Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Four years since diagnosis - December 2013

Hi everyone

I can't believe its been four years since that yucky oral fibrosarcoma. I had my four year check up and while my mouth is clear, I've had some other things happen.

Last time I had my liver checked, there was a spot on it and Dr Rod said it couldn't be biopsied. Well, I've just had another ultrasound to check it, and its still there. We are leaving that one alone. Knowing what it is won't change anything, except give us something to worry about. It's not causing any problems.

Since August, I've heard "Has she always had a murmur?" three times now, from three different vets. And the answer is no. So I have a new heart murmur, which happens in older dogs, as their hearts start to wear out. So long as I have no symptoms, its okay to watch and wait. Mum and Dad are making sure I don't overdo it with the exercise, and we'll take that one as it comes.

My nose is still getting gunky and I've just suffered through another lot of antibiotics. I'm getting good at finding tablets now, and Mum has to work hard to trick me. I've also learned the art of spitting out anything that could possibly have tablets in it. And Misty is always ready when something to eat hits the floor...

In November, I did try something different. I started drinking a lot, and weeing a lot. They checked lots of tests and its not diabetes and its not cushing's syndrome (where your kidneys don't know to put the salts out with the water) and its not anything else we've looked at. And, more importantly, its stopped again now. So we go back if it happens again, but for now its watch and wait.

I'm still doing my rehab program for walking and I'm up to 10 minutes in the underwater treadmill. I'm doing pretty good, given my age. I'll probably never do the 3km or 4km circuits again, but I can make it to the park and around our local block no worries. And my speed when a treat is on offer is truly spectacular.

Here are some recent photos of me relaxing in the front yard. Since my back surgery, I've had trouble rolling on the grass, but I've managed it now. I love rolling and having a tummy tickle. Here's Dad and me on the front lawn, having a sun bake. Now this is the life....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me - 11 October 2013 - Thirteen!!!

Hello everyone

11th October is a very special day - its my birthday. And finally, I'm a teenager. I'm thirteen. Mum and Dad say thats over a hundred years old in human years, which might be why I sometimes get a bit stiff and sore.

I had a lovely party. Little sister Misty came and cousin Sienna the doberman, and Aunty Allison and Uncle Warren. We had such a great time. We had birthday cake (chocolate slice), cheerios, eggs, lamb puffs and chicken treats. It was sensational.

Dad spent a lot of time and built me a princess castle - ok, it was my crate - but it was outside and I had the best time. Misty and Sienna did a bit of running around but they were pretty focused on the food at the end, so I didn't feel left out at all. My present was a new teddy clutching a Dentastix - and Mum and Dad wrapped it in a towel and I had to work really hard to unwrap it.

My walking is going to plan. I'm doing five minutes four times a day and lots of stretches and reaches and balances. Some days I go well. Some days its a struggle. But I'm still walking, and that's the most important thing. Dad takes me in the car most days, which makes me smile too.

Oh well, off to have a nap. Us senior citizens have to preserve our strength....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spinal Surgery Recovery

Hello from Solitary Confinement

Its not so bad in here, I only call it that to guilt Mum and Dad into giving me more treats. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Mum's job is weight control - I am not allowed to put any weight on because it will make it harder for me to get back to walking. Dad's job is entertainment and he's great at giving me treats if I ask nicely.

I'm doing well. I can walk on my own - the physio says some dogs can't do that. And I can toilet independently. So right now, I'm allowed a 3-5 min potter around the lawn on lead to toilet. If I'm on anything slippery, I need to have a towel under my belly to make sure I don't slip. And I have a series of standing exercises and stretches to do. Sometimes, I don't want to, and I go back to my crate without doing my exercises. Of course, if there were more treats on offer.....

Misty is still really confused about what's going on. She's not allowed anywhere near me in case she knocks me over. Here's some photos from Sunday - Mum says I need to have some sunshine and let me out on the grass. I had a bit of a roll around to scratch my scar.

Misty stayed with Dad - she's starting to be a good baby (at last). She's keeping Mum and Dad company when I can't and doing a great job.

I'll see you later. Off to have a sleep.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2013 - Spinal Surgery

Hi everyone

Well, I was supposed to have a good news update for a change but just before my last checkup, things went spectacularly wrong. I had a slip on the stairs and Mum and Dad had to rescue me. They put me to bed but over the next two days my walking went all wobbly and weak. So instead of a straight cancer check I had some scans on my spine as well.

Turns out I ruptured a disc in my back (maybe in the stair fall, but maybe before the fall and it caused the fall). So Dr Rod went and found Dr Wendy and Dr Tristram who operated on my spine to remove all of the ruptured disc and take the pressure off my spinal cord.

I'm three days post-op and I can walk to the toilet with my back legs supported, and I can do toilet by myself, both of which are positive signs. I have two weeks of crate rest planned then I get to start a rehab program.

The good news: I am still cancer free. I had a pesky lump removed a few months ago, which did turn out to be a single cancer, not related to my mouth. It was a silly thing on my back. Right now, there is no sign of the fibrosarcoma cancer in my mouth or in my chest xray and abdomen scans.

Here are some photos of my recent hospital visit. I staged a full-on hunger strike at the hospital and even a lunchbox full of mince, cheese and lamb puff didn't get it going for me. Eventually I gave in, and then they let me come home.

Wish me luck with the walking....

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 2013 - Still Cancer Free

Well, it's been a while since I posted. I'm sorry about that. Here in Queensland it's been raining, and raining and raining. And flooding and flooding and flooding. So we've been refencing and repairing flood damage and things like blogging went out the window. (Well, I wasn't fixing fencing, I was asleep on my bed back at the shed, Mum and Dad were fixing fencing.)

So, in early February I went back to the vet because I was still having nose bleeds and he decided to put the scope up my nose (YUK) and find the mystery object in the back of my nose. So off I went to vet hospital and they gave me some nice medicine to send me to sleep, and while I was out for the count, they went into my nose (YUK). The mystery object turned out to be a fluid filled cyst that burst when they touched it (DOUBLE YUK). So they collected the bits for pathology and washed my nose out with antibiotics, then woke me up and sent me home with mum.

The great news - its nothing cancerous. Just some weird cyst thing and nothing to do with my radiotherapy site. Even better, I haven't had a nosebleed ever since. Although its not one hundred percent fixed. If I dig in the dirt, I do get a crusty nose. This is because I don't have the glands that make runny noses anymore, so it doesn't self clean. Not that I care, but Mum and Dad are a bit fixated about it not getting infected. Especially since I dig up every hidden treasure Misty buries.

Ever since my operation I have made an official decree - no-one even looks in my nose now. So Mum and Dad have to be very tricky and sneak a look when I'm just waking up. A quick look is okay. But no touching. Fingers crossed, that's the end of the nosebleeds and I can go back to being a normal dog again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dec 2012-Jan 2013 - 3 years cancer free

Well, it's three years since I first had my cancer diagnosed and removed and while Mum and Dad were celebrating, I decided that I would put a spanner in the works.

On the 7th December, I had my first ever nose bleed.

A horrendous gushing torrent that stopped my Mum's heart temporarily, and then stopped my Dad's heart temporarily after Mum texted a picture that said "Look what's coming out of Gromit's nose" and then ignored his reply text for the next two hours. She had a good excuse. I was at the vet physio when it happened, and then getting out of the car coming home I fell over big time, and she left her bag in the car and forgot all about her phone. Dad came home from work quick smart and found me in the garage on the cool concrete where Mum had left me while she rang my cancer vet.

Anyway, I had an urgent review at Dr Rod's BVSC that afternoon and the next morning it was the same old routine - no breakfast and another trip to Dr Rod's. Mum and Dad are calling it the "day spa" and I had a lot of things - a CT scan of my head, a liver ultrasound, blood tests, cancer site examination, Xrays and a general feel over.

Dr Rod found lots of things - a new lipoma (benign), some tiny spots in my liver (that can't be biopsied), a big hot spot inside one nostril, which is suspected to be a seed tucked deep in the back of my sinuses, but no cancer. And no real reason for a nose bleed.

We stopped my anti-inflammatories just in case they were causing bleeding and I went home with no real answers. Mum and Dad kept a close eye on me and over Christmas I had another three more nose bleeds. Stopping my anti-inflammatories was making me miserable, so Mum rang and asked for another appointment. Dr Rod was surprised I'd kept having nose bleeds and I was whisked away for more testing - more Xrays of my lungs, bigger and better blood tests, including one where they cut my lip and waiting to see if it would clot. It did. He let me restart my anti-inflammatories because they obviously weren't the cause. I even had my CT scan sent to Sydney for a second opinion to rule out cancer. And the news there is good. No cancer.

So, I'm now officially a mystery. I have another appointment in two weeks (or immediately if I bleed again). The next course of action, if it continues, would be to put a scope into my nose and find the hot spot, but its a big operation and I'm getting on in years. If we can avoid another anaesthetic, we'll all be happier.

So wish me luck!