Two months later, here is where things stand with Chewie. He is, to use my wife’s phrase after his checkup last week, “healthy as a horse.” He has boundless energy, and he’s all atwitter that the long winter has finally ended. Taking him on a walk is like trying to hold on to a kid with A.D.D. who just downed 20 pixie sticks. He is constantly getting his leash wound around his leg and pulling full-strength. This is the Chewie we used to know. The little stinker even snuck out of the house and ran away a day ago.
If there’s a down side, it’s this: The dog who calmly almost-passed his Canine Good Citizenship test three weeks before his cancer adventure started? Gone. No way he’d even come close to passing. We’ll have to work on him some more.
A week after my last Chewie post, we took him up to the University of Minnesota to discuss chemotherapy options.
We’re giving Chewie an oral chemotherapy drug this month, but we don’t think we’ll continue it. There is no way to tell if he has cancer short of finding cancer; it’s not like they can test blood and pronounce the patient cancer-free.
So…we don’t know if he has it or not (although it’s a safe bet that some microscopic cancer is still floating around somewhere).
If he does have it, we don’t know if the IV treatment ($600 every 3 weeks for six sessions) or this oral chemotherapy drug (about $300 a month) will do anything to prevent it.
We could spend no money at all and he’ll develop cancer and die, or we could spend tons of money and he’ll get cancer and die. We could do nothing and get lucky. It’s a very big crap shoot.
So we’re probably going to just give him homeopathic recipes from the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, watch out for foods that cause cancer, give him foods that inhibit cancer, and enjoy what time we had left.
A co-worker of mine who has two standard poodles of her own helped me gain some perspective. If we hadn’t done anything, Chewie would have died a month ago of natural causes (i.e. cancer). All the time we have left with him is a bonus over his original lifespan, which would have been a little less than four years. It isn’t really “fair” that he probably won’t make it to 14, but we could spend a fortune and he won’t make it to 14.
Right now, Chewie is active and happy and loving the spring (that’s FINALLY arrived).