April 25th, 2013

Is this the last drop on Eddie's roller coaster?

Last week Eddie was doing very well. Her energy was up, she was eating a full bowl of food. She had even gained a few pounds. A few days ago, she stopped eating. We added more anti-naseau medication and she ate half a bowl of food Tuesday night. Last night and this morning she wouldn't even eat her favorite liver treats.

She's being hospitalized today. She has a raging infection. She also has indications that the lymphoma had spread into her liver. We can treat the infection, but it won't stop the lymphoma. If we give her more chemo at this point the infection will kill her.

She's being hospitalized right now, at the cost of a total depletion of all my savings. Maybe, just maybe, she'll come out of this. But even if she does, I don't think I have any money for future rounds of chemo. I'm going to go see what I can accomplish by cutting ALL eating out and recreational costs for the next two months.

But even if I can find the money, Eddie's in a bad place right now. I'm leaving work to go spend some time with her, because this is very likely the bottom.

Hospital visiting hours with Eddie

Being afraid of missing a chance to say goodbye, I took off from work a bit early and grabbed Nova for an quick visit. This is a picture of Nova petting Eddie with intravenous drugs and electrolytes being fed through her arm.

Right now she's on a hard antibiotic, which is trying to beat back the infection raging in her system. This is a common side effect of chemo - it depresses the immune system so much that infections that would normally be contained grow big and attack the body. Unfortunately, the antibiotic suppresses the things which are fighting off the lymphoma. So we're stealing from Peter to pay Paul, with Eddie's life in the balance.

We'll know the verdict tomorrow. If the lymphoma has grown into her liver while she's been under heavy doses of three different chemo drugs, then this is the end game. I've talked it over with the doctors, and not only do I not have enough money to pursue alternative treatments... but they've already thrown the very best they have at it. I chose the most expensive route, the one with the very best performing drugs. If Edie developed more lymphoma while undergoing chemo, they simply don't have many good choices.

My only choice is to spend a few thousand more with attempts on drugs that don't have as consistent of results, in the hopes that we hit the magic trigger that works for Eddie even though it's inconsistent with others. But the real fact of the matter is that Eddie is so weak right now that unless she makes a serious recovery in the next two days, any type of chemo will flat out kill her.

Everything stands right now on the antibiotics beating back the infection long enough that she can regain enough strength to continue treatment. And tomorrow's verdict on whether or not the chemo was helpful in the first place.

I have to tell you, this is seriously painful crap. It keeps me up at night. It leaves me running around in circles in my dreams pounding the walls trying to find a way out. And this is for my dog. My life will go on without her.

There is someone we all know who is facing an even more complicated set of these riddles, and it's not his dog that he's threaten with losing. I have no clue how he does it. He wakes up every morning facing this, gets his job done, and spends time with his friends and family. He faces his fears head on, and he's even coherent enough to write publicly about them.

Right now I can tell you that just picking up the phone when I see the doctor on the line is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can tell you right now, if you haven't faced this yourself you have no idea how hard this is -- and this isn't even about me! I can't imagine facing what he does. I'd be a bleeding puddle on the floor. He's the bravest man I have ever met.