Day 69: Maybe the two hardest weeks so far

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What a lousy time Roo has been having. First her leg injury on July 24th, just when she was in a good period between chemo treatments. Two days later, chemo, and it made her mildly ill. Just as she was starting feel a little better, she had to go back in for a dose of the worst of the chemo agents – doxorubicin.

Doxorubicin is the one that made her desperately ill the last, and only other, time she had it. She was so ill, and so, of course not eating or drinking, that I took her to the hospital, where she was given fluids, and where she had massive explosive diarrhea. The poor girl must have had that building up inside her.

This time, we’ve premedicated her with Cerenia, an anti-nausea med for dogs; Zofran, the same anti-nausea med humans use; metronizadole, an antibiotic used to control diarrhea; omeprazole, an antacid; lomotil, for diarrhea; mirtazipine, a SSRI drug that stimulates appetite; and Pepto Bismal for indigestion.

The chemo drugs don’t achieve their peak effectiveness until several days after the dose, but Roo tends to get sick from them right away, and later on the day she had the doxorubicin she was already feeling bad. By the next day, Wednesday, or five days ago, she tapered off eating and drinking. All her hydration since then has been by subcutaneous fluids I’ve been giving her in the camper. In five days, only on three occasions has she delicately lapped a few drops of water from the bowl. She ate a little on Saturday – a cat food-sized can of Prescription Diet a/d late in the evening and four chihuahua Milk Bones.

Still, she doesn’t seem to be too distressed. She’s not panting. She must just be feeling beat all to hell, and, in spite of the anti-nausea meds, nauseous. And what little poop she produces is liquid. So, her gut must be taking the brunt of it.

I’ve been trying to get her interested in eating everything I could think of. I’ve cooked her ground turkey, beef, bought her a rotisserie chicken, tried buttering toast for her. Every once in a while she’ll surprise me and take a little. I don’t know if it’s enough to live on. She does not seem to be losing any weight.

Boredom must be killing her. We are in the camper all day and all night. I was showing her YouTube videos of squirrels, dogs, cats, birds, anyone who makes squeaking noises, but I did so much of that that I ran out of data on the cell phone and won’t have any more for another 10 days, so that’s out. I think I’ve done a good job of keeping the bad news from her, and though her illness is the worst of it, there’s been nothing but bad news lately, and it’s getting to be too much. 

Today, I kept floating the idea of going swimming. She didn’t want to at first, but eventually she decided it sounded like a good idea and stood up. We went to the pond, and for 45 minutes, moving slow, she prowled around in the water looking for frogs. She pounced on a few, but most of the time she just waded and felt good in the water.

When I give her her sub q fluids through a needle in her back, I sit on the floor with her and gently comb her with a slicker brush. She loves that. Fifteen minutes later, there’s a big lump of Lactated Ringer’s Injection on her back, and generally she falls asleep after that.

She’s okay for the rest of today. I’ll keep nursing her for 24 hours a day for as long as it takes, but I have to admit, it gets hard.

[That picture is of Chig in the water today.]