Sjp93
Hi,

My name is Sam and I have an almost-11 year old westie named Jack who was just diagnosed with stage 5 B lymphoma. This means he is in the worst and most progressed stage of the disease as it has spread to his bloodstream and bone marrow. I have had Jack exactly half of my life and it is hard to remember what it was like before we had him-- I was 11 when we got him. He started out as a family dog but my parents aren't really "dog people" so he was basically mine. I just moved 5 hours away from home about 2 weeks ago and brought him with me. I am in a new city with no family here which has been the hardest part for me-- going through everything alone. It all is happening so fast....

I was hoping to talk with others who were given the option of chemotherapy, and decided to turn it down. The vets brought up the chemo costs and options but I am young and just starting out from college, I would have to blow out my savings account and get a loan as well. I love my dog more than the world-- he is my best friend. I would do anything in the world to keep him alive, but is this dumb or selfish? I also don't want him to be in pain and I know chemotherapy is very extensive and tolling on dogs. He also doesn't know what's going on and I don't want the confusion and stress to make things worse. And since his lymphoma is at such a progressed stage, even the chemo could only extend his life maybe 4-10 months.

I am leaning towards turning down the chemotherapy and doing everything I can to make him comfortable and happy in his last days. The vets said without treatment (besides pain meds), we are looking at 2-8 weeks maybe. Everyone I have talked to personally thinks this is the best plan. But part of me will always wonder what would have happened if I gave treatment a shot. But I also don't want to be selfish and keep him in pain. I need to talk to someone else who's actually been through a similar issue so my guilt doesn't tear me apart... I'm already feeling bad enough I put him through a big move in the middle of all this (he seemed completely fine prior to and after the move-- I didn't know cancer was a possibility until 3 days ago), even though the vet insisted this is not a result of ANYTHING I did or didn't do, just the way things happened....

If anyone wants to chat I would love to. I'm very heartbroken and torn and would love any and all advice.
Thank you,
Sam
Quote 0 0
jj
Hello my dear friend,
I believe you are very wisely aware of what you need to do, which you articulated so well. I too agree with you that the best thing would be to make your precious dog as stress free and comfortable as possible. Chemotherapy is brutal, that despite what it purports to do, many who have endured it, end up with cancer which was directly a cause of the chemotherapy. At this stage, the best way to care for your beloved dog, is feed him a healthy diet of free range meat, slightly cooked, including the organs like liver, heart and kidneys. give me some raw bones and all this alone will help him stay stronger. Bombarding him with chemicals from this treatment will only destroy what's left of his immune system. a diet of real meat will strengthen his immune system and give him a better quality of life for however long he has. Plus, he will love it.
Quote 0 0
LUCYLULU
Oh Sam I am so sorry to read about Jack. I do not know anything about chemo. When my vet asked me as they were running tests on my Lucy if I would do chemo if they found cancer, I said 'no...I wouldn't put her through that'. I wouldn't want her to take on even more pain. They didn't find it. But I do not know what I truly would have decided-- if the vet said that chemo was the only option. Such a difficult decision for you to make...so young yourself. Have you talked through this with your parents? Even though Jack is your dog & you are on your own, it might help to talk to as many people as you can. There are so many people here too.

I hope that some understanding people here can give you their experience w/chemo. A friend gave me advice about Lucy...that I valued then & will always try to heed:  'Follow your heart~ it knows the way'. I hope that your heart speaks to you and helps you to decide.  Please give Jack extra, extra love, hugs, words & as much time as you possibly can. Take pics & videos on your phone. Tell your 'Best Bud'...over and over how very much you love him. He knows because he loves you. I can see it & feel it in Jack's picture...in his handsome, loving eyes. He's looking @ his 'Best Bud' too.  Extra hugs to you both :-) KC
Quote 0 0
Beaglemomma
I am so sorry you are going through all this far from home too.  You came to the right place.  Here you will get advice and comfort and you can say anything you like.  No one will judge you here for whatever you decide.

Personally I would NEVER put an animal through chemo.  Not sure I would even do it for myself, but you never know what you would do till you are faced with it and many factors go into that decision.  It isn't even like you could prolong his life for MANY YEARS.  A few months-----in my opinion----is not enough for the pain he would go through.

As much as my Molly meant to me and she was my whole world, I would NOT have put her through chemo.  I know too many humans going through it right now, but that is their choice.  Our fur babies have no choice, but their little lives are WAY too short anyway and to subject them to chemo, which doesn't always help anyway, is just beyond something that I personally would do. 

Then there is ALWAYS the matter of money and while most of us would spend ANY amount to help our babies, and we surely did with Molly's allergies,, it is a consideration you can't ignore especially since it would only give your baby a few short months.

Just my opinion.
janice
Quote 0 0
spiritdog
Just wanted to say I love the picture, what an amazing face. Spoil him every minute now, do what he wants to do or loves to do, walks, car rides, whatever it is. Take many pictures or videos, you will need them later.

Hugs, Spiritdog
"People disappoint, dogs never do" - spiritdog

"You MUST be your pets ADVOCATE, if it doesn't feel right walk away." - spiritdog
Quote 0 0
deereay33
My black lab passed dec 23 after a battle with t cell lymphoma. He was 13.5 years old and my absolute world. I would have done anything to keep him with me if this was also right for him. I tried chemo as my vet assured me that it is much milder drugs than human chemo and a lot of dogs take to it well. She assured me it was all about quality of life and we could take it week by week to see how he reacted to it. Leading up to it he would not eat, was wasting away, did not want to walk, just in bed all day. At first it was promising as his appetite increased a little after a couple of days. But all night my floor was covered in his vomit and diarohea. On the 6th morning after his first chemo i looked at his miserable face as he trailed yet more green gunge in to his bed off his feet. His breathing was laboured, he could barely lift his face,
. All his love of life and fight had gone from his eyes. Some sort of power took over me to get him to the vet when i was pretty sure what she would say. She told me he was badly dehydrated and either the lymphoma or chemo was doing ths to him. She said if this was her dog it would be time to let him go. I stayed with him and talked and sang you are my sunshine as he died in my arms. At the time it came down to quality of life. He had none. Now im living with regret, could i have hydrated him, tried different chemo concoctions. Ill never know but my vet assured me we'd be back to this state within days. I miss him terribly but i was fortunate to be able to at least afford to try. I put him first that day and thats what im trying to tell myself in my gut wrenching horrible grief.
Dee
Quote 0 0
fitchick1961
My chihuahua-papillion mix male dog just died from complications of stages type b lymphoma on 12/2. He was 11.5 yrs young. I made the decision to do the chemo, because actually dogs do tolerate it pretty well, because the goal is remission, not to cure it. The dose given to dogs is much lower, so they handle it without of alot of the side effects people may have. However, that being said, it is expensive, even with a smaller dog. My dog was diagnosed on 7/22 and died 12/2. He had 2 rounds of chemo and didn't respond to either. He was having severe diarrhea that pre-dated the lymphoma by a year. He had huge lumps around his neck, and I honestly thought that is what would be the determining factor, if they got to big and he couldn't breathe or swallow. He lost so much weight, dropped from 14 lbs to 7, just from the diarrhea. He really had no ill effects from the chemo, it just didn't work. I spent roughly around 3,000 dollars. That included a 400 dollar genotype test, to determine it was b cell which is most responsive to chemo. Mine was stage 2-3a b cell. When my dog was diagnosed, he was still playing, eating, I had to treat him because everything I read said without any tx, they usually die within 4-6weeks from diagnosis. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Because he was so well otherwise, just the diarrhea. But everybody has to decide what is best for them and their situation. The diarrhea was what really did mine in, he was pooping about 10-15 times a day, nothing helped. I bathed him alot, put a diaper on, so he could still sleep with me. Toward end, the vet felt the lymphoma may have involved the colon, but don't know for sure. I had decided it was probably time for him, a few days before, he was skin and bones, and so weak. But before I could make an appointment to have him put to sleep, he died in my mom's arms, about 5 minutes before I got home. I was heartbroken. I miss him so much, but I did everything I could, just as you will do everything you can for yours. Any questions feel free to ask me. Sorry you are going through this, Jane
Quote 0 0
uneekstuf
I also battled through lymphoma with my Shetland sheepdog.  He was diagnosed in May 2015.  They didn't test for the type until last week when some new immune vaccine was released for B cell.  Turned out he was T cell.  We begin the chemo back in June... he immediately went into remission and stayed there until a month after the treatment protocol ended Oct 2015.  Everything went so well.  I allowed myself to go into debt with all the treatments, organic food, holistic supplements, etc.  When he fell out of remission I was sick to my stomach... nothing really worked at this point... my only hope was a miracle.  I never prayed so hard in my entire life.  Yesterday we had to let him go.  My heart is broken..... he was my entire world.  He was only 5 years old.  With everything I tried I held onto the hope that despite the statistics he could be cured.  Mentally I guess I knew this would be the outcome.  He was the sweetest angel I have ever known.  How do I go on? 007.jpg 
Quote 0 0
Simona
First of all Sam, you are not alone and have come to the right place. Second, Jack is the cutest thing ever. All I want to do is squeeze him and shower him with love. Which is exactly what I'm sure you are doing. I wouldn't go thru all the trauma of chemo, etc. I would love him, feed him
the best food and keep him happy for as long as you can. God knows I would have spent a million dollars on a Sundance if someone, anyone could have given me some guarantees. But without that, I refused to put him thru ANY stress. It was the hardest decision I have ever made and I am in hell right now, but at least I know my sweet boy didn't suffer and is at peace watching over me. All I can say is go with your gut and make Jack as happy and as comfortable as
possible and treasure EVERY moment you have with him.
xx Peace
Simona
Quote 0 0