosarcoma patient. I’ve added it to the links over on the side. They wrote a little book titled, ” Every Day is a Good Day: Berry The Dog’s Guide to Living with Lymphosarcoma.” I’m on the second chapter, “Surviving the first month of treatment.” It’s some scary shit, but the treatment of lymphoma in dogs has changed tremendously in the nine years since Berry was diagnosed. The interesting part for me is that Berry had the same diagnosis as Mina, including cancer in the bone marrow.

So far, KNOCK WOOD PEOPLE, Mina hasn’t shown any side effects from the Vincristine. She’s still eating enough for three Wheaties every day, and drinking a fair amount of water. She rests a lot so I think the lethargy side effect is present but, even so, we took two walks yesterday to the leasing office and back. She was bright, alert and sniffing all over the place during the walks.

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I found that if I wake up at 1 a.m., after sleeping for three hours, and take Mina outside to potty, there’s no pee to clean in the morning.

She’s eating really well.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

s.