Monday, September 8, 2014
This picture was taken a few days after Henry's first round of chemo when he wasn't feeling so great and might just prove that Cupid has some sympathy for good ole Hank.
Normally, Cupid will begrudgingly lay on the sofa with Henry, but Cupid's number one rule is no touching. But on this occasion, Cupid cut Henry a little slack and happily slept with him, even touching him, in hopes of helping him feel better.
Friday, September 5, 2014
The newest member of our family celebrated her first birthday last weekend and Henry and Cupid finally got a chance to meet her. Henry did a wonderful job and was patient and gentle. When presents were being opened, Henry might have stolen the show a bit looking to see if any presents were from him. Cupid on the other hand, literally had a "hissy fit". Overall she did OK, but she definitely had a few moments where she could have done a bit better.
It was a wonderful day spent with family and Henry received lots of love and attention. Everyone was happy that he was feeling better and up for the visit.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Yesterday marked Henry's first day back in his normal routine since his sickness after his first round of chemo. And getting back to the routine seemed to do Henry good!
On Tuesday, Henry had the stitches removed from his belly. The incision healed nicely and Henry was a very good and patient boy while having the stitches removed.
Henry started steroids to help with his IBD the same day as his first chemo session. He is still in the high dose stage, and the steroids seem to be having the most effect on him currently. He is a little restless and panty. Oh, yeah, and his appetite is back! It is a little too early to tell, but the steroids do seem to be helping his potty issues.
We were on the fence with whether or not we would continue with the chemo treatments after Henry was so sick. But after talking to our vet and the oncologist, we all agree that we can not say for sure what was the sole cause of Henry getting sick. Yes, the chemo likely played a role, but there were many other factors that definitely could have contributed. We have decided to move forward with round two of chemotherapy. But, this time he will only receive 50-60% of his usual dose. If Henry, gets sick after this treatment then we know this type of chemotherapy is not for him and we will need to come up with a plan b.
Our goal right now is to get Henry as healthy as possible and well rested for his next round of chemotherapy which will come on September 15th.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
As soon as we got the suitcase out to pack for our trip to Jacksonville, Henry started to get excited. We calmed him down and told him he had to wait for us to get fully packed before anything exciting was going to happen. But, when it was finally time to go, Henry was very enthusiastic. When Henry gets excited, he barks and runs around the house. He also likes to grab a stuffed toy and run around with it in his mouth. In his excitement to go to Jacksonville for his first chemo treatment, Henry ran and got his money bag plush toy. I tell you that pug has his finger on the pulse! The money bag is the appropriate toy to bring on this trip! Seeing the hilarity of all this, we even brought Henry's money bag to the oncologist and let them know that this was the one thing that Henry wanted to bring with him on his trip
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Yesterday Henry had his initial consultation with the oncologist in Jacksonville. While not too far away, Jacksonville is not very close to us so we decided to stay in the area the night before. Our appointment was at 8:45 am and we figured we could get a jump on the Monday morning commute if we stayed nearby. Plus, an adventure to a new place is always something Henry is up for!
I'll tell you more about Henry's adventure at the hotel a little later, but first let's talk about the oncologist appointment.
We were a bundle of nerves when we pulled into the parking lot, bracing ourselves for potentially very bad news, but we were immediately put at ease when we started walking to the door and saw a sign with Henry's name on it welcoming the new patients of the day. What a way to start the visit! Instantly heartwarming. Everyone we met was exceptionally warm and caring.
When we met with our doctor we received some very good news. Yes, Henry had renal carcinoma. Yes, this cancer is very rare in dogs. Yes, this cancer is extremely aggressive and yes most dogs with renal carcinoma do not have much of a life expectancy. However, we caught Henry's very early! Most dogs with renal carcinoma don't present signs or symptoms until the cancer begins to spread to other places. But, we (us by bringing him and our vet by doing his due diligence) were lucky enough to spot Henry's tumor while doing a sonogram for his "gut" issues. And let me tell you, I have never felt luckier in life. The early detection greatly increases Henry's odds and gives him an above average chance of surviving longer than the median 16 months of most dogs with kidney cancer. It was so good to hear this news!
With that being said Henry will still need chemotherapy. Because with this type of cancer if just one cell managed to make its way into the bloodstream, there is a great risk of metastasis.
We reviewed all of our treatment options and decided to treat Henry with traditional systemic chemotherapy. The frontline chemotherapy would be adriamycin (doxorubicin).
The type of treatment is administered via a drip. So, Henry gets a catheter and gets to hang out with a tech that pets him while he receives treatment. It takes about 20 minutes for the IV drip to finish and then he is monitored for a while after to make sure there are no adverse reactions.
Assuming Henry responds well to the adriamycin (doxorubicin), he will have a total of 6 treatments. 1 treatment every 3 weeks. Yesterday, Henry received treatment #1 of 6.
In addition to the chemotherapy, Henry will have lots of other things going on to make sure treatment is going ok. He will have his blood tested in 7-10 days to see if his chemo dosages need to be tweaked. Sonograms and chest x-rays around treatments 3 and 6 to check for possible tumor growth. EKGs to make sure his heart is doing ok. Blood draws to monitor cell levels. The list goes on and on.
It is so very much, but the main thing I am taking away is that Henry received the very best possible news you could get considering his circumstances. We have a plan of action now and that helps me feel better.
I can't thank everyone enough for the positive vibes, prayers and good juju! So far they seem to be working!
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Yesterday was Henry's first full day at home and I think he did remarkably well!
He spent most of the day sleeping, but that was to be expected. And we were happy that he was able to find comfortable positions to sleep in. In addition to sleeping, he also ate a few small meals and kept hydrated with some small sips of water throughout the day. He was most lively for a few hours in the evening, when he hung out with us in the living room while we ate dinner and he walked through the house for a bit while we were doing some chores. Then it was back to bed for some much needed rest.
All in all, I think Henry had an awesome first day of recovery. Here's to a great second day of recovery.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Henry is home and is doing remarkably well. When we picked him up from the vet we certainly did not expect him to have as good of a night as he did. In fact, he almost didn't get to come home with us yesterday.
When we went to pick Henry up, he was quite frantic and pretty worked up. The vet said around 3pm he started to howl and whine in his crate. The howling got so bad that they let him out of his crate (thinking that that would calm him down). Not only did that not calm him down, it almost made things worse. He started pacing around the room. Fresh from surgery, he was getting himself very worked up.
When we got there, our vet expressed his concerns, but could see that our mere presence started to calm him down. So we decided it would be best that he goes home with us. Of course, we had a list of things we needed to monitor and strict advice to take him to the emergency vet if we had the slightest of doubts about how he was doing.
Henry was calmer, but still a tad worked up on the drive home from the vet. But, after about an hour of being home, he was a completely different dog. He was no longer panting, his breathing was no longer labored and he was much more relaxed.
We took turns sitting with him, trying to keep him comfortable, but you could tell that Henry wanted to get back to his normal routine as quickly as possible. When we sat down to scarf down a quick bite to eat, Henry wanted to lay in the spot that he always lays in when we eat dinner. He was ready for things to get back to normal.
He slept well through the night. There were a few times he was awake and sitting up, but his pain seemed to be under control. As I write this now, he is snoring away, getting some much needed rest.
Thank you for the well wishes yesterday! They were much needed and worked!
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