Dec 14, 2010

The Fourth

At three weeks, I took Cas's blood again for All Pets to run a CBC. Assuming his numbers would be fine, I was not concerned with getting antibiotics from Davis ahead of time. The doctors had reduced his dose by 15%, after all.

I had to wait until Friday to get his CBC results, due to Thanksgiving.

Another drop off
It seems Cas is just really sensitive though, because his WBC was down again. This time, it was 770, even lower than the last time (when a dose reduced by 10% left him at 980). (Ugh.) So, I picked up a few days worth of Clavamox from All Pets* to get me through to weekend until I could speak with someone at Davis.

Monday, I spoke with Dr. Obrien at UC Davis about his numbers. She definitely wanted him on antibiotics; ideally he would have been on them since Wednesday or Thursday. I explained that he had been on them since Friday afternoon but that I they were about twice as expensive here. She said that since he'd been on them for a few days and his numbers were likely rebounding by now, I could discontinue them.

She also told me he was more anemic than before (i.e., his red blood cells were down too), so they would consider lowering his dose slightly more than last time. However, she also didn't want to lower it much, as a lower dose could affect efficacy.

Over the weekend, it started getting colder here. And drier. I assumed that's why Castor coughed periodically throughout Saturday night, but it worried me. To some extent, when treating cancer, I imagine anyone can get ensnared in the waiting game. Waiting for metastasis.

I wholeheartedly assume, stubbornly at times, that that will not happen to my boy. However, signs of even slight respiratory distress are not kind to me. Beyond that, he's more susceptible to infections while his WBC count is so low. That concerned me too.

He coughed a bit the following day, but by Sunday night he was back to normal. I told Dr. Obrien, but she didn't seem worried, especially after telling her how high his spirit and happy his attitude is.

It's quite amazing to me that he seems entirely unaffected by the chemotherapy, save the first evening, but on a cellular level, he's rather sensitive to it. Thankfully, it doesn't stop him from enjoying himself.

Obrien said we could take chest rads this week, if I wanted to, but she would be surprised to see anything after only 4 weeks. (The last set on November 4th was clear.) I told her I'd monitor him; she said to call her right away if anything worsened.

Thursday, December 2nd

Fortunately, Cas was back to normal. Nothing worsened. And we were back at Davis again.

A different drop off
This was a rather uneventful and short trip. We dropped him off and went to our mainstay of sustenance (veggie burger and garlic fries place). Shortly after getting to Mishka's for some work time, they called to say he was ready. It was very quick.

One thing I don't love about UC Davis so far, is that I feel, at times, that I'm inconveniencing the busy Docs. When I email Dr. Obrien questions, for instance, she answers them in a terse manner. While I prefer Dr. Cadille's responses though, Dr. Obrien does answer every question. I am confident that all the doctors and hospital technicians pay careful attention to his case and that he gets great care there.

When we picked up Cas, I asked to speak with Dr. Obrien. We chatted for a few minutes. After the team (that's awesome, btw!) discussed Castor's case, they decided to leave his dose alone. They didn't want the chemotherapy to become less effective. Rather than lower it, we would just put him on a prophylactic course of antibiotics at 3 weeks. This time, it's Baytril.

So, I can check his blood levels at 3 weeks again, but I don't have to. He'll be covered; we're assuming his WBC count will drop low again. And we'll continue, on course, in 4 more weeks.

Only two more to go!

They also listened to his lungs, per my request. She said they sound fine; he looks great. It's so wonderful to hear such good news. Castor is still doing extremely well! =)

He's such a goof too. Watch him telling the Big C to stay away:

*Note: After checking prices for Clavamox 375mg tablets at my old vet, also in SF, I was astonished by how much All Pets charged me. I knew Davis was ultra low, but two other hospitals in town, including SFVS, which is known to be pricey, charged $2.45 and $3.60 per pill. All Pets charged me $4.50 per pill! Outrageous, in my opinion. The "practice manager" said she'd look into the prices, at some point, but that right now, that was a "fair price." It is beyond me how that's a fair price for them, and another clinic about 5 miles away manages to sell the same meds from the same manufacturer at almost half the price. I called with a good attitude. I tried to be fair, explaining that I really love their clinic but was feeling rather upset about this price discrepancy between them and other local vets. I am not a happy customer now. Bad customer service. Bad manager. I never once felt that she was speaking from a service place, understanding place, or a friendly place. I felt like she was talking very carefully around the issue and not validating any of my feelings. Bad.

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