June 29th 2009 3:04 pm
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Adopted mom has already been talking about the wonderful support she has gotten from Lookout Mountain Veterinary Clinic and especially from Dr Betsy and her Team over at the Integrative Veterinary Oncology Clinic out of Phoenix Az. (and they have great resources there that should be the first place checked: http://www.integrativeveterinaryoncology.com/index.html !)
Sometimes people dont have access to the kind of direct support Adopted Mom has now. This is where belonging to an email list can make a huge difference in finding the best and updated ssources referred by other dog owners who are experiencing the same kind of challenges with their specific cancers.
CanineCancer at the yahoo groups has been one of Adopted Moms favorite groups over the years.
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanineCancer/ however you need to have a dog with cancer to be a member. They have amny great resources right there from diet and nutrition (including when dogs refuse to eat, cancer drug information, household remedies to help augment the medical support your own dog's vet may be give to talk about and many many links.
If you are one of the ones determined to be proactive, there are several email lists which can help with a holistic lifestyle.
There is so much one acan do ahead of time if one is willing to help reduce risk, but joining many wellness lists available on yahoo (Adopted Mom's favorite type) and Goggle. Adopted Mom is a member of Wellpet, nevetsavesmoneyonvetbills, holistic dog, doghealth, canineanimalcare-naturally, and AuNaturelK9s.
Some of those are high volume lists so it may be easier for you to join and then check in to webmail or go no mail and search by topic of interest.
My and my fourlegged pals have taught Adopted Mom alot about listening to her intuition. she says that there are so many other then conscious signals which we may not even realize which can trigger that intuition that there is something useful or revelvent to talk to the vet about.
As tough as this kind of journey is on use fourleggeds, it is nuttin to how hard it is on you-all who have to watch us go through this, trying to guess what helps, what eases our way, how much or little to do and when...
so Ill be back soon diary, cause I got alot more to say about this for caregivers AND care providers!!!
June 28th 2009 3:02 pm
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Well, this chemo stuff is no fun to be sure. Adopted mom has heard all kind of stories about how awful sick one can get from this stuff, with hair falling out and loss of appitite and all.
Adopted mom determined that if she was going to go this route, that she wanted to learn what an INTEGRATED approach could get me in my quality of life experience! BOY Howdie, is she shocked and amazed at what a difference it does make!!!
When I come out of getting my weekly treatment, rather then my fanny draggin and Adopted mom having to practically carry me to the car, I come out dancin and prancin like I own the joint! (Well the people who treat me tell me I do anyway).
Adopted mom says that it is the combination of the accupuncture treatment I get immediately after I get that chemo treatment, combined with super nutritional support! Doc Betsey has this wonderful herbal combination powder that Adopted Mom mixes in my food so I don't even notice. Adopted mom also makes sure I get food that is all protein and NO CARBS (I mentioned that before).
Adopted mom has got some movie pictures she is going to put together to show some of the things I have been through to help others see how people work to help me get better.
Adopted mom finially decided to give me a bath cause I have medicine smell on me sometimes. She actually took me to a holistic doggie wash where they had this natural soap and super conditioners for my coat and some stuff that leaves me smellin good (according to everyone who has been pettin me) instead of like wet dog (whats wrong with dat?). I have to admit I came out of dat feelin pretty spiffy and everyone who sees me cant get over how soft and beautiful my fur is now! I only got one place on my whole body that is missin hair and dat's where they shaved a 2 inch square on my leg back by my hind knee where no one even notices.
One other thing we havent talked about much is the importance of keeping me hydrated and eliminating good. Adopted mom knows that that is so important to keep those toxins in my body coming out though my body's own elimination system.
Gee all of a sudden I hafta go out at least every two hours. I can hold it longer but Adopted mom works really hard to make sure that I go out on a regular basis. It is not so easy where we are right now in the mountains because there is no doggie door and I just won't go inside the house! Adotped mom takes me for long walkes too, because that "stimulates" my elimination system to be effective, but she can tell that I get tired easy so we go in circles alot (like she thinks I dont notice I have been by the same ole spots - vbg), and take lotsa breaks for me to laydown and look around. (I do alot more "smellin" breaks now then I used to, but she doesnt mind).
One thing I sure miss is all my therapy doggin, I keep wanting to go up to anybody who walks by for the pets I used to get when we would go out to events. Adopted Mom has promised though when I get through all this chemo stuff, if I'm doing as well as I am doing now I can go back to it.
I am so grateful that Doc Adam and team over at Lookout Mountain Animal Clinic were willing to refer me over to Doc Betset and her team over at the Integrative Veterinary Oncology clinic where they were able to determin that I had the most agressive kind of Lymphomoa and adjust my treatment to specifically go after that.
Why, just this morning I went out for the first time in a month, and woofed at some passerbys that did NOT ask MY permission to walk along MY side of the road! I even told Adopted mom that I was going to sleep in her side of the bed but that the couch was open if she wanted it! (didn't work, but at least she shared!)
Look for those pictrues shortly diary!
June 20th 2009 9:51 pm
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When one is caught up being a primary caregiver for others, it is easy to ignore signs of fears, anxiety, doubt or stress in oneself. Adopted Mom has tried five times to talk about the specifics of what this cancer is for this next part, but the subject keeps veering off to other tracks before she recognized she was stalling! So I had to tell her to cut to the chase because we have WALKS to do today!
Last time, we talked about cancer in general. Adopted mom talked about how important it was to understand what KIND of cancer had to be fought to be able to use the most appropriate response.
My cancer is called Canine Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a blood disorder of the lymph system. The lymph system is an important part of the body’s immune defense system.
So this cancer is NOT foolin around! It has gone right to the very system that would fight it off!
Why didn’t my body fight this beast off? Well because Lymphoma is most importantly an immune DYSFUNCTION disease. Sheesh ~ my own body doesn’t even recognize that the cancer cells are invaders to be fought!
What does that mean? Well, my body’s normal recognition response alarm needs to be retriggered to alert my body’s system to fight this disease. The chemotherapy and multi drug approach is an important component to beat this beast back from the many footholds it has taken through out my body, but that action alone would not be enough to trigger my own immune response without additional support from the nutritional supplements that Adopted Mom is giving me in addition to the acupuncture treatments and immune enhancement program provided by Dr Hershey.
The average life expectancy for a dog with untreated lymphoma is only about 2 to 4 months from the time of diagnosis. But modern treatment can dramatically
increase the odds of a remission, and in many cases, provide a long term cure. In Dogs which are otherwise healthy lymphoma is the type of cancer with one of the highest remission rates of any of the canine cancers.
Now please bear with me as I explain about the specifics you need to learn about where your dog (or human) may be with this disease. I am using the correct word so you can do a further search on any term you recognize but do not understand:
Classification of my kind of lymphoma is also based on involvement of B-lymphocytes or T-lymphocytes. Approximately 70 percent of the cases are B-cell lymphoma. A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis X-rays, ultrasound, blood analysis, and bone marrow biopsy reveal other locations of the cancer. The stage of the disease is important to treatment and prognosis.
• Stage I - only one lymph node or lymphoid tissue in one organ involved.
• Stage II - lymph nodes in only one area of the body involved.
• Stage III - generalized lymph node involvement.
• Stage IV - any of the above with liver or spleen involvement.
• Stage V - any of the above with blood or bone marrow involvement.
Each stage is divided into those with systemic symptoms (loss of appetite, weight loss, etc.) and those without.
Dr Hershey used a biopsy combined with blood work, combined with the x-rays provided by my primary vets over at Lookout Mountain, to determine that I am at Stage III with T-cell (or T-lymphocytes). The most aggressive kind I could have!
Here is a brief summary of current thinking on the prognosis (projection) of the average progress of this specific kind of cancer. Complete cure is rare with lymphoma and treatment tends to be palliative, but long remission times are possible with chemotherapy and other forms of immune system support.
What does this mean?
It means, that at this point, there is no treatment available to make this disease go away and never comeback.
It means that my fight will not be an easy fight, full of simple bandage fixes or fast solutions.
It means that there have been some dogs, who have lived 6 more quality of life years with my exact cancer – and Dr Hershey has one right now that has lived 5 years with my exact t-cell aggressive lymphoma! It also means that thousands of others – (dogs and humans) have just lived with cancer, until they died.
It means Adoption Mom can never drop her guard, ever vigilant prepared to fight this disease as long as that fight will give me the kind of quality of life I have right now. (I will talk about those choices another time).
It means that Adoption Mom once again picks up the mantle of “primary caregiver/patient advocate” and juggles that with the mantle of a spiritual “warrior” fighting a demon she can’t win~ with tools, weapons and resources now available that others may not know about.
It means that Adoption Mom MUST remember that while she cannot win her war against the demon cancer with today’s technology, medicine and holistic options. She CAN win battles which will help others in their own fights and decisions.
More importantly, Adopted Mom agrees with Eugene O’Kelly CEO of KPMG who wrote “Chasing Daylight, How my Forthcoming Death, Transformed my Life” commented “I asked my self to answer two questions: Must the end of life, be the worst part?” (He answered no). Then asked, “Can it be made a constructive experience, even the best part of life?” (He answered yes – and so does she!)
He set his life to “beautifully resolve personal relationships”, and experience an abundance of “Perfect Moments” and “Perfect Days”. Adoption Mom says that is her paycheck for helping me find my way though this experience, because even on the bad hair days, it is always perfect for me!
I am glad you are joining me on this journey. I hope you will share your stories with me too because a journey shared is enriched in spirit, heart and soul.