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When we began this journey I made myself promise I’d update even if news wasn’t good so those in similar situations understood our journal..sooo here goes

Month 5:
No visible mets to lungs, stomach, bladder, spleen, whatever else is in the abdomen, or spine.
But..

Definite fracture to the area of the tumor. Even though he walks on it, and otherwise has been physically improving.

Not sure where we go from here, but will update when we know more.

Lori and chuck

October 23, 2013

This one’s for anyone wondering how the big guy gets in my suv. Hes had this since he was a puppy but we haven’t used it until he got sick. He used it when he was smaller, and when he got bigger he usually bypassed the ramp and jumped in. Now he needs it again but that’s ok. It’s a big help..PhotoGrid_1382543642391

5 mos now. ..

October 20, 2013

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and hes still going strong. Enough to play some Tug of war..;)

xrays next week make me wanna poke my eyes out but . what are we going to do…
continuing to live each day.

Why a saint

September 28, 2013

Several people have asked me how I ended up with a Saint Bernard lately. So I figured the story was one worth sharing.

Eons and eons ago, when I was about 7, I had a lab mix named Bernie. I had always been a “dog” person. All of those seven long years. But Bernie was different. He was my baby. I still, to this day have a scar on my leg from a bite he gave me when he was a puppy. Beyond those early labby puppy years though, he was my baby. He Celebrated when I was happy, comforted me when I was sad. He was more than a pet to me. He was my buddy. My confidante, my body pillow.

When he was dying, with kidney failure, we had him at home. The vet told my parents to watch him, that he might recover. I remember that look in his eyes. I remember being so young and telling my mom that his spirit was gone.

After he passed, my mom and her friend took me to a dog show. And my gosh there was the most beautiful Saint Bernard there. And all I can remember thinking, in my child’s eye, was, “he’s like a saint Bernie!” And I told my mom THAT was the dog I wanted , to which she responded “over her dead body would we get a 200 lb dog” my mom was very vocal to say the least.

Part of me thought of the neatness of immortalizing my beloved childhood BFF, part of me was absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the breed. To the point that when I met my husband, one of the first questions I asked him was if he liked dogs, and what about big dogs? 😀

I honestly can say that was a dealbreaker lol.

Lucky for me, my soon to be husband loves dogs, all animals really, maybe even more than I do. And for my 30th birthday he surprised me with the most beautiful puppy I’ve ever seen.

Don’t get me wrong. I love ALL dogs. Mixed breeds, pure bred, rescued, etc. I GET the push to rescue. As an animal lover how could I not?

Anyway, now, here I am, 20 years later, looking at my “Bernie” in the same way I looked at him two decades ago. I just want him immortalized. Because he’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. He makes me happier than I ever thought I could be. He’s the best big brother a kid could have had. And I just hope that someday I get another. “St Bernie” that lives up to this childhood dream.

September 24, 2013

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our days of all day iv chemo have come to a happy end 🙂 5 rounds of carboplatin (I honestly JUST realized he got this along with. .) and doxorubucin … COMPLETE!

When we started this journey I honestly didn’t think we’d ever make it this far. But in chucks oncologists words “considering what he has, I’m more than pleased with how well he’s doing”

his Bloodwork has been the best it has ever been. Tumor still stable. I can honestly say I’m more than pleased too.

Where do we go from here? xrays next month. Blech. Then two months following. Then four following that. Then 8..I had to stop him. Because I can’t even think that far ahead. I couldn’t think this far ahead in the beginning. Focusing on how well he is now is all I care about. But at least there’s a possibility for a future. 😉 one day at a time. ..

we also might start up the palladia again depending on how he looks next month. That freaks me out a lil. But hey. .. did I mention chuck gained 5 lbs in the past 3 weeks? 😉

Anywho. Today was a great day. And that’s all that matters 🙂

big slimey kisses and hugs!
Lori and chuck

September 10, 2013

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whatcha lookin at?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Chemo 4 out of 5 in the bag!

September 3, 2013

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it’s hard to believe 3 months ago I was worried we would even get to this point. Minus that first month, chuck has handled chemo so well. His bloodwork was great again and he sailed through this round without a hitch. Hes been so upbeat and playful this month. Even more so recently. Doc examined him and is impressed with how stable the tumor has remained. We discussed our plans post iv chemo and for now it’s to remain on metronomics and oral biphosphinate with a reevaluation a month post iv, 2 months, 4 months then 8. I was kinda shocked we talked to long in the future but I guess that’s why I like my vet. Hes so positive and hopeful for the future that it keeps us trucking. I’m not naive to how quickly this disease progresses nor how suddenly things change but this whole process has kept us in the today and enjoying every minute of the time we are blessed with him. 3 months ago we were told that we could lose him in a matter of weeks. When we originally discussed our chemo plan with our vet I told my husband “well, at least he thinks he’ll be here 4 months from now”. Every day and every moment has been a blessing. Keep on truckin big chuck! You’ve made me a stronger person and I couldn’t be more greatful 🙂

This post is going to sound a bit cooky for those who don’t believe in spiritual stuff. Let me preface this with adding that I am always super skeptical about stuff like this but I keep finding myself in situations that give me no other choice but to just let the universe just give me what its got for me. Ugh that sounds cooky just typing it but bear with me and hopefully I make some sense here lol.

When I say skeptic I mean I’m a s k e p t I c. Lol. I grew up as a preachers daughter but sort of decided to find my own way when it came to stuff like that. I still don’t consider myself to belong to one specific spiritual group. I guess I more or less find comfort in what many ideas have to offer. In my younger days I may or may not have considered myself to have been more or less atheistic. Not that that is wrong. Or bad. I just can’t explain a lot of stuff away to rational means anymore.

this post had a purpose. I promise. Lol

see, my younger thoughts on life changed probably the day my mom died. She passed suddenly and there are so many things surrounding that day that only make sense that something greater than me was with me that day. I wasnt supposed to be home but I chose to spend the night at my parents. My mom wasn’t obviously sick but I had an eerie feeling that something was wrong. I can honestly say on some level I knew what I was going to wake up to that morning. It’s so hard to explain without sounding like a complete lunatic.

Then a few years went by and nothing. I didn’t feel my mom around. I didn’t even dream of her. My brothers and sisters did but I ALWAYS chalked it up to their subconscious making it happen for them because they missed her. THAT’S logical.

Then one day I had a very vivid dream that is too long to explain here. Without talking to my siblings that morning I logged onto fb that morning. My brother posted that he had a dream of my mom. I called him and it was almost exactly what I dreamt? Then my aunt called me not too long after and SHE had the same dream? Turns out it was the anniversary my mom passed.
Whatever. Still could be rationalized with our subconscious psychological need to feel her with us while subliminally not realizing it was the anniversary of a sad day. Or something like that 😉

I swear this story relates to chuck and dogs and our journey lol

Anyway. .the years go on and stuff like that kept happening. Little signs. The day my first nephew was born I was working late at macys. Annoyed because I wanted to be at the hospital with my family. I was closing down my register. The store had been closed for 10 mins already. And a woman comes to me begging me to stop closing the register. I was super annoyed but something in me said to stop closing it down and ring her up. As I finished, up on the screen pops “ty jules z” usually it said their whole name. Crazy cuz that was my mom’s liscense plate. “Jules z” I was wondering all day if she knew my nephew was being born. Still somewhat rationalizable though. Lol

Similar things happened on and off..too many to go into seeing as though I’ve already written a novel ..

Then chuck got sick. I was so lost. More so than honestly that day my mom died. I know that sounds crazy. But I just wanted some sign that my choices were the right ones. This disease sucks and with our dog none of our options sounded good. Amputate: he may never walk again more than one doctor told us. Do nothing: he cod be gone in a few week. Palliative radiation therapy: risk of fracture increases they said. Ugh ugh and ugh. So which poison did I put my money on? It is all a crap shoot. It still is.

One day I was like begging god to help me decide. Like crazy person losing it begging. And in that exact moment I got an instagram message. From someone in another state who saw chucks picture in the thousands of pictures on there. Who literally just lost their saint to osteo. She contacted me because she thought ours looked similar. Yah. Chucks sister found us. Her mom told me that in her last days that’s what she would tell her clara to do when she was gone. find her family. And she did.

And from there I just knew that I had many angels helping us. Guiding us. Holding our hands through this journey. I can’t keep rationalizing it away. I just have to trust it.

Before chuck got sick my husband and I talked about getting another dog someday. We talked about names and decided that when we did if we got a girl we would name her Betty. A boy, walter. After our grandparents. We like old ppl names what can I say 😉

last night I could not sleep. I kept thinking about how could I get another dog someday? How can I love it the way we love chuck? Since we are committed to adopting this time around, we have a 3 year old son. How do I know if the dog is safe? How can I even be thinking of another dog right now? I was literally up until 3 am obsessing over this lol.

Then this morning my son grabbed a book I have literally never seen before and I open to this page:20130828_113048

Did I mention my husband’s name is bill?

Anyway. What I guess I’m getting at with this random spewing of private thoughts and experiences is that even if you don’t believe in this sort of thing.. when I’ve let go of that need to control every aspect of every day I began to enjoy today for what it really is. I KNOW things will work out the way they were meant to. I KNOW we’ll get through this. Sometimes I just need a little reminder.

20130813_163839Just wanted to quickly update on our big guy. Hes been doing pretty good. These last few weeks have been relatively good. Weve had some minor bumps. His back legs got a little stiff for a few days but that seems to correct itself. Doc thinks it’s more related to arthritis than anything. On a brighter Note his appetite remained stable even without stimulants and he gained a few lbs back. We started back on the stimulant just so we can really boost his eating and have him gain more weight. I still go back and forth with eventually amping only because I’m worried about those back legs. But who knows. I’m really trying to just focus on today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.
As for his cancer the tumor seems to be smaller and stable for now. Fingers crossed we continue to make progress. I bought the dog cancer book and so much of it makes sense about this journey. Especially the emotional part. The Hills and valleys in coping with this disease aren’t quite as steep right now as I feel like we’ve gained a little momentum though I’m a bit superstitious when it comes to this whole battle . I’ve never prayed so much in my life though I’m sure that would make my mom proud lol. Anyway, thought I’d share our last few weeks, thank you all for your support and attach a photo of our car ride home yesterday after chemo 🙂
love to all,
lori and chuck

stronger still..

July 16, 2013

Well the ensure wetdogfood yogurt chicken soup smoothies on top of a different appetite stimulant seemed to work. chuck ate am entire roasted chicken and sweet potatoes yesterday. And today he did the same. On his own. Out of his bowl. No hand feeding. With. .. wait for it. … his own dry dog food?! Granted it was about a cup of it but whaaaaa?! Who is this big oaf?! I love him so much.

He had started limping. something he hasn’t done since pre chemo. And I’m trying to not freak out. I know I have options that can help with it. Whether we amp or try modifying the treatment plan, I know there are Options for this hurdle. It’s just nice to see him getting stronger and I’ll be honest I’m a little freaked out no matter what we choose that we will backtrack with the eating stuff again. But I guess today I’ll rejoice in my big boys full belly 🙂