I’m happy to say that Lydia and Archie are both doing really well. They’ve certainly had their ups and downs, but both are fighters.
Before I get to the updates, I just have to say this picture makes me smile and laugh. The fact that they’re lying there together, in almost identical poses, makes me smile. They’re so sweet together. What makes me laugh is that because of the angle of the picture, Lydia looks so much bigger than Archie. In reality she’s slightly smaller than him, but not by much.
So, now . . . on to the updates . . .
Lydia, my little cancer warrior
Lydia still amazes all of the vets and hospital staff at Purdue and at her vet’s office here in Indianapolis. She’s beat the odds many times over since being diagnosed with cancer in July, 2008.
Since she went through a week-long radiation protocol in April to treat an inoperable tumor in her pelvic area she’s had a few ups and downs, but overall is doing very well. Just before the treatments, we started her on Carboplatin, the same chemo drug she was on for 9 months after her first surgery. She did really well on it then, and we had hoped for good results with it again. Unfortunately, this time around her body didn’t like it so much. She became neutropenic, which is a drop in white blood cells called neutrophils. The oncologist dropped the dosage a few times, but it didn’t matter. Her body just couldn’t take the Carboplatin anymore. And, while we were dropping the dosage, her tumor grew slightly from one month to the next. Given all of this, she was switched to a new drug, Chlorambucil.
Chlorambucil is an oral chemo drug (a pill) that I give her once a day. She’s been on it for a little over a month and is doing great. We saw the oncologist last week and the tumor hasn’t grown since last month, so hopefully it’ll stay stable for a while yet. The really good thing about Chlorambucil is that she isn’t having any side effects – none that I can see anyway. Most dogs tend to do very well with it, with few side effects, if any. I’m glad Lydia is in that group!
Still, as has been the case for the last 4 1/2 years, you would not know Lydia’s fighting such a big battle inside her little body. She still has the same sweet personality she’s ever had, is happy, likes to play, and is as active as a dog her age should be. In fact, at 11 1/2 she’s more active and in better shape than many dogs her age!
Archie, following in Lydia’s footsteps
There isn’t much to say about Archie’s health, which is a very good thing! He’s doing pretty darn good for an old guy. He’s 14 1/2 now and he is also in much better shape than a lot of dogs his age. His hearing is declining pretty fast and now he seems to be having a little trouble seeing. And even though his legs aren’t as strong as they once were, he still likes to wrestle with Lydia once in a while. He just can’t do it for as long or as rough.
He had an ultrasound a couple months ago that showed a possible, very slight change that may indicate a return of the mast cell cancer. It was so slight though, that it was questionable, and could likely be nothing. My hope, obviously, is nothing, but at this point I won’t be doing anything aggressive even if the cancer comes back. Archie’s getting older, doesn’t do well in the car, and just doesn’t like spending time at the vet’s office. So, my goal with him is to keep him as happy as I can for as long as I can, with as few vet visits as possible.
Archie just gets sweeter and more loveable every day. And for those of you who know Archie, you know what a gentle, sweet boy he’s been all his life. He is really an exceptional dog and I’m so fortunate to be his person!
With Archie’s age and Lydia’s cancer, I’ve learned how to put those gloomy thoughts in a particular part of my brain and don’t allow myself to access them very often. I’d much rather just enjoy having them in my life and love the heck out of them both!