Doing Chemo

There was an upside to chemo. Yep, really, and quite a big one! I got to sit in the car with the window right down so that I could stick my head fully out of it as we drove along.  It was something I had never been allowed to do in the past. I loved it!  Of course I wasn’t so keen about the nausea part.  I never vomited but I came close once so mum learned to drive a lot more responsibly to make it more comfortable for me. And she let me keep sticking my head out the window even when chemo was finished!

You just watch the road mum, I’ve got the perimeter covered…

I did six doses of Carboplatin, nominally three weeks apart although a couple of times were delayed by one week due to low WBC count.   It did make me a little bit tired and nauseous and I got a little bit of diarrhoea but symptoms generally only lasted for one to three days (except for the car nausea which was with me all the time I was doing chemo and a tendency to be a bit pickier with my food).

I started chemo two weeks after my amputation.  I was still staying with dad so we met mum at the hospital. I was absolutely ecstatic to see mum, smothering her in wet kisses and rubbing against her looking lovingly and intently into her eyes telling her “please look after me Mum. I know something isn’t right and I trust you to make sure I am looked after. I adore you Mum.”  Mum says this look had some uncomfortable similarities to the look I was giving her in my last days.

The oncologist initially wanted to put me on Doxyrubicin because there was a small chance that I had hemangiosarcoma and not osteosarcoma and the final test results were still not available.  But, after finding my heart function to be a little below normal (don’t know why and we had bigger things to worry about than to explore that one any further at the time) he opted for Carboplatin.

Some observations to share from my chemo experience ….

–          I loved going to see the oncologist for the first couple of treatments. I always got lots of cuddles and treats.  But, from chemo no. 3.  I started becoming more reluctant to go out the back with the nurse. Mum had to accompany me.

–          When it came to chemo no.6 I didn’t even want to go into the oncology building at all, just the building where I lost my leg.  That wasn’t near as scary as the oncology building. I’d had enough of chemo. Although, once there was no getting out of it I made the most of it and turned on my charm, gifting the staff with lots of my famous smiles.

–          Mum was a bit slow to pick up on my nausea but when she did the anti-nausea tablets soon did the trick.

–          Between chemo no. 4 and no. 5 I became a lot more clingy and I also had some episodes of bad breath that the vets couldn’t explain. Mum wonders if it was pain??

–          Mum never gave me any bones while I was doing chemo but she gave me a pig’s ear once.  I vomited and got diarrhoea.  She felt like a very bad mum when she realised it was not the smartest thing to have given me.

–          The 5th and 6th chemo treatments were the hardest. They knocked me around the most. But, having said that, it was after chemo no.5 that I got the chance to go to the river and beach and I sure didn’t let it slow me down there (more about that another time).

The day of my 6th and final chemo treatment. Yeh!

I was one of the lucky ones with chemo, my quality of life was still pretty good although there is no denying that I had become a little fearful of the oncology centre by the end of the treatment (even though I was all smiles once mum had gone).  This bothered my mum a lot but on balance she still feels it was worth doing the chemo. She had been told that I would only get 4 to 6 months without chemo  instead of 10 to 12 months with it. In the end I only got 8 months.  But still, if we hadn’t given chemo a go mum would always have wondered and knowing my mum she would have been having lots of nasty regrets, lots of “what ifs” and “if onlys”.  She already has enough of them to torture herself without adding to the list.

Even though my lungs were clear at amputation that nasty cancer was already growing and spreading through my body.  But we think the chemo slowed it up a little bit and gave us more quality time together than we would have had without it.  It was the right decision for us and our particular journey.

About princess

Almost 10 year old loyal and courageous rottie! 30 May 2002 to 5 May 2012 Lost her leg to osteosarcoma on 1st Sep 2011 and did 6 rounds of chemo with carboplatin. 3 lung mets found in Mar 2012 and 1 month of Palladia done before it was stopped due to GI issues. But it was metastasis to the back right hip that finally took our little girl on 5th May 2012. She was happy, contented, relaxed and very loved when she peacefully slipped away in her mum's loving arms.
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4 Responses to Doing Chemo

  1. colbasso says:

    Hi – Thank you very much for sharing your story. I just had my front limb removed and my mom still doesn’t know if she is going to do chemo. I’m happy to hear that your beautiful rotti made it 8 months and had fun at the beach and river. I’m sorry she’s gone but rest assured that you gave her the best home and did everything you could for her. I’ll be meeting her one day but I hope that’s not for a very long time. Woof

  2. princess says:

    I also hope we don’t see you at Rainbow Bridge for a long time yet. Doing chemo is such an individual choice. If I hadn’t coped as well as I did my mum would have stopped it. It’s all about quality, not quantity. What I didn’t mention in my blog was nutrition. I’d recommend you look at Jerry’s advice on nutrition. I still had some grain containing kibble in my diet. If we had our time over again that is one thing my mum would have completely cut out instead of just reducing it.

    Good luck with your journey.

    Spirit Magnum

  3. hollybeans says:

    Magnum, that is such a useful post for people who are trying to decide about chemo. It is so hard to decide. It sounds like you did pretty well with the chemo…although smart girl, you figured out how to make your pawrents pay for it a little by showing them that you didn’t want to go in to the doctor! I’m with your mom – I wanted to just throw everything at the stupid cancer so that I would have as few “what ifs” and “if onlys” as possible. You and Holly both got such a raw deal…it just sucks that neither of you got your “expected”/hoped for 10-12 months. I was definitely counting on having that time, and I know your mom was as well.

  4. jerry says:

    I agree, these kinds of descriptions will really help folks decide if choosing chemo is right for them. Magnum’s courage was so inspiring and hopeful, as was yours. Thank you for sharing.

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