Several people have asked me in the past few days how Shadow, the Bennion Family Dog, is doing with his cancer treatments. It sounds kind of stiff to say it like this, but I want to thank you all for your concern and interest. It really means a lot to me and my folks. The short answer is, he's doing surprisingly well.
He's had two chemo treatments to date, with the third scheduled for this afternoon. (He's probably at the vet's clinic as I type this, actually.) Thus far, his side effects have been mild to the point of barely noticeable. My parents report that he's somewhat lethargic for a couple of hours after he receives his injections, but that could just as easily be due to the miserably hot weather we've been having lately (i.e., he lays around a lot in the middle of the day anyhow, so who knows if it's the drugs or just the heat?), and he's also had some, ahem, soft bowel movements, but nothing catastrophic (i.e., no accidents in the house).
The biggest, most noticeable side effect actually isn't coming from the chemo drugs at all, it's the steroid he's been prescribed to shrink the swelling in his lymph glands. The stuff makes him thirsty, so he drinks lots and lots of water; this, in turn, naturally makes him have to pee. Often. And in copious amounts. He pees for several minutes at a time, in fact. It's actually pretty funny to watch.
He begins in the standard male-dog position, one leg cocked up in the air and a fairly intense expression on his face. But gradually the cocked-up leg begins to waver, then lose a little altitude. Shadow's expression softens, then becomes bored. Finally, the leg comes down to the ground... and he just keeps on peeing. And then the expression changes again from bored to irritated. He begins to look like exactly what he is: an elderly man who's annoyed at the changes he's noticing in how his body functions. I'm a long ways from elderly, but there are days when I know all too well what he must be feeling.
Shadow's chemo regimen consists of four cancer-fighting drugs (I previously said there were only two; I was incorrect). He's had two already, and will get the third today. The vet says you never can tell which one may or may not provoke a reaction, so it's possible that serious side effects are still coming. However, drug number two, which he received a week ago and was a one-time blast, was the most powerful, and it hardly seemed to faze him, so perhaps that's a good sign.
Two very good signs are that the swollen lymph nodes on his neck and behind his legs have gone way down -- they're practically gone, at least to the touch -- and he's been more active in the last week or so than he's been in months previously. At night when it's cooler, anyway.
So, keep your fingers crossed everyone. The signs are all good so far. And once again, thanks for everyone's support. I honestly do appreciate it.