Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Power of Prayers & Prednisone

As much as I try to catch this blog up, it is now running about 6 weeks behind real-time life.  I promise to finish up the Baja trip posts soon, but wanted to give everyone an update on this past week’s events with Millie.

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Last September, Millie’s mast cell cancer returned after a 3 year remission.  She showed no symptoms, but I knew that her long-term prognosis was not good and knew I didn’t want to put her through any more heroic cancer treatments.  So, our hometown vet suggested a regime of Benadryl and Pepcid AC, and we hoped for as many happy, active months as possible.

Millie had an amazing 2 months in Baja doing what she loves more than anything else in this world – to swim and frolic on sunny, sandy beaches.  Whenever she’d get in the water, the slow-moving 10-year-old body was suddenly transformed into that of a playful, year-old puppy.  Her energy seemed boundless!

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But, a week ago, she started having some inflammation in her eyes and neck.  I took her to a vet in Yuma who prescribed some antibiotics, but more shocking was seeing the numbers on the scale when they went to weigh her-- she had lost 10 lbs since September, and 20 lbs in the past year (Millie now weighs just 48 pounds).   I immediately expedited our travel plans to get back to Tucson and follow up with her oncologist, Dr. Mary Kay Klein, at Southern Arizona Veterinary.

Just a few hours after we arrived to Tucson last Thursday, Millie’s health seemed to suddenly nose-dive.  She refused to eat or drink, and when she tried to sleep, kept tossing and turning every minute or two unable to get comfortable.  By early the next morning, she was too weak to stand, so I carried her into SAV’s 24-hour Emergency Clinic and posted a quick prayer request to my friends on Facebook.

While the E/R team began running tests and re-hydrating Millie, the comments from friends began flooding my Facebook account with support and prayers.  The E/R sent me home with a few new drugs and we would follow up with our previously-scheduled oncology appointment on Monday.

Friday night, she was no longer fidgeting, but still very out of it (sleeping most of the time), but by Saturday, she was now able to eat and drink again and could walk around our campsite.  Still, I was not sure she would make it through the weekend.

On Sunday, our sweet Baja travel buddies Hans and Ursula (who were now staying up in the Phoenix area), decided to rent a car and drive down to Tucson to see Millie and me for a few hours.  That seemed to start perking Millie back up again (and it perked me up as well).

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Meanwhile, the Prednisone the E/R vet had given us started doing its job and by Monday, it seemed nothing short of a miracle that Millie was now alert, walking, and wagging her tail again as we headed back to the clinic to see the oncologist.

It turns out that Millie is now fighting not just one, but two kinds of cancer—her recurrent mast cell disease, and now, advanced-stage lymphoma that has spread to her spleen and liver.  

While the odds are now stacked further up against her, we’re hoping the prednisone and one or two doses of  light chemo will give her a few more quality weeks.  Seeing as that’s better than the few hours I thought she had left last Friday, we’ll take it.

We will continue plans to head to New Mexico late next week to park and be still for a few months (more about that news later).  Springtime in the “Land of Enchantment” should be a good place to savor each and every one of these “bonus days” here on earth that Millie’s angel is surely now giving her.

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31 comments:

  1. Prayers and hugs for you and Millie. Every moment we have with these pups of ours is precious.

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  2. Oh Lynne I'm so sorry. Please know that I say a prayer each night for both you and Millie. She's such a great dog and so very important to you. Tell her Max says hi. Take care of yourself.

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  3. Lynne, I'm not sure why this shows up as Rob's mom. I am Rob's mom and must have created that account, but anyway this is Kathy from the Tab group. Kathy -Max's mom!

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  4. my heart is hurting for you. Millie is such a sweetheart. Enjoy each day. Our labbie has been gone for four years this spring. She was riddled with tumors. I miss her sweet face and silky ears.

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  5. What can I say? Enjoy the precious moments that you have left with Millie. I'm so sad for you and think I know the agony you are experiencing. When Flash, my pal of 16 years died, I had to go to bed for days...........something unheard for me.
    I'm with you in spirit if not in human form. Hugs to you both.

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  6. So sorry to here your news on Millie. While we know it is coming it is so difficult to walk through. Enjoy every moment with her.

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  7. Lynne, sorry to hear about Millie. Treasure the time left. Thinking of you both and sending prayers your way.

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  8. We too have followed your posts, and are so sorry to hear of this development. Our thoughts are with you and Millie.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you and Millie. Our precious furbabies mean the world to us.

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  10. Millie is such a sweetie - look at that face. I'm so sorry for what you are both going through. I hope her last weeks will be happy and fun and pain free, and that you both have some good times together. My good thoughts are coming your way. :)

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  11. All I can say is to enjoy what time is left with Millie. It's so hard to say goodbye.

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  12. Sending you much love, and many thoughtful memories created together. I know this can't be nearly as easy as your post make it sound, and you both are in my heart and thoughts. *hugs*

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  13. Oh my, oh my, oh my. Am so glad you have let us know. You two are a part of so many of our lives. May your days here in the Land of Enchantment be that. Like everyone above my posting, I send my love to both of you and you are now in my thoughts and prayers too.

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  14. Offering up prayers for both of you. Bless your sweet hearts. I just lost my best friend in December and know all too well how hard this is. Sending love and hugs your way.

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  15. We send our wishes for Millie's remaining days to be good ones, Lynne. We sure miss our Jenny.

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  16. Aw, poor sweet Millie. As long as she is happy and comfortable...

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  17. I see now from the photos that she has lost so much weight. Wishing you as many quality days together as Millie's angel allows. Hugs to you both.

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  18. Lynne, Millie has had an amazing life because of you! I pray for you both and pray that this time will continue to bring joy to you both. It is so hard to let go. My heart hurts for you.

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  19. It is always so stressful to deal with our dogs health (I know all too well) - almost worse than our own. Give Millie a big ol hug and warm slobber kisses from the MTWaggin gang!!!! I know that you are spending the bestest ever quality time with her. So many would wish for those same things!

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  20. I'm sorry you're all having to go through this. These kinds of life events are the hardest...I know. But Millie is appreciating the efforts you are making...believe me.

    Enjoy your time together.

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  21. Enjoy all the time you have with Millie!! I am so sorry things are the way they are but just know we are all wrapping our arms around your's and Millie's neck and sending love and hugs your way!!

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  22. I, like all of your devoted readers, have felt a love for Millie too. Enjoy what time you have and know that all of us are thinking of you two and adding you to our prayers.
    Take care Lynne.
    Jane

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  23. Hugs and doggie kisses to both of you. I know first hand how tough it is to go through this. Wishing you the best of days with Millie.
    Nina

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  24. Hugs and prayers to both of you.. Our furbabies are so dear to us!

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  25. Lynne, you're the best thing that could have ever happened to Millie. I know this is so hard on you to watch her be in pain, but I am so happy that it looks like you'll have these bonus days to love on each other. You both continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

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  26. So sorry you are going through this really difficult time. Just know that you have given Millie a wonderful life and every minute you have together is precious. You will make the right decisions when the time comes.

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  27. I am so humbled by this outpouring of love and support. Millie is hanging in there (sleeping more but still wagging her tail daily), so the drugs seem to be helping her for now, and all of your comments, calls, visits, and emails are certainly helping me get through this too. Thank you all, we are so blessed!

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  28. Just started reading your blog and can definitely sympathize with your situation as my wife and I went through this with our dog Lucy. Cancer sucks. Life rocks. Wishing you both the best.

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  29. Sending love and prayers for many more memorable moments together..

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