Abby had a really good day at the beach yesterday. Here are some pics of the highlights:
Running to greet Dakota!
She found a good stick.
She got a new toy from Dakota's mom
Rolling in stinky stuff is fun!
Today we went to a little park near our house. She had a good time there as well, meeting a pugle and watching the surfers enjoy the large surf we've been having.
"Hello little pugle"
Enjoying the surf...
...and watching the birds
It was a good time. There was the part though where a complete stranger had to hug me. For those of you that don't know me IRL*, I'm okay with hugging people if I know it's going to happen, but am completely awkward about hugs when there's that Are We Going To Hug/Are We Not Going To Hug? thing that happens upon first seeing each other. Those of you that know me IRL are probably going "OMG, she let a stranger hug her? And I can barely get her to hug me?" Anyway, here's how the hug incident happened: as soon as we hit the park, this woman walked over to us and asked me how long Abby had been a tripawd. I told her almost 15 months and she asked how it happened. When I said, "cancer," she said, "oh, how's she doing with that?" :( It was nice of her to hug me, although I was kinda expecting just a pat on the shoulder and suddenly she's hugging me and not letting go... Luckily another woman came over to meet Ab, which broke it up.
In other hug news, I got a nice bear hug from Dr. V. at Ab's appointment yesterday. (I knew it was coming so, again, that's okay... He hugs you if you cry at the appointment.) He loves Abby. (His whole staff does. They sent me a nice email afterwards saying how much they all love her.) Anyway, at her appointment we had a nice talk. He said how proud he is of us and how well we've done with the fight. He said that Abby has changed lives (that's for sure), and said he can think of at least three of his patients who were going to just put their dogs down when they got the osteosarcoma diagnosis, but decided instead to go ahead with the amp and treatment because he showed them Abby's videos and told them about her and how great she's done. He said this part at the end is the worst part of his job and he doesn't know how much longer he can do it. (Going to need to send him a card about that - cuz he's really good at his job, so he should keep doing it!)
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that Abby is doing pretty well. The Prednisone seems to be helping already and she had a good night - slept the whole night through and her coughing is much less than it was before. Her breathing is starting to seem better, and it really must have been as she didn't get up and move around in the night like she had the night before.
This morning on our way back from the park, I stopped at the store and got her some steak, pork products (bacon and chops) and a box of Frosty Paws. (I also got myself some mint chip... don't want her to have to eat all that comfort food alone...) She very much enjoyed her pork chop breakfast. Tonight, we dine on Flying Dutchmen!
Before I forget - I want to thank everyone for the wonderful emails and the messages on the blog and on Facebook and on the Tripawds forums. It is nice to know how much everyone loves our girl. The support really does mean so much to us.
*IRL = In Real Life- as opposed to my virtual life where I have made so many great friends online via Tripawds. I give hugs all the time, virtually. And I even receive them with no awkwardness. :)
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...
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!
Abby here. Mama said I could do the blog post today because she is busy. Mama says November is NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. To be all official-like, you have to sign up and post your progress. You are supposed to write ~1700 words/day but Mama is going rogue! She is doing her own thing with a friend and trying to get 1000 words done a day. Right now, Mama is doing laundry, making granola and working on her book all at the same time, so that leaves me to do the update.
I told Mama she should just stick a picture in her book, because 1 picture = 1000 words. Done for the day, and then she can play with me some more!
I am going to take my own advice and let the pictures tell the story:
Saturday, to celebrate my ONE YEAR ampuversary (Yah me!), we went to In-N-Out.
The box says "animal fries" but it's not - it's my Flying Dutchman!
I got this flat pig. It squeaks. I hate that.
I tried to nap using Mama's shell of succulents as a pillow.
Sunday we had a big photo shoot with me in my Tripawd Warrior Princess cape and crown.
When we start TWP land, this'll be on the currency
Whaddya think? Cute? Yah, thanks. I know!
OK, enough adulation. I'm bored...
Then Mama put on my TWP outfit. She's so embarrassing.
In other news, we went to see my friend Dr. V. His dog, Hank was there. You might recall that Hank iswas my boyfriend. The nice lady left me, Hank and Mama in the room together, and . . . this is hard for me to talk about . . . Hank gave Mama more kisses than me! WtH?? Whatever. There are a lotta other fish that lift their legs to pee. Or whatever that saying is. Anyway, after that two-timer left, Dr. V. came in and listened to my chest a long time - I think because he likes to hug me. He told Mama everything sounded just fine. (I guess he couldn't hear my broken heart!)
He talked to my Mama about taking pictures of me. He is weird. I know EVERYONE likes to take pictures of me, because I'm so beautiful, but he takes pictures of the INSIDES of me. Oh well, I guess it's because I am beautiful on the inside too! Mama is supposed to decide if she wants to see pictures of my insides again. If they look beautiful, than everything is good and I keep eating my spoonful of peanut butter and the little ball of braunschwager like usual. If they don't (which I doubt could happen) then Dr. V. said my Mama could try to give me something different in my little ball of braunschwager . I don't really care what they put in there, as long as it doesn't make my tummy hurt and as long as the ball of braunschwager keeps comin'! Anyway, I'm pretty sure the pictures would be beautiful. I don't take bad pictures!
I'm outta here. Kisses everypawdy!
P.S. from The Mama: we are trying to decide about the x-rays. If we look, and Boris and Natasha are being held at bay/not partying in there, then we'd happily keep doing what we've been doing. On the other hand, if we find that B&N are being bad renters and sub-letting space to all their stupid friends (do B&N have friends?) then we could drop all the stuff we are currently doing (cytoxan/piroxicam and our 'ancient Chinese secret', artemisinin) in favor of trying another at-home chemo drug, Masitinib. It is supposed to be similar to Palladia, but Dr. V. said he's seen dogs that do poorly on one do well on the other, so just because the Palladia didn't agree with her doesn't mean the Masitinib won't either. I was leaning toward not looking and just being blissfully ignorant, BUT... a woman on Tripawds the other day posted that her dog's lung mets disappeared (!!!) after three months on Palladia. That kinda makes me wanna try the Masitinib. And, who knows, if the x-rays show that our current protocol is effective, we might not even need to try it. We'll see. Of course, I'll keep y'all posted. Now, back to work!
I always wanted one of those dogs that gets you. I've had friends who say their dogs are in tune to them - so in tune that when they aren't feeling well (the human, that is) the dog will come over and look lovingly at them, rest their furry little head beside said sick person, and join them in a "medicinal nap." These dogs willingly forfeit their exercise/walk time for the betterment of their human.
I have never had a dog like that. I've always dogs who were like, "What the hell's wrong with you? Get up and take me for a walk!"
Case in point: this Sunday I was not feeling very good. I spent the entire day in my PJs, mostly sitting on the sofa watching football and the Rugby World Cup final. (The football was a bummer; the rugby was way more entertaining.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that other than the weeks surrounding her diagnosis/amputation, this was the only day in Abby's young life that she did not go for a walk. So, did she come and lie next to me and give me one of those "I love you, Mama, and hope you feel better soon" looks? Um, no. She did this:
Now, Mike didn't want me to post this. He said (a) it shows that our usually sweet girl can be a Total Beast and (b) it shows what a terrible pawrent I am because when she is a TB, I just laugh. I can't help it! I love it when she's a beast. She gets away with murder around here, and we all know it. (I just pity the folks that dog sit her... Sorry Terry, Jon & Lou!) Anyway, we posted the Cujo Cone Puppy video, so I figured we might as well post this one too.
I'd been saving an empty peanut butter jar for just such an emergency. It came it quite handy on Sunday. After she licked all the peanut butter out as far as she could reach, I cut the jar in half. Once she licked it clean, she had a great time zinging it around the living room. Hours of entertainment! And we got to stay on the sofa!
In BIG NEWS, this Saturday is Abby's ONE YEAR Ampuversary. Not exactly sure what we will do to celebrate, but I'm sure Fiesta Island and an In-N-Out Flying Dutchman will be involved. We have now officially had Abby longer with cancer (12 months!) than without (11 months). We are proud of our Tripawd Warrior Princess. (Oh, that reminds me - did I tell you guys she is in a book?? And she's in a calendar?? And she should be on another T-shirt soon?? Well, I'll have to do another post about all that in the near future.)
In other news, we have a follow-up at the oncologist this Friday. (I'm taking them a copy of the book Abby's in, which reminds me - I need a rubber stamp so she can 'pawtograph' it for them.) Dr. V. said last time that we would do x-rays again, but I think I might veto that idea. It would be nice to know if the artemisinin is doing it's thing and keeping Boris and Natasha at bay... but on the other hand, if it's bad news, then I don't really want to know. We'll see... I'll let you know what happens.
Abby is continuing to do really well. Last time I mentioned some tummy issues, which have been continuing off and on, but overall she's fine - and was well enough on Sunday that we did indeed get to go for a Flying Dutchman at In-N-Out. She loved it! She is not usually much of a chow-hound/beggar, but she was totally counter-surfing when we brought that little bit of cheese-and-meat-heaven home.
We've been going to the beach pretty much every day. It's the only place
where she smiles. The rest of the time she has an expression pretty much like this on her face:
"Well? When are we going to DO something?"
But when we go to the beach, she looks like this:
"This place is AWESOME!"
Happy, beach-bound girl!
And when we get there, she's even happier:
Yesterday at the beach, this old man that I often see there walking
his pooch, came up to me and shook my hand and introduced himself (Chuck
- and his dog, Elton. Great name for a dog, eh?). He said, "I see you
here all the time and I just wanted to say how much I admire you both."
Both? I get that Abby is very admirable, running around like nothing's
wrong, laughing in the face of adversity ("Hahahah! Stupid Adversity!!")
but I'm not sure why he says he admires us both. I'm just there walking with my doggy, like all the other "regulars." Anyway, it was very sweet. And chalk up another admirer for Abby.
Toenail update: In my last post, I had her taped up into a sock trying to help her torn toenail heal. Well, it is still bothering her a little
bit, but she chewed holes in the sock, so sock therapy had to stop. It seems to be getting better though and she doesn't lick it as much. At any rate, it's not slowing her down one bit. Here is video
evidence of how she still races around. I captured her this morning at
Fiesta Island chasing seagull shadows. (Remember I mentioned that
she goes nuts for flashlights and candles? Well, it's the same for
pretty much all reflecty/shiny things as well and fast moving
shadows. She's nuts.) You'll see in the video that the seagull flies by
on my right, but Abby takes off to the left - chasing the shadow instead
of the low-flying bird. (You might want to turn the sound down or just
mute all together - it was really windy today so the sound is not great,
plus there's my squeaky voice cheering her on.) She runs SO fast and so far away that you can barely see her. Not the greatest quality video - but I just used my little iPod Nano to shoot it. [Amazing that you can carry something so small around and record videos with it! Thank you, Steve Jobs and may you RIP.]
Barney update: In Barney news, Abby has successfully managed to kill him dead. In the last photos I posted of him, he had been turned into a uni-pawd with a colostomy bag but he was still hanging in there. With the exception of his small and large intestine, most of his internal organs were still intact. Well, the other day I got up to find these remains of Barney (careful... these are gruesome and not for the squeamish...):
No limbs. No eyes. No lower jaw. No innards. He's toast. But he still insists that he loves us! What a chump. Thanks for the good times, Barney.
That's pretty much all the news from Abby-land. Thanks for reading.
Today is Abby's 11 month ampuversary! Boy, the time has flown! We went to Fiesta Island this morning and I told this old guy walking his German Shepherds that it was her anniversary. He was very impressed with her and gave her some loving and called her "amazing" and "a princess". That's for sure! We don't call her Tripawd Warrior Princess for nuthin'!
There will definitely be an In-N-Out Flying Dutchman in her near future to celebrate. She's been having just a wee bit of a tummy issues (not a 100% "solid citizen" as my brother-in-law would say) so we probably won't do too much in terms of food celebrations today - but there will be lots of loving and tummy rubs. (Luckily she is not that much of a chow hound, because in my personal opinion, a celebration without special foods is like a day in Abu Ghraib.)
"I'm not thrilled about this..."
In addition to her tummy issues, she's been having a problem with one of her toenails. It's sort of torn, way down near the quick and she's been licking it like crazy, so we've been trimming it a tiny bit at a time (she hates having her nails trimmed!). I put some neosporin/pain killer ointment on it the other day and then taped her up in a little, old slipper-sock of mine. She was not thrilled about the sock - but she looked pretty cute sock-hopping around here.
In other anniversary news, it was our 15 year wedding anniversary last week, so thought I'd throw in a pic of us from that day, back when we were so much younger/cuter. Oh, and we both had a lot more hair back then! Darn... just had an awesome idea... we should have tried to recreate this pose for our anniversary. Hah! Oh well - maybe next time we are in Flagstaff, or for our 20th anniversary...
Not much else going on around here, so I'll just end with some cute pics of our girl. Here she is, waiting by the garage entrance door because she heard Daddy coming home:
"Is that my daddy??"
And here she is loving on Daddy. She's such a ham. They were being all lovey, so I got my camera, and when she heard the camera she turned toward me. She's always ready for her close up! [Oh, and if you were wondering... No, he does NOT care if he gets dog hair all over his nice work pants. Much to my chagrin. I have to chase him around with the lint roller!]