The plan for Lola’s chemo routine went like this – she’d receive a treatment, and then come back in a week for an exam and a CBC (complete blood count) test to check that all was still in balance. If all was good, Lola would receive her next chemo treatment at that same appointment.
The day after her first chemo treatment, Lola was very tired. I wasn’t sure if it was a reaction to the anesthesia during her CT scan, a reaction to the Vinorelbine – or a little bit of both. However, she did seem to get pretty much back to “normal” by the second day after the treatment.
August 31, 2018 – I brought Lola to NorthStar Vets one week after her first Vinorelbine dose. Our 9:30am appointment was planned to be about an hour long, so I was surprised when the vet tech brought Lola back out after only 10 minutes or so. “Her white blood count was a bit low and we can’t give her the second round of chemo” the tech explained. Dr. Jackson came out shortly thereafter to show me the exact CBC results and answer all my questions.
The Prednisone at this point was controlling her coughing without any side effects, so we scheduled another appointment for the following week. Lola would have another exam and CBC. If her counts were improved, she’d receive chemo, but at a lower dose.
September 4, 2018 – When we first discovered Lola’s lung cancer our dear friend, Maddie, sent us some information about a well-known integrative vet and urged us to make an appointment ASAP. The Smith Ridge Veterinary Center is very highly regarded, but we were able to get an appointment in less than two weeks. This center was started in 1984 by Dr. Martin Goldstein, author of The Nature Of Animal Healing, and has expanded to include several veterinarians who are experts in using an integrative approach to veterinary care.
Dr. Ruskin examined Lola, answered all of our questions and made several recommendations. She had already reviewed Lola’s x-rays, CT scan, bloodwork and notes from our local vet and Dr. Jackson (oncologist) at NorthStar, which we forwarded prior to our visit.
We left with a lot of new information about an approach that was 180 degrees opposite from the one we had begun at NorthStar. We also had a small bag of supplements – and a lot to discuss during the 2+ hour ride back home. That evening, we began researching a raw food only diet, which we’d never seriously considered before. We immediately started her on Dr. Ruskin’s recommended regimen and gradually added the supplements one at a time to Lola’s daily 20 mg of Prednisone, so we could check for any adverse reaction:
- Immediately cut out all wheat based treats and foods with sugars/starches.
- Immediately switched her diet from 100% Earthborn Holistic grain free ‘Meadowfeast’ (lamb) to approx. 25% canned food (Zignature Lamb Formula.) We gradually introduced a balanced raw diet by the end of the first week
- Maitake Pet Fraction, ½ dropper w/breakfast & dinner (Wed, Sep 5)
- Quercenol Immune Support, ½ tab w/breakfast & dinner (Thur, Sep 6)
- LifeGold Cancer Support Herbal, 20 drops w/breakfast & dinner (Fri, Sep 7)
- Pneumotrate Lung Glandular, 1 cap w/dinner (Sat, Sep 8)
- Artemisinin Cancer Support, 1 cap midday on empty stomach (Sun, Sep 9)
September 7, 2018 – During the week, Lola was beginning to show some of the adverse side effects of the Prednisone (increased thirst and hunger, unsettled behavior and increased urination, including two accidents in the house.) We arrived at NorthStar for her recheck appointment and I requested a conference with Dr. Jackson before the exam and CBC.
As I explained our concerns about both the Prednisone and the Vinorelbine, Dr. Jackson listened and understood. We decided to decrease Lola’s Prednisone dose to 10 mg – and to hold off on chemotherapy to work on boosting her immune system. They did a blood draw for a senior profile to obtain a new baseline and sent it off to Dr. Ruskin at Smith Ridge. We were wading into new – and uncomfortable – territory, away from the traditional veterinary approach that we trusted for all our cats and dogs for the past 20 years.
. . . to be continued