Hey, it's only been about a week... I'm doing better, right??
Well, for starters this past week has been extremely traumatic for a good 4 days (Fri - Mon) because of my little diva, Bridget. I know some of you were following the status updates on Facebook so this will be a repeat... I'll make it quick since the trauma is now over and she's doing so much better. It started Friday (May 13).... I should have known that Friday the 13th was not going to be a good day. I had to go for my CAT scan at 8:30am that morning (right there... having to be ANYWHERE by 8:30am does not bode well with me!). The rest of the day seemed to go without any problems. Toby mentioned when she took Bridget out for her walkie around dinner time, that she had gotten sick... just once but she threw up a yellow bile. This is not uncommon in dogs, but is something one should keep an eye on because it could be a sign that something is wrong internally. Well, it didn't seem to affect her appetite and she ate her dinner with her usual gusto... but a couple of hours later, threw that up as well. Then starting around 11pm, the diarrhea. Oh oh... just this past March she had that attack of colitis, so were we to go through this again? Pretty much so, it seemed. I was up all night with her Friday, getting her outside before we had an "accident". Sat morning I called the vet's office, explained the problems and with some discussion we agreed that we should just let it run it's course... and keep her on a very very bland "white" diet (chicken and rice). There is also a medication called ProGut, which is a paste that puts the good flora back in the gut... so Toby ran up to the clinic and picked this up. Saturday night seemed much better... both Bridget and I got to sleep through the whole night, no problems. Sunday, not so good... and Sunday night was THE worst. I can't even begin to describe how horrible it was and the poor little darling was in so much pain and suffering. Monday, first thing in the morning it was up to the clinic we went, where they kept her all day. They were going to keep her so that 1) I could get some sleep (after 2 nights of no sleep, it was taking it's toll on me since this was also a chemo week), 2) run a bunch of tests to check everything that could possibly be causing this and 3) set her up on a 4 hour IV of rehydration. After all that diarrhea, the poor little darling was soooo dehydrated. It's amazing how quickly small dogs can fall into the danger zone with dehydration and diarrhea will do it every time. Well, suffice it to say, all her tests came back in the normal range, which means she does not have any of the diseases they thought might be possible... and her pancreatitis test came back negative, which is a huge relief. Soooo, after coming home with antibiotics and having been rehydrated, she did much better... and now, she is almost totally back to her normal spunky self. The diagnosis... after having colitis, she obviously has a very sensitive "gut" and if she picks up something off the ground, or she is exposed to any kind of stress... her sensitivities act up. We are now going to work with the Vet on a diet that will hopefully keep on top of this so it doesn't happen again.
In case anyone hasn't figured it out... my little Bridget means the world to me ;) She's a character and a half, she's been with me for 13 years, through the good times, the bad times and the everyday times. A lot of you will remember that she started out as the Box Office dog at Metro Theatre... as well, she was both the Box Office dog and the Office dog at TUTS. She didn't come to work with me back when I was working my government job, but all the more reason it was important she came with me everywhere else. She quickly became adept at charming everyone who she met at the various theatres. She has been my sidekick all this time and she is so very rarely ill that when it happens, I will do anything and everything to get her well again. She's my little hero :)
Then there's me.... sheesh, it never seems to just rain, but it pours. As I mentioned, I had a CAT scan Friday morning. The purpose of this CAT scan was to see if the latest chemo (Irinotecan) I've been on since early February is doing it's job. As a recap, the cancer we are dealing with right now are multiple nodules in both my lungs. The primary cancer was colon cancer and the primary tumour was removed 4 years ago. The spread went to my lungs but appeared to be very indolent (lazy, wasn't growing). Last spring, the nodules started growing, so I was put on the oral chemo (Capecitabine aka Xeloda). That worked until Dec, then it just up and stopped working. Unfortunately, that's one of the realities of chemo... it can be working really well but then the cancer gets used to it and becomes immune. So then one has to try a new attack.
Well, long and short of it... it doesn't appear the Irinotecan chemo is doing a great job on it's own. When comparing the most recent CAT scan with the scan in Sept... there has been growth... not a lot, but the nodules are bigger than they were in Sept. What my oncologist and I think is that the Irinotecan has slowed down the growth, but it hasn't done the job we wanted it to do which is to shrink the tumours. So, my oncologist is suggesting we try adding another chemo (5FU) to the Irinotecan we are already on... so it will be a combo chemo. Now, the 5FU is the chemo I was first on (it is also the IV version of the Capecitabine/Xeloda). It's possible the combination chemo might be the extra kick that is needed for the tumors to be affected and start shrinking.
I'm certainly (obviously) willing to give this a try, but it does not make me a happy camper. The reason why? The 5FU is given in the same IV when I go in for the Irinotecan, only since we are adding it to the existing Irinotecan, that will increase the time I'm in the chemo chair. I'm not sure how much longer I'll have to sit in the chemo chair, but I do know I will also have to be hooked up to the 48 hour portable pump. Some of you will remember I was hooked up to the pump and would come down and do the box office at TUTS. Of course, back then I did not have the Irinotecan as well, so adding this 5FU chemo is not going to get rid of the side affects I am currently getting. Hopefully, I won't have any NEW side affects because of the pump. I tolerated the 5FU very well last time, so I'm expecting to again this time... but it has been 4 years, so it's possible that it may produce side affects that I didn't get last time.
Also, through the wonders of technology... a request has gone in for the research team to do testing on the original primary tumour that was surgically removed back in Jan 2007 to see if it is KRAS mutant. This is a gene or some such thing that if I have it, I would not be eligible for two other chemo treatments (Ertibux and Vertibux). Both of these have their own side affects, one of them being a very painful rash that breaks out on the face. So, I'm torn as to whether I want to be eligible for these two options or not. But, we are getting our ducks lined up in a row as to just what options we have left. Right now, my oncologist is not too concerned... but says the realities are there are only so many options so we have to cover all our bases and make sure that these options would actually do something for me. She says we are not to jump ahead of ourselves... we'll plan for 4-6 months at a time, because options can change, new ones can become available, etc. at any time.
So that's where we are right now. The CAT scan was not what I wanted it to be... and now we are about to add to our existing chemo treatment plan. And yes, after typing all of this, I'm now tired... so I'm going to go have a wee nap so I can be awake to go check out Broadway Chorus's performance at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island tonight :)