Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The new chapter begins

Today was the first day in the new chapter of Blue, he had received all of his chemotherapy injections, and returned from a two week stay in the Highlands of Scotland, more on the holiday to follow.

After his final injection of chemotherapy, with agreement of his clinical team at Fitzpatrick referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue (FROST), this visit was the first in a new chapter.

Blue was only ever going to be permitted a number of Chemo injections, between 4-8, that number would be influenced by how he responded to the treatment, and how effective it was on the cancer.

To achieve this visit today is a milestone none of us could foresee back in November, where his life was being counted in terms of coming out of major surgery, to the next hour, the next day, the weekend, the next week, and to this day no further ahead, we choose to treat each and every day now as if it were his last.

We are now living with Blue, who lives with cancer, we have all learnt a lot about ourselves, but more importantly about Blue.

Blues new treatment is now to be in tablet form only, there are a variety of cocktails which will help him live with the cancer, how long for is still unknown, we would like that to be forever, but each day is welcomed and blessed on its arrival.

The medication Blue will be on will consist of 6 tablets a day, this in itself is a game of wits, one that can allow Blue to win the odd battle, but we need to ensure that the days he refuses his medication does not become a habit.

The tablets Blue has taken in the past, have been given in many forms, mixed in with fluids, solutions, foodstuffs and even via a syringe. While we were on holiday Blue had gone from somehow getting the tablet out of the food to under the plate, and when that didn't work, he began storing them in his jowls, as if he was some sort of hamster. Needless to say, a way of giving the tablets is ongoing work in progress, just like a game of chess.

Blue will have to be monitored for side effects, and return in two weeks time for a checkup.

Today was the consultation to discuss the next chapter with Senior Consultant Dr Kelvin Kow, who has been an absolute marvel with Blue, and with us also, we can not sing his praises enough, a credit to his profession.

Blue enjoys a short break, a quick wander out into the carpark

A visit to "FROST" is always an event, and today was no different, this is how it went:-

  • Blue was lifted into the car at 9:45 feeling slightly lighter, but with no sedatives
  • A journey of just under an hour see us arrive at "FROST" 
  • Wearing  his Halti and a muzzle Blue Sue and me were welcomed at reception
  • We were directed to the consultation room to await Dr Kelvin Kow
  • A number of attempts to weigh Blue confirmed he was around 49 - 50 kg
  • Minimal fuss as we discussed the options available for Blue
  • Urine sample required for a baseline, this would be fun, out we ventured into the car park.
  • Armed with a kidney shaped bowl we sought to gain a sample from Blue
  • On command Blue obliged, and Dr Kelvin expertly collected the valuable sample
  • We returned into reception, Dr Kelvin carrying said sample, took Blue from us.
At this point it was a terrific feat achieved by Dr Kelvin, walking along with said sample, and an un-sedated Blue, all was going well until Blue realised we were no longer with him. How the good Dr managed to hold Blue, who was making his best efforts to return to us, and not spill a drop amazed all onlookers, eventually he handed the sample to a nurse, and him and Blue disappeared through the doors to the treatment area. 

Sue and I waited for about 40 minutes, until we recognised those familiar sounds of paws on tiles, pulling a heavy load, sure enough, it was Blue coming back with Dr Kelvin, and his assistant.

The reports were good, he was no longer anaemic, and all other counts were where they needed to be.

Blue had become stressed, this was a concern of Dr Kelvin, and said that for Blues next visit, perhaps he should have sedatives, but only 5 not 10 as previous visits. Blue when anxious will not settle and his breathing is very rapid, while we waited for his meds to be prepared, I took Blue on a tour of the reception area, this helped calm him a little but not a lot.

Blue is a beautiful dog, and often receives admiring looks and comments, today was no different, but there were two special ones today.

Blue exchanges tweets with @PawsomeErik, who's Mum works as a Nurse at "FROST"  she popped out to say hi, passed comment that Blue was doing well, and gave Sue some gravy bones for Blue.

The other was from Laurent, the surgeon who removed the mass, which filled Blue's abdomen, Laurent commented on how well Blue was looking, we thanked him for the major part he played in helping Blue.

Dr Kelvin returned with Blue's meds, and was very complimentary, even though it sounds he may have pulled a muscle in his shoulder while holding Blue earlier. We all said that we could do with a rest this afternoon, wished each other well and said good bye until the next time.

Blue waited patiently at the reception desk while Sue paid for todays visit and set the appointment for a fortnights time.

Since we have been home Blue has enjoyed a play in the garden, a bit of rest and then a 30 minute walk.

At the start of this blog I mentioned we had gone to Scotland for a two week break, below are a few pictures of our holiday with Blue, I will follow this up soon with a blog dedicated solely to our holiday.

Blue says "Thank you for caring".