Owned by Pugs

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nurse Henry

Henry

Thank you to everyone for the well wishes for both Henry and myself last week. I apologize that things got way off schedule last week.

The day of my surgery Henry was a bit anxious. He didn't exactly know what was going on, but he knew the routine was off. And when the routine is off, that always makes him a tad nervous. Furthermore, he got breakfast and I did not, so that made him even more nervous. All the pugs know that if you don't eat breakfast, something big is going to happen that day and usually not something fun.

So, when we got home from the surgery center, Henry was excited and nervous at the same time to see me. I went straight from the car to bed and Henry almost beat me to bed. He briefly smelled my leg and then plopped himself right next to my leg. And he has been by my side ever since that moment.

Our normal evening routine is that Henry goes for a walk. The length of the walk varies. Sometimes we make it through the neighborhood, sometimes we only walk around the cul-de-sac at the end of our street. And sometimes we only hang out in the driveway. But, weather permitting you can count on us to get some outside time in. Once I was feeling a bit better, I was more mobile around the house, but I had still not been out and about. It was time for Henry to go out for his nighttime walk and in his excited pacing he kept running over to me on the sofa. I kept telling him to have a nice walk and he would run to the door, then he would run back to me. After a few minutes of me not taking the hint, he finally just started barking at me. He wanted met to go on his walk with him and he deemed me well enough to go. Not wanting to disappoint, I got up and hobbled through half of the cul-de-sac walk with him. He was ever so pleased to have me outside with him and kept stopping to check on me to make sure I was keeping up. I really didn't think I was up for that walk, but once I got back home it was the absolute best I had felt since my surgery.

After a few days of rest, I started working again from home. Sitting in a chair has been difficult, since my knee doesn't bend very well. So, I have mainly been working from bed. Henry was pretty happy to hang with me on the bed the first few days because he has just gotten his chemo. So, we were recovering together. But after a few days, Henry deemed it necessary for us to get out of bed and get back more into the normal swing of things. When I was cleaning up lunch, Henry was pacing between the kitchen and my office, clearly making his point that we needed to work the rest of the afternoon in there. Once again, I followed his lead and worked the rest of the afternoon from my office. It felt good to get back to a more normal routine. It also proved that once again, Henry knew what needed to be done and was going to make sure I pushed my own self during my recovery.

Of course I also had plenty of human care during my recovery. All that TLC has me feeling much better now!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Round 2

Henry

Today marks one week since Henry had his second dose of chemotherapy. Granted his second dose was only 50% of what his normal does would be, but he handled this round of chemotherapy much better than the first.

He was a bit tired on Tuesday, but we sorta expected that. Going to Jacksonville to get the treatment is a big trip for everyone! His appetite for the first few days after treatment was pretty low. But, he did manage to have dinner every night. In the mornings, he wasn't interested in food at all.

Wednesday night we were most nervous because that was the bewitching time after his first chemo treatment. However, this time he was quite spunky. Nothing like what he was the first time around. He went for a small walk and even took a little swim that night. The rest of the week was uneventful (no diarrhea or throwing up) and Henry got stronger and more and more like his normal spunky self with each day that passed.

We are so relieved that round 2 of chemo looked nothing like round 1. Way to be Hank!

#HenryStrong #HenryStrongAllDayLong

Monday, September 8, 2014

Slack

Cupid and Henry

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

Meeting Reagan

Henry and Reagan

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.

Cupid and Reagan

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

Henry Update

Henry

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

Money Bags

Henry

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 wink

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Team Henry

Henry

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!

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