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Day 6 starts on a positive note finally!

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At 12:30 am I heard Fionn struggling to get up. He had laid on some rugs in an awkward spot against a wall  on his incision. He had been there for awhile and it was obvious any movement caused him pain because he yelped. I tried shifting his butt and he let out a HUGE yelp. That sound is certain to make a pawrent feel like the worst human being ever. I finally dragged the rugs away form the wall and tipped the one under his front end and he was able to get up. He was still wobbly, but I got him to hop out onto the deck. He was reluctant to go farther and just sat down. I had to really push him to go down the stairs and into the yard where he did pee. He did not poop. I helped him back up the stairs where he collapsed on the deck. Thankfully, we are in California so the nights aren’t too cold yet, so I covered him in a small blanket and left him there to sleep. He was right outside my bedroom window so I could easily hear him if he moved. Of course, I heard “noises” all night so I was up and down checking on him, but he slept peacefully until around 6 am. He had gotten up and came inside when he saw me. He had no interest in going potty apparently, but he headed straight to his food bowl! He had a big breakfast and a good drink and his tramadol and gabapentin and laid down in the kitchen. About a 1/2 hr later, he was up and looking like he wanted to go out his dog door. yesterday, I prepared the area on that side of the house because the stairs there are easier. The area is part of my carport, but is fenced off from where I park. There is some rocks, but it is mostly concrete. Before surgery, he just used the path around the back of my house to get to the yard. He didn’t use the rocks in this area as a potty spot, at least that I ever noticed. It’s not terribly conducive to it, but I blocked the path and figured we would try it at some point. Today was the day apparently! The dog door is locked (learning how to use that will come later, but I have seen videos of front amp dogs using them just fine), so I opened the door and he went down those steps and into the rocks like he was on fire! It had been 7 hrs since he last peed, but he still had a lot. It took so long his legs did this slow motion collapse so that he eventually ended up laying in his pee spot :(. But, he got right back up, moved to a different spot and pooped, moved again and peed and moved AGAIN and pooped some more! Hallelujah for pee and poop! He got back up the stairs, I gave him some water and his antibiotic and tummy meds and he fell asleep in the kitchen again. I left the door open for him in case he needed to go back out since he managed the stairs so well. 3 hrs later, he was back up looking at the open door so I went out to encourage him. He was hesitant and sat on the landing for awhile. Any suggestion that I use the sling resulted in refusal so I put it away.I got some cat food (the most alluring food I could think of) let him taste some and put it in a bowl at the bottom of the stairs. Down he came and ate it up like it was ambrosia. Then, over to the rocks for another pee and poop! That tuckered him out so he is laying on the concrete resting. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that we seem to be on a track to improvement now. If I could only get him to lay in a cleaner spot!day-6

I also got a call from UC Davis today from the surgeon. The biopsy result is definitely osteosarcoma, but his lymph nodes came back NORMAL- YAY! The surgeon was equally upset that he didn’t qualify for the trial since chemo is so expensive. She went on to tell me Doxorubicin works too and is cheaper. That was not mentioned to me when we saw oncology so I left a message for onco to call me so we could discuss it. I did some research on Doxorubicin vs Carboplatin and, at first glance, they are pretty equal as far as survival times. Both have some side effects, but Doxo can cause heart damage. One of the oncologists called me back and said the Doxo is not that much cheaper and due to it’s side effects, they no longer recommend it’s use. She is going to email a cost estimate, but we need to start the chemo next week. I have been down the cancer route with 3 previous dogs (all goldens), all different cancers, so I have researched chemo before. With 2 of the dogs, chemo wasn’t even seriously considered, at least by me, as they were too far gone. My last boy’s cancer was found early, so I did consider chemo- Doxo as it turns out. He was older (11) and he would have had to go in for the chemo more frequently. It also did not have a good record of adding much time. I decided not to pursue it. At the time, my mind set was “who makes their dog suffer through chemo?”. This cancer is different. There is a significant difference in survival rate between amputation alone (2-4 months) and amputation and chemo (12-18 months). Fionn is younger, the chemo is only once every 3 weeks, and the side effects are relatively minor if they do occur. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have done the amputation if I wasn’t planning on the chemo. It can take a few months post op for the dogs to get back to some of “normal” anyway only to then have it spread to the point of euthanasia.

So, I got an email from UCD detailing the costs of the 2 chemo agents. Interestingly, the doxorubicin is more expensive!

“I was able to look up better estimates for Fionn’s chemotherapy treatments here at Davis.  His first visit, we would need to do full bloodwork, with a CBC and chemistry panel to ensure that he is a good candidate for chemotherapy.  If we were to give carboplatin chemotherapy, his first visit would be approximately $500.  The remaining visits would be approximately $350, with the exception of the fourth chemotherapy treatment, which would be approximately $600 with the chest x-rays.

The cost of each doxorubicin visit would be approximately $75-100 more expensive than each carboplatin visit. “
Well, carbopatin it is! I will be scheduling him for next week. They like chemo to start 10-14 days after surgery. He will stay for 3-4 hrs, but the chemo itself only takes about 20 minutes by IV.
Got Fionn to finally come back inside after a few hours on the concrete. The tshirt he was wearing wasn’t covering the incision very well and there were a lot of flies hanging about (and getting into my house because I left the door open for him. Had to resort to bribing with wet dog food (don’t want to deal with diarrhea caused by cat food, yummy as it is), but I finally got him up the stairs and back inside. The back stairs are SO much easier for him! He had some lunch and a drink and is resting. Scar today- first one with him upright! Ignore the weird little “nipple” at the top. It’s some loose skin not a lump.                scar-day-6
So, the rest of the evening Fionn was a lump. He does get more restless and pants more in the evening, even with his meds being evenly spread out. I added a 3rd tramadol to his nighttime dose. He had a good dinner, but was uninterested in going outside (every time he gets up I ask). I’m trying to get him to go earlier and sleep through the night like before, but then I remembered that after his leg started hurting, he wanted to go out a bunch at night so I left the dog door open for him. I usually lock it at night so my cat doesn’t bring “things” into the house. He even slept outside on the concrete which he never did before. We still had hot days then and I assumed he liked the coolness of the concrete. He did eventually want to go out around 10 pm (BEFORE midnight!) and peed twice, no poop. He then refused to come back inside and laid on the concrete. He had a better t shirt on that covered his incision and bare tummy so I left him there. I checked on him before bed and he was on the comforter sound asleep. I couldn’t leave the door open as it was too cold, but I did unlock the dog door and went to bed.

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