Period. Yes, this is a dog blog. But I’m currently undergoing chemo, and cancer sucks. For dogs. For people. Here’s my story in a nutshell, as well as how it effects my dogs.
Late last summer I noticed I was spotting. I thought it was a menopausal thing. Then I traveled a lot and didn’t pay attention. Then it was no longer spotting, but bleeding. Just before Christmas, it was a lot of blood. I called my doctor. We talked. She said the symptoms all sounded like an internal hemmhroid. The doctor doing the colonoscopy could just take care of it. Easy peasy.
One month later, the colonoscopy happens. I come out of the procedure to a doctor telling me my life is on hold. Things will never be the same again. From this day forth, I’ll take things a day at a time, and all my plans get tossed. Because there’s a three centimeter tumor in my rectum. He’s already setting me up with an oncologist. Biopsies will happen. I’ll know more in a week.
A week is a really long time.
I see the oncologist and he says that it’s definitely cancer. Next steps are chemo and radiation. Then surgery to remove the tumor. And no, I can’t travel to New York for Westminster. I wish I could say that was the worst part of all of this.
Then chemo and radiation. Funny thing is, I had horrible symptoms right up front, but none of them were appropriate for the chemo. It was all mental. Once the nurse told me that, the symptoms abated. Granted, I had nausea and vomiting at some point, but I figured out when to take which meds to prevent it and I was fine. Just tired. All the time. Chemo and radiation lasted six weeks. It was nearly miraculous once it was over – the side effects just disappeared.
I waited six weeks (the doctors want the effects of the radiation to keep happening for that long, but no longer – something about scar tissue), then went in for surgery. The thought was that they could possibly remove the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes and tissue, while still saving part of my rectum. That didn’t happen. They had no choice but to remove it all. I’ll have a bag the rest of my life. So if I see you IRL, feel free to ask. But I won’t let you see it. And the cancer cells? The tumor disintegrated, but two of the eleven lymph nodes were still compromised.
Recovery from surgery takes about six weeks. And yes, it was a long six weeks of torture. Near the end, friends came to visit, making it the best recovery ever.
I thought six weeks of chemo was long. And I did the pill version of the chemo, so it really wasn’t bad. Now I’m going in every two weeks for an infusion and a pump. The pump stays with me for two days. This began just this week. It is not fun. I threw up a lot yesterday. I’m hoping it’s a mental game, or that I can get the meds dialed in. I slept so much that I didn’t take the anti-nausea pills when I should have. Today is a better day.
Here’s where the dogs come in. We have two large-ish dogs, senior Aussie mixes, who are quiet and gentle. We have two little lap dogs who love my lap. All day long. During the first round of chemo, the little dogs went to Grandma’s Doggy Daycare. My Hunny dropped them off at my mother’s on his way to work, and would pick them up at night. It was perfect. I’d work and rest during the day without worry. My mother is amazing.
During and after surgery, the little dogs stayed at my mom’s for more than a month while I recovered. Turns out my lap was covered in stitches. That was tough on the dogs. Chewy, especially. He’s a mama’s boy. But they love Grandma, so they handled it well.
Where We Are
Where are we now? I’m doing chemo again. The dogs are all home. Cancer sucks. That’s about it. I’m stuck here at home until Christmas, at least. And I’m whining a lot. People say I’m allowed to whine because I have cancer, but I don’t think whining should be allowed. Playing the cancer card to get what I want is a whole different matter, though. I’m totally going to do that for a long time.
Spreading the good news …