Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And they're off!

Hang onto your hats, it's CYCLING SEASON!

Yes, the Santos Tour Down Under is rolling along nicely. But it's SO far away, and there's been SO much going on lately (and by that I obviously mean Lancegate) that it's hard to get my brain to actually BELIEVE it's racing season.

 I'm not sure if this race is being televised, however I'm not going to get to watch it even if it is, as I'm away on work travel living out of a suitcase once again. But peeking in at Velo and Cycling news, it looks like it's going to be a very exciting season! Greipel looks like he's really hit the ground running this year with the same successful lead-out-train he had last year. It would appear that he and Cav are poised to have some serious head-to-head sprints, which will be truly exciting for the fans. I'm anxious to see Boonen as a lead-out-man, which he has promised to do.

And in a very short amount of time, winter will be over! And you know what that know it....spring cleaning.

OH, right...and the Spring Classics! And speaking of Boonen, he's got some SERIOUS work to do defending his Classics titles. Is he up for it? Last year he won FOUR. That's quite an accomplishment, and I have no idea if he will be up to the enormous task. But I wish him luck. And I hope to actually SEE some of these races this year...but can't promise that.

Our spare dollars seem to be heading towards a certain spoiled rotten biddy of a fur-baby for the foreseeable future. Jeannie went down on Tuesday with her to see an oncologist in Santa Barbara. He discussed our 'options'...which include radiation therapy, radical amputation, chemotherapy, change of diet, and doing nothing. Well actually, neither he nor our surgeon even consider the change of diet (homeopathic) as a serious option...that's just our thoughts.

The radiation option isn't a good one. For one thing, the tumor(s) haven't returned yet. But both our oncologist and our surgeon agree that with this particular type of cancer, it's just a matter of time. The tumor has little 'fingers' that spread into the tissue around it, and it's nearly impossible to get enough 'margin' (removal of healthy tissue) to get them all. And with this type of cancer in around 95% of the time it comes back right where it was before the surgical removal (which we had done already). And being as the tumor hasn't returned yet, there's really nothing to radiate.

Which brings us to option #2: radical amputation. This is sadly the best option, as it is the only way to nearly guarantee removal of enough tissue to preclude it's return. For PG, that would require the removal off her entire left rear leg all the way up to (and including some of) her pelvis. But we're hesitant to do that, now that we have saved the leg during the first surgery. We'd only consider that at this point if it becomes necessary. Considering the cancer hasn't yet returned, we are hopeful that we can head that decision off with options 3 and 4: chemotherapy and diet.

He discussed a low-dose chemo treatment that we can put her on that would offer us hope of stopping  the tumors from returning (which is also why our diet change from 'dog food' to only chicken and veggies). He says that quality of life is paramount at this point and with whatever treatment we do. The low level chemo pills (we can buy them at Costco) have a long list of side effects, and getting the dosage right (ie: low enough) so that she's not miserable and sick is the goal. We're not totally sure how often the pills would be given, nor how long (more questions we need to ask). For now we had blood-work done, and then 30 days from now we do it again and he will make the dosage determination at that time. We are putting her on Rimadyl for now, getting her ready for the chemo (which is why he needed a 'before and after' blood panel: to make sure the Rimadyl isn't causing any's a doggie ibuprofen basically, but canines don't do well with actual ibuprofen.

Of course, we are scared and totally NOT sure how to proceed, but we agree we have to do SOMETHING. This seems to be our best option as of this moment. And the cost isn't too extravagant. There was a 5th option, which was the anti-angiogenesis (sp?) medication, which basically helps stop (or slow) the growth of new blood vessels, effectively starving tumors as they try to grow. However that medication would run us about $500 a month for the rest of her life.

Scratch treatment plan #5.

And so...the only real problem so far is that she still has no feeling from just above the 'hock' (I'd personally call it a 'relbow', which is a real-leg-elbow. It's the joint above the paw/ankle, and below the knee. I have fabricated a special 'splint' out of plexiglass and formed it's shape via a heat-gun. It is velcro'd into place and then wrapped over with an ace bandage. Without that she would stand on that leg toes straight down, and the poor toes will fold under where she could break them, and/or the ankle being as she can't feel them. I pull the splint off every day and check out the foot, it has a few open sores from the first brace we had (bought it online, but it was big, bulky, and even though was the right size just wasn't the answer we needed. I've actually made 2 of the smaller braces now, the 2nd one being better than the first as I could see changes to make. So far it's working quite well, and her surgeon said simple is better. Only we have to be prepared to continue with this as long as it takes, which could be the rest of her life if the nerve doesn't regenerate.

So there you have it. Our little girl is dong quite well, and she is as happy as she's EVER been. We attribute this to her new diet. She always HATED Dog food. But NOW, you pull one of her little meals out of the fridge and she comes RUNNING! She used to be a little 'biddy', but now she's quite loving and happy. Honestly, we can't believe how much happier she is now that she's living like the queen she always thought she was. She's getting special meals, and LOTS of personal attention from her servants. Yes, she's living the dream!

And so...we have a lot on our minds just now besides cycling season, but I'm glad it's here none-the-less. So put on your party-pants and get ready to rumble.

Game ON!


  1. Hard choices, Matt, but I know that you will choose wisely. For myself (not that you want or need my opinion) I would go for the amputation. Seems many dogs can do well with just 3 legs, and no more worries about the cancer returning. but, yes, perhaps I would try the chemo first just to see how it goes.

    My step-mother is on Avastin long term (antineogenesis therapy) as part of an experimental trial for her ovarian cancer. So far, so good after about 18 months.

    CYCLING! I've been watching the Tour Down Under either online or by NBCSports' very short recaps. Good racing so far! Looks like Tiago Machado and Ben Hermans of RS are heading for top ten finishes, maybe even a podium place, (what fun for Cathy!) and Jack Bauer of Garmin and George Bennett of RS are also well up in the standings.

    Just so nice to see the riders getting started and the young ones getting their shots at a stage race win. The current leader from the former Rabo team, Tom Jelte Slagter, has been VERY impressive. One to watch for the future!


    1. Hey Rae....well, the amputation will run us about 4 grand...(we won't have it done by our general vet...we'd go back down to the surgical group in Ventura if it ends up needing to be done...but we hesitate to go that route unless we NEED to. I guess IF the cancer does return we can revisit that idea, as it is the only one that gets it all (providing it isn't elsewhere...the huge blood clot was all the way up into her Pelvis....there could have been cancer cells anywhere the clot was as all the blood came out of the tumor). For now the low dosage chemo and diet are something we can do here without huge trauma (nor cost).

      Glad to hear you are watching the tour d'U...I can't get internet at work up in Sunnyvale, nor do I have any time even if I did. I"m home for the moment...zipped south for the weekend being as they didn't have any weekend work for me. The weather has sucked since Weds...rain rain rain. Brought my Mt bike home and will bring back my road bike...the trails will likely be soupy for days after all the rain, but the roads give me a shot as long as it's not currently raining.

  2. Oh...and HEY! I got MY letter from the DOJ about being a victim of the Floyd Fairness Fund! I was feeling all left out, but Jeannie forgot to let me know it arrived last week. I don't even remember how much I donated (wasn't a lot), but I heard a great idea here...whatever I get back I'll donate to LIVESTRONG (anybody else wanting to do that, I'll just let you know that the link to my 2013 LS fundraising page is on the right of the blog, 1st one under "Link List"...just in case).

  3. I got my letter too!! I need to read the instructions so I can get on board!

  4. Hey Matt! Such tough decisions that you are facing about your little girl! I'm sending many positive thoughts your way. For both your decision making process and the eventual procedures you decide on. Times like these you wish you had a crystal ball and could see into the future. My best to you and PG. Sounds like she is very enthusiastic about the diet part, anyway!! So glad she is happy and has such an amazing family!

    I'm definitely looking forward to the cycling season! Boonen and Cav on the same team could either be a match made in heaven or the beginning of a soap opera ;) I cheer for them both and am hoping for the former! Crossing my fingers for a healthy and intact Cancellara for the classics to go up against an amazing young Peter Sagan. Or maybe Boonen will be healthy & fit by then as well after his elbow procedure! Never know when a new up-and-comer might steal the glory as well.

    I DVRed the TDU, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet - other than the first stage. Greipel is looking really strong already! OH - also cheering heartily for dear Jeremy Powers in the CX Worlds race this weekend IN THE US! GO JEREMY!!!

    We have had the most bizarre weather here in the midwest lately. Frigid temps last week, 50 degree weather over the weekend, *thunderstorms* two nights ago, ice storm, buried with snow again today and lows below zero again tomorrow. WHAT in the world is going on? Craziness! Has this all hit you Rae? And watch out Suzy I think its headed your way too!

    Good luck Matt (and Jeannie!) with your difficult decisions :)

  5. Had to stop back because as soon as I posted that I realized that I had put my friend's spelling....instead of Susie - sorry :)

    BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Its now 3 below zero with wind chills below -20. I'm sitting in front of a space heater because our heater doesn't keep up when its this cold. What happened to my 50 degree weather???

    Happy Friday everyone!