Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"The least side effects I've ever seen."

Yes, that's a quote from Vida's radiation oncologist, Dr. Proulx.


[sorry, images have disappeared into the ether, please continue to later posts for more photos, ex: 5/11]

He saw her today, four days after her final radiation treatment. She finally did have some burn effect on the outside of her mouth start this weekend (today's Tuesday), but not much. Here are the photos, sort of gross but really, if you're wondering what it might look like if it's ever your dog here it is.

I've marked the outer edge of her lip. The lip itself shows pigment loss, which indicates that she's lost the top layer of skin even though it looks ok otherwise. The very top edge is almost white today. I'm not sure if the pigment will come back. The dark color still on her front lip makes it easy to discern the bottom line, and the area under it where there's been hair and skin loss and the color is pink/grey.

You can also see how the tumor area continues to shrink and the shape has evened out.

This side view shows the worse of the two sides, she more often sleeps on this side so I think that's why it's taken on a little more damage (the area not breathing as well). Though when resting she often tries to keep her head upright, or hanging over the edge a bit.

You can just make out the orange line that was used as a guide during radiation (just follow down from the arrow, it angles slightly right), and you'll also notice that everything behind that orange line is intact (black lip, hair).

The lip has lost all the black pigment. There is a crease below the largest part of her lip that is a little problematic, and I ensure that I flush that area with gel by lifting the skin a bit.

The whole area is a bit gooey, but that's good. If allowed to dry out it becomes itchy and she scratches at it. While we might have been taught that this greenish goo is terrible, the skin under it is not red, so while she is pushing out junk it's not an infection. This goo helps protect the damaged skin too.

I'm putting the gel on her mouth at least six times a day. During the day I try to do it every couple of hours. She hates it. She doesn't mind it in her mouth, but she hates it gooping up her chin. She immediately tries to groom, even reaching back to lick her shoulder in an attempt to curl her tongue down to the side. Mainly she licks her forelegs, again to turn her tongue back so the underside of it wipes her chin and lip.

I also started adding colloidal silver and crab apple flower essence to her drinking water to help keep the area from harboring infection.

I can't emphasis enough the diligence with which natural remedies need to be applied. I know I won't need to do it forever, and that keeps me at it. She's still getting her tea, and all the other supplements. I'll start cutting back her prednisone this weekend to every other day.

Speaking of pred - the vet had no idea why her lipoma got smaller. He said he'd never seen that happen before, and couldn't say why. I presented my theory that the lipoma had been storing cancer junk (a technical term, hehe) - that when we first started her on TCM herbs for the cancer the lipoma began to develop, as if the body was trying to quarantine the cells it was finding, and continued to grow slowly until she was started on the pred. So did the pred kill those cells off, shrinking the lump?. He didn't seem concerned about it, and didn't mention anything about removing it. We'll have to see if it comes back when she's off the pred, I guess.
I love that my dog's recovery has a bit of mystery to it.

We're back for a re-check in two weeks. Vida's tired of not being able to play fetch and such. Soon!
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