Showing posts with label cytoxan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cytoxan. Show all posts

November 3, 2011

My Big Weekend

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 is was 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!

July 6, 2011

Another Good Check Up & Feeling Crafty

Abby had a quick check up at the Vet Cancer Group today just to check her blood and make sure she is doing OK taking the Cytoxan every day now. All went well and Dr. V. said her blood looked great - in fact, it was the best it's been. We go back again in two weeks for x-rays. Of course we are hoping the Lone Met will still be a loner, and once we have confirmed that he is, we will have the "Rename the Lone Met" contest. Don't want to have it now, just in case... So fingers and paws are crossed for good news in two weeks. 

We still haven't started Abby on the artemisinin (which I blogged about here) as she's had a wee bit of tummy issues. I'm certain it's from stealing green peaches off another of our peach trees which is not producing much yet. (We've caught her munching on the pits a couple of times...) She is almost back to being a "solid citizen" so we'll be starting the "arte" soon.

As for feeling crafty, I've been playing with my "Brushes" app on my iPad a bit more and did this e-painting of Abby. This is the pose you will most often find her in as she very much enjoys a bit of belly rubbing. She pretty much lays around like that, in the hopes that a hand will come by. (I hope you see this as "art" and not "puppy porn." Mike wanted me to incorporate a fig leaf, just in case anyone might be offended, but I know you guys don't offend easily!)
Slut Puppy        

Three Bunnies & A Rat

In other craftiness, my sisters and I get together every once in a great while for what we like to call "Forced Crafting." You must participate, no matter how much you suck at the particular craft we are working on. In the past we have done Christmas wreaths, beaded bracelets, little stuffed Easter chickies and bunnies made of felt, etc. etc. This time we tried "felting wool," in which you basically just get this special wool (called "roving"), form it into a shape, and stab it repeatedly (and yourself occasionally) with a special needle until it magically retains said shape. We made bunnies. (Well, they all started out as bunnies, but one ended up becoming a rat... And a darn handsome rat he is!)

After we made the bunnies/rat, I had to go, but my sisters made a very fine replica of corgi Lou, remember him from this previous post?, and a neighbor's dog, Marley. Too cute, eh? We are going to try again this week. I'm going to start slow and attempt a quadpawd first. Actually, I can't decide if a tripawd will be harder (tough to get it to stand/sit without falling over...) or easier (one less leg to make!). You can be sure that if they come out cute I'll be posting pics all over the place - the blog, Facebook, Twitter, maybe even a YouTube video! (And if they come out ugly, I will only post the pics here.)
Applying the Tail to the Rat
Marley, next to his photo
Finally, I just want to say there have been some very sad posts on the BoneCancerDogs listserv and on the Tripawds' site the last few days about sweet pooches who lost their battle with this oh-so-shitty disease. We are thinking of you guys and hoping you are taking some comfort in the fact that your furry family members are now running pain free. Hang in there. 

June 22, 2011

And Yet More Needless Worrying...

Abby had a follow up appointment at the Vet Cancer Group today with Dr. V. Sadly, her boyfriend Hank wasn't there, but she still had a fun time. They make a fuss and pet her and give her lots of cookies. Here she is sporting her pink bandage, which oh-so-smartly matches her leash and collar. 

I've been a bit worried about her because we had to finally give up on the Palladia. Before, she would only occasionally have GI issues with it, but it was getting to the point where she could only be on it for about 3 doses and then she would have major GI troubles. I was worried that the Lone Met would have a field day in her lungs if we suddenly stopped hitting it with the Palladia, but Dr. V. said not to worry. What we will do now is give her the Cytoxan/Piroxicam doses every day, instead of just T, Th, S & S. So, she'll still be getting a 'hit' of chemo every day. The Cytoxan is less likely to give her GI trouble, although it can lower the white blood cell count. So far, her white counts have been really good, so we'll start the Cytoxan daily and go back in 2 weeks to make sure it's not having any negative effects. As long as she seems to be handling that OK, then I'll also start to add in artemisinin, which is part of the half-holistic, or halflistic, approach I blogged about a few posts back. If you are interested, you can read more about artemisinin here on the Bone Cancer Dogs site, but basically it's an herb that has been shown to kill cancer cells in the lab (oh, and by that I mean the laboratory - not a Labrador retriever...). They have used it as an anti-malarial drug in Asia for decades, so there's a lot of info about how it works and potential side effects. Anyway, I don't want to get all technical, so I'll just post a pic of how it all works:
In related news, I have come to realize that the Palladia was actually making her less energetic. And, even with the Palladia, her energy was already akin to something like a toddler hopped up on cotton candy, so now it's really through the roof. I used to be able to wear her out for the day by taking her to Fiesta Island for an hour, but not so much now. By dinner time she is up and stealing napkins off the table and dirty socks out of the laundry and trying to chew on me, and just generally being her old terrorist puppy self. Here I thought she was just growing up a bit! But, no, it was the Palladia making her feel a bit, well, poopy. As a testament to her new-found almost-boundless energy, here are some (of the many) pics I took at Fiesta Island on Saturday. (Wish I'd taken my camera on Sunday too, as we met a cute Tripawd her same age named Mushroom and they actually played together! Hopefully we'll see him again soon.)

Abby loved this little dog, Enzo.

They wrestled for about 15 min, which is RARE for her now.

More wrestling. (Don't worry - he was not crushed.)

Here is another random dog that she raced after...

...and raced after...

...and raced after...

...and, well, you get the idea.

Love this action shot where she is fully airborne!
On a final note, the peaches are almost coming to an end! We've been making the most delicious peach sorbet with them! Abby loves it! (And so does Mike, which lets you know how good it is because he has mostly gone off sweets. Crazy boy.) We are going to miss the peaches so! But at least we have a freezer full of them still.

Tune in next time when I plan to blog about the Kill Barney Tour, which Abby very much wants to be a part of. (You'll just have to tune in ... wait, people don't 'tune in' on the web... you'll just have to click in for an explanation.) Type at you next time. Thanks for reading, or skimming, or whatever.

May 17, 2011

The Cancer Iditarod

I know I sounded all optimistic about Abby and how she's doing in yesterday's post... but then this morning (after only being back on the Palladia for one dose) her diarrhea troubles were back. Damn. So I started worrying about having to take her off the Palladia (we are definitely not taking it again - at least until I talk to Dr. V. at her next appointment Friday the 20th) and then I started to worry that The Lone Met would turn into a big ol' bad-ass tumor without Captian Palladia there to keep it bay. Worrying worrying worrying.

Then, also today, some holistic options came up via various channels... and then I started freaking out that maybe we never should have been giving her the Palladia/Cytoxan in the first place! Saw some info online (not the actual research but comments on research) that chemo can do more harm than good because basically, whatever cancer cells survive the chemo become even more aggressive and actually end up promoting metastasis. [Also found what seemed to be the original research about that later on on WebMD. It said, yes, the cancer that survives becomes a "healthier" form of the cancer - but it also said it doesn't mean chemo doesn't work - just that you need new, additional treatment options. But...who knows, maybe the drug companies that makes the chemo paid for that article.] I also saw online that supposedly 80% of oncologists in a survey said they would not choose chemo for themselves, even though they recommend it to their patients. No clue if that is really true.

That all prompted a little melt down/freak out. Spent hours on end in front of the computer researching/reading and continuing to freak out. Posted a comment on the Tripawds site and some folks there tried to talk me down from my nuttiness. Tripawds recommends the "Dog Cancer Survival Guide" from Dr. Dressler - who funnily enough works out of Kihei in Maui - which is exactly where we just were... So, I downloaded that and need to start speed reading through it. Seems like there is a lot of good advice in there. I'm also considering doing a phone consult with a holistic vet that comes highly recommended by some of the Tripawds' folks... Adding to my freak out was the thought that we should have been doing more holistic stuff (diet and supplements) from the get-go. Trying not to think "We wasted 6 months when we could have been doing more!!" Trying...

Anyway, not sure where all this will lead - most likely to: dropping the Palladia, rethinking the Cytoxan (although I'm kinda afraid to go wholly holistic - maybe we'll go "halflistic"), maybe to adding some new supplements to her diet, and getting very strict about the grain free/low carb stuff. (She's on a kibble, Blue Buffalo Wilderness formula, that is supposed to be good, but I need to research it more.)

Ugh. I reread this post and it's just a big jumbled mess, but that is how my brain has been all afternoon. This stuff is all so confusing and its hard to know what info you read is right and what is just hype. Thought about not even posting it, but, well, this is the roller-coaster ride we are on. (Dr. Dressler calls it the Cancer Iditarod, which I've stolen for the title of this post.) Will keep you posted on what changes we make to her routine. I just want her to be around as long as possible -- as long as her quality of life remains as good as it's been. (She has a pretty darn awesome life at the moment...)

Speaking of her awesome life, we went to Fiesta Island this morning, as we've done every morning now since we got back from Maui, and she ran like crazy on the beach with Dakota. Then this afternoon, while I was freaking out and doing research on the computer, she was happily napping, oblivious, in the other room.  

For today's photo, here's an update on her new toys: (The 7-rated shark has an even bigger hole in his head; the squeaky dog has lost all of its limbs - but it keeps on smiling.)

Trying to keep smiling and have a called a moratorium on freaking out.

March 16, 2011

Taking Pills & Making the Podium

No, the dog is not doing performance enhancing drugs to win a race. The two parts of that title don't actually relate to one another. Let me 'splain. (Or perhaps, just sum up.)

PILLS: Today Abby had a follow up appointment with Dr. V. at the Vet Cancer Group to see how she was doing on the Palladia. Since she's doing well (only lost 1/2 a pound and has had only mild GI trouble, easily controlled with a couple of doses of Flagyl), we decided to add additional drugs to our cancer-butt-kicking arsenal. As shown in the photo, in order to keep track of her myriad pills, I had to get her one of those things like grandma uses (no offense to anyone out there who is NOT a grandma and uses one of these things... Like, oh, my hubby - not cuz he takes a ton of pills, but cuz we are forgetful...).  

The main things we added are: Cytoxan (another low-dose chemo med, but it attacks the tumor differently than how the Palladia does, so it will be a one-two punch to that damn met) and Piroxicam (an NSAID, which apparently helps starve the tumor of the blood supply it feeds off of). To help with side effects, she gets Lasix on the same days as the Cytoxan plus a generic Prilosec each day. The plan is to try this for the next 2 weeks and then Dr. V. will check her blood and see how she's doing. It sounds like a lot, but others I talked to on the BoneCancerDogs Yahoo! group are also doing the every other day Palladia/Cytoxan thing, and apparently their dogs' tummies are handling it all well, so hopefully Abby will too. [I don't know if I mentioned it before, but basically this is called Metronomic Chemotherapy, which they explain quite well here if you want to know more.]

PODIUM: So, on to funner things. First of all, if you've been reading along, you know I entered Abby in the Orvis Cover Dog Contest. Well, as of today (the contest ends March 31) she is squarely on the bottom step of the podium for "Most Unique Voters" all by herself (for a long while she was sharing that last step with another dog). Yes, she's THIRD out of what is now up to a pool of 12,800+ dogs! That's a lotta poochness, and our girl is shining! Thanks to all who Vote(d) for Abby. As I've said (what, like a dozen times now?), one vote = one dollar and all the money goes to the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Research organization.

PICTURES: In other news, Mike and I went away this weekend with his brother and his brother's wife for a quick visit to Santa Barbara. Abby stayed with her aunt and uncle and her cousin, Lou, as she usually does. Her Aunt Terry took these very cute pics of her, anxiously awaiting the return of her parents. (Which is not to say she doesn't have a great time there, cuz she does... I think the main thing she likes is pestering Lou.)
"Are they back yet? Thought I heard their car..."

Isn't it cute how you can just see Lou's little Shmoo head in the background?

PEDICURE: In one last bit of fun news, we stopped by her regular vet office today, just to say hi. Everyone there was SO happy to see her, as this is the first time they've seen her since she got her stitches out way back in Nov. Dr. Shaprut, her regular vet, came out to love on her, but I could see him giving her the 'vet-once over' - surreptitiously checking her gums and whatnot. He noticed her back dew claws were getting long, so offered to have a tech cut them for free. He said "Anything for our Abby!" So, we just stopped to say hi, but ended up getting a free pedicure (peticure?) as well. 

February 16, 2011

Hope in a Little Plastic Bottle

After much research and agonizing, we decided to try the Palladia with Abby, so I went and picked it up today at the Vet Cancer Group office. It's the first drug developed specifically for treating dogs with cancer and was only just approved in 2009, so it's still pretty new. It has, and I quote, "direct anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic activity." I don't totally know what anti-angiogenic means, other than it goes after the type of rapidly growing cells that you get with a tumor, but if you meet someone who bandies that type of word about, they are likely either a doctor or have been through this whole cancer crap before. 

Apparently it can have some rough effects on the tummy, so we have to keep a close eye on her for the first couple of weeks. I'm hoping she'll do well on it since she did so well on the carboplatin (which was her intravenous chemo). We go back to see Dr. Vancil on Feb 25, so hopefully she'll have a good check-up then. One of the side effects can be weight loss, so today she was just under 48lbs, and we'll see what she weighs next time. (I was pretty surprised that she'd gotten up into the 48 lb range! That's practically what she weighed pre-amp!) If she does well on the Palladia (which she will take every M, W, & F) we might add in Cytoxan (another home-dose chemo that works slightly differently) on T, Th, Sat's. Give that stupid met the ol' one-two punch! Take that YOU STUPID MET.

Anyway... of course, I'll keep you posted on how all that's going. On to funner things: in my last post I mentioned going to Fiesta Island without my camera. Made up for it by taking it along this past weekend and snapping a ton of pics. She had such a great time. We ran a bit and she ran along with us. She had tons of energy and people were very impressed with her! Here are some of the best pics:
I love this one. So cute.

My friend said there are never pics of me on the blog, so here...

She met a super cute beagle!

Action shot! Only one paw on the ground!
OK, not dog-related, but on V.Day-eve there was a big pink heart in the sky. (Squint a little to really make it look heart-shaped...)

February 9, 2011

It's Official . . .

. . . the cancer has spread to Abby's lungs. That wee damn spot that the oncologist noticed in her lung x-ray 6 weeks ago has grown -- it hasn't grown super fast (went from ~0.6cm to ~1.0cm), but it's grown and therefore confirmed itself as a "met." Dr. V. says this is not all bad news -- he said we should celebrate the fact that there were no other mets, so we are trying to hang on to that. 

But still . . . it's not great to know that it is officially in her lungs. Also, the fact that it's there brings up more treatment options. He sent us home with info on two different drugs we could try: palladia (a cancer drug developed very recently specifically for dogs) and cytoxan (a chemo drug that I believe is also used in humans and has been around a lot longer). We are trying to do some research and figure out what to do. The goal would be to stop that lone met from getting comfortable and growing and inviting friends over to stay. We do not want her lungs to be a nice place to live!

Anyway, in the case of palladia some dogs have seen the tumors shrink or disappear. The problem with the palladia is that it can have some harsh side effects, so she would need to be monitored closely on it. She's in such great health otherwise, and has such great energy, that I don't want to give her something that will mess that up. Not sure what we are going to do. Might try the palladia and see how it goes. Since she had so few side effects with the carboplatin, maybe she would be fine on the palladia as well. And if not, there is the cytoxan to fall back on. 

Still trying to decide. The other potentially scary thing is that some folks commented online that when their dogs had bad reactions to the palladia and had to go off it, the tumors came back like gang busters. Don't want to piss the tumor off and have it come back all Incredible-Hulkish on us . . .

In happier news, we are definitely going to enjoy every day with her. Today is a beautiful day here in SD, so I took Abby down to Fiesta Island. I didn't bring the camera along because going by myself and carrying her water and her leash and keeping an eye on her seemed like a bit much to also be trying to snap shots of her. But then, of course, I wished I had the camera because (a) there was another tripawd down there (not that she cared, because he was swimming and she was not interested) and (b) there was this 8-mo-old smaller version of a Greater Swiss Mt. Dog down there that she's played with before and they had a great time racing around. 

Abby is so energetic and rambunctious it's hard to believe she is "sick." Dr. V. said that her body really has no idea that little spot of cancer is in there. She's certainly in the envious position of being blissfully ignorant. Of course, even if she did know, I'm pretty sure she'd still be racing around enjoying every minute to the fullest - that's just how dogs are. Definitely need to take a cue from them!