Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rest in Peace, sweet girl

Laura lost her battle with HSA today.   We are all completely devastated.   Rest in Peace Laura, you were loved more than you will ever know.   We will see you again someday on the other side.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

4 Months Post HSA Diagnosis and doing well

It's hard to believe that it has been four months already since Laura was diagnosed with HSA.    While the time has flown by, looking back she has been through so much.   Laura successfully completed all five rounds of chemotherapy and continues to do very well.  It's almost incredible how well she is doing.   Since the completion of her chemo her gums have remained nice and pink and her overall health has been excellent.   Her blood tests continued to come back good throughout each chemo treatment. She is very much enjoying Spring (except for the thunderstorms!).

The only sticky spot has been her diet.   I continue to give her every single supplement outlined in her diet each day, but she has become much more picky on the food she will actually eat.   A few weeks ago I started making her a meatloaf concoction after she stopped eating her normal diet (as outlined in Laura's Cancer Diet).  Here is Laura's Meatloaf Recipe for those of you in the same boat:

Laura's Meatloaf
5 Pounds Ground Beef
2 Pounds Ground Turkey
2 Pounds Chicken or Beef Liver
1 Bag of Celery
2 Cartons of fresh mushrooms
7 Cloves of Garlic
1 Carrot
12 Eggs
2 boxes frozen spinich

In a food processor finely chop up the celery, mushooms, garlic and carrot.   In a large skillet, heat the chopped vegetable mixture along with the drained spinich.   In a seperate bowl, combine the ground beef, ground turkey, liver (liquify in a food processor) and eggs.   After cooking the vegetable mixture for about 20 minutes, let cool.   Incorporate the vegetable mixture with the meat mixture.  Divide mixture into four meat loaf pans.  Heat in a 350 degree oven for 1-2 hours.   Makes four large meat loafs.   I cut the meat loaf into four slices each and she gets one slice 2x per day.

As far as getting her to take her supplements, I've been doing it the "hard" way.   I coat her pills in Lipiderm, open her mouth and drop them in the back of her throat.  I then close her mouth and rub her neck until she swallows them.   I repeat the process until she has taken all her supplements.   See Laura's Cancer Diet (link in the upper right hand corner of this page) for the full supplement list.   I really believe the supplements have helped her fight this awful cancer.

So far she loves the meatloaf!  

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers.  Laura and I appreciate it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A great couple of weeks

Just a quick update on how Laura is doing since many of you have been asking me on Twitter.   Laura has had a an absolutely tremendous last couple of weeks.   She has been eating normally, has night bright pink gums, playing like she is 2 years old again and most importantly gaining weight!   Her special diet to fight Hemangiosarcoma really seems to be working.

The weather has been warming up and she's been enjoying lots of play time with her brother, Gipper.    Laura was especially excited today because she got to watch opening day of the Cubs on the patio.  Laura's favorite pastime is watching the Cubs all summer on the patio -- our next goal is to have her make it to the playoffs!

Laura goes in for her 4th Chemotherapy session on Monday.  I will update everyone after that to let you know how she does.

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chemo Round #3

Not looking forward to more Chemo
After the second round of Chemo it took Laura a few weeks to fully recover.   This past week however was one of her best in a long time.  She has been acting "normal" -- running, playing, and acting like a dog much younger than her age.   I almost dreaded taking her in for her scheduled 3rd chemo session, but I knew it had to be done. 

When I dropped Laura off this morning, I discussed with Dr. B my desire to give her a smaller dosage as he did during the first session so she wouldn't get so sick.  He concurred. 

Laura is starting to know the routine and definitely didn't want to stay with Dr. B this morning.  She actually tried dragging me out the door several times, as if saying, "please don't leave me daddy!".    I walked her back to the kennel area and said goodbye.   She started yelping and crying, but we both knew she had to stay.

Good Blood Work!
As usual, she had to have complete blood work done before the chemo could be administered to make sure she was healthy enough.   Her blood work again looked great.  It was normal.  Let the chemo begin to drip!

I picked Laura up after work and Dr. B gave her some more Reglan (anti-nausea medicine) as a preventative measure since she got so sick the last time.   We went home and Laura was starving.   She immediately begged me for her homemade dinner and I obliged.  She woofed it down in under a minute.   So far, so good with Chemo Round #3.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rough Times Ahead

On the way to the vet (again)
Today was another pretty scary day for all of us who love Laura.

I came home for lunch to check on Laura and to let her outside for a few minutes.   When she greeted me at the door she seemed fine.  Her tail was wagging and she was running around the house (as is typical when I come home).   A few seconds later she just collapsed -- fell to the floor like she fainted.   She got right back up however and was shaking a little, but within a few minutes was acting "normal" again.   I checked her gums.  My heart sank.  Her gums were white.   All that came to my mind was today is the day I'm going to lose my girl forever.   After 51 days and all the work we have done to help her, could this really be the end?

I immediately gave her a few Yunnan Baiyao pills (which supposedly stop internal bleeding).   I debated on whether to even call the vet.   I knew that if she was bleeding internally again there was not much they could do for her.   After a few minutes, I decided to go ahead and make the call.   Of course the vet wanted me to bring her right in.   I made a deal with them however, if I brought her in, there was no way I was leaving her there.   If she was going to pass away tonight, I wanted her to be at home in her bed and not by herself, alone, at the pet hospital.  They agreed, so I took her in.

By the time I got to the vet an hour later, her gums were nice and pink again and she was acting completely normal.   The vet examined her for a few minutes.  Her heart sounded strong and she couldn't feel any tumors.  Her weight was 54 pounds which is her usual weight.  The most likely explanation for the earlier collapse and white gums is that there is another tumor somewhere in her body that was bleeding but eventually healed itself.   They asked if I wanted to do blood work and x-rays and I elected not to when they told me that regardless of what they showed there wasn't much they could do for her at this point.  

Hanging out at Dad's Office
We left the vet together and she spent the afternoon with me at my office (she loves the attention she receives at my work).  She is at home now, acting pretty much back to normal, resting comfortably after eating her delicious dinner.  

The hemangiosarcoma certainly scored a point today, but Laura lives to fight another day.   That's all we can do is take things one day at a time from here on out.

I also want to point out that Laura was featured on another bloggers site earlier this week.   The author included a great article about Hemangiosarcoma (HSA).   Please check it out.  You can read it here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sickness from the Chemotherapy

Last night was pretty tough for Laura.   After her chemotherapy (doxorubicin) session on Monday, she came home and acted normal.  She ate her regular dinner.  The next day she seemed fine too.  She ate all of her breakfast and all of her dinner.   About 11pm last night as we were laying in bed together, her stomach started gurggling and she started chomping her gums.   I could tell she was feeling nauseous.

For the next two hours she puked almost non stop.  I went through four changes of sheets and was up steam cleaning carpets half the night.  Poor thing was feeling pretty bad.   It almost made me wish I hadn't gone through with the chemotherapy.  At about 1 am she finally vomitted for the last time and went to sleep alongside her brother.   I tried giving her a benadryl and some pepto chewables, but she couldn't keep anything down. 
Gipper and Laura

I called Dr. B in the morning, and he didn't seem too concerned.   He said it was to be expected from the chemo.  He prescribed some Reglan (Metoclopramide) to calm her stomach down.  I gave her one of the pills first thing this morning and she has been holding water down all day, so hopefully the side effects of the chemo are over with.  I'm hoping she will feel well enough to eat her dinner tonight.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2nd Round of Chemotheraphy Over

Laura on the way to Chemo
Laura went in this morning for her second round of chemo.  Dr. B decided to increase the doxorubicin by about 30% since she handled her first round of chemo so well.   She came through again with flying colors.  When I picked her up this afternoon she ran out and smothered me with kisses and was definitely ready to come home.   She is resting comfortably -- waiting patiently for her dinner.

The best part about the visit was her blood work.   Everything came back normal.  Her red blood cells and platelets were back to where they should be.  What a relief and hopefully a sign of good things to come.

And thanks to her diet, her weight increased from 51 to 54 pounds.  Another great sign.

She goes in for another round of chemo three weeks from today.