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Dec 10

Optimism

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I’ve been trying to be optimistic.  It’s not unfounded or unrealistic when it comes to Fallon.  She seems happy and healthy, and while I’m always expecting something bad to pop up, of late it hasn’t.  For that I’m grateful.

I’m learning optimism pays in other areas as well.  I have dreaded playing hockey for the past few months, which is a 180 for me.  I used to play 5-6 times a week with a number of different groups.  Since Fallon’s diagnosis, that had abruptly ended, I just wasn’t into it, I was only into Fallon.  Yesterday was the first time in months I half felt like playing.  I used lots of positive self talk and applied my newly found optimistic outlook.  It was the best game I have played in awhile, and I actually had fun.  Fallon’s Dad came to watch me play, we never used to miss each others’ games.  Since Fallon’s diagnosis, we haven’t gone to each others’ games at all.

Time to reintegrate some of the old pleasures into the new normal.

Here’s a video of the girls running in the snow.  They are both happy girls:

Next week hopefully will continue the positive trend…Chemotherapy day is Tuesday.  If all goes well there, vacation on Thursday!!  Off to Niagara Falls…

More to come…

Dec 05

Fallon was in Dr. Sue’s last Vlog.  She looks really good.  She’s the first of 3 dogs highlighted.  We were really excited to see her!!

This is from her last chemo on November 20, 2017.  A week from today is her next one.  That will be our halfway chemo point, 3rd of 6!

Fallon and Dad cuddling

Nov 30

…since the surgery.  Fallon has been a Tripawd for 50 whole days.  It’s been 65 days since the x-ray confirmed the bone tumor and this whole thing started.

We’ve come a long way in a little time.  It feels a lot longer than it really has been.  Now that we’re where we are, I can look back and say the worst part was the two weeks between the x-ray and the surgery.  The decision making was horrible, and then once the decision was made, the waiting for surgery was terrible.

We thought things would be awful after the surgery, but thankfully we had an easier time than many.  Not flawless, mind you…but we were prepared for much worse.  During that time, I was doing much worse than Fallon, just way too stressed out, withdrawing from everything except her and her needs—this wasn’t necessary.

A friend gave us this coat. It’s the best we’ve found to accommodate the missing front leg without twisting. Thanks Joanne!!

We’re starting to settle into a new normal.  We try to trust Fallon more and more, and allow her as much independence as she wants, rather than hovering over her and trying to help her with everything.  She lets us know when she needs something, and we try to respect that.  It’s not easy; it feels more natural to hover over her.  I’m getting out more, somewhat distractedly, but I trust my confidence and desire to do things out of the house will come back.  Fallon can stay alone, Maggie is great company, they are both very trustworthy.  But I have turned into a huge worrier.  I’m trying to fix that.

AAHhhhhhhhhhh

Our vacation is still on!!  Unless something happens or chemo does not go as well as it has, we’re going to Niagara Falls, ON in the middle of December.  I made the hotel reservations, so now it feels more real.  There is a big Festival of Lights there for the holidays.  Fallon loves meeting people (other than doctors in veterinarian offices—although she is getting more confident with that), so I am sure she’ll have an outstanding time—and Maggie just always has a good time, everywhere.

Next chemo is in about a week and a half, and rehab visit will be sometime in the next 2 weeks, when Fallon’s new brace arrives—for instructions on how to use it, probably not treadmill so soon following chemo.

We got sad news today.  A Tripawd greyhound we knew from our greyhound group died today.  Harper Leigh was one who blew the bell curve—her amputation was something like 5 years ago.  Harper’s mom, June spent so much time with me on the phone, messaging and Facebook helping me sort things out and giving me her perspective based on experience when we realized amputation might be the best choice.  My heart hurts for Harper’s family.

Harper Leigh
May, 2006-November 30, 2017

More to come…

Nov 29

Fallon seems to be feeling better and better all the time.  Yesterday was a really great day for her.  We went to her rehab session.  This was the second one, following the initial evaluation, and the plan was to have her try the underwater treadmill.

 

We took Maggie as well.  We asked the prior time if she would be welcome, and Fallon’s rehab team was excited about it.  Our feeling was that Maggie is a good support for Fallon, her being around makes Fallon more comfortable.  Maggie was a handful!  She was all over Dr. Laura, as she had treats.  She pooped a giant poop out on the floor in the office.  Still, she was charming, and we’ll probably bring her again.

 

We discussed a Thera-Paw brace the last time we were in, and decided to go with it.  Dr Laura called the company to discuss our needs and get a quote.  She will place the order, and we’ll have it in a couple of weeks.  This will help support Fallon’s wrist, which has looked swollen for a few weeks.  Good news is that when it was measured yesterday, it was down—a fraction of a millimeter, but it was smaller.  We talked about the exercises we were given last time.  In part they are going OK—ones where Fallon passively participates go better, like the massages and range of motion.

In the underwater treadmill tank, all suited up in a life vest

Fallon got suited up into a life vest with a handle on it—time to try the underwater treadmill!  At first, it seemed intimidating to her, she was shaking nervously.  Jenn, her Vet Tech was in the water with her comforting her from inside, and Dr. Laura, Fallon’s Dad and I stood outside petting her and giving encouragement.  First she just got used to the water and was encouraged to move around in it—go from the front to back of the tank, and turn around.  Dr Laura ran the treadmill, and fed Fallon treats for encouragement.  For this first day, Fallon hopped for 30 seconds at a time, repeated 4 times.  She got more and more comfortable and confident as time passed.  When she got out of the water, we all rubbed her dry with a towel (she loves that), then Fallon went over to greet and thank Dr Laura, which made us happy.  We decided at that point to go back in maybe a month.  It will get very cold here soon, and the treadmill might be a great diversion and different exercise for Fallon.

(Maggie makes a cameo at the end of this)

The whole day seemed to invigorate Fallon!  We think she enjoyed the underwater treadmill, as well as her visit with her Rehab Team.  I went off to play hockey last night, so Fallon and Maggie were home alone with Dad.  He reported Fallon was super active, going up and down the stairs repeatedly and goofing around with Maggie.  She seems more and more like her old self every day 🙂

 

Nov 23

Yes, you.  Sorry, this will be long, we have a lot to be thankful for.

 

First our secret—we’ve reached a happy benchmark.  In all the decision making we had to do on Fallon’s behalf, we knew it was all a crap shoot.  Maybe the cancer would be found to be worse when she was in surgery. Maybe she wouldn’t make it through.  Maybe she wouldn’t do well through the recovery phase.  Maybe she wouldn’t thrive as a Tripawd.  There were so many scary things that could go wrong.  Paul and I discussed that if we all made it in one piece (minus one leg) to Thanksgiving, that would be the outside minimum we could accept to validate our decisions.  We didn’t want to say it out loud, so as not to jinx it.  Well, here we are.  I’ve felt for a while we made the right decision.  Now we’ve passed that first benchmark.  Grateful….yes, and so very thankful.  Go Fallon!!  Time to choose a new goal—maybe Christmas.  Maybe getting to the end of all 6 chemotherapy.  Maybe Dewey Beach in April…?

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

On to giving thanks.  We owe so many so much.

 

There have been many unexpected, generous acts, from our neighbor down the street, who was also a Tripawd mom offering to lend us a wagon for Fallon to negotiate longer distances, to an online friend who sent us two bags of expensive immunity treats, to a hockey friend who brought Fallon a calming, lavender scented toy (which Maggie believes to be hers), to thoughtful cards we’ve received in the mail, to super long emails with helpful hints and relating past experiences working with dog post-surgery after amputation from a friend who worked as a vet tech, we couldn’t be more grateful for these kindnesses out of the blue.  People we see at hockey, people who are neighbors, people who we work with follow our blog, ask for updates, and give us hugs.  We’re floored by the numbers of folks who have been following Fallon’s journey on this blog.  Floored, but grateful.

 

I can’t say enough good about Tripawds.  We were lost when this started.  We had no direction, only conflicting information, and didn’t feel qualified to command this mission.  Somehow, we ran across Tripawds, and it’s the best thing that could have happened to us.  So much information, so much support, so much reinforcement, so much caring…You might not think about communities like this until you need them, but this community deserves your attention.  They help fund necessary Tripawd expenses through their foundation—things like special equipment, reimbursement toward surgery, rehab consult reimbursement, adoption fees for Tripawds in shelters who need homes–tons.  They provide educational brochures to doctor’s offices.  There is a toll free help line where you can actually talk to someone for support.  They support this blog (and countless others) giving people like us a place to share and vent and put pictures.  There are topical forums where members can get information, share information, and chat  They have published books to help clueless people like us find out what we need to know (and things we needed to know that we didn’t know we needed to know) easily.  They are part of our support system, and fountains of knowledge (and wisdom and love).  Think about looking them up and supporting them.  Thank you so much for all you do, Tripawds.

Fallon flies the Tripawds flag

Oh, Family.  We appreciate your pings, your jokes, your virtual hugs, your comments on Fallon’s blog and Facebook…I am very sad we won’t have Thanksgiving together.  But I can’t wait to see you and have real sister hugs next weekend!!! I will cry.  I miss you.

 

Many apologies and super thanks to my Hockey peeps.  Thank you for putting up with all my absences and crappy, distracted playing. Hockey had been at the top of my list of priorities before Fallon’s diagnosis, but now Fallon takes all my time and thoughts.  But we’re finally settling into our new normal, and as a result I have to start taking care of myself better.  Things can only get better…I promise. x

 

The Greyhound Health Initiative is an organization that we’ve long supported, never truly believing we’d take advantage of their support someday also.  When we needed Dr. Couto, the greyhound cancer expert, to weigh in on our situation, very, very early in this journey, the fee was discounted through our membership. They have a reimbursement program for Fallon’s Carboplatin (chemo med).  In our correspondence working out the details, they have always asked how Fallon was, even provided a tasty little recipe for peanut butter meatballs when we were concerned about her weight loss.  Good people working for a greyt cause.  Look them up too.

 

Our greyhound group, Forever Home Greyhound Adoption and president Paula has helped us every step of the way and offered such support.  Frequent check-ins through surgery time, recommendations on professionals to work with, equipment we’d need—invaluable.  June, a Tripawd greyhound Mom from the group was one of the first people I reached out to when we got this devastating news and amputation seemed realistic, and she spent tons of time talking about their experience when I was trying to figure things out.  So happy you are in our lives…and thank you for our girls. <3

Thankful Maggie is a good, good girl xoxo

Our doctors are the best—little more to say about that.  We’re so grateful not only for the medical treatment and knowledge, but the practical advice, (mostly) positive feedback, and big hugs.  Grateful for Dr Sue Ettinger and Suzanne (oncologist), Dr Laura Perez and Jenn (rehab), and Dr Matt McDaniel and the whole team at Sand Creek Animal Hospital and how they have helped us in so many ways.  We’re also grateful for our surgeon, Dr. Faulkner Besancon, who we don’t need to see any more (!), but he did an awesome job.

 

You’re all Team Fallon—We’re all Team Fallon.  We wouldn’t be at this point without you.  The things you do don’t go unnoticed.  We’re in your debt–very grateful you’re here supporting us.

 

One more thing…FU cancer.