Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Chemo Visit

January 30, 2014

We had an 11:30 a.m. Vet visit this morning.  I wasn't sure we were going to make it...we live in the SOUTH....we don't do snow....we certainly don't do ice and if you have seen any of the national news this week....well, suffice to say, it was NOT PRETTY.

Anyway...we made husband drove Audrey and I in his four-wheel drive truck.  The sun was out and some melting was beginning and road crews have had time to get to the major roadways.  Slow-going on the minor roads, but once we got on the bigger roads, not much to worry about.  

I really did not want to miss the Vet visit - I want to stay on the prescribed schedule and not waiver.

Today's visit was the one in the set of visits that is the quickest ... Audrey was given Cytoxan and Lasix orally.  Cytoxan is eliminated in the urine and can be irritating to the bladder lining.  We need to watch for blood in the urine, straining to urinate, frequent posturing (in the position to urinate, but NOT), excessive genital licking, decreased appetite, lethargy and constipation.

So far, in all these treatments, we have not observed many side effects. One of the things that has been happening to her involves her eyes. Her eyes are very runny.  It makes me think of my Mom. She had Chemo treatments in 1981 and she complained about her eyes and her vision was affected.  I can still see her batting her eyes trying to get her eyes to focus.  LOTS of years ago, she was only 46 - Leukemia - a battle lost.  I HATE CANCER.  

Audrey took her last Prednisone tablet yesterday!! Thank goodness.  This is the med that drastically increased her thirst and need to urinate.  

She still gets me up at night for a potty visit - usually once or twice.  It appears to me that the Vincristine also increases her thirst.  It also gives her "lethal to the human nose" gas!!  Oh MY! 

The technician that brought Audrey back to us after her treatment told us that she is always a really good girl.  She said she just lets them draw her blood, take her temp., etc.  She even willingly goes inside the cage...that part surprised me...she has hated to be crated from day one; LONG ago I gave up on that!  It makes things easier when you feel like the staff likes your dog.

In the Vet office today I saw the largest Ridgeback that I've ever seen; she looked like a mini-horse.  Boy, was she ever a beauty and very loving.  Only three years old.  I did not ask why she was there, but it can't be good; this practice is all specialists and some very sick babes come through the doors. 

Sitting right beside me today was a 12 year old Beagle and he looked everyday of his 12 years. Very thin and gray and the poor baby was shaking constantly.  The owner was too busy texting to pay any attention to the dog.  The dog sat right beside me and wanted to be touched, which I very willingly complied.  I just patted and rubbed the little thing and talked to him and told him what a pretty boy he was and that he was ok.  When the Tech came, she looked right at me and said, "Is this Cash?" ---- The owner was holding the leash and she finally put the phone down and responded.  Evidently, they were there to be admitted to the Emergency Room portion of the practice.  

Cost of today's visit:     $207.82 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Audrey's Mom and Audrey's Puppy Pictures

Saturday, January 25, 2014
After Thursday's chemo, Audrey pretty much has no energy today.  It seems the second and third days after chemo are the ones that she is noticeably more tired.  So far, NOTHING has affected her appetite. 
Hunted up some puppy pictures to post.
Audrey's Mom
I thanked her for letting me take
one of her babies.
Unsure - In Hotel Room
Fast Asleep

This is how she rode most all
the way home.  I had a nice bed fixed
for her, but she would not have it...
so the trend began.

I had to leave hotel room to get something
out of the car; I put her in the tub
in case she pottied in the room!
She didn't think it was a good idea.

Found some funny shots that I will
post later.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Audrey is in REMISSION!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Vet did an ultrasound today and determined that Audrey is in REMISSION!

Such great news!

She will continue with her chemo as prescribed - ending the first part of June.  

While this is wonderful news and we are so is NOT A CURE.  This will simply buy us time and we will love and appreciate each day we are given.

According to all I've read and the Vet stated on our very first visit - the typical remission time is one year before a relapse.

Audrey is such a good dog.  Extremely loving.  My husband expressed it well the other day.  He said that our previous dog was a great dog too and she loved us, but Audrey physically loves us back.  She loves for you to hug her and she leans into you and seeks you out for that kind of physical touch.  When she's in the car with me, she looks over at me and leans into my touch and she has this special look when she really wants me to reach over and pat her.  She especially does this on the way home from the Vet.  I can't help but interpret it as her wanting reassurance that all is ok.  She really responds when you tell her she is a good girl.

When she was about a year old we were driving by a small airport and I had the sunroof open; a low flying airplane flew right over our car!! Oh my gosh, she went into panic mode and jumped into my lap while I was driving!  Laughing, driving and trying to get her calm and back on her seat...we made it!

She gets up in my lap at the Vet too!  In the waiting room they have these wooden couches, she gets up beside me most of the time, but then climbs in my lap.  She looks like one of those FaceBook jokes where this giant dog is in a woman's lap and the caption says something like..."She likes it, she says I'm her baby!"

Good news today....GREAT news today. 

I was so excited to post our good news that I forgot to talk about the actual doctor visit.

In addition to the Ultra Sound today, they administered Vincristine via IV in Audrey's right front leg.  We are to monitor for swelling, redness, lack of use, excessive licking and/or limping. Also watch for decreased appetite, lethargy, etc.

Next visit in one week.

Cost of today's visit:  $340.75

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Ran across this picture from April, 2013;;;; Look at Audrey's EARS!!!

Gotta Love a Redbone!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Audrey is Feeling GREAT Today

Monday, January 20, 2014

Audrey is feeling great today.  She actually wanted to walk up our street today and she did so with her regular vim and vigor.

She did something new and different last night.  When she's ready to go to bed, she stands in front of me and just looks at me.  Usually, if I'm not ready, I can stave her off.  NOT last night!! When I tried to tell her "in a little bit", she just stood in front of me and BARKED, BARKED AND BARKED until I gave up!!  When I got in bed, she was a happy camper.

Training your human is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Audrey's 5th Birthday!

Ready For A Party!

What's Up There

                                              Lick, Lick, Lick
mmmmmm.....                                                               What An Anxious Look
 Jack Joins the Party
The Final C H O M P !

Thursday, January 16, 2014
Audrey's 5th Birthday

Ice Cream Cones on your birthday!! My family started this tradition with a dog I had in Junior High School, Chip.
Chip was a Dachshund.  He was a good boy and lived to be about 17.
Audrey LOVES her ice cream cone - who doesn't??


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Audrey Gets A New Pillow

January 14, 2013
Lucky Audrey!! Look at this cool new pillow!! My friend wanted to do something for Audrey
so she made her this pillow.  She chose the rabbits in hopes Audrey
would dream of chasing rabbits!!  What a positively sweet thing to do for Audrey.

I think she IS
Dreaming of Chasing Rabbits!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

An Early Morning

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One complete set of treatment is now over - three more sets to go - four treatments in each set.

Audrey tolerated today's treatment well.  The drug she was given --- ADRIAMYCIN.

This drug was administered via IV in her right leg.  This is the drug that is most apt to have side effects.  The drug can cause gastrointestinal signs like anorexia and diarrhea. The Vet's notes say this can happen a few days after the treatment.  We need to watch for decreased appetite, lethargy, and watch the IV site for swelling, redness, lack of use, excessive licking or limping and as always, blood in the urine and/or stool.

  ADRIAMYCIN - it even looks scary!

In humans this drug can cause Tingling Fingers and Toes, Muscle Aches, Fatigue, Chemo Brain (completely forgetting things), Loss of Taste, Joint Stiffness and Heart Palpitations.  I have read that heart issues are a big problem with this drug and dogs.  

Audrey's dose of Prednisone has now been decreased to 1/2 tablet every morning (down from two tablets in the beginning).  H O O R A Y !!!! Prednisone is the drug that is causing the extreme thirst.  Extreme thirst equals LOTS of potty trips during the day AND night.

The night that it was F I V E degrees, we went our four times....I slept in two pj tops, some pants I bought before I went to NYC - they are by Columbia and have a heat keeping thermal reflective lining!!  In this unusually cold weather we are having, they are becoming my favorite pants!! 

 When Audrey needed to go out, I put on my biggest coat and my huge housecoat on top of that and my wool socks and fur lined the 4:30 a.m. request, I was most certainly in a fog...I didn't even care that I somehow put my boots on the wrong feet....they still worked!  Audrey likes to go into the the five degrees the leaves really crunch!!

Last night I had planned to spend the night with my daughter since she lives about 7 miles from the Vet.....the best laid plans.....about 3 in the afternoon, she called me.  The water pipes in the apartment below her had burst and they had the water turned off to the entire building!  SO, in our morning traffic, I drove the 35 ish miles --- my alarm rang at 4:30 a.m. and I dragged out of bed about 15 minutes later....took Audrey out, fed her and the cats, showered, ate and got on the road at 6:00 a.m.  What a miracle, I got there in the fastest time I have EVER made it to that part of town - just under one hour...I was supposed to be there by 8 a.m. and I was there by 7 a.m.!!! If I had left 15 to 20 minutes later, the traffic would have prevented me from getting there on time.  Luckily, I listened to the news as I was getting ready to go; my exit off the interstate was closed because a water main broke!!  Knowing this in advance I was able to bypass that issue!

Even taking Audrey in a 7 a.m., they were not finished with her until about 12:30.  The drug has to be administered slowly; not quite that slowly, but they have to monitor her afterward, plus they do blood work, etc. prior to the chemo and they have a HUGE patient load.  They do not do regular Vet care - only specialist type work - some pretty sick animals.

There was an older man in the lobby when I came into the office to pick up Audrey.  He had a Weimaraner; both front legs were bandaged where they had done blood work or other procedures; the dog did not look well and the owner looked worse...felt sorry for him.  Audrey did make him laugh though....the HOUND that she is, it is her job to bark in the lobby just to let everyone know...."Audrey is in the building"!  She does that when I check her in too!  It's not a nervous bark...she does not even hesitate going in or going with the techs....she just likes to bark.

Yesterday I met a man that was telling me about his pet bird.  They had a picture frame that had lead in it and the bird kept pecking at the frame and got a piece lodged in his throat --- $2500.00 later a Vet removed it and 8 years later they still have the bird.  I'm surprised he didn't say something about lead poisoning.  People DO love their animals.

I was gone most all day yesterday and my husband had "Audrey DUTY" I drove  back in the driveway, he was out on the side porch banging his tennis shoes together!! Yep, he had "Audrey DUTY" alright!!! lol

We get a two week break from Vet visits.  Audrey doesn't have to be back until January 23, but I have to do another early morning drop off because the Vet wants to do another ultrasound to check the lymph nodes in her stomach.  

My daughter asked me about Audrey today; if she could be the one that is cured.  I read a blog the other day about a family's Basset Hound with lymphoma - I think the dog was about 8 years old; they clung to the hope for a cure...that he would be the exception.  I am trying very hard to be realistic.  I know what we are facing and acceptance is slowly creeping in.  If I'm writing this blog this time next year, I will be very lucky.  I'll do all I can until it is clear that enough is enough.....

My friends are being so kind, so supportive....Love to you all.

Cost of Today's Visit $280.07

Monday, January 6, 2014

A COLD night ahead....

...I am NOT looking forward to tonight!!  Audrey was out four times last night...tonight our temps are going to be around F I V E degrees!!  I've been sleeping in sweatpants so the trips outside aren't so bad, but tonight....I may have to sleep with my boots on too....or with a really L O N G extension cord attached to my electric blanket!!

Audrey didn't feel well yesterday - she did not seem to be in pain, just tired.  Hounds have really sad eyes, but when you know something is wrong, those sad eyes just about break your spirit.

She has felt well today - it was so cold that I threw some old bread out in the back yard for the crows---OH MY GOSH, Audrey could not stand it....every time we went out, she tried to make her way to the bread.  She has ME SO TRAINED.  She would beg to go out...not needing to potty....just wanted to check if the bread was still there and if she could side track me down that way.  Finally, I gave up...I went outside and threw it out in the woods so she could not see it from inside the house!!

I've tried a new method to deal with the unsettled time she has between 6 pm and 10 pm-----I read more about the types of food that are good for her to eat while receiving chemo.  I steamed chicken liver and pureed it and froze serving size portions...also boiled a few eggs and chopped them (with the shell) and froze serving size portions...bought some Greek yogurt with blueberries and some cottage cheese; around 5:30 or 6:00 ish I have been serving her some of those items, plus throughout the day I have been giving her snacks of these items.  The last three days it seems to have helped.  

The U.S. is in a "deep freeze" coldest temps in decades; for those people that are in areas of extreme cold, I hope you stay safe and if you use a portable heater, be extra careful!  I saw a funny joke today about snow.... a sign in the yard trying to sell "unassembled" snowmen!! lol

Friday, January 3, 2014

Audrey's 3rd Chemotherapy Treatment

January 2, 2014

Off we go on a rainy, gray dreary day - Audrey headed out the door and immediately went to the door of the RV!  I would rather trek to the Vet in the RV; it would be so much more comfortable than my small car, but the Vet has a huge nice building and a crappy parking lot and it is always completely full of cars. I have trouble finding a parking spot for my car much less an RV!!  The first day I was there, a UPS truck was parked in front of the Vet's door and had traffic blocked all around that section of the lot.  Their parking spaces are so small, it is difficult to get your dog out of the car without opening your door into the car next to you.

Audrey was given Vincristine IV in her right front leg - same drug she was given on December 19.  It only takes about 20 minutes or less to administer.  They do a Complete Blood Count (CBC) prior to each treatment.  I asked for the results this time.  I wanted to see how her numbers were doing.  So far, all of her numbers are in normal ranges.  The Vet said Audrey is responding well to treatments and her lymph nodes are continuing to be small.  A victory.

Cost of this visit $178.45

We are settling into a routine at home.  During the night, three hours is the magic mark; she has to go out every three hours; except the one night when it was seven times.  She really does need to go!!  Once we are up for the day, she does a bit better. She has been having an "unsettled" time between about 6 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  She wants food, she wants to go out every 30 or 40 minutes and she drinks lots of water.  I'm trying to find the balance.

In previous posts I've stressed how much water she much is "a lot"?  About two gallons a day.... I need to keep a close watch on the water bowls in the house.  I used to have one of the big two gallon containers that gravity feed into the bowl....I also have a cat that thinks it's great fun to push that container all around the floor until he turns it over!!

I always bring water with me on our drive to the Vet.  As soon as we get parked, she is ready to drink and after the appointment she is ready for more.  Today she drank a 20 ounce bottle in those two servings.  When we got home and back into the house, she went straight to the water dish for more.

Her next appointment will be January 9th and she has to be there by 8:00 a.m. and most likely not be finished until around 2 or 3 p.m.  Apprehensive about this visit; this treatment is the "big" drug.  The traffic is our area is brutal in the mornings and I have about 35 miles to drive to the Vet.  Luckily, my daughter lives near the Vet office, so Audrey and I will spend the night with her.  She's a cat

I posted pictures the other day and I think I finally figured out how to make them appear directly in the feed rather than in an album...jury is still out on that... Soon I want to hunt up some of my pics from when Audrey was a puppy...what a cute little baby!  January 16th is her 5th birthday - afterward I'll post pictures of what we always do on our dog's birthday!!

I am new to blogging and still learning how this page works.  I finally found the "STATS" section and have been amazed where readers are coming from...lots of people from Malaysia....HI to you all and thank you for taking time out of your day to share mine...   : )

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pictures of Audrey

I love profile shots of Audrey; I like the rim light on the fur
along the ridge of her nose.

Sleeping in the wrapping paper mess on Christmas Day.

Audrey loves to open presents!

You can see the patch of fur
shaved where they performed
the bone marrow test.


Clarence and Harold - Two Great Dogs Named After Relatives

                                                   Clarence the Bloodhound - A Big Boy!

                                                Harold and his MAGNIFICENT ears!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Altering Our Lifestyle for Audrey

Altering our life to accommodate Audrey - She's a little pee-pot right now; we cannot leave her more than 2.5 - 3 hours at a time.  She's always been an indoor dog and we do not have a fence - she has to go in and out on a leash.  If she isn't on a leash, that Coonhound nose hits the ground, she catches a scent and off she goes.  

We had an engagement party to attend across town - just over an hour away - over an hour to get there and another hour or so to get back....all our time is up - no time to visit.  We took the RV !  In October I bought my first ever motorhome - used - 24 foot, "C" Class - still learning all the ins and outs....that's for another blog!!!  We loaded Audrey up, drove across town on a cold, pouring down rain evening - gave her a potty break when we got there; then she had a nice warm spacious area and her own doggie bed.  We came out and checked on her and gave her another potty break; stayed as long as we wanted and then made our way home.  Worked out beautifully.

Did the same thing a day later when it was our daughter's birthday.  We met at a restaurant, gave Audrey the potty breaks she needed and when it came time for cake and presents, we celebrated inside the motorhome!  

A not so easy fix - my husband loves to bowl and he bowls in the National Bowling Tournament every year. It is regularly held in Reno, NV and we love the area. We had plans to vacation in some of our favorite California spots after the tournament.  This year, husband will go solo and I'll stay home with Audrey.  She will be in the middle of treatments and we do not want to board her during this time.  She will be on a weekly treatment schedule - with a week break every 5th week.... just a bit too risky to take off on a 2,400 miles trip plus the dates he needs to be there are Spring dates and the weather in the Reno area that time of year is very erratic. 

I'm sure there will be lots of challenges to overcome along the way and we will do our best to win each one!

WHY....would you name a dog AUDREY?

My entire family is dog crazy....we simply love our dogs, they are part of the family.  If you were to listen in on a conversation, you would learn that we ask about each other's dogs just like we ask about our kids, aunts, uncles, cousins....we talk about memories from past pets we've had!!!

Rebones have been a part of my Grandparents always had Redbones.  When my Grandmother passed away in 2006 at age 95, I decided that when I got my Redbone Coonhound, I was going to name her Audrey....after my Grandmother.  My Grandmother was one of the sweetest people ever...I loved being one of her grandchildren and everyone only has positive things to say about her.  My little Audrey is one sweet dog; she is loving and completely devoted, much like her namesake.

To add to the naming cousin has a bloodhound named guessed it, Clarence was our Grandpa's name!!  Grandpa loved his dogs....and cats!  One of my other cousins has a Bassett Hound named Harold.....Harold has the LONGEST ears ever.....just so happens, my cousin's Grandpa on the other side of his family had really BIG ears....!!! lol And yes, his name was Harold!!  One sweet man though....he was a very, very kind man.  I guess we are a bit warped.  I love calling my dog "Audrey"---it conjures up a whole life of beautiful, wonderful memories, however, there are some things I never thought of "Audrey, don't pee on the floor!"

Just before Christmas we learned that Harold also has cancer.  They thought it was an abscessed tooth.  When they took him to the Vet, they learned differently.  Harold is about 13.

Audrey's Second Chemotherapy Treatment - Different Drug

December 26, 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas and I posted some pictures of Audrey on Christmas Day.  She participated fully in all the fun; especially the FOOD!!  She still is ravenous and extremely thirsty.  I fail miserably when it comes to her "asking" for, fail, fail!!!  The Prednisone is still making her thirsty and I again feel like I have a newborn in the house....three and four times a night I reluctantly climb out of my warm bed, put on socks, shoes and a coat and head outdoors in a sleepy stupor!  I do love my baby and will do all I can for her.

The day after Christmas we take off for a 10:45 appointment.  Audrey was given Cytoxan and Lasix orally.  Cytoxan is eliminated in the urine and can be irritating to the bladder lining.  We are to watch for blood in the urine, straining to urinate, frequent posturing, excessive genital licking or constipation and always watch for lethargy and check her temp.

So far none of the above symptoms have been observed....still drinking like crazy and peeing, peeing, peeing...constipation....the opposite....


One night I got up SEVEN times with her!!

After this visit we are to reduce the Prednisone to 1.5 tablets instead of two; I'm hoping for less thirst and peeing, but I believe the Lasix also increases urine production.

Next appointment is scheduled for January 2, 2014.  If all goes as scheduled, Audrey's last appointment will be June 5, 2014.

Cost of this visit:  $197.95

Audrey's First Chemotherapy Treatment

December 19, 2013

The first chemotherapy visit.  Chemotherapy, Chemotherapy...I hate this word...I hate this word.

Audrey was given Vincristine IV in her right front leg.  After this treatment, you are to monitor the leg for swelling, redness, lack of use, excessive licking, or limping.  None of these happened.

We were to also watch for decreased appetite, lethargy, etc. and if you felt she was not well, take her temperature rectally -- contact theVet if temperature is over 103.5.  Normal dog temp is around 101.

NOTE;  Before starting this type of therapy....PURCHASE A THERMOMETER THAT YOU USE ONLY FOR YOUR DOG....

Decreased appetite---NOPE, lethargy - some but not a lot.  Never felt she had a fever.  The only usual thing we noticed was that she really did not want to be outside; potty break and then right back in the house.  Really did not want to take a walk which is very unusual for her.  My son has just earned his Pharmacist license and he said that in humans a side-effect of Vincristine is a lack of feeling in your feet.  Perhaps this could be an animal side effect as well....only speculation on my part.

I met with the Vet after this treatment.  I asked him how common it was for dogs to die during chemo treatments.  He seemed taken aback.  Took him a couple of seconds to recompose.  He said he only has a couple per year, if that....  When humans have cancer, often times they completely revamp and amp up their diet as another line of defense.  I had read on-line about a dog food that had reported success in this area.  I asked the Vet about this....he was familiar with the study I had read about.  According to the Vet, this particular study was not as accurate as the reported results indicate.  Evidently, there may have been some falsification of the test results and the author of the results was dismissed from employment with the lab.  There is a nutritionist that I can consult with and have a diet specifically made for Audrey.  Another thing to investigate.

Cost of this Visit: $178.45