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Update on Levi's Lung Mets and questions...
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Caledonia MI
Forum Posts: 151
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19 January 2012 - 4:36 pm
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Two weeks ago we found out Levi’s cancer has spread to his lungs. We had an xray done right before his last treatment of Carboplatin. After being completely devastated and angry at the world for a few days I am now accepting of the fact that Levi’s cancer is not curable.
We did a round of Doxorubicin two weeks ago. It did not shrink the tumors but they didn’t grow either. I am pretty undecided about what to do from here. I know there are some other chemos that can slow things down like Palladia but I would have to switch vets to an oncologist and the place where she works is ridiculously expensive…probably 3x as much money for the same xrays etc. I’m just not sure spending 1000’s of dollars just to “buy time” is an option for us. When I thought there was a chance he could go into remission I wasn’t as concerned about the money…Here is what my vet is suggesting. Im curious how this compares to others in our shoes. We are going to try one more round of Doxorubicin. Once that is over we will start Artemisinin and Doxycycline (has been reported to have effects preventing growth of tumors), and Continuing K9 Critical Care Supplements. Are there some other “at home” drugs that anyone would suggest? I really want Levi to be happy for as long as possible but the Chemo Treatments are getting stressful. I just want to enjoy our time left and spend the money on special things for Levi instead of a bunch of medicine that just makes him feel crappy. I’m tempted to skip the doxorubicin treatment and just start treating at home with the other items. Sorry if this is a rambling mess…I’m just trying to sort through what to do. I’ve researched quite a bit on the site so I have a pretty good feel for what my options are but any new thoughts would be appreciated!

Levi was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-7-11
Ampuversary 10-14-11
Lung Mets Discovered 1-4-12. Chemo seemed to not be working so we switched to Artemisinin and other supplements. In May, Levi developed a sinus infection and started having seizures. The cancer had moved to his brain. We let him go 6-26-12.

San Diego, CA
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19 January 2012 - 5:03 pm
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I know how crappy this situation is for sure.

I can completely understand not wanting to spend the money and, more importantly, risk Levi not feeling well on the Palladia. I think trying to have quality time is the best bet. I like your plan of the arte & Doxycycline. I don't have experience w/ the Doxy, but we did arte and Cytoxan at the same time and, although we got mixed results (one met got smaller, but a new nastier one appeared at the same time) I think it's worth a shot. The arte has minimal side effects, so shouldn't bother him. (I don't know about the Doxy though – like i said, no experience with that.)

The arte can be a little tricky to dose – can't give it around anything w/ iron, but you probably came across that tidbit already. If you have any questions you can PM me. I have some leftover if you want. (I put it up on the Angel Exchange yesterday, along w/ Butyrex which is supposed to aid the absorption. We had only just added in the Butyrex toward the end, so maybe we would have had better results if I'd been doing that all along??)

And no worries about the rambling. I'm a rambling mess myself these days. But would like to help if I can.

Hang in there. Love your boy up and spoil the hell out of him. He's still happy! That's the most important thing.

Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Chicago, IL
Forum Posts: 537
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19 January 2012 - 5:11 pm
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I don't have any new thoughts for you.  I just wanted to say that I agree with your “enjoy our time left” approach.  I'd comment more but I'd just be a rambling mess, too.  Although I didn't find either of these posts rambling or messy, maybe we just feel that way in our heads.

http://tate.tripawds.com/
August 16, 2006 to November 28, 2011
TATE ~ Forever in our hearts.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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19 January 2012 - 10:23 pm
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Oh gosh.  It's never easy to know what to do, even for us old timers – who likes to ramble!

 

I never like to speak up about my thoughts on chemo because, I haven't been through it and I always say I wouldn't do it, but you never know until you've been faced with the decision what you'll do.  But being that I'm not subjective and I've been knocking around here for a long time, I think I'd skip the pills except for the doxy.  (doxy is so easy tolerated, that it won't upset his tummy or make him sick – Comet was on doxy for several months for low blood platelets – it's like a miracle antibiotic!). 

The reason, I wouldn't do anything in the chemo line is because of the side effects.  Even the slightest discomfort would bother me.  I would want what days are left to be without discomfort from a drug or chemical.  Stomach issues to me are the worst!  I'm not saying, I'm right.  I'm just saying, my fear of putting them through discomfort or misery while alive outweighs my fear above all else.

With that being said, and take my advice with a grain of salt since my experience has only been being here for a long time,  I would opt for prednisone so that the remaining time is the MOST comfortable!  Predisone really, really helps make them feel good and helps tolerate this disease.  It's no cure.  And it has it's side effects (overeating and being thirsty).  But it's so effective for giving relief.

 

HUGS to Levi.  I'm so sorry.    

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

WYO
Forum Posts: 732
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19 January 2012 - 10:31 pm
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I also don't have any cancer advice however, Bud was on the doxycyline and that is finally what made the MRSA go away. Compared to other meds it wasn't that expensive and his tummy tolerated it well. So sorry to hear of Levi's diagnosis.

Los Angeles
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20 January 2012 - 3:55 pm
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Sorry to hear about Levy's diagnosis but just remember there is life after lung mets.  Many dogs live many months with them even without treatment.  I think I may have written about this before (so I apologize if I have since my mind is a jumbled mess these days 🙂 but we had put my golden Mackenzie on palladia once we found out she had lung mets.  Yes, they are very expensive but it did help keeping the lung mets under control but it didn't help with the rest of her cancer spreading.  She really had no side effects from the palladia and you're right, it did buy us more time.  I will say though that many people on here (and a person I just met who's dog was diagnosed with osteosarcoma) have used natural supplements with great success like the power mushrooms and the K9 aloha supplements (sorry, can't remember the name but I know Jerry was on these.)   Quality of life is the most important and you should do what you think is best for Levy.   You'll do the right thing no matter what you decide.   It's always so hard to sift through all this information and to hear about everyone's experiences so I would recommend to follow your gut.  That will give you your best answer.  Good luck with all of this – it's never easy that's for sure. 

Kami and Angel Mackenize     

My sweet golden Mackenzie.  She became my angel on Dec 29, 2010 at the age of 8 1/2  although she was always my angel from the time we brought her home.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Sept 2009 and officially became a tripawd (front leg) on Nov 5, 2009.  She will be forever in my heart and now she's running free with all of our other tripawd heroes.  I love you Mackenzie!

California
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20 January 2012 - 4:14 pm
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Wow…I completley know where you are coming from. We went through the exact same thing with our Misty and OSA. Acceptance is hard oh so hard, but coming out on the other end of this I have to say that OSA is a friggin nightmare cancer and science has just not caught up with it yet. As you know, by the time Levi was diagnosed the cancer had been in his body for a long time doing it's thing. We did every treatment possible, as well as Palladia, Arte and Doxy. None of them slowed down the cancer at all and now I wish I hadn't done those final things at all. The best medicine for Misty once we discovered the mets was love and chicken or what ever it was she wanted. She was still herself even with the OSA in its full form until about 3 days before we let her go. I regret having to shove pills down her throat hand bringing her in to get an IV of poison in her veins and then the days that followed with an upset stomach. She just wanted to play and swim. She did get to do those things, but we would have done allot more if she had been feeling better. I think being human makes us feel like we have to be doing something to fight the cancer, but the reality is the cancer is a bigger force.

Misty's blog: http://misty.tripawds.com

Sister to Millie, 9 yr old choc. lab

Sister to Lola, 6 yr old choc. lab

Sister to Toby, 7 yr old rottie mix (officially my sons dog, but I'm still his mama!)

Sweetness to Fiona and Bill

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 January 2012 - 5:40 pm
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I'm so sorry to hear you're at this point, it's such a tough place to be. It's like you don't want to feel like you're surrendering but you also want to just relax and live life again like you used to. But how do you do that when you're supposed to be fighting the dang disease for your best friend? Ugh.

It sounds to me like you know what's best for your pack. And I want you to know that it's the “right” decision, because this is what your instinct is telling you that you both want. Don't critique it against what others have done, just run with it. This is your life and only you know what Levi wants.

When I was diagnosed, we made a pact that we would try new things to see what helped fight the cancer, but that I wouldn't be forced to eat things I hated, or go through treatments that made me miserable. It worked really for us, especially during my last few months when we knew that there was no going back, those mets were going to take over eventually. So if that's what was going to happen, well then we were going to have a good time while I still could, and not fill that time with stress or worry. That was our philosophy. Not saying it was right or wrong but it worked for us.

I hope this helps.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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krun15
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20 January 2012 - 7:19 pm
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Maggie had mast cell cancer and luckily never developed mets from it.  However, she did develop a second cancer- oral melanoma.  For many reasons, including Mag's overall health, I chose not to do any invasive or aggressive treatment.  There was a promising med at the time, they called it a vaccine, but it only really worked if the tumor was removed first.  It would have cost $2000 to try it.  If I thought that it would add anything to Mag's quality of life I would have come up with the money- but the fact was there was not much chance it would do anything.

So at that point I was recognizing that I would lose her to cancer after all (she beat the odds on the mast cell).  While it was a very intense 3 months (partly because we were also dealing with kidney failure) there was some sense of relief too.  I think it was Laura who said that she could relax a little because after mets were found in Jack, she knew there would be no more bad news.  All I had to worry about was making each day the best day we had together.

This is just my experience.  It is difficult in some ways to choose to stop treatment, but I knew that at some point throwing all the technology and all the money in the world at Mag's cancer wasn't going to change the ultimate outcome. 

I would also suggest that you jot down your thinking for whatever decision you make.  Later, when maybe you are doubting your decisions you can look back and see why you made the choices you did.  Even more than a year and a half after losing Maggie I'll have a random 'what if' thought.  I can always step through my thought process and know for sure we went down the right path.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

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20 January 2012 - 8:14 pm
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I’m sorry you’re dealing with this – we know how much it sucks! We did cytoxan and arte – and the butyrex too – -and k9 immunity – we just didn’t want to do more harsh chemo that could possibly have side effects – we were just hoping to slow it at that point and wanted Sammy comfortable. We’ll never know if it worked or not – we tell ourselves it did – he lived 9 months and had aggressive mets so we felt lucky. Please hang in- you have all our good thoughts coming your way! Xoxo Sue

Caledonia MI
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21 January 2012 - 6:49 am
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Thanks everyone. What a help your replies have been. After thinking about things for a few days I think I am going to skip the doxorubicin treatment. It’s “undetermined” whether it even helped or not and it slowed Levi down for a week or so…You’re right Jerry, I don’t want to feel like I’m giving up…I guess a good compromise is to give up on the chemo and We are going to treat with the Artemisinin and Doxy. (This way I still feel like I’m doing “something”) I may ask my vet about Butyrex. If the Arte has side effects for Levi maybe I’ll skip that too… It’s just so strange that he is sick. He has no symptoms what so ever…He runs like crazy and pulls trees out of the ground so he can carry sticks on our runs together. He’s a handful 🙂
Misty’s Mom-I think I would feel the same way you did if we did every treatment possible. I’ve spent the last three nights trying to decide what to do and I’m comfortable with our decision. I’m hoping that Levi will feel even better now that we are stopping chemo 🙂

Levi was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-7-11
Ampuversary 10-14-11
Lung Mets Discovered 1-4-12. Chemo seemed to not be working so we switched to Artemisinin and other supplements. In May, Levi developed a sinus infection and started having seizures. The cancer had moved to his brain. We let him go 6-26-12.

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 January 2012 - 7:49 am
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Sounds like a wise, well-thought out decision to me.

Just keep looking at Levi and remember he’s trying to show you that sickness is a state of mind really. Why let cancer ruin a perfectly good day if we’re still able to enjoy life? He’s not dwelling on it, neither should you! (OK, easier for dogs, not so easy for humans, but that should be the goal dontcha think?)

Now get out there and have fun together!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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Washington
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21 January 2012 - 9:43 pm
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Levi’s people,

You can’t look at it like you’re giving in to the cancer just because you decide not to use a given treatment. When Rio’s mets showed up, we gave it one last shot with a very expensive new treatment, Masitinib (Kinivet). When that didn’t work, my oncologist offered up Palladia, doxorubicin and other treatments. But I had already decided that the Masitinib was it. We’d already done two rounds of chemo treatments and radiation. I knew that Palladia only had a snowball’s chance in hell of doing anything for us, and the side effects associated with the doxorubicin were not something that I wanted to put Rio through. She’d already dealt with enough side effects for one lifetime. I felt twinges of guilt for not at least trying some of the other treatments, but the truth is, I know I made the right decision for my girl.

You know Levi better than any doctor or oncologist, better than anyone. You know his capacity for the battle ahead. You also know your special circumstances better than anyone. And you know that we all will support whatever you decide.

We are sending you all of our very best Woo strength to get you through this difficult time.

Rio’s momma

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

Washington
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21 January 2012 - 10:02 pm
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Oh a quick PS: If you want to really feel like you’re doing “something,” feed him his favorite foods, scratch his favorite spots, snuggle with him, spoil him like mad, and love him like there’s no tomorrow.

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

St. Louis, MO
Forum Posts: 258
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22 January 2012 - 9:55 am
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Sending Levi many positive thoughts and prayers….

Hugs and chocolate kisses,

Ellen & Charley

Charley's Blog:  CHOCOLATE KISSES


DOB: 3-29-08, male chocolate lab  
Dx: OSA L proximal humerus 10-19-10

Amputation: L front leg & scapula 10-28-10

Chemo: 5 rounds of Carboplatin

Video (12 weeks post amp):Tripaw Charley Playing

♥♥♥ Lots of supplements and love!!! ♥♥♥

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