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Spencer's Story

Another Amazing Tripawds Three Legged Dog Blog

Spencer's Story

First some catchup

February 28th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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I had planned to blog this week.  So, many of you already know that Spencer didn’t make it; but first I’m going to c&p from the tripawds forum from the weekend:


This one was Friday, 2/24/12:

When responding to another post I realized that today is Spencer’s 6 month ampuversary!!!  He is still hopping along, doesn’t even seem to know he is sick.  Last week he finished his 3rd round of carboplatin for the lung mets, so we are half way done with this chemo.  The oncologist said at that appointment he still can’t even hear any problems in Spencer’s lungs from the mets.  In 2 weeks he gets an x-ray to see what is happening and to decide if we will finish out the other 3 treatments.

I’m still amazed by how great he is doing.  I have been hesitant to make future plans because for us right now, some things hinge on how he is doing.  We had originally planned to go to DC/Williamsburg, VA for spring break (in April); but then weren’t sure if we would do it if he wasn’t up for the trip.  Now I feel sure he will be good for it and I’m having a hard time finding a vacation rental house that allows dogs.  But we will camp if we have to!laughing  I’m just so excited that he is doing so great!!


A little later that day I posted about wondering what we would do after chemo:

Spencer finished his 15 weeks of chemo on 12/22 and then started the new chemo (this time carboplatin for the lung mets) on 1/6.  We are now halfway through the carboplatin (6 treatments, one every 3 weeks).  When this first started, the odds were so stacked against him even making it to the end of the treatment that I didn’t ask what happens after.  But now I’m optimistic again.  Assuming the mets are still there (one can dream that they aren’t, right wink), after that last treatment… what then?  If he is still doing great like he is for now, I don’t think I’ll want to stop doing whatever we can to slow this down.  At that point do we do a different chemo?  Stop and just let what happens happen?  (I’ll ask in 2 weeks when we go in; but I’m just thinking about it now…)

I’d love any been there, done that advice from someone who’s dog has finished the chemo for lung mets and still was doing great (as I”m hoping Spencer will be doing in 8 weeks).

I was sooooo optimistic.  Being completely honest, I had started to convince myself that Spencer was going to be here for Christmas 2012, that he was going to do a road trip to CO with us today.  He seemed SO healthy.

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Carboplatin treatment #3

February 17th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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Spencer went in for his 3rd treatment with the new chemo today.  So this means basically 7 weeks since we found out the cancer had moved to his lungs.

The oncologist said they still don’t hear anything in his lungs.  Spencer is still up for hikes with us at the cabin (though he takes a long nap afterwards).  He still loves running down to the bus stop and back to get the kids after school.  And he still loves playing with his buddies from next door any time they are all 3 out at the same time.  (Today I called him in and all 3 of them tried to come in the door with their muddy, muddy paws!)

He isn’t eating as well as normal.  He doesn’t seem to like his dog food anymore.  This started about a week ago.  He’ll eat it if I sprinkle shredded cheese on it, or mix in canned food.  And he must not be starving – he actually gained nearly 4 pounds in the last 3 weeks!  (so I’m going to have to watch what he is eating – don’t want him getting too big since that makes things harder on him in the long run.)

He had thrown up the day of chemo the last few times, so today they gave him an anti nausea injection and so far it seems to have worked.

Before his next treatment they will do x-rays to see what is happening with his cancer.  I’m cautiously optimistic.

One super sad day recently was when Spencer was coughing some during the day (allergies).  Our oldest daughter was crying at bed time and when I asked her she said that she had heard Spencer coughing and she was afraid he was going to die  in the middle of the night.  🙁  I assured her that Spencer was mostly FINE, that the problem was allergies and not the cancer and that Spencer would be eagerly waiting for her to wake up.  We agreed that if she cleans her room, I will buy a pink dog bed for her room and Spencer can sleep in there if he wants (we shall see if he goes along with this – he normally will sleep in whatever room I’m in).


Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Hi all!  I have been meaning to post for 2 weeks now; but just haven’t been in much of a computer kind of mood.  Sorry!!

Spencer is still holding strong.  We went 2.5 weeks ago for his 2nd treatment with the new chemo.  I had a chance to talk with his oncologist then and to see his x-rays.  The vet said that he still can’t even hear what he is seeing on the x-rays.  So if Spencer hadn’t hurt his leg, prompting me to ask them to just peek at his lungs while doing x-rays, then we wouldn’t even know the cancer was back.  Or maybe we would I guess, since we wouldn’t have started chemo back up.  He seems to handle this one fine just like he did his last chemo.  I am noticing that he throws up the day of the treatment, so starting this week they are going to give him a shot with some anti-nausea medicine in it at the time they start the chemo.

A few days ago he started coughing and it worried me; but the vet doesn’t think it is related to the cancer.  He thinks instead it is just some good old allergies.  We are having CRAZY weather here in the Atlanta area, things are already starting to bloom!

For the last 2 days Spencer hasn’t had his normal appetite.  I’m not sure what is up with that.  I think he is sleeping a little more than he used to; but anytime there is something to do he is eager to go and doesn’t seem to tire.  So on a rainy day like today, I think he is going to be content to sleep most of the day; but if it was nice outside (he hates going out in the rain… for ANYTHING) I’m pretty sure he would perk up and be happy to go for a nice walk.  His favorite time of the day is still school bus stop time.  He loves walking down with me to get the kids off of the bus.  🙂

Just over a week ago we did get our family pictures done by Melissa Palomo.  I just love how they turned out and can’t wait to see the full gallery!!  I am so glad that she was able to come out to do our pictures and I know that these are going to be treasured by our family.  The kids can’t wait to have the pictures on the walls.  Melissa did an amazing job – my kids were being pills at times, and Spencer wasn’t always the best at following directions; but you’d never know it by looking at the pictures!


Still going strong!

January 24th, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

Just thought I’d post a quick update.  Nothing much new.  I need to download pictures and post them.  🙂  Spencer still seems to be doing great!  No outward signs of being sick at all.  We went for a short hike over the weekend and he loved it.  My brother and sister in law brought their 2 labs up to the cabin and Spencer absolutely loved having them to play with!  We go for his 2nd carboplatin treatment on Thursday and I’m also going to see all of  his x-rays and talk to the vet about making sure there is nothing else that we should be doing.

We are trying to spoil the mess out of Spencer right now.  The day I told the kids they REALLY wanted him to get to sit on the couch with them.  I put a blanket down and tried to get him up there.  He could NOT figure out what in the world we were asking him to do.  Then this weekend I tried to get him to jump in the bed with me.  Again, he had no clue what I was doing, he woulldn’t get on the bed.  (and the bed isn’t too high for him, he still easily jumps in my husband’s Expedition, which is MUCH higher than our bed.)  My husband then tried to get Spencer to get up on the couch at the cabin with him and again, Spencer had no clue what was going on.  It is weird.  We never really got onto him about getting on the couch, we just never let him on there.  We got Spencer when he was 7 months old and he was already a big boy.  I had learned from my last 2 dobermans that if you start out letting them on the couch, you will never get them off.  haha  So… we never put Spencer on the couch.  And now he doesn’t seem to even thing about getting on it (though he is definitely not above sneaking into my recliner;-)  ).

I hope everyone has a great week.  I’ll update after Thursday’s appointment!


Back at the cabin.

January 14th, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

The kids, Spencer and I got to the cabin tonight.  He was SO excited when we got off of the main road onto the curvy backroad.  Then he could hardly contain his excitement once we turned off onto the gravel road that leads to our place.  It has been 2.5 weeks since we have been up here and everyone is so happy to be back.  🙂  Tomorrow we plan to go for a hike around the lake with Spencer.  We figure we need to do this while he is still up to it.  And I’ll be taking LOTS of pictures!!


I need to be pissed for a minute

January 12th, 2012 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

I’m so mad.  I was FREAKED when we first found Spencer’s tumor.  So upset, I was sure it meant he was going to die soon.  Then we found out it was fibrosarcoma, and it seemed almost like good news!  That was so much better than bone cancer.  It was going to be manageable.  But… it was grade 3.  BUT, his lungs were clear.  Then they did the amputation and his lymph nodes were clear too.  Really, it was going to be OK.  Then he handled the chemo great (after we swapped him to mitox).  His oncologist even thought he was doing great.  But NO.  it moved to his freaking lungs.  And I’m mad about that.  And I’m sad about it.  And it seems unreal.  Today he ran home from the bus stop.  It is up a pretty steep hill.  And he ran like he was so healthy.  He doesn’t seem sick at all.  Through all of this, he has NEVER seemed sick.  How can he have terminal cancer and show no signs of it?

My kids still cry regularly about their cat who died a year ago.  They aren’t ready to lose their dog.  Part of me wonders if they have made a mistake.  Maybe they are wrong.  Maybe it was just swollen lymph nodes.  But I know that isn’t the case.  I mean, the logical part of me knows that.  My kids keep asking if there is any chance that the cancer c an go away, and I tell them that it is extremely unlikely, that I can’t say it is impossible; but that it almost is.  But then in my head I hear myself hoping right along with the kids.

This all just sucks.


Our plan…

January 10th, 2012 · 9 Comments · Uncategorized

I broke the news to the kids today.  As expected, they were pretty upset.  We had a good cry, and then they made a banner for Spencer.  I’ll have to get a picture of it in the next few days.  We talked about making “Spencer Boxes” where they could put pictures that they draw of Spencer and write him letters.  And we talked about what we are going to do.  We are going to enjoy the time we have left with Spencer and at the same time we are going to try to make sure that we have as much time as possible with him.  I’m going to talk to the oncologist and try to set up an appointment to see the x-rays and talk about all of the possible options.  And this weekend, we are going to take Spencer up to the cabin, we will go on a little hike with him.  While he is still up for it.  So far, he is still full of energy and doesn’t seem to tire too easily.  But I remember how lung cancer went with Baron (my last doberman, he got lung cancer) and I know that things can go down hill fast sometimes.  So, we are going to take Spencer’s lead and do as much as he is up to.  And enjoy every minute with him.



We’re home!

January 9th, 2012 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

Yay!  We are finally home.  Spencer was so happy to see us and we were all so happy to see him!

Now… I guess I’m going to have to tell the kids.  ugh.  I dread it.  But I’m just going to stress to them that we are going to keep doing what we can to keep Spencer as happy and healthy as possible and that we are going to enjoy every day we have with him.  I think that they are going to be excited to get pictures with him at our upcoming family photo shoot with Melissa Palomo.  I can already hear my 5 year old, “Mommy, will you get that one printed just for me for my room???”

Oh, and since we have been out of town I still haven’t gotten the tree down at the cabin.  I have decided that I’m trying that picture again, this time with Spencer in it!!


I’m heartbroken.

January 6th, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

My husband got back to Atlanta late Wednesday/early Thursday and dropped Spencer off at the oncologist’s office this morning (Friday). Turns out it isn’t his lymph nodes, it is 3 nodules in his lungs – cancer. Best case they give us is 2 months if we bring him home and do nothing but what is needed to keep him comfortable for as long as possible. Or we can try another chemo – carboplatin. It won’t cure him, just buy more time. This time it will be one, short treatment every 3 weeks. They give us 30 – 40% odds that it will buy him 6 – 12 months. But I just keep reminding myself that these damn spots came up WHILE he was on chemo. Would they have come up faster had he not been on chemo? Would he already been gone if we hadn’t done the first 15 weeks of chemo? I guess that might be the case. But I’m just so pissed. He seems like he is doing sooooo great. He is full of life. What ever he did to make himself limp has healed up.

And then there’s the kids. I told them that we thought Spencer had beat this. That he was better. That we couldn’t be POSITIVE; but that we had every reason to think he would get to see them start high school (they are in kindergarten and 2nd grade right now). Now I get to tell them, nope. sorry.

I decided to go forward with the dose of carboplatin today. We will take it treatment by treatment. We will enjoy every minute that we have with him. I guess this means that if he is still around in August that we will be driving for our trip to CO so that he can come with us, because absolutely no more leaving him at home.

I think that I will wait until we get home from this trip to tell them. No point in spoiling the last of their trip. And if I tell them when we are home they can have Spencer there to love on him.

The “good news” is that I got food poisoning last night, so I was skipping skiing today anyway. My mom has the kids up on the mountain and I have a few hours to get myself together.


small update

December 30th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

I didn’t get to talk to our vet today; but he did leave me a long message.  I’m hoping to call back and catch him tomorrow.

The oncologist looked over everything and thinks that the 3 masses are the lymph nodes.  We don’t know if they are swollen from him fighting off infection (he did have the infection on his other side after the amputation…) or if it is cancer.  I keep reminding myself that they removed the next 2 lymph nodes when they did the amputation and both of those came back clean.  Hopefully this is just residual of infections.  The oncologist wants to get him in for an ultrasound and needle aspirate.  On the message he said it could wait until next week.  I don’t think he realizes that I won’t be back until the NEXT week.  So I’m going to find out tomorrow if I should have my friend Maris or my brother take him in (both have offered, hopefully scheduling could work with one of them).  I’ll let you know what happens.

Thanks for all of the kind words!