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Isa's Story

August 29th, 2016

A long but fast couple of weeks

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Almost two weeks, what can I say? For what it’s worth the week of the 15th was a mess and only somewhat due to dogs and vets and cancer. Work also decided to go sideways and 1:30 am texts for a WTF sleep interruption. I have noticed that when those weeks happen, there’s nothing to do but hang on and ride it out. If nothing else, you can always count on things changing. Eventually anyway.

I am happy to say there were no ill effects from the second round of carbo. A little extra napping perhaps. So once again I got my feathers flustered for no real reason.

Last week was much, much better. Only one trip to the vet Monday morning and such a bandage he put on her bum arm! Up and over her shoulder and chest in such a way that there was nothing she could get her teeth into so we could do without the cone! Hooray! We also went to rehab for the first time on Wednesday – I have some mixed feelings about the visit/doctor for various reasons, not all of which I have sorted out. Isa liked it but most likely because both the doctor and her assistant had pockets full of turkey. What’s not to love there? Thank goodness much of the visit was recorded – huge help. Not that I’ve managed to do any some/much/anything with her, a little massage and some stretching because I am evidently a lazy wench. I put the hot water bottle on her back last night and after a minute or so she let out a long, drawn out, shuddering sigh. Clearly it felt good.

We also met another tripawd at the vet last Monday – a little 5-7 lb. terrier. Man, that has to be a whole different world when you can just tuck them under your arm. She had osteosarcoma too and was more than a year post-amp. Cute little thing and terrified of being at the vet. I’ve never seen a dog shake that violently, I felt so bad for her. Her dad didn’t know about Tripawds so I grabbed one of the brochures for him. Spreading the word!

It was a long weekend though. Her back has been worsening for the past few days which means her only back leg is weak and wobbly. I suspect the cortisone from the week from hell has exited her system and we’re back to square one. And at some point Saturday she started limping on her bum front leg, putting as little weight on it as is possible, meaning as a practical matter we’re functioning on one leg. And she started crying Saturday evening/night, something halfway between a whine and a groan. Freaks me out because she has not uttered a sound previously. Ever. Not through the cancer or surgery or any of the rest of the road we all know too well. So back to tramadol the last couple of nights. Bonus round is I overdid it working in the yard yesterday and my body was hollering at me too. Sleep has been somewhat fitful for everyone.

I all but carried her out this morning to go potty (maybe I’m getting stronger?), then to the vet for a bandage change. He’s keeping her for the day and will give her the cortisone shot for her back we’ve been waiting for – I can’t even remember how long it’s been. He said by the weekend we should see the full effect of that, whatever it may be. The bad news is the wound on her front arm “went south” — the reason she was limping on that leg. I can’t say I understand exactly what happened – vet was talking rather quickly and some words were outside my vocabulary. And he wasn’t certain right then what/how he was going to do about it. I’ve not doubt he’ll figure something during the course of the day. Another chapter of the waiting game. I’ll pick her up at the end of the day (hopefully) and have a better idea of what’s going on. We’re well into the twilight zone of frustrated with this chapter.

One day/hour/moment at a time.

Isa with tiara

August 17th, 2016


Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Four trips to the vet in three days – and he’s not exactly conveniently located. Sheesh!

They kept her overnight Monday night to continue the warm compresses and it really does seem to have helped. Because clever, stubborn, naughty girl that she is, she chewed the brand-new bandage off at 3 am last night. So back to the vet for a new bandage this morning. I have moments of thinking she did it just to get a car ride, even if it was to the vet. We also secured a new Cone of Shame, the hard plastic kind because the softer (blue, plastic-y) one can be bent, crumpled and got around. Obviously. And dog bless the hard plastic cone, she knocked over the full water bowl as soon as we walked back into the house. So the water bowl is back on the floor because she can get to the water there with the cone on. And, already late to work from the unplanned trip to the vet, I got to mop up a half-gallon of water. Followed by first day of school traffic.

She did get her second round of carboplatin on Monday/Tuesday in spite of the fact that it will undoubtedly slow down the healing of her elbow. Postponing chemo is no help to our end game so I’m glad that we are moving forward with it. She had a hardcore nap (3 hours) when we got home last night and seemed a little sluggish this morning, otherwise okie-dokie. I will be keeping an eagle eye on her for the next week. It was a week after the carboplatin when the week from hell started. I don’t actually think that was the precipitating cause but one can never be sure. I am learning. Maybe a little too slowly but I am getting there.

And how annoyed was I, when pacing the vet’s lobby Monday evening, to find a pile of Tripawds brochures? I’m guessing they were there all along. I do wish I had found them before her surgery but all’s well that ends well. I got here and that’s the important part.

And, in praise of my vet, he finally put together the charges for the week from hell. He cut me a huge, huge deal. The charges for an entire week of hospitalization ended up being just a hair over what one round of chemo cost. I may not have to mortgage the farm after all! Or, more accurately, not mortgage it any further. So I’ve got that going for me.

We go back Friday for a bandage change. 48 hours and no vet visits (inchallah), hooray!

I do hope everyone’s week has been good – even if it is only hump day. I am hoping for an improvement from here.


August 15th, 2016

Monday Vet Visit

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Definite bandage change (on her messed up front leg), maybe chemo, maybe finally the cortisone shot for her back. Maybe. Maybe.

They kept her for the day to put warm compresses on her front leg, yes it’s still that messed up. And we will be going in twice a week for the duration for a bandage change because boy-howdy did it get stinky about halfway through the week. Which drove both of us crazy although it was definitely far worse for her. Their noses are how many bazillion times more sensitive than ours? I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for her. She’s tried and tried to clean it (through the cone) and last night started chewing through the cone (and a brief moment of tug of war with me over it, while it was on her) and managed to bend it enough to chew part of the bandage off and pull it down her leg a good way exposing things that were quite icky.

I have no idea what else might or might not have been done today. I’ll find out shortly when I go pick her up. I hope they’ll let me take her home. My psychic spider-senses tell me there are antibiotics in our future

She’s been doing really, really well except for the leg thing. Although she hates to go for walks now, even one-house walks and I have to bribe her every ten feet or so. But she scampered right out of the house at an impromptu gathering of neighbors (and dogs) out front.

Yesterday we were both getting stir crazy so I took her over to our old house to say hello to my former landlady and her dogs. It is/was a communal yard and her dog, Hank, never made any distinction between her house and mine. I frequently found him curled up, if not on Isa’s bed, then on mine. He was my buddy and Isa’s BFF. Found out when I got there that he passed over the bridge a couple of weeks ago, cancer of the blood vessels.  He was even at the (same) vet at the same time as Isa at least one point in the past few weeks.

Hank’s passing is very close to a last straw for me. Not that there’s any option I know of except to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Still, could we please just all catch a break for a little while? Please?

August 12th, 2016

Modeling the Latest in Ruffwear

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Picture’s a little dark, sorry. I need to give up my ten-year old camera – I’m certain my phone takes better pictures but I still have some learning curve issues with the camera. But here she is in her lovely new harness at the two-story water bowl, Wallee supervising. Her fur is starting to grow back and boy howdy does that take a long time.

Happy weekend all!

P1010374 (640x480)

August 11th, 2016

One Month Ampuversary!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Was this past Tuesday and I’m glad this past month is behind us now. All’s well that ends well but I am not up for a repeat.

And wonder of wonders, my smiley girl is back! She scampered into the kitchen at the sound of carrots being cut up and and is once again supervising her meal preparation with fierce attention. She even met me at the back door when I got home one day. But only on the one day – go figure. She’s again barking at the cars out front and the people and dogs on the trail in back of the house. Not quite as consistently and forcefully as before but one must maintain one’s nap schedule after all.

The bad news is we are reduced to the Cone of Shame to keep her from chewing the bandage off her front leg (where the skin was necrotizing and falling off). I’m afraid it’s going to be a very, very long haul for that to heal and so will be stuck with the cone for a very, very long time. It’s driving us all bonkers.

And then there was the midnight-thirty adventure the other night. I’m still sleeping downstairs with her, and after this adventure I am slightly more optimistic that someday I will again sleep upstairs in my own bed. As background, our backyard is not big, flat for 15-16 feet then a fairly steep slope down to the fence. I’m in the process of terracing it as time and money allow and have steps built more or less in the middle. Because I don’t have steps built yet to the dog door, no point in hurrying since she can’t use it with the cone, I had to get up to let her out when the need arose.  I stood there waiting for her to come back. Waited some more but no sign of her. Turn on the porch light and still don’t see her but I hear the cone rustling.  Slipping just my toes into shoes I go out to find her stuck halfway down the hill (on the un-terraced side). For some inexplicable reason she has always preferred pooping on the steepest part of the slope and that has evidently not changed. (If anyone can offer insight as to why, I’d love to hear it.) I tried grabbing her collar (middle of the night so no harness) to pull her up but she just slid more until a small juniper stopped her. I sat down on the stairs to put my shoes all the way on and she’s laying there, looking at me like there is no possible explanation for my behavior, why am I not helping? Once down the stairs, I pull her to the bottom of the hill, get her upright and at the foot of the stairs. Again she looks at me checking for some sign of sanity — no way could I be expecting her to go up the stairs! I ran up and grabbed a towel and then back down, slung her back half with the towel and we sailed up the stairs like they were nothing. (!) Evidently stairs can be dealt with if she is sufficiently motivated. Good to know.

I am so happy to see her former self resurface. I halfway suspect getting off the Tramadol has been a big help. It’s funny (but not ha-ha) how gradual that change is, the cancer and the pain stealing your dog away. You almost don’t notice. Almost. I know I heard it all over this site, that their old selves come back after amputation. While I believed it, I didn’t understand the degree of what had gone missing. I get it now. Thank you – I really do not know what I would have done this past month without y’all.

I took a picture of her in her harness (with Wallee and our two-story water bowl) but I tried uploading it from home last night and my internet there sucks. Moving on to Plan B. Stand by.

Back for chemo on Monday, and a bandage change. I don’t know what the plan is for her back, the Week from Hell interrupted that conversation but it will be recommenced on Monday as well.

I hope you and yours are all doing well!

Hugs and a high-three from Teri and Isa.

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