Sunday, October 10, 2010

Prepping for Halloween

This is Lulu's week off, and she's back to "normal" again now that she's back on Prednisone. Her foot has healed and she had her first grooming since she's started treatment at Healthy Spot. They made her fluffier than usual and kept her hair pretty long, so she's super soft and fuzzy.

The left side of her nose is starting to grow more fur now and the top of her muzzle has a few sprouts as well. The front of her lips are still pink and hairless.

I subjected the pups to their annual trying-on-of-the-Halloween-costumes and you can see they weren't all too happy. Here is Lulu (and Cora) in their Halloween outfits.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Dr. Visit

It's been about a week since Lulu has started Cycle 3 of her chemotherapy and she's been experiencing some side effects. Starting last weekend she has been a bit sluggish (especially coming up the stairs) and pants a lot in exhaustion. Also she's lost her appetite, which is very unusual for her. She'll start her meal but have a hard time finishing, even after we've topped it off with some pumpkin (girl loves her fruit and veggies) or dried meat.

Also we learned our lesson with putting off her grooming. She has been biting at her paws (poor, itchy things) and must have bitten through the skin because one started to bleed and it looks infected. We took her in to see Dr. Turner today and the team was surprised to see her so shaggy.

Today's diagnosis:
• Stopping the Prednisone early may have affected Lulu's appetite and energy level. Starting today she is back on at 10mg 2x daily for three days, 10mg 1x daily for another three days, then back on to 10mg every other day.
• The doctor gave her an antibiotics injection to last her two weeks. Hopefully this will fight off that nasty infection on her foot. She is to soak it 2x daily for 5 minutes in a Chlorhexadine dilute and is back in the cone so she can't chew on her foot.
• Lulu's white blood cell count is normal so she is to continue on the Lomustine tomorrow.

The peach fuzz on the right side of her muzzle is slowly turning into fur and the left size now has some peach fuzz. Top of her nose, not so much. :( The pigmentation is starting to return too so you can see parts of her nose and top lip that is starting to match her bottom lip. When we take her out people have stopped asking about her nose -- I suppose she just looks like a "mature" dog now that has lost a bit of her fur. :P

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chemotherapy: Cycle 3

Lulu has incredibly fuzzy feet! We've been trying to scope out a new groomer in the area. Lulu and Cora have both been going to Paw House in Cypress since we've moved out here and Cora got a pretty bad allergic reaction the last time they gave her a bath so I'm hesitant to bring Lulu in. (Especially since her skin still looks so sensitive)

So in the meantime, Lulu has grown fuzzies all over, especially on her feet. Lulu also went in to start Cycle 3 of her chemotherapy today. She has run out of prednisone but the doctor said she doesn't need it anymore. Maybe now she'll shed her extra pounds?

A typical chemotherapy cycle (3 weeks) looks like this:
Evaluation with Dr. Turner
Vinblastine 10 x 0.1mg (chemotherapy by injection)
Catheterization, butterfly
CBC w/o differential
Blood Draw
Oral chemotherapy handling fee
Lomustine Cap 10 x 10mg (chemotherapy by oral capsule)
Recheck with Dr. Turner within 1 week
Recheck with RDVM within 1 week
CBC check within 1 week

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chemotherapy: Cycle 2

Lulu just finished cycle 2 (out of 3) of chemotherapy. She is doing well and back to her usual antics. How do we know she's back to normal?

• She yawns (audibly) in the mornings to ask for attention
• She scavenges for food when we are gone
• She's smiling again
• But most of all, she's her usual, lazy self

We've started taking her out more often now that most of the scabbing around her nose has fallen off. Her facial fur has started growing wild so it's a big contrast against the bare skin around her muzzle. We're just crossing our fingers and waiting for her fur to come back. (She's developed a little peach fuzz on one side :P)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chemotherapy: Cycle 1

Lulu has just finished her first full cycle of chemotherapy and is taking a break this week. The skin around her muzzle is healing fast so we took this as an opportunity to give her a bath -- her first one in months! We had always been hesitant to give her a bath even though Dr. Lyons gave us the go ahead after she was done with radiotherapy. Lulu likes to rub her face all over the carpet after a bath and we didn't want to encourage too much irritation around her scabs.

So fresh and so clean!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hungry Bear

Lulu is getting FAT. She has gained almost 3 pounds since she started her treatments. Apparently prednisone makes dogs unusually thirsty and persistently hungry which means that Lulu is always hungry, even after she eats.

She is always waiting for food. Here she is leading the pack in eying my mom's birthday cake.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Out and About

Now that Lulu's nose has dried up considerably, we're starting to take her out on outings. After being in the house for a couple of months straight she was excited to be outside.

We headed to The Camp in Costa Mesa for brunch. She barked a little more than usual and was very alert the entire time. (Mostly searching for birds) But she was happy! We're going to have to do a lot of retraining to get her to calm down in public areas, especially since her medicine makes her super anxious.

This week Lulu will be going back to see Dr. Turner for a quick CBC Test (Complete Blood Count) and her first dose of oral chemotherapy if all looks good.