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Monday, June 18, 2012

Had to switch computers, but finally figured out how to do a new post.

I got an email today and I apologize, but when I hit reply it went back to a non-reply address, so I wanted to write this post in response to the question I was asked.

- With cancer in the mouth and nasal cavity, it will get really nasty with Neo BUT it can potentially save your dogs life. I would encourage you to go out to the Neo website and take a look at the photos and read the stories of other dogs that have been treated with Neo for this type of cancer. The images are quite graphic, but it will prepare you for what you'll face if you chose to go this route. The majority of dogs and cats make a full recovery and while there will be some serious scars the puppies don't care, although the cats might.  ;)

It really is an amazing drug, but you have to follow the directions to the letter and you can't back off when things get nasty and they will with topical applications. If your vet decides to go oral, you probably won't see anything. Just don't make our mistake and make sure the dose is high enough. Many vets not familiar with Neo with opt for the more "conservative" dose. Don't ever take your dog off. It's a life long treatment orally. That's why we lost our puppy.

If you decide to use it (and I would for stage 4 - there aren't many other options besides putting your pet down, which is of course very humane as well) then be aggressive and see it through to the end.

Here's the link:

Look under 1.) Relevant Neoplansene Documents - All are good to read, but Discussions and Case Studies will show you what you're up against and include pictures, so you can make a better decision. Your best bet if you don't want to read the entire document is to simply search for the related words, like "nasal."

Let me know if I can provide anything else for you. BEST OF LUCK! My heart and prayers go out to you for a successful recovery!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The End

We lost Indy last night.

About a month ago I spoke with vet in California and he informed me that Indy's dose of Neo was half of what it needed to be to hold off this type of cancer. Our vet in Pa called Dr. Fox and he had changed his dose recommendations for certain types of cancers, including the one Indy had.

We were in the process of increasing his meds to where they should have been, but then 3 weeks ago he came down with pancreatitis. At that time they did an ultrasound and chest x-ray and gave us a clean bill of health with no signs of the cancer.

He was off Neo for 8 days while he recovered. In that short amount of time, the cancer took hold and exploded.

After an afternoon of ball playing and seeming perferctly fine, Indy started having trouble walking last night. We rushed him to the ER and they did another ultrasound. They found a fist sized turmor in his abdomen and a small nodual on his lungs. The tumor was bleeding out and they recommended putting him down immediately, so we brought him home and had a vet come here at 9pm last night.

We were so close. We had the right drug and the right support, just the wrong dose and bad timing with his pancreatitis, which were told had nothing to do with anything. Just happens.

I'm regrettful that we didn't remove this tumor as well and start him back on the meds that I know could have saved him, but you can only ask so much from such a wonderful pet. He was supposed to have passed by Thanksgiving, but we got him for a full 7 months to the day. The vets at U PENN are still encouraged with the drug he was on. They told us that they don't get these results with chemo currently and we should be fortuante for the time we did get and we are.

But I can't tell you how hard it is to know what you need to do to get it right and then lose the time to do it. To anyone reading this in our situation - don't stop the meds for any reason no matter how good your pet looks or what the x-rays say.

Learn from our mistake.

I can tell you though that anyone worried about side-effects with oral Neo- there were none. In the 7 months we had him, he maybe had 10 bad days between the intital diagnosis, the pancreatitis and last night. To anyone walking by, he was an energetic and happy dog.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Indy's Home!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND PRAYERS! It's wonderful to know that we're not alone in such a difficult situation.

So here's the update. Indy was officially diagnosed with pancreatitis (that's a new word I learned to spell this week) and it had nothing to do with his cancer. Poor dog can't catch a break.

He spent 4 nights in the ER at UPENN, but he made a full recovery!!! He's been off his cancer drug for over a week now, which is concerning, but he starts back up today. He's also been off his home cooked diet, so we have to slowly start introducing that back as well.

The good news - the new doctor there was concerned that his HS was somehow responsible for his troubles so she did a FULL body scan for the cancer. This included another abdominal ultrasound and a chest x-ray and they both came back CLEAN!!  No evidence of cancer at all, so we're obviously happy about that!!

The concerning thing is that they couldn't tell us why he got pancreatitis. It's not a known side effect with Neoplasene and he's not on a high fat or calcium diet. They ran every blood workup they could think of and they found nothing that should have caused this. They told us that older dogs sometimes just get it for no really understood reason, but now that he's had it he's prone to getting it again. Poor puppy.

In the middle of things, Brian was trying to make me feel better by reminding me that we're not supposed to still have him. He wasn't supposed to make it past Thanksgiving, far less into the new year. I understand this and I am very grateful, but if we lose this dog to ANYTHING other than old age or the HS I will be extremely upset.

You don't fight against a terminal cancer to then lose your dog to something like pancreatitis. That's just cruel and unusual punishment. I dont' think I would have handled that very well.

BUT we didn't lose him, so I'm focusing on the positive. Brian was amazing. I was out of town, as usual, when Indy started showing symptoms and throwing up. Normally when your dog gets sick, you wait a day or two to see if he gets better. However, after the last 7 months, we don't take anything lightly and Brian took him straight to the ER. Turns out pancreatitis can be fatal if you don't catch it ASAP, so it was another life saving decision on my husband's part.

I'd say that Indy is a lucky dog, but I don't believe that anymore. It's obvious to us that God loves our dog as much as we do and we don't doubt for one minute that these near misses are divinely constructed. We also believe strongly in the power of prayer. We ironically watched an Andy Stanley sermon this weekend that was talking about prayer and how if you're persistent (basically bug Him like a 5 year old), God will sometimes reward you by giving you exactly what you want. It was one of the funnier sermons we've watched, but the point was to stay focused.

SO THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND KEEP THEM COMING! I won't be mad at God if we lose our puppy. He's been a blessing since the day we got him, but I'll never stop asking to keep him either!  :)

Indy has another V-C treatment scheduled this morning. He always feels great afterward. Brian and I are considering getting them for ourselves. So I'm looking forward to a happy and very energetic puppy this afternoon!

Thanks again for the support!

Monday, January 23, 2012

We need Indy Prayers!

Hi Indy followers,

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but Indy had been very well until today. We're not sure what's wrong, but he's getting the royal treatment again tonight at the UPENN ER hospital.

Brian has been home with him this week and Indy started vomiting and shivering earlier today. After several hours he couldn't get it to stop, so he decided to play it safe and take him in. Barley was apparently sick to his stomach yesterday, so we're hoping and praying that it's the puppy flu and nothing related to his cancer.

Since Indy is usually so spunky and happy, it's easy to forget that he's living with a very aggressive and always terminal type of cancer. Of course we want to believe that this Neoplasene drug that he's on will give us many more years with him, but the reality is that we have to be grateful for the 6 months we've had so far. There are no case studies or research that we could fine specifically related to this type of cancer, so we know the odds are not in our favor.

Today, by the way, is his 6 month anniversary.  So once again, I find myself being selfish and shameless about it and asking God for more time. If you have a minute, please say a prayer for us today and hope that this is nothing more than a puppy cold. Maybe if we get enough names on the Heavenly petition we can keep him a while longer.

Thanks for your support as always!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indy's UPENN Hospital Appointment!

I promised to give you and update and it's GREAT NEWS!  :)  They did the ultrasound today and they didn't find anything! WWWOOOO-HOOO!!!!

Now with that being said the doctor there is "cautiously optimistic" because he doesn't know anything about the Neoplasene drug we're using. But he was THRILLED with how well Indy looked and his blood work also came back this evening with "nothing to be alarmed about." He has some high normal ranges, but overall he's good.

We believe without a doubt that's it's because of the oral Neo drug, (THANK YOU DENISE) but the doc needs more time and we're happy to give it to him.

So now Indy has a new appointment in 4 months and while this doctor didn't want to give us any false hope, he caved and told Brian that based on his tests and how Indy looks, he believes that he will make it to his follow-up in March.

You can image how we feel today since he wasn't supposed to make it to Thanksgiving! Brian asked him at what point he would consider Indy "cured" and he said he would feel comfortable with that proclamation at the 1 year mark.

So it's still a day at a time for us, but it's also a battle won today! Thanks for the support and prayers!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Next Tuesday November 15th

Hi Everyone!

Indy is doing WONDERFUL! He's happy, healthy (from what we can tell), full of energy and just looks better than he has in years. It's been an absolutely amazing emotional ride.

But, it's not over yet and we have a very big day coming up next week. WE NEED PRAYERS! Indy is having an ultra sound done at UPENN on Tuesday November 15th by the same vet who performed his surgery and read his pathology report. This will tell us for sure if the Neoplasene has been working these last 3-4 months.

We were told to expect him to live another 4 months at best. That date will be November 23rd, so if his time is indeed limited we should see very obvious signs next Tuesday. If he's cancer's just nothing shy of a drug related and divinely inspired miracle.

It's our Judgement Day, so if you could say a quick prayer now as you're reading this and again on Tuesday morning if you think about it, we'd greatly appreciate it. We believe that prayers work and we're prepared either way for the outcome, but of course we have our fingers crossed for something GREAT!

If it's not good, then we've still been blessed to have such a great quality of life these last few months and it's still so much more than we dared to hope for when he was diagnosed. My hope is that someone reading this blog, who may be in the same situation we were in, will seriously consider using this drug. It's just made all the difference. 

I know I suck at blogging, but I PROMISE I will let you know the outcome of the doctor's appointment. Of course, I will be heading out of town that morning, so you'll have a little delay while I wait for Brian to tell me the news.

Thanks for your support!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Months and Counting!

From Indy - Watch out! Mom learned how to use the camera. Check out my new pic.  ;)  

Indy hit his 3 month mark yesterday. He's doing well, energy's up, eating fine. We did notice today though that after he gets up from naps or resting that his tongue is blue-ish and his gums are white. We're suspecting some anemia from the increased NEO dose. After he moves around a bit and runs for his ball a few times, his color returns to normal. Not sure what's up with that. He's also peeing a lot so we're hoping that's a bladder infection from some of the meds he's been on for a skin condition and not something more serious.

We're going to take him in this week for some blood work and another checkup, but we're optimistic. His spirits are great and he just wants to play all the time, so he doesn't look like a sick pup. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers coming in.  We're now officially in our last 4 weeks, according to conventional meds, so these are our critical days.

Thanks for all the support!