With leash in hand that was attached to a smiling carefree little dog, I headed down to the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Oncology department early April 2, just two days after Roxie's diagnosis with Canine Lymphoma. I have never been to the OSU clinic, but had always heard wonderful things about their work and clinical trials there. After reading about canine lymphoma on the Internet, I felt very lucky that we here in Akron are only a short two hour drive from such a prestigious team of veterinary professionals while others drive and fly from all over the country.
Roxie was seen by the oncologist specialist Dr. Melanie McMahon and after examining her and her chart from Dr. Kubera at Wyoga Veterinary Hospital, she recommended that Roxie undergo additional treatments other than undergoing chemo with her normal vet. Originally my vet recommended a protocol called "COP" but her team recommended the Wisconsin version of the "CHOP" protocol, which is more aggressive in treating the lymphoma. They recommended this option because she was young, displayed no signs of illness and had no apparent heart conditions.
Instead of an 8-week course of chemo with a period of remission and a one year survival rate, this more aggressive protocol would be 25 weeks with a longer remission period and would include her taking four trips to OSU to receive a morning full of powerful chemotherapy called Doxorubicin.
I was told that not a lot of vets go this route because of the preciseness needed when injecting in her veins and the danger to the veterinary professional administering it. By going this route, this would give Roxie a one year survival rate and a 20% chance of two or more years of life. Since this option gave her a chance at living longer, we decided Roxie would be OSU's newest cancer patient.
Testing was recommended to get an aspirate of Roxie's lymph node to determine if she had T cell or B cell lymphoma, but when they tested the slide of her cells, since she had already begun chemotherapy, the testing only revealed that she had dying cancer cells. While I was upset to not be able to find out how advanced it was, which would have given us a better determination just how well chemotherapy would work (T cell is worse than B cell), I was very happy to hear that she was responding to the chemotherapy!
After tearfully picking her back up after her 2 hours of testing, Roxie and I hit the road back home where we would get ready for what was to come. Since she was a very good girl for the doctors and didn't try to bite them, she even got a breakfast burrito on the way back. Roxie and I made a deal, if she can stick with her chemotherapy and be a good girl for her OSU visits, she is the lucky recipient of a burrito.
So far Roxie is loving the car rides, extra time with Mommy, making new friends, eating burritos and having a social calendar. To her, she thinks something special is going on and we are going to keep it that way! Stay tuned for her next trip to Dr. Kubera for round two of chemotherapy.
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