Thursday, June 10, 2010

They're Family

Chaser takes a snooze on the way home from K-State yesterday.

We’ve returned from seeing Chaser’s oncologist at K-State. She confirmed the diagnosis of osteosarcoma. A second set of radiographs confirmed Chaser’s lungs are clear and her heart is strong, making her a good candidate for the upcoming amputation.

Without chemo, we have about 4-5 months (on average). With chemo, we have about 12 months. Followed by a 20 percent chance she’ll survive 24 months.

For chemo, we’d have to drive either to Kansas City or back to Manhattan. 4-6 treatments, three weeks apart. Before each treatment, blood would be drawn to make sure her white blood count is high enough for a treatment. Also, while on chemo her immunity will be compromised. Meaning she’s an easy candidate for infection.

The oncologist was still hopeful and optimistic about Chaser's ability to tolerate chemo, explaining several new drugs on the market. We loved the folks at K-State's Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital! A great group of doctors and students who really care about patients and their owners.

But - short story long - we will not pursue chemo. This cancer is nasty and incurable. It’s like pancreatic cancer for people. If we were dealing with a less aggressive form and knew the chemo would give her 3 to 4 years, we’d do it. But choosing chemo means possible side effects, extra trips to the vet's, long car rides. Seems unfair to our golden girl who's been so wonderful to us.

We want to concentrate on her quality of life, not quantity. We want these last few months with her to be full of playing fetch, going to the lake, hopping along on three-legged walks. Not spent in a vet’s office, vomiting, lethargic, etc.

The oncologist told us if it gets to her lungs, she won’t know it. It won’t cause her any pain. If it does metastasize, then we’ll let her go. Chaser will let us know when it’s time.

We’re devastated but holding up. Fortunately, the only pain she has right now is in her leg. We can take care of that. She's scheduled for surgery next week.

We thank each of you for your prayers, blessings and support. For some, they're just dogs. For the rest of us, they're family.

3 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how often I've thought about your family and your adorable Chaser since I've heard the news. Having recently lost the best dog/friend a girl can ask for, I know how difficult these times and these decisions can be. Chaser has blessed your family by being such a great friend, and Chaser in turn is blessed to have such a loving, caring family. We'll continue to think about and pray for your family and Chaser, hoping for the longest possible life that's pain free and full of joy (and treats).

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  2. K-State is an awesome place. They did everything they could to help Shadow cat. They have a special place in our hearts for the love and compassion they showed to us and to our cat. I know you will cherish the time you have left with Chaser. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Jeni

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