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Wednesday, September 9, 2009, ( 21 views ) - Diagnosis - Posted by Emily

Rarely do I find myself at a loss for words...here I sit...staring at a blinking cursor wondering where to begin. What can one say about somebody who has taught me unconditional love, how to stay strong when the chips are down, to embrace each day, and to live life to the fullest. While Newton's registered name is Divine RR Lucky Lounge Lizard, I am the lucky one. I got to share my life with such an incredible boy.

Yesterday, Newton got his angel wings. It wasn't something that I was expecting to have to do, but it was his time. Over the past week, Newton just wasn't quite himself. His energy level was down and he wasn't eating much. Anybody that knows Newton, knows that he is a very picky eater. Unless there were some tasty mix-ins in his kibble, he just wouldn't eat. I think his record was 3 days before I broke down and added some mix-ins. So while his lack of interest in food caught my attention, it was his lack of motivation to acknowledge those around him that gave me cause for concern. Rarely does Newton allow somebody in his house without barking at them. On Monday, he just let people in without even lifting his head. I knew something was up.

While Newton was getting his chest x-rays done, Dr. Perry came out and told me that Newton's belly felt enlarged and recommended that we do an ultrasound. Newton's blood work, x-rays, and ultrasound reported findings that I wasn't quite ready to hear. His red blood cell count had dropped 10% since his visit July 23rd, there were a couple of tumors visible in his lungs, several large tumors in his spleen, and his belly was full of blood. While Dr. Perry indicated that his condition wasn't critical, he did say that Newton did not have much time. Since I knew there were a ton of people who would want to say their good-byes, I asked Dr. Perry if I could help Newton cross the bridge on Friday, September 11th. September 11th marked the 1 year anniversary of Newton's first Oncology visit at CSU where his Osteosarcoma was pretty much confirmed. Just as Dr. Perry and I finished discussing this (he didn't think that there would be a problem with Friday), he got a page and left me in the room looking at Newton's x-rays and ultrasound and feeling quite overwhelmed. When Dr. Perry returned, he indicated that the page was regarding Newton and that he was having a hard time getting up after the ultrasound. At that point, I realized that I may have to let my baby go sooner rather than later.

When they brought Newton into the room with me, I knew that it was time. He no longer had the spring his step that I saw just a few hours earlier and the look in his eyes...he was telling me that he was ready. During our last few moments, Newton and I took a walk down memory lane...talking about how he:
  • Was my favorite the first time I laid eyes on him when he was 3 days old.
  • Picked me. I thought it was so cute when he would protect me from the puppy acupuncture by barking at his siblings. Little did I know that his bark would pretty much scare the crap out of everybody for the rest of his life.
  • Taught Chloe, a 4 year old rescue, how to play. It took him almost 6 months (going to the dog park every weekend), but he finally wore her down. I'm glad that they got to play with each other over the holiday weekend.
  • Inspired others with his story as a 3-legged "big dog" and contributed to understanding more about this disease.
  • Made me feel so very special. I could be gone for 15 minutes and he would come running up like I had been gone for a week.
  • Was going to have so much fun being pain free and getting to romp around with all of his friends that passed before him.

While he may not be here in body, I know that he is here in spirit. And I have to chuckle when I think about the day he picked to cross the bridge...9-9-09. Not many people know the story behind how he got his registered name. I had chosen the name Newton because that is my favorite scientist. My breeder wanted a Vegas theme for the AKC registration of Newton's litter. While the Lounge Lizard refers to Wayne Newton . I picked Lucky Lounge Lizard because when you turn the first letters over, you get 7-7-7...my winner! He is my lucky boy and he will forever have a very special place in my heart.




Thursday, September 11, 2008, ( 7 views ) - Diagnosis - Posted by Emily

Following the bone scan, a Radiologist talked to me, but an Oncologist didn't. I was told that I needed to schedule an Oncology Consult. I had thought that is what I had done when I had booked the original appointment at CSU (at least that is what I was told), but it didn't appear to be the case. The thing that I learned is that you have to be very specific with the folks who are scheduling the appointments. What I should have booked was 3 appointments for a single day: Oncology Consult, Bone Scan, and Follow-up Oncology Consult.

Today, we were greeted by Katie Kennedy (a 4th year student) and 2 vet students visiting from Japan. They conducted a physical exam and took down Newton's history. Then, Dr. Ehrhart met with us. Dr. Roberts had provided me with a disk of Newton's X-Rays. Dr. Ehrhart said that based on the X-Rays and the bone scan that she was 85% sure that it was Osteosarcoma.

Dr. Ehrhart laid out the various treatment options and prognosis. Due to the location (proximal humerus), Newton is not a candidate for limb-spare. She also talked about palliative treatment, amputation, and chemotherapy. One of my concerns is if a giant breed would do well with only 3 legs. She indicated that Newton would make a good amputation candidate based on his body structure, especially since he has a fairly narrow chest.

CSU has some clinical trials that they currently have going on that Newton may be a candidate for, so Dr. Ehrhart had Dr. Momont discuss the clinical trials with me. I got a degree in Biochemistry and know the value that clinical trials can have for treatment in the future, so it was something that I inquired about.

The three Dr. Momont discussed with me were: Gene therapy for Canine Osteosarcoma, Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Treatment of Osteosarcoma, and Radiation Therapy with or without Bisphosphonate for Palliative Treatment of Canine Osteosarcoma.

I was surprised that I was not more upset when Dr. Ehrhart told me that she suspects Newton has Osteosarcoma. I guess that I prepared myself a bit before the second set of X-Rays. I have to do what is right for Newton. He needs to be happy and comfortable. So, now I am faced with the challenge: how do I want to proceed???



Monday, September 8, 2008, ( 7 views ) - Diagnosis - Posted by Emily

Today, Newton had his bone scan up at CSU. I guess that I didn't really understand going into it what a bone scan was exactly. I thought that the bone scan would tell me whether the lesion was bone cancer or an infection. What I learned is that a bone scan will pick up bone activity.

The bone scan works by injecting a radioactive chemical, sometimes called a "tracer", into the bloodstream through an IV. The chemical will attach itself to areas of bone that are undergoing rapid changes. Over a period of several hours, a lot of the tracer accumulates in the problem area(s). A special camera is then used to take pictures of the skeleton. The chemical tracer is radioactive, and therefore sends out radiation that can be captured by the camera.

When I picked Newton up, I had a consultation with a Radiologist. They indicated that there was increased bone activity in Newton's left humerus. The rest of his skeletal system was clear.

It was good news that they were able to confirm the isolated area, but I still didn't have the answers that I was looking for. Is it cancer?!?!



Wednesday, September 3, 2008, ( 10 views ) - Diagnosis - Posted by Emily

Today was Newton's follow up X-Rays. Since he has been being a good boy, Dr. Roberts decided that Newton could have the X-Rays done without sedation. Mary went with me to the appointment. I was a bit nervous going into the appointment because I knew that worse case scenario, the lesion could be bone cancer. As you can see in the second set of X-Rays, the area of concern had grown in size.

Newton's X-Ray 9/3

The Radiology report confirmed that the area had grown and that it hadn't spread to the chest.

Radiology Report - 9/3

Dr. Roberts' recommendation was to make an oncology consultation at CSU and have a bone scan done.



Monday, August 25, 2008, ( 50 views ) - Diagnosis - Posted by Emily

Today Newton had his first set of X-Rays. Newton's limp was getting worse. There were days when he was not himself. Then there were other days when he was full of Newton zest. Dr. Roberts sent the X-Rays up to a Radiologist at CSU for review. Here is the X-Ray of Newton's left leg.

Newton's X-Ray 8/25

The circled area is an area that has the Radiologist and Dr. Roberts concerned. Here is the Radiology report:

Radiology Report - 8/25

We decided to do a follow-up set of X-Rays and do a chest X-Ray as well.



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