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Jabba-Bear's Blog

Osteosarcoma: clinical trials and goofy smiles

Jabba-Bear's Blog

Jabba starts metronomic therapy….again…

April 4th, 2013 · 4 Comments · lobectomy, metastatic lung cancer, metronomic chemotherapy, osteosarcoma, recovery

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Three weeks after Jabba’s lobectomy to remove a large portion of his metastatic osteosarcoma, he was given a “bill of good health”, at least a temporary one. At this point, we decided to put Jabba back on metronomic therapy (i.e., frequent, low doses of chemotherapy) since he had tolerated it well for such a long time (almost 2 years!).

We started giving him cyclophosphamide (9 mg), the primary chemotherapy drug, first, since we still had a full bottle of it leftover from January. Note: Jabba’s doctors told us to withhold chemotherapy until he had sufficiently recovered from his surgery because these potent drugs that attack rapidly dividing cancer cells may prevent or limit wound healing (at the cellular level, the active ingredients in the pill cannot distinguish between a growing tumor and healthy tissue regeneration-it kills them both).

We debated putting Jabba-bear back on Palladia (50 mg) because of the sheer expense ($323.85 for 30 pills), but we eventually gave in and ordered the pills. Note: Jabba had previously been taking 70 mg of Palladia, but, since he lost a significant amount of weight prior to the lobectomy, we adjusted his dose accordingly. Although it should have been slightly higher (closer to 60 mg), we decided that we would start with the 50 mg capsule.

Because indigestion is one side effect of the metronomic therapy, Jabba-bear also receives 10 mg Pepcid or a generic anti-acid 2x daily. We still catch him eating grass occasionally though, which suggests that his stomach is not entirely settled.

In summary, Jabba-bear currently receives cyclophosphamaide and Palladia after breakfast on alternating days. He also takes 10-20 mg of Pepcid per day depending on his symptoms. In addition, Jabba-bear is still taking Prednisone (20 mg), which serves two purposes: (1) to help  reduce any residual swelling in his joints from the lobectomy and/or systemic inflammatory reaction to the metastatic osteosarcoma, and (2) to keep his temperature in the normal range (it is currently hovering in the high 102 degrees Fahrenheit).

As you can probably imagine, Jabba-bear has accumulated quite the extensive collection of drugs in his “medicine cabinet”. In addition to his metronomic therapy, he also has a stash of pain medicine (Tramadol), various antibiotics,  metronidazole (for diarrhea), heartworm medicine, flea medicine, etc.

Jabba-bear's medicine cabinet. Also shown in the above image is his thermometer which we used frequently to monitor his persistent fever and his jar of Royal Treats.

Jabba-bear’s medicine cabinet. Also shown in the above image is his thermometer which we used frequently to monitor his persistent fever and his jar of Royal Treats.

 Jabba-bear is very good about taking his medicine. We have a nice system worked out.  Every morning after breakfast, Jabba’s mom says, “time for your medicine, sweet prince”, and Jabba runs to the kitchen, drool spilling from his bottom lip, because to him, medicine = a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Jabba-bear medicine delivery system-edited

Jabba-bear’s drug delivery system. Peanut butter, disposable knife, and medicine!

The disposable, plastic knife is a good tool for delivering the chemotherapy drugs because it is not a good idea to touch them with your bare hands (as they are toxic!!!),  and the knife is not too sharp, so Jabba can successfully lick off the peanut butter without hurting himself.

Jabba getting his daily dose of medicine after breakfast.

Jabba getting his daily dose of medicine after breakfast. He gobbles it up with delight!

Overall, Jabba-bear seems to be doing pretty well on metronomic therapy.  However, it is important to acknowledge that we are fighting a losing battle. The metronomic therapy will not cure Jabba-bear. His metastatic disease is serious and quite aggressive. . . At best, this combination of medication will slow the progression of his cancer. Maybe it is working? Today marks 6 weeks since his lobectomy! We are blessed to have had him so long. We are not in denial about the gravity of Jabba-bear’s situation, and we recognize that the choices we made to prolong his life  may not be viable options for everyone (we have accumulated a significant amount of debt over the past 3 months). Nevertheless, we hope that some people may find this information useful. Thank you, once again, for your support.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • fourminipups

    What wonderful pawrents you are. You have done the most you could do and with the utmost of love and Jabba-Bear returns it in kind. Thank you for keeping us updated and for educating us using the research you have done. Keeping you all in my thoughts.

  • fetchon3

    Peanut butter is the best! What a lucky pup. Oh, JabbaBear. Keep up the fight, pal! We’re all pulling for you!
    ~ Katy

  • maximutt

    Glad to hear your boy is doing so well after the surgery! He is a strong boy and a fighter!

  • benny55

    You know what, everyday that Jab a Bear is alive he IS winning the battle……..and that’s not denial on my part either….it just happens to be true!!

    All of your info. Is so valuable and the pictures are priceless!!
    Jabba Bear knows how to work the system and get all the peanut butter in the land!

    Thanks for all the time it takes to pass on all the valuable information to everyone. It I appreciated. I posted on your other post a out Reynolds Park……you don’t live in Virginia so you—–I think there’s one here also.

    Sending you the very best, Sally and Happy Hannah

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