Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chemo for puppy

We made an appointment for Miss Ginger to go see her oncologist because she has been doing so poorly. You can tell just by looking at her that she feels awful.
102_2890And since she hasn’t been eating, we’ve really been worried about her. So we were hoping that her doctor could shed some light on this and hopefully get her feeling better.
Last night we actually got her to eat an entire chicken breast. Of course I fed eat bite to her, but she ate!! All of it. And this morning for breakfast she ate about a cup of doggie lamb stew. YAY!!
This morning as we were preparing to go to the oncologist she seemed perkier than she has in quite some time. We could see our sweet Ginger returning to us.

102_2896Is this not the face of a bored kid??!!! It is quit a long drive! I feel the same way Ginger.
102_2898As you can see she’s starting to get back to her old self. She’s looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That mass on her eye that we were to have surgery to remove…….well, it bled a little bit then it dried up and fell off. Both our regular vet and her oncologist were a bit perplexed by it. But Ginger’s not complaining because she won’t have to wear that stupid collar for 2 weeks straight!
102_2903 102_2904The mural in the parking lot of the animal cancer center. The doctor and her staff her are amazing! We love the care and affection they show Ginger! We’ve been so blessed to have such a quality facility within a short distance.
102_2908-2The drive home is filled with some familiar landmarks of the area. I managed to take  this photo from the highway on the drive back.
102_2912It’s such a pretty area….it’s a shame that the gray dreariness is always hanging around.
So her oncologist explained that the vomiting and the lack of desire to eat could be due to the new chemotherapy, the antibiotics or even pancreatitis. If it’s pancreatitis since she is beginning to eat again that’s a sign that she’s on the mend. If it’s a reaction to either the new chemo or antibiotics we won’t know until we give them to her again. Well, we don’t have any intention of giving her the antibiotics again. She was on them because she had scratched her itchy belly and given herself an infection. That has resolved so she has no need to continue the antibiotics. She will need another couple of doses of the new chemo drug. The goal with the new chemo drug is to give bone marrow a break in order to recover and get her platelet count up. Once that has occurred she will be able to return to previous chemo treatment which worked very well for her. Her doctor also reminded us that we are in great shape overall. When we came to see her for the first time 15 months ago the prognosis that we were given was 3-6 months which is typical for dogs with lymphoma. We would be lucky to make it to a year. Well, here it is 15 months later and other than this latest setback she has done beautifully on chemo and her quality of life hasn’t suffered in the least. Actually it’s improved because she was given her night peanut butter treat containing her chemo pills. I don’t know many dogs that get the pleasure of getting peanut butter on a daily basis. So now that she seems to be on the mend we can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to the task of preparing for our impending move.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Well, first I need to say that Miss Ginger seems to be a bit perkier today but as a whole she is still fairly depressed and she’s not eating. Dr. Mike, her vet, instructed us to make her food for her and to feed her 2 or 3 times a day. We are supposed to make 1 portion lean protein like chicken, pork or beef with no fat with 3 portions carbohydrate like white rice or potato. So we have tried chicken and rice, beef and rice, beef and potato, chicken and potato and so on. But she eats very little. We are lucky if we get her to eat a cup or so a day. Now we are discovering that she will eat more if she thinks it comes from our plate rather than her dish so we are now taking the time to “spoon” feed her.
102_2878But you can see that she is just so down. She did have some brief activity this morning but this is what she has looked like for days now. We are contemplating the possibility of discontinuing the chemo but we are just uncertain right now. Her next dose is scheduled for Tuesday so we have until then to figure it out.

So in order to make us feel better I decided to make a Caramel-Glazed Apple Cake. It’s a new recipe I discovered in the magazine from Costco. Let me tell you this is one delicious cake!!!
As you can see it’s packed with apples and it’s sooooooo moist. It just tastes like you would expect fall to taste. It’s perfect for today! We’ve got football on the TV and we just finished having some Rotel Cheese Dip and now this cake!!!! It’s sooo yummy!! So here’s the recipe!

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled a 1.nd diced to 1/2 inch
1 1/4 chopped pecans or walnuts
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel Glaze
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.
2. Prepare cake, beat both sugars and oil in a mixing bowl until very well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, mixing just until blended. Stir in apples, pecans and vanilla. Pour into pan. Batter will be very stiff.
3. Bake for 50 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan while preparing glaze.
4. To prepare the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in both sugars and salt, cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add cream and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick.  Pour the glaze over the cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Waiting for something different

So we went to the vet today prepared to have surgery. The mass on her eye has gotten quite a bit bigger and it’s growing by the minute. But when we got there Dr. Mike wanted to check her blood counts, urinalysis, etc to make sure that she is going to tolerate the surgery well.
After getting her results back from the lab, he determined that her white cell count is too low for them to do the procedure to remove this mass from her eye. He is currently consulting with her oncologist to determine what the best course of action is.
Since we were freed from the impending surgery I decided to go have my hair colored. I was wanting to go for some highlights and lowlights. But we ran into a little snafu…..since I had colored my hair at home it is in need of a little TLC before we torture it with highlights. So we went ahead with the lowlights and we also did a deep conditioning treatment.
Although it’s a little darker than what I’m used to I really like it. I will be able to get those highlights soon enough! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preparing the Puppy

So today Miss Ginger went for her first vincristine chemotherapy treatment. The vet takes her to the back they shave her leg and they administer the vincristine intravenously. That was 7 hours ago and she seems to be handling the new medication quite well. She had to be taken off the old medication because her platelet count dropped too low. So we now get to go see Dr. Mike every other week for an IV treatment.
We also are preparing for her to have surgery on her right eye. After surgery she will be required to wear an “Elizabethan” collar for several weeks after surgery.  Mick and I have always referred to these collars as “stupid” collars because every dog looks stupid with one of these cones strapped to their head.
I decided that it would not be appropriate to wait until right after surgery to put this collar on her for the first time. I thought it would be a good idea to give her time to get used to wearing this collar and maneuvering in this collar, rather than waiting until we bring her home after surgery and she’s all drugged up and can’t walk straight anyway. So I went to Petco in order to buy the collar but unfortunately they had no electricity and were unable to sell me anything. 
So I headed for Mud Bay Pet Supply. We jokingly call it the hippie dog store. Because it’s where all the local hippies shop for their dog supplies. Well, I was truly blessed because the only stupid collar they had was a padded collar. It’s called a comfort collar and there is no hard plastic in it whatsoever! It’s completely flexible yet doesn’t allow her to get her paws up to her eyes or face.
Poor thing is not happy about having to wear this thing. But it’s for her own good and it’s better for her to adjust to it now when we can do this for shorter periods until she adjusts to it.
You can just see that she is thinking would someone get this thing off my head and stop taking my picture….this is so embarrassing. So we wore it for about two hours today and we will wear it some more again tomorrow. The poor girl was bumping into everything with this thing on but since it’s flexible she didn’t have this plastic jabbing her in the neck. When she lays her head down the cone collapses and since it has some padding it’s almost comfortable. You can even fold the bottom portion back so she doesn’t have to put the whole cone over her food dish to eat. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reading and Riding

I’m currently in the clutches of two books right now. The first of which is “The art of racing in the rain.” It’s written from the dog’s perspective and it’s giving me great for for thought about what our own Miss Ginger might actually be thinking. I made it to page 2 before the waterworks were turned on and I was having a hard time reading through tears. I had a difficult time seeing the words to read to Mick to explain why I was crying. It’s brilliantly written and the story is incredible.
The second book is “The Shack.” Now I had never even heard of this book before but a friend from high school asked me if I would be interested in joining a discussion group about this book. I went online and discovered the first chapter online at I was intrigued by the first chapter and interested in learning more. So I agreed to join the group and even created a blog to host our group.
I decided that I must buy the book! So I set off on a little bike journey to the book store.
102_2708The view from the seat of my pink Schwinn. 
We have great bike lanes here. It’s about 2 miles round trip to Borders.
The bikes cuddled together waiting patiently for us while we shopped for “The Shack.”
Parts of our ride are sooo beautiful! It was a nice sunny warm day great for pedaling!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worried about the fuzzy kid

So we received a call from Ginger’s oncologist.  It seems that the Leukeran that she has been taking is pushing her platelet count too low.  So she is moving miss Ginger to IV vincristine every other week.  We are hoping that it at least will cost less.  Because we have heard that it shouldn’t make her sick or feel poorly.  So as long as she is not miserable then we will continue treatment for the lymphoma.
Last night we discovered this odd bump hanging from her right eyelid.  Now her left eye has a cataract and so her right eye is her good eye.  The big scratch on her right eye has completely healed but now here’s this odd bump.
Ok, it’s not that big but we can’t afford to have anything go wrong with this eye or else we’d be dealing with an 80 lb blind golden retriever.  The vet says this is a benign tumor common in dogs of her age. So here in a few weeks she will be having surgery.  She can’t have it right now because she has an infection on her tummy from being all itchy. 
This morning she threw up twice. Bless her soul, she tries so hard to make it outside but she can’t tell us that she is going to be sick. The vet gave her a shot to make her tummy feel better and I think it’s made her a bit sleepy because she came home got comfy and hasn’t moved.
Ginger 102 copySo other than dealing with a puppy that doesn’t feel good, nothing exciting has been going on.  I  have started organizing some paperwork that I will need during my year of travels. That’s about all the excitement that going on in my life.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Enjoying the end of summer

Well, I got back home on Tuesday and I’m glad to be back home.  I’ve taken a couple of days to unwind from my trip, unpack and get myself centered again.

I bought my new retro pink Schwinn! I adore my new bike!

102_2690Look at how cute it is!! So we took it for a ride to Target and Office Max to pick up a few things. It’s probably 2 miles round trip so it’s not too far. Tomorrow we are hoping to go for a leisurely ride provided the weather cooperates. It was lightly raining on us for our trip to Target. Hopefully it won’t be raining and we can take a longer ride.

Miss Ginger is doing well. Her eye has healed and she’s back to her old self. She does get the occasional treat…..
102_2687Now this isn’t nearly as bad as it seems.  The ice cream bucket was completely empty she was just licking the sides and the bottom. But it was too cute to see our sweet puppy with her head shoved into the ice cream bucket!
It’s a happy time around my house; football has started. I wish I could say that this football season started out great for me…. unfortunately not! Sam Bradford suffered a shoulder injury and BYU beat the Sooners. Bummer.