Hopes and doubts

It’s been awhile since our last post.

Since the last update we have discontinued the use of Vinblastine.  Jackie’s cancer just didn’t respond as dramatically as we hoped so we decided to give CCNU a try.  It wasn’t that Vinblastine wasn’t working.  It kept Jackie’s tumors from grow and {minimally} shrank them.  This is a good sign.  It means the cancer was held at bay and {perhaps} didn’t metastasize to other areas.  Jackie’s oncologist was hoping to find something that would actively shrink the tumors so we switched to CCNU.

Jackie is feeling low.  He doesn’t seem to be himself.

One week in

So Jackie started chemo.  Vinblastine to be exact.

The plan: Try it for two weeks.  See if it works.  If it doesn’t, we will try something else. 

The first week: The tumor didn’t shrink.  {disappointment} ..but it didn’t get bigger {silver lining}.

Jackie’s surgical site finally healed enough to add his much needed steroid.  Our oncologist informed us this addition is critical.  Alone, the chemo isn’t overly effective, however, the steroid beefs up the chemo and makes it significantly more powerful. He received his treatment and we were sent home with prednisone.  Again he seemed a bit depressed but better than last week.  

I can only speak for myself, but today I was down.  I expected the chemo to work it’s magic.  I expected Jackie’s diet (which I tirelessly researched) to destroy the tumor. Despite the words of the doctor, I questioned what the steroid would do.  

I was wrong.

Today we felt Jackie’s tumor.  It’s noticeably smaller!! Unbelievable. Ironically it’s national dog day.  Perhaps the happy dog karma of the day blessed us with some much needed good news.  

Only in the darkness can you see the stars

Jackie started chemo this past Monday. {sigh}  We were optimistic his last surgery nipped his MCT in the bud but the oncologist can already palpate a reoccurrence (just two weeks after his operation). 

Let me repeat that: Just two weeks after it’s removal, Jackie’s tumor has returned and is large enough to feel and measure. 

With this news, our optimism was swept out the door.  Dr. Rau is hopeful the chemo will quickly wipe out this mass since the cells obviously grew rapidly. Two treatments should tell her everything she needs to know.  If it shrinks, it’s working, If it stays the same or grows, we move onto something else. 

He has a small area which has not healed from his surgery.  They wrapped it up and hopefully, figures crossed, it closes up. It’s important for it to close so he can start taking steroids.  Steroids enhance the effectiveness of his chemo, Vinblastine.

His first treatment went well.  I’m use to human treatments which always seem to involve hours of intravenous chemo.  Jackie’s drug is a simple 10 minute injection.  Although his doctor said he wouldn’t experience any side effects, I can tell you he has been depressed since Monday afternoon.  Is it the tape all over his chest? Is it the drug?  Is it the cancer? We don’t know.    

Super Jack!

Another picture of Jackie wearing something shirt-like