I cannot believe it, but Matilda has completed the L-CHOP Chemotherapy Protocol Treatment for Lymphoma. She is in remission, and doing pretty well. I thought I would want to celebrate if we reached this day. Instead of losing her six months ago, her life has been extended, and is pretty good. Our neighbors saw her last night, and remembered when they had helped me get her back into the apartment when she had collapsed in front of the building and was diagnosed the next day. They were excited by how bright and alive her eyes are now, and how fast her tail was wagging, and that she was trying to get them to give her their food.
I am extremely thankful to have her still, and to see what a strong soul she is. She loves life, and struggles to hang in there even when not feeling that great. As soon as she feels well, she does her dancing around, flinging her long legs all about, nosing me and insisting on certain treats. Always, on our walks, she wants people on the sidewalk to pet her, and to hang out with whatever people and dogs are there. The sweetness of this 13 year old pup combined with the knowledge that she was put up for adoption from a divorcing couple when she was age eight make her my hero.
When she feels better from this last chemo, I want to do something special for her. Maybe I will invite her favorite people over, and we can all read to her and cuddle with her. She loves that!
Matilda is alive and safely sleeping and being treated at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, the Emergency and Specialty Hospital in our area. This is the top place in NYC, in my opinion. The dog in this picture is Coco, a Great Dane who was waiting to see if her Bull Dog friend was going to be OK. She wasn’t that happy about having her picture taken, and gave me a little growl.
What is speculated regarding Matilda is that a cut on her paw, which just showed itself this morning is infected in a major way. This can happen when one’s immune system is compromised from chemo. So this cut has become an abscess, but in a somewhat complicated way. She had a cut several weeks ago that was treated, and thought to be healed. Apparently when one is undergoing chemo, something like that can continue to be a problem, even when it seems to have healed. So they have worked on the paw, and she is getting intravenous antibiotic, blood work has been done, and her high temperature has been brought down. (She was so stressed having to walk out to the taxi to get to the vet, that she began panting at a level I’ve rarely seen). She is staying overnight, and I will pick her up tomorrow night. They think that this infection could be responsible for all the symptoms she was having.
I’m hoping for good results, and that I will be able to take care of the wound properly. The vet assured me that this infection could have happened in a matter of hours. It seems daunting, since it is between her toes. Greyhounds have these very long toes with webbing in between. Matilda’s toes are very close together, and the little toes are turned in and encroaching on the other toes. It isn’t uncommon for greyhounds to have problems with their toes.
Matilda thanks everyone for the good wishes and prayers.
Matilda is essentially herself. She has a food issue, but has managed to eat enough to be over the weight she was when she became ill with Lymphoma and began chemo December 13, 2012. She now also has arthritis , and her walking is a bit impaired. She is in remission, and has only one more chemo treatment left, which is a week from tomorrow. Her spirits are excellent. She has a sense of humor, dancing around and flinging her legs wildly, while moving her head up and down like a horse, in order to get certain treats.
I have to keep in mind that her health situation might fluctuate. We have bought her time, but who knows how much. Kelly K of Wishcuit reminds us that dogs and humans get cancer at the same rate, and that there are dogs beating the disease with the advent of new treatments. Go to Wishcuit.com for more info on how she is doing this work.
And of course, how do we humans cope with the advent of a life-threatening illness in that special dog in our life?
Rainer Marie Rilke once said that our “deepest fears are like the dragons guarding our deepest treasures”. I want to be the person who who digs deeper, transforms anxiety, and can be present and at peace with Matilda.
Tillie decided to wear a kerchief or babushka for her picture that got separated from this post. Some people might have observed that she resembles Meryl Streep in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman.