Yuki’s Story: Week 2

Cytoxan and Pecos

This week Yuki was introduced to Cytoxan, the second pharmaceutical weapon in the oncologist’s arsenal.

With this drug, we have the first time we directly participate in chemotherapy dosing. Unlike Vincristine, and Lspar before it, Cytoxan is a three-dose treatment via pill. The first dose is given at the oncologist’s office where they watch for any immediate side-effects. The next doses are administered over the next two days by Mom. There are some safe handling instructions that come with giving the drug, mainly that one must wear gloves while preparing (pill pockets) and administering the pill.

The only side-effect is possible difficulty with urination. I’m not sure we’ve observed this with Yuki this week. He did, however, take a bit of time to recover from the Vincristine which was administered the previous week. He had diarrhea pretty much the entire week after getting the treatment. His diarrhea was made semi-solid (again, sorry, TMI) by the anti-diarrhea meds the doctor’s office gave us, but took a week to go away. He only had one accident in the house but developed a problem with dingleberries sticking to the hair on his hinder and being brought into the house to be eventually deposited somewhere, usually where he slept. He does seem to be doing well with the Cytoxan, however.

I wonder sometimes if Yuki is just exceptionally resistant to the possible side-effects of the medicines given, or if the doctors and nurses over stress the possible side-effect just in case they happen. I mean, I don’t fault them for doing so, far from it. Dogs are a very stoic animal and hide their discomforts as best as they freakin’ can until it just becomes too much. Because of this, we have to be especially vigilant and keep an eye on Yuki to make sure he’s feeling ok and not miserable because he can’t pee, or whatever.

The Prednisone continues to be cut back slowly, so I expect, with cold days upon us now, Yuki will start feeling his age and joints again. We did, and still do, give him minor pain meds for his hips, but I think the Prednisone made him feel young again.

As this website states, we do have two dogs. How is Pecos fairing in all this turmoil? Quite comfortably, actually. With Yuki taking so many pills, as mentioned previously, there are a lot of dog treats being handed out these days, making Pecos the lucky bystander who gets to benefit from being close to the target of the treats. Mom makes sure both dogs get their share. Yuki gets treats to try and keep his stomach from getting upset after taking all these pills, and Pecos … well, Pecos gets treats because he’s there.

The downsides to this are twofold; with Yuki, he’s starting to gain weight, which the nurses say is typical as owners start giving their ailing pet snacks and treats more often. As for Pecos, who is already massively food-driven, he’s becoming a begging nightmare. He’s always looking for and expecting treats now. He is underfoot in the kitchen (especially when Mom’s in there) a lot more. He’s even snagged my plate of scrambled eggs off the table when I wasn’t looking. We may be creating a monster here with Pecos. He’s so utterly food driven that all the treats are destroying his learned manners.

While on the topic of Pecos, something we noticed, and this goes back a couple months, is that he sniffs Yuki … a lot. I’m not talking about a “good morning” butt sniff from one dog to another, but instead a thorough sniffing. If Yuki is laying down playing with a toy or sleeping, Pecos will walk up and sniff Yuki from head to toe. Mom wonders if Pecos is one of those dogs that can smell cancer and thus smelled the cancer in Yuki a couple months before we even knew about it. If true, hopefully he smells it less than before. We’ll have to pay attention in the coming weeks to see if Pecos sniffs Yuki less as the therapy continues.

Next week we go back to Vincristine again so Yuki will have another fun week of diarrhea.