Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CH Sunstead's Catch A Fire JH * October 7, 2003 to April 30, 2017

Well, I cannot believe I did not make a post here on the blog about losing Marley.  So, I will put here what I posted on Facebook.  However, after three months, I still miss her.  I did finally get to really mourn her early last week after all our family had gone home. I suppose I had just been so busy, traveling to Nationals and then to Arizona; having family here and then traveling north for "the" wedding that I just hadn't really mourned her. Even though I cried a million tears at Nationals, amazingly enough there were still more, lots more. Even more than all the ones I cried when I picked up her ashes and paw print. She really was my good friend and constant companion. She was never too far from wherever I was in the house, or in the yard. And, let me go into the front yard and she'd have a fit until I came back in. I was her pack and we were very attached to one another. Funny how that worked out - it just was. 

My beautiful, sweet, sometimes neurotic girl transitioned peacefully 
tonight at 7:10pm encircled by the love Marc and I had for her. 
Always vigilant, she lived for me; she was MY girl. We had two very 
good weeks where life was hopeful until Thursday afternoon when 
I was reminded that a cure for her was not meant to be. Cancer has 
its own timeline and by this afternoon it had made its decision. 

Marley - CH Sunstead's Catch A Fire JH, was out of 
Lena - CH Opus One Lena of Dunantul and 
Siskel - CH Gold Run's Two Thumbs Up CD RN JH AX MXJ VC. 
She was Best of Sweepstakes at the VCNC Specialty 2004, 
Winner in American Bred VCA Nationals Bakersfield 2005 and 
BOB over Specials at Chintimini KC in April 2006. She finished her 
CH in eight shows handled by Christy Marley. She earned her JH in 
four attempts and made us proud by scoring some 10's. In 2008, 
she was bred to Kirby - CH Pirok Kirbi MH and produced 
GCH CH Catch A Fire's Autumn Prairie Wind JH, Catch A Fire's 
Sweet Autumn Patriot JH, Catch A Fire's Autumn Blaze JH, 
CH Catch A Fire's Loki Haust, Catch A Fire's Red Sun Rising, 
and Catch Fire's Escape Beneath A Harvest Moon. She is granddam 
to Paloma's six pups whom she loved and cared for before they went 
to their new homes. 

It goes without saying that she will be terribly missed by all of us. 
Fly like the 
MaMoo - Dad and I will see you on the other side. 
We were so very blessed to have you for 13 years 6 months and 
23 days. 

She is: Never Forgotten - Always in Our Hearts

Thank you to those who would have cheered her on in the Parade of 
I so wished she could have made it. I wanted her to see 
her breeder one last time.
 It just wasn't meant to be.


How is your summer going?  We had a few weeks after arriving home from Arizona before David, Brianna, our grandsons and the boys arrived to surprise Marc for Father's Day. What a special treat that was for him!!  While David had to go back home for work, Bree and family were here for almost five weeks. 

This is Battle enjoying the splashes of the boys while playing in the pool.

Sparrow enjoying what she loves - watching for butterflies and birds. Totally not caring, at the moment, that there's lots of fun happening in the pool right behind her. She did jump in a few times but I think she surprised herself as she quickly jumped right back out, each time! 

I don't often get a whole body shot of Battle so enjoy! He's a big boy, weighing in around 70 pounds. 

Brother and sister, Patriot and Paloma. Patriot is still being treated for Valley Fever and because it's in a bone, may never be off his medication. Watch your dogs and if you've been in an area which is Central (and deserts) CA, western WA or AZ almost anywhere, make sure you have them checked for it. I think if we had caught Patriot's earlier it might not have gone to the bone. 

Sparrow, tongue out.

Battle taking a rest on a warm summer day. Wait, who is he foolin'? The air conditioner was on and it was nice in the house, almost chilly!

I am almost sure Patriot thinks I'm stealing something from him when I take his photo. That's why he won't look at me for very long. He always diverts his gaze. 

Pretty Paloma - until she puts her foot into her mouth!!

Sleepy Sparrow trying to catch up on all the sleep she missed while being boarded at Paul and Kirsten's in Sweet Home, OR. All the dogs, except Hannah, were boarded from Friday - Monday while we attended our son's wedding in Portland.

It's almost the end of summer, technically not until September, but the kids in the neighborhood have started returning from their adventures and Cullen is no different. They left for home on the 22nd, just in time to start a new routine in preparation for the start of school. Hard to believe he is entering Kindergarten in a few days but every puppy needs to go to school. As much as I believe he would love to stay home, he has so much to learn. Good luck to the puppy in the middle!! Always be on your best behavior when out in public!! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

VCA Nationals 2017

The day after we lost Marley, the girls and I hit the road to San Diego for the Vizsla Club of America's National event in Del Mar, CA. We only participate in conformation but they also held rally, obedience and agility events. On Tuesday, Sparrow and Paloma had their teeth cleaned and without sedation. I was so surprised the girls were able to lay still and let the dentist clean their teeth. They suffered no ill effects from having to be still. Their pearly whites were so pretty!! On Wednesday, I attended a talk by Dr Jaime Modiano of the University of Minnesota. The VCA gives money, along with the Golden Retriever and Boxer Parent Clubs, to study Hemangiosarcoma. He informed us of a promising treatment which comes with a high cost. In the end, he wasn't able to give us any guidelines for prevention. Of course, I'm watching the other dogs show each day, too. Thursday morning Sparrow danced her way, with handler Moira Hanley-Cornell, to a First Place in American Bred. Marley won that same class at Nationals in Bakersfield in 2005. She went back in for Winners Bitch but wasn't able to garner the points. Darn!! We'll be working on her last major a little while longer.  

Thursday evening was the Parade of Titleholders. Each of the girls had their turn around the ring, even Marley. 

Friday was Best of Breed and then it was over. Brianna and I enjoyed a last lunch with Karen Walker, Jessica Vetter and Marty Sanford. And, before we left, Sarah Hayes and Karen Bravender joined us. We had the best time at this year's National event. 
In the morning, we headed to Arizona!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Marley Update - A New Direction

This is Marley in January 2017

We almost made it through the CHOP protocol - one round, 4 treatments, and we would have been done.  But . . . 

On Monday, March 20th, at her regularly scheduled blood work appointment, Dr Shaw found a slightly firm lymph node. Mind you a week ago, it wasn't there. 

On Tuesday, March 21st, we learned that Marley now has mast cell cancer in one of her lymph nodes. It coming up through the chemo she is receiving for lymphoma is concerning. The cells were small in nature, very granular, which tells us they are aggressive. All I could hear was chemo resistant. Dr Shaw wants to stage this at her next appointment on Monday. Her blood work looked good but all they do is a Complete Blood Count (CBC). The vet did say she is still in remission for the lymphoma. He would like to do staging at her Monday appointment.  Needless to say, this was not a good day emotionally.  I had no idea a different cancer could come through during chemo treatments and from what Dr Shaw told me, he's never seen it. So, in hindsight, what will be, will be. :( 

On Wednesday, the 22nd, I was concerned about not knowing what to look for and she seemed to not be feeling well so I called SAGE and made an appointment for Friday, the 24th.  We were not able to do staging at this appointment. I decided not to continue chemo treatments for the lymphoma or start a new protocol for the mast cell.  She is on Benadryl and Prednisolone.

On Tuesday, March 28th, Marley came in from doing her business, whining and unable to sit down. After checking to make sure she completed her duties and from that not to be the reason for her whining, I determined that she must have some pain. Going along her body I discovered her to be tender on her left flank. She has some rather large lipomas in that area but I'm not sure if that is actually where the tenderness is coming from or underneath. I called SAGE and was told since I had previous orders for giving tramadol that I could give her some for pain which I did. 

These three photos were taken April 2, 2017

These three photos were taken April 6, 2017

At Marley's appointment on April 7th - her half year birthday which makes her 13.5 - Dr Shaw determined the lymph node was now 2 cm. She has significant odor coming from her mouth so he suspects an infection and prescribed antibiotics. Below is the information from her visit. 

Friday, April 07, 2017 
Age: 13y
Date: Friday, April 07, 2017
Weight: 20.000 kg, 44.00 lb
Homecare: Marley's swelling on her muzzle has progressed. The lymph node under the left side of the jaw has grown as well, indicating progression of Marley's mast cell tumor.
At this point, we are trying to keep her comfortable. Monitor for lethargy, low appetite, changes in
personality, pain, discomfort and call if you notice these signs.
I'm happy to recheck Marley as needed or in 1-2 weeks if you would like to set something up in advance.
Medication Recommendations:
Prednisone 20mg tablets #60. Give 1 tablet orally once daily. Do not stop this medication abruptly. May cause increased drinking, urinations, hunger, and panting. Refill #3.
Maropitant citrate (cerenia) 24mg tablets: Give 2 tablets orally once daily for 4 days, then as needed for nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite.
Metronidazole 500mg tablets: Give 1 tablet orally once daily for 5 days as needed for diarrhea.
RX: Tramadol 50mg tablets. Give 1 tablet orally every 8-12 hours for pain. May cause sedation.
RX: Amoxicillin/clavulanate 625mg tablets. #14. Give 1/2 tablet orally twice daily until gone.
RX: Pepcid (famotidine). Give 10mg orally twice daily. This is an over the counter antacid.
RX: Diphenhydramine 25mg tablets. Give 1-2 tablets orally twice daily. This is an over the counter
anti-histamine to reduce the side effects of mast cell tumors.
Please do not hesitate to call (408) 343-7243 if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you,
Stephen Shaw, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)

On April 9th, Marley reacted with nausea an hour after she was given a whole tablet of Tramadol. The Cerenia came in handy and she was able to eat dinner later that night. Any more tramadol will be half a dose.

On April 11, she has discovered that I put her medicine in the peanut butter Pill Pockets and has decided to chew or spit the medicine out completely. Unfortunately, this mean I have to slide it along the back of her tongue until I can find something else that will work. I will be in search of something new to hide her pills in once she discovers I've moved to bread.  On this day, she turned her nose up at dinnertime. A few hours later, she ate dinner. I noticed she is having a hard time chewing the kibble.  I will need to let it soak until it becomes soft in order for her to eat it. I'm thinking about canned food options.

These two photos were taken on April 10, 2017
Are you able to see her swelling progress from April 2 - 10?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Update on Marley

It has been 10 weeks since Marley's Lymphoma (B-cell) diagnosis and 9 weeks of treatments. She has just finished her second round of chemo.  Each round is 4 treatments (Vincristine, Cytovan, Vincristine, Doxorubicin) and a week off for blood work. She is still in remission and for that we are thankful.  This coming Monday is her week off treatment and she'll go in for blood work.  The following Monday she will begin the maintenance portion of the CHOP protocol with an IV dose of Vincristine. After that she will go back every two weeks. 

She is handling her treatments well with the exception of the Doxorubicin. Her first dose made her nauseous - she didn't eat for a day and a half - and she slept a lot more. Yesterday's dose was lowered and she handled it very well. No nausea that I saw but she is getting Cerenia, two pills once a day. She has not had any GI upset. 

Marley has retained all her spunk and doesn't miss a time to yell at me if I'm late with dinner. She still play bows with me and is my shadow. I wouldn't have it any other way.  She does sleep deeper and might be a little hard of hearing - the telltale sign of that was when she didn't hear the box of crackers being opened in the other room - but at 13, it all seems normal. 

This is the most recent photo I have of Marley. It was taken for a "How Did Your Dog Get Its Name" challenge.  
I will update as we go along. 

I posted this on one of my other blogs but that one doesn't get looked at very often so I am moving it here.

I posted THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016

Hannah and Brianna Birthdays

We must not have been able to take together photos in 2011, 2012 and 2013 as the girls weren't together on those days (or close to!)  But here at the ones from the last three years. 



Monday, November 28, 2016

While in Arizona . . . Lots of Updates

I left CA for AZ a few days before Halloween so I (and the girls) could spend it with Cullen and Declan. Bree, the party mama that she is, donned some make-up and joined in on the fun!


On November 7th,  I found swollen lymph nodes under Marley's right jaw. I was able to piggyback onto Patriot's vet appointment on the 8th. The vet ordered a chest x-ray, a Valley Fever titre and urinalysis. She also did a fine needle aspirate of her lymph node. I got the results Thursday night with her diagnosis as lymphoma. Our vet, Dr Shelly Humphrey at Animal Care Center in Green Valley, AZ, referred us to Dr Mary Kay Klein at Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialist.  She ended up being booked until December but I was able to get an appointment with Dr Brisa Hsieh, Internist, on November 14th. At the first visit, we went over the different available treatment protocols. I opted to have an Elspar injection with a tapering course of prednisolone which would buy me some time to decide how I was going to proceed.  Within 24 hours, Marley's lymph nodes decreased remarkably. Two days after the Elspar she started prednisolone.  On November 21st, she had a dose of Vincristine. About four days later, she exhibited a spasm in her right leg twice. The vet today felt it was not a result of her last treatment but perhaps some neuropathy.  Today, I learned that Marley is in remission and her prognosis looks good. Just that fast, after two treatments. She had oral chemo and Lasix today and we have an appointment for next Monday. I have opted for the CHOP protocol and as long as she handles treatment, I'll continue. 

I entered Sparrow in ten shows while we were in Arizona and guess what?  None of them were majors!! Sparrow got off easy and didn't have to be a show dog the entire time we were there!! She chose to play with her brother and vie for her uncle's attention. She received many kisses, mostly from Declan, and gave more right back.  We did attend the show on Saturday at Rillito Park to cheer on Turk and Avis. Afterwards, a trip to IHOP for pancakes with Cullen and Bree. 

Hannah or "Old Bones" as she is sometimes affectionately known, spent lots of time getting up on the beds, jumping down, playing with Patriot and being feisty with Marc and Bree. She slept hard at night after being noticeably more active. 

She had one night where she was super tired but otherwise did really well while we were gone. 

Paloma blessed us on Thanksgiving Day by coming into season.  So happy we were leaving in a few days!! 

I received good news from Loki's owner, Steve, about Loki's MCT. The vet was able to get clean margins and surgery was curative, no further treatment was necessary. 

We ended our trip with family photos at Empire Ranch near Sonoita, and dinner at El Rodeo in Green Valley.  Saturday morning was Papa eating watermelon with Cullen and Declan before getting on the road. It's always sad to leave the little ones but this time, especially, Declan, who became my buddy the last week or so I was there. 

Such an enjoyable trip. Thank goodness for a local vet.  Thank goodness for the friend we have in Janet Galante there in Tucson. Thank goodness for a supportive family. Thank goodness for our red dogs!