Sunday, 13 December 2015

Unsupported walks and night time games.

Blue has been doing well since our last blog, progress is small, but progress is progress.

There have been no ill-effects with the Chemotherapy, and the fur is growing back slowly, the spirit that Blue has shown confirms our decision to go through this route is most welcome from Blue.

Generally there has been a day on day improvement, so much so, that yesterday, Blue rested a little more than recent days, maybe he had over done it, maybe this would be the pattern of his activity levels, maybe there is something else going on inside of him.

We will continue to take one day at a time, not look towards the future, living for today.
Each morning as the curtains are drawn back we get the chance to wonder the dawn of a new day to share with Blue and realise how lucky we are to have each other.

The improvement has seen Blue not require the use of his support sling, for the last week, walk more comfortably to the park, and even have a short walk in the park, the equivalent of about half a mile in total. All at his pace and in the direction he chooses. We are very guarded about being in the park because of other dogs, most naturally give a wide berth to German Shepherds, but not all. Blue is very switched on in his mind and senses, once he is aware of another dog in the park, he will be fully focused, so we do have to also guard Blue against Blue.

He has also made the excursion to the local cemetery, a place he has walked daily in the past, but not since his treatment started.

His medication has now seen an end to the anti-biotic Therios, it has done a good job of helping fight off any infections

His daily dosage of medication is continuing with Tramadol, Gabapentin and Metacam along with the herbal Chinese product Yunnan Baiyao.

Blue is due his next Chemotherapy session on Tuesday, which will see him also take Cerenia in tablet form prior to and after the session. 
Blue will require 10 Acepromazine to partly sedate him ahead of his visit.

The many forms of tablet he is taking, go down with very little fuss, the only issue is if one splits and discharges the contents onto his food, then even the most appealing sausage has to be offered a few times before consumption.

Tuesday he will have a short stay for his treatment, where they will also undergo the removal of the stitches associated with his port placement. All being well this will enable Blue to return to his weekly Wednesday swim sessions at Aquadoggies, fingers crossed.

Sue continues to sleep downstairs in the week with Blue, where they both sleep through the night.

Friday and Saturday are my usual nights for taking a turn on the put me up.

Friday took us by surprise, I was busy cleaning my teeth, Sue was getting the duvet stuff ready, and who should appear upstairs, Blue, for the first time he had found the will and energy to climb the stairs, not only that, but after wandering around the upstairs rooms checking things out, he went into our bedroom and jumped straight on the bed,  circled a few times and landed with a contented grunt. Looks like we are all sharing the same bed for the night.

15 minutes into the night, Blue made it clear he wanted to go downstairs, so Fridays sleeping arrangements were to return to those that had gone before.

After we had settled for a short while Blue wanted to go out the back, to do his business, oh no to play football !! 

We played for a little bit, and I thought it would be a nice moment to capture, and went indoors and got the camera.

Eventually he had enough, and with the temptation of a food treat, we were back in doors to do what normal beings do at night, go to sleep.

Yesterday did see Blue be a bit more reluctant to raise from a slumber, but perhaps the clue was in the story above, lack of sleep in the night.

Those are the moments that will one day be cherished, it is still very heartwarming the support and understanding we get regarding Blue, neighbours stunned by our news always ask how he is, sometimes a knock on the door, presents us with a chance to update a concerned neighbour who had not seen him for a few days. Work colleagues keen to hear his progress, and how he is.

We are also pleased to have prompt settlements from the Pet Insurance, this enables us to continue supporting Blue, money is not everything, but it can open doors and provide opportunities. Some of the costs which must be paid for up front can quickly deplete resources. It does show the true value of Pet Insurance, and using a good reputable company, we chose ours wisely, do your homework and make your choice the right one

We have decided this year will be a Blue Christmas, Blue themed and focused on Blue. 

Yesterday we did the Christmas food shop, the main item was the turkey for Blue, if I am good perhaps Sue and Blue will let me have a slice for my Christmas lunch!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Blue has some medical days out.

Wow where does the time go? In our case oh so quickly, and as we have become accustomed, a microscopic world with little focus away from Blue.

Blue underwent his Chemotherapy last week, had a port fitted, without an overnight stay, all of us very happy to not be parted for too long. Today Blue was back for his blood tests, and results were given before we left.

Blue has normal white blood cell levels, but red blood cells are well down, last week were 39.4% today only 27%

That was the summary, now for the detail;-
Last Tuesday Blue was booked in at Fitzpatrick Referrals to undergo a procedure, which would incorporate the placement of a port into his leg which would have a line directly into a vein. This would be how Chemotherapy would be administered and also to obtain blood samples as and when required.
Once again Blue resisted sedation, but was a bit weaker, and was soon leaving the consultation room with Laurent, Senior Surgeon of Oncology and Soft Tissue, as they walked across reception, Blue must have thought we were following, but we were heading in the opposite direction towards the reception desk to conclude the necessary paperwork.

As we glanced back, before they walked through the open door, Blue looked back directly at us, an expression that words could not describe, filled us with emotion that could only escape through the corner of the eyes, all the moisture left our throats, this is tough.

We returned home, and both went to work, tonight was going to feel empty at home.

Later in the afternoon, news came through, Blue had come through the procedure, and they would keep an eye on him to ensure there were no adverse reactions.

6:30 in the evening the call came though, Blue was up to being discharged if we would like to collect him, he would be ready for discharge at 8:15, we were there at 8:05

Blue was brought willingly through those same doors, that he had exited this morning, joyfully and as eager as a puppy as soon as he see us. We went with the Nurse into the consultancy room, where once again the line was removed, but with a bit more co-operation from Blue, and a lot less blood spillage.
The fur that had been growing back, had once again been removed, along with the stitches, and new ones to secure the opening around the port.

After a drive back home we entered our front door at 10:00pm a long eventful day for Blue was now behind him, once again a model dog and a model patient, back home for plenty of cuddles.

Blue no longer has bad days, he only has better days and good days.

The weekend has seen Blue vary with his appetite for exercise, but he has been taken to the park for a short walk. He has even had a couple of trips out to the grounds of the local University. Some parts unaided other times with his sling for support.

The Chemotherapy comes with some issues, one of which is that any wee or poo in the days soon after therapy should not be licked. So hygiene is important.

Whilst Blue has been more mobile, he has an issue when weeing, he stands with his right leg further back for balance, with his stitches the direction of his wee goes straight towards his front leg. We came up with a plan, a plastic storage box lid, acting as a splash shield. We must look a peculiar sight, but it does the job, and hurts no one.

Medication has been a challenge, at one point a tablet was crushed mixed with water and Sue literally wrestled with Blue in a headlock and squirted the contents of the syringe down the back of Blue's throat. This was not agreeable for any of us, the answer laid in a tin of sardines, we had found Blue's passionate food, too tasty to resist and too tasty to be spoilt by tablets, everyones a winner.

Todays visit;
Blue had an afternoon appointment to have a blood test carried out. This time he was given sedatives before hand, Sue had to give him 10 yes TEN tablets 2 hours before his consultation.

We arrived in good time, were shown directly into the consultation room, the tablets were having the desired effect, as the reception lady held the door open Blue had a cursory sniff, and no more, he was entering the "dozy zone" we were offered and accepted coffee, and took the opportunity to have a weight check, Blue tipped the electronic scales at 48.7 kg
By the time Laurent came in to commence, the old Blue was there but in a much more subdued manner, with a laid back high pitched attempt at a bark.
We held Blues head steady while the blood sample was removed via the port, Blue was co-operating as best he could.
Ten minutes passed and the results were back, a bit of a mixed bag really, some good, some could be better, Sue had a long list of questions, each one answered fully and comprehensively by Laurent.

Laurent said that someone else wanted to see Blue, Dr Kelvin Kow, Senior Consultant Medical Oncology, whom Sue had spoke on the phone with the other day. Between the both, they gave us everything we needed to understand how Blue is doing, and how things may get. Not all good but again some better.

The same surgeon that had carried out a life threatening procedure, answered all our queries in a clear and concise manner, shook hands with such warm friendship, took the coffee cup and saucer from my hand, and left the room, how humble a gesture I have not witnessed before.

Blue could not be in any better hands, talking of Blue, he was now deep in the zone, consultation over we had to get this little fella through the building, across the car park, and he was as drunk as a lord.

Below are a few pictures that sum up part of Blue's day

The Staff have been truly great and a credit to their profession, when asked if it can be a heartbreaking place to work, yes it can but, you must look at each one as a gift and enjoy them

Today as I was driving back, Blue came into the former bracket, but I would use the word "talent"

Talent is something that is learnt and earned. Blue is a special talent that has faced some tough challenges through a life that other dogs could only dream of, his paws have trod where mountaineers walk, where fishes swim in seas, brooks, burns, lakes and lochs, pools and puddles, where cows graze, where deer and sheep graze,  sand and pebbles have been no match for paws or peat bogs not too soft for the spread of his paws, he has the look of a friend and a gaze to melt the hardest of hearts.

Who knows what this talent will achieve next......................