Infusion Journey Starts
Duke and Brook 8-2-23

Chemo Journey Starts

We divided up the first 4 Chemo infusions between us. I took the first two. Denise gets the one right after Labor Day and Dale took the one in late September. A lot has happened for us; on July 13th we found out my Velcro dog, Duke, had blood in his urine. We started treatment immediately.  In the meantime, I am emotionally getting ready for Dana’s first infusion. The only reason Duke did not go with me is because he was wearing male wraps and had a vet appointment.

Back to our first Chemo, it surprised me how fast the first day went.  Of course, something happens every half hour which breaks it up. I read the Caregivers Manual from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The most interesting thing I learned is chemo drugs will kill the bacteria in a septic system, so we need to be sure to treat it.   We were at the hospital for 10 hours that day. The first few days after chemo she did better than I had anticipated. At the same time, Duke was at home not eating. Duke had been to the vet and got new medications as the bleeding had not stopped.  Dale had to leave, we had a dog-sitter but Dana said she was OK and agreed I should head home to take care of Duke. The caveat being she could call, and I would come right back. The minute I got home Duke began eating again. 

What we learned about Dana was the worst days came after I left. It concerned me but she felt it was best she was alone.  Of course, with an independent child you frequently learn information after the fact. We began with everyday calls, but I think that was too much parents for her, so daily texts were what we ended up doing. In the meantime, I’m emotionally torn between what I know in my heart is going on with Duke and my daughter that is fighting cancer. What a combination of emotions!

One day we went down to Dana’s.  I wanted to check and be sure she was doing OK.  We took out the pontoon with all 5 dogs.  We all enjoyed the ride, and it was good to get out on the water.  At that point we didn’t know it would be Duke’s last ride.

On the third vet visit his blood work looked good for a 12-year-old dog and we had high hopes. The next morning things took a turn and we had to let him go on August 8th.  It was hard on the whole family but especially me as he was always with me and under foot. Duke had gone and stayed with Dana right after her surgery June 1st and spent the week with Dana and Denise as the only dog.  I’m sure he was living his best life.  (Brook and Ocean were with us).

 So, this blog is about Dana and the family on this journey but losing Duke is now part of the journey. 

We learned the third week or the week before the next infusion is a pretty good week for Dana. Hoping this pattern holds.

I headed down to Dana’s for the second infusion to discover she is totally involved with losing her hair.  The hair is all over the house.  We have thick hair, all 4 of us so Dana had lots of hair to lose.  On the day I arrived she said maybe it will just get thin because she has so much hair.  We had the 2nd infusion.  One of the drugs tastes like metal to Dana.  She sent me to Tropical Smoothie Café for something to drink.  She said this is now an infusion day tradition but not the one she ordered as she didn’t like it.  The day was shorter as she is tolerating all the drugs and they can speed up the drip. These first few days have been good, but the main event is losing her hair. By Wednesday it became clear it was going to all come out.  She has decided to shave her head so as I write this, she is exploring options to do that. 

I head home on Friday.  When we discussed when I would go home and I suggested Friday, she made a point of saying, “but I can call, and you’ll come back”.  That is a given and my heart was happy to hear it from my very independent daughter.

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