Yuki’s Story: Week 1

Chemotherapy begins

On a Friday in October, Yuki went in for his first treatment, Vincristine.

Yuki’s new schedule is a drop-off early in the morning, along with paperwork detailing the past week and how he tolerated the previous treatment, followed by a quick blood test to make sure he’s healthy enough to continue the treatments. They’ll do this every time. He’ll then spend his day at the Oncology center being tested, given his chemotherapy drug, and then observed for any adverse reactions to the treatment. A nurse will call sometime in the afternoon to let us know he’s ready to be picked up. At pickup, they’ll brief on what that day’s examination found, and send him home with whatever drugs and dosage information is required for the week ahead of his next visit. Drugs included in the packet include items to counteract possible side-effects such as nausea or diarrhea.

Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to know if a dog has diarrhea than an upset stomach. In Yuki’s case, he had diarrhea immediately after leaving the doctor’s office. Literally, on the office’s front lawn. We supposed that he was probably suffering an upset stomach as well, and the doctor’s office said we could give him the anti-nausea meds along with the diarrhea meds without having to wait and see if he started vomiting all over the house from an upset stomach. Mom began both meds as soon as she could.

Speaking about Mom and meds, I want to take a moment here to discuss the amazing job Mom is doing for Yuki. She has his medicine cabinet of pills all sorted in a pill caddy (one would be amazed at the amount of pills Yuki takes on a daily basis) and she makes sure Yuki gets all his medicine on time and on dose, just as they instructed her. She knows the names of all the drugs and sounds like a Pharmacist when requesting refills or discussing dosages with the doctors and nurses. She’s got the Pill Pockets (so Yuki takes his pills), biscuit treats (to make sure Yuki takes food with his meds), and all sorts of other bribery food for Yuki to get him to take his pills. I honestly think Yuki likes taking his pills now and sees it as an event to share with Mom. Additionally, Mom also washes Yuki’s ears to keep his chronic ear infections from returning. Yuki may not know how to appreciate this work (even though, as I said before, I think he’s growing to enjoy the attention), but I do. She’s an angel to this dog. Yuki couldn’t have done better for a Mommy.

Yuki’s diarrhea subsided a little by the end of week 1, but he still wasn’t back to the solid stools he was generating before week 1’s therapy (sorry, TMI). He did seem more … something this week. Energetic? Nervous? We can’t really tell, but he’s much livelier this week than previously. He is sleeping ok, although getting up a bit more often at night, sometimes in need to go outside, other times seemingly just in need of attention. He’s on another round of antibiotics for his sinus infection which is finally getting the attention is deserves. Hopefully this infection will get eliminated once and for all.

They’ve lowered the Prednisone dosage this week as well. I ‘m not sure at this point if that will be stopped at some point, or if it will continue the treatment cycles. It could be that the Prednisone is having more of a positive impact on his mood than anything by reducing his joint pain (and possibly sinus inflammation) as a “side-effect” of the treatment. If, or when, it goes away, he might start feeling his age again and slow down.

On to week 2 and Cytoxan.