I don’t really know. I asked Dr. B.’s LVT, Allyson, that question but the answer doesn’t seem to be an exact science. The absence of cancer in the body is the big requirement for a remission, but there are specific chemicals in the blood (calcium was mentioned) that also play a part in determining remission. Towards the end of Mina’s protocol, Dr. B. will order up a blood profile, do a full ultrasound of Mina’s major organs, and then determine if she’s in remission of if the cancer is merely at bay.

That said, today’s exam results were very positive! Dr. B. is very pleased with Mina’s progress, calling it “excellent.” No CBC was taken today because Mina didn’t have chemo last week, and the urine culture results should be back sometime today. They’re looking for specific bacteria not covered by the Baytril that Mina’s currently taking. That is a broad spectrum antibiotic that treats gram negative and gram positive bacteria, but Dr. B. wants to make sure there’s nothing in Mina’s urine that the Baytril can’t kill. If they do find something else, then they’ll tweak her antibiotic and make sure we kill it dead this time.

Here are the other results from today’s examination:

  • No palpable splenomegaly
  • Left prescapular and left popliteal nodes are tiny at less than 1/2 cm. No other lymph nodes palpable.
  • Vincristine was administered today in the right cephalic vein at a reduced dose due to GI side effects with previous dose (0.37 mg IV).
  • Mina gained 1 pound (actually, I believe she gained more because we weighed her on two different scales and she looks heavier to me).
  • Prescription for anti-emetic Zofran dispensed.

We’re still waiting for Dr. Tran’s analysis of the kidney health program from Five Leaf Pet Pharmacy. Allyson said at first glance Dr. Tran didn’t see any problems, but wants to research a couple of the herbs more carefully and should get back to me later today.

The VIMP budgies are noisy and chatty today

The VIMP budgies are noisy and chatty today

Every time we go to VIMP it seems Mina hates it more. This time she did everything she could to get out of there before her treatment. I tried to be cheery and took her out to walk around a bit, but all she wanted to do was get in the car and be gone! I think that’s a sure sign that Miss Mina Bean is feeling much better.

One of Mina's many attempts to escape VIMP

One of Mina's many attempts to escape VIMP

So, onward we go.

s.

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“I can’t think about that now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” –Scarlett O’Hara in my favorite movie “Gone With the Wind”

I just signed the loan papers to continue Mina’s chemotherapy. Sure, it’s not as much debt as my former student loans but it’s an awful lot. A scary lot. It is, however, enough to get her through the remaining eight chemotherapy treatments in the protocol.

After that, I’m not sure what will happen to us. If Mina’s not in remission at the end of the protocol then I’ll go back to her regular vets and let them guide me through whatever comes. Remission rates are typically listed on various canine lymphoma Web sites at 70-84 percent of dogs treated with remissions lasting 6-9 months, sometimes longer.

That’s all I want. I want Mina to feel good and enjoy her life for 6-9 months or longer before the cancer comes to claim her. Remission is described as the absence of cancer and I’m not sure when her cancer vets will declare that for her. I thought, as you’ll recall from an earlier post, that we were close at one point but then she stopped eating well and Team Grim Reaper was ready to call it quits. Her last exam and tests had good results but still not good enough.

So on we go for another nine weeks. In the meantime, Mina is eating well and tolerating all the new supplements and she seems perky. I love her so much.

s.