November 11, 2011

Crazy Day, Crazy X-ray... (Cuz of 11.11.11?)

How is YOUR day? (Bear with me - this is gonna get long. And I want to stress, bear with me - not bare with me. You'll see why...)

My day started like this: (BTW... I know you just want to get to Abby's X-rays, but this sets the scene)
I hear my LOUD neighbors talking even louder than usual, so that I actually think, "Are they in my yard?" I get up from where I'm watching the news (which is the only spot in the whole house where I can't see their roof line) to find my neighbor crawling up NAKED onto the roof of his gazebo (presumably he crawled out of their hot tub, which is smack on the other side of our fence.) He was fighting with his wife (again - this is a common occurrence since they moved in a couple months ago...) and I guess you can make your point better from a higher vantage point. (My very funny friend said, "I personally don't have the confidence to go into battle naked, but it sounds like he's not saddled with such trivialities." Clearly, he's not.) Anyway, I opened the door and yelled, "Hello?!" while Abby ran out and barked like crazy at him. (Go, Abby!) He had the surprisingly good sense to actually look sheepish and get back down. (I feel I should also mention that we live on a canyon, so he was in full view of whomever might have been lucky enough to be standing in their backyard this morning.)

I was inside trying to calm down after the horror of all that, when I heard them yelling at each other again, this is with all the doors/windows closed, mind you. So I go outside and, standing in the middle of my yard, say, "I can hear you!" Finally they realized I was talking to them. She says, "But this is the first time we've been out here at this time." Like the time of day (8.30a.m.) was my issue. (Apparently they have no clue - because I'm quiet! - that I'm sitting in my office working most days, listening to them yell at each other.) I said, "I don't care what time of day it is, I hear you guys yelling at each other and cussing at each other all the time." Then I politely requested that I not see them naked anymore. She, again surprisingly, had the good sense to apologize.

After that I took Abby to the beach, hoping the sun, sand and sea would restore my frazzled spirits. It mostly did, except for when someone tried to run into me, but then when we got home, there was a super scary looking dude sitting in my yard. I thought he was with the movers across the street, but it turned out he's a buddy of my scary naked neighbor. It freaked me out a little that he was in my yard, so I went around and locked all the doors.

Before all this, I read an article this morning where some numerologist stated that because today is 11.11.11, it would be an extreme sort of day. If you were having a good day, it would be colossally good, and if you were having a bad day... well, you might as well go back to bed. So, I'm thinking before her appointment that her xrays are going to be terrible because I'm having such a crappy day. Then on the way there, another person tries to run into me (signals to change lanes into the right lane, but swerves left into MY lane instead).

Finally - the appointment news
At the appointment, I told Dr. V. we'd decided to go ahead with the X-rays and switch to Masitinib if it was bad news, but I asked him how we would decide what was "bad." He said if the mets were 25% larger, we'd make the switch. They take Abby in the back, and I'm seriously feeling like I'm going to throw up, and then he finally comes back and says, "Well, I don't know what we should do. Come look at these X-rays and we'll decide." He added, "Her mets are not acting like normal mets." Here's what we saw:

Boris: from some angles he was ~20% bigger (he went from ~4cm to ~5cm). From some angles, he didn't look much bigger at all. 

Natasha: from some angles she looked exactly the same (~2cm), from other angles she even looked smaller! (You know that Natasha, always trying to stay slim and sexy! "Does this lung make my ass look big?")

Dr. V. said he expected to see lots of dots all over. There were not lots of dots all over. So... if that was all that was going on in there, that would have been GREAT news and we would have just kept on with what we're doing. But...

There was a brand new met - and it went from non-existent to even bigger than Natasha (~3cm) in the past 4 months. Yes, Fearless Leader appears to have joined B&N in their quest to bring us down. But we are not giving up the fight! Oh no! We are going to try the Masitinib for a week and see how it goes. If she does well, we'll keep it up and if not, we go back to the cytoxan/artemisnin.

I asked what the goal is; should we just hope it keeps things stable. He said yes, that is the realistic goal - to keep them stable or slow them down. But, he said they could disappear.* He said he has not seen them disappear with osteosarcoma, but he has with other cancers. And since Abby's mets seem to not be acting like normal mets, who knows! She could be the miracle pup.

At any rate, the very good news is that he said, "She's not going anywhere anytime soon." :)

* For those of you on Tripawds, I said, "Oh I just read about a dog the other day on Tripawds whose mets disappeared." He said, "Yeah, we had a dog here. Lucky." Me: "Yeah! Lucky!" It turns out Dr. V. is Lucky's vet too! I had no idea! Going to have to PM them! Hopefully Abby will be "lucky" as well.

November 10, 2011

Keep a Good Thought Please

So, in the last post I mentioned we were trying to decide about doing the next set of X-rays. Well, we decided to go for it. Her appointment is tomorrow at 12:30. Hopefully we'll find that the routine we've been doing (artemisinin/Cytoxan) is working well and keep Boris & Natasha from starting a family/getting fat and happy. If that's the case, we just continue what we are doing. If, on the other hand, things don't look great in there, we'll abandon the current drug/artemisinin routine and try a new drug.

Geez, now I have that Huey Lewis & The News song stuck in my head... We do NOT want a new drug. We want to find that the drugs we are using are working. We'll see...

Please keep a good thought for us tomorrow. I'll let you know what happens. (Just realized I don't even have any new pics of Abby to post. Lame!)

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!

October 26, 2011

Total Beast & A Big Ampuversary!

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.

"Mmmmm. Creamy."
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.

October 18, 2011

Partying & Persimmons

Would you say that looks like a hungover pooch? If you answered Yes!, you are correct!

This is how Ab looked Sunday morning after a Saturday evening cookout at Fiesta Island with my bro, his wife, my nephew and his girlfriend and her family, my sis, my bro's neighbors, me and Mike, and three pooches. Abby had a very fabulous time! 

We got there early. (Actually... we got there on time, as did my sis. Everyone else was late. But we've come to expect that, so it's cool.) We had to kill some time and take the edge off of Abby's pent-up energy so we took her for a little walk. Then when the other dogs got there, we went for another little walk. As you can see in the pics, Guns (the Great Dane) was taken with Abby. He is eight, but she seems to bring out the puppy in him.

Abby, evading Gun's attentions like the spry minx that she is.
Leo, Abby's cousin, is a big sweetie. (Emphasis on big.)
This is his paw. You do not want it to step on you.
Abby chasing the birds & the boys chasing Abby
Resting, post-walk

The boys around the fire
The Survivor Girls (my sis-in-law is a 4-yr+ cancer survivor!)

After walkies and photo ops, we hung out and my sis-in-law BBQ'd some very yummy burgers. (Of course the dogs each got a burger as well - grass fed, organic beef no less!) We feasted and fiesta'd (hence Fiesta Island I guess) and all went home smelling like campfire. The next day Abby didn't get up until 9:15 and when she finally did, she looked like this:

In other news, we got persimmons in our CSA box yesterday. I have never (to my knowledge) eaten a persimmon. They must be good though, because I caught Abby trying to get one off the counter (and she is not much of a chow hound!). Got one down and offered it to her. Thought she'd just sniff it, but no...

...she tried to grab it...
...and run off with it. Seriously hanging on right here!
So... guess I better wash them good, whatever it is I end up making. If you have a favorite persimmon recipe, send it on my way!

October 12, 2011

Abby's Workout & Beauty Tips

A lot of folks comment on how thin and beautiful Abby is, so I've asked Abby to guest-blog today and share her workout and beauty tips. Take it away, Abby:

Hi Everypawdy! I know I make this whole supermodel dog thing look easy, but it actually takes a bit of work. Today I'm going to share what I know so you too can feel your best, or at least look your best in pictures.

Workout Tips
1. Stretching: This is super important. I never get up and go anywhere in the morning without a good long stretch first. Unfortunately, my mom is too slow with the camera in the morning to catch me doing my doga routine, so I've asked my good friend Kermit to demonstrate my #1 favorite stretch: downward-facing dog. (Or in this case, downward-facing frog.) Basically, stick your tail up in the air, and push back toward your hips. Awwww. So rejuvenating.

2. Cardio: This is integral to keeping fit and trim. Find something you love that gets your heart rate up. At least an hour a day keeps me looking my best! (Hey, I didn't say this would be easy...)
Running is the best exercise!

Water aerobics is also good. Here I am following the instructor's lead.
3. Core Workout: Don't forget to work your core! One-legged digging makes an excellent core workout. You try it! Just kneel on the floor. Now tie one hand behind your back. Now make a digging motion. Repeat 8,700 times.

[A note from the videographer... they have this thing on YouTube where you can (supposedly) edit your videos after you post them. I tried to add music and edit this a hair to rotate it. But it has been telling me it's processing my edits for like over an hour now so I give up. We'll see what happens.]

4. Water: Be sure to stay hydrated while you are working out! I recommend having your lackey carry your water for you, and being at the ready whenever you feel thirsty.

5. Recovery Foods: I find a fruit smoothy is just the thing after a hard workout.

6. Rewards: It's not ALL hard work; be sure to include some rewards for yourself so you don't feel deprived. If you are good and follow my advice every day, you'll see that you can reward yourself on the weekends with, oh, say a double cheese burger and fries and a shake, and you still won't gain an ounce!

If your goal is to lose weight, these 6 mostly-easy steps will help! Or, consider the fact that losing a limb is a great way to shed those extra pounds!!

Looking Your Best in Photos
Now, if all that sounds like too much trouble, and your idea of a cardio workout is pointing the remote at the TV, then here are some of my best modeling secrets so you, too, can look good in pictures.

1. Know your angle! Always try to look your slimmest in photos. Stand a little bit to one side and, if you have an extra leg, tuck it in behind the forward leg. If you don't have that pesky extra leg thing, than this is not a problem. Be sure to practice in front of the mirror and find your best angle. This is my best angle for looking my supermodel-skinniest!

2. Know your best color! For me, it's pink. But I also look good in just about any color. It's kind of a gift...

3. Know your WORST angle! Try to never let anyone take a picture of you from behind. (Does this sage brush make my butt look big?)

If you follow my simple advice, you too will be ready for your close up!

October 6, 2011

Seagull Shadows (& Requiem for a Purple Dinosaur)

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.