Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where do we go from here?

Halloween 2007, Rilley dressed up in his Underdog costume that Sara had made herself!
So as I'm sure everyone is wondering...what are we going to do to help Rilley?  While we have managed to stabilize his seizures, which as we've been told, will always be a part of his life from this point on.  The only thing that we can do is to stay on top of the actual tumour.

Whenever we tell people about Rilley, one of the first questions we are asked is are we going to have him put down.  We can understand where this assumption comes from as any form of long care treatment can become financially impossible.  The diagnosis with MRI alone was in the range of $2200.00.  Despite the cost and the lack of pet insurance, this was something that we felt needed to be done in order to properly assess our options.  How could we treat something without knowing the actual cause?  We didn't want to give Rilley medications to treat something that we weren't sure what it really was.  In the end we managed to come up with a way to cover the MRI costs and we don't regret it.

Surprisingly, the current course of treatment through Chemotherapy three times a week, along with the steroids once a day and anti-seizure medication twice a day turned out to be reasonably affordable.  A five week supply of the chemotherapy drug Hydroxyurea costs roughly $48 at the local drug store.  So, all in all, not a bad price to pay to help our furry friend.  The down side to this is that all this medication will only keep the tumour at bay.  It will always be in his brain and there is the definite possibility that it could continue to grow.  At the moment, Rilley is perfectly healthy in every other way, save for the fact that he has a voracious appetite from all the medication!  However, just as with people, long term exposure to medications will damage his liver and if the tumour grows it will cause neurological deficits that will have a negative impact on his quality of life.  So, to answer the usual question, yes, he will have to be "put down" at some point in the relatively near future.

This left us wondering, what else can we do to help Rilley?  We can't just give up on him, he is a beloved part of our family...despite some of his naughty ways.  Our daughters would be totally devistated if he passed away.  Unfortunately, brain surgury can cost tens of thousands of dollars...we can't possibly do this without going bankrupt, can we?  Stay tuned....

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