9 Months and Going Strong

We missed our month 8 update, and it’s because Nesta and I have been too busy enjoying the summer together and celebrating the good news we found out in late July.  But today I realized I had not shared the news yet on his blog, so here it is:

After a few weeks of going back and forth about whether or not I should comply to the advice of our oncologist and come back every 6 months for a chest xray, I decided that indeed it would be a good idea to know whether or not Nesta’s body was dealing with metastasis.  So right around his 8 month anniversary, we went back to the oncologist for the first time since his amputation.  They gave him an exam, took x-rays, and then our oncologist came back into the room to share the exciting news that Nesta’s  chest looks beautiful – meaning no metastasis!!  AAAHH sweet sigh of relief!!

We were so excited to hear those words; I squealed with excitement and Nesta responded with an approving tail thumping against the floor and big kiss across my face!  I took this to mean that Nesta is cancer-free, and quickly posted something on FaceBook about it, and had 140 of my friends respond to our celebration!  But then I realized the doctor never actually used those words, “cancer-free” because there is no way to tell that for sure.  But it was good to have that celebration experience with him!  And I can tell that over the past month, we have both been a little more relaxed.

Nesta’s breathing continues to sound odd at times, which is what originally made me nervous about potential lung mets, but I was assured at the vet, this was not the case.  I have come to learn it could be a number of things, from natural aging, to possible larynx paralysis (which occurs commonly in older labs), or from his arthritis and/or phantom limb pain.   For the pain, the doctor prescribed Gabapentin for Nesta to take every 12 hours, and reluctantly  we are doing this.  It seems to be helping, but I don’t like the idea of having him on pain meds all the time.  I am looking into other possible options to help with this mysterious pain and discomfort, including acupuncture.

We have beet the odds and estimations of Nesta’s lifespan thus far with no chemotherapy, so it is clear we are doing something right.  I wanted to update the blog with Nesta’s food and supplement regimen in case it can help anyone else going the “No Chemo” route.   But I should also say this has been a work in progress, and every situation and dog is different.  I get tremendous help by reading other people’s suggestions and experiences, and I have also had the input of three different holistic vets, all with varying backgrounds and traditions of practice.  From that information, I have been able to formulate what I “believe and hope” will work for Nesta.

Food: (twice daily, once in AM and once in PM)
1/4 cup EarthBorn Holistic dry kibble (grain free)
3/4 – 1 cup The Honest Kitchen rehydrated food – Zeal (grain free)
Top with blended fresh veggies like kale or steamed broccoli and/or meat like chicken or turkey livers, or sardines
I will also occasionally add seaweed or any other nutritious food I think he needs more of.
*He drools for his food at meal time, and has never been a drooler before!
*If I run out of The Honest Kitchen’s Zeal, and it is a few days before we get the next shipment, then I prepare a crock-pot meal.  (I have recipes from vet if you are interested)
1 Tbsp. Nordic Naturals Cod liver oil – daily
40-50,000 IU Vit. A – SolarRay Food Carotene – 3 times per week, mon, wed, fri.
2-3 ml Hoxsey-like formula with Boneset
100 mg Artemisinin – given late night, 5 days on, two days off (although not been regular with this lately mainly because I added a Chinese herbal called Stasis Breaker, per recommendation from another holistic vet.)
I give him 2-3 K9 Immunity wafers per day as treats, along with other regular treats.
And he now gets his pain pill, and of course his thyroid pill which he has been taking for hypothyroidism for past 5 years.
This is what has pulled him through thus far, and now I am communicating with veterinarian in TN about beginning to cut back on this supplement regimen since he seems to be doing so well.
That’s all for now.  It is time to go lay on the floor with my tired pup and snuggle.  We just got back from a weekend in Mt. Pleasant visiting a friend.   The beach (Sullivan’s Island) allows dogs off leash from 6am-10am, and Nesta and I had a WONDERFUL time walking, playing with the ball and swimming!  He continues to amaze me on a daily basis!


7 thoughts on “9 Months and Going Strong”

  1. Nesta this is such GREAT news! Clear x-rays are what we all hope and pray for and you did it! WOOHOO!

    Thank you so much for sharing your nutrition regimen. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to put this in the Tripawds Nutrition blog for easy reference for other pawrents looking for ideas.

    YAY NESTA!!!!!

  2. NESTA! NESTA!! Great job! Standing ovation going on over here!

    What an incredible beacon of hope yoj are for all of us! You keep on doing what you’re doing it’s working!

    That photo of Nesta is beautiful…..it really is a picture of health…..lovely, lovely dog.

    Thank you soooooooo much for taking the time to outlne his nutrition and supplements I’m always fascinated to learn what long term survivors are doing/using.

    I may have missed it, but how much does Nesta weigh?

    And what’s your reasoning to forgoing the Artem. for Stasis….that seems to be the “newer” way to go.

    Thank you again for the wonderful update! Keep on snuggling, loving and spoiling!


    Lots of love nad hugs to all!

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  3. Thanks everyone! Sally and Happy Hannah, Nesta used to weigh around 70 lbs for the majority of his youth and teenage years. Now, since his amputation and slight weight loss due to age, better food and maybe some loss of muscle mass, we weighs about 60 lbs. last time we were at the vet.
    I am getting him back on the artemisinin after speaking with my vet in TN. She says we should not rock the boat and change too much since he seems to be doing so well with what we have going. So I am going to let the stasis breaker finish up, while starting the artemisinin again, and see if I notice any changes. She did say we could cut down on the vit. A at this point, and administer only once per week – at the 50,000 IU level (based on his weight), and also maybe reduce the Hoxsey/Boneset formula since it is a heavy detoxifier, and he may not need it so heavy at this point. One day at a time… 🙂

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