Showing posts with label chemo side effects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chemo side effects. Show all posts

January 25, 2011

Abby's In Love...

Dr. Vancil's dog, Hank, was at the cancer clinic again today. He came running out from the back to see Abby, all wiggly and excited. They are clearly in love, as evidenced in this photo, which is so cute I decided to make it LARGE. (Apparently Abby had Hank pinned when they were playing in the back after her treatment. I'm certain he was letting her win, since not only is he much bigger than her, he's got a spare leg!) Hopefully he'll be there again next time she goes. 

[Dang. Abby just threw up. This same thing happened after her last treatment: as soon as I started writing on the blog, I had to take a break to go clean up. Maybe she doesn't like the blog?? Anyway, I'm thankful for the wood floors here at the new house, instead of carpet like the old place!] 

Abby was supposed to have had a follow-up x-ray today, to see if that tiny spot on her lung had grown. Dr. Vancil and I talked about the pros and cons of taking the x-ray or waiting another 2 weeks. The thinking was that if the spot was obviously bigger, we'd possibly not have done her final treatment of carboplatin and switched to some other drug. He said ideally you want to re-xray 1 month to 6 weeks out, and we were just short of 1 month, so we decided to wait. I was worried that if we took it today, it would be hard to tell if it was clearly bigger or not. I think waiting was the right decision.

[Dang! She just threw up again. She's never thrown up twice, so, another first: I just gave her one of the nausea pills they gave me after her first session. Had to really coax her to take it with some peanut butter. Poor baby. She seems to be feeling a little puny.]

I told Dr. V. about how tired she was the few days after her last treatment, and he said that happens sometimes -- the dog will breeze through the first batch of treatments but by the 5th or 6th, the cumulative effect starts to hit them. [I guess that is what's happening with her and the nausea as well. Hopefully she'll eat her dinner after a bit...] 

Dr. V. checked her out today and said her lungs and heart sound great. She's also maintaining her weight, which is good. They take blood every time she goes to see how her white count is doing (it's always been great), but last time they took extra blood and sent it out to the lab to make sure the chemo isn't messing with her liver and whatnot. He showed me the results they got back, and how all the indicators were basically ideal. He said she's very healthy . . . if only it weren't for that minor little cancer thing!

So, you all will just have to keep those positive thoughts coming for another 2 weeks until we get that x-ray. In the meantime, once she feels better, we'll have to do something to celebrate her final chemo! (At least, the final one for now...)

January 19, 2011

Worrying Some More - Maybe for Nothing...

Sorry about the delay in posting, but we've been extremely busy. And that business is sort of directly related to my worrying about Abby. 

Last Tuesday, as I mentioned earlier, we started doing some work on the new house. This crazy SOLID wall (made of concrete blocks, rebar, the works - maybe they wanted to build a bunker at one time??) ran diagonally across what will now be our "great room," so we had that bad boy torn down (involving much jackhammering, sledgehammering, etc.). Because it was so noisy here all week -- and very stressful for Abby, who started following me everywhere -- I really made an effort to keep her out of the house. Here are a few pics of our not-very-exciting adventures:

Wednesday we went to the dog park in the a.m., ran a TON of errands, and had a picnic lunch in the park. (Well, I had lunch anyway. Abby had a pine cone. Reminds me of that old Grape Nuts commercial: "Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible." Really? Many parts??)
Thursday we ran still more errands, went to visit our friend Mazli-pictured on the left, and met up with Dakota at Fiesta Island. Abby had a great time running after Dakota (who is super speedy) and playing with all the other pooches there. But then she crashed in the wet sand, as illustrated below. We couldn't even walk the whole way along the bay like we usually do; had to turn back early because there was no way I was going to be able to carry her almost-50lb.-completely-unwieldy body out of there!
By Friday morning when we went on our walk, we hadn't even made it half way along our usual route when she flopped down in the middle of the street (no sidewalks on that stretch, so we had been walking on the side of the road). Had to literally drag her out of the way as a car was coming!

We turned to go back home and she "teeped over," as we say, several more times--resting in spots on driveways, under trees, anywhere where she could find some shade. I should mention, it's been really hot here lately -- almost like summer. I was really worried about her, having so little stamina and just seeming not at like her usual high-energy self, but I think it was just the combination of: three almost full days of being constantly on the go, plus the noise when we would be at home, plus the heat, plus maybe some cumulative effect of five chemo treatments. 

After I dragged her home from the walk Friday, I took her to her Aunt Terry and Uncle Jon's so she could have some peace and quiet (with occasional diversions of pestering her cousin, Corgi Lou, and a visit with lots of kisses from the neighbor, Sue) while I went furniture shopping. Over the weekend we tried to keep her a little quieter than usual, although Saturday night we did take her for a nice hop through downtown La Jolla (where our tripawd was stared/smiled at by many and loved on by a few) and then Sunday we went to Fiesta Island where, again, she couldn't quite walk the whole way. I was still a little worried about her after that, but then Tuesday night she really seemed to be back to her old spunky ways. We went for a pretty good walk last night after Mike got home, and even after that she came home and was running wind sprints out in the backyard -- trying to get her stamina back up I guess. 

And I'm happy to report that on our walk this a.m. (which was foggy and kind of chilly) she hopped along like her old self.

Next up is the final chemo session on this coming Tuesday -- and the big re-check of the lung x-ray. Please keep a good thought that the little spot on her one lung will not be any bigger! Stay small, Stupid Spot!!!

January 11, 2011

Chemo #5

Wait, isn't that the title of a song? Oh no, that's Mambo #5... Anyway, today was Abby's penultimate chemo session. Dr. Vancil talked to me some more about that single spot on her lung. He said that at first the radiologist told him she didn't see anything, but then he convinced her there was something small there. (Oh damn.We interrupt this post to go clean up. Abby just threw up... That's weird - other than the time she threw up the popcorn, she's been fine every time after chemo. Poor baby.)

Anyway, back to the spot... Dr. Vancil said he talked to the other oncologists in the group (the Vet Cancer Group has several offices in So Cal, so it's nice - it's like getting 2nd and 3rd opinions without having to go see anyone else). They all agreed with his advice, which is to stay the course. He said usually the only options are: upping the dose (but we are already using the max); increasing the frequency (but we're already doing every 2 weeks instead of every 3); or trying another drug. Right now we are using Carboplatin. He said there's no reason to change when there's no guarantee another drug would work any better, and when we don't even know for sure if the spot is a tumor. He said, "it could be anything." (But, of course, I have a bad feeling about it.)

Next time we go, he'll take another x-ray and he'll also have the original one there from our vet. Then we can compare all three side by side. He said it's possible the original slide won't show anything, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't there. He has a super new, turbo-charged machine and who knows how old the machine at the vet's office is. So... we'll see what happens on the 25th. Best case, it just looks the same. If it's way bigger, then we'll see. 

All in all, Dr. V said she's doing great, and he thought she looked like she'd gotten bigger and more muscular. According to their scale, she'd gained 1 1/2 pounds, but it's hard to know if that's accurate since she was totally wiggly the last time we weighed her there. Hopefully she really did gain some weight. Dr. V. said it's rare that you get a dog that does that during chemo!

In more fun news, Dr. Vancil's dog, Hank, was at the office today - a 10-year-old Weimaraner and 3 year cancer-survivor. While I left Abby there for her treatment and went out to run errands, Hank and Abby had a little play session, which Dr. V recorded for me on his phone. Abby was all over Hank. Wish I had some of my own pics to post of them playing! So cute. Dr. V. said he's going to save the video to show to people who come in and are worried about having to perform an amp on their dog. I told him he could point them to my blog as well!

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.

November 11, 2010

First "Real" Tripawd Walk

Abby went for her first "real" walk yesterday as a tripawd. It was funny to see how few people in the neighborhood even noticed. I did see some ladies in a car slow way down for their drive-by, looking at her and making that "Awwww" face. They waved and smiled at me, but I have no idea who they were. 

Then we saw one of Abby's neighborhood boyfriends coming along--Donovan. He's a Shepard mix and the same age as Abby. I just stopped to wait for his "mom" to notice. It took her a while, but when she did, she put her hand up to her heart, and said, "Oh no! What happened!?" It was a similar scene as with my hairdresser the other day - she threatened to start crying. But Abby had a huge smile on her face and was waving her tail back and forth, so I just said, "Yeah, but look how happy she is." 

This morning we went for another short walk with Abby's Aunt Terry and her cousin, Corgi Lou. (And Terry gets photo credits for today. I forgot to bring my camera along!)

A nice lady in their neighborhood gave them treats on our walk (which I guess is her usual M.O). She gave Abby an extra one for her troubles. (And so it begins - the milking it!) Lou, on the other, didn't cut Abby any slack--he showed her some teeth when she tried to give him a few too many kisses. She LOVES him and he tolerates her.

We went to Terry's to borrow a ramp from her neighbor. Here's Abby test-driving it for the first time. I managed to get her to come down it when we got home as well, although it took a lot of coaxing with a jerkey treat. It will be great if she can get used to it--don't want her to hurt herself jumping down! We also need to try it in our bedroom or maybe add some stairs for the bed. (Or... we need to train her to not sleep in our bed... That sounds a lot like tough love though, and, as I've mentioned, we-ESPECIALLY Mike-are not so good at that.)   
As you can see, she's still wearing a T-shirt. Mostly to keep her from scaring folks (although she's healing up nicely) and to keep her from bugging the incision.Yesterday she almost chewed off the tank top I had on her, because she wants at those scabs so badly! So, for the most part, she is still wearing the dreaded e-collar. I took a video of her illustrating the whole "need for a cone" situation, but Mike said not to post it as it doesn't paint her in the nicest light. You should see her show me her teeth when I put the cone on her! Cujo-puppy! So suddenly Mr. We Need To Show People Every Part of This is all "no, let's not show the nitty-gritty and put the puppy in a bad light." (I think it's understandable though - I'd be a might testy too if someone: took my arm; wouldn't let me go out and have fun for weeks on end; and then kept stuffing my head through a life preserver! Oh, yeah, I'd be showing some teeth!) 

If there's demand for the video, I'll post it. I find it amusing. 

Oh, and btw, no side effects so far from yesterday's chemo - although I guess it can take a few days. Wish us luck with that!