hello all. much to report here as we had an eventful week, last week. (we are all home today in observance of MLK and i am still in weekend mode.. until tomorrow morning, that is).
the appointment that we had on thursday for guinness was at university of wisconsin, school of vetinary medicine (note the bullie on their homepage). i am happy to report that it went well, and we left more comfortable and at ease with this entire situation than we had been so far. the people there were fantastic and we were so relieved to be talking to specialists about his care. even more than that, they truly felt for us and what we are going through, which is 100000x more comforting than what we have been dealing with so far.
they confirmed that guinness has multi-centric lymphoma, majority B cell. thankfully, this is what they deal with the most and had a lot of options for us. the first being chemotherapy. they offered several different treatments, with the first being the CHOP Protocol, the gold star chemotherapy treatment. because of G's past prednisone use (a drug his vet used to treat his allergies) they are worried that he may not respond to the chemo as well as they would like, but that would be the case for two other chemo treatments that they offered as well (basically those treatments use only 1 of the 4 drug agents that are used in the CHOP protocol chemo). in addition to these choices, an option is to leave him on prednisone alone (they estimate this to give 2 months of life, however G had been on this with swollen glands for over 6 months and still going strong.) obviously our vet was not aware that it was lymphoma at that time, but still, the doctors at U of W were surprised that he lasted so long on prednisone alone if it was indeed lymphoma at the first sign of swollen glands.
additionally, they offered several trials/clinicals to us that would be mostly free, but of course, there are no studies or estimated life range for these treatments.
with that being said, we decided to go for the CHOP gold star protocol chemotherapy for G. if he responds well, and if we decide that he is not too sick (we really don't want this) it will be a 19 week treatment plan. it was a big decision, especially with his past prednisone use being a factor, but we decided that with his young age and the fact that he held on for so long against odds already, we just felt in our hearts that this was the right choice. at least this way, if the chemo does not work, i will know that we did everything that we could for him to give the very best care available, and that it was just his time. i can be at peace with it if I know that we did all that we could. (additionally, if he does not respond to the chemo well, we may opt to try one of the clinicals/studies).
so. G had his first chemo treatment while we were there on thursday. the chemo will have to be administered in madison weekly (which is about an hour & a half drive for us, from home to the U). this was another factor that we had to consider, but we are going to figure it out. thankfully, we both have flexible work schedules and will just be making a lot of trips to madison. the expense was another factor that we had to consider. this treatment option was not inexpensive for us, but again, we are figuring it out. we knew that we have to give this all that we could and that the rest would figure itself out.
his first round went well. everyone at the clinic loved guinness and said that he did really well. he was a little out of sorts, and vomited one time, but after 24 hours he was very much himself again and feeling great. we hope that after a while we can get a good handle on what to avoid to help with the sickness, and as long as he is still himself, we are just so optimistic.
for guinness' cancer, using the CHOP protocol, studies have shown a life expectancy of 10-14 months, with 25% of patients living beyond this! so while this isn't a cure, it was the best option for him and us, and we are really hopeful that this was the right choice and will give us the most amount of time with him.
we knew going into this, that no matter what decided, not everyone would be on board with it. some people will think you are crazy for spending so much money, others will think we are not doing enough... we just tried to put everything out of our minds and go with our hearts and that is exactly what we did.
i am happiest to report that he completely himself today and his swollen glands are already going down!!! trying not to get ahead of ourselves, but we are hoping that this is good news on the prednisone front.
thank you all so very much for your support and love for us during all of this. it has been a crazy week, but we feel good about the fact that he received his first chemotheraphy treatment exactly one week after we learned of his diagnosis. we are enjoying every moment that we have together and will always have them to cherish.