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Riley's blog

12 1/2 year old German Shorthair Pointer

Riley's blog

six months post surgery

October 28th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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It’s been a while since I posted an update.  We have enjoyed a lovely few months where Riley just got to be a dog.  In the photo above, she was enjoying some outside time, and having fun gnawing on a stick.  For the most part, Riley does many of the things she was accustomed to doing before all our worlds got turned upside down.  She has even tried to wrestle with the other dogs a bit.  While the spirit is willing, she inevitably falls on her butt.  It is great to see her having fun again.  We reworked the dogs’ sandbox (4000 pounds of sand in a 10x 12 area!), and Riley loves to lie in the sand and watch the world go by.  If the spirit moves her, she will dig for a while and tear around the yard.

Stairs are still a problem, but we assist her upstairs each night with her harness.  Although Riley is pretty ungainly, she must be getting stronger, as she has managed to jump on the couch a couple of times.  Usually, she just stands in front of it and whines until her human staff helps her up.  With all the pampering that Riley has had in the last eight months, we find that she has become quite the demanding girl.  We really don’t mind, and are just glad that she can express her wishes.

This week was the three month post-chemo checkup.  The oncologist was very pleased with Riley’s progress.  No recurrence of cancer was visible either on the chest x-ray or the physical exam.  Woo hoo, that is great news.  The oncologist says that it is highly likely that there will be a recurrence at some point, although we might get lucky and Riley could be an outlier.  We continue to give various supplements daily, and Riley gets green smoothies with every meal to provide a large dose of antioxidants.  Daily stroller outings are not as far as before – because she wants to walk!  So we will go a couple of blocks, and then she will walk back on her own.

Earlier this month, we celebrated Riley’s birthday.  In our world, dog birthdays are celebrated with hot dogs all around, so it was a pretty big deal for our girl.  What a chowhound she is!  Through two surgeries and five rounds of chemo, she never missed a meal.  We are fortunate that her appetite has never waned.  For a while there, it didn’t look like there would be another birthday for her, so we are enormously grateful to have her with us.


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Riley’s new normal

June 14th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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Well, it’s been nearly a month since I posted here.  I can only assume that’s a good thing, and symptomatic of life getting back to normal.  Normal, in this case, meaning keeping a bit closer eye on her than we did previously, and remembering the schedule for the various supplements that she is taking now.

Riley is very much her old self again.  She is able to navigate the house and yard by herself, and doesn’t need to be constantly monitored anymore.  All the rubber backed mats covering our tile floors have given her safe footing to move around downstairs, and things like raised bowls and an extra layer of padding in her preferred sleeping spot have added to her comfort.  Her incision has healed well, and the hair is starting to grow, although it is quite sparse.  She is developing a couple of areas where it looks like her hair is coming out.  We’re not sure if it was from wearing her harness 24/7 for a week, or if it’s the chemo causing hair loss.

Stairs are still out of the question, both from a physical standpoint and her rehab doctor’s restrictions.  Interestingly, she has learned to “ask” for help with the stairs.  We baby gate the bottom so that she doesn’t try it, but the other day I dashed upstairs for something, and was surprised to hear Riley bark.  Before her amputation, Riley was accustomed to following me throughout the day, up and down stairs numerous times.  Being left alone at the bottom of the stairs just wasn’t acceptable!

 

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Three weeks post surgery, and started chemotherapy

May 20th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Riley has had remarkable improvement since her surgery.  She is navigating very well on three legs.  Going up stairs is still very hard for her, so we put her Webmaster harness on at bedtime and lug her upstairs.  The handle on the harness is great – she is like a big, furry suitcase that we wrestle up the stairs!  Riley zips down the stairs on her own with no trouble.  Next week, we see a physical therapist, so maybe she can rebuild her strength.  Riley has never been much for water, so I don’t see her being a fan of an underwater treadmill, but there are other things that the rehab center offers. While she is intermittently active, it also seems that she is sleeping a lot.  But, overall, she is pretty much back to her old self.  Riley is alert and loving, and has a renewed interest in chew toys.

We started chemo on Thursday, with  possible five dose total.  The oncologist wants Riley to have a CBC next week, so that future dosages can be adjusted, if need be.  When the doc told us what to expect from the chemo, we were a little blindsided to hear that we need to be careful around her poop and pee for a few days.  Apparently, she will be excreting the chemo chemicals, and they are dangerous.  It makes you wonder why we give such nasty chemicals to a dog who is already sick…

 

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Eleven days after surgery

May 7th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Things are progressing very well.  She seems a little more solid on her three legs, and can move pretty fast – intermittently.  Thursday and Friday were low energy  days, and she slept a lot.  Much more alert today, and she is looking around from her comfy spot of her bed.  Riley’s staples come out tomorrow, which will be great for all of us.

We are still having trouble keeping her entertained and quiet.  The snuggle mat continues to be a big hit, and we fill it for her several times a day.  Riley gets an outing in her stroller every morning, and I think that she is starting to look forward to these little trips.

On the 18th, Riley has her first chemo appointment.  We don’t know what to expect from that.  Any pointers, folks?

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Getting around pretty well

May 3rd, 2017 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Riley is now six days post surgery, and getting around very well on her own.  She was quite active yesterday, and moving around the house a fair amount.

Per a suggestion on this blog, I made her a snuffle mat and she has been having fun with it.  I really think this activity is good for her, as she is very excited when we give her the mat.  Sniffing out the buried kibble keeps her occupied for a while, and provides some mental stimulation.  Additionally, I took her out in the stroller today, so she got to experience a little more of the larger world.  This is a bicycle trailer that can also transport two toddlers.  Prior to her surgery, we had several outings in it so that she would be acclimated to the stroller.

Her is a picture of Riley from last week, before her surgery.  She rides in the stroller like the queen she is!

Somehow, Riley has pulled out a staple.  I emailed a photo to the surgeon’s office, and they aren’t too worried, but advised us to keep it under observation.  The swelling in her remaining rear leg has gone down, and belly bruising is much diminished.  So, all in all, we are most pleased with her recovery.

Preliminary pathology report confirms cancer.  The lymph node was clear.  Yay!

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