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Journey of King William III

One Beagle's Quest to Kick Cancer's Arse

Happy Cancer-Free 9th Birthday, Will Beagle!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 11:35 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hello Tripawds Nation!

I am Will Beagle’s human mama, and I thought I’d post this week as Will Beagle has hit a few significant milestones since he last posted.  First, he’s celebrating his ninth birthday on Tuesday and we’re happy to report that he’s celebrating this birthday cancer-free.  He visited his doggie oncologist last week with his dad for his three-month post-chemo check up, and the oncologist did not find any signs of cancer returning and is happy as can be with Will Beagle’s progress and energy levels.   Whoot whoot!

Will Beagle also recently celebrated his six-month ampuversary a few weeks ago.  Honestly, we completely missed the day because in some ways it seems like yesterday that we received the cancer diagnosis and WB went in for his amputation surgery.  In other ways, there has been enough time that has passed that we’ve completely adjusted to the new reality of Will’s tripawd status.  But, we’re happy to report that six months out from surgery, little WB is zooming around the house, the park, and the beach, without missing a step.

WB at Dog Beach

 

He celebrated his six-month ampuvesary with an epic trip to the beach, and an even more epic nap on the couch.

WB Napping

 

Recently, I learned that a friend is facing the same decision with her 2-year old puppy.  In talking to her about the situation, I realized I had never articulated what this whole process was like from my perspective on this blog and I realized that could be helpful (although many great tripawd pawrents have done a great job here to walk people through it).

WB has been my side-kick, and my best friend since I first met him in Ohio, when this snuggly beagle boy plopped down in my lap in Ohio, and didn’t move for nearly an hour.  We’ve always had a kismet-like connection over the last 8 years, and he’s been there for me despite life’s ups and downs.  I know that all dogs are special, but they broke the mold when WB was born.  He’s always been a little man stuck in a beagle’s body, charming nearly everyone he meets (in fact, many of my friends now have beagles because of Will Beagle’s personality).  I was devastated when we received the cancer diagnosis because I had to confront the real possibility of a life of falling asleep without Will Beagle’s epic snoring and having my morning coffee without experiencing WB’s mad snuggling skills.

WB Snoring

There are so many uncertainties in this process (what type of cancer?  what treatment would work?  what gives the dog the best option for a high quality of life?  am I  making choices that are best for me or best for WB?  will I choose something I’ll later regret?)  I probably polled no less than 10 vets during the two days we pondered what to do – my vet in Point Loma, the vets at the dermatology clinic that had been treating his paw pad injury, even my childhood vet in Ohio!  What became apparent was:  (1) dogs don’t care if they have 3 legs or 4, (2) it’s a human thing to get caught up on the appearance of a missing leg, (3) often (not always) amputation is the quickest way to get your dog back to being a dog, and (4) it’s something both the dog–and you–will adjust to quickly.  I made the choice to amputate because it was the fastest way to get WB back on his feet again, it gave him the highest chance of survival (due to wide margins around the tumor), and I didn’t want him to go through paw pad removal and the radiation process only to discover that we had not gotten all the cancer and amputation would still be needed.  In other words, I wanted to give him his best shot at a long happy life, and even if it was shortened, one where he’d be able to wander around the beach sniffing everything for the rest of his (perhaps limited) days.

Granted, I was very fortunate to have a dog that came through the surgery like a rockstar, and who was ready to RUN the day after the surgery to get out of the hospital as fast as possible.  But there were definitely difficulties.  The first couple of weeks are HARD.  I think I read somewhere on this blog that it’s like having a baby in the house.  He was in a lot of pain, and did not sleep through the night.  There were more than a few nights that I’d lie down on the floor next to his dog bed attempting to calm him down so he wouldn’t try to jump up on the bed with us, only to fall asleep on the hardwood floor next to his bed (waking up to find half my limbs alseep as a result).  He panted, constantly.  And the brusing and swelling!  It looked so raw and painful.  He was having problems walking, going to the bathroom, getting up and down stairs, etc.  But gradually, he started to get around like a pro, and it was easier.  And I don’t know when it happened, but suddenly, my dog was back!

It’s still emotional.  You hold your breath when he visits with the oncologist, hoping that there are no signs of cancer detected.  You panic when he coughs, wondering if it’s a symptom of the cancer (or he’s just clearing his throat).  You tear up when you find him up on your bed and figure out that he had jumped up on his own despite the single back leg.  You hug him more, and longer, and tighter than you used to.  But when you see the joy on his face racing around with the his ears flapping in the wind chasing after his pals, you realize that the stress, the worry, the cost is totally worth it and to treasure each day wehave with him.

 

Hounds in the Car

 

Happy New Year: Chemo Done!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 1:24 am on Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year to the Tripawds World!

I hope everyone ate too much over the holidays, and enjoyed time with their friends and family.  This year, I was able to walk in the famous Ocean Beach Holiday Parade with the other Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital dogs!  I almost walked the entire route (almost 2 miles!) on my own.  When I needed a break, I hopped in my friend Max’s wagon and caught a ride for a few blocks.

WB and Max in Holiday Parade

 

After a while, I wasn’t a fan of the wagon, so Louie gave me a lift for a couple of blocks too.

WB and Louie

My parents were traveling a lot, but our favorite dog walker, Roxy, and our Auntie Jamie took great care of us.   I helped Auntie Jamie open one of her Christmas presents – a new coffee maker (which was apparently exciting for her – I prefer to avoid caffeine so I can snooze all day . . . ).

WB and JJ

And, most importantly, we’ve received some great news to start 2013!  During my tri-weekly appointment with Dr. Burke this morning, he decided that I did not need all six chemo treatments and that four would do the trick considering my energy levels, blood work, and lack of any signs that the cancer spread beyond my icky paw pad.  I don’t have to go back for three months!  I am super excited because this means I get my post-chemo burger that my parents promised me when chemo started back in early October – whoot whoot!

Over and out for now, and keep your paws crossed that I’ve seen the last of that icky cancer.

Próspero año nuevo y muchos besos,

Guillermo III

 

Chemo, Round Three, Check. Now, Time For Turkey!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 6:58 pm on Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hi Tripawds Nation.  Apologies for being incommunicado, but I’ve been too busy with my trips to the beach and the park, and just generally being a dog again!  Time has been going so quickly that I just realized I’m over three months from my amputation, and my friends and family are really surprised by my progress.  It really hasn’t slowed me down very much at all.  In fact, I just went for a short jog with my dad around the neighborhood on a really steep hill.  I was tuckered out afterwards, but it was nice to feel the breeze flapping through my ears.

 

I had my third round of chemo last night.  We had a great appointment with Dr. Burke, who said that I was in the best possible position to kick this thing for the foreseeable future.  My energy levels are great, my bloodwork is coming back with strong results, and Dr. Burke was very pleased with how well I get around on three legs.  There are no signs of additional tumors or negative changes.  I’m much happier after the vet appointments are done and we are on our way home.

I am so excited because our friends are coming over for Thanksgiving at La Casa de los Beagles!  Dad is smoking a Turkey, and there is going to be plenty of food.  It will be the culmination of the past three months work in cultivating my “I have only 3 legs, so you should give me your food” look.  I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

Mom just reminded me that I should focus on what I’m thankful for this year instead of how much food I’m going to eat.  Well, I am thankful for the food I’m about to eat.  But I’m also thankful for all the love and support that I’ve received from my family, friends, the tripawds world, and the excellent care from all my vets.  Thank you all!  I’m also thankful that I can live life to its fullest now.  That said, give up the turkey.  Winky smiley.

I thought y’all would like some videos of my progress, so here is one of me at the beach and one at the park.  As you can see, I’m a happy dog and I’m zooming around (especially when food is involved).

WB at Beach

WB at Park

Happy Thanksgiving!!

HRH WB III

One Month Later!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 8:31 pm on Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hello Tripawds World:

I just realized I am one month into my life as a tripawd, and I must admit I can’t complain.  I still get to do all the things I love, and now can use my tripawd status as a means to leverage more love and attention (insert evil laugh).  My pawrents got back from their European tour in one piece (well, mom picked up some stitches and a nice shiner from a fight with a surfboard, and the surfboard won), and were thrilled with how much progress I made while they were gone.  The best part is that they have jetlag and get up before dawn, but stay in bed with me and give me mucho snuggle time.

I admit I felt a bit low energy after my first round of chemo, but I rebounded quickly and now zoom around the house (particularly when someone says the magic “treat” or “biscuit” words).  I have no problems at all getting up and down the stairs and around the yard, and I’m going to the park regularly with the rest of my pack.

One thing I didn’t think about is sunblock!  As you know, I’m quite a sun lover, as demonstrated below.

While my hair is growing back, it isn’t quite yet back to pre-surgery form.  Plus, I don’t have a ton of hair on my belly, and my little leg is no longer there to guard my lower tummy.  So, as you can see, I got a bit of a sunburn!  Now my pawrents lather me up every morning with some non-toxic sunblock so I can enjoy some QT on the deck.

My next round of chemo is next week.  Then I’ll be 1/3 of the way through!

Best,

HRH King Will-Beagle III

P.S. My mom wanted me to pass on thanks to everyone for all their kind posts, and that we’d love to meet up with fellow tripawds in the San Diego area.

 

Week Three: Sutures out, chemo started!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 10:30 pm on Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hello World!

Yesterday was so eventful that I passed out before getting my entry posted last night.

Mom and Grandpaw took me to go see Dr. Burke, my oncologist, and Dr. Aiken, my surgeon.  Dr. Aiken gave me the thumbs up to get my sutures out and get the chemo party started.  Dr. Burke also examined me, and took a blood sample to make sure I was ready to start my chemotherapy.  Interestingly, the diagnosis was not as firm as we thought, so it still appears the tumor could have been the sarcoma or lymphoma.  We decided not to move forward with additional testing, because the treatment would be the same for either type.  Dr. Aiken took out my sutures, and then we headed home with the chemo pill.  Dr. Burke thought it was best to take the pill at home where I am comfy and relaxed.  I have an appointment with my vet at Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital next week to have my blood drawn to check my white blood cell count levels.  I return to Dr. Burke in 3 weeks for my next round of chemo.  I will also start taking some mild antibiotics on Friday to help ward off any sort of infection while my immune system is a bit sluggish due to the chemo.

After the vet appointment, I joined Henry and Izzy at the dog park for my first park outing post-surgery.  I was zooming around the park for the first 30 minutes, but then I pooped out a bit and took a nap under a tree while Izzy and Henry were racing around like crazy beagles.

After a good snooze and dinner, Mom and Dad gave me my chemo pill and some anti-nausea medication just in case the chemo upset my stomach.  The chemo pill made me very sleepy, and Izzy kept me company during my snooze.

I slept pretty well through the night, but had a few moments of restlessness.  I woke up, got some quality snuggling time in, and then was ready for breakfast!  I ate a wee bit slower than normal, but I ate my full breakfast and haven’t had any trouble keeping it down.  I’ve snoozed a lot today on our new deck with the Henry Beagle.  I really missed snoozing in the sun, so it was really excellent to be out there.  As you can see, the bruising is almost entirely gone from my belly, and my scar is healing quickly.

Just in case you’re curious, Mom took the video below of me this morning in the backyard.  I always liked to walk along the retaining wall, but I was worried that I’d have problems with doing this with only 3 legs.  But as you can see, no problem!!  Also, I am having no problems with the stairs on the new deck (even covered with moisture from a super foggy morning in Point Loma).  Click on the link “WB on Deck” below:

WB on Deck

My pawrents are leaving for Europe tomorrow morning.  I tried to talk them into packing me away in their carry on bag (I weigh less with only 3 legs!) but I should stay home and makes sure that Henry and Izzy behave for Grandpaw.  I told them to bring home some yummy French cheese for me, because I have only three legs (yes, I’m soaking it for all its worth).

Hugs and many kisses.

Guillame III

Day 12: C-Day Delayed

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 7:54 pm on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Friends:  As occurred many decades ago while thousands of brave souls readied to cross the English Channel as part of D-Day had to stand down due to inclement weather, my C-Day had to be delayed because must have picked up the stomach bug that plagued Izzy Lou over the weekend.  The oncologist does not want to start chemotheraphy while I’m feeling under the weather.  As you can see, I’m not feeling so hot:

So, the start of the chemo party has been delayed somewhat to Tuesday.  While not ideal, at least Mom and Dad will be around for a couple of days before they head to Europe for Uncle Andrew’s wedding, and my Grandpaw will be in town from Ohio to hold down the fort.  Izzy and Henry are helping me sleep it off (and I think Izzy is feeling guilty for passing this on to me).

But I’m already feeling better.  I just lounged in the sun for a while, rolled in the grass, and then hopped up the new deck stairs all on my own!  I also tried to eat part of my Mom’s chicken sandwich.  That beagle appetite can’t be defeated by a stomach bug.  Harumpt.  My surgery scar has healed up nicely, and I was so looking forward to getting the sutures out today but I suppose a few more days won’t be too bad.

I also want to thank my Auntie Shannon for my get-well-soon collar, so now I can show off my heritage.  I always enjoy new couture.

And with that, I’m back to my dog bed to sleep off this bug.  I’m hoping I can talk my mom into some rice and chicken out of this (always looking at the bright side of life, as the Monty Python boys like to say).

William Beagle

 

Day 10: Top 10 Good Things About Being a Tripawd

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 10:12 pm on Monday, September 24, 2012

In honor of my 10th day post-amp, I’ve put together a Top 10 List (Letterman-Style) for the Tripawds Community:

10.  Breakfast in Bed:  My pawrents have been kind enough to bring me breakfast in bed every morning.  I think this may be coming to an end soon as I’m more than capable of eating standing up, but I’m going to roll with it for as long as I can.

9. Ease of the pee:  I don’t have to lift up a leg anymore to pee!  It’s very handy.

8.  Muscle Tone: Because of the core strength I now need to get around, my little beagle body is getting ripped!

7.  Walks!  I can go on walks again!  I wasn’t allowed to go on walks when we were trying to get that paw pad healed.  But now I get to go out on walks several times a day, and Dad even let me climb the hill on our street so I could enjoy the ocean view.

6.  The Park and Beach!  I haven’t been to the park yet (Mom says no until I get my sutures out), but I get to go to the park and beach again with Izzy and Henry with our pawrents and on Tuesdays and Thursdays with our dogwalker, Roxy.

5.  Free Rides:  Even though I can get around just fine, people feel compelled to carry me.  I am inherently a lazy dog, so this is a great development (although again, I suspect it is coming to a close).

4.  Attention:  Everyone loves a tripawd.  Period.  I am getting so many bellyrubs, and it only strengthens the power of my Beagle Mind Tricks to obtain more snuggling or treats.

3.  Feel better without that paw pad:  While the fourth leg was handy, I’m so glad that the painful paw pad and its infection is off of my body.  I don’t have any pain when I walk, and I have more pep in my step.

2.  Closer snuggling:  I don’t have that extra leg to come between me and a human.  Instead, I can snuggle right up to them as close as possible without that pesky extra leg getting in the way.

1. King of the Pack:  Izzy and Henry really haven’t cared that I have only 3 legs, but they know I’ve been through something tough and are showering me with attention and kisses.

Other updates.  I probably should have been more clear before, but I was diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma.  I realize sarcoma is more general.  We have an appointment on Thursday to get the next steps started.  Keep those paws crossed!

My pawrents worked on making the house WB-friendly over the weekend.  Dad put on carpet runners on the stairs down to his man cave so I can hang out with him while he’s working from home, but he isn’t letting me try it out until the surgeon gives it the thumbs up.  He found instructions for easy installation on This Old House’s website:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20616418,00.html

I probably won’t post again until after the Thursday appt with Dr. Burke at Veterinary Specialty Hospital, but stay tuned!

Wilhelm III

Day Eight: Sarcoma. Boo.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 8:41 pm on Saturday, September 22, 2012

Well, all, the verdict is in.  My mom talked to Dr. Aiken at Veterinary Specialty Hospital and the biopsy results indicate that my tumor was sarcoma.  Next step, chemo.  It’s an odd case – either I had the sarcoma for years and it didn’t go elsewhere, or it’s a recent development.  I continue to be a medical marvel, so hopefully that trend continues to a successful recovery.  I have an appointment on Thursday with Dr. Aiken to get my sutures removed (whoot whoot!) and to get ready for chemo (boooo!). Dr. Aiken said that my pawrents absolutely made the right choice to amputate my leg in light of the sarcoma diagnosis because it would have been hard to ensure full removal of the tumor with just a paw pad removal.

After receiving the news, we decided to have a lazy morning and watch the Buckeyes get a win (albeit a sloppy one) in bed with Mom.

There have been some positive developments, though.  Last night, I woke mom up by standing up on my one back leg, and put my two front paws on the mattress.  I hadn’t been able to do that before!  Mom brought me up on the bed and I got to snooze the rest of the night with my pawrents.  I also attempted my first hand stand while going to mark on my neighbor’s tree so I could lift up my back leg.  My cousin April (a Boston Terrier mix) does it all the time even though she has both back legs, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I didn’t stay up for too long, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon.  Also, very little panting or shaking and Henry Beagle is able to put his head on my incision without it hurting me.  Nearly all the bruising is gone too, which is lovely.

Now we’re off to go watch UCLA, which has fallen behind to Oregon State.  Mom went to UCLA for law school, and we’ve had several years of football misery, so it would be nice to have a good season for UCLA.  Ahhh, college football Saturdays.

 

 

Day Seven: No news, but staying positive

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 11:43 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012

Hello Friends – No news so far on the tests on my paw pad, unfortunately.  But we’re keeping up those positive thoughts!   I slept through the entire night last night, and even got to snooze on my pawrents bed for a few hours before mom moved me down on to the dog bed on the floor.  That was neat, as my favorite place to snooze is snuggled between mom and dad.  Ms. Izzy has been getting that privilege since my surgery, but I hereby provide notice to Queen Isabella that I will soon be reclaiming my royal rights as the senior monarch to have the prime position in bed.  As you can see, she likes to push the boundaries on my sleeping domain.  Also, as a side note, I can’t wait to get out of this bloody cone.

We’re continuing to enjoy the new deck, and Mom let us head out to enjoy it a bit and lounge in the sun.  Louie and Charles are putting in an extra step for me so it’s easy for me to get in and out of the doggie door.  We’ll call it King William’s Stair.

I still was having some panting/shaking fits even without the patch, probably from the tramadol.  From my paw pad struggles, we had some leftover gabapentin, so my mom tried that instead of the tramadol based on suggestions from other tripawd blogs.  So far, I’m calmer and able to sleep more soundly.  I may get some leftover shakes, but we sorted out that if I go on a short walk/potty break, I settle down quickly and take a quick post-walk snooze.

But so far, almost one week out, I have to say that I’m doing better than expected.  While the extra fourth leg may have been handy from time to time, I’m getting around just fine.  As my favorite rastafarian, Bob Marley, sings, “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Day Six: Who needs the fourth leg anyhow?

Filed under: Recovery — tresbeagles at 12:53 am on Friday, September 21, 2012

Hello all – My mom got the camera out today to show everyone my progress, so this will be a visually heavy blog entry (even with its first movie!).

First, I’m doing so much better without that bloody patch.  I’m much calmer today, and have slept like a champ.  When Izzy and Henry went to the park with the dog walker, I got some QT in the backyard alone under the watchful eye of Louie and Charles while they were working on my deck.

When Izzy and Henry got back, we all decided to take an afternoon snooze.  I’m sleeping much better now that the patch is off,  and the pain is diminishing.  As you can see, Henry likes to sleep with me, which hurt right after the surgery, but today I didn’t mind it as much.

When I wanted to stretch out, I kicked Hanky Pants off my bed and he went over to snooze with Izzy with a brief stop to shread an envelope.

After our snooze, we got dinner (and I’m doing just fine eating it on all three legs), and then we went out to inspect our new deck.  Mom took advantage of the chance to take a video of my new strut (which is turned to the side because my mom can’t figure out how to change it – she’s technologically challenged sometimes).

WB Post Op

All together, a smashing sixth day post-surgery.  We may find out the results of the tests on my offending paw pad tomorrow.  I’m rather nervous, but I figure it’s best to know what we’re up against and get the chemo party started.

Until tomorrow,

HRH WB III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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