Eight Months Strong Since the Cancer Returned

15 Aug
basset hound cancer

Little Schnitzel knows when Buford is having a bad day. They often snuggle close on those days.

Eight Months!

It’s been eight months since my old vet told me Buford has cancer in his lymph nodes. It’s probably been ten months since the actual cancer returned.  At this rate with cancer in his nodes the size of coconuts, I am quite pleased with his HEALTHY survival rate and quality of life. Had I done chemo, he would have been gone months back.

I look at my faithful companion Buford every day and smile. Although his body does show less fat than he used to have (switching to an organic diet with chicken and kale) he still has the pep in his step and is healthy (well, except for the coconut sized cancer in his nodes). He runs and plays and at 13 that’s amazing in itself.

The Dog Is Fighting.

Buford certainly has a will to live and I think for him, that’s keeping him going. Having an owner he loves is the sole reason for survival, as is his little partner Schnitzel, a 6 year old mini doxie who is the love of his life. I guess that makes him gay, but whatever works to keep him alive.

When I say he has a will to live, I’ll give you an example. I first try to feed him the meds when he is hungry wrapped in chicken skin or a cube of steak.  He will often spit them out and make a small pile of them. If I yell and get upset about this, he will gobble up the capsules just to make me happy. It’s a strange communication we have. He knows without the meds he will have a worse night than with the meds.

Bad Days Turn To Needy-Ness.

I’ve had to tailor his dinners. For months he lived on Chicken and Kale but now he associates the chicken with his recent bout of the stress-infection. I’ve had to switch him to steak and steak cubes and slowly re-introduce the chicken in with it.  This of course has cost me a fortune finding grass fed steaks and good cuts (fatty the better), but hey, whatever works. He’s gained back 3 of the 7 lbs he lost during his infection.

Buford overall is way more needy than usual.  When he has bad days (and you can tell, because he’ll eat more grass or be up in the middle of the night with hot sweats having to pee more than usual) he follows me everywhere. If I so much as run to the store and back he’s howling like he lost his best friend.  The neighbors asked what I’m doing to the dog, because they hear him screech and moan when I’m gone on the back porch as if it’s the end of the world.  The bottom line is when he’s not feeling good, he wants to at least know I’m there.

Granted, I am not used to this additionally neediness and have had to rearrange my work schedule. This is my busy project time, and I’m often out of town for a few days at a time and I can leave him with the pet sitter, but anymore this is not working out.   Just leaving him for 8 to 10 hours a day put him into sickness (stress sickness read here.)  When I’m gone, he has a large doggie door where he comes and goes and plays in the back yard with two other dogs in our home and one cat he’s quite fond of, but none of this seems to matter.

These little clues tell me that quite possibly the end is sooner rather than later.  So I have rearranged the best I can and try to leave him minimally and accommodate the dog.

Dogs Know Dogs.

 

I am really worried about his little play mate Schnitzel, a mini doxie who is six years old and thinks of Buford as his best friend in life (and lover because of the way he constantly dry humps his rear while he’s sleeping even after getting the little bugger fixed…).  Although we have a lovely girl doxie in the house Schnitzel could care less.  He will be truly heartbroken when Buford finally goes.

Schnitzel’s actions tell me of Buford’s bad days. On bad days Schnitzel tries to cheer up Buford by licking his teeth, pulling on his ears and licking his face. Often times Buford will just lay there with one eye open as if to say, “Really????”

On good days however Schnitzel is the reason. He is soltely what is keeping Buford oxygenated, by running around the yard with him and they play and chase each other until Buford is so tired he sleeps right through the night. I love those nights.

My Happy Days are Full of Poop.

Reality for me is knowing that each day with Buford could be his last. He will go two days with runny feces and I get ready to take him in for a scan to see if the tumors have grown into partial or total blockage, then on day three he will surprise me and crap a good sized sausage out and that tells me he can still defaecate as normal and that the blockage has not interfered.  So on those big piles of poop days, I’m happiest.

Record Breaking.

If Buford is an example of how long your dog can live without chemo, he’s it.  If you figure he initially had cancer over two and a half years ago, had it removed and it grew back causing CANCER IN THE LYMPH NODES last Sept or Oct, not detected until December….he’s still alive eight months later after re-diagnoses.   That’s most likely ten months since the cancer was active.

Most dogs who go thru chemo or tumor removal or lymph surgery either have the cancer spread to the next healthy node or quite honestly the cancer attacks even harder. Some dogs simply pass from the chemo ruining their immune system within four to six months.

In my opinion, he’s kicking cancer’s ass and cancer is not kicking his. At 13 he’s already over his life span and when the dog eats filets and steak every few nights and I eat McDonald’s because I’m spending all my grocery money on his dinners, I would think he’s in heaven on Earth in dog terms and for that I’m happy.

 

 

 

 

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