kitchen table math, the sequel: Surfer, part 2

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Surfer, part 2

The first thing that happened was a routine trip to the vet's, followed by surgery to remove a growth on Surfer's hind leg (a growth the vet thought should be removed not because it looked dangerous but because it was bothering Surfer), followed by lab results giving Surfer 8 months to live without treatment and .... I guess a bit more than that with treatment. Surfer is 11 and by all appearances in the pink of health: he's strong, hearty, energetic, and interested in life. It's dreadful news.

Surfer had the surgery Monday. Today is Sunday, and Surfer has now ripped out (or more likely licked off) his surgical staples twice. Once because I took the cone off (and, yes, I do know how fantastically stupid that was for a person who has written two books about animals) and once because the cone turns out to be too short to prevent Surfer reaching his hind leg and ripping out staples.

Friday was the pits. First the cancer phone call in the afternoon, then Extreme Weather in the evening, followed by discovery of the first ripping-out late Friday night, when we were already buried in snow and had no hope of getting out. The next morning Surfer was crying, I felt like crying, the driveway was buried under a foot and a half of snow, and the vet was closing at noon. We made it to his office at 10:50 am.

Tonight is Sunday and I am sitting here, again, with a soon-to-be dying dog who has a gaping 5-inch open surgical wound on his thigh. But no snow, thank God.

Tomorrow brings a third trek to the vet for a third stapling ----- and no doubt a further delay in starting the Magic Chemo med the vet told us about....

Which is called (I see from my notes) Kinavet. Hmmmm. The fact sheet says Kinavet is not a chemotherapy drug. Interesting. The vet called it chemo (a targeted chemo). It's obviously pretty toxic, judging by the video. But toxic in a good way.

Do people use Kinavet (or its equivalent)?

Do people get cancers originating in mast cells? It seems as if we ought to, but I haven't found anything about it so far.

And are people starting to have targeted cancer drugs?

I spent part of today skimming Daniel Servan-Schreiber's Anti-Cancer, trying to figure out what to have Surfer eat. I admired the book tremendously when I read it a couple of years back. Then, a little while ago, I looked up Servan-Schreiber's website and discovered that he died in 2011. Sigh.

Apparently Servan-Schreiber believed the reason his cancer returned was that he failed to slow down. He did too much jet-setting around the world to international conferences and the like.

That's not going to be a problem for Surfer.


Anonymous said...

Saying "Ultimately, he found that he didn’t follow his own advice" (from the linked article) is a form of victim blaming, inplying that he somehow deserved cancer because he didn't do exactly the right thing.

Nobody "deserves" cancer. Anyone who says they have THE cure for cancer is probably trying to sell you something - especially those who are trying to sell you something.

Yes, there are behaviors that can increase the risk of certain specific forms of cancer (smoking, working in an asbestos mine, significant doses of ionizing radiation) and avoiding them can reduce your chances of getting cancer. Unfortunately, we don't know enough about all the myriad different versions of cancer to prevent or cure them all - but science is getting better. Leukemia and Lymphoma used to be a fairly prompt death sentence, and now some forms are routinely cured (not just put into remission).

K9Sasha said...

Catherine, I'm so sorry to hear about the cancer diagnosis in your dog. Dogs' nonjudgemental acceptance and unconditional love are truly something special. Can you post a picture of Surfer?

K9Sasha said...

One of my own dogs has had surgery for cancer twice, nearly bleeding out on the table the last time. We won't do surgery again, and it's just a matter of time before the cancer comes back.

Laura in AZ said...

I am so sorry Catherine about Surfer. It is so hard to go through this with a beloved pet. We went through a whole slew of treatments for our cat (he had IBD which turned into stomach cancer). All I can suggest is to do what is best for Surfer at any given time.

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