I can’t believe how long I kept you hanging from the suspense of my last blog! Sorry about that, but the good news is that we have been through a lot the last few months so we are at an even better place to update you all on how it’s going.
It has been a long journey, but we are now almost six months post diagnosis – and for a disease that takes many dogs within weeks or months, this is something to celebrate! We have found a good routine and treatment plan, and I am hopeful we can keep him healthy for a long time. I am so grateful he is doing well and just trying to take it day by day.
So now an update on what’s been happening the last few months:
After his unsuccessful first dose of chemo we went back to the oncologist and had a discussion about whether or not to continue chemo. Roscoe was feeling a lot better at this point and had bounced back quickly from the bad reaction to the first drug. I told the oncologist I’d like to continue the chemo to see how he handles the next drug and see if it has any impact. He agreed, and recommended that we do a lower dose of the next drug, Cyclophosphamide.
Roscoe handled the Cyclo really well – no side effects and didn’t get sick. After this drug, the next one up in the CHOP treatment plan was Vincristine (the drug that made him so sick the first time), so after consulting the oncologist, we decided not try Vincristine again, especially since we weren’t seeing much impact to his lymph nodes from either drug. We decided to keep him on the Cyclophosphamide at a lower dose since at this point he was doing well and the lymph node wasn’t growing. The oncologist said that sometimes the best result we can get is to be stable, so the goal of the treatment plan now moved from remission to just keeping him stable.
This is not a standard chemo treatment plan (as my oncologist said “We are flying by the seat of our pants”) but as long as I wasn’t seeing Roscoe suffer or get sick, I was willing to give it a try. We recently finished eight weeks straight of just Cyclo, and now we are down to once a month. He is still taking prednisone daily since and we will probably keep him on this for a while since he’s not really having any bad side effects.
The oncologist says he is overjoyed with how Roscoe is doing, and also surprised since dogs usually don’t do so well with his type of lymphoma (GI lymphoma).
In addition to the chemo/pred treatment plan we also pursued another option to keep Roscoe healthy. At the recommendation of a friend of a friend, I reached out to a holistic vet. Sadly, there are very few local holistic vets, but I found a wonderful one on the east side, Dr. Laura Surovi of Cleveland Veterinary Rehabilitation. Dr. Surovi does home visits if you live on the East Side, but since I am on the West side we arranged a meeting spot for Roscoe’s appointment.
Seeing a holistic vet has opened a whole new world for me. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it’s been for Roscoe, and for me to just have someone else to go to with questions and concerns about his health. After discussing Roscoe’s history with Dr. Laura, she recommended giving him some Chinese herbs (Wei Qi) and trying Acupuncture, one every two or three weeks at first and then monthly. We also discussed diet – an important factor as kibble is not considered healthy option for dogs with cancer. She recommended a homemade diet, and cooking with “warm” meats and other ingredients that would help him stay healthy. I also started giving him CBD oil, since I have heard many good things about giving this to dogs with cancer.
Dr. Surovi works with dogs with cancer, as well as dogs with mobility issues – so if you have ever considered seeing a holistic vet, I highly recommend her. She is super responsive and helpful, and since she’s been through cancer with her dog, has a lot of great insight and empathy into what I am facing.
So things have been going well and really other than weight loss, I haven’t see many changes in Roscoe. He is still running his agility drills (check us out on Mondays on Instagram) and playing with his Omega ball every night. We even got to take a trip to the Finger Lakes in August. I feel so lucky we can continue to enjoy these times together and I am hoping for many more good days!