This blog is dedicated to the life and times of an extraordinary dog named Guinness.
All of you who knew Guinness know that I've always told him he has Puppy Powers. Despite losing his right hind leg to bone cancer (osteosarcoma) early this year, Guinness continued to be his same good-natured, food-loving, gentle, yet silly self right to the end. It was during this time his Puppy Powers turned into Pirate Puppy Powers!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So much to say!

Once again, I'm sorry I am so behind in writing this. At least there is a lot to say!

So, when we last left off, Guinness had been removed from the Ohio State study due to his intolerance to carboplatin. I had made an appointment for his recheck, and by Monday the prednisone was obviously helping. He looked so much better even by Sunday. He dragged me into the clinic to see Wendy and all the other great ACOCers, and waited patiently while they got the results of his blood work. In the meantime, he got to meet another lab, a chocolate lab, who was in the waiting room. He was very excited about that.

I'm happy to say that his bloodwork came back with thumbs up, and he is now able to continue on with his treatment. I called the other day and set up an appointment locally with an oncologist for treatment with another drug called doxorubicin. He will be going in this coming Monday (5 days from now).

He's doing great still, and now we are all getting to see Guinness's appetite supercharged from the prednisone. As if he needed to be any more food obsessed (mom, you were right...he does have the prednisone eyes!) Yesterday, because of a snack left upstairs unattended, Guinness actually made it up the stairs to the family room entirely on his own for the first time since his surgery. He's single minded about food. Or single-er than ever!

That's it in a nutshell...hanging in there, he's doing good, just waiting to finish up the treatment so he can just be. I'm extremely encouraged by how well he's been dealing with each hurdle we've come across during this whole process, and so grateful that so far there has been no signs of any cancer spreading into his lungs or elsewhere.

Unless I have any hunts for stuffed animal eyeballs, any Monty Python-esque events, or other news, I will probably update next after his appointment on Monday, so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

...and one more step forward

I'm happy to say that today finds Guinness a little more perky, his appetite returned and seeming to be a little closer to the Guinness I know. I'm hoping it's due to the prednisone helping him recover from the reaction.

I'll update again tomorrow, and again after his appointment on Monday afternoon. Thanks to all for the well wishes and warm thoughts, it means a lot!

Two steps forward, one step back

Well, sadly bad news is bringing me back to the blog today. I'd been planning to update with a photo of Guinness with Snickers, and to report he's been doing well, but recently things have changed.

About 10 days ago we left town for a trip to Philadelphia and my dad came to house and critter sit for us. When he arrived he called to asked if Guinness was ok. He thought he seemed not quite himself. This was after several days of playing with Snickers, and I was hoping it was due to that, and possibly because Guinness had to watch (sadly) as Brett and John and Snickers got into a car together and left him behind to leave for Philly (my sister and I had gone ahead a day early with the kids). That had to have been a bummer for him when that happened (I had a moment of sadness when I realized this, and it was a hard week being away from him).

I hoped that this was what my dad was detecting, but on our return, I noticed the same. He was quiet, not as bright-eyed, or perky. His early were low, which is a sign something is not right with him. Brett also noticed that in the morning when he fed him, that Guinness was picking at his food rather than gulping it down as fast as possible, which is very much not like him. So warning bells were going off in my mind all over the place.

This was Sunday/Monday, and he was due for his third round of chemotherapy Thursday (yesterday), but by Tuesday I felt something was amiss. I called our doctor at OSU and said I wasn't confident that he was able to handle treatment, so we discussed me bringing him in locally to ACOC for a visit. This was after hours so I was planning on taking him to the clinic the next day, but early the next morning Dr. London called and said to just bring him down to OSU so they could have a look at him.

We arrived this morning with hopes that after an exam to rule anything out he would be receiving treatment, but a little over an hour after dropping him off Dr. London called and said that Guinness's white blood count was very high, and his red blood cell count was very low. This meant he was anemic, and his immune system was heightened. She began to search for the root of the problem, and the first thought was to look for a mass. I began to fear the worst that the cancer had spread. So I waited for another phone call, but (thankfully) that was ruled out via ultrasound and abdominal xrays.

She then promised to call back after looking deeper into things to see what was going on with him. I got another call asking if he had eaten anything toxic, been bitten by a tick, anything out of the ordinary, trying to rule out toxicity or possibly a blood bourne illness. Nothing fit.

Finally I received yet another call, and they had pretty much pin pointed the problem to a very rare reaction to the one chemotherapy drug, carboplatin. In a very small number of cases it has been reported to cause an auto-immune reaction, and Guinness happens to be one of them. The good news is that there is a very big possibility that a week of prednisone should reverse this by suppressing his immune system (since it is currently over-active). He will also need to be kept quiet so that he can bounce back from the anemia. The bad news is that since he's had such a severe reaction to the carboplatin, he can no longer receive it, and therefore can no longer part of the study.

At this point we will be monitoring his counts making sure he is rebounding, and if he does as hoped and expected, he will be receiving another type of chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin.

I will update further as things he received a prednisone injection and tomorrow he begins taking it via pill form. Monday he will have a blood draw to see if he is improving. If so, and it is at an acceptable level he could be receiving treatment (the doxorubicin) as early as next Friday, a week from today (well, yesterday now).

Right now he's sound asleep in his bed...he's hanging in there. Even this morning before leaving, while feeling so depleted he still had the drive to run over and charge our neighbor to say hi when we went out in the front yard. It's the inner Pirate Pup in him.

More to follow...