How we fight cancer.

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

The amuputation of Quinta’s front left leg was the immediate result of a biopsy that confirmed the presence of histiocytic sarcoma, an aggressive cancer with a grave prognosis. We have since learned that the tumor has metastasized to Quinta’s lymph nodes. Here in Japan, possible chemotherapy treatment involves either lomustine (CCNU) or doxorubicin (adriamycin), but the efficacy of such treatment is not clear. Even if the treatment were effective, in most cases it is short-term. Serious adverse effects include bone marrow depression, a condition from which Quinta already suffers.

I have been struggling with whether to put Quinta through chemotherapy under these circumstances, trying to figure out what is “best” for Quinta. He has been home for the past week and regaining his health; he is hopping around and enjoying the company of our three cats and our friends who visit him. Just being home and being relaxed have done wonders for him. Quinta seems very happy today.

Quinta with one of his friends.
Quinta with one of his friends.

I decided not to put Quinta through chemotherapy that may be of limited efficacy and that involves risks that would likely create discomfort for Quinta. I do not think that is what Quinta wants and I think what is important to him (and to me) now is to be able to spend every minute in the comfort of our home and with the cats and our friends whom we love.

A part of me wonders whether, by deciding not to proceed with chemo, I am failing to pursue all available options for Quinta, and therefore failing to fight cancer and giving up. I keep reading about how we should not give up without a fight, and wonder if I am not even trying to fight the cancer. Have I failed as Quinta’s guardian? What does it mean to fight cancer? Is there any correct way to do so?

Quinta out on his morning walk.
Quinta out on his morning walk.

However much I wish for a miracle cure, I realize that no amount of chemotherapy agent injected into Quinta’s bloodstream will be able to sustain the lethal attack of histiocytic sarcoma. The chemotherapy tools available to help Quinta today seem like 19th century gunboats trying to fight the onsalught of a nuclear arsenal. I cannot fight cancer on its terms.

Quinta and I will therefore fight cancer on our own terms — love and compassion. We have a great team of doctors, dog sitters and friends who have rallied around Quinta to provide him with the best care in order to ensure that his quality of life does not suffer and he can continue to live the rest of his remaining life in as much comfort as possible, surrounded by love and in a way that respects his personality and what is important in his life. I want Quinta to have as normal a life as possible, so we have started a rehab program to support his new life as a tripawd, as well as a program of supplements and Eastern medicine. I want him to continue to live a healthy life as a dog, being able to walk/hop and enjoying his meals and treats and playing with the cats and his friends. None of this may prevent what histiocytic sarcoma will ultimately bring, but we will not allow it to take over Quinta’s life and dictate how he lives.

Quinta is alive and happy today.

Quinta happy at home.
Quinta happy at home.

To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!

4 thoughts on “How we fight cancer.”

  1. Okay—-the first step is to just B R E A T H E……seriously….B R E A T H E deep breath in….E X H A L E….slowly……

    You havve whole lot on our plate. No decision has to be made right now about treatment. Any of those chemo you mentioned can be started three weeks or so after amp…at least here anway….some a little sooner..some even a little farther out.

    So let’s just put that aside for a bit…as best you can anyway! You can take a little time and do yor research. There is a great book you can get through amazonn this site—-
    The Dog Cancer Book……written two years go so not 100% up to date. Combines a lot of info about checmo and complimentary therapy.

    There are many dogs n the site who, in spite of the cancer in tne lymph nodes have blown statistics out of the water. This is NOT a death sentence! From what j derstand from some on the site, it doesn’t really change the treatment and not necessarily the prognosis.

    I’m not very comuter savvy…..I kow,…I’m stating the obvious!
    But, I’d like to suggest that you make a separate post uder., perhaps, “Treatment, Diagnosis, Recovery….I’m not nami g it exactly right…but it’s the tread that starts with “Treatment”..

    Anyway, post a title…..maybe so ething like”treatment for Qui ta —in lymph nodes”

    Or you can put it under “Ask A Vet” I just want to make sure those who have been tnrough this see it and respond.

    I’ve been watching your logs—as you kow—and somehow I missed yours the other day wnere Quinta had acupuncture!
    He looked sooooo relaxed!! Soooo content! Such a loved dog!

    Remeber, Quinta could care less about any ole’ diagnosis! He has no idea of any challenges orther than recoveri g from this surgery! And he IS recovering….I can see it in his wo derful potos.
    YOU are to be commended for such an outstanding positive attitude!! It makes such a difference to Quita’a healing process!

    You are genuinely committed to Quinta’s well-being and quality of life! Every decision will be made out of love—and that is the right decision!

    I apologize for my poor typi g skills and my inability to properly help you navigte the site. Hopefully, I’ve given you enough to get some good info. for your pup!

    Quinta looks really good in each of his photos and that s so encouraging! Clearly he is a gentle loving soul! Just as clearly he is a strong and valiant fighter who has no intentio of oi g anywhere…..except staying by your side of course!!

    Just be with Quinta day by day and be in the moment. He’s not worried aout a thing! Give him a little ear scratch and tummy rubs for us, okay? Could he have a scoop of ice cream too?

    Surrounding you with the healing energy of all the cherry blossoms in the land…..the very ones he’ll enjoy seeing this Spring:-) 🙂

    Sally and Happy Hannan

  2. Quinta’s guardian,
    You sound like you have a real good grasp on reality. Quinta’s comfort and happiness are #1. I don’t think you are giving up but being realistic about your dog’s future. I opted to not have chemo on my dog for many reasons and I don’t regret it. We had a great time while we could. Keep lovin’ up your boy.

  3. O.M.D.
    What a powerful post. There is no “correct way” to fight cancer. Each dog, their person, and their situation is different. You can fight the big C with chemo and you may or may not win. But to fight with love and compassion, that way you can’t help but win.

    You have obviously thought long and hard and chosen the path that you think is right for Quinta, the path that you believe he would want. He will love you no matter what your choice and the outcome, and your love for him is so apparent in your every word. You are absolutely not a failure as Quinta’s guardian, please don’t think that. You said it–Quinta is alive and happy today….and that is what matters. Day by day.

    I don’t know if they have animal hospice in Japan–it is just beginning to take off here. But that is exactly what you have chosen and with the support of Quinta’s caregivers and friends it sounds like you will give him the best life he can possibly have. We look forward to hearing all about it!

    Peace and love to you and Quinta from the Oaktown Pack

  4. Sorry for the diagnosis, but you just never know how things will go. Quinta will go on being you friend and nothing changes that.

    I think your decision is the right one for you and no one has a right to tell you otherwise. I have used Lomustine on Shooter with very few side effects, but it is not a kind drug to their system. Eastern medicine has produced some miracles and is a kinder and more balanced protocol if you have easy access to it as you do.

    Sending all our caring thoughts your way. Give Quinta hug.

    Luanne and Shooter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *