Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chemo Day - Round #1

Nova awoke this morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. After a weekend of being a picky eater she has been wolfing down her food. I guess she must have missed us and decided to go on a hunger strike. I feel bad for all she put Tammy through with her picky eating. She still was avoiding drinking water, so along with hand feeding her ice cubes, I have been adding extra water to her soft food (makes it extra slimy).
Before we left for the Doctor, she walked into Ben's room and jumped right up on his bed:
It was interesting to see how she did it, she had to adjust her technique. Another thing she is doing is shifting her front foot sideways. That bugs me a little because I worry that it will do damage to her front leg. Her front foot has gotten all spread out, I imagine it's her way of making a bigger platform to walk on. The foot is tilted so you can only see 3 toes when she walks, it is so weird:

She got right in the car, but had a different attitude than usual. Usually she just runs out to the van and hops in and stays there until I come out. This time she didn't object, but stood outside the car until I came out. She was looking at me like "we really have to do this, huh?" She was tense on the drive, like she knew we were going to the Doctor. She stood the whole way, which drove me bananas, i was afraid she would fall. She had to keep her head up in the front seat and rotated between resting her head on my shoulder (which doesn't exactly help me drive effectively) and on Ben's shoulder. This dog's head weighs a TON.
Ben kept getting irritated with her resting her head on him, apparently it affected his game playing on his iPod. I gave him the "be nice to Nova, she's sick, she just wants us to comfort her" lecture, which caused him to launch into a tirade about how poor Emmy was getting ignored because she wasn't sick. This whole ordeal has been stressful on everyone in the family. I know Ben loves Nova, he curls up with her every chance he gets and takes pictures to school to show his friends. It's easy to get frazzled when you're stressed and worried.
The appointment ended up taking much longer than expected. The wait was really long. Nova made a few Tripawd friends in the waiting room, and some other dog friends with cancer like this dog who had lymphoma:
Of course all the parents had to share their stories. There were a few people that came in with their dogs who were much further along in the process. It was nice to hear their success stories and kind words about Dr. Obradovich and Dr. Walshaw. There were also a few first-timers there. You can tell them by their wide-eyed, scared look. I was a little irritated at one man who looked at Nova and turned to his wife and said (not even whispering) "I would never do something so cruel to a dog like that (amputate), she shoulda just let that dog go to Heaven." I wanted to haul off and punch him, but I turned away and continued to talk positive with another Tripawd parent. It was kind of curious that that type of person would even show up at a Cancer Specialist's office with his dog. Some people just don't get it.

They took Nova in first to remove her bandage and clean up her incision. Dr. Walshaw pronounced the incision "lovely", but I have to admit it caused a few gasps when she walked out in to the waiting room. I think it was mostly because of her size. The incision was HUGE. It looked like that "Y" incision they make for autopsies (not that I know, I just read too many True Crime books). And she was shaved on that side so she looked naked. She hung her head, like she was self conscious, and snuggled up to the Technician:

They had run some preliminary bloodwork to make sure all was well for the treatment. She had an itchy right ear (all red inside) and some "female" issues that the doctor checked into, and ended up prescribing Amoxicillin to knock out any infection. But she was healthy enough for the chemo, but just had to wait her turn. She was a very patient girl in the waiting room, and allowed anyone who was interested to pet her:

Some say this is a face only a mother could love, but how could you not love this big goofy face? I think she is beautiful!
Patience was wearing a little thin after a long wait and she made a few runs for the door. She was panting a lot and I thought she might be thirsty. I sent Ben out to the car to get her ice cubes, and as soon as he returned they called her in.
They administered the chemo via IV and it was called Carboplatin. Dr. Obradovich recommended 4 rounds of Carboplatin as her first choice of treatment. I am very curious to see how well it works. They told me to follow up with my vet in a week for a CBC blood test, apparently the white count tends to drop after a week. They said side effects could occur around days 3-5, but that usually that just meant lethargy rather than nausea and vomiting. I counted out the days and that put it right on the weekend. Argh. Of course I got nervous about having yet another dog emergency occur on a weekend. Oh well, we'll get through it.
Nova came out and finally was tired enough to lay down as I went over instructions with the Doctor. Look how skeletal she is:
I am trying to feed her anytime she wants. Right now, I am feeding her 3 times a day, Evo canned food with Evo kibble mixed in. I even gave her some ground beef too. The technician told me I have to be careful to avoid letting Emmy get too close to any of Nova's poop in the next 48 hours or so. Apparently the Carboplatin is excreted, and should not be touched or (ewwww) eaten by a healthy dog. Luckily Emmy is not one of the types of dogs who does that.
We made the long drive home, but stopped for a few errands along the way. When we got home I was overjoyed to see Nova go straight for the water dish and drink for about 3 minutes straight. I am sure Tammy will breathe a big sigh of relief when she reads that. Poor Tammy made a major project out of trying to get Nova to drink for the past 5 days!
Okay, so I guess the next hurdle is to see what happens in 3-5 days......


Jerry G Dawg said...

Nova, always be proud of that scar! It means you are a fighter, a trooper, a rock star, a hero. You are a role model for all future tripawds.

And if ANYONE ever says something as idiotic as that guy in the waiting room, you have my permission to bite them on the @$$! DUH!

Now, go eat some hi-fat food girl, who ya trying to be like, Kate Moss?

We love you.

StormSong said...

We're rootinng for you Nova!!! Hope this first round of chemo goes smooth as silk.

You have so much more restraint than I would have with that man. I would have opened my pie hole & told him off.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Janie & Calamity

Genie said...

Yay Nova, fight on!

I know this is not nice to say, but ... obviously someone had sat on his brain all his life. I would have told him to go you-know-where instead!

Anonymous said...

December 13, 2008

This is such an inspiring story of love and courage for your lovely girl NOVA ...

I just lost my Great Dane to DCM in February 2008 at the age of five.

I salute you for your love and dedication to your wonderful girl NOVA.

With greetings from Holland,

STYLE in blue in spirit
my beloved Great Danes