Many thanks to all of you who stopped by my booth at Wagfest. It was good day and a nice festival (until, upon leaving, it was discovered that my husband's vehicle was damaged in the vendor parking lot by what we guess was someone not very skilled at pulling a trailer.) I was very touched by the concern and words of support offered to Teddy. Thank you so much. Teddy is off to Ohio State tomorrow to get ready for surgery on Wednesday. His CT scan that I mentioned in my last post showed some growths in his abdomen that are probably pressing on his liver and stomach, which would explain his lack of appetite. It would not explain the recovery of his appetite, but Teddy has historically been deeply committed to eating. Your prayers are appreciated and needed--keep them coming! Thanks so much.
Tomorrow there is a CT scan at Ohio State...but, today, we celebrate!!!
Have you ever been to Wag Fest? Neither have I, but I'm going this year, as a vendor that is. It's on August 22 (Saturday) at the Prairie Oaks Metro Park in Hilliard. It sounds like fun for people and their pups, as Prairie Oaks is a pretty dog-friendly park, with walking trails and a swimming area for dogs, and the festival is full of dog-purtunites for dogs and their people, with dozens of vendors (like me) and activities. For all the info, check out their website: www.wagfest.com.
So you're wondering how Teddy is doing? Well, he's happy, and that's the most important thing. He also appears to be healthy, which is also great. There have been a couple of blips on his journey toward wellness...One is that he has not been eating as joyfully as he used to. We could always count on Teddy to be our chow hound, relishing anything remotely edible and usually asking for more. But lately, he has been slow to finish his morning meal, and won't even consider it without a healthy dose of cheese on top. Same for his dinner. The post-dinner rawhide strip doesn't get much of his attention either. Now, he happily takes any piece of chicken offered to him and pretty much knocked out an Egg McMuffin (without the bacon) this morning (and yes, Maggie got her share of it, too), but his appetite is not the same. So, he was taken off his maintenance chemotherapy pills and put back on his pre-kidney disease food. He is also on an anti-nausea drug. He's going to OSU for an exam on Monday, and we're going to try to figure out what's keeping our little guy from enjoying his food.
Maggie has finally lost the last of the residual skunk stink on her head. It was only noticeable when you'd pick her up and hold her, and then only if we gave her a kiss on the top of her head. So, now she's stink-free, and more kissable than ever.
The German Village Art Crawl is happening this Saturday, July 18, from 5 pm to 9 pm along Macon Alley in the heart of German Village. It's a fun evening, with 30-some artists hanging out in garages along the alley, local restaurants offering nibbles, and live music. Your admission fee ($20) gets you tickets that you redeem for nibbles and sips at the food sites. And there are lots of restaurants in the area to go to before or after the Crawl if you need more than a nibble. The people who live in German Village love a party, and they are gracious hosts and very nice folks. I am lucky enough to have the same wonderful hosts as last year (yay!), which means I am in the same location as last year. I have to say, as an artist, this is probably my favorite event to do because it is so much fun...and I spend the whole evening in a garage! Just imagine the fun you can have out there, walking around...eating good stuff....sipping some libations...shopping for art, or just looking at it...hanging out with the good people of German Village. I almost wish I were you! Click here to read all the info from the source and to buy tickets. I hope to see you there!
One day last week, my mom handed me an article she had clipped from the Columbus Dispatch with a recipe for a concoction that removes skunk odor from dogs should there be an unfortunate meeting between dog and skunk. I took it, thinking, "That's a good thing to have, but I probably won't need it because my dogs have never encountered a skunk." After last night, my response would now be, "That's great! I'm going to commit it to memory, and I will always have these ingredients on hand."
Does that mean someone got a skunk bath last night? Yes, indeed. Little Maggie woke me at about 4:30 in the morning, crying to go out, so out she went. Teddy came along, too. Maggie led the way, and as I observed from the corner of our enclosed back porch, I was surrounded by intense skunk stink. I thought someone had struck a skunk along Clark State Road, which is not unusual. Then I noticed Maggie shaking her head vigorously as she headed toward the back of the yard. I thought that was weird, but then I was distracted by watching Teddy, who didn't act as if a strange animal had visited the yard. He just quietly went about business and returned. As Teddy came in and I went back in the house to wait for Maggie, it occurred to me that the head shaking and the skunk smell could be related. (Yes, it took me a while, but it was 4:30 in the morning...)
Oh, yeah...I picked Maggie up in a towel because the grass was wet from rain, and then it was beyond abundantly clear that she was wearing a dose of skunk squirt. Oh, where did I put that article?
Well, I couldn't find the clipping right away, so I found the article online. Thank goodness. The recipe works, pretty much instantly. So here it is: 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid soap.
Don't worry if you don't have a full bottle of hydrogen peroxide...just use what you have and hope that your big dog was spared the spray.
If you have been that close to a dog covered in skunk spray, you will probably smell skunk for the next several days because that smell is so deeply embedded in your nostrils you can't get away from it, and that smell has wafted through the house as you carried the dog to the sink or bath, but your dog will smell fresh and clean. After I coated Maggie with the magic potion, I shampooed her. The only lasting effects of the incident for Maggie are a fear of her doggie ramp off the deck where the incident happened and the nickname "Little Skunkface."
Every time Art and I are in the car and we pass an area where skunk smell lingers after a driver has hit an unsuspecting skunk, Art tells me that if our dogs ever get sprayed, he won't be able to wash them because the smell makes him physically ill. Ah, my delicate little flower....So, I knew I would be the one scrubbing Maggie down with the magic potion. But I didn't want Art to miss out on our first skunking experience, so I woke him. He was a rock star of support, gathering ingredients and searching the backyard for the offender (twice!).
I've always dreaded my dogs encountering a skunk, but now that I have the recipe for the magic potion, I know it will be okay. I am now going to the store to restock on hydrogen peroxide, and I vow to never be without the three ingredients. Here's Maggie ready for her touch up bath--there's some lingering stink around her snout, which is kind of difficult to apply the magic potion to, as I don't want to get in her eyes, nose or mouth. Teddy, as usual, is ready to assist:
Teddy had a long day Tuesday, and he was wiped out when he got home. He had a "staging" appointment at OSU, where he gets examined for any evidence of cancer occurring, which involves chest x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound, a physical exam and blood and urine tests. The good news is that no evidence of cancer was found, so yippee!! for that. The not so good news is that he has some indicators for chronic kidney disease. There is some hope that it is related to some medication that he has been on most of his life for his hips, and if we cut that out, maybe that will help. And, the OSU doctors say that neither type of chemo he gets should affect his kidneys, but I kind of think having chemicals pumped into your body every ten days could have all kinds of results, and I'm secretly hoping that when he's done with chemo, he'll improve a little with the kidney issue. Anyway, we are in full-on kidney assistance mode now, with a prescription diet. One of the doctor-approved treats for dogs with kidney disease is Kellogg's Corn Pops, which Teddy is particularly excited about, so we will use that as his special bedtime treat.
Teddy also had his chemotherapy infusion yesterday following his staging, so he was at OSU pretty much all day. I don't think he would have even minded skipping his walk last night, but we went for a very short trip, then he was ready for bed. Check him out snoozing on "The Big Bed," formerly known as Art and Dana's bed:
This weekend (May 16 and 17) is the Delaware (Ohio) Arts Festival, and it would be great to see you there! For all the info about the Delaware fest, see its official website: www.delawareartsfestival.org. I will be at booth number 59, which appears to be at the north end of the row of artists on Sandusky Street.
This late winter/early spring has been so crazy with sick dogs and sick parents that I didn't think I was ever going to get around to making jewelry and finishing portraits, but I've been back at. Have a peek at my workbench to see some of the stuff I'll have at Delaware (it's actually a work stump, which is great for hammering...):
Everyone (my parents, my dogs) is doing well right now, so hopefully the weekend will go off without a hitch. I'm hoping that the weather forecasters are wrong, and it will be dry all weekend. Why are they always wrong except when I need them to be?
Also, Teddy finished his third complete round of chemo last weekend, and he is feeling great! And, Maggie's Cushing's meds are doing the trick for her--she's as happy and peppy as a puppy!
In an effort to get Teddy in and out of the groomer's in record time (to follow the "pee frequently after cyclophosphamide" instructions) and to even out the patchwork effect, Teddy got the grooming of his life on Friday. He gets a trim every now and then, but this one took all of the feathering off of his legs and sides. No matter what, he is still a very handsome boy!
He just finished his second round of chemotherapy. His home dose of cyclophosphamide was delayed this time because his infusion treatment suppressed his bone marrow too much and he had no white blood cells. He immediately went on an antibiotic, and we had to take his temperature three times a day (yes...like that). His white blood cell count came back to normal pretty quickly, and we gave him his cyclophosphamide a few days later. He will be back on his normal schedule on Tuesday. They won't recognize him at Ohio State with his new 'do.
He seems to handle the chemo well, and hasn't been really sick while on it. He had chest x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound last Tuesday, and everything was clear. There is some bad news, however, which is a second kind of cancer that was revealed upon biopsying the cyst on his back. When the results were read to me over the phone, I heard "trichoblastoma", which is generally benign and not a problem if it's not bothering the dog. But upon seeing his most recent discharge papers, I saw that is was "malignant trichoblastoma", which is rare and subject to spreading. I don't know if they didn't tell me it was malignant or I didn't want to hear it, but it is. They are proceeding by staying on course for treatment of the original cancer and will address the new cancer after he finishes chemo. Hopefully the chemo is attacking the malignant trichoblastoma, too. So, for any of you that I initially told that the new cancer was probably not much to worry about, that was wrong. I suppose cancer is always something to worry about. So, Teddy still needs your prayers and well-wishes.
He acts like he feels really well, and I think he looks pretty content:
Teddy had his second chemotherapy infusion two days ago, and he is feeling pretty good right now. He was a little shaky coming home from that one because they sedated him to biopsy that cyst on his back. I had no idea they would have to shave such a large spot on his back to do it. Now he has a bald spot on his shoulders in addition to shaved strips around his legs and very short fur on half of his tummy where he was shaved for surgery. He looks like a patchwork retriever. He seems to be feeling pretty well now, although the storms last night kept him and Maggie (and, therefore, me and Art) up last night.
What could make him feel even better? Jelly beans...
So, overall, Teddy handled his first chemo pretty well. He did get sick one night, five days after the infusion, but we gave him some additional anti-nausea medication, and he got through it. I think it scared him, and he became really clingy, which may be difficult for the casual observer to detect, as he follows me constantly even when he feels his best. "Clingy" just means that he wanted me to offer constant comfort and to accompany him out in the backyard when he needed to heave a little and to nibble some grass. And that's okay, because that's exactly what I wanted to do andyway, so I could see just how sick he was and to make sure he didn't nibble too much grass. So what if it was 1:30 in the morning? And 3:00 in the morning...and 6:00 in the morning...He is feeling better now.
Teddy had a blood test at OSU on Tuesday, and that was fine, but his oncologist didn't like the look of a cyst on his back. We were aware of the cyst and had it previously tested, and at that time it turned out to be a not-uncommon, not dangerous sebaceous cyst. But now we have cancer, and the nature of the cyst may have changed. It looks a little different, a little more raised, a little angrier. They took a scraping at OSU and sent it to pathology, and now it has some "atypical cells." They are going to do a bigger biopsy in two weeks when Teddy goes back for his next infusion. I offered to bring him in sooner, like immediately, but they didn't think it would make a difference. The scary thing is that the myxosarcoma that he had in his spleen is usually found on or just under the skin...like a cyst. So now, there's two weeks of waiting. Or two weeks of denial. I'm thinking about going with denial. In the meantime, I have his "carry out" chemo to give him on Friday and Saturday at home.
And now the survival story...after Teddy's operation, we kept him downstairs until his staples came out because we didn't want him to go up and down stairs very much and we especially didn't want him to jump up on or down from the bed. He also needed to go outside much more frequently because all the fluids during surgery affected his kidneys for a while, and he had to be on a leash to go out even though the yard is fenced because he could not run or roll or jump. So, it seemed easier to stay downstairs with him and sleep on the couch in the family room. I did that for almost three weeks. It may sound like a hardship, but I actually enjoyed our little slumber parties and our peaceful sojourns out into the moonlit snow-covered back yard at all hours of the night. When it was time to move back upstairs, I disassembled the bedding on the couch and washed it (which I did along the way, too, but the final time had a special urgency to it. Just sayin'......) So, the sheets and blanket went into the washing machine, along with my ipod, one of my favorite possessions, and one that I use daily, for dogwalking, artmaking, and lying awake while the rest of the world slumbers. And of course, Art had to be the one to discover it in the washing machine. Full cycle, wash, rinse, spun dry. For a few days, it didn't look good, but I kept it in a box of rice, and every day it got better. Once we dislodged a grain of rice that had stuck in the charging port, my ipod is fully functioning with no water visible under the screen. I fear that the insides are corroding, but right now it works fine. So that's one little victory. Yay.
All images and designs are copyrighted and the property of Dana Keating Marziale and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2011