Monday, November 30, 2009

Today was a day of celebration! First, our Pem Corgi Flash just turned 12 yrs old. Flash is an amazing dog - an incredible athlete and my daughter Kate's chosen puppy when Kate was 7 yrs old. They have successfully competed in obedience, jr showmanship, rally, agility, herding, freestyle and tracking plus trained in carting, water rescue and flyball. This past summer they became one of just 200 or so teams that have earned the coveted title of Champion Tracker (check out website for more info). Since Kate is off at college, Tom and I took Flash out for a cheeseburger. She got to pick out her own special toy on Friday night. Happy birthday Flash!

It was also a special day for Hokey. For the past 8 weeks he has had to go in for chemo every Monday am. First a blood draw to check his white blood cell count, especially his neutrophils. Then whatever chemo was scheduled that day as part of his protocol. But the 8 weeks of induction are over - he is still in remission ( his lymph nodes went down after the first chemo) and he is now on a maintenance schedule. That means he goes to chemo every other week for the next 8 weeks. So he was happy today too. His supplements will all continue and his body will have more of a chance to recover between treatments.
Deb E

From Hokey -
WOW!!! Wonderful day even if it was cold and rainy. I didn't get to work my ducks since it was a bit cold to put them out but I got to run in the field with Queezle and that was fun. And, I didn't have to go in for chemo! I love visiting the vet clinic and I really like all the other vets and techs but I don't like having to have blood drawn and getting injections. After all, I am a busy dog with things to do and these chemo appointments have really been messing up my weekly schedules.

Deb let me do some obedience work yesterday and I was amazing if I say so myself. Guess I haven't lost anything with this chemo business! And we may get snow tonight which is very fun to run in and roll in. Yup, good day all round.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We all survived Thanksgiving in good form - temporarily a little rounder but back to normal now! The chant at my house is currently for snow. We have downhill and cross country skiers in our house so snow can be a positive thing for us. I just want rifle deer season to end so I can go back to my normal hiking sites.

It was great having my daughter home but she is already back at school, then heading to NYC to play with the Cornell Pep Band on the USS Intrepid and then at a Cornell hockey game. Her dogs miss her but I keep them busy.

Today it is blowing hard but rain, not snow. Frodo the mini horse is galloping like crazy - racing the wind, bucking and leaping. He is a brown and white fuzzball right now and if his coat is any indication we will have a long cold winter. The donkeys on the other hand are discussing plans to head south. This is Frodo in his summer outfit. We will try to get a picture of his winter fuzz.

I have decided I deserve the weekend mostly "off" from writing but may do some research work. Working at home has both good and bad points. The bad points include that everyone feels free to ask you to do errands for them since you have flexible hours and that there are plenty of other options such as training the dogs if you get bored writing. The good points of course include the fact that I am home with all my animals and that when the kids have school events I can rearrange things to attend.
Stay warm, stay dry!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, all that turkey and I hardly got any! Plus with the cold rain, the ducks stayed in so I didn't even get to work. A human would have said "didn't have to work" but we dogs like having chores.
I just finished my 8 week chemo induction and now go on every other week for 8 more weeks of maintenance. The best part is that I don't have to go to the clinic on Monday morning!!!
Deb said we need to try and help other dogs with lymphoma so I will tell you all about ginger. Ginger is known for helping with nausea - even carsickness. Eating a couple of ginger snaps can help or you can take your ginger "straight". A friend of ours who has had a couple of bouts of chemo recommended this to Deb. At first, Deb just sprinkled ginger on my meals. Maybe the ginger got mixed with the pumpkin and I snorted some of the powder - who knows? I was sort of turned off on the pumpkin and Deb was afraid I didn't want to eat the ginger either. So now I get ginger root capsules for 3 days - the day of chemo, the day after and one day after that. Perfect - no nausea at all!

Well, I need to go and steal the new toy that Flash got for her birthday (she is the Pem Corgi who turns 12 on Monday and got her present early since Kate was home). Steal toys, steal treats and enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomorrow will be a rush of cooking, driving to my mother in law's house, eating and cleaning up. But today is a good time to reflect and be thankful.
I am SO thankful for the wonderful animals who share and have shared my life - patients, trainees from classes and of course, my own wonderful family animals, from donkeys to ducks to dogs and cats plus sheep, goats and horses at this time.
I am thankful for the wonderful people of my life - my family, my many close friends from animal associations and from writing.
I am thankful that I live in America especially after hearing first hand how people in some other countries, especially women, need to hide talents and be secretive about reading, writing and even caring for animals.
Those are MY top three.
What about you?
Deb E, off to do barn chores with Hokey, Dani (10 1/2 yr old Belgian Tervuren) & Flash (12 yr old Pembroke Welsh Corgi)

From Hokey:
Well, I am VERY thankful I am being treated for my lymphoma and very thankful it is working. I am NOT so thankful about the pumpkin in my breakfast again!!!! I don't mind the ginger root capsule for nausea but this pumpkin for diarrhea prevention is getting old. Some real pumpkin pie might be nice though - hint, hint.
I am thankful that I get to do real herding work as I love my ducks!
Hokey who is NOT overweight - it is all muscle, just pure muscle

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So far, luckily, our biggest problem with Hokey's treatment has been weight - in his case weight GAIN! He has been off the pred for 5 weeks now but with his extra meal to help spread his supplements out he has gained 12 lbs. Clearly the third meal a day is being cut out - much to his dismay :) I now refer to him as "His Roundness".

One of Hokey's daily chores is to put the ducks out in their pen in the am & bring them in at night. Livestock that know their own farm dog & learn their routine can be easy to manage though any changes will upset them, sometimes dramatically. With ducks that could be as simple as a car parked in the new spot, a person opening the door to the house, etc. Luckily Hokey is superb at handling his ducks & always gets them in & out with minimal fuss.

I decided to let him do a bit of blogging but told him that he has to follow certain guidelines & remember that *I* control the computer time.

Hi folks! This is Hokey, also known as Hokemon, Hokey Dokey, Hokey Pokey - well, you get the idea. I am actually named after a cartoon character, Hokey Wolf who was with Yogi Bear one year. Deb wanted a cartoon name for my call name but also a dance name if possible. I will explain all that in the future. We need to get down & do barn chores but I am glad to finally have a chance to get at the computer myself.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

New beginnings

I realize fall tends to be the time for endings - harvest, preparing to hunker down for winter (at least here in the Northeast!), etc. But for me, this fall will hopefully be a time of beginnings as well. I have decided to drag my 20th century mind into the 21st century & diligently keep up my blog. I am working on more writing work & tackling the issues of dealing with a multi animal household. I am a veterinarian & feel that animals are my life so I am MUCH better with things that breathe than things that plug in or need batteries :).

I hope you will join me on this journey & feel free to comment & offer advice when I am stuck :). I hope this blog will share with you the wonderful lives of my many animal family members & the trials & tribulations of being a writer.

One of my biggest challenges however, is not technology. My 5 yr old Belgian Tervuren, Hokey, has lymphoma. While this is a cancer that is considered treatable (note I didn't say curable but we can hope), it is still a challenge managing his medications, his spirits & my own spirits. Hokey is a silly dog & makes me smile every day. I want to keep that smile.

As a veterinarian it is especially difficult when your own dog has a disease that you can only do so much for. Somehow it seems totally unfair that I may not be able to save my own dog. It will not be for lack of trying but I go into this knowing that the cure rate is currently about 10%. Hokey is young but has a very aggressive form of the lymphoma.

I hope to share with you what has worked for us as we fight this problem in the hopes that it may someday help other dogs with lymphoma.

Deb E , off for the morning barn chores