Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Chemo Session #5 & a CT Scan

Today Blue attended his Chemo session number five, how quick the time goes by. It hardly seemed three weeks that he had his last session.

We have slipped nicely into a routine, learning more each visit and continuing to monitor Blue while ensuring he gets as much opportunity to feel self-satisfied with his life.

This visit is different, Blue is to have a CT scan to see how the cancer is affecting him internally, and for that reason we are a little more apprehensive, but determined for Blue's sake not to show it.

To help approach today in a positive frame of mind we have done things a little different, the buster collar and muzzle were placed in the car last night, it did seem that Blue had began the last session a little apprehensive.

One other thing we did was to take Blue out for a longer drive in the car at the weekend, a visit to Cheddar, where he enjoyed a 50 minute walk around Black Rock Nature reserve. (*more on that later).

Back to today, the morning commenced without breakfast for Blue, only a solitary sardine to help the sedatives go down, still 10 required, after he had a short walk in the local park, to do his business.

We set out for Guildford at 8:15 to make our 9:30 appointment. Soon after our journey began the A329(M) was at a standstill, so we cut though Wokingham, to get to Bracknell. The journey then see the sat nav warn of stationary traffic along the A31 into Guildford, reset the sat nav to follow a diversion, but this was not needed in the end, our journey was completed just after 9:20am

Blue needed scooping out of the back of the car, and attempted to walk through closed glass doors, not waiting for the mechanism that slides them open to operate, safely through those two obstacles we were soon parked in the pod awaiting our call.

The Oncology and Soft Tissue unit of Fitzpatrick Referrals is now a far busier unit than when we first come here in November last year, Blue quickly settled, and only gave a hint of interest when Dr Kelvin and the Nurse came to collect him.

This didn't go exactly to plan, as a few steps away from us Blue turned 90 degrees and planted his bum firmly on the floor, looking straight back at Sue and me. It only took me to walk over to where Blue sat and urged him to walk, and he stood up and walked Dr Kelvin through the door to the business part of the unit, not even a backward glance to see if I was still with him.

Today was a big big day, the CT scan would present a true image of what was going on inside of Blue, we were all going into the unknown. We knew today was going to be a long day but emotionally, how do you prepare yourself?

We chose to stay and wait, not really in the right frame of mind to go into Guildford and look around or drive home to sit and wait, time to sit and wonder, and finish off my book, Cloud Atlas.

A couple of hours later, Dr Kelvin Kow came to share the news, the early signs were very encouraging, the mass that had filled Blue's abdomen was not clearly visible, not gone, but only further examination under the trained eye of a radiologist may pinpoint any current tumours.

This news was far better than anything we could of dreamt or prayed for, Blue was now being prepped for his chemo session #5

I found this news hard to take, saying very little due to the dry lump in the back of my throat, we all three looked at each other and had a small smile, and thanked heaven for this.

Our news could not be shared with Blue for a further 3 hours, in which time several nurses came out to say how good Blue was being and thought how great his news was.

Finally nearly five hours after watching Blue walk out the door, he came back to us pulling Dr Kelvin with him, and Nurse Jen following behind with his med's.

Our destination was to be a consultation room where we were told a bit more of Blue's condition.

The CT scan takes upward of 4,500 images which enable detailed examination in black, white and various greys in-between of Blue

Dr Kelvin was keen to show the images to demonstrate the change that was within Blue. He guided us through how he was now, showing his organs where they were and no signs of cancer affecting the lungs or kidneys etc. We then see the images of Blue pre-op, these were shocking, how large the mass in his abdomen was and how it was pressing on major organs such as displacing one of his kidneys, and placing pressure against the spine.

We were told that there will likely be cancer still within Blue, but for now the treatment was proving effective in subduing it's growth.

Blue has now reached a stage very few dogs achieve, it is unusual for them to get to 5 sessions of chemo, and the CT scans have given everyone a very pleasant surprise.

When we said about it would be nice to give Blue a holiday, but perhaps Scotland would be too far, Dr Kelvin said, why, he will be fine go and enjoy it.

Blue has really been a model patient, and has found a new bunch of friends, he will continue to live for today and enjoy the moments as they arrive.

We have often mentioned Dr Kelvin Kow, and he was kind enough to have his photo taken with Blue and us before carrying on with his busy schedule.

One other thank you is to all the staff both on reception and behind closed doors for the tremendous work they do, looking after the animals and people that come through the doors of Fitzpatrick Referrals.

* Remember a while ago I said we went to Cheddar at the weekend, it was wet, it was cold, it was muddy it was tiring, but it was well worth the trip.

While I have been writing this blog, Blue has had a good sleep in front of the fire and the only sign that is evident of his trip today is the shaving of his port above his hind leg....

Blue has grown a number of followers to his @BluetheGSD Twitter account. He has had toys, gifts, best wishes and prayers sent his way, neighbours ask after him, he is in the thoughts of work colleagues.

Blue is a special dog, we know because we live with him, and those that meet him he will have an impact on and share those same thoughts.

Blue takes what life throws at him and deals with it, truly inspirational.