Day 12 post-surgery, two days after bandage removal.
Chris and I talked about the chemotherapy option for two days, and we finally decided against going ahead with the treatment. Our reasoning is as follows, and perhaps it will be helpful to someone who stumbles upon our journey posted here in the future.
1) The tumor was fully removed with 3cm clear margins around the entire perimeter.
2) Curzon's CT scan on 01/27 was completely clear of any visible metastases throughout his entire body.
3) Curzon's ultrasound on 01/30 cleared his liver, kidneys, and adrenals.
4) A chest x-ray he had last August was completely tumor-free, and our best guess is that it started growing around Christmastime as he had no lumps when he had a bath around Thanksgiving.
5) His ALP levels were low for a normal dog, let alone low for a dog with an osteosarcoma.
6) His healing rate was AMAZING - if he was already riddled with cancer metastases, there's no way he would have healed up the way that he has.
Based on all of this information, the cost of the treatment with a low predictor of success, and our own gut feelings, we chose to not perform chemotherapy. Our treatment regimen moving forward is to continue the Hoxsey's tincture, add in the artemisinin/butyrex protocol under supervision of our regular veterinarian, and monitor and adjust as needed. I'm giving him full body checks every few days, and our flyball club vet techs have offered to check his lymph nodes each week when he returns to practice, and we will do a chest x-ray in six months. We feel this is the right decision for us, and for him, and we are hopeful that Curzon will continue to do well and be with us for a long time to come.
The rehab tech was really awesome and showed me how to do some exercises with Curzon to ensure he regains his stability, flexibility, and strength in the arm and chest where his ribs were removed. She started by putting him into a gentle "play bow" sort of position, and when I realized what she wanted I gave him his "bow" command and he dropped into a perfect, full-extention play bow - much to her surprise! Apparently he shouldn't be able to do that just yet! We also went over some exercises to do using the exercise ball and the little "fit disc" saucers, although he was much more interested in throwing those around than in standing on them. Our program for the next four weeks is to do his PT exercises twice per day and start off with 10 minute walks on level or gently sloped ground, and gradually increase the time and intensity of both.
Curzon is not a fan of gradually increasing anything. The first evening I brought the exercise ball out, he immediately jumped on top of it with all four feet!
Day 17 post-surgery - velvet fur!
All curled up and ready for bedtime - he just barely poked his head up when I flicked on the light to check on him!