The Party's Over - But Odie did not beat the odds. On the contrary, he came out of remission four months sooner than expected, in mid-September. One day while brushing him I discovered several enlarged lymph nodes under his chin and neck. I was beside myself. I alerted Odie's oncologist at once and she asked to see him immediately. Once more I found myself mulling over another set of therapy options. The choices were similar to the first visit months ago, except with the addition of a two-drug regiment (less expensive, but not as effective). I elected, once again, to use the 12-week induction protocol, having had such good results with it previously.
Dimming Hope - Initially, Odie responded very well to the therapy by attaining complete remission in the fourth week. Unfortunately, in the sixth week (November 4) his luck ran out when the doctor noticed a slightly enlarged lymph node under the left side of his chin. The vet suggested switching the protocol to a drug called CCNU, or what's known as a "rescue" therapy. I agreed because at this late stage of the cancer, there were no other choices.
Despite weekly doses of CCNU, Odie's lymph nodes continued to enlarge. I kept using the CCNU in the hope of keeping the other lymph nodes small. By mid-November, the node under his chin was the size of a bar of soap. Something had to be done soon, otherwise, Odie would start having trouble breathing and eating.
In early December, Odie's oncologist recommended radiating the enlarged lymph gland to reduce its size. I concurred and went ahead with several radiation sessions. The results were amazing! The swollen gland almost vanished within a week. I started becoming hopeful again; my dog just might make it to his ninth birthday!
Alas, by the third week in December, it became apparent that Odie was losing his battle with cancer. While the radiated gland had vanished, his other lymph nodes were enlarging, especially at the base of the neck and rear legs. By now, I felt I was trying to plug a sieve. Nothing seemed to work anymore, and there were no more "magic" cures. I became fearful of what the future might bring.
On December 23, we went back to the hospital for what turned out to be Odie's last scheduled visit. To quote the vet's discharge summary, "Odie continues to maintain his great attitude but the other lymph nodes are rapidly enlarging." She gave Odie another CCNU treatment and sent us home.
Four days later, Odie died.