Abby Update… & A Good Cause

As I noted in my last post, Abby started taking palladia on Wed, 2/16/11. She’s supposed to take it every M/W/F, along w/ Prilosec OTC every weekday to try to offset GI troubles. Well, she took her pills again on both Friday and this past Monday, but then Tuesday the diarrhea started in. I called our oncologist at the Vet Cancer Group and he said not to worry – he’s seen dogs take a little while to adjust to the meds. He said to just skip today’s (Wed’s) dose and we’ll reassess on Friday whether she’ll take that dose or continue on her little break.

I told him that part of the problem could be the wide variety of things she ate over the long weekend. (We went to the Canine Cancer Walk on Saturday and everyone was handing her treats left and right. I blogged about it – w/ lots of pics – here, so won’t repeat all that except to say it was really fun!)

Anyway, today she is on a bland diet and she seems to be improving in terms of how often she needs to go out. Even w/ the diarrhea, she’s still hungry and still FULL of energy (Monday we went for a 90 min. walk/run at her fave dog beach, Fiesta Island), so overall I’m not too worried about her (yet…). Hoping we’ll just have a little palladia break here for a dose or two, and then be back on it. Hoping that with greater consistency in her diet she’ll adjust a little better to the pills and do well on them.

In related news, I entered Abby in the Orvis catalog cover contest. Abby has an Orvis bed which she loves. We bought it just before we found out about the cancer (pic posted below) and the bed came in VERY handy during her recovery. Anyway, there are two different aspects to the contest – one part (for the cover) is w/ the Orvis judges, but the other part is a ‘popularity’ vote to have your picture included on the Orvis site. In order to vote, you have to make at least a $5 donation ($5 = 5 votes), but all the money goes to the Morris Animal Foundation’s Cure Canine Cancer campaign – the same folks behind the Canine Cancer Walk we did this Saturday. So… if you want to donate money to that cause anyway, please consider donating it via a vote for my pretty girl. Click here to Vote for Abby!

New Bed
Back before we knew what was coming...

Starting Palladia

After a lot of research, and talking to folks on and the bonecancerdogs listserv, we decided this weekend to go for it and try Palladia for Abby. I went with her today to get her baseline weight and blood cell counts and picked up the first batch of the drugs (plus the plastic gloves to administer it with – powerful stuff!).

We’ll have to keep a close eye on her the first coupla weeks and see how she does. She did so well on the carboplatin that I’m hoping she’ll be OK with the Palladia as well. If she is, we might add in cytoxan on T, Th, Sat’s. (Right now she’ll take the palladia on M/W/F.)

I was surprised at her weight – almost 48lbs. Pretty good, considering she was only 49.5 pre-amp & the 6 rounds of chemo. She’s been a rockstar through all this and will hopefully continue to be one.

In my last post I mentioned how I’d been bummed that I hadn’t taken my camera along when we went to her favorite dog beach, Fiesta Island. Well, this weekend I took the camera along and took many snaps. Here are two of my faves:
Queen of the Hill
She met an adorable beagle
Will keep you all posted on how things go with the palladia. Figure the info will help others who might have to make the same choices we have.

It’s Official . . .

. . . the cancer has spread to Abby’s lungs. A few posts ago I mentioned a tiny “damn spot” that was picked up on her x-rays. Well, yesterday we had her 6-week follow-up x-ray, post the end of her rounds of carboplatin, and it confirmed that the spot is growing and is indeed a met.

Her oncologist, Dr. V., says this is not all bad news — he said we should celebrate the fact that there were no other mets, so we are trying to hang on to that.

But still . . . it’s not great to know that it is officially in her lungs. Also, the fact that it’s there brings up more treatment options. He sent us home with info on two different drugs we could try: palladia and/or cytoxan. We are trying to do some research and figure out what to do. (I’ve combed through a lot of the mentions of each on the forums here.)  The palladia sounds potentially promising, but also quite scary with the bad side effects. She’s in such great health otherwise, and has such great energy, that I don’t want to give her something that will mess that up. Not sure what we are going to do. Might try the palladia and see how it goes. Since she had so few side effects with the carboplatin, maybe she would be fine on the palladia as well. And if not, there is the cytoxan to fall back on.
Still trying to decide. The other potentially scary thing is that some folks commented online that when their dogs had bad reactions to the palladia and had to go off it, the tumors came back like gang busters. Don’t want to piss the tumor off and have it come back all Incredible-Hulkish on us . . .

In happier news, we are definitely going to enjoy every day with her. Today is a beautiful day here in SD (as evidenced in the photo above that I just took of her) so I took Abby down to Fiesta Island – her favorite place in the world. I didn’t bring the camera along because going by myself and carrying her water and her leash and keeping an eye on her seemed like a bit much to also be trying to snap shots of her. But then, of course, I wished I had the camera because (a) there was another tripawd there (not that she cared, because he was swimming and she was not interested) and (b) there was this 8-mo-old pup that she’s played with before and they had a great time racing around.

Abby is so energetic and rambunctious it’s hard to believe she is “sick.” Dr. V. said that her body really has no idea that little spot of cancer is in there. She’s certainly in the envious position of being blissfully ignorant. Of course, even if she did know, I’m pretty sure she’d still be racing around enjoying every minute to the fullest – that’s just how dogs are. Definitely need to take a cue from them!