December 29, 2011

Fourteen Months!

Today is Abby's 14 month ampuversary! And it is also officially one year that she has had lung mets. We are so happy to still have our girl with us. It's been a little rough since the H.O. diagnosis, but she is still a happy, hoppy girl.

Abby had a great Christmas here at home with her Grandma and two of her aunts.

"Hey, that dog looks like me!"
First of all, she got this very cute Christmas stocking specially handmade for her by her Aunt Kathy. She was very intrigued by it - even when it was empty. If you look closely, you'll see that the one dog on the right-hand side looks a lot like our girl! So cute!

Abby also got this very fine orange alligator in her Christmas stocking. My brother actually made toys for all the dogs in the family. He bought a gross of squeakers online (did you know you could buy squeakers in bulk?) and got some heavy-duty fabric and started whipping up dog toys on my sister-in-law's sewing machine. He is a very good doggy uncle. (He also made dog treats out of leftover grain from his beer making endeavors. She loves them.)

Her present from us was also an alligator, which (as you can see) she has already turned into a tripawd. (It was the very first thing she did.)

I did not think to squeak it in the store. Big mistake. I'd been looking at some other no-stuffing toys that had recycled water bottles inside, and I thought this was the same sort of thing. I thought it would just make that crinkling, cracking sound that empty water bottles make. Um, no. It makes these crazy noises, as captured in the following video. (Note: the *other* crazy noise is just my sister's laugh...)

"No one can see me..."
After opening her own presents, Abby thought everything was for her. Here she is perusing Grandma's presents:
"For me??"
 And she got a bone, that she tried to hide behind the Christmas tree.

The day after Christmas, we took her to the beach and walked/ran like we used to, where we run for two minutes and then walk for three. (We hadn't done that in ages because Mike's knees have been bugging him, but he was ready to give it another try.) Well, even with the cancer, the lung mets, the tripawdness, the H.O. - she still was kicking my butt running! She's such a Warrior Princess! Toward the end she started to slow down and I was able to keep up with her (which was kind of a bummer).

In other Abby news, we are sticking with the 1/2 dose of Masitinib. Her GI tract just can't handle the full dose. Dr. V. said he talked to some other oncologists who have dogs on the 1/2 dose, so hopefully it will still be in there kicking some tumor butt.

In other non-Abby news (there's non-Abby news in my life??)... On Christmas Eve, my siblings and I recreated a photo of the six of us from 1974. We haven't changed a bit. No, because "a bit" would mean minor changes... (Note that I had to crouch to try to better achieve the look of the original photo.) The funny thing is that while looking for that original B&W photo, I realized I only have two (!!) pictures of me and my siblings together. How is that possible? Now I have three. :)

In a final bit of news, my sis Terry and I have done some more felting, but I couldn't share the pictures until the recipients had their little felted friends in their hands. Now I can finally share the photo of our latest creations: my sister's Jean's one-blue-eyed Husky, Roxie, and my brother and sister-in-law's sweet Golden, angel Dannie. Now everyone in the immediate family has a felted friend. 

That's pretty much all the news that's fit to print. (There is other news re: the zoo -- we went the other night and the swamp monkeys were doin' it. But that is not fit to print.) Anyway, Abby and I already went to the beach today to begin her 14 Month Ampuversary celebrations. Not sure what else is on today's agenda. There will need to be a Flying Dutchman in her future, but that might not happen today. Soon, though, Ab! I promise!!

Happy, hoppy New Year everypawdy!! We wish you all good things in 2012!

December 21, 2011

Hoppy Holidays!

Hope this holiday season finds you done with your shopping, done with the wrapping, and able to kick back with your favorite Christmas movie (Scrooge, in my case) and favorite Christmas beverage (tip: a margarita with a little Chambord takes on a nice pink tint, close enough to call "Christmasy red"!)

Abby is defiinitely ready for the holiday. Here she is, dreaming of flying with Santa and his reindeer.
"I could be Vixen..."

That holiday cheer don't spread itself. Exhausting.
This afternoon we went to visit our 86-year-old friend, Mazli, and delivery her Christmas present (which of course was Abby-related. She got the Tripawd Heroes book, which has 2 full pages of Abbyness!). Abby wore her antlers, which were quite a hit, as you may imagine. When we got home she was exhausted. It takes a lot out of a girl, spreading all that holiday cheer. (Mazli's present for Abby hadn't arrived yet so we'll have to wait until after Christmas to get that.)

It's just as well that Mazli's present wasn't there because Abby has been quite spoiled lately with gifts. First, she got a dragon from her aunt:

Because every princess needs a dragon!
Removing a limb...
And then she got a squeaky ball and a Sock Monkey Monkeybutt from some very nice friends via the Tripawds "Angel Exchange." Sadly, tripawd Daisy recently earned her angel wings, so her pawrents were nice enough to offer up her old harnesses. They sent us one - along with these very unexpected but very-much-appreciated presents! (The harness has a little handle on the back - I think it will come in handy if Abby gets really tired at the beach and needs some help.)

Of course there are more presents for her under the tree, so she's going to be even more spoiled by the time the week is out.

As for us, we have our gift - we are just happy our girl is with us this Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Abby and us to you and yours. Hope you spend your holidays surrounded by friends and family!

December 13, 2011

More on Abby's H.O.

Last time I posted that we'd found out Abby has Hypertrophic Osteopathy, or HO. I since learned a bit more about it - like that it usually ends up being the reason a dog ends up earning his/her wings. There's no cure (unless you can control the lung mets) and the pain will eventually get to be too much. Some dogs only last ~two months once the disease is diagnosed. Even in the face of all that, we are still feeling... I don't know that happy is exactly the right word... but considering that we really thought we were going to be putting her to sleep shortly after Thanksgiving, we feel lucky to have extra time with her.

It's strange because even though it's a rare disease, it is not all that rare in dogs with lung mets - especially females for some reason. So since Abby was diagnosed, I found out that 3 of my Facebook friends have dealt with/are dealing with it. One of the ladies lost her dog to H.O. years ago. Another is currently dealing with and it's been a good support to have someone to talk to about it. The final friend (I saved the best for last...) still has her dog, Lily, with her 3 YEARS post-diagnosis. Her dog had 2 lung mets, so sort of similar to Abby with her 3 (remember that I've said most dogs have many mets - little spots all over the lungs; it's not really normal to only have a few, especially after all this time). Well, one of Lily's mets disappeared. (!!) Her oncologists call her The Miracle Dog. She had surgery to have the remaining met removed (they'll only do the operation if there is a Lone Met), and that was three years ago and Lily is now in remission for both the bone cancer and the H.O. Incredible.

I know we are not likely to get a miracle - but, hey, it could happen. Or the masitinib (which we are still slowly trying to get her accustomed to) could work some magic on those dastardly lung mets. Or the artemisinin (which we have added back in with an additional supplement to aid absorption) might work. You never know. We are not giving up the fight.

Cancer, you are a bastard and you don't play fair, but we are not going to let you roll all over us. Nertz to you, Cancer. 

To show that Abby is saying Nertz to Cancer, I've included lots of pics of the things we've done SINCE the HO diagnosis. She's still got a lot of spunk!
She still chases lizards in the yard...

...and bugs...
She still VERY MUCH ENJOYS a Flying Dutchman (and still counter-surfs)

She still plays with Barney.

She still loves to smell the ocean

She still chases birds at Fiesta Island...

...and plays with her friends there...

...and is still a very happy girl!

We have definitely seen the pain wax and wan. Even though her legs look a little strange and swollen, she still wants to get out there on them, and I think Dr. V is right that moving around helps with the pain. We still have more items in our arsenal - for one thing she just started a new pain pill (gabapentin) and that seems to be helping. There is also a shot which she could get (pamidronate) if the pain starts to get really bad. I talked to Dr. V. about it and we are going to keep that in reserve until she really needs it. Apparently some dogs don't react much to it, but the ones that do show a marked improvement, and it can last weeks or even a month.

Here's hoping for a Christmas Miracle for our pup. (Or just that the drugs will work!) Hope you all are enjoying this hectic holiday season. Be merry, like Abby!