Callie’s Lymphoma Journey

Since my last post, What Would Mom Want Me To Do?, which you can read here, we received the dreaded news that Callie definitely does have lymphoma. I’ve posted about it briefly on Facebook, and the outpouring of love and support, prayers and positive thoughts (“vibes”) has filled my heart with gratitude.

So where do we go from here? Chemotherapy, about 25 weeks of it total. The first round was administered this past Tuesday. Callie did better receiving it than I did waiting for the call that she was ready to come home. I missed my girl. Shadow missed her. Ducky missed her. Hubby missed her too, but he occupied himself with reading and watching the news.

Shadow, Ducky, and I played out in the yard to occupy our time; but it wasn’t as much fun without our big girl. Shadow especially felt Callie’s absence. The separation from her older sister is always hard on her, no matter how much I try to make up for it with extra love and attention.

The chemo, from what I’ve been reading, is tolerated better by dogs than by us humans. So far, Callie seems to have tolerated it well. No nausea, no loss of appetite, and a small amount of diarrhea. But, because she’s lost some weight, she can’t eat as much at one time. I’ve been feeding her about five or six times a day. (Learned that lesson the hard way. Anyone know of a good, non-toxic, carpet cleaner I can buy that won’t “bleach” a light tan carpet?)

The prednisone comes with its own set of side effects. Namely, increased thirst and increased need to urinate. Tuesday night I made the mistake of letting Callie have access to the same amount of water I always have. During the night she had to urinate. I don’t know if she tried unsuccessfully to wake me up; or, if she was unaware of her own need and had the accident in her sleep. All I know is that when I got out of bed Wednesday morning my right foot landed in a pee puddle.

Note to self Wednesday? Don’t give Callie access to water during the night. The most water I allowed Callie Wednesday night were three or four ice cubes. She kept me awake more than half the night looking for water and panting off and on; but there were no pee puddles when I got up Thursday morning. The stress Wednesday night from only giving her ice cubes and having her want more was worse than the stress of having stepped into a pee puddle. Asked the vet if I could reduce her dosage slightly, or find an alternative to the prednisone. He said no. Not yet anyway. Then he suggested giving it to her earlier in the day so she wouldn’t be so thirsty at night. I’m seeing a little improvement, but not much. Callie is like me in that regard. Do spayed, senior dogs have hot flashes at night? It seems like Callie does! Oh well, we’ve managed over the last 10+ years; we can keep managing.

Having a dog with canine cancer is hell, just like war. Every day is a new battle. BUT, I will do my very best to help Callie win every one of those battles. I will give her every chance I possibly can to beat this cancer that has invaded her body. And I will continue to give her love, love, love, and more love. All of it unconditional!

Now, as I close this post, I’m going to ask you to include my fellow pet bloggers – SlimDoggy Kate and Steve, and Maggie of Oh My Dog! – and their dogs in your prayers and positive, healing thoughts. SlimDoggy Maggie, and Emmett and Lucas of Oh My Dog! are all facing and fighting osteosarcoma. Let’s also keep Pamela (and her husband, Mike) and Honey of Something Wagging This Way Comes in our prayers.  Honey had a growth removed from her leg on Thursday. Even though the vet is pretty certain it’s benign, the wait for the pathologist’s confirmation has been tough on Pamela and Mike. Honey doesn’t know what all the fuss is about; but that’s a dog for you.

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17 thoughts on “Callie’s Lymphoma Journey

  1. Patricia says:

    Sorry Callie has cancer. Sounds like you are doing the right thing with the chemo and all. Sending positive healing energy your way! –Patricia

  2. Jan K says:

    Glad to hear it is going pretty well so far, other than the peeing issues.
    Is the chemo in the office delivered via IV? I’m just curious because that’s the treatment we passed up on for Shelby. But if I had it to do over again I think I would try it. We thought it would be hard on her since she hated the vet, but we went in for shots anyway, and in time she was not as nervous going.
    I remember having to get up once every night with Shelby because of the prednisone. We also had the problem that we worked 8 hour days, so at least you don’t have to deal with that! Luckily we had a neighbor that helped us out (there weren’t many pet sitters back in those days!)
    PL360 makes a good all natural stain and odor remover that has worked well on our carpet.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Yes, Callie’s chemo is via IV. She’s a good patient. She doesn’t like being on her back on the x-ray table, so they usually have to sedate her for that; but otherwise, she’s fine. She had some loose poop again this morning afternoon

    • My Golden Life says:

      Dang! I hit the reply button by mistake again!

      I’m going to give her another half of an Imodium tablet in a little while to see if it helps.

      Despite being tired more quickly these days (before and since the chemo), she is getting spunkier. She has even done some limited time on the treadmill again!

  3. Sand Spring Chesapeakes says:

    Chemo for dogs with lymphoma is very well tolerated. We have treated many with great success and remission. They can have their bouts with diarrhea or vomiting following a treatment so good to always have metocloparmide and metrondiazole on hand to give as needed. The pred symptoms will get better the longer she is on it her body will adjust to it. Hang in there and she will do fine. Hill’s also has a cancer canned food N/D that you could give to try and keep her weight up. Good luck and many prayers.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Thanks, JoAnn!

      I asked the vet about the Hills n/d food and he said we’ll only try it if we absolutely have to — he wants us to keep things as normal as possible — so, that’s what I’m doing, just more often. I read that the n/d isn’t all that palatable for most dogs, although I think Callie would probably eat just about anything I put in her bowl. 🙂

      Shadow has a check-up scheduled for tomorrow, so I’m going to ask for some Metaclopromide and Metronaidozole for Callie while we’re there. I’m actually kind of surprised he didn’t give me some last week; but I didn’t think to ask either.

  4. somethingwagging says:

    I’ve been checking FB so closely for updates that I totally missed this. I’m sorry.

    And thankful that you included good wishes for Honey (and Maggie’s and Kate’s pups) while you’re dealing with so much.

    Hope Callie’s treatments are continuing to go well and that you’re getting a handle on dealing with her thirst and evening incontinence.

    I wonder if Callie would appreciate having a pee pad somewhere she can get to at night. She’s probably so well house trained that her struggles could be really embarrassing to her. Perhaps she’d appreciate a way to take care of things in the middle of the night without creating a puddle for you to step in?

    • My Golden Life says:

      No apologies needed but accepted. 🙂

      As for the pee pad…due to Sam’s occasional sleepwalking (to the bathroom that he totally does not remember in the morning), I keep all 3 girls in the extra bedroom at night. But I’ve been considering putting one giant one on the floor, under the crate pads. I may have to buy a second one though. I think you are right…she probably would appreciate having those pads. 🙂

    • My Golden Life says:

      Callie went to the Rainbow Bridge on August 24th. The cancer – we believe – was spreading before we started her on the chemo and because it effected her immune system and appetite so rapidly, she had no strength with which to fight the cancer. We all miss her very much, but together we are making it through each day a moment at a time.

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