April 27, 2011

No New Mets!!!

Abby had her follow-up x-ray today, and while the results weren't miraculous (no, unfortunately the lone met did not disappear...) they were still pretty darn good: that lone met is STILL a loner. None of his rat-bastard friends have come to join the party! Hoorah! Hopefully he STAYS a loner... although I guess that's kind of a long shot. Dr. V. said it's very rare to have just one met--I guess they are like potato chips or something. 

The slightly bad news was that the Lone Met (I've decided to start capitalizing that...sorta like he's the evil villain in a B Western...) had gotten a little bigger in the almost-three-months since the last x-ray. He went from 1.0cm to ~ 1.4cm. The good news is that The Lone Met lives in a "good" spot in her lungs. Apparently the location of the mets can have a big impact on longevity, for instance you don't want them up by the airways. Our Lone Met is hanging out in sort of the "back country" of Abby's lungs, so nowhere near up where all the action is. Phew. 

Dr. V. says if we keep doing what we are doing with her metronomic therapy (maintaining her every-other-day doses of Palladia/Cytoxan) we should have her around for "a good long time." Which, with osteosarcoma, is still not THAT long in the grand scheme of things, and it's impossible to really put a number on these things, but... there is a dog on the Tripawds site who is on metronomic protocol, AND has lung mets (plural) and has been going for 2 years that way! Another two years (at least) would be awesome. 

And, I ask you, does this look like a sick dog??? 
[No animals - or humans - were harmed in the making of this video, although all three of us did end up quite wet.]

Oh, one other thing... Mike was asking, Why can't we just cut that damn Lone Met out? Dr. V. did address that -- it is possible that we could cut it out, but it's pretty rare to do because it's not worth it unless the dog meets three criteria: (1) the met has to be stable (it can grow some, but not a ton -- as it is now, he said we could actually call her met "stable," so check on that one), (2) it has to be a Lone Met (check), and (3) it has to remain a Lone Met for a year (so, we need to keep waiting and see what happens). We'll see if we make it to another six months and The Lone Met still rides alone. It's pretty major surgery, so I dunno... Hopefully we'll someday be at a point where we need to make that decision. 

P.S. She is still having minor diarrhea (still not entirely a "solid citizen") so we are on a little break from her meds until her system settles down again. Hopefully she'll be back into her routine very shortly.  

April 22, 2011

A Quick Update to Yesterday's Post

My iPad2 camera has a "thermal" setting. Fun, eh?
I talked to Dr. V. this morning, and he said not to worry too much about the bit of blood I spotted... Unless I continue to see it. She hasn't "done her business" yet today, so I guess the diarrhea is under control from the Flagyl (that stuff really works like a charm on her) so that's an improvement anyway. I'm keeping an eye on her, and hopefully she'll be fine again in a day or two. In the meantime, I'm supposed to lay off the chemo pills for a few days until she's fully back to normal, but keep giving her a daily Prilosec to help with any little ulcer she might have in her GI tract. 

I'm wondering if maybe part of the problem is that I varied her routine a little... I'm supposed to mix this probiotic powder into her food at every meal to help keep the GI tract in balance. Well, I'd had it sitting on the counter so that I'd remember, but then my mom was coming to visit so I put it in the cupboard so everything would be clean & pretty, and then of course I kept forgetting to mix it into her food! Hopefully once I start it up again, and get her back on her normal diet (she's on chicken and rice for now) she'll be fine again.

In other news, she's as active as ever. We went to Fiesta Island this morning with her good pal, Dakota the boxer and they raced around like maniacs. She's crashed right now, taking a nap in the best chair in the house. 

In icky news from FI, today Dakota's mom and I threw away a dead mole-ish, rat-like little thing that Abby had picked up and been running around with (AGGGGGHHHH!) yesterday when we went there. It took the two of us, plus a clump of seaweed and 2 poop bags to get the thing under wraps. Eeesh. At least Abby didn't notice it today! [When we got home yesterday and Abby ran to give my mom some kisses, I, uh, didn't mention to Grandma that Abby had previously been carrying a dead mole/rat-like thing around in her mouth.... Um, I think we can keep this just between you and me... No one let her read this! And heck, I still let Abby kiss me!]

April 21, 2011

The Super Model Comes Thru Again (& and some not-so-good news...)

Good News Department: Remember I posted about the Fido Friendly magazine Peep's contest? Well, the super-model dog came through again and we actually won something! I was amazed because some of the pics people submitted were pretty darn cute and even though our picture was fairly creative (very few entries actually fashioned wearable art out of Peeps!), the photo itself was not the best. Basically we tied for what would effectively be "fifth place" (not bad with almost 100 entries) and Abby wins a "BlanketID", which at first I thought was going to be some sort of blanket, but is actually a sort of ID tag. You can view all the winners, including our girl, here.

The truly amazing thing about the win is that we didn't even go for sympathy by playing the cancer/three-legged card! You can't even tell she's a tripawd in the photo, and she still won! (Maybe if I'd played up the cancer/tripawdness, we'd have placed a little higher... Must remember to milk this more.)

Not-so-good News Department: Abby's had a bit of diarrhea, which she gets occasionally (maybe once every third week or so) and which is usually very easily controlled with a single Flagyl pill. But today, when I got home just now and was celebrating the Peeps win, I let her out and noticed what might be blood. I called Dr. V. at the Vet Cancer Group right away, but I didn't realize the office is closed on Thursdays. The message seemed to say they will call back even though they are closed, so hopefully I can get some guidance/info about what this means. I hope it doesn't mean we are at the end of our metronomic therapy. Hopefully we just give her a break for a few days and then she'll be fine... Wish us luck! (I'll post an update or comment when I know more.) Also wish us luck with her upcoming follow-up x-ray, which is this coming Wednesday. Keep positive thoughts for our girl!!! No new mets, no new mets, no new mets!! (And hopefully the old met will be stable - or better yet, even smaller!!!)

Because Every Post Needs a Pic Department: And now, since it really wouldn't be a decent post without a cute pic of Abby, here is a little Happy Easter greeting from our girl: 
Pretty much the most worried-looking Easter Bunny ever.

Oh, and P.S. If you read the comments from the last post, she is digging the braunschweiger! No problem getting her to take her pills when I ball them up in a lump of that stinky stuff! (I just hope she gets to keep taking them, and that they are doing the trick...)

April 13, 2011

A Dog's Breakfast

I never really understood that phrase until recently. (If you are not familiar with the phrase, since it's mainly a UK thing and we heard it a lot in Bermuda, it basically means whatever you are describing is an unappealing mess.) I've always lived with dogs that ate dry kibble, maybe enhanced with a wee bit of water, so the "dog's breakfast" just looked somewhat like a bowl of, say, bran cereal without the milk. But now that we have an odd dog who is not at all food motivated, and whom we have to entice to eat (since her pills are to be taken with food) with all manner of added goodies in with her kibble, well... now I understand the phrase pretty well. 

Some of that canned food is way nasty looking. And it seems like the more expensive, more organic, more high-end doggy chow it is, the grosser it looks! (Especially the Newman's Own Organic Beef & Liver canned food she gets...) There is also the added fact that we nuke it for a few seconds (the smell comes out more, which is supposed to entice the dog to eat...) so you've got the "dog's breakfast" look plus the smell. Bleh. 

I talked to Dr. V. about her not really wanting to eat her breakfast and what I should do about it, because of the whole pills with food thing. He said it doesn't have to be a lot of food - just a little something. He suggested hiding each pill in a chunk of hot dog. Here's how that went:
Here she is, readily accepting her hot dog chunk! Yum!

And here she is munching the hot dog after spitting out the pill (yes, that little pink spot on the rug is the pill)
Anyway, he said not to worry about her not wanting to eat breakfast. He said some dogs just want to get up and get going and see what's happening and they don't really care about food until much later in the day when all the excitement has died down. (Lest you worry that her appetite is failing because of the cancer, she's been like this ever since we got her. Just not really interested in breakfast -- although she does usually eat it by dinner time. Then wolfs her dinner down shortly thereafter.)

She was keen on the hot dogs for a while, and I could at least get her interested in her breakfast if I threw some chunks in (then I'd give her her pills in the standard scoop of peanut butter) but now she's even bored with the dogs! Oy. I mean, what kinda crazy dog doesn't want to eat a hot dog??? Our special girl - that's who. Right now, at 6 p.m. there is still a bowl full of Blue Buffalo kibble, mixed with hot dog chunks and water, sitting in my kitchen and it looks like a total dog's breakfast. 

P.S. I found out there's a feature where I can designate a short list of people to get each blog post via email, so you don't need to check the blog - you'd just get an email instead when there's a new post. If you want me to put you on the list for that, let me know.  

April 6, 2011

Sleeps & Peeps

Decided to re-do the "Spring" pic from her "good side"
Sleeps: We have not been sleeping well at our house! There's a squirrel or some other critter that has made a nest under our fence and said critter creeps out at night to taunt watch-dog Abby into a barking frenzy. We tried making her sleep in her bed in our room (instead of the Big Comfy Chair in the sunroom, where she usually sleeps) so that she wouldn't be able to see the stupid critter in the wee hours, but somehow she still senses he's out there. She gets up and starts beating on the door to be let out, so we still don't sleep.

Looking unenthused about the process
Last night, though, the three of us all finally slept! I'm not sure if that was because she's succeeded in scaring off the critter (oh, I so hope that's what it is! The people who lived here before didn't have a dog, so obviously the critter population has gotten a little too used to doing whatever the hell they damn well please in our yard. Not anymore!) or if it's because she was also too exhausted to care. Guess we'll see what happens tonight... 

Peeps: Every year my family threatens to enter The Washington Post Peeps Diorama contest, but we poop out when it comes to actually constructing the Peeps diorama. (We do have a good idea and SOME DAY we WILL enter! We even have some stockpiled Peeps, which you can do because they have a shelf life of like 2000 years.) But, in the meantime - since we missed this year's deadline again - I instead entered Abby in the Peeps Fido Contest through Fido Friendly magazine. The contest is not nearly as labor-intensive as the Post one is, and you only have to submit a pic, as opposed to the actual diorama for the Post. As you can see, I made her some bunny ears out of Peeps bunnies. It's not the best pic ever, so I doubt we will win, but it was not easy to get her to wear the Peeps bunny ears (she wanted to eat them...), so this was the best I could do.

That's pretty much all the news. She's continuing to do really well - very much a crazy puppy. I posted some pics below from resent Fiesta Island visits - and I threw in a sunset shot just cuz it was so incredible the other night!

Laughing and having a grand time at Fiesta Island

Again, laughing (or maybe sneezing) amongst the daisies

I just like this one cuz it's sparkly...

If you did a painting like this people would think it was ridiculously gaudy!

Thanks for reading!