Well, we had a pattern of spending as much time with Cody as we could. We made sure to get him up on a regular basis, but that front leg still kept cramping. I spent lots of time doing massages of the leg. He loved it and would usually fall asleep during the massage.
By Sunday morning, the morning of the Super Bowl, Cody was standing
up waiting for me to feed him breakfast! I was totally amazed at
how well he was starting to get around. That leg was still cramping,
but overall, he was starting to figure things out. We were careful
to stay near him while he went outside, in case he got wobbly, but he was
getting more and more sure of himself every day.
Monday, February 1
I called Dr. Blake and finally spoke with her around 1:45 PM. She said that the biopsy came back as osteosarcoma and if we wanted, Cody could enter the Bayer study. We set it up so that I would bring Cody back up there on February 12 for the ultrasound of his heart, suture removal and the first of his 5 chemotherapy treatments.
February 1 - February 11
I planned the first week, to go home every day at lunch to let the dogs out and to make sure that Cody was getting up and moving around. His front leg continued to cramp, so I continued the massages. We also used ice, which also seemed to help him. The Tylenol w/Codeine we felt was best used at night and in the morning before Dave left so that Cody would sleep.
By the end of the first week, Cody was needing to move around more. I took him on a walk around back to the open space. He kept wanting to go, so we did and made it the whole way around the block! He was pretty tired by the time we got back home, but mentally, I think he felt better. He was also starting to come up the stairs to the kitchen area and sleeping in the dining room. He was needing to get into different areas of the house, which was understandable.
The big problem, though, was now his back right leg. His whole body was having to re-adjust to the new weight distribution, so this didn't surprise me. You could see he was trying to put little weight on that leg...his hip was protruding up more on that side, too. So, I started massaging all the legs. He would always fall asleep during the massages, so I knew it was helping.
Over the weekend, the 6th and 7th, Cody actually seemed depressed. It was beautiful out, so I took him out and let him enjoy the sunshine.
By Thursday, the night before his first chemo treatment on the 12th, he was getting around very well. He looked like he had gained back quite a bit of weight. So, we helped him upstairs so he could sleep in our room. He was so happy to be up with us, but he was having problems getting comfortable. I brought the orthopedic pad up and he slept on that. In fact, the new orthopedic pad I bought him, seemed to help keep his front leg from cramping as much.
It is so amazing how quickly this dog, and from I hear, most dogs, was able to adapt to losing a leg. He was so happy to be home and with us. One of his problems was that he loved to do full body shakes. He would go out side and try. He would shake his head a bit, then the butt and tail would shake. But, you could tell he was getting frustrated because it just wasn't enough. It took less than 2 weeks, following the surgery, and Cody was once again doing the big full body shakes and not knocking himself off balance in the process. He was starting to work out how to do the full body stretches, too.
Every morning, he was up waiting for me to feed him, wagging his tail.
He was starting to act like my Cody again.
Friday, February 12
Well, this was the day we took Cody back up for suture removal and his first chemo treatment. He couldn't have breakfast, which was pretty hard on him. He just wasn't happy about missing his breakfast, but perked up when we asked him if he wanted to go "bye-bye." He hopped into the van, like it was nothing and did his normal heavy, contented sigh as he lay down on the comforter. He would stand up periodically, which he's always done when he is worried about where we're going, so we had to keep telling him to lay down. Once on the highway, though, he settle in and slept the whole way up to Ft. Collins.
Once there, I was worried that he would be nervous going back into the clinic. Here he surprised me, yet again! He was actually happy to hop out of the van, do his business and go into the clinic. We checked in and sat down to wait.
The good news here is that Judy Walton, a friend of Sally deBeque Smith, works up there. Judy is assigned to help Cody through his treatments! Judy and Dr. Julie Martin came out to talk to us. Judy has whippets and Julie has a greyhound! Judy and I talked. Cody seemed happy to say hi to both Judy and Julie, which made me feel good. Julie let Becky help her take Cody in back, with his blanket this time, while I finished talking to Judy. We agreed that I would come back at 1:30 to bring Cody home. I left him in their care.
When we returned, it took awhile to get him, but he was so happy to
see us. He had had some diarrhea the night before and several times
that day, so she told us to immediately start with the diarrhea meds.
She also said that we could give him metamucil for fiber and to feed him
when he got home. We also went home with medication in case he started having nausea or vomiting. His incision looked great without the stitches. Julie said his ultrasound looked good, but he was still not re-hydrated enough after the surgery. Also, his vein didn't handle the catheter well for the chemo, so he had bandages on his back right leg and front left leg.
The effects of chemo are supposed to be nausea and/or vomiting and/or diarrhea 2-5 days after the treatment. So, we started our watch on this. Also, Judy said that this chemo is actually excreted through the bowels, so we need to be very careful about cleaning up...we don't want Dundee to do that!
Cody was tired from the day when we got home, but he ate very well. His stool was already starting to firm up, too, for which we were thankful.
February - April
Cody has had few problems with the chemo treatments, other than that his blood counts are not high enough for another treatment two weeks after each. We do blood work every 2 weeks and find that his neutrafils are less than the 3000 needed. So, his treatments have been every three weeks, instead. He usually has his treatments on Fridays. Sunday and Monday following the treatments, he's pretty tired and sluggish. He has been off his food for the 3rd and 4th treatments, but I've found that it is the Distaste tablets we've been giving him in hopes of keeping Dundee away from his stools. It's not been working, so now I make sure I clean up before letting that puppy outside.
Cody loves his walks and has really been happy when people come to visit. He even seemed to enjoy it when Nash, my sister's 8 month old Airedale pup came over on Easter. Once in awhile, he will cry out, which worries us. We don't know if it's muscle spasms or what, but thankfully, the cries are more like whimpers compared to the original cries of pain after surgery.
Cody will have his fifth and final chemo treatment either April 30 or May 7th. After that, he starts on the study drug or placebo, we won't know which. From then on, he will periodically have checkups to see how things are going with his lungs, heart and blood.
Prayers, good food and most of all, loads of love will also be given
to my special boy...a cure just might be around the corner.