Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I am a Survivor!!

I am a Survivor!!
By Tracy Frost

DiMaggio the day he completed his Chemo Last Treatment 

This sweet little boy is Silverdale's Joe DogMaggio (Magi), a 13.5 year old very loving and active Havanese. He loves to go for long walks, play soccer and fetch. His owners, Tom and Gretchen say, “He's a playful, good-natured little guy whom we adore. He's the smartest dog I've ever known.”

Magi is always a very enthusiastic eater, so when he didn’t want to eat, no matter what his owners fed him, they began to worry.  They even tried his favorites; chicken, hamburger and rice, but it still didn’t do the trick. Magi was also starting to struggle with walking far distances, and would lie down shortly after they started. His loving owners were frightened over his behavior, and knew something was seriously wrong.

Magi, was immediately taken to CKVC to see Dr. Weakley, where he informed Tom and Gretchen that Magi's symptoms were consistent with cancer.  With heavy hearts, they listened as Dr. Weakley explained about the two possible types of lymphoma--the good and the bad, in layman's terms.  

After a Needle aspirate was taken, Magi was given a steroid injection to kick his appetite into gear, along with prednisone tablets.  Gretchen said, “Magi began to eat immediately, the first step toward feeling better.” 

Unfortunately, the cytology was inconclusive, so Magi had to undergo a biopsy, which confirmed that he indeed had lymphoma
, but it was the "good" kind.

Prior to this diagnosis, his owners had done dozens of internet searches on canine lymphoma, which was very frightening. “Dr. Weakley had warned us about all the information that was out there, but we were trying to get a grasp of the situation.  In the end, we promised each other that we would not look at all the conflicting, and often sensational accounts that were out there.”

When Dr. Weakley called to confirm his diagnoses, Magi’s owners had already decided they would go through with the chemo treatment.

Chemotherapy is simply the administration of drugs designed to kill cancer cells, but such therapy often affects normal cells as well. However; therapies are currently being developed and evaluated that selectively target cancer cells while not harming normal cells.

Dr. Weakley provided a document called “The Wisconsin Protocol” that listed the treatments according to a timeline, and discussed the costs of each treatment.  The owner’s couldn’t believe how cheap the Chemo treatments would be. “We liked having the timeline that explained the scope and details.” The owner’s said.  

The “Wisconsin Protocol” is a 25 week combination therapy, combining 3 chemotherapy drugs traditionally used for Canine Lymphoma care, plus Prednisone for a portion of the treatment cycle. It is considered the “gold standard” of current conventional Canine lymphoma Care, and is by far the most commonly recommended conventional treatment for Canine Lymphoma care.

 Like many owners, Tom and Gretchen were worried about the side effects of the chemo, but Magi handled his treatments like the strong, brave little dog he is. Gretchen said, “Until the last two infusions of doxorubincin, there were absolutely none. Nada. We were so thankful.  The last two infusions did make him lose his appetite, but it lasted only two or three days.  That’s the only other side effect that we have noticed, other than that, he is now back to his joyful, active, life, is that his fur has changed texture.”

The ability of Magi and other dogs to live with cancer is becoming less and less unusual. In many cases, cancer in dogs is no longer a death sentence.

“We are so happy that we did the chemo.  We have our sweet boy back and we are so grateful to Dr. Weakley and the staff at CKVC.  Their medical expertise and many kindnesses will
never be forgotten.  Thank you so much!” 
-Tom and Gretchen

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