Good Morning Everypawdy!
When most of us think of Bart, we think Success Story, Happy-ness, Courage and Strength! All of these adjectives are well deserved and are not taken for granted, for sure. Today I feel compelled to write because I want to share with others the struggles that go on behind the scenes when our beloveds are going through chemo. Basically, chemo just plain sucks.
When Bart beat Osteosarcoma for the 1st time starting in 2008, we were faced with going through chemo at the same time as we were learning to live life as a Tripawd. That is a lot to take on…it just is. Now that we are in the process of beating OSA once again, we are “only” having to deal with chemo. During Bart’s first couple of treatments, he was doing so fantastic that I thought, “Wow! Compared to going through chemo while also dealing with a recent amputation, this is simple.” Bart was eating well after just a few days of treatment and by his 3rd round he had gained 4 pounds!!
Then, after his 3rd round, which was Cistplastin, he developed incontinence. At first I thought he just couldn’t hold it because he was drinking so much water. When I then made sure he had plenty of potty breaks and it was still happening, I thought, Oh Crap…chemo is messing with his bladder. My poor boy. He was also not eating “right” and it was getting very difficult to get him to eat much at all. We were faced with the reality behind chemo and what it does to our fur kids as it is working so hard to destroy the cancer. What a necessary evil it is.
So, we met with his Holistic Vet, who is skilled with cancer patients beyond belief, who first and foremost convinced me not to worry about not feeding him the “right” food at this time, but continue doing what was necessary to get him to eat something, anything to maintain his weight. She was also going to help me fight the nausea head on and provided me not only with Cerenia, but a prescription for another drug to give with the Cerenia to boost its anti-nausea fighting ability (can’t remember the name at this moment). Once we get the nausea under control, I can add the Mitrazapine for appetite stimulant but until he feels well enough to eat giving him that drug has been pointless.
Now for the toughest pill to swallow…no, cancer has not returned (want to get that out of the way right away), but the Cistplastin is most likely starting to give him stage 1 kidney disease, which is a potential side effect of this drug. Crap!! What’s worse is that a low protein diet is what is needed for kidney disease and that is the exact type of diet he needs to help ward off cancer. Not only that, but about all I can get him to eat is hamburger patties…pure protein!! Ugghhhh….this sucks!!!
Once we get the final results back of a more thorough urinalysis that is being done to “quantify” the protein found in his urine, we will know what we are dealing with and Dr. Wynn feels confident that his kidneys will still outlive Bart and we can deal with this and she will help me. I know she will. I will also meet with the Wonderful Dr. Abby Huggins, Bart’s long time vet, to discuss the results with her and benefit from her wealth of knowledge. She has been a rock to Bart & I during this…everyone who has a vet they love knows what I mean! Bart has only 2 more treatments left, but one of them, the next one, is Cistplastin and I need to know if the benefits outweigh the problems it is creating with his kidney. Yes, Bart is a fighter, but Bart is also a glorious dog who trusts me to make the best decisions for him, which I always try to do. I am pretty sure we are going to be able to complete the protocol since the damage has been done and the likes of Dr. Huggins and Dr. Wynn are in our corner.
So, Chemo Sucks! It just does! For us, it has been a tough 12 weeks. Chemo Sucks! The day in and day out of dealing with chemo is hard and tiring and sometimes it makes you feel like giving up…that is the reality. It makes you sit in front of a computer screen, like I am now, with tears pouring down my face because it just sucks. I find myself driving down the road hoping passerbys don’t think I am crazy as I cry hard about this. It sucks. I hate that my boy has to endure this…I hate it. But, I love him…so I put my big girl panties on and I dig deep to find the courage and strength to keep on going for Bart.
Courage and Strength…that is what gets me through all of this…Courage and Strength
Love to all,
Darcy & Bart
As usual, Bart is involved in fantastic events and I am the lucky soul who gets to go along for the ride!
We were invited to attend a Police Dog Demonstration held by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department to reward an elementary school that raised the most money in their local penny drive. The money raised is all donated to Chase Away K9 Cancer and the founder of the organization flew in from Oregon and asked Bart & I to join in the fun! Bart made his appearance and the children absolutely LOVED him!! At one point, over 30 kids swarmed Bart to pet him and meet him and he ate it up like chocolate pudding! Bart has the calm confidence with humans that is just incredible. The swarm of kids never rattled him and when the sea of children parted, you could see his happy Vizsla face looking up at them all with his tail wagging.
We even made the front page of the Douglas County Sentinel! Just look at those smiling faces…another once in a lifetime experiences I have been fortunate to have with Bart!!
He had round 2 of his chemo regimen yesterday and is eating and resting comfortably in my office as we speak!
I am amazingly not stressed about this second battle. I am not going to worry about something that has not happened and am just going to try my best to do whatever I can for him. I love Bart with all my heart. I don’t want to lose him. I really don’t. But I also don’t want to taint the amazing time we have right now with my fears of what might happen in the future.
I am still following Bart’s lead of happy happy joy joy! And Bart’s message to cancer is clear!! YOU WON’T WIN!!
We hope everyone has a magical Memorial Weekend!
We Love you All!!
Darcy & Bart
Bart is doing amazing! He was able to start his first round of chemo last week and he did fantastic! He is on the same protocol as in 2008, so I have some reference on how he will do. Of course, he is now 9 years old so his body is different and I am mindful of that.
He is eating a home cooked diet and his wonderful holistic vet, Dr. Susan Wynn, is concocting a specially tailored diet for him which should be ready by next week. Dr. Wynn also put together “Bart’s Blend” of holistic herbs to be his Bone Stasis to keep his bones as healthy as they are now. Our goal is quality of life and to keep him eating during his chemo treatments. So far so good. We have many options to keep him eating.
During Bart’s visit with Dr. Wynn, he really wooed her over and she kept saying how very Charming Bart is…well, of course. No surprise to me. Bart is one of those dogs with lovely confidence that will walk right up to a stranger, look them straight in the face with his Vizsla smile and wag his tail until he gets what he wants – a butt rub!!
Bart loves the mornings when it is nice and cool. He runs all over the place and just could not be more joyful! I am taking his lead on this – if he is happy, I will be happy. He trusts me, and I am going to trust him. He has never let me down so far, so why would I not trust him?
So, we are moving along quite well and enjoying each day. I can say that having gone through this once before, I am astonished at how much easier it is to appreciate the good and not worry about the bad. I read something somewhere that said, “Worrying is like Praying for something you don’t want.”
Right now we intend to Be.More.Dog and enjoy life!
Love all of you in the Tripawd Nation!
Darcy & Bart
It has been a while since I have posted. Mostly I just enjoy reading posts here and on the FB page and supporting the pawrents who are celebrating milestones or having to make difficult decisions. I feel the pain of those who have to let their beloveds go and shed tears each time I find out that we have lost another Tripawd Soldier.
Bart has always been a hero no matter where he goes. He beat Osteosarcoma 6 years ago – virtually unheard of!! He competed until almost 9 years old in hunting events with 4-legged dogs with a following like no other! He was awarded the AKC Humane Fund ACE Award for being an Exemplary Companion! He has lived a charmed and blessed life.
Last week he had a tumor removed from the tissue surrounding and between his ribs at his old amputation site. Bart’s vet, Dr. Abby Huggins, enjoys surgery and enjoys a challenge but said that because she loves Bart so much she wished she didn’t have to have such a challenging surgery with him. When she saw Bart’s tumor, she knew it was a sarcoma of some sorts but didn’t want to “be sad” until the pathology results came back. She was also concerned that due to the location and size of the tumor she was unable to get the needed clean margins.
Bart recovered from a very difficult surgery in true Bart style and I was fortunate to be reminded of the sheer tenacity and strength in this amazing creature. During the first night after the surgery Bart had some discomfort, but I could see in his eyes that he trusted me so that when I consoled him he knew I had his back and that he would be OK. During that dark night, there was the light of love. The next morning, he wanted nothing more than to run around the living room carrying random shoes and slippers. He’s back…
Yesterday we got the pathology report back – Osteosarcoma has returned 6 years later. My heart sunk and the tears flowed. I contacted Bart’s breeder who was my rock during the last go around and who I know will be there again. She was devastated, but hopeful. As word spread through our FB community, hope, love and prayers have come pouring into our life…not surprising at all. There was also a small miracle in the path report – BART’S INCREDIBLE VET SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY GOT CLEAN MARGINS!!!! Additionally, she had taken an X-ray of his chest and organs and there is not a dot of cancer anywhere in his sweet body! So, at least we have that to start with…
Bart has an appointment with his previous oncologist, Dr. Terrence Hamilton, next week and an appointment with his holistic Vet, Dr. Susan Wynn, the week after. My goal this time around is to try to fend off any new or microscopic cancer in whatever way Dr. Hamilton advises and if at 9 years old he either can’t handle the chemo treatment or if the dreaded dots appear on an X-ray he will be allowed to remain happy and comfortable. I am prepared to deal with either or both.
Bart’s entire life has been about Love and Happy-ness and cancer cannot take any of that away from us – ever! He & I have lived the most incredible life to its fullest and cancer cannot diminish that either. Cancer has been a part of Bart’s life and if it is a component of what makes Bart “Bart” then I embrace it whole heartedly. I just love everything about him…good or bad.
We are prepared to fight and we are prepared to love and we are prepared to laugh!!!
Hoppy 5th Ampuversary to You!!
Hoppy 5th Ampuversary to You!!!
Hoppy 5th Ampuversary DEAR BARTY!!!!
Hoppy 5th Ampuversary to You!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so proud of you Bart for kicking Osteosarcoma’s Butt for 5 years! I know your vets are amazed with your success!!
I am glad you were here to walk me down the aisle a few weeks ago and for all the other amazing memories we have created together!!! You are an Extraordinary Vizlsa!!
Bart is at it again! We are leaving tomorrow to head to Bloomingdale, OH, to the Mingo Sportsman’s Club for the AKC All Breed Walking National Field Trial, where Bart will be one of 60 competitors!! This is Bart’s last Hurrah in the Field and we are looking forward to showing folks that a Tripawd with a lot of heart can be just as impressive as any other competitor!!
This will punctuate Bart’s career perfectly and we could not ask for a better Retirement Pawty!! At 8 years old and 5 years on 3, it is time to retire from competitive field trials before there is pain and before it is no longer fun. Bart will still be hunting and running around One Day Farm and he is still pursuing his Retrieving Titles, so there is no couch potato-ing in his future for sure!
So, Tripawd Nation – wish us well on our journey to the Nationals!! We are wearing several Tripawd Trinkets – one which will be on my whistle lanyard as a reminder of what this journey has been about – To Have Fun!! To Be.More.Dog!! and To Love The Moment You Are In!! I got a new camera so hoppfully there will be some great photos to post when we get home!!
Love & Wiggles – Darcy & Bart
Hi Everypawdy!! I hope everyone is having a good day today.
To start, Bart had a vet appointment today to check some lumps on his side and to get a chest X-Ray and everything came back A-OK!! I get nervous every so often because I recognize that there is no rhyme or reason as to why Bart has survived this long and I just get plain scared cancer is going to resurface sooner rather than later. He is still soooo young at under 8 years old and barely showing any white on his face and I am not ready to live my life without him by my side. Thankfully, he is fine, I am relieved, and we are both very blessed…beyond belief.
I received a special present from Bart & Tripawds and am sitting her loving my new charm bracelet that reminds me every single day to Be.More.Dog. This upcoming weekend we plan on enjoying the ones we love to the fullest, laughing tons, and maybe even dancing a few times if the mood strikes. Bart is an excellent dancer!
I wish the entire Tripawds Community a Very Hoppy Howladays!!!
Remembering to Be.More.Dog.,
Darcy & Bart (who already Is.More.Dog.)
Bart was a superstar again this weekend!! He went two-for-two, earning TWO Legs towards his Junior Retrieving Title.
There was the normal hesitation on our part, wondering if this group of people would be accepting not only of a pointing breed (we were, after all, at a Retriever test) but of a 3-legged pointer. As ususal, Bart wowed the crowds and gained many new admirers who just could not believe how efficient he was on task. He really blew everyone away when he hauled tail to the duck on the water retrieve and swam as fast, if not faster, than all the other dogs.
The timing was especially good because a friend of one of the competitors just recently amputated her dogs front leg and has been experiencing mixed emotions about her decision. I hope hearing about Bart gives her hope that they can live life to the fullest and that dogs really are born with Three Legs and a Spare!!
I will try to post Bart’s water retrieve on his blog, but I am computer challenged and it may not work. He is on YouTube (Bart Water Retrieve Hunt Test) so you can see it in the event I am unsuccessful in posting it.
So, Bart needs two more qualifying scores, which we will most likely do in the Spring, and then he can add yet another title to his resume! Yay Barty!!!
It has been a while since we have checked in but we are glad we poked around today because we were able to be inspired by Zeus and reminded of Chili Dawg, both of whom are incredible dogs with incredible families.
With Bart’s big cover debut behind him, we are gearing up for hunting season and a new opportunity for Bart to have some fun in the field. The American Kennel Club has recently allowed pointing dogs such as Bart to participate in retriever events and we are entered in our first retrieving hunt test in just a few weeks. Bart is like, “Don’t sweat it, Mom! I got this!” while I am nervous that we will do something stupid since we have never done this and have only watched this type of test on the internet. But, Bart & I have failed and succeeded more times together than I can count so this will be another one or the other (hopefully we will pass and it will be a success). If not, I am sure we will have fun and there will be folks whose jaws will drop when they see this 3-legged kid rocket off to retrieve his prize. Bart is one of the zippiest retrieving dogs and a pure joy to watch work the field.
Wish us luck as we continue on this journey of fun as we try (again) something we have never done before!
Darcy & Bart
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! It was hot in Georgia so Bart & I were fortuante enough to have time to go do some retrieving work in a local pond/lake. Bart is a fantastic swimmer and he & I are working on two more events to add to his repatoirre both of which require water retrieves. Perfect summer time event!
As most of you know, Bart has been featured on the August issue of Gun Dog Magazine. The feedback has been wonderful and I am so pleased with the wonderful write up they did. The author, Angela Pham, did a terrific job telling our story. The photos that accompanied the tale of our journey are nothing short of fantastic! I am happy that our good friend (and cancer survivor herself) was the featured photographer. She is a talented gal!!
Our next endeavor will be to appear again on the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation’s website and mailer. For anyone who received cancer treatment for their Tripawd, you can almost undoubtedly thank the ACVIM for the oncologist and other specialists who treated your Tripawd! I can’t wait to see the finished product! I swear, I could make it a full time job just to handle Bart’s appearances.
So, our journey continues. Although it feels extraordinarily ordinary these days living with this Tripawd, I never know what is in store for us from day to day.
Have a Great One!!
Darcy & Bart