Another pawday!

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Today is Rio’s 8-month ampuversary!  Treats for everypawdy!

I’m sitting here next to my girl, listening to her tummy gurgle it’s way through her breakfast, and I’m almost overwhelmed by how much I love this girl.  She truly is my heart and soul.

Love this girl, I do, I do....

We had a visit with our dog-ter yesterday for bloodwork to make sure the meds are being tolerated on the inside.  Other than a few extra medicinal naps (Gayle and Charon would be proud!!!), Rio is doing really well.  Outwardly, we really haven’t seen any noticeable side effects from the Kinavet, so I’m hopeful that her bloodwork will indicate that she’s not having any negative effects from it (elevated protein in the urine, elevated liver enzymes, etc.).  We have a follow-up ultrasound next week to see if it’s having any impact on the metastases.  Fingers and paws crossed!!!!

Meanwhile, our city-girl friends, Rayna and Yoshi, are visiting again while their pawrents are visiting family in the Caymans.  Good thing we have lots of room for doggies here at Camp Monroe!




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A quick update…

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Hi all,

First off, I wanted to let you all know how much the outpouring of support has meant to us.  It’s been a rough couple of days (for me), and I really have been buoyed up by the “Tripawds Cheer Squad.”  It’s one thing to have support from friends, but its another to have the support from people who’ve “been there” or are currently experiencing a lot of the same things we’re going through.

Secondly, I wanted to give a quick update…  Rio’s cytology came back yesterday, and there were no big surprises.  It was simply a confirmation of what we already suspected.  After two nights of Google-mania, I have decided that we will give the Kinivet (masitinib) a try.  We’ll monitor CBC and some protein-urine thing and recheck her ultrasound in 3-4 weeks.  If at that time there doesn’t seem to be a significant reason to continue the meds, then we will stop.  Fortunately, Rio has a wonderful dog-ter friend who has offered to get me the meds at cost, since they are newly approved and quite expensive.

Rio will also need to take benedryl and pepcid everyday from now on.  There is a significant risk of degranulation, in which the Mast Cells basically explode and send histamines rampaging through the body.  The risk at this stage is pretty high for stomach ulcers, bleeding, and anaphylactic shock, so the meds are precautionary. The benedryl makes her pretty sleepy, but I think the extra naps are good for her.  (Gayle said so!)

When Rio started this journey at the beginning of this year, I told my husband I wanted to do a road trip with Rio.  I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, and I want her to be there with me when I do.  This summer has been pretty busy, and it’s been easy to make excuses for why it wasn’t possible to do this trip — who would take care of my clients, water my garden, where’s the gas money coming from, etc.  I want you all to know, we are going!  We are making the final plans and arrangements, but we are going.  We’ll probably leave in a couple of weeks, stop and see some family and friends along the way, but Grand Canyon or Bust!!!!  Those squirrels better look out!!!

The Wooooo!


Done with chemo!!!

June was insane, and July was beyond insane.  But I promised more details about how Rio’s been doing.

She finished up her last chemo on Wednesday.  I expected fireworks or champagne or something for our trouble, but it was very anti-climactic.  Rio didn’t even get a “Cancer Survivor” bandanna like she did the last time.  I was joking with the vet tech about it, and she said they’d been talking about ordering some, but just hadn’t yet.  I told her, navy blue on a black dog didn’t really work all that well, and that bright pink was really more Rio’s color…

She’s really doing well with the chemo this last few doses.  No nausea, no lethargy to speak of.  We haven’t even needed the Cerenia or metronidazole the last couple of times.  Her appetite is still really good, too.

On the other hand, she had another urinary tract infection and had to go back on the antibiotics for three weeks.  We’ll do another check next week to see if it’s cleared up.  She’s also been having a heck of a time getting around.  I’m not sure if she tweaked her knee or if Zeff knocked her down and hurt it, but I had the doctor look at it and she said there doesn’t appear to be any “structural” damage.  She’s on an NSAID to see if it will help.  Five days now and she’s a little better, but still having troubles.

Her hair has grown back on her hiney, finally!  She’s a little patchy still where the worst of the calcinosis is, but it’s so nice to see her shiny black furry butt again!  Her numbers looked really good on the last ACTH stimulation test that they did a few weeks back.  Exactly where the doctor wanted them to be!  Her muscles are starting to beef back up, and the bloated belly has gone away!  So we don’t have to retest that for another three to four months!

Rio will have an ultrasound in a month as follow-up, but for now, she’s got a clean bill of health!

One more thing, and maybe this is something worth asking in the forums:  Rio’s lipomas have mostly all disappeared.  I wonder if it’s the change in diet or if the chemotherapy took care of them.


Life update

Holy Cow!!! it’s JULY!!! Not really certain how that happened.  Must have blinked….

Yesterday was Rio’s last dose of CCNU, and per normal, she’s a bit tired this morning.  Today is milestone #5 Months since her surgery.  Yay, Rio!!!  Only one more Vinblastine to go!

She’s got a downy new coat of hair, although its still pretty patchy in spots.  I’m really pleased at how well the Trilostane seems to be working.  She’s got lots of energy and is really playful — like her young self, pre-Cushings.

Day before yesterday, we took the girls to the beach for the first time this summer.  It was almost 80 out and it just seemed like the perfect place to be.  The tide was out too far for Rio to really swim (cuz I can only throw the squirrel so far….), but she had a blast in the water!  The Golden Hippo swam so much, she can barely drag her carcass around the house.  She and Zeff have been in a coma for the last two days….  Dogs just don’t know how to pace themselves…  🙂

They had a great holiday with friends and family.  I think they were all too tired to even hear the fireworks (which is good, cuz they don’t like them very much).  Dad turned on a loud movie, too, so that helped cover the sound of most of the ka-booms.

A moose emerges from the surf

Monkeybutt Central

So my mom is babysitting this weekend. More quadpawds!!! Fortunately, these ones are pretty small. (I think Tosca poops bigger than these two.) They are pampered city girls, and mom made them stay outside yesterday while we were working in the yard. It was pretty pathetic! They kept running to the porch every time someone went near it, because they thought they were going to get to go back inside. And then when they figured out that they were outside for good, they discovered that the inside of the greenhouse was warm and dry. So that’s where they spent most of the afternoon until dad said they could go back inside. Continue reading

Update on treatment

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride the last couple of weeks with Rio’s treatments.  Last week, she had a couple of days where her appetite and energy completely disappeared, to the point where her oncologist asked us to drive down for an unscheduled visit because she was worried about her.  There was even talk about admitting her.  But then she turned a corner and started perking back up.  Her appetite returned with a vengeance and she played outside in the sunshine over the weekend.  Crisis averted! Continue reading

The numbers are in….

So they’re not great, but they’re not so bad, either.  Rio’s CBC is back and her white blood count is at 2500.  Last time the white cells were at 3700 (when we started chemo, they were at 9700).  So yeah, they’re down some.  Her neutrophils and leukocytes are down, too.  However, the Cerenia seems to be doing the trick, because she DEVOURED her dinner this evening.  Appetite back, whew, mom can breathe again. Even so, the onco dr. was concerned enough that she wants to see Rio tomorrow.  So, bright and early we’ll be loading up for a trip down to Tacoma.

Me, I’m just thankful that the appetite is back (with a vengeance — I nearly lost a finger!) and the tummy has quieted.  The gas mask can go back on the shelf for a little while.  She’s a lot more comfortable, tonight.  Instead of laying on the couch, staring glassy-eyed, belly bloated and churning, she’s snoozing.   And even better for me, no bad smells emanating from the end that’s pointed my way!!!!