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September 29, 2000
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Chemo Thoughts

So, today, Dr. Billar called after seeing Fezzik. She mostly sounded sorry, as she thought Fezzik was in really bad shape. Very weak and unable to do much exercise without getting really tired really fast. His hind legs weren't working, and all his lymph nodes were huge, and, in fact, one of them might have been impairing his left hind leg in and of itself. These were all things that I knew were true, but it was sobering to have her list them as things she was worried about, as the quick tiredness might have been from his heart having problems. She also hadn't seen him for a while, and the deterioration was more apparent to her than to us, who were living with him everyday. In some sense, I guess we knew that it was happening, and all the things he was gradually losing; but that it shocked her was sobering to me.

Since the last vincrystine shot really did make Fezzik more comfortable for a while, and none of the chemo drugs, so far, have made him uncomfortable or unhappy, it seemed well worth trying things. She did warn me, however, that anything we tried, even if we tried all of them, might only buy Fezzik a few months. Also, from what she could see, she thought we were getting closer to the point where we should just stop fighting. That kinda shocked me, to know that we were already that far. As far as she could tell, he'd come out of remission very quickly after having gone into it, so anything we tried would only last so long as the drugs lasted. There wouldn't be any lasting remission given how quickly it came back. I am more worried, I think, about how comfortable he is than how long it'll last. I know that when the nodes aren't so swollen he's happier, and that's more my goal than extending his life, per se.

I know he's dying. Deteriorating and gradually losing his abilities. It's been very evident these last few weeks and especially the last few days. Just in the last three days, he's gotten just a bit sad and he's panting a lot and it hasn't really been all that hot. He seems to be working much harder just to stay alive.

It still makes me sad, but I have him while I have him and John and I will keep him happy for as much of this as we can.

It was a good deal harder as I couldn't find John when Dr. Billar called, so I decided to go ahead with the first shot set today. Even his last treatment seemed to make him so much happier, that it seemed worth trying. When John did find me, eventually, we went into a little, closed meeting room, and I tried to explain everything Dr. Billar told me and mostly ended up crying like crazy.

Work wasn't very useful after the call. I wasn't very useful at work, that is. I warned my boss of that, and the circumstances of it and he said that it was understandable. He also encouraged me to stay at home with Fezzik for the weekend, as it was the right thing to do. We had to get to Dr. Billar's before 5, so, it being rush hour, we left at 4, and managed to get there just at ten before 5. She settled with us out in the waiting room and told John pretty much everything she told me over the phone, and the three of us talked over alternatives and possibilities. If we didn't treat things at all, Fezzik probably only had two more weeks to live. If we did, because the cancer had been so virulent and had come back so fast after only a five month remission, it was likely he'd only have a few more months, but they would be relatively good quality months, as it was also obvious that when the drugs did attack the lymphoma, Fezzik felt a lot better.

We didn't have to decide then. We could see how the quick shot she did today would work, and if it was going to take at all, it was going to take quickly. So if there wasn't obvious improvement by next week, it would likely be futile to try anything else. If, by next week, he is feeling much better, it was likely that the things we could try would help for a while. She was very straightforward about his chances and about what she might be able to do for him. I really appreciated that a lot.

So it's more a wait and see what chances he has.

We absorbed that and nodded and I was glad that we did do what we could so far. It's going to be sad to lose him, but we'll know, completely, that we did everything we could while he was alive to have him be happy. Then Dr. Billar laughed and told us that Fezzik had done an escape during the day, that he'd gotten tired of the tile floors, which make him slip around a whole lot more on his uncertain rear end. He'd just stood up, pushed aside the pen that was supposed to be holding him, and walked over to a carpeted office and he'd then laid down there. He didn't cause any trouble, just laid down in a more comfortable spot to watch other people. One of the receptionists said that he hadn't been in the way or anything, and they should have left him there; but one of the technicians asked Dr. Billar if that was her dog and when she said yes, they'd gotten him and put him back in one of the backroom pens that had someone working in it. So Fezzik pretty much had had people with him all day because of his little escape.

Smart dog.

When we went back to get him, he was patiently lying by a technician measuring out things. He got up with a little help, and was far more alert and alive than he'd been that morning. That alone made me feel pretty good. When we got to the hallway, he turned as if to go left, which is the direction he'd taken in his escape, but is the way opposite of the exit. It took a little bit to get him straightened out again, and when we hit the front reception area, he went straight to the door and butted his head against the glass. When it got obvious that we weren't going there yet, he deigned to come back and receive dog treats while we filled out the paper work, paid for everything, and set up his appointment for next week, penciling him in if he did do well this coming week.

Once outside, he marched over to the grassy area and pee'ed voraciously and then stood, expectant, by Borax's back door. Once in the truck he was obviously pretty content. He was bright eyed, more active, more willing to sit up and watch the traffic as it went by and do the things he had to do to balance to stay up.

The weather was wild when we got to the Safeway. The winds were gusting in all directions, and rain was falling in whatever direction the wind was blowing, so sometimes I'd get blasted and then I'd be dry. We went to the pharmacy to get Fezzik's other drug, and they didn't have it, yet, but could order it for Monday. So we ordered it and then went to the Dairy Queen to get Fezzik an ice cream cone. The wind hadn't died, but the rain stopped for the little while it took for us to feed Fezzik his cone. The wind splattered the dripped bits of Fezzik's bites everywhere, luckily Fezzik didn't miss much of it. He ate it as thoroughly and single-mindedly as ever. I enjoyed my kid-sized hot fudge sundae inside the truck with John, and then we all went home.

Once unloaded from the truck, Fezzik went off to do some things in the yard with a purposeful stride and just a little side-winding of his back end. He was far more active, just now, than he had been this morning, and I think it was a pretty clear indication to me that it was going to be worth doing what we could. He's alive, he's happy, he's doing stuff again that he wants to do.

That may well be enough

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