Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scans and Dogs

This morning I had my long-awaited PET/CT scan. Usually they're no big deal, but this time I was feeling ansty, claustrophobic and itchy. There's really no reason that I should be having an allergy to the oral contrast prep or the radioactive isotope that they injected me with -- usually I tolerate these just fine and the biggest challenge is boredom. Today, for the first time, I nearly climbed out of the machine. The biggest thing keeping me in the machine was that I knew if I moved at all, they'd have to restart the scan. I want the results, so I toughed it out. It was far from the hardest thing I've had to do in my life, but it was harder than it has been before, for some reason.

I'll get the results on Monday when I meet with the oncologist and start round 4 of chemo.

Kaia, my dog, went in for a routine checkup last Monday and her blood test showed that she was anemic -- her red blood cel counts are at about half of what they should be. Further tests revealed wonky kidney values. This points to a kidney issue, but whether its a kidney infection or early kidney failure remains to be seen. Oddly, she was acting great before I took her into the vet (a highly reputable greyhound vet who is known locally as THE vet to take your greyhound to). This I attribute to the antibiotics that they have her on, which are fighting a tooth infection that they know she has, and another kind of antibiotic that is attacking the kidney infection.

Speaking as someone who has taken a lot of pills recently, I know how they can mess up your system in one way or another. What she really needs right now is to keep eating and drinking, and she stopped doing both as soon as I put her on the meds. Their solution? give her Prilosec, which is a stomach-acid reducer. Those who know me know that I am against the (seemingly) never-ending cycle of covering up one pill's side effect with another pill.

I have learned a few things from the 7 greyhounds that I've had over the years. The vet recommended that I soak her food in hot water beforehand to make sure she's getting enough liquid. I've done this before with dogs with dental problems. This works great if they'll eat soggy food, which Kaia won't. I tried it and she rejected it comepletely. So now she's got a stomach full of pills and no food in her. ANd I know exactly what that feels like. Then I remembered some old sick-dog cures: soothe their tummies with yogurt. Check. I used to feed my group of 4 hounds the BaNilla (Banana Vanilla) flavor yogurt from the co-op and sure enough, Kaia loves it. Plain yogurt doesn't generally appeal, I find. If dogs are having tummy trouble, boil ground hamburger, drain/strain and mix with white rice. Its apparently the best food ever invented (as far as dogs are concerned) and she eagerly ate it just a few minutes ago. I mixed in some of her dry kibble and she ate that too. So, 1 st emergency (not eating) averted. Now I just need to make sure she's drinking enough. Adding water to the food works -- if they'll eat it. In the past I have been able to get her to eat pill sby burying them in a wad of peanut butter. Now she's gotten wise to me and won't even eat straight peanut butter. So I now have to "pill" her (put them down her throat manually). To avoid the pills-on-an-empty-tummy problem, I pill her only after she eats.  So now we just need to watch her for the next few days and make sure everything is going in and out okay.

She's due back for another blood test this next Tuesday, the day after chemo for me. This will give an idea if the antibiotics are working, as we'll be looking for more normal kidney function and red blood cell numbers. If not, it will point to a bigger kidney issue. SInce she hasn't been acting like a dog with kidney issues, I'm hopeful that it is reversible.

So this next weekend will be a process of worrying about both myself (and my scan results) and about her. Its definitely a distraction, but not a fun one.

More info on all fronts likely on Monday or Tuesday.


Eclector2 said...

Oh Boy! It's kind of raining and pouring at your house. I'm so glad that the eating issue is resolved for Kaia.

Are you also eating okay? That hamburger and rice combination sounded pretty good for people too.

It will be an anxious weekend, waiting on the PET scan results and worrying about Kaia. But I hope you can still relax and enjoy your weekend retreat.

Love, Mom

Emily said...

goddamn. poor kaia. poor itchy you. do you think she'd enjoy the yogurt somewhat diluted, for extra fluids?

fingers crossed that the scan brings good news...

Kari said...

Oh for heaven's sake! Hopefully the kidney thing was an infection that was caught early. I have dealt with 2 dogs with kidney failure and that is a big challenge.

As for keep taking care of yourself and I hope to see you soon!

Post a Comment