Friday, January 28, 2011

Murphy's Dilemma

Guess I confused some of you recently with cryptic posts on Facebook. It's been no easy thing trying to keep up with the pace of change in Murphy's condition and communicate the bullet points to you throughout.

Coming up with a chemotherapy plan has been considerably complicated. Since we were already in unchartered territories by combining both IMRT and SRT radiation for Murphy's nasal adenocarcinoma, science hasn't been a useful guide for us.

The standard of care for nasal tumors of Murphy's size and location is radiation which we'd maxed out on in December with a double dose. Some of you have asked why would I even consider chemotherapy for Murphy after all he's been through and that's a valid question for which I have no valid answer.

When the first round of radiation failed - not only did it NOT stop the original tumor it somehow resulted in the formation of two new malignant growths. I went into berserk mode. His nasopharynx was rapidly being pinched down to pin sized. Murphy couldn't breath normally, he struggled to eat even though I pureed his food, and he slept only seconds at a time. I doubted Murphy would make it to Christmas but miraculously he did.

SRT seemed to reduce his nasal inflammation enough for marginal respiratory improvement but his prognosis was still rate limited by radiation's ability to regress the tumor (best case scenario) or halt its growth (least worst case scenario) without killing him that is.

All of the doctors with whom I've discussed his situation seem to agree if radiation fails again Murphy will be dead within weeks. But they also agree there is no further course of action. In their opinion, based on the preponderance of evidence, drugs would neither extend his life nor improve it.

This is the miasma in which I've been making life and death decisions on Murphy's behalf. And while I'm flying without radar here if this was the TV show Survivor, I feel like some of you on Facebook would've already voted Murphy off the island.


Anonymous said...

Oh Murphy. You are an amazing fuzzybutt. Luke your battle between what is right and wrong is one that few ever have the strength or courage to go through. I read your posts and the comments that are left by others. I wouldn't call it "voting him off the island", so much as I would say letting God have another beautiful soul. Whatever, whenever the outcome, Huds and your grief and Murphys battle will not be in vain. You are doing a great thing by allowing us all glimpses into your pack. Awareness is the first step in the battle.

KK said...

Who cares about Facebook? He's yours and God's opinion matters not anyone else! :) FEEL BETTER MURPHY!

Angel Vincent Cole said...

Oh,Luke, I so admire your courage. You've had to make so many decisions on Murphy's behalf. It's the same as making a decision for a child. You want the best for them and make sure that you've done everything that you possibly could for them.
"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal"-Proverbs 12:10

You and your babies are in our prayers.
Praying for your strength,
Angel V. Cole

Kyle said...

Big Dog... you are the only one who knows Murphy; who knows when he's having fun and when he is not. You know the quality of life he is having. You know the suffering he is enduring. Yes, decisions are left to you alone and they are very difficult decisions.

I do not believe anyone would vote Murphy off the island, but I do believe everyone has his best interest at heart. Understand the Murphy has thousands of fans who only want what they believe, to the best of their knowledge, is best for him.

I pray that you know when Murphy is ready to leave the island; not when you are ready for him to leave.

Kyle Carr

Anonymous said...

I love that you are committed to your boys. Be positive and courageous.. (you already are). Tour path its challenging... But there is love.

Anonymous said...

I have been down your road one too many times The first time ironically with a cat named Murphy He was my baby, my first pet of my own as an adult He was diagnosed with renal lymphoma just before his 16th birthday
In my mind there was no choice but to do everything I could to help him He had chemo It was awful, it didn't work and within 3 mos my gorgeous boy was gone. He tried though Every moment he felt good he tried to be his old self and he fought until the last seconds of his life Looking back I am sorry that I put him thru it but at the time I felt like there was no choice
This past summer I lost another cat to cancer just before her 20th birthday. She had inoperable lung cancer She was diabetic There was no treatment option Miraculously she never even seemed sick until the days before she died due to the tumor rupturing. This is getting long. The point I want to make is that what I came to realize is that these guys trust us with all their heart 100% trust We do our best to care for them and when it comes down to the hardest decisions of all- life and death decisions we can't forget that trust and that they are believing with every fiber that we will care for them, help them to feel better. You adore your dogs and want to do what is best for Murphy He adores you and you know he would always want to be with you. Look into his eyes, this is his life- find his heart He will tell you if he has had enough and he will trust you to listen

Anonymous said...

Words cannot convey the feelings in my heart. Having spent much time with you and your pups, I know first hand how much they mean to you. They truly are your "boys", your family, your companions, your best buddies...all of this and more. I know that you have a passion for eradicating cancer and that your WALK was only the beginning of that journey/mission. Only you can make your choices for Murphy. Please do not dwell too much on others comments in regard of your choices.....however; KNOW that so many people are praying for you and encouraging you to be strong. You and Murphy and Hudson remain in our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers. My heart truly aches for you and the situation that you and Murpy find yourselves in. As your friend, I am here for you to talk with anytime, I am here praying for you, and I am here wishing that I had some perfect comforting words to help.
Love, Patty Gartmann and my family

Anonymous said...

It's not an easy decision to make and you undoubtedly love Murphy. I will be praying for both you and Murphy.

Chibi Okamiko said...

There's always going to be a few fools on the internet. I remember when my Delilah needed a harness for me to help support her going upstairs (She was a Saint Bernard). I asked on Yahoo answers for pictures and plans, explaining what I wanted and people actually suggested I put her down for simply needing a little help going upstairs!

I lost Delilah last July to bone cancer (at the age of twelve), but she decided her time, not some stranger on the internet.

Murphy's in my thoughts, you all hang in there!