Thursday, August 6, 2009
Cupcake by Heather Neil-Rice
Cupcake was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a week after her 2nd Birthday, just 9 months ago. Cupcake is my heart and it literally broke when my vet called to tell me that the ovary he removed during her spaying was indeed cancerous. He had already researched the odds and options and told me that with surgery alone there was a >90% chance that the cancer would return with a large risk of metastatic disease. He suggested seeking evaluation at Angel Care Clinic with Dr. Kathy Mitchener in Bartlett, Tennessee, almost 3 hours from home.
In some ways I suspect our visit to Angel Care was unusual, because I already knew my precious girl had cancer. I desperately needed a hope of treatment and a potential cure. The staff at Angel Care, from the front to back door, is so understanding and compassionate. Words cannot express the immense gratitude I have for Dr. Mitchener, Peggy and Jessie.
Our evaluation appointment turned into the first round of abdominal chemotherapy. My "take" on this is that Cupcake had IV fluids for 30 minutes, then sedation (Toradol) by IV, an ultrasound with the chemo injected into her belly and then she got shaken up like a milkshake, returned to me for more IV fluids - all of which took about 3 hours. She got pills, pills, and more pills, a new diet regiment, and this yummy liquid called FISH OIL. This new EVO dog food without grain was not known to be sold in Arkansas so Cupcake and I left that first chemo session heading across town to get the food that "cancer does not like!"
About 5 minutes down Stage Road, Cupcake started screaming like a traumatized child, and 5 minutes later she was still crying and yelping in the Ethan Allen parking lot. So thank goodness Dr. Kathy had given me her cell phone number to call her just in case something occurred on my 3 hour trip home, by myself with Cupcake. Hysterical, I called my husband and he could hear her crying and yelping, and started getting upset that I agreed for her to have this treatment in the first place. Dr. Kathy advised me that she felt like Cupcake was having a reaction to the Toradol and to walk her and talk to her and see if she will drink. I did so and things appeared better, so we continued to head to the store that has this dog food that "cancer doesn't like!"
I kept focusing on this as it is something I can get and it will help her get better. At the pet store the gentlemen realized my dog was sick and anxious and that I was near to loosing it completely. Food purchased, nose blown, Cupcake a little calmer, we headed out now towards Little Rock . . . and the screaming started again. Dr. Kathy called to check on us about 20 minutes later and heard Cupcake and told me to turn around and come back to the clinic. Bottom line is that Cupcake and Toradol don't mix.
For the four additional rounds of chemo, Cupcake got a gas mask without IV sedation and did amazing. My sacrifice was that she was not sedated in any way for the IV fluids after chemo and I had to hold her and rock her and entertain her so that her IV would not obstruct.
Now she is 9 months out from diagnosis, chemo complete and she is in remission with a clean abdominal ultrasound, taking her vitamins, curcumin, fish oil, eating EVO dog food - ALL like she was born to do so. Oh and let’s not forget we combat the constipation from the EVO with pumpkin pie filling and Metamucil. Most days her coat is orange and she smells like a stinky seal from the fish oil. She often wears pink bows to proclaim her cancer survivor status and I cherish every day we have together.