Monday, 24 December 2007

Yogi is in Remission!!!!

We have just been officially told !
Well done Yogi...
Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

1 down, 2 to go.....

Mum had her operation to remove her adrenal gland on Wednesday. She had a bit of a "funny turn" with the anaesthetic. They thought that she may have a heart attack so kept her in recovery all night to monitor her. It was quite worrying because I was ringing the hospital every hour or so just to be told that she hadn't returned from recovery yet. Eventually the ward put me through to recovery and they tried to explain that she may have an ischaemic event. Very worrying. All we could do was wait. By the morning, all seemed to be OK. Visited her and she seemed fairly bright. Even better, the next day she was to be discharged. When I went to pick her up, she didn't look well at all. She felt very sick, and was in some pain. OK, so how do I get a poorly woman accross the hospital to the car? The porter wasn't able to help (I gather he had a hangover). They said I could borrow a wheelchair. Great! The one they gave me was like a duff supermarket trolley with three wheels that worked and one that didn't. The only advice they could offer was that if I was about to collide with a wall or person - stop!! Off we went in a rather higgledy piggledy fashion. By this time I am afraid I had the giggles, probably a touch of nervous tension. Poor mum I think felt even worse by the time we had reached our destination.
This morning she was feeling really ill so I called the emergency doctor. They told me that it may be that the painkillers weren't suiting her or that the remaining adrenal gland wasn't working so bring her in. After a 2 hour wait, we saw a lovely doctor who examined her and did feel it was the tablets. So he gave her some different ones and something for the sickness. If she isn't feeling well tomorrow she has to go back for tests. I have just spoken to her and she thinks she feels a little better. So fingers crossed there is nothing more sinister going on.

Lesley, I am so impressed with your mum having a major op at 80! It has reminded me that I shouldn't expect miracle recoveries when the patient is older. I think I forget that sometimes.

You are right, God did give us dogs to make us smile. Yogi and Larry have been doing just that. This morning I think that they were acting out a scene of the old TV show Gladiators. There was a game where 2 contestants would stand on a pole and knock 7 bells out of each other with a weapon. Today, Larry had the "teddy" (weapon) and Yogi had to go for his front legs while Larry beat him on the head with it! They went on for ages - well until Yogi was tired and Larry felt he had won. He always has to win - that's the rules.....:o)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

What a day! Firstly, Mum has developed a streaming cold. I don't think they like to operate when someone has a cold ? Not sure if a head cold counts or whether it has to be anything worse? She has been on the phone to nurses on and off all day, but not one of them has mentioned how awful she sounds ! Mum won't ask as she just wants it done and over with. No idea what I should say or do. She was supposed to go into hospital this evening for her op tomorrow. All was arranged that we would get her to Leicester by 7pm. At about 5pm the hospital had called her to say they didn't have a bed until the morning. How the hell can they work like that? Now we have to take her in at 6am. Not a problem but its just another night of worry (especially now that she has a cold to add to her woes). What worries me even more is that she is supposed to have the operation tomorrow (they can't tell her what time exactly) but there was NO MENTION at all that she shouldn't eat after a certain time!!!! I can't believe it. She has decided that she won't eat or drink after midnight (based on previous experience) but how can they not tell someone? This whole thing is just unbelievable. The reason she has had to wait so long for this operation in the first place is down to a lack of communication between hospitals - she is being treated by two and one didn't think to chase the other to arrange treatment. I shouldn't knock the NHS because on the whole in the past they have been pretty good. But this time there has been a number of problems. It worries me that as she is not young, is she not getting the best treatment?
I am crossing everything possible that all is OK tomorrow....

Monday, 17 December 2007

7th Chemo

This session turned out to be pretty uneventful really which is a blessing. Yogi was a bit louder than he has been, but they gave him a plate of food that seemed to do the trick.
All went smoothly and he was home by 12.30.
As always on chemo day, his appetite increases by about 1000% then decreases slightly for the rest of the week. Sometimes I can't believe that his little tummy can hold that amount of food.
We have just been for our sprint round the village and now I am pretty frozen. I think a long soak in the bath is the order of the day. Larry and Yogi insist on this being a group activity so it's not always the most relaxing of persuits. Larry likes to chase every splash and ripple obsessively as collies do, Yogi likes to watch Larry as if to say "what the hell do you find so interesting?". It makes me laugh though. Showers are even more fun for Larry. Then he excells himself and does the shower dance with the bath mat ;o)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Worrying times

This week it's my Mum worrying me and not Yogi. She is going into hospital on Tuesday to have her adrenal gland removed. this is one of the areas her cancer has spread to. I was under the impression that she would have her adrenal gland removed, then the portion of her lung that is cancerous and then her breast. And then possibly very naively, I thought that she would be more or less OK. Possibly needing chemo but that the treatment schedule was decided. Now I find out that further treatment will be dependent on the results of the adrenal gland removal. She is sounding worried which worries me even more. She is also saying that some of the symptoms she is having are as a result of having cancer. She has never said that before either. I am SO very scared and trying not to show it. Trying to carry on as normal.
I read an article in a magazine written by someone who has had cancer and they said that one of the hardest things was seeing the people that loved them worrying and trying to help with suggestions etc but ultimately underneath showing their fear (naturally). The thing that helped them most was just being treated normally. How the hell do you do that ?

On a lighter note today I have braved the shops again trying to do some Christmas shopping. Quite successful but still not quite finished.
I am supposed to be going to the office Christmas party on Wednesday. Not sure if I'm going yet as it depends on Mum. But I might do as it may be better that sitting at home worrying. Mum thinks I should go too.
I am not usually one for the Christmas bashes each year. I usually end up going though because it's easier than going through endless lame excuses and also don't like to be thought of as "unsociable" even though I am :o)
It should be quite impressive. The theme is "One night in Bangkok" and it should be quite a lavish affair. Lesley has offered me a Thai dress to wear. Sadly it isn't fancy dress. I wish it was now with the offer of that. Thank you Lesley, that was such a kind thought. I bet the dress is stunning.
I am having the usual issues of what I SHOULD wear though. I am not one to dress up at all normally. I spend most of my waking hours scruffy except for work. If I could go in jeans I would be happier.....
Still, if I go, I am sure I will be fine once I get "into the swing" and it's always quite good watching people that you see each day letting their hair down. Think I will take my camera :o)

Yogi and Larry are being little stars (as ever) I have just buried my face into Larry's neck for a dose of bliss. It makes me feel calmer.
I agree with Graham about not changing Yogi's diet as I too just want to give him whatever he wants for as long as I can. I also completely understand Handh for changing Herbies diet. Each situation is different and I think that somehow our dogs tell us what we should do.

This week I am going to start working from home some mornings so I have been given a remote access account from work. Now being a bit of a technophobe, I have been told what I need to do to connect from home but I am sure I will probably get it wrong. There is an alarming amount of passwords and passcodes that need to be input at each step. Now which one comes first ............... :o)

Monday, 10 December 2007

6th Chemo

Well, today Yogi went in for his 6th session. It was great from the start as he didn't have that initial panic that has been apparent over the last 2 weeks. He just trotted off happily with the nurses. I think he probably thought it was a good chance for a food raid from all the other inhabitants. Once again there was no problem, he had the drugs with no reaction and came out like a bouncing bomb :o) And he has continued to bounce for the rest of the evening. Absolutely superb.
I sort of can't believe it. Other dogs seem to go through ups and downs with their treatment. Yogi hasn't really looked back at all. He hasn't had any down days and the only thing that appears to be different is his appetite. He has even stopped (virtually) weeing in the night. Now I don't want to think all this is too good to be true, but it does seem a little unusual ?

I have been reading some lymphoma sites for example Help Your Dog Fight Cancer and Chemo (Dogdoggiedog) and they both talk about diet e.g. eliminating carbs. I haven't gone down this route and am thinking that maybe I should. But then I think that he is doing so well, should I change this? Difficult. I have been adding flax oil for the omega 3 but other than that he gets the same diet he has always had, just more of it. It is a good quality one, he has Burns plus some Nature Diet, plus of course his regular snacks of chicken, cheese and veggie sausage :o)
They also talk about side effects, he doesn't seem to have any. By all accounts, the dogs I have read about do.
It seems strange, we worry about them when they're sick and worry about them when they're well. I guess we are just programmed to worry full stop.
He has 2 further chemo sessions before we begin to reduce. That means just having medication every other week for a couple of months. How scary will that be? I will probably turn into a compulsive gland checker. More so than I am already.
I remember Graham once saying that he used to check Prince's heartbeat. I haven't done that yet but I do check his gums pretty often (if he is bleeding internally, they will go pale). Soon I think that he will lift his lips for me as I approach :o)
The bouncing bomb is now barking for attention, better go and see what he wants however, I suspect it's food :o)

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Even top models need to lie down sometimes....

Look, we ARE working for our grub !!

A Good News Week

Well, all in all this week has been very good. Yogi has done brilliantly. So much so, that we feel the need to remind him that he DOES have manners and in the dim and distant past, he did a lot of training to teach him these !!!! :o). Over the last few weeks though, I think understandably these have been pushed to the background. All I want is for Yogi to be a happy bunny and do more or less what he likes. In reality though, that probably isn't the best idea. An example of what I am talking about happened one day this week. I had been at work all day, Yogi had Rich with him all morning and my mum for the afternoon. So I didn't need to feel guilty that I was coming home, taking them out, seeing to them and then going out riding. I walked them, fed them and gave them both a fuss and a play and then went riding. I hadn't had time to see to my own needs e.g. eating, so figured I would grab something to eat when I finished. On my return about 9 ish, I felt quite exhausted so feeling hungry but unable to be really bothered about cooking I looked around to see what was available. Not a lot by the look of it. The only thing that was remotely quick and easy was some stale bread that was due for the birds! I am totally ashamed to say that I was going to eat it. I took it out of the wrapper and turned to the fridge to get some cheese to see if I could revive it in any way. By the time I turned back it was gone. Disappearing into the jaws of some demented little being who SAYS that he hadn't been fed for a week. It was probably a quarter of a loaf too. And it had all but gone by the time I turned around :o) This is what he was like when we first had him, starving and would eat anything, even his own poo. So, what could I do? Nothing really, to see a dog that hungry (due only to the steroids) I just let him get on with it. BUT I do think that we have to go back to basics with his training. Today we have done that as can be seen by the pictures. He has to work for his food - not that hard I must add :o) But he HAS to know that he can't nick anything and everything that he wants. It's SO tempting to let him get away with everything, but in the long run, I don't think it will do him any favours. So, he works and I give - often :o)

Tomorrow is chemo number 6, he has 3 more before we start cutting down. Nervous to say the least, but cannot quite believe how well he is doing. He will see Christmas and a few weeks ago I never thought I'd say that. Clever, brave little Yogi.

The week has been good in other ways too. Mum seems to be looking forward. Although she is scared, she is confident that all the operations that she is going to have will cure her. I think the first few weeks were shocking, now she is determined. We all are.

Larry is fine, I think he was attention seeking :o) Don't blame him really. But a couple of trips to the vets and he feels that maybe attention isn't really what he needs. So all is well there too.

Another fantastic bit of news is my job. In the summer I had asked to be made redundant. I have been with my company for 12 years. There have been loads of changes and although I am basically happy there, I felt the time had come for a change, needed to spread my wings etc. Then when all started to go wrong, I began to wonder if I had done the right thing. I need loads of money for Yogi's vet bills (he's not insured) and with all the worry about him and my mum, trying to find a new job probably would have been a bit more stressful than I would have liked just now. My boss has been absolutely fantastic through all this, sympathetic, supportive, giving me the time that I need etc. Anyway, end of year reviews came around again and the upshot was he asked me to stay! Couldn't quite believe it. I will be able to work from home when mum is in hospital and his main criteria seems to be that he doesn't want me to worry about anything. I was so surprised, they are cutting staff left right and centre, I would have thought that someone volunteering to go would be a blessing. It is a weight off my shoulders just at the moment.

All in all it has been a great week and I feel that I haven't had one of those for a while :o)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

I've been tagged !

has kindly tagged me to share 5 facts about myself :o) The rules are.....

Rules:Link to the tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. goes....

1. I am obsessed by horses and riding and have been since I was about 3. Years ago on a farm holiday there wasn't any horses available to ride, so I rode a cow. Within minutes, the cow had dumped me head first into the slurry pit :o)

2. I work in Milton Keynes where the beautiful Prince was from originally. It's a small world isn't it?

3. I ADORE the smell of my dogs. They both smell completely different but to me, absolutely fantastic. I love to just bury my face into their necks and breathe.

4. My first job was with horses, I now work in IT. Now, what would I rather be doing........:o)

5. To date I have shared my life with 7 dogs, 5 rabbits, 2 horses, 32 cats, 2 hedgehogs, 1 guinea pig, 1 tortoise, many fish and a duck. Plus a number of "foster" animals over the years.

OK, so now I have to tag some others.....these are they - Linda Seid Frembes, Blogs From the Dogs, The Tails of Harry and Cassidy The Airedales, HandH,

Apologies that there is only 4 tags (and one duplicate :o)), since I am new to "blogging" and time always seems to be an issue, I tend to follow a few blogs closely.

Monday, 3 December 2007

5th Chemo

Today Yogi had his 5th session. I had to check back on the blog as I was sure it was the 4th. Time seems to have gone so quickly since he was diagnosed. Once again there was the usual panic about how can we work it so he spends the shortest time at the vets and allow us both to put in a days work miles away from where we are. It all worked out well though. He was in at 11 and done and dusted by 1. Although he didn't want to leave Rich when he dropped him off, he was soon snuffling around the surgery trying to nick all the other animals food. The best thing was he didn't bark continuously. That just shows that he is not so stressed or uncomfortable any more. I feel so much better about that. Once again John is delighted with his progress. He seems to be on a stable dose of chemo and steroids now and providing all continues to go well with blood tests and the way he is feeling, that's how it will stay for the next 3 weeks. We have to be very careful as the chemo affects his immune system, he can't fight off infections like he used to. I am trying to be vigilant so that he doesn't eat any rubbish from hedgerows or elsewhere on his walks, but the little devil often beats me to it. His nose is so much more sensitive than anything I have ;o).
This weekend was the first time that I have let him off the lead to have a run since his op. It was beautiful to see, even though his energy is not quite what it was, he still managed to have a good old chase of his pink squeaky ball. He used to absolutely LOVE swimming. We have a number of lakes nearby and his favourite walk would always include a swim out to the middle, retrieve his ball and bring it back for another go. He is a fantastic swimmer. Larry prefers to watch though. He doesn't mind paddling, but he thinks swimming is undignified, messes the hair and too much like hard work :o) That is my dream, to see Yogi swim again. No chance while he is having treatment (unless it's a proper swimming pool with disinfectant in it)
Larry seems to be feeling much better too. He still has a bit of a temperature, but John doesn't seem to be worried. He can go back on his tablets tomorrow. Apparently my concerns about liver damage are not an issue. He is on a low dose and any symptoms would usually have shown up when he first started taking them.
Mum is also doing well, she is incredibly positive and making sure that we all are too. She is having her first op week after next and is busying herself with Chrismas preparations and helping me out with the boys. All in all a good day. Tonight I am going to get an early night and try to stay there instead of getting up and blogging in the early hours :o) Night night.....


Today (or yesterday really) Larry seemed to be feeling much better. Poor old boy was really feeling sorry for himself during Saturday. I have no idea what it was other than maybe he did have a slight infection. He isn't usually one to go eating rubbish either, that is Yogi's speciality. Sunday morning though, he was up bright and early and wanting breakfast which I was thrilled about. I think he is probably jealous of all the attention Yogi is getting and felt that it was his turn to cause a bit of drama in the household. Larry, we can do without that just now thanks :o) Anyway, today he is going back to the vets for a check up at 9.10 and then Yogi is going in at 11. I wonder if we should move in there? Or maybe get a discount or at the very least we could perhaps be offered loyalty points.
I am hoping that he can go back on his painkillers too. He hasn't had them for a couple of days now and he seems less comfortable. Mind you, at the moment he is snoring his little head off in his basket so I don't think he is too worried just now.
Think I will take a leaf out of his book and get some sleep too.........

Saturday, 1 December 2007

What's going on?

Sometimes I wonder what on earth is happening. This morning I was looking forward to a lie in - well the sort I get with dogs would be until about 7am if lucky, and I had thought that today we would take the dogs out for a nice long (ish) walk. Yogi would be up for it as would Larry. They have not been on any significant walks since Yogi became ill. 6am and Larry started barking to go out - very unlike him since he is generally lazy and likes to stay in bed as long as possible. I let them both out and left them to it. After a while, Yogi asked to come in, usually not necessary as Larry knows how to open the door (he hasn't figured out how to close it yet though). Not thinking anything was wrong, I carried on making coffee etc. After about 10 minutes I wondered what Larry was up to, so turned the security light on and saw him still wandering round and round the garden. Very unlike him. I called him in and he seemed a bit reluctant to come. But eventually he did and I thought that just maybe there had been a fox or a cat in the garden that had left a scent that was interesting. I took Yogi out for his walk and in the meantime Rich had let Larry out again. He mentioned that he had been very sick. I still wasn't terribly worried. Took Larry out for his walk and when we returned, he seemed ready for his breakfast. Again he wanted to go out into the garden and again he was out there for ages. When I looked, he was just lying on the grass. Not normal at all. We popped out for about an hour and when we came back found he had been violently sick. Then I am afraid I did panic. I called the vets and they said to bring him down straight away. The vets is traumatic for Larry, he needs to be muzzled and he gets very stressed. Fortunately John was on, he knows Larry and understands him well. Larry has a slight temperature but was too tense for John to examine his tummy properly. So he had a couple of injections and cannot eat anything today and he can only have a saucer of water every hour or so. Then he goes back on Monday. Poor dog is knackered now and sleeping deeply in his basket.
What worries me is a) he has been on Rimadyl for his arthritis for a couple of years now - I have heard that it can affect the liver. b) his symptoms are similar to Yogis. I know I am probably being extra paranoid just now, but he is not a young dog and at the moment most things seems to worry me.
Graham has recommended wine, I think he is very wise :o)