Rusty’s Cancer Chronicles, Some Good News!

Monday, July 05, 2010

June 25th was the fifth month Ampuversary (Amputation) of Rusty’s surgery.  It seems like it was only last week!  So much has happened during the past five months, for both Rusty and us.  It has been a wonderful experience for us to see how well he has adapted to the amputation and other changes in his life without losing any of his super personality and love of life; he lives each day to its maximum.  Hopefully, if we suffer a tragic event in the future, we can benefit from the lessons and inspiration that Rusty has shown us.  Some of our friends say that Rusty came to us for a reason.  We don’t know what it is yet, but we are beginning to agree that he is here for a special purpose.  He has been wonderful for my mother the past year with her declining health, which may be part of his mission in life.

Rusty received his 6th and final Vinblastine Chemo treatment from Dr. Macy on the Friday the 1st and had very little reaction to it; a little nausea and soft stool, but no diarrhea!  Our grandson and his girlfriend arrived after lunch on Friday and Rusty spent the next 24 hours entertaining them, being the social guy he is; he then slept for several hours which he needed.  Rusty will receive his final dosage of oral Lomustine from us on the 15th.  Dr. Macy was extremely pleased with Rusty’s overall progress, all of his blood work was again normal, and will devise a less aggressive oral Chemo therapy program for the next six months.  Since Rusty has done so well with the current Chemo therapy program, Dr. Macy is optimistic that Rusty now has a 50% chance of making it to one year with continuing Chemo treatments.  That was wonderful news for us but we know that it is still one day at a time; we can’t forget that the odds are against us.  Many of the cancer survivors on succumb from a recurrence of the cancer during the period of six to twelve months post surgery.

Three legged dogs can jump!

Gald to be back!
I love to swim!

With our hot weather Rusty has been enjoying his time in the pool; he was very hesitant and nervous the first few times he was back in the pool, but a week ago Saturday he jumped on his surfin’ pool float and never looked back.  I am planning another video of Rusty surfin’ on three legs.  It is amazing that he can do everything on three legs that he did last year with four!  We take our morning walks at 6AM when the temps are down and the sun is just beginning to rise; the sun’s rays are very warm and Rusty prefers not to be in the direct sunlight.  We have eliminated the evening walk as it is usually in the upper 90’s or low 100’s which is too warm for him to be comfortable.  The Chemo medications really cause him to suffer from the heat and most of the day he sleeps on the tile floors and under a fan.

However, he will go out into the yard during the day and lay in the direct sun for five or ten minutes.  I think the warmth of the sun feels good on his surgical area; Dr. Macy took him off the Meloxicam (Metacam), which is a NSAID, last month and he has been having what Dr. Macy thinks is “phantom pain” from time to time.  He will be walking along and stop, hunch up & turn into the missing leg for a few seconds and then continue on his way.

Rusty’s appetite has returned to pre-surgery levels and he eagerly looks forward to his meals and has gained a half-pound from his previous visit.  His diet consists of baked chicken breasts (skinless), EVO canned beef and EVO dry beef kibble.  We no longer have to add chicken broth and other special items to get him to eat.  Because of his chronic diarrhea, we still give him a pre-biotic and Fibercon along with his anti-diarrhea medication, which is keeping things under control.  Of course he still gets a lot of healthy treats!

Rusty will be two on July 30th; we are planning a birthday party for him and the other dog park parents (unfortunately no dogs).  He misses the owners as much as their dogs and will be very happy to see them again.  Five months ago we were not optimistic that he would live to see his second birthday.