Friday, December 19, 2008

Everything is Great!

I took Nova back to the Cancer Center yesterday for her second round of Carboplatin. I recall the last time I was there 3 weeks ago I was handfeeding her ice cubes because she wouldn't drink. It was thrilling to see how much she had improved in 3 weeks. That morning she ate a big breakfast, and had several drinks of water. She still has that Kate Moss thing going though. I am trying to feed her as much as she will eat, but she just wants breakfast and dinner and a snack or two in between.

Anyway, they ran some tests first to see if she was ready for the treatment. Her white count was a touch low, but not so low that they couldn't do the treatment. Dr. O said that sometimes it is common for the white count to drop later after a treatment rather than the 7-10 days they usually expect it to drop. For some reason she put Nova back on an antibiotic (amoxicillin) just to catch any infection that might crop up (she still has itchy ears). I really don't know how that ties in with a low white count, but for some reason I failed to ask or understand what she told me.

I asked Dr. O my laundry list of questions, which this time was not as long as usual. First, I asked about the yelping that Nova has been doing here and there. She gave Nova a once over and agreed with me that there did not seem to be any sore spots anywhere. She said that it is very common for amputees to have phantom pains, and this is very likely what she is experiencing. Unfortunately we have to guess at that since dogs can't tell us exactly what hurts, but that will have to do for now. On a positive note, Nova has not yelped at all for the past few days.

Going to the Doctor always means waiting:

There were also 2 small cyst looking things, each about the size of a marble, one on the top of her right thigh and the other on her back up by her neck. My regular vet had checked these awhile back and said they were nothing to worry about. Dr. O took a sample of each and they turned out to be harmless sebaceous cysts full of pimply material. Ewww. She said that they may burst at some point or abcess, which is exactly what happened to Nova last year with one on her back. It just kept getting bigger and bigger (the kids called it the "Volcano") and the vet said it would eventually burst. Which of course it did one morning as she jumped into bed with my 12-year-old son Ben who started screaming that "Nova's volcano is erupting!" all over his precious American Eagle outfit. Hee hee.

Dr. O also told me that Nova was a perfect "poster child" for amputees and that they had taken a bunch of pictures of her for training purposes. Of course I was like, "Gee, I'd love to see those pictures" but they are actually pretty graphic surgical pictures and things like demonstrations on how to insert a spinal catheter. Uhhhh... no thanks, I will pass on that. She commented on how terrific Nova's attitude was and that she has had a wonderful recovery. The road is apparently not as easy for most dogs. I realize that and am so thankful that Nova has been doing so well.

Her incision is looking great! Check it out:

The only thing about it that bothers me is that her hair is growing back VERY slowly! So she still looks naked on her incision side. Dr. O said that the hair would grow back faster after we finish up the Carboplatin in February. So Nova will not have her fur when she needs it most (she still wears her fleece coat, we just took it off at the Doctor).

During the time the administered the Carbo (they do it in the back so I am not allowed to watch) I ran out to shop at the nearby REI and running store, and made it back a little after she was done. She was standing out in the parking lot with the techinician, who was laughing. She said that Nova really, really had to go potty, but she wouldn't go to the designated area because there was snow there. So she was pacing and supposedly waiting for Mommy. Well, I took her right over there and she jumped right in to the snow and took one of those 10-minute Niagra Falls pees immediately. She is such a Mommy's girl!

It's amazing how I now take time to notice little things. One thing that was really sweet was that I found Emmy and Nova yesterday curled up in their signature butt-to-butt sleeping pose. This is really the first time since the surgery that I have seen them snuggle together. Emmy has been so stand-offish, like she noticed that something was wrong or different with Nova, and figuredshe needed to stay away. It was so nice to see them snuggle up like sisters again.


Vicki Tankersley said...

Dearest Suzy,

Let's hope this carboplatin treatment doesn't cause her to not want to drink again. I don't blame you for wanting to load her up on calories for those times when she doesn't want to eat.

It's good to hear she hasn't "yelped" in several days; maybe it is phantom pains, but like you say, how will you ever know?

Thank goodness the cysts she has are just sebaceous cysts. You would think they could lance them so they didn't keep growing until they exploded. It would seem like it would be less painful that way, but I'm no vet, so what do I know?

Nova's incision is looking very nice and it's too bad it will be awhile before her hair comes back in around February. Thank dog for fleece coats! My little guy lives in his during the cold wintery months, for sure.

That is funny that you mentioned how Nova was in the parking lot because she really had to go potty, but wouldn't go in the snow until after she knew you were there. I'll bet she was pacing for you to return.

I'm glad Emma & Nova are sleeping in their normal butt-to-butt positions again; I'm sure Emma was probably afraid she would hurt Nova and that's why she was standoffish.

Your friends, Blazer, Kitty Kimber & Mom (Vicki)

Vicki Tankersley said...

Hi Suzy,

I just noticed today on that someone suggested that gabapentin could be given to Nova if she continued to yelp and it was caused by phantom pain. I can confirm that gabapentin has helped me so much with my peripheral nerve pain problems and nerve pain I still have from damage caused by surgery I had over a year ago. Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you if this problem persists with Nova.

Your friends,
Vicki, Blazer & Kitty Kimber

Jerry G Dawg said...

Nova, you are looking so great!

Your surgeon is fantastic, that scar is looking good. Sorry about your zits though. Yikes!

You are definitely a model Tripawd, one that every new amputee aspires to. Keep it up.