ROUND THREE, TREATMENT ONE

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ROUND THREE, TREATMENT ONE

Luna had her first dose of Tanovea today.

She is WIPED OUT.

Next dose is in three weeks, five doses total if she does well.

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Good night Luna. Sweet dreams sweet girl.

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THE CANCER IS BACK

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THE CANCER IS BACK

Luna had a follow up ultrasound and spleen and liver biopsy with Dr. Clemans last week. The cancer is back. The lymphoma is in her spleen and now her liver too. The chemotherapy was not working.

We had a decision to make, and it took us almost a full week to make it.

Do we keep going?

We looked at our goofy, happy, playful, sassy dog and decided YES, we will keep going.

Are we crazy? YES.

Are we right? I DUNNO.

But we are comfortable with our decision.

Next - five IV injections of a fairly new cancer fighting medication called Tanovea. One injection every three weeks. If it does not work or Luna feels like crap, we will be done. Done done. This is it. But this could give us several more months with Luna. And for us, that is the best news we could hope for.

In the words of the great Dr. Sue, Cancer Vet, ”Already a statistics buster. Kick butt Luna!”

And so she shall.

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HERE WE GO AGAIN

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HERE WE GO AGAIN

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It is difficult to write about Luna right now because lately we have all been a little bit apprehensive.

But you have been with us through it all, and I don’t want you to miss this chapter just because it is a scary one.

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Luna is still the dorky, goofy, fun dog she has always been. Right now she is demanding canned food from Russ. (Update: He caved.)

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In December, Dr. Krapfl did an abdominal ultrasound on Luna and found irregularities in her spleen. He did a recheck ultrasound in January, and her spleen was even more abnormal. We did blood work, including a clotting profile (tests to make sure Luna is able to stop bleeding in a normal amount of time), to assure the next procedure would be as safe as possible.

Dr. Clemans did an aspirate (small sampling of cells) of her spleen.

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The cancer is back.

Luna doesn’t know. Please don’t tell her!

We restarted chemotherapy last Wednesday. Her next dose is tomorrow.

Luna is also on Lasix.

“Why Lasix?” I asked Julie at VCA MidWest Vet. “I don’t know,” she said. “I will find out.”

The purpose of the Lasix is to prevent hemorrhagic cystitis - bleeding into the urinary bladder. It is new since we did chemotherapy last time, and Dr. Clemans has added it to her protocol.

I hung up with Julie and yelled at Russ, “Dr. Clemans is practicing cutting edge medicine! CUTTING EDGE!” After a few minutes, he said, “so…cutting edge, huh?” and went back to reading. He was, I am sure, quietly impressed.

Between Dr. Krapfl and Kelly and everyone at Gentle Doctor and Dr. Clemans and her team at VCA MidWest Vet, and all of you praying and cheering her on…this little dog has a great team surrounding her. Beautiful things are bound to continue happening.

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A FELIX AND OSCAR CHRISTMAS

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A FELIX AND OSCAR CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas!

Amanda: I thought some of your pictures would have people in them.

me: They do!

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Visions of chewy bones…

Visions of chewy bones…

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night <3

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

Joy are you having fun at Aunt Kristi’s?

Joy are you having fun at Aunt Kristi’s?

Hi Luna!

Hi Luna!

Hi Lucy!

Hi Lucy!

Should we have taught them “Open your gift”? Too late now!

Should we have taught them “Open your gift”? Too late now!

O Joy!

O Joy!

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And to all a good night…

And to all a good night…

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CAREER DAY AT KIEWIT MIDDLE SCHOOL

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CAREER DAY AT KIEWIT MIDDLE SCHOOL

Sydney Farley invited me to speak to her middle school class about being a veterinarian. Russ, Joy and I went today. It was very fun! Very nice teachers and a great class with great questions.

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From the Way Back…”Have you ever done surgery on a grape?”

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Me…”No, but I’ve done surgery on a banana.”

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Joy, did you love those kids so much?

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Thank you for having us! We had a very fun morning with you!

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LUNA'S THREE MONTH CHECK UP

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LUNA'S THREE MONTH CHECK UP

Luna is three months out from the end of her chemotherapy and one year out from diagnosis of lymphoma and is doing great!

Luna in her beautiful new coat from her friend Missy

Luna in her beautiful new coat from her friend Missy

“Do these things,” Dr. Clemans said.

“Okay,” I said, and I did. Every time Dr. Clemans tells me to do things and I do, my dog lives longer. So I try to always do what she says.

The things Dr. Clemans said to do were…an exam, lab work, chest x-rays, an abdominal ultrasound and a heart ultrasound.

Kelly and I did her exam, her lab work and her chest x-rays. Dr. Krapfl did her ultrasounds.

THANK YOU DR. KRAPFL!!

“Lookit!” Dr. Krapfl said. “Luna’s bladder looks like a snow globe!” And that is how we learned that Luna probably has a urinary tract infection. We will confirm with her lab work. Just as importantly, Dr. Krapfl and I found NO enlarged lymph nodes in Luna’s whole little self! And THAT is the best news of the whole ordeal.

Even though it was Joy who had anesthesia yesterday, Luna was more wiped out than Joy. Apparently, having all the tests, and needing to be a Good Girl during both ultrasounds, was exhausting. Luna slept for most of the rest of the day.

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She will have similar six month and nine month check ups. Then I dunno what…we hadn’t looked that far ahead. But now…maybe…we will.

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JOY'S SURGERY

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JOY'S SURGERY

Joy had surgery today to remove a benign (not cancerous) mass. All went well!

I tried not to include any gross pictures, but Amanda says this first picture is gross. So skip it if you are squeamish!

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It is disconcerting to see your own pet under anesthesia! Kelly was her anesthetist and kept her safe the entire time! As nervous as I was today having Joy undergo this procedure, I knew I did not need to worry a bit with her in such good hands <3

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All’s well that ends well…

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HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY JOY!

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HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY JOY!

Abby and Amanda had their friends over, and we celebrated Joy’s 10th birthday.

Happy birthday Joy!

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Joy opened all her gifts herself…

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Sometimes little sisters get gifts too.

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Joy, did you have a fun birthday?

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NEW ORNAMENTS

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NEW ORNAMENTS

Abby made us two new ornaments! I love them so much.

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Notice our unflocked tree. Abby got to choose the color this year. I don’t remember the last time we had a green tree! It is pretty.

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THANKSGIVING PICTURES 2018

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THANKSGIVING PICTURES 2018

Here are pictures from Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad had Thanksgiving at their home again. Karen and Phill came. All my brothers with all their families were there <3

Felix and Oscar with Bill

Felix and Oscar with Bill

Amanda, Abby and Aunt Cara doing origami

Amanda, Abby and Aunt Cara doing origami

Henry and Charlie at the park - I love this one!

Henry and Charlie at the park - I love this one!

Bill and Dave…and Olive walking Arthur

Bill and Dave…and Olive walking Arthur

The more things change…

The more things change…

Abby helping Arthur on the ropes

Abby helping Arthur on the ropes

Robert climbing the ropes

Robert climbing the ropes

Abby climbing up to meet the uncles

Abby climbing up to meet the uncles

Success!

Success!

Bill, Charlie and Henry

Bill, Charlie and Henry

Henry and Olive

Henry and Olive

Good night!

Good night!

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HI

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HI

This is the longest I’ve gone between postings since the Riley and James website when I sometimes wrote every three months! I have tried to make this a daily blog, but obviously I haven’t written since Halloween, so…

Luna is still doing great. No return of cancer signs - woo! She will get to wear her Christmas collar! In fact, I will put it on her now and include a picture for you.

Me: Look up! Luna, look up!  Joy: I will do anything to make you happy!  Luna: (unprintable)

Me: Look up! Luna, look up!

Joy: I will do anything to make you happy!

Luna: (unprintable)

Luna has her three month check up with Dr. Krapfl and me this month - an exam, blood work, chest x-rays and abdominal ultrasound to check for signs of cancer - mainly enlarged lymph nodes - and a heart ultrasound to make sure the chemotherapy has not hurt her heart.

Joy is doing well too. She just turned ten years old. Abby and I checked 14 (14!) bumps on her - all benign - woo!

We got a little blue Neon car for Amanda and Abby. I love it so much. They do too! Amanda is driving all over the place. Abby is still hesitant - her first time out she crashed a parked car. They are both very good drivers though. Hopefully Abby will get her confidence back soon!

My brother Bill and his family were in town from Ohio for Thanksgiving. Hey! I will post that next. Will that be too confusing out of order? I have GOT to get my writing act together. It was a very fun holiday.

Depression has made me more tired than sad lately. I am figuring out how to ration my energy though, and that is improving. Dr. Bashara allowing me to go part time has been a life saver.

And finally, here is a picture of super tiny doll house furniture that Amanda is working on…The balls of yarn are smaller than marbles! I love it so much!

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I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! More posts coming more often… :)

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IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY VETERINARY CLASS OF 1998 20 YEAR REUNION

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IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY VETERINARY CLASS OF 1998 20 YEAR REUNION

My veterinary school reunion was 2 weekends ago. It was so much fun!

Russ, Amanda, Abby and I went to Ames and met up with classmates for drinks Friday night and lunches Saturday and Sunday and a tour of the school Sunday. It was good to catch up.

I don’t know why I didn’t get pictures of classmates, but here are some of my family from the weekend!

Friends, it was so good to see you again!

Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company was Russ’ and my favorite pizza place in Ames.

Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company was Russ’ and my favorite pizza place in Ames.

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Ledges State Park is as beautiful as ever.

Ledges State Park is as beautiful as ever.

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Abby and Amanda with the Gentle Doctor statue.

Abby and Amanda with the Gentle Doctor statue.

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LUNA 100, CANCER 0!

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LUNA 100, CANCER 0!

Luna has finished her chemotherapy!

Tuesday was her last round of medication. All of her friends at VCA MidWest Vet signed a pink scarf for her with encouraging notes and love. She fell asleep with her pink scarf on, surrounded by love and support.

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Thank you Dr. Clemans.

Thank you Brandy.

Thank you VCA MidWest Vet Team.

Thank you Team Luna.

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We are not done fighting. Luna has quarterly check-ups to look for the return of the cancer, and we will be watching for signs of its return at home as well. She may need to go through a second and even a third round of chemotherapy. We will cross those bridges at a different time. This time is for celebrating <3

Please join us for an Open House to celebrate Luna's completion of chemotherapy!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

2:00 - 5:00 pm

at

Phill and Karen Finch's Home

We will have snacks!

Message me on Facebook or e-mail me for the address and directions -

shawn@finchdvm.com

In lieu of gifts, please come and tell Luna, "Congratulations Luna!" in a high voice. She will like that :)

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FALL TIME

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FALL TIME

Today and yesterday have been cool and rainy.

Amanda made amazing spice cupcakes.

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School is starting (I have mixed feelings on this!)

It feels like fall is coming.

Even without the big garden (next year!) I am starting to buzz with happy thoughts of fall. It is good to feel happy.

We did plant morning glories and cherry tomatoes, and those plants are going crazy!

We did plant morning glories and cherry tomatoes, and those plants are going crazy!

I got to see Stephanie - and a super cute Husky puppy - this morning.

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I made pumpkin coffee with caramel creamer.

I am settling in for the morning to write articles for Dr. McGill for Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery.

I hope you are having a good week.

More soon on starting part time...Fetch 360 (used to be CVC) and the start of the school year. Hopefully Abby will do a fall time photo shoot of Joy and Luna as she has the past two years that I can share with you soon too!

Joy says she is always buzzing with happy thoughts. And also, she loves you.

Joy says she is always buzzing with happy thoughts. And also, she loves you.

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OPTIMISM

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OPTIMISM

Optimism is getting your terminal dog a Christmas collar in August. Someone has to be the outlier right? Why not Luna?

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She is doing great by the way! Two more chemotherapy sessions!

Luna "choosing" a new collar and leash - she wants them all! She was a hit at the Farmers' Market with her ears and tail!

Luna "choosing" a new collar and leash - she wants them all! She was a hit at the Farmers' Market with her ears and tail!

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THIS GREAT DOG

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THIS GREAT DOG

Favorite client. Favorite dog.

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DAYS after diagnosis, we are gathered to say good bye. Dad had opted to treat with steroids, and the dog's poor body did not handle them well.

We loved this guy and his dog. Kelly has a Boxer dog. This was a seven (seven!) year old Boxer dog. I have a three year old dog with lymphoma. This dog had lymphoma. Some euthanasias are even harder than others.

Why have I been given eight good months so far and this guy two good days? Why are they both so young? Why do I have to be punched RIGHT in the heart? Why did this guy? He did adopt a tiny Boxer puppy, which is just asking for heartache. Who am I kidding? I adopted a goofy mutt puppy, and that too is just asking for heartache...eventually.

"I will be back with a puppy, but it won't be soon," he said. 

"I know," I said.

I walked Joy and Luna up to Beals Elementary. I walked until I was exhausted, then much to Luna's annoyance, picked her up for the walk home. She was exhausted too. Joy happily panted along next to us.

I have no more answers than I did when we started our walk, but I am tired enough that it is difficult to think, and that is good. I try to get into Joy's state of mind, and step back into the house. I need to call it a night early. Tomorrow is another busy day.

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