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Nothing But Love in Her Heart

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Apr 05

We got to Dewey Beach yesterday, but it was rainy when we arrived, so we didn’t make it to the beach.  Today is a GREYT day for the beach, sunny, but a bit cool.

Paul carried Fallon a lot of the way there.  It’s only a block from our hotel, but we wanted her to save her legs for the beach.

Maggie wears her harness because she is not a good listener.

She still loves the beach!!  She ran and ran, once she accepted that it was cool with us.

We met up with some other people and dogs, she loved saying hello.

We didn’t want to overextend her, although she was raring to go.  After about 15-20 minutes of fun, we headed back to the hotel.  We’ll definitely go out again after she takes a good rest.

Resting in bed after a beach run!

This trip is already a success, and we’ll be here 3 more days!!  Cheers!!

Bacon Mary

Apr 01

Mar 27

Six months ago was one of the most difficult days we’ve had to get through—the day of my best friend Fallon’s x-ray revealing her osteosarcoma.  There were tons of tears, constant research, lots of conversations with anyone with some level of knowledge/experience who would talk to us, lots of drinking…Six months ago I would have never believed we’d be where we are now.  But after an amputation, completing a course of chemotherapy, and starting metronomic chemo, Fallon is just rockin’ this; she really seems happy, healthy, and feeling greyt…Maggie too. 

Nothing has changed in their friendship.

We’re vacationing back at Dewey Beach in a week.  I wondered whether we’d ever go back together.  Despite all the angst, we’ve made the right choices so far.  There’s a comfort in believing that, anyway.


So catching you up, all Fallon’s testing came back awesome from our last oncology appointment—bloodwork and x-rays included!  While we were at our last appointment, Dr. Sue and I discussed next steps.  The VCC site visit from Aratana regarding the Osteosarcoma Vaccine was postponed to March 28 due to one of the multiple snowstorms hitting and interfering with their travel.  Dr. Sue and our family are both away the first week in April (! Did I mention Dewey Beach for us !), so the next possible appointment for us would be April 10…and that is when we could get the vaccine.  So given there is this bit of a lull between possible next steps, Dr. Sue and I discussed Metronomic Chemotherapy to bridge the gap, and possibly continue beyond.


This is low dose chemo meds administered by us at home, by mouth.  The goal is to slow down tumor blood vessel growth, it will hopefully slow the progression of any new spread.  So that seemed like a good plan, we decided to go with it.  We’re thankful we have Dr. Sue to guide us; we have the utmost trust in her.


So Fallon is on 4 new meds now.  The chemo med is Cyclophosphamide, and we give it every other day.  You’re not supposed to touch it, so we were provided with a large supply of nitrile gloves, and instructions how to dispose of these safely, what to do if it touches us, or gets in our eyes, very serious shizzle.  Plus she will probably need to pee more.  We’ll deal.

Fallon is smart, she does not hop in the really sharp snow. Thankfully it is finally melting.

So we have four administrations experience with it so far, but I don’t think it will be a problem, I shake it from the bottle to the bottle’s top, then sink it into Fallon’s delicious home cooked breakfast and she eats it right down without any issue.  Fingers crossed this continues.  Other new meds (an NSAID, antibiotic, and some omeprazole for her tum) we have also been hiding without issue—so far, so good.  She continues to enjoy Omega 3 oil as part of a healthy breakfast. (I also mix in glucosamine, MSM, vitamin C and chondroitin powders and a squirt of Yucca—have been adding this for mobility for years)  It sounds more complex and confusing than it really is.  She’s still on her Apocaps, but a lower dose because of the NSAID, and still gets her favorite K9 Immunity Plus treats.  Busy girl!


I am still having major anxiety due to the vaccine cost—which has not been officially made known to me yet by the VCC, but I am a girl with the internet, so I know ballpark.  Devastating, just like everything else has been.  So while I have been 100% solid behind wanting this vaccine for Fallon, seeing it as an opportunity that has come along now for a reason, sleeping at night (and doing most everything else) has been rough while stressing and obsessing over money.  Nonetheless, if she is eligible, we’ll pay for it somehow.  Results have been way too encouraging for us not to take a chance on this.  Buy insurance for your dogs.  Trust me.


Despite $, we’re off to the beach soon—it’s a greyt time to go, quiet, cheap because it’s off season, life at the ocean is always better than the Albany suburbs, the beach is open to dogs, restaurants are open and not overflowing with people, other greyhounds will be there—win, win, win, win, win, win.

(This video is our last September trip, so warmer looking than we’ll have next week.  The other dogs are from the Appalachian Air Canines group.  Maggie felt as one with them.  Fallon still had her limp and mostly watched from her beach blanket, it is a week before the x-ray.  We have a plan to go back this coming September also)

Plus, we all need a break.  I am getting crazier, time to rein this in.

Mar 14

This week is Fallon’s oncology appointment!  They *should* have had the Aratana osteosarcoma vaccine in at the VCC, but I called to confirm, and due to the weather, the site visit was moved to March 28.  But we’re going Thursday anyway—Fallon is due for x-rays.  I have a good amount of trepidation, mixed in with excitement about possibilities with the vaccine.  And this postponement gives us a couple of more weeks to save up for the huge cost.


So I’m somewhat terrified of what they might find in the x-rays.  Is it even worth knowing?  Things are going pretty well right now.  I suppose it could dictate next steps.  And we need good x-rays to be eligible for the vaccine.  So we’re all in!

These two are best friends

Maggie, Fallon and I are going down to the VCC alone this time—more anxiety, as this could be a big decision-making appointment and I’d love Paul’s input—and ears, I get things wrong all the time.  A colleague at his work is away and he could not take the day off.  We’ve known awhile, I just have to get used to the concept.  At our last appointment, Maggie got bit in the lip by another dog.  The dog’s owner and the hospital could not have been more apologetic, and they treated Maggie for free, and gifted us some antibiotics, and all is well—but that was with 2 people trying to manage.  Nonetheless—I got this.


Cooking is going awesome, once I get past the bitterness and anger of having to do it (FU cancer) and then cleaning up is horrible—but I am getting more and more efficient, the girls LOVE it, and I am positive it is a benefit.

Being OCD helps and hurts

I have expanded into cooking treats as well!!  I call them Bird Balls, otherwise known as Meat Treats—basically chicken and rice meatballs.  Very labor-intensive, but hella healthy for the girls and better than commercial treats.  Paul even tasted them-bland, but good!  I make everything now in the biggest quantity I can, and freeze what I have room for.  I never did connect with the dietary department at Cornell for a consult so we’re still flying semi blind in terms of amounts to feed and a balanced diet…but so far, so good in terms of medical checkups and Fallon’s weight, so I’ll try to hold off as we can use that money to push toward the Aratana vaccine.  We also stopped rehab—for now.  We are prioritizing the vaccine cost.


We have Dewey Beach vacation coming up!! Possibly (assuming she is eligible) we can get the vaccine into Fallon the week we go.  I’ll barely work that week.  It could wait until after, but I want Fallon to receive it as soon as possible.  Outcomes are so OUTSTANDING in the trials that I don’t want to wait.  It’s still a little far off—23 days—but the weather looks spectacular…and we all need a vacation again desperately!

Back in the days of 4 legs at Dewey Beach. Fallon LOVES her Dad.

Feb 16

Fallon is a chemotherapy graduate!  She completed her course of carboplatin on the day before Valentine’s Day.  I could not have been more proud of her!  She seems to feel really good.  We go back for full body x-rays in 4 weeks.  I am pretty nervous about these.  I almost don’t want to know.

Good job, girl!!

Good news finally on the Aratana Osteosarcoma vaccine!  The site visit for the Veterinary Cancer Center is in 3 weeks, then they can procure the vaccine.  Dr. Sue told me to give a call a few days before our appointment in 4 weeks, just to be sure they have the vaccine.  If not, we’ll bump the appointment out a few days so they can get it.


Changing gears—here and in my focus…


I spend a lot of time troubleshooting, working to make things better.  I’ll read and re-read websites and the Dog Cancer Survival Guide to see what I’ve missed and how I can improve Fallon’s life.  I set goals—we’re going to Dewey in X days, Grapehounds in blah blah days, thesemany days left to rehab, to chemo, to the next benchmark.  I plan—what to do next and when.  Where to check next for the secret key to beating this horrible diagnosis.  I research–what’s next and when?  How do I be ready for this?  But I have been missing one big thing.  Now.


Laura commented on a recent blog of ours (thank you so much <3) and gently reminded me my focus is off a bit.


Don’t pass the time. Don’t just look for the next milestone, the next chemo, the next treatment. Every moment in the now is so, so precious. The unknowing is awful, but look into your puppers eyes, his smile, take her for walks, take breaks to be with her, give her your full attention. Allow special snuggles in bed, just sit outside (when it’s warmer), and be present. Paint pictures together, use his paws, get messy. Get dirty. Laugh together.


“Don’t count the days.  Make the days count.”  Muhammad Ali


Off to cuddle my girl.  It’s her favorite thing.


More to come…