Friday, January 23, 2009

Chemo Week #18

On Wednesday Jenna was treated with doxorubicin, the drug that supposedly causes all the side effects for which chemo drugs are notorious. Jenna is totally oblivious, though, and is bouncing off the walls in the absence of her usual off-leash walks. The vet says we aren't supposed to take her to the park for 72 hours after chemo, and we really do try to be obedient. I think it's as much for other dogs' protection as her own - apparently her saliva, urine and feces are, like, radioactive or something. We're not even supposed to let her lick us, but we do. I figure if she can have this stuff in her veins, it's not gonna kill me to have it on my hands for a few seconds.

So until tomorrow night, Jenna will just have to chill in the house. She lives a life of extreme deprivation, as you can see.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Always Get Insurance

I did something foolish today. I added up all of our vet bills from the day Jenna was diagnosed with lymphoma to the present. And I thought, well, what the hell, the blog is supposed to be about sharing information about lymphoma, so ... I'm sharing.

Four months of chemo, plus accompanying medications and bloodwork = $6045.63

Granted, we do still have 5 more treatments to go. The chemo treatments average about $400-$500 a pop. Sometimes it's better (about $100 for the cyclophosphamide weeks) and sometimes it's worse (about $700 for the doxorubicin weeks). Bloodwork-only weeks run up just a painless $90. Sometimes after these weeks we start getting wild ideas about purchasing groceries or getting our car's shrieking brakes fixed.

We do not have veterinary insurance, because we are idiots. By the time it crossed our minds that coverage might be a good idea, both of our dogs were already churning out lamenesses and rare diseases as fast as veterinary medicine could cure them. No insurance company in their right mind would have us. As it is, I have this irrational fear that any future dogs we have will be refused insurance based on the medical records of our previous dogs.

But this is what money is for, n'est pas? For about $1500/month, we are keeping our dog alive - healthily, happily, and energetically alive. Will this delay some of our financial plans? Yeah. In 30 years, when I look back at this, am I going to say to myself "jeez, I wish I'd just put the dog down and saved that money for a mortgage down payment"? No, I most assuredly will not.

Just the same, I advise all new owners to take out insurance the instant puppy comes home. We're extraordinarily lucky that we are in a position to pay for this. If this had happened a year ago, I really don't know what we'd have done. Imagine having to euthanize a beloved family member only because you didn't have the money to save her?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chemo Week #16

Yesterday marked week #16 of Jenna's chemo protocol - vincristine this time. We have 5 more treatments to go. Jenna "the Tank" is fine, as usual, so there's not much to report (thankfully).

I am carless this week, as hubby is out of town and has taken our only set of functional wheels, so we made arrangements for Jenna's grandpa to deliver her to the clinic and collect her when the chemo was done. He managed the whole process like a seasoned dog owner, and is, I think, well on the way to getting a furry friend of his own. We just have to convince grandma that this is a good idea. I think grandpa and I have decided that a nice yellow Labrador would be just the thing. Isn't that right, Mom-in-law? ;)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

Happy new year everyone! We are so thankful that Jenna is still here, and still hale and hearty as we begin the new year. She did great over the holidays, and survived all the visiting and the endless goodies with energy and appetite to spare. She met the cousins' new baby, endured an entire 24 hours with my sister's crazed one-year-old Lab/Beagle, and stole and devoured an entire gingerbread cake, the only consequence of which was a prolonged bout of gag-inducing flatulence.

Next week she's scheduled for her week 16 chemo treatment, and we will be able to celebrate 4 whole months of extremely high-quality life with lymphoma. Of course we're grateful for whatever time we get with her, but the way things have been going ... well, it tends to make you pretty hopeful. So here's hoping for a healthy 2009 for Jenna!