December 28, 2010

Out, Damn Spot!

Well, today Abby had her lungs rechecked at the Vet Cancer Group. Mike was able to go along, which was nice. Abby was happy to have her dad there, as you can see in the photo. The news wasn't totally bad, but it wasn't totally good either. As you probably guessed from the title of this post, there was one spot that the oncologist, Dr. Vancil, was concerned about. He said that it is not something we should really worry about or alter our course of action for . . . yet. 

First of all, he said it might be nothing. Metastases apparently like to hang out in gangs, and since there is only one unusual spot on her x-ray, it may not be a "met" at all. It could be something else - just a little abnormality. He said he needs to get the original x-rays, which were taken by our regular vet, and compare to see what it looked like before. (When our vet originally took her lung x-rays before her surgery, he said her lungs were clear, but maybe he didn't notice this small spot, or maybe it's something that has recently appeared - which would probably not be good news.) On the other hand, if it is in fact a "met," Dr. Vancil said a single met is not a death sentence. He said it's rare to only have one, but he knew of a dog that had one and it grew into a walnut-size-ish tumor, but wasn't even what killed the dog in the end. He said Abby could have a single met and still be quite healthy. We'll see . . . 

He said we'll check her lungs again in about two months and see where we're at. If it's all good/looks the same, we'll go out probably 6 months to a year before rechecking. He said it often happens that after a year, you'll start to see mets in the lungs. He said that's not necessarily the end. We could consider another shorter round of chemo, which he has seen add another good year of health to a dog's life.

So, next steps are that Dr. Vancil will get the original x-rays sent over and compare to the latest ones. He'll also have a radiologist look at the x-rays and see what he/she thinks. In the meantime, Abby is 2/3 of the way done with her chemo. Two more sessions to go! If we keep going on this every-two-weeks schedule, we should be done by January 25th.

We'll see what happens. I'm a little worried about that damn spot. Worried that we may only have another year or two with our little sweetie, but we'll see what the original x-ray showed and see what the radiologist thinks. 

Anyway, even with all that, Abby managed to have some fun at chemo. First of all, she loves to kiss everyone there, and they're all for it, so she enjoys that. Then, Mike and I left to run an errand while she was having her treatment. It was quiet there today so apparently they let her have the run of the place while they were waiting for us to come back. There was a display of toys - a stuffed duck, a tiger, etc. - and other doggy items they've been collecting to donate to a shelter. When we first walked in, Abby tried to snitch several of the toys. Well, when we came back to get her, Abby was the proud owner of the stuffed duck. (It reminds me of when you were a kid and would go to the dentist and get to pick out a toy.) Anyway, some poor unfortunate pooch is now not getting a stuffed duck cuz our little cutie talked the gals at the cancer clinic into giving it to her. She is trying to de-quackerize it even as I type. 

Will let y'all know if we hear anything more from the radiologist or once Dr. V. looks at the older x-rays.

December 27, 2010

Hoping Our Good Luck Doesn't Run Out!

I had a lot of good luck today, and I'm hoping it holds out for tomorrow. 

For today, things went my way a couple of times:
  • First of all, I went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint. As I was self-checking out, I grabbed the paint can and swung it up out of the cart and toward the scanner. Well, the fine gentleman working the paint department hadn't put the lid on properly, so I sloshed paint all over my cart and the floor and on my arm. Luckily it hit the stretch of my arm between my watch and where I had pushed the sleeve of my shirt up. You could say this was bad luck, to buy paint from someone who doesn't know enough to put the lid on properly, but I saw it as good luck, since I managed to avoid getting paint all over my jeans, top, watch and shoes!
  • Then Mike and I went to the old house to pick up a load of stuff to move. On the way home, I was following along behind him, when he suddenly slammed on the breaks--for no reason that I could see at first. I slammed on mine too, and had to steer sharply to the right, missing his bumper by about half an inch. It's weird how all your senses but the ones you need shut down. I had been listening to something interesting on NPR (can't even remember what now!), but my hearing totally shut down. It was just tunnel vision of the front of my car and the back of his. All I could think of was how much this would suck for our insurance! But luckily I missed him. Then... I saw why he'd stopped: a beagle was racing down the middle of the street like a maniac. The dog ran past Mike's car, so he started driving again. I started moving very slowly since I wasn't sure where the dog was -- then I saw him darting around my car in a giant circle, so happy in the game of "chase" with his owners running madly after him. Luckily I saw him in time to stop again and they managed to corner him on someone's lawn. So, luck was with me again, as I avoided both flattening a beagle (what a downer that would have been!) and also avoided rear-ending my hubby!
Now, for tomorrow we really need the good luck to keep flowing. Abby gets her lungs checked Tuesday a.m. -- the first time since before her amputation surgery and before she started chemo. The last time she had her lungs checked, everything looked clear, so please keep your fingers crossed for us that things will still be clear tomorrow!!

I'll post the news sometime tomorrow.

December 26, 2010

Belated Merry Christmas!

Had intended to do a pre-Christmas post, but since we had an offer on our house on the 23rd (Hoorah!), things got a little crazy-busy and I never got around to it before the Christmas festivities began.

Abby had a lovely Christmas, as the photos below will attest. She got to come along to the family Christmas Eve celebration at my sisters as well as to Christmas Dinner at my brothers by playing the cancer card. (Mike kept saying, "She can't stay home alone on Christmas - she has cancer!")
At my sister's, she jumped up at the noise of the self-timer on the camera while we were trying to do the group shot. As you can see, we are all cracking up, thinking it was going to be a close-up photo of her nose. Instead, it caught all of us laughing and her tail.

On Christmas, Abby got to open her present -- a Skinneeez un-stuffed beaver, which she hopefully will not tear apart since there is no stuffing to get at. I realized after she opened it (since I bought it online and hadn't actually seen it) that it has no forearms, so it's sort of an appropriate gift for a missing-forearm girl. 

Today, we took her to Fiesta Island, where we ran into Dakota and her parents. It was a great surprise. With all the rain we've had, Abby hadn't been to Fiesta Island or the dog park in ages and hadn't seen her friend since before Thanksgiving. They had a great time playing. As you can see, Dakota took advantage of her two-front-feet status to throw a right cross at Abby (she is a boxer after all) and try to gain the coveted stick.
 All in all, it was an excellent holiday. Hope yours was great as well!

December 20, 2010

Spreading Tripawd Cheer (For a Fee?)

Abby, Mike and I have been exploring our new neighborhood a bit. Most of the streets are quite hilly. She looks so cute going uphill: she has to take smaller hops, and her ears bob up and down and it's quite adorable. It's also quite the workout! Especially since it's apparently easier for her to run than hop uphill, so she often breaks into a run. She runs so fast I can barely keep up with her.

The other night we were out walking/hopping along our street, and we saw a man coming up the hill of the side street, head down, staring at the sidewalk. He stopped and said, "Oh!" when he saw Abby, and leaned forward so she could sniff his hand. Then when he saw that she only had three legs, he said, "Awwwww!" I was trying to keep her from jumping on him and kissing him, (as she is wont to do with everyone) but he got down on one knee and let her totally kiss him. He asked us a lot of questions about her, and kept petting her the whole time. He would massage her back for a while, then she'd attack him again with more kisses all over his face and neck.

He told us about how he'd lost his beloved 12-year-old Rottweiler six months ago, and he can't get over it. He still walks the same route every night that he used to do with her. He gave us his business card (he's an electrician) and said, "If you ever go away, I'll watch her for you. And I'll pay you." We could use a little electrical work at the new house, so . . . maybe we can work out a deal. For every hour of work he does for us, he can have/love on Abby for an hour. Fair?

I don't have any new pics of Abby, so I'm instead attaching a picture of this cutest pup that I got to love on at Helen Woodward today. It was my volunteer afternoon. They don't have that many older dogs right now, so all of them had been walked by the time I got there, so I spent my shift doing laundry - to get in out of the cold, wet day - and loving on puppies. This little guy is named Butterfingers. His ears are so cute! If you try to fold them down, they just boing right back into place. Adorable. And such a cuddle bug. I'm in love with him. He better not still be there by next Monday, or Abby may end up with a little brother . . .

December 17, 2010

Halfway Done!

Hello! So sorry we've been gone for so long. As I mentioned, we're in the middle of moving. Just finally got internet re-set up at the new house a couple of days ago, so I'm finally back in the blogging mode. 

The biggest Abby news since we've been away was that she had her third chemo treatment three days ago, so we are at the halfway point. Hoorah! Can't wait til we are done. The oncologist said that we are doing everything we can (max dosage, aggressive schedule, feeding her well) and that she's doing great so far (no weight loss, extremely minimal side effects, great energy, blood lab work continues to look good), so we're hopeful. He said we got the vast majority of the cancer out of her when we had her leg amputated, so there are only microscopic bits of that crap still in her--which we are blasting with the chemo. So... we'll see. And we'll see soon, because the next time we go in for chemo (Dec. 28), he's going to do another chest x-ray and we'll see if her lungs still look clear. I'm a bit nervous about that, but hopeful. Please keep good thoughts for Abby and we'll of course post what the results are after that appointment. 

Will post more tomorrow about how Abby is enjoying the new neighborhood, but for now, here is a picture of her enjoying the view. (We live on a canyon now, which I'd said before I didn't want to do--but, now, here we are. Of course, I also said I wouldn't do chemo on a dog, so I guess you should probably pay no attention to the things I say I'll never do.)

December 12, 2010

Very Quick Post

Sorry I've been remiss in posting lately... We are in the midst of moving and are constantly running back and forth between the two houses. We don't have internet yet at the new place.  Abby seems to love the new house. Will post more--hopefully tomorrow, along w/ pics of Abby. 

Open house today - wish us luck!

December 6, 2010

Will It Grow Back?

This Sunday, we took Abby to Fiesta Island again. Some little boys came up to us and were interested in her. One of them asked if her leg would grow back. That gave Mike the idea to attempt splicing lizard DNA into her cells, so that her shed limb could be re-grown. If only we had a gene-splicer!

She continues to do great, post-chemo. She's been very spunky - although, I must admit, this was the first time I ever saw her lay down at Fiesta Island. She played so hard with this one little puppy, chasing her up and down the hill, plus chasing birds (videos of both below) that she was wiped out. She had to have a little rest in the sand before we made it all the way back to the car. In the puppy chasing video, you can hear her snarling at the puppy. She gets frustrated when she can't catch another dog, and will try to grab it by the tail as it flies by. (She was that way pre-amp as well...)

Also this weekend, in non-dog-related events, I went with my sister, Jean, to my other sister's house, to paint windows. It's a bit of a tradition that we get together to paint Kath's windows every Christmas. Each year the windows feature Kath's dog, Indy. This year the theme is "A Christmas Dog Story." The windows came out pretty darn cute, if we do say so ourselves.

December 4, 2010


Abby continues to breeze through her chemo! Hoorah. She had her 2nd treatment on Tuesday and we've had no side effects (other than the popcorn not agreeing with her). This time we didn't even have to resort to feeding her plain pasta--she ate pretty normally at every meal. (Although she has not eaten a bowl of just plain ol' dry kibble-which used to be her standard diet-since her update-to-tripawd surgery on Oct. 29. She always gets a little extra somethin' in there now. With all the leftover turkey we've had, it's been easy to entice her to eat a bowl of half-kibble, half-turkey.)

Since she's doing so well, she'll go to an every-two-weeks schedule now, so her next treatment will be Dec. 14, which will likely be the halfway point. 

This time when I took her in, the oncologist said they would check her blood before administering the chemo. If things didn't look good (white cell count I guess) then they would have had to delay the chemo, but he said she was doing great. He also looked at her incision really well. She has this little nubbin (as I like to call it) now where they tied off the sutures on the inside. He said once the sutures are fully absorbed it will go away - which is good, because I'm constantly saying to her, "stop licking your nubbin!" It's already looking a lot better, and her hair continues to grow back so she's looking pretty great.

 Yesterday was her first visit to the dog park (just a regular dog park - as opposed to Fiesta Island, where there's the ocean and MUCH wider open spaces). There weren't too many other dogs. At first it was just Abby and her good friend Dakota, who you probably remember from their play date a while back. Then Pasha showed up. She had a great time! 

I finally got my camera back, as evidenced by the dog park photos. Posted below are a few belated photos of Abby and Leo at Thanksgiving. As you can see, they love each other:
Here they are kissing

Here they are hugging

Here they are begging.