Monday, June 8, 2009

The Chemotherapy Dilemma

We are facing a very tough decision as we approach Shiva's next scheduled chemo appointment later this week. As a few of you already know, the first round of chemo has taken a pretty heavy toll on the Red Dog. She has taken almost three weeks to begin to behave like her old self again, and our vet friend has told us that this most likely was caused by her white blood cell count dropping too low and depleting her bone marrow. She also said that this usually gets worse with each successive treatment. Since the Red Dog was feeling FINE before the chemo and is beginning to feel FINE again, we think she deserves to stay that way. If this were about us, we would do whatever we could to keep her around regardless of the effect on her...but it's not. This is about her and her quality of life. We would rather have a few months (or years, of course!) of the Red Dog in her full Red Dog-ness than a shadow of her former self for a little extra time. The non-existent stamina, the middle-of-the-night panting, the depression and the grass-killing pee are too much to put a wonderful and dignified creature such as Shiva through at this point in her life. Because of all this, we are planning to stop chemo and monitor her blood counts, CBCs and x-rays while giving her great food, lots of love and a full life every day. This truly is a lesson for us in the importance of quality time, regardless of quantity. All of your support and prayers are so appreciated and though of on a daily basis by all of us. Now the outcome is in God's hands, and we can live with that. Next step, beach trip to Cape San Blas, Florida!


  1. The chemo decision is a tough one. We wanted to give Jerry the best chance at fighting off the osteosarcoma, but at the same time, didn't want the 6 hour drives to the oncologist, the side effects, and the medicine to rule our world and take away the precious time we had left. So we opted out.

    Later, when we found out he had lung mets, we helped keep up his quality of life with the Metronomic protocol, which is something you might want to ask your oncologist about. It gave us about 5 extra months with Jerry, all quality months, without the interference of clinics and doctor visits. We knew that's what he wanted, so we went for it. And life was very good for nearly 2 years.

    Only you know what's right for you and Red Dog. Enjoy life, love eachother well, and always remember to treasure each moment. We are rooting for you!

  2. Wow, I knew that you guys were trying to eloquently you put it into words. I applaude you both for your decision, although be one of the toughest decisions you have EVER had to will be glad that you did when all is said and done. Like I tell my patients families, I know it certainly doesn't feel like it right now, but trust me when I say this..."One day, way down the road you will look back and be ever so grateful for doing what you did for your loved one".

    NOW...what about those beach plans????