Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Discont'ing Chemo

Hello everyone, I had been waiting until things were more official before I updated on Riley. Riley received another dose of chemo on friday, May 15th. When I handed Riley over to the vet tech, I made it very clear that Riley needed to be watched closely with the tumor, as he tends to lick/pick at it. I assumed he would go straight to chemo. 3 hours later, they came out to say Riley had just finished his chemo. Chemo takes 40 minutes. We stayed in the waiting room the whole time, so why didnt they have Riley stay out in the waiting room with us? Fortunately, they offered to let Riley spend the 2 hour post observation period with us in the waiting room. To my horror, the tumor looked much worse. I dont mean to bash the people conducting the study, but I really think they could have gven Riley better care.

(Taken the day after)

They just blew this off like it was no big deal. Riley was panting in pain, his leg was shaking. It's a big deal! We went home and gave him Tramadol. We took him to our own regular vet yesterday, and our regular vet agreed with us that it was time to discontinue chemo. Not just cause the care he received was not the best, but because the chemo doesnt seem to be doing anything for Riley. So today my husband called MSU, and talked with the lady connected with the study, to tell her we had decided to discontinue Riley's participation in the study. She tried to talk us out of it and suggested we bring Riley in so we could get an opinion from a vet there. My husband explained that we had already been to our own vet, and that it had been agreed upon between the two of us that the best thing to do for Riley was to discontinue chemo, and that we Riley would get all future care from our own vet from here on out.

I will share what I have learned from the experience and some of my observations and what I would do differntly in the future.

First of all, though our experience was a negative one, I am not against studies. It is how they come up with new ways to help our furbabies. However if I could do this over again, I would have INSISTED that I be allowed to stay with Riley all the way through, due to the tumor being open, and it was so important that he be watched and to guard the tumor from potential bumps and etc.

Also, I have noticed each time Riley got chemo, I myself got a terrible case of aches. This has given me a window into what this must be like for Riley. Riley likes to kiss me, on the face, on the lips, my hands, my legs, etc. Chemo is excreted through body fuids, saliva included. I am only just over 100 lbs, so this would make me more vulnerable. While I did not get *sick*, I was fatigued and achy. The first couple nights after his chemo, I laid in bed, literally in too much pain to sleep, just from plain old ache. I assumed the first time it was not related to Riley's chemo, but when it happened with Riley's second round too, I realized it must be connected, which made me think, how is *Riley* feeling from the chemo???? He is the one that got it straight up in an IV! For the first 2-3 days after each round of chemo, Riley sleeps heavily and is quite motionless. I realize now, how he was feeling. I have no doubt he was feeling that terrible ache I was feeling, only probably much stronger. So while he did not get *obviously* ill in a more visible way, the chemo still did tax him. If the chemo would have been much more effective in combating the cancer, then maybe it would have been worth it. Otherwise, no, it is just adding to his suffering.

I realize this means we are giving up hope on Riley ever going in remission. We are now taking the supportive care approach in doing all we can to keep his pain level as low as possible, and I realize Riley's days are numbered now. I have been trying very hard to stay strong emotionally for Riley. Nothing in the world makes Riley happiest than to know he makes me happy. And if I spend his last days weepy over him, it will break his heart and he will feel like he is failing me. So when I blog about Riley matter of factly, please know that it does not mean that I am not in a tremendous amount of pain over the thought of losing Riley. I just simply for the most part package up that pain into a box, and put it aside for now. When Riley passes on, then it's all gonna break loose. I will deal with the pain then. My plan is to stay in denial about Riley's time here coming to an end, right up until his final hour comes. Then I will remind myself I only need to stay strong for Riley for a short while longer. Riley cannot know how much I hurt. My good loyal faithful friend of 14 years...I wish he could live much longer. Me and Riley have been through so much together. I gotta stop now cause the tears are starting to flow and I am afraid they will never stop.

1 comment:

Casper said...

So very sorry to hear this. Your post is so heartbreaking. We are sending you and Riley lots of hugs and prayers.