Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ups and Downs

I honestly meant to provide an update on Hope a lot sooner, but the last couple of weeks have been so full of ups and downs I didn't know where to start. Just when I thought I had something of interest to report, the next day would be the complete opposite. Hope's symptoms have just been ebbing and flowing like nobody's business.

Let me first just say that I am SO thankful that she's still with us. Three weeks ago today when she got her chemo treatment, I really didn't think there was any way she'd last this long. I don't know why I'm ever surprised by her though--it's like she gets tougher with age and adversity. With that said, this last chemo we tried really took a toll on her. She's dropped tons of weight despite her ridiculously good appetite, and the first week after her treatment her red and white blood counts dropped significantly. She was lethargic and clearly didn't feel well, and her mucus-y nose only mildly improved. Even worse, her cancerous lymph node didn't respond positively at all. Unfortunately it continues to grow, which is why we decided to forgo another chemo treatment today.

Stopping the current regimen wasn't a difficult decision since it doesn't seem to be working and was clearly making Hope less comfortable. However, since there's a third chemo that the oncologists at K-State want to try that they think has some significant potential, the decision to quit treatment is a little more difficult. In fact, I'm still not 100% sure that stopping treatment altogether is the right thing. On days like today, when Hope only wanted to walk about half a block and slept most of the morning, continuing chemo seems like a cruel thing to do to her. However, on days when she has more energy and spends the whole day scouring the kitchen floor for crumbs, it seems like she would do just fine trying another chemo drug that might alleviate her symptoms. It's just so hard to read a dog who eats like there's no tomorrow, even when she's dying of cancer. This video was actually taken on July 17--exactly one week after her last chemo treatment when she was still feeling kind of crappy.

Not only do I think her problem solving skills are quite impressive, I'm also super impressed that she still has the ability to sniff out bits of food while dealing with tumors up her nose! Hope is nothing if not determined! :)  

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