Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pictures Sunday Feb.28


Sunday Feb.28

Not as cold, Ginger rushes out of her pen all raring to go,  got to bottom of hill ... where's DB? Then here comes DB, proudly carrying a giant rat (not a tiny little field mouse ... a giant rat...) and drops it for my inspection ... Banshee scoops it up, we all go back up the hill ... (I usually carry a plastic bag to pick up things like this but geez, it was huge...)  let Ginger in, let husband out to deal with the giant dead rat ... gave Ginger AM meds, got food, fed and kenneled all and went to church. Came home to a welcoming committee with the little JRT added, gave everyone treats, Ginger lunch snack (chicken liver water). After lunch and naps, Ginger inside, others on porch, went for afternoon run, sunny but still some wind. Mattie the JRT showed up again when I started the mower, Went all around property, Ginger in her 'summer T-shirt', very energetic, running, ears flying ... came inside again for another nap (she still tires easily), then out again for another run and pictures (will post on her blog ... wait til you see one of them the shows how much weight she's put back on, busting OUT of her Tshirt) ... then took all dogs for a van ride to the Dollar General to get more chicken treats. Return around nightfall, fed and kenneled everyone, then brought Ginger inside for evening meds around 8 PM, brushed her, gave her another snack (cottage cheese and ground chicken broth), still all revved up, so took her out for a quick run around the garages (she loves to make the circuit of turning on all the motion sensor lights) now back inside and snoozing.

One of Ginger's fan club commented on yesterday's update about Ginger digging for moles ... I have 2 of the strangest bird dogs in the world ... DB, the pointer and Ginger the Irish both LOVE to dig for moles... DB then catches and kills them. Ginger just finds them. Ginger also finds mice and rats for Banshee, my who knows what mix, who then catches and kills them. (DB and Ginger do both point and 'set' birds, of course.)

Thank you Lord for this day, and every day I've had my Ginger back. When I first started these updates, I had no idea how long we had together, and, I still don't ... but we have been truly blessed with each day, as Ginger has gotten stronger and happier and livelier, even though I know the cancer is still there, and may not ever go into remission, she has weathered the chemo treatments with aplomb, and her spirit has remained undiminished throughout ... I truly am thankful, and believe so deeply that it is the power of the prayers that have gone out for Ginger, and for me, and for all my animal and human companions... may the Lord bless you all for your kindness and compassion.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Feb.27

Sunny and cold today, windy, looked warmer than it was ... brief run this AM as Ginger was sneezing. Gave AM meds, fed and kenneled, let everybody out again around 10AM. Had several runs during the day, Had several runs during the day, DB, Banshee and Ginger had a fine time digging for who knows what, moles perhaps, under the oak trees in the corner (Snoopy doesn't dig, Snoopy chases balls) .... Ginger came inside and slept in between runs, other dogs slept on the sunny side of the porch.Ginger came inside and slept in between runs. She does seem a bit tired, not following me from room to room, and instead of helping me do the wash by pawing at the dirty clothes, she just lay in the hall and watched me ... but still eating voraciously (scrambled egg, liver broth, ground chicken, TOTW can food in addition to kibble), still happy. Husband gone into town, came back with the BIG dog bone biscuits (yeah, I know they're not nutritious, but the dogs love them .... ) mad excitement as bones parceled out. Neighbor's little JRT appeared during late afternoon run (she comes through my fence, which isn't designed to keep little dogs in, or out, and runs with us when she can 'escape'), and all 5 dogs had a grand time (though Ginger doesn't join in the running in circles and jumping over each other part). Fed and kenneled (the little JRT gets some kibble and a chewie when she visits) at nightfall.Brought Ginger inside at 8 PM for evening meds ... NOW she's lively, driving us crazy, waking up my husband from his evening nap,  ...  after an evening snack she has settled down again, and is snoozing. Another nice, normal day, thank you Lord, and thank you all for your continued prayers and support.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Feb.26

Cold and clear again in AM, Ginger eating well this morning, seems perfectly happy, we had a very brief run as it was so windy I couldnt stand it (going down the hill the wind hits me in the face like a knife ... the dogs dont seem to mind at all, maybe cause they're lower to the ground.)  Gave Ginger meds, fed and kenneled,went to work. Husband reports Ginger slept a lot again today, but had her usual excellent appetite (scrambled eggs, canned food, chicken liver broth); I got home a bit before dark, dogs still out (Ginger inside) as husband had been hooking up a doghouse heating pad for DB (since Ginger's worked so well, he ordered another one for DB, the one short haired dog). Mad excitement from DB,Banshee and Snoopy as husband's worker came by to give him some bar-b-que he made right at same time I arrived home, went inside fixed dog food, fed and kenneled all. Brought Ginger back in around 8 PM for evening meds and more food (still eating well). She and Damcat shared ground chicken broth (I give Damcat the spoon to lick while Ginger chows down), then settled down on couch to read, Ginger on other couch, Damcat perched on arm of couch while husband watched TV in computer room.  Another good day for Ginger!

Thank you all for your continuing prayers, the invisible force field surrounding my Ginger and buoying her up, helping her to be cheerful and happy, loving and sweet as she continues in her dance through the valley...
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thurs Feb.25

Cold and clear in AM, brief run, gave Ginger meds, fed and kenneled,went to work (meeting at 830). Ginger eating hungrily, cheerful. Husband took Ginger to local vet for CBC ... she's gained another pound, up to 47.8 (with her sweater on). Husband says Ginger a bit sleepy during day, but very windy and cold outside. Got results from CBC late afternoon, unfortunately her white blood count is low, less than 1000, FAXed to oncologist who called husband and said keep her on the Clavamox (antibiotics), keep her close to home and not take her around strange dogs to guard against infections, as long as she's still eating well and not lethargic don't worry... but of course, I worry .... stopped by BiLo on way home, got chicken liver, ground chicken, eggs and cottage cheese, got home after dark, dogs kenneled. Let Ginger in, gave her canned food, meds, pureed the liver and cooked some broth, after it cooled gave her (and the Damcat) chicken liver broth, more scrambled egg. She's eating fine... but does seem a bit sleepy, but jumps up and follows me from room to room and outside with no apparent problem... she's snoozing at my feet right now...

Clearly the CCNU is giving her system a beating (white blood count less than 1000 is awful low, normal is 6000 and above) , I just hope it's also giving the lymphoma a beating .... tried to call oncologist, couldnt get through (on hold 10 min) , tried to email, it bounced ... will try again tomorrow, to see if there's anything else I can do (and if the number related to me was correct.) I also need to call the local vet and find out what I can do if she 'crashes' during the weekend, I have sub-cu fluid at home, I really dont want to take her to that emergency vet again unless I really have to...

Thank you all for your continuing prayers and support, it helps so much to know that y'all are 'out there' ....

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wed. Feb.24

Rain in AM, had to leave early for hearings in Columbia, husband in charge of medicating and feeding dogs, he did admirably! Ginger inside for lunch and thern he let all out when rain slacked up, then let Ginger inside again for a snooze on the couch and some scrambled eggs which I'd left.  When I got home, rain had stopped and there was still an hour of light left, so took all for a run, DB's nose much better and she feels better too, all dogs very playful with Ginger, play bowing and Ginger responding with her 'dance' (she doesnt 'play' much with the other dogs on the order of wrestling or jumping on them, never has,  she just does a little dance where she drums her front feet and then runs off aways.) Did a complete circuit of property, then fed and kenneled everybody. At least we got one good run in! Bought a bunch of canned dog food at the Pet Warehouse in West Columbia (they have TOTW canned on 'sale' it's quite good food, grainfree, also Chicken Soup for Pet Lovers Soul canned which I cant get locally which is also a pretty good canned food and about half the price of Wellness CORE. I'm trying to give Ginger at least one can a day, plus her Wellness kibble and scrambled eggs. The reason I'm mentioning brand names is cause several of you have asked what brands I'm feeding ... I'm trying to give Ginger extra protein as a cancer diet is high in protein and fat, and little or no grain  or carbohydrates ... and I'm leery of raw for an immune suppressed dog.) While at Pet Warehouse I also picked up a new scratching pad for the Damcat as he's finished off the last refill on the one he's been using, and he's been scratching at other things (like chair legs, AND my leg ... clearly time for a fresh scratch pad! The Damcat's latest escapade last night was killing one of my computer Net connection, he took a nap on top of the router, and now there's a 'cable disconnected', but neither husband or I can figure out which cable...  not being a cat, it hadn't occurred to me it was a nice warm place for a nap with a nice 'humming vibration' to it.

Thanks for the suggestions on altering Ginger's fleeces to fit, I particularly like the idea of cutting it down and getting new velcro that sticks on... no sewing involved are magic words to me! Will look for some sticky velcro tomorrow, hopefully.

Tomorrow Ginger will go to local vet for CBC check... tomorrow begins the dreaded 7-14 day blood count nadir from the CCNU treatment last week... keep us in your prayers and thoughts tomorrow.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Feb.23

Dense fog this AM, but still not cold, let dogs out, gave Ginger AM
meds, then for a run in the fog (always interesting, as the dogs
disappear and then suddenly reappear at my side) .... fed and kenneled all, went to work. Ginger lively, cheerful, ravenous. After fog lifted, dogs stayed out most of day with husband and worker, husband  reports Ginger 'disappeared', looked all over for her, she'd managed to slip inside (possibly when he'd reached back through the trailer door for his tractor key) and was snoozing on the couch.... a beautiful day, sunny, in the 70's ... Supposed to rain and turn cold again tomorrow, but today was lovely. Got home in time for a before supper run, brushed all dogs (DB's nose is definitely healing) fed and  kenneled at nightfall (getting chillier already!)

The fleeces from Granny Sam arrived today ... a little big for my
girl, but nice and warm and one is a cool leopard print, that looks
great on Ginger... if anyone of y'all who is physically near me knows
how to sew, has a sewing machine, or knows someone who does, give me a holler ... I think they'd be easy to 'take in' (my sewing skills are now limited to replacing buttons, though a million years ago I did take Home-Ec (wonder what they call it nowadays, or if they still have it?)

Will bring Ginger inside soon for evening meds and snacks (going to give her a bit extra tonight, trying to 'build her up' for the WNC
drop on the 7th day ( no one advised me to do this, but it makes sense to me, and hey, couldn't hurt, right?) also need to go to bed earlier, as have to be in Columbia for a 9AM hearing.

I am so glad these updates bring pleasure to y'all, thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Feb.22

Today started out dismal, not cold but rain ... trying to beat the
downpour, husband let dogs out early, then the deluge came ... and a  sopping wet Ginger came inside while 3 other sopping wet dogs huddled on the porch ... got Ginger halfway dried off, fixed dogs food,husband who was already drenched fed other dogs and kenneled them (by then, of course, the rain had slacked up.)  Gave Ginger AM meds, fed her, then left for work, leaving her inside with husband. Husband reports he let all dogs out after rain slacked off. (and DB's nose is better!) Ginger still lively, ravenous (husband gave her a ham and egg biscuit at lunch as I'd run out of scrambled eggs last night) Returned home well after dark (still trying to get my work caught up) all dogs kenneled,brought Ginger inside at 8 for evening meds and snack (canned dog food), brushed her (her feathers were muddy) and she's now snoozing. I hope the antibiotics she's been on since Sunday ward off the dreaded WBC drop expected by Thursday ... am also giving her Sam-E
and milk thistle (vet recommendation, but I had already on hand) as a liver protectant... don't know what else more I can do at this point except enjoy each day she is with me, and put it in the hands of the Lord ....

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers and messages ... when you tell me my sweet Ginger is beautiful, or that her 'dance through the valley' is bringing you joy and hope, well, I just cant express how much that means to me. Out of the darkness does indeed come the light.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Feb.21

Another beautiful springlike day! Great AM run, gave Ginger meds, gave DB meds (for her infected nose), fed and kenneled all, went to church. After church, another long run, then naps for dogs (Ginger inside, others on porch)  while I did wash and other necessary but boring jobs. Husband got some nice pictures of the dogs (and me) on the porch in the beautiful SC sunshine, which I've posted on Ginger's blog and Facebook... he missed a great picture of Ginger running full tilt across the property, ears streaming ... but I have it in my heart forever. Later in afternoon, all dogs helped me prune trees, by moving the branches from the piles I put them in and scattering them more artistically ... the little trailer I tow behind my mower to collect branches had a flat tire, so I had thought I'll just make piles and pick up later. Oh, well.

Ginger's appetite is still ravenous, her spirits high, her outlook cheerful, enjoying each minute of each day. I have now had her back from the hospital for a month and 2 days .... God is good.

Thank you for your continued support, prayers, and messages of hope ... bless each and every one of you for your patience with my rambling and your compassion for my sweet red girl.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

A sunny February Day photos 2-21-10


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sat Feb.20

A beautiful day! Spring like temperatures, in the low 70's, sunny, just a superb day ... One reason I started these daily updates was  to record each day before it was lost in the blur of 'yesterdays' ... to remind myself that each day counts, each day is special ... and today was a foretaste of spring ... so Ginger had snow last Saturday and Spring today... what a wonderful blessing!

Today she is bright and lively, running , ears flying, no sweatshirt, she and the other dogs rolled in the grass, pointed (or chased) birds, lazed on the porch in the sun for naps, followed husband and worker, followed me on the mower, played ball, helped me do yardwork, just a wonderful day. Ginger's appetite is still ravenous, after she ate her supper, she tried to steal Snoopy's supper tonight .... husband was in her pen rearranging the bedding and heating pad in her house, left gate open, Ginger slides out and goes between my legs into Snoopy's pen, where  I was just putting down her food dish ... poor Snoop backed off quickly and Ginger dove headfirst into Snoopy's bowl... oh well, what the heck, I let her eat some and then replenished Snoopy's. DB's nose still swollen badly, but doesnt appear to bother her, my sweet natured DB, still holding herself in check when she and Ginger run together, so Ginger can 'win' ... (Ginger is running well now, but at about 80% speed, and 50% endurance ... she will do about a 3/4 circuit of the property at a good speed, then slow down)

Thank all of you for your prayers and support, and for letting me know of the pictures you have in your mind of Ginger's journey ... the feeling of connection and community Ginger's 'dance through the valley of the shadow of death' has brought about is an amazing and powerful gift which I will carry in my heart always.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Feb.19

Warmer today, a beautiful sunny day! Took dogs for good AM run, Ginger very lively, watching her run makes me glad to be alive, on this day, at this time, in this place... gave her AM meds, fed and kenneled went to work ... husband reports she did well today, helped him and worker and hung out with the other dogs ... husband called me mid afternoon, noticed poor DB's nose swollen and took her to vet who gave her antibiotics and said if not better in a week bring her back in...  You may recall Damcat scratched DBs nose about a week ago, apparently got badly infected... I had noticed this AM DB's nose looked 'odd' but it didnt really register. And last night when we got back from Greenville I was tired, and just let the dogs out for an evening run and fed and kenneled them, neglecting to do my 'evening check'... poor DB, paying the price for me not be observant .... please add DB to your prayers also...
Got back this evening after dark, though its staying light longer I stayed later at work trying to catch up... husband had fed and kenneled. Just now brought Ginger in for evening meds and snack, she was very lively, running around me in circles on way from kennel to trailer, jumping for sheer joy ... she's now snoozing at my feet.

I know I sounded disheartened in yesterday's update ... and I was. But as several of you reminded me, the  most important thing is this, that Ginger is happy and lively and having a wonderful time, not how many days we have left together on this plane. Your notes of support, your prayers and good wishes continue to be a wonderful blessing to me, as I strive to continue to 'live each day as if it were my last'.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Thursday Feb.18

Took all dogs for AM run, gave Ginger meds, fed and kenneled, dressed
Ginger in fleece jacket, put her in car, collected husband, gave
bullies to 3 dogs left behind and set off for Greenville for
oncologist appointment. The ultrasound shows no change in the
sublumbar nodes, (still 'markedly enlarged') the Doxo apparently did
not work. However, her blood work is good, calcium level normal, and
she is eating well, gaining weight and lively, so the oncologist says
her lymphoma is 'stable'. He also said it was 'hard to believe' the
nodes have not gone down, as she is 'doing very great clinically' and
is 'so lively' (apparently they let her off leash in the treatment
room and she bounded around like a puppy) and is regaining weight and
muscle mass ... and is 'so ravenous' (he said she'd eaten all the
treats they had in the back and they had to open another box, and he
brought some with him to give her before she left saying 'look at her
eat!').... But he said it was unlikely she would respond to a second
round of the CHOP protocol (as she only had a slight response this
first round, and NO response to the Doxo), he said we could try
Vincristine today and then bring her back next week to check
ultrasound and if nodes still unaffected go with CCNU then, but he'd
advise trying it now ... so, we're trying the CCNU. He agreed with my
main concern, that the resistant nodes are close to the kidneys and if
they increase again will undoubtedly put her in renal failure again
(which is how we started out)... he also said if the CCNU didn't work,
that was the last chemo he'd advise ... he mentioned the possibility
of radiation (which would require 5 days of radiation, being
anesthetized each day and irradiated 4 hours, this would in effect
mean she'd be hospitalized 5 days as I couldnt drive her there and
back each day for a week.) He said it would only 'work' on those nodes
and he seldom advised it for dogs with lymphoma as lymphoma is
systemic and it would likely just pop up elsewhere (she originally had
some nodes in her chest affected also) unless the affected nodes were
in the throat area only and making it impossible for the dog to
breathe .... this doesnt sound like a good option, to me. OK, so,
decided to try the CCNU (she's already on milk thistle, as a liver
protectant, he also advised giving her Sam-E (which I happen to have
at home). the CCNU is apparently really hard on the bone marrow and
platelets,  so he gave me a round of antibiotics to start Sunday, also
she'll have her CBC checked next week (and again the worry about
sepsis day 7-14.) And in 3 weeks, if her liver enzymes are OK, if she
hasn't gone 'septic' and IF an ultrasound shows the CCNU is working,
then try another round of CCNU. If not, well, I gather that's about it
(except for the radiation), and I'd then keep her on pred (and
possibly Leukeran, a fairly mild chemo pill you give with the pred) to
try to keep her 'stable' as long as possible ... he said there are
other rescue protocols but in his experience if the CCNU had no
effect, they wouldn't either in initially putting a dog in
remission.... He said it was somewhat different for dogs that had gone
in to remission, then came out of remission, but that we had yet to
achieve remission with Ginger.

I am, of course, very disappointed that the Doxo did not work; I am
praying the CCNU will do the trick AND not make her sick... but I am
so very proud of my beautiful red girl, who has stolen the hearts of
everyone she meets, she is so bright and lively and cheerful ... and
so patient with we humans poking and prodding her and dressing her in
jackets and diapers and dragging her on long car rides ... and she was
SO glad to get home, she bounded out of the car and ran to the kennels
and 'danced' there until I caught up and let out the other dogs, and
then ran and ran around the property, ears flying, tail high, in that
beautiful Irish setter lope .... I got on the mower and rode around
with the dogs til night fall, then fed and kenneled them .... will go
get Ginger for her evening meds in awhile.

Thank you all again and again for your prayers and support ... I do
know that God answers prayers, as my Ginger is bright and lively and
having a great quality of life .... and that was my initial hope for
her when she got sick.... and the way she has touched the lives and
hearts of so many people is an amazing blessing.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wed. Feb.17

Still cold this AM, brief run, Ginger and other dogs very lively ... let Ginger in for meds, then fed and kenneled went to work... husband reports Ginger very energetic, driving him crazy when he was trying to fix computer. He took them for a mid afternoon run . Got home about 6 PM, fed and kenneled all, went to church for Ash Wednesday services, came home, let Ginger inside for evening meds and snack (canned dog food, husband had given her eggs at lunch). I had called oncologist earlier, the local vet had FAXed yesterday's CBC, and we're good to go for tomorrow ... not looking forward to the drive, or the waiting (last time we didnt get Ginger back til 430) but am looking forward to finding out if we're making progress against this awful disease ... keep us in your prayers tomorrow for a safe and uneventful trip and for good news on the ultrasound....
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tues Feb.16

Sunny, windy and cold in morning, brief AM run (the wind was too much for me, though the dogs including Ginger had a grand time ... Ginger shot out of her pen, ran almost 3/4 of the way around the property then  joined the rest of us at pond...) back to trailer, gave Ginger AM meds, got food for all dogs, fed, kenneled, went to work. Husband took Ginger to local vet for CBC mid afternoon, Said they had a hard time drawing blood ... but didn't say why... but she's still gaining weight, up to 45.4 lbs!!! (less than 3 lbs below her pre illness weight!)  Local vet FAXed results to oncologist, will call me tomorrow to see if we're good for Thursday appointment. Arrive home late after dark, dogs kenneled, Ginger inside, gave her evening meds and snack (scrambled egg, canned dog food), brushed her, she's now snoozing. ... fixed supper, of course Ginger woke right up and came to the kitchen .. gave her some ground turkey broth and a few cubes of cheese ... she needed to go outside, drank water (for some reason she prefers drinking out of the bucket outside) ran off into the night, presumably had a pee, then returned and is snoozing again.
A good day!

Thanks for the suggestions on doggie clothes, and, a big thanks to granny Sam in NC who has said she'll send me some fleece jackets her (now departed) Akita Sugar Bear wore (for hair loss) ... hopefully they'll fit or I can make them fit!

Your prayers, love and support for my beautiful red girl have made this past month a wonderful experience for both of us ... out of the darkness, light!

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Feb.15

Rain only, no snow! Managed to get in an AM run before it started raining, give Ginger her meds and feed and kennel all dogs... I, of course, got wet coming back from kennels, but dogs are warm and dry... mid afternoon, the sun came out! Beautiful, if windy ... got in a good run. Ginger feeling chipper today, still eating ravenously and running! DB even 'played' with her today (first time since she took sick) ... playbowed, did a brief 'dance' (Ginger has never been one to wrestle or rough house with the other dogs, but she will do  playbow and dance from side to side, briefly ...)  Well, today, DB invited her to 'dance'.  I'm still in awe of how the other dogs have been so sweet to Ginger, monitoring her activity level in the first few days back home, standing aside for her to go in and out of the house, seeming for all the world to understand what is going on and trying to 'help' her. One of my big concerns to begin with was the effect this would have on the rest of our pack ... yes, they treat her differently now, but with respect and love.

Brought Ginger inside for evening meds and snacks (canned dog food, scrambled egg) , she's now laying in the doorway to my 'computer room', half in and half in the hall, monitoring both me and husband (who's in the shower) to see which will emerge first and provide ... more snacks!

Wow, I've been online trying to find dog clothing, amazing how much it is for an 'XL' dog (if they even have XL). I never even thought about this until Ginger was shaved (abdomen and up her sides) for the ultrasound, I've put bandanas and fancy collars on my dogs, but never clothes ... If I could sew, I'd go into the dog clothing business ... any sewers out there? We're having a discussion on one of my dog cancer lists on how much this all costs (a bunch), the chemo and hospitalizations and special foods and meds .... and clothes (not all dogs have to have ultrasounds of their tummies, of course, only if the abdominal nodes are involved ... and apparently the hair won't regrow during chemo) Again, if you don't have health insurance for your pets, my advice is to get it!

Your prayers, candles, support and love are my daily blessing ... thank you, again and again.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Another snow picture from Saturday

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gunger update Sunday Feb.14

Beautiful day, snow mostly melted (still on hillsides and in woods). Supposed to snow again tomorrow, enjoy the sunshine while we can! Took all dogs for AM run, gave Ginger her meds, fed, kenneled, went to church ... after church, took another run, fixed lunch, put wash in washer, then collapsed, for some reason I'm wore slap out. Dogs napped too, Ginger inside, others on porch... maybe the snow yesterday wore us all out! Late afternoon run, then took all dogs for a van ride to the BiLo (to buy more eggs ... Ginger does love her scrambled eggs!) ... they all love riding in the van... I have 2 crates in the back for DB and Banshee, Snoopy in the back seat (with seat belt harness), Ginger in passenger seat (with seatbelt harness). Yep, I belt them in even for a 10 mile ride to the BiLo. A nice, normal day ... praise God. Thank you for your prayers and support, which have made this day ... and the past month ...not only possible, but beautiful...

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Ginger and the Snow in SC 2-13-10

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Feb.13

Beautiful SC sun, still lots of snow on the ground, we still have power, all is well... Ginger stayed in the trailer with us all night, had to let her out about every 2 hours. She is able to 'hold it' (doesnt pee in her sleep any more) but still has to go every 2 hours. Gave her AM meds, then husband let all dogs out while I was still trying to find some boots that don't leak, took pictures of the snow, I prepared food and went out for a brief stomping around in the snow ... Banshee has now decided the snow is neat and is burrowing in it. Ginger and DB are still not enthralled at all. Snoopy's big problem is all she can find are white balls, and she keeps losing them in the snow. Fed and kenneled, will take them out again in awhile. Come on SC sun, MELT this stuff!Out again around 1130, taking more pictures...  DB and Ginger have now decided they like snow ... Got the snow off my mower (it had blown in the open side of the tractor shed, and went for a loong run ... I am SO glad Ginger got to see a snowfall! She is running, leaping over the drainage ditch, ears flying, chasing birds, having a grand time! Came in and had a long nap, totally tuckered out, laying on her back with all 4 legs in the air, snoring. Took another late afternoon run, then fed and kenneled all. Brought Ginger back in for evening meds and scrambled eggs, she is snoozing now.

Thanks for all the prayers last night that we wouldn't lose power... and for Ginger's continued wellbeing ... every day is precious to us.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Fri Feb.12

Brief update this evening ... the snow is making my Net access very iffy (I have satellite) ... had a good run this AM, Ginger lively, cheerful and ravenous ... gave AM meds then fed and kenneled all dogs, went to Columbia for a hearing, made it back before it started snowing (around 330). Ginger, Banshee and DB sat on the porch and watched the 2 crazy humans trudging around in the snow trying to get the travel trailer cleaned up and hooked up in case we lose power, accompanied by the crazy yellow dog (Snoopy) who followed us around holding her ball... fed and kenneled around 430, was going to leave Ginger in her heated dog house-kennel, but husband brought her inside around dark, so gave her evening meds, snack, and kept her in. She's been out a couple of times to pee ... she's holding it better now when she's sleeping, though I still keep her diaper on inside. Still snowing 11 PM. Hope we dont lose power! Snow like this is very rare in this part of the South, the main problem is the pine trees ice up and break and pull down power lines...

Stay warm and dry, and keep us in your prayers tonight ...

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Feb.11

Cold but clear this AM, wind had died down. I overslept ... took dogs for brief run, drainage pond frozen, Banshee and Ginger cooperatively broke off pices of ice and shared with other dogs) let Ginger in, gave AM meds, then fed and kenneled and went to work... husband reports Ginger had a good day, ran with the others several times, helped him clean up in the garage ... she checked out every nook and cranny, apparently looking for a mouse, but never found one... for a bird dog, Ginger has a great interest in finding mice, though she leaves the 'dispatching' of them to Banshee and DB. Snoopy has zero interest in mice, well, they're not a 'ball', after all.) Return home after dark, dogs kenneled, Ginger inside, gave PM meds and a snack (canned dog food, as she'd already eaten the eggs I left for her this AM.) She and Damcat competed in catching pieces of cheese I threw them while watching me fix supper, Ginger catches in her mouth, Damcat reaches out a paw and snags in mid air. Ginger's snoozing at my feet right now... its getting chilly in this room and I need to go put on a heavier sweater, but I hate to disturb her ... well, woke her up, brushed her, used the waterless dog shampoo on her ears (where they tend to drag in her food bowl), gave her some ground turkey and broth,  now she's raring to go OUT ... Just looked at the weather report, yuk, possibility of snow tomorrow ... hope I get back from Columbia before it hits, hope we don't lose power ....

Thank you all again for your prayers and candles and support ... One of Ginger's fan club emailed me last night and said 'I think that we are all witnessing a miracle!' .... to me every day I've had Ginger 'back' is a miracle ... and the love and support I've received from my friends ... both my 'real life'
friends and cyberspace friends ... and the way Ginger's fight has touched so many people ... has also been a miracle. We never know when God will touch our lives, or how, but it is clear to me that He has touched mine, and many others, through my sweet red girl.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Feb.10

Left husband in charge of feeding dogs this AM as I had an early morning hearing in Columbia. He called just as I was getting there and said all was well, he took them for a very brief run (as it was really windy and cold) gave Ginger her AM meds, fed and kenneled them all. Husband also in charge of taking Ginger to local vet for bloodwork ...(a CBC check 1 week after the Doxorubin, which was then FAXed to oncologist ... her platelets were a 'little low but nothing to worry about' Hooray! Ginger has also gained another pound, back up to 43 pounds! (this is a 7 lb gain from when I brought her home from the hospital (not quite 3 weeks). Her normal weight (that she'd weighed for about the past year, was 48) Her appetite is still great, she'll eat anything you give her and want more! more! more! (I now feed her her regular amount of moistened kibble with the other dogs, at least 2 eggs daily, a can of dog food (Wellness CORE), and ground turkey broth. I've stopped the chicken and rice as no stomach upset so far. And of course she gets treats, each dog gets 2 chewies a day (trachea or dried tripe or bullies), also I carry liver bits, beef lung bits or chicken chips as 'pocket treats' for our walks and runs.)

Got home just before dark, I was just going to walk the dogs around the yard a bit as it was still very COLD and WINDY but they all started down the hill, stopped halfway then turned around and stared at me accusingly ... sigh. I got on my mower and gave then a brief run. Ginger very lively, running, jumped OVER the drainage ditch, ears flying, sweatshirt flapping... I've finally found her an Xtra large doggie fleece 'jacket', tried it on tonight, its a tiny bit too big, but she'll be able to run better (though the sweatshirt flapping doesnt seem to slow her down). I also bought her a pale blue tshirt that says 'People find me irresistable' ... ain't THAT the truth. After our evening run, fed and kenneled, brought Ginger back in for evening meds and snack, she and the Damcat ran around a bit, then settled down for evening naps ... a good day!

Thank you all again for your continued prayers and support ... it is helping so very much.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Feb.9

Not raining yet this AM, had a good run, took off Ginger's sweatshirt
again as it's fairly warm out... gave AM meds, fed and kenneled, went
to work, husband let out again and reports all was fine. He then had
to take my car to the shop, again ... this time it's the 'intake
manifold gasket', and at that one dealer they've backordered for 800
other cars. Had to go to chiropractor, then home, then of course it
starts raining. husband let out dogs while I fixed food, he let them
out in the 'wrong order' and Snoopy jumped Banshee (no injuries that I
can see, and I checked her out thoroughly) . I guess everyone human
and animal is a bit on edge... The normal routine for the dogs is
after I leave they get to hang out with my husband and worker(s) and
its either been raining or workers sick or husband has to go somewhere
for about a week now. I've been very impressed with how well
DB,Banshee and Snoopy have been 'handling' all of this, the extra
'attention' given to Ginger, the need (at first) to be very careful
not to let her overexert herself, the funny sweatshirt she wears,
they've been amazingly cooperative, kind and gentle ... I reckon
Snoopy just 'snapped' this evening (and I never let her out before
Banshee, as she tends to go to Banshee's kennel door and get 'in her
face', and Banshee has space issues ... she doesn't like to disembark
from the car if all the other dogs are pressing around the door, for
example .) And yes, for my cyber friends who are experienced dog
teachers, I know this is management not teaching, and I had been
working on teaching both Snoopy and Banshee coping skills, and they
have come a LONG way in the past year, but my teaching 'time' has been
greatly cut into by the time needed to fight Ginger's battle with the
beast... so don't be too hard on me.)

Ginger has always been the 'softest' and sweetest dog in my pack,
indeed, I have never had a less aggressive dog ... Irish setters tend
to be very sweet natured, but even my Irishes in the past would have
'moments' ... but Ginger, I have never heard her growl, or seen her
lift her lip, or make ANY 'back off' signals to her pack mates (or to
the Damcat, except over the 'liver water' ... and that was just
planting her head firmly in the bowl and not letting Damcat near it)
... even the other day, when the Damcat was tormenting the other dogs
through the glass door and my husband inadvertently opened the door
and Ginger rushed to the Damcat's rescue ... all she did was put
herself between the other dogs and the Damcat, no snarling, no
barking. Ah, I will miss my Ginger when she has left this plane of
existence, but her sweet spirit will live on in my memories.

She has now eaten an egg, some canned dog food (Wellness CORE) and
taken her evening meds, and is lying at my feet, on her back, all 4
legs in the air, snoring... ah, sweet music to my ears...

I can never thank you enough for your prayers and support that have
helped bring Ginger 'back from the brink' and given us more time

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ginger update Mon. Feb.8

Another beautiful sunny but cool day ... AM run, Ginger feeling good, ranging far and wide .... gave AM meds, then fed and kenneled all and went to work. (sorry I missed this beautiful day, this is very difficult, missing any minute of Ginger's life on this plane, but gotta keep working or won't be able to pay for dogfood, much less all these treatments ) ... anyone reading who doesn't have health insurance on their pets, I urge you to get it, I insured my other animals when Ginger took sick, never again do I want money to be a part of my decision making process ... right now, I know I won't be able to buy a better van to transport my dogs this year, hope the old one holds out) Husband reports Ginger wanted her sweatshirt off so she could roll in the grass... return after dark, dogs kenneled, husband gone to town, fed and left kenneled, brought Ginger inside for evening meds. She is super hungry, full of energy, driving me nuts, acting perfectly normal ....  ate scrambled egg, chicken and rice, cottage cheese (all this AFTER her regular supper) and wants more. (And she's being weaned off the pred, down to 1/2 tab AM and PM.) Supposed to get CBC level done Wednesday, that's the presumed low point (7 days after Doxo). She's finally settled down to snooze at my feet. She's filling out nicely too, no longer skin and bones ... if it werent for the fact she was shaved for the ultrasound on her belly and sides and her legs shaved for the IVs, she's be looking almost like herself ... I do wish the hair would regrow, but they tell me it won't during chemo. No problem, except the cold.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for my beautiful red girl.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Feb.7

A beautiful day, sunny but chilly. Ginger bursts out of kennel, raring to go, had a good AM run, gave AM meds, ran, fed and kenneled, went to church. Several members of Ginger's 'fan club' that don't have Net access asked after her, one lady told me about a program she's heard of that places shelter animals with terminal illness in 'hospice' care at foster homes. I deeply admire anyone who can do this, what a wonderful blessing. It is SO true that the animals perk up and get a new lease on life when in a home environment... she also said she didnt think she could do that, or even what I'm doing, caring for my own animal, well, you don't know what you CAN do (with God's help) until you're doing it (or trying to.) Day by day, today is good, so far. Another good run at lunch time, took Ginger's Tshirt off, she rolled in the grass, hunted along the drainage pond edge, ran with the other dogs all along the back fence line and up the side fence, then back inside for lunch (scrambled egg) and a nap, another run late afternoon, Ginger enjoying the warmish weather, Snoopy swimming in the drainage pond, husband and I checking out water damage along fence line (how MUCH more rain before we turn into a swamp???) ... fed and kenneled at sundown, just brought Ginger inside (as its turning cool and I didnt have her sweater on her yet.) She and the Damcat are now chasing each other up and down the hall.... let Ginger out a moment ago and she flew off into the night, returned, drank water, flew off again down to the kennels and woke up all the other dogs, flew back onto the porch, came inside took her evening meds, and is now sacked out snoring at my feet.

Thanks again, so much, for your prayers and support in our journey... God is good, we've had over 2 weeks now with Ginger almost her own self again.
Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ginger of the Flying Ears blog is born, and Sat Feb.6 update

Since my Ginger was diagnosed with lymphoma Jan.9, I have been posting daily updates on her 'journey through the valley of the shadow of death' to Facebook, emailing to several lists, and, to numerous friends .... some folks have missed some of the 'entries' and so I've created a blog for Ginger, where I'll post the updates ... the name 'Ginger of the Flying Ears' was given to her by a dear cyber friend, who when all this first happened got a clear picture of Ginger in her mind, ...'the picture so clear in my head that has Ginger running like a crazy thing, ears streaming behind her.' and started calling her Ginger of the Flying Ears .... and yes, Ginger has come back to the point she does run , not as fast or as far, but yes, the ears are flying..... keep up with her journey here....
Sat Feb.6
Ginger very lively again today! Slept late, let all dogs out, brought Ginger in and gave meds, then took for AM run, fed and kenneled. Cold windy cloudy, but at least not raining! Had another run around lunchtime, let Ginger in for a nap, others settle down on porch out of the wind. Brush Banshee, DB and Snoopy, am feeling like I'm neglecting my other dogs ... Banshee apparently thinks so too, as she had a brief hissy fit at Snoopy for interrupting 'her turn to be brushed'.  Another brief run mid afternoon (gosh its really chilly out) then husband threw ball for Snoopy while I tried to clean my trailer ... which still looks like a tornado went through it. Early evening, took all dogs for van ride to store, back after dark, fed and kenneled. Husband went and got Ginger for evening meds, brought her in, she'd managed to get out of her sweatshirt and left it in her pen, plus taken a day's worth of poops in her pen ... all her sweatshirts now dirty, threw into washer and am going out in a minute to clean the pen (not easy in the dark, hopefully husband will come and hold flashlight:-)

A good day for Ginger, no bad side effects, had 2 good runs and a van ride, and is still raring to go, in fact right this moment she and the Damcat are competing with annoying me while on the computer, large red dog climbing on my lap, small black and white cat throwing pens and eye glasses at me.... ah, all is normal. Your continued prayers and support have made this possible .... no doubt in my mind.

Mary Lou
DB,Banshee,Ginger and Snoopy(dogs)
Callie in spirit (04/90-06/07)

Friday Feb.5

Fri Feb 5
Cold hard rain in AM. Fed dogs in kennels, gave Ginger AM med, changed bedding in her dog house, put in washer. Went to work through downpour. Husband reported at noon still raining, he had dried bedding and put back in Gingers doghouse, didnt want to let them out because still raining. He did let them out when the rain slacked up late afternoon, said none of them (except Snoopy, who dove into the overflowing drainage pond with great glee) wanted to slog around in the mud,so let Ginger in .He fed all dogs and rekenneled at nightfall, then let Ginger in again, said he hadnt noticed any diarrhea , but since pen dark, who knows. I returned after dark, Ginger inside, very energetic, VERY hungry, gave her chicken and rice and evening meds. Still VERY hungry, gave her more egg. Let her out a couple times, brushed her, went over her with doggy wipes. She's finally settled down at my feet, but as I have to get up and fix human dinner I reckon she'll pop up again. She certainly hasnt shown any lethargy or 'inappetance'(that means 'dont want to eat' in vetspeak) so far, or nausua. Hoping the weekend goes well with no side effects, the rain is supposed to stop and we can get some 'running time' in..

I read several of your emails at lunchtime, your prayers,love and support are so welcome ... Ginger's 'fan club' is amazing. (One of her fan club members has named her 'Ginger of the Flying Ears', what a great name for my beautiful red dog! )I've had several people tell me they have 'missed' installments, I'm going to try to put up a 'blog' for Ginger and post all of the entries to date, and pictures, then update it with the daily updates. (Wish me luck, I'm down to one computer (and most of my pictures are on the other computer, of course) and the Net connection out here is very iffy sometimes!)

Thursday Feb.4

Thurs Feb. 4
Ginger very lively this AM! Husband let dogs out as I wasn't feeling well (I think the stress of yesterday wore me down), she burst out of pen, ran to trailer, husband let her in and she jumped into bed with me. Got up, gave her meds, dressed, took dogs for AM run, picked up poison poop (the chemo excretes in poop for 48 hrs) fed... got a migraine and had to lay down again. Finally made it to work. Husband reports Ginger did well today, eating great, no nausua, cold damp day but dogs 'helped' husband work on road over drainage ditch (which is caving in), rolled in grass and had a great time. Return home after dark, husband had fed and kenneled dogs ... let Ginger in for evening meds at 8 PM, disaster ... (if you are offended by poop, you can stop reading here)

husband had her inside with diaper before he fed and kenneled dogs and forgot to remove diaper (one of her 'pants' with pad) when he let her out and of course she had taken a poop. So here I am with a dog with diaper full of poison poop (I dont mind poopy diapers, its the poison part that bothers me). Meantime, Damcat comes into kitchen and throws up (I ran out of his regular cat food and gave him another brand.) Had husband hold Ginger, cleaned up cat mess, put on rubber gloves, disposed of poop, wiped off Ginger as best I could with paper towels and doggy wipes,(unfortunately poop was very soft), disposed of those, disposed of gloves,put on new pair, took Ginger into tub, washed her off, (with husbands help, fortunately Ginger likes being bathed) dried her, rediapered her, put towels and bathmats in washer, removed rubber gloves and disposed of them, then gave evening meds (plus some of the Flagyl the vet had given in case of diarrhea, I don't know if this counts or not, but she's going to have to be either in the kennel or house tomorrow , its supposed to pour rain all day and I wont be here and I cant take any chances). If she's in the house there's nowhere outside thats covered so she can go out, I think she'll be better off in the kennel, where she has her dog house and the pen area is covered, at least she can get out to take care of business under cover .... Poor Ginger, none of this was her fault, she is so patient and sweet, and she apparently 'held it' til husband let her out and kenneled her. At least no nausua yet, and hopefully we can make it through tomorrow (after 48 hrs the Doxy will all be excreted so no more poison poop, just plain poop.) Ginger is now curled up quietly snoozing at my feet.

Prayers are greatly needed, God give me strength to carry on, help Ginger not have any bad side effects and help us through tomorrow ....


Wed Feb.3
Ginger went for her 3rd chemo today. The ultrasound showed her sublumbar lymph nodes still enlarged, though smaller, the others down, kidneys normal, urethers normal (so the renal failure was caused by the swollen nodes compressing her urethers). She's not in remission yet, so the oncologist recommended bringing out the 'big guns' (Doxyrubin) this week instead of doing Vincristine this week and Doxy next. Hopefully the Doxy will reduce the lymph nodes in 2 weeks. However its the most toxic of the drugs and the most likely to have bad side effects over the next 10 days. And if it doesn't work, well, there are other 'rescue protocols' they can use, but, will cross that bridge when we come to it.

The oncologist said Ginger is 'remarkably' bright, cheerful, and energetic for a 'dog in her condition'. We were in Greenville all day, didnt get Ginger back til 430, and it took a long time to get home, had an accident in the car and had to stop and get diaper pads (human) as I'd of course forgotten to bring extra in the rush to leave this AM (got up, ran the dogs, fed, gave Ginger her meds), had to stop again for a pee break a half hour later. (We stopped in a park in a small rural town, there were CHILDREN! and Ginger got out of the car and ears perked up, she spotted the CHILDREN! and wanted SO badly to run and play with them (she's the one of my dogs I take for pet therapy work with children, ah, she loves them, and is so gentle with them, lets them climb all over her, pull her ears, rub her tail and just stands there with an ecstatic smile ...) and I really hate she had to spend the beautiful day in a hospital getting poked and pricked and IV'd instead of running around in the sunshine. I am praying my brave gentle lady doesnt get bad side effects, I so want some more quality time for her (and yes, I'm greedy, when this started I just wanted 'one more run' ... )

The other dogs were so glad to see us 'safe home', they'd had to be kenneled all day in this beautiful weather, AND a FedEx delivery came (which means a stranger came onto the property and left a package at the trailer door... this must have really sent them over the edge, both humans gone (my husband went with me) and a stranger on the property...) but they were very sweet to Ginger and restrained themselves. And the poor Damcat ... he had gotten into the closet right before we left and idiot Mary Lou closed the door, poor Damcat, closed up in the closet all day (though he didnt make a mess, and, was comfortably curled up on top of my stack of blue jeans when we got home, and in true cat fashion, looked at me, yawned, stretched, and sauntered casually into the kitchen to ask 'well, where's dinner, and it better be good, since there wasnt any lunch'.)

Your continued prayers and support are truly appreciated, and needed, I can't ever thank you all enough. Ginger and I (and the rest of the pack, including my husband and the Damcat) can't ever thank you all enough. We sure can't do this alone

Tues Feb.2

Tues Feb.2
Ginger's bloodwork turned out well (WBC ok, renal normal, calcium normal), she's gained 3.6 lbs (up to 41.6), local vet FAXed to oncologist who said bring her tomorrow for 3rd chemo! Cold chilly rainy day, got one very brief run in AM before work, another one in late afternon after husband brought Ginger back from vet, I had to go to an evening (work related) meeting, fed and kenneled dogs before I left, got back let Ginger in and gave her evening meds. Ginger is dong SO well, I hope we won't get bad side effects from tomorrow's chemo (Apparently you can't tell in advance, sometimes even if a dog has had no side effects from a certain drug before, it may the next time. This is truly a day by day experience.) But whatever will happen will happen, I've had Ginger back now over a week with some beautiful moments ... she's run with the other dogs, helped Banshee catch a mouse, had wonderful naptime on her couch, eaten great delicacies (egg, liver, chicken, tripe) , and is curled up at my feet as I type. Her eyes are bright, her tail wags cheerfully, her ears perk at sights and sounds, her great heart and capacity for love and life are a blessing. Your continued prayers and support are truly appreciated, and needed, I can't ever thank you all enough.

Monday Feb.1

Mon Feb.1
Cold this AM, brief run, Ginger very peppy. Gave her AM meds went to work. Husband reports she was feeling fine today, napped awhile, went out, then he had to go into town to doctor so left all kenneled. When returned in evening after dark, Ginger inside, others still out (husband said he was concerned about leaving her loose with the other dogs in the dark when he couldnt see them, I doubt anything would happen but I know what he means, if there were a deer in the wods and all of them took off after it for example), let her out briefly then fed and kenneled all (in the dark)... let her in for evening meds, she's full of vim and vigor, wanted to go out again (not to pee just to run around, well, it was a nice afternoon and they had to be kenneled while husband in town).... she's settled down now in position by me feet .... Sorry to have had to miss today, it was a pretty one, but I have GOT to get my 'day job' caught up. Tomorrow we'll see how her bloodwork is and decide whether to proceed with chemo on Wednesday ...

Your continued prayers and support are my lifeline

Sunday Jan.31

Sun Jan.31
A beautiful Sunday! Very cold last night, put all dogs in heated shed in their crates. Ginger got through the night OK, one accident in her crate (did have pee pads but she had pushed it up to one side, of course) I think she'd have been fine in her heated dog house, but, the others don't have heated doghouses, and I like to put them in the shed if below 20 degrees, and I didnt want to leave Ginger out in the kennel area by herself.

Had a brief (very brief, it was still about 21 degrees) morning run run, kenneled,fed, let Ginger back inside, gave her AM meds, went to church (beautiful service, a double christening!). When returned, had another run, this time neighbor's little Jack Russell showed up (she can get through my fence) and ran with us. Ginger full of vitality, made a 3/4 circuit of the property, even down to the woods. Let her back inside, she napped, then ate some more. Took all dogs for van ride in afternoon, got back around dark, kenneled and fed, then let Ginger back in for evening meds. She's now asleep on the couch. My husband took some photos this afternoon (and surprised me with some he'd taken of Ginger mid week!) which came out pretty good (if you ignore the funny looking old lady in her red hoodie) I wanted one of Ginger running, but the camera didnt cooperate (well, actually, the lens got wet when my husband threw the ball for Snoopy into one of the drainage ponds and she shok herself dry while he was trying to take a snapshot..... maybe tomorrow he can get one of Ginger running (while I'm at work).

A good day! Thank you, Lord, and thank all of you for continuing to pray for my beautiful red girl...

Saturday Jan.30

Sat Jan 30
Ginger doing fine today despite the nasty weather which thank Heaven was not as bad as predicted. Got up late, drizzling, let dogs out for brief run (including Ginger), she shot out of her kennel like a red streak (with a green sweatshirt) we went to the bottom of the hill and back then fed and kenneled and took Ginger inside for meds. Slept most of AM , out briefly at lunch (Snoopy insisted on diving into the drainage pond, despite the drizzle). Ginger back inside, dried off and diapered, had lunch, slept while I did wash and other cleaning chores. Crated rest of dogs around 3 as its still nasty and drizzly (and they were clamoring to go inside their shed). This would not be much different than our normal routine on a cold wet winter day.... husband took them all out a little later (now just a bone chilling mist) for brief run, let Ginger back in, dried her off and changed her sweatshirt, then fed and kenneled them all. Will bring Ginger inside again in awhile for her evening meds.

It's now been a whole WEEK since Ginger got to come back home!! Hooray!! And she's gotten to run and be with the other dogs, and had 2 beautiful warm (60's) days .... God is good. And your prayers and support mean SO much to me, and to Ginger...

Friday Jan.29

Fri Jan 29
Ginger spent the night in the kennels with the other dogs, in her now heated doghouse with the washable piddle pad ... and was dry this AM; I let her out first and she headed for the fence and got about a quarter of her 'perimeter run' in, the other dogs and I followed down the hill, where she joined us. She then wanted to go back up the hill... not breathing hard, clearly happy from the run, but not 'full steam' yet.Fed and kenneled dogs , took Ginger inside for meds, diapered her and after a few minor inconveniences regarding taxes due (in another county, yikes, husband wil have to take care of that) and tires that needed air, off to work. Husband called later, said she slept awhile, hung out with the other dogs awhile, then he had to kennel everybody as he had to go into town. Returned home after dark, no chance for a run, fed all dogs and brushed them, brought Ginger inside for meds around 8, fed her a bit more (I'm feeding her small meals throughout the day, rather than our usual 2 meals, as this seems to suit her digestive system better now and the oncologist thought it a good idea, The Damcat is thrilled by this arrangement, as he gets to lick the spoon or get small bites while Ginger gets her egg or cottage cheese or dog food or liver water...) She wanted to go out again, and, wanted to run down the hill in the night, but turned around when I didnt follow her (no, I'm not about to go stumbling around in the dark with a flashlight, the terrain is too rough) came inside, was rediapered, and is now laying at my feet asleep. I got my husband to pick up a sub-cu kit at the vet when he was in town, in case I need it over the weekend ... we're supposed to have freezing rain or snow or something horrible tonight and tomorrow, and anyone who's ever been through even minor 'snow events' in the deep South knows that you do NOT want to go out on the roads, as no one knows how to drive on ice or has equipment to be able to do so safely and its like one of those bumper car rides at the fair. Hoping it doesn't knock out power, but we have a travel trailer, a gas heater in the dog shed, so hopefully all will be fine.

Thanking you all again for the continued prayers and support, stay warm and safe and dry if you're in the path of these ice storms (wow this is a heckuva winter so far)...

Thursday Jan.28

Thurs Jan.28
Another good day with a few ups and downs. When I had Ginger inside last evening, she was fine, sleeping at my feet, then she started becoming very agitated and restless, panting, wanted to go out, ran around the yard, quivering with nervous energy (and not a 'good feeling energy', I can't really explain it but quite different.)
I let her run, then put her up in her kennel for the night, this AM when I went out to let the dogs out she had wet herself in the night. I was in a rush as had to get to an 830 meeting, so I brought her inside, cleaned her up, gave her her AM meal and meds and fixed the food for the rest of the dogs so my husband could feed them. Missed our AM run. After the meeting and some other work I was heading to another town to work there when my husband called and said she'd been asleep on the couch and wet herself.

Clearly something had to be done. Fortunately it was warm out today, so I told him to leave her out with the other dogs (and him and his worker) ; I then got doggie diapers, piddle pads etc. Also called the oncologist about reducing her prednisone (because of last night's agitation and the peeing in her sleep, he said to cut evening dose in half. He asked if she was still happy and enjoying life, and I said yes... ) Took off work early (around 330) and returned home, had a good couple of hours with the dogs, Ginger is now RUNNING (not far, not long, but her beautiful cantering lope), the other dogs are still very respectful and gentle with her. (I think this is what is impressing me the most, how kind and gentle the other dogs are with her. And the Damcat too ... doesn't swipe at her when she walks by, shares food with her (I put Ginger's bowl down and give the Damcat the spoon to lick ... before he'd have been swatting her away from the bowl, now he doesn't.)

We (the other dogs and I) spent time watching her wade in the drainage ditch, sniffing for who knows what, tail wagging madly, alerting to birds, loping around enjoying the beautiful day. I took her in after awhile, put her diaper on her, and gave her a late afternoon dish of eggs and (cooked) liver water. A neighbor came by with a child's sweatshirt for her, we all went down to the gate to greet her. Around dark I fed and put all the dogs up went back and got her at 8 PM for evening meds, and small meal, let her out for a pee and then put her in her doggie diaper, she's now curled up at my feet in the computer room; the couch is now piddle proof, her dog house now has piddle pads. Hopefully this will alleviate the wetting in her sleep problem. Tomorrow its supposed to start raining and turn much colder, so she'll have to be inside more .... and I wont be here during the day; hopefully the diapers (I got the kind that's a wet proof pants you put a pad in) and piddle pads (I have both kinds, the disposable and a kind that is washable) will make it possible for her to be inside with my husband, or if he has to leave, warm and dry in her doghouse.

Hanging in there .... Thanks to your continued prayers and support

Wed Jan.27

Wed Jan 27
Another good day for my sweet Ginger, though I had to go to work so missed most of it... it was cold this AM, (20's), Ginger had spent the night in the now heating pad heated kennel. Let all dogs out, they were all bursting with energy, of course, the routuine used to be I let Ginger out first and she'd take off and run a complete circuit of the property by the time the other dogs and I made it down the hill ... now, though, she just stuck close to the rest of us in the yard area, then wanted to go in the trailer, so let her in, gave her a morning half can of food and her meds, did a brief run with the others, came back up, got the rest of the food then cleaned the pens and rekenneled them all. (I feed her a bit more with the other dogs/) Running late so went to work. The oncologist vet called around lunch to see how she was doing, the 'plan' now is (God willing) to take her to the local vet Tuesday andget her bloodwork and FAX to him to see if she can do the 3rd round chemo on Wed (has to be done at the oncologist as it is injection). He was surprised she was doing so well, I could tell ... I asked what she could eat and he said 'anything she wants'.

Husband reports that he let them all out again, gave Ginger some scrambled egg around 1030, she then slept inside an hour or so, went back out, and basically hung out with the rest of the pack (and my husband and his worker who were fixing electrical in the garage) all day, he let her in again around 130, gave her cottage cheese and the other half can food. She is eating well, just acting like a member of the pack, he says. When I got home it was dark, all dogs kenneled (fed and kenneled at dark). I brought Ginger inside at 8 PM to take her evening meds and gave her a half can food and some cooked ground chicken. She was exuberant when she came in, jumped up, put her legs on my shoulders and gave me a big kiss. (Yeah, I know, I dont encourage this uninvited, but hey.) She's now settled down beside me at the comupter, sleeping.

I still cant find an Xtra large dog shirt locally, so I got another sweatshirt (the smallest I could find was medium women's ) green, cut off the arms for her. I wonder why I cant find ANY children's sweatshirt at the stores today (had to stick to the ones I passed on the way home, General Dollar and Fred's, as it was late and I wanted to get HOME and see my Ginger.

Again and again, thank you all for your prayers and support. I KNOW this is helping Ginger (and me). Through the grace of God, she's had 5 good days at home with her animal and human family, is cheerful, lively, loving and sweet.

Tuesday Jan.26

Tues Jan 26

Took Ginger to local vet this AM for her bloodwork, then went to 5 different stores and finally found an outdoor dog kennel heating pad. Then went to (work related) community meeting. Vet called me 2 hours later (just as I was going into the meeting), 'very heartened with the changes in Ginger, her weight up to 38.8 (2.2 lb gain since Friday), abdominal mass palpates smaller and white blood cell count back up to normal, in fact a little elevated so sent her home with a refill on the Baytril antibiotics'. Sent the bloodwork to oncologist,Gave her the Cytoxan and Lasix. Also sub-cu fluids. I brought her home around 4 PM. We had to stop to pee on the way home, peed again when we got home, drank a lot of water. My husband let the other dogs out, they ran over, then stopped, sniffed her politely. I gave them all treats. She was shaking (it's very windy) so I then put her inside, fed her a bit, then took the other dogs for a brief run .... ran briefly then came to the trailer and waited. Ginger was standing at the door waiting. So, I backed the other dogs off (she wont come out if they're crowded around the door, (never has) let Ginger out, she drank a bunch more water, sniffed the other dogs, peed, then went back inside. I then had her lay down on the couch while I fixed the other dogs food. Meanwhile my husband was putting the outdoor dog heating pad in her dog house. (had to run a drop cord from the shed out to her pen, the wire to the pad is metal plated to avoid chewing) and it hooks up outside the pen I then got the food and let Ginger out, we went to the pens and I fed them 'as usual'. Ginger took a big poop after eating while I was in the shed so I cleaned that up (didnt look bad) using plastic gloves and great care , left them with their nightime chewies. I will bring her in at 8 PM to do her medication routine (its impossible to do out near the kennels, there is a light but its too dim to see things like pills) and let her stay inside until time for us to go to bed. I am praying the heated pad keeps her warm enough (there is straw, blankets etc in the dog houses) because if I can only get some sleep I may be able to carry on to help my sweet girl (whose splendid spirit continues to amaze all who meet her).

Your continued prayers and support are again, appreciated, more than you can ever know. I feel like Ginger (and I) have an entire team pulling for us, both here locally and all over the world.

Monday Jan.25

Mon Jan 25

As my last update said, I was going to leave Ginger out in her doghouse-kennel with the other dogs last night,as there was no covered area for her to go out and pee near my railer and she had not adjusted well to peeing in the rain under an umbrella. But, We had terrible storms last night, so I brought Ginger in around 10 PM and put the others in the shed. After the storms passed put her back in her dog house-kennel again. (around 5 AM) It was fairly warm last night (50's). I overslept because I was so tired and the electric had gone out so my alarms didnt go off. I took today off work again, as I ended up again with little sleep last night; I am pretty useless on my job unless I am in good shape mentally, its very 'multi-tasked' as they say nowadays. Fortunately I have an understanding boss and co-workers

Ginger 'ran' with the pack this AM, all the way down the hill and back up (we didnt make the full circuit of the property). Fed her in the pens with the others, after an hour let them out; Ginger came inside. Very high winds today but not very cold. The other dogs all are very solicitous, even DB, not pushing her. We had several brief excursions outside with the other dogs, and a van ride, I fed her as usual WITH the others, left them in their pens this evening 'as usual'. I then went and brought her in (cause I have to do medications at 8.) I wanted us to have a good day today. We did.

The vet office called, I'd thought I was supposed to take her in tomorrow at 10, now they say 'drop her off' between 730 and 9; I explained AGAIN that I want to know what the bloodwork is before deciding whether to proceed with the Cytoxan and they said they would call.

Sunday Jan.24

Sun Jan 24

Brief because I keep losing Internet due to weather. Ginger is still
about the same, bright, loving, cheerful, but very weak, can trot but
not run, eating ravenously (the prednisone). Had some interactions
with the other dogs today, went for a trot down the hill with Snoopy
(and then slept a long time). I've fed her in her pen next to the
others, let her out once, very briefly, on the way to the pens with
the other 3. She wants to run with the others so badly, but I am
afraid because she is so frail. I have put her in her pen tonight
(each dog has a separate pen with doghouse under a carport cover) as
she has to go out to pee every hour or two 9max) and its raining, and
there is no covered area near my trailer. Also, frankly, I dont think
my husband or I can go another night with no sleep (I had not realized
the pred would have SUCH an effect on peeing, I thought well maybe 4
hours, but every hour?)

Thank you all for your continued love, prayers and support. I KNOW it
is helping me, and I believe helping Ginger also.

Saturday Jan.23

Sat Jan 23
Doing OK. Had an accident last nite Ginger went out at 1230, 230, 430. Then she wanted to get on the bed, it is too high for her now to get on herself my DH lifted her up, she went to sleep. 630 she walked across me to my DH and nuzzled him and he said go back to sleep. She did and had an accident. Have to buy new mattress. DH has gone to town to buy one. I didnt realize shed have to go out every 2 hrs, she does warn us (ask) but since she was in the bed with us I didnt wake up sufficieintly to understand. I have had her out several times today, kenneled her briefly next to the other dogs (to feed) then later let her out with one dog (snoopy). She is so frail I'm scared to let her out with all 3 at a time as they are so boisterous and I cant watch all of them at a time. Snoopy is the less aggressive dog and primarily interested in playing ball. I've got her in an old sweatshirt of mine that was (believe it or not) too small for me, with the arms cut short. I just cant keep her outside that long she starts shivering. She does NOT like being in a shirt, but, as always, is very patient and accepting. Would we all be so patient. She did trot down the hill with Snoopy and I and trot back up, not a run but a trot, the beautiful Irish setter legs liftying proud trot ... then wanted to go back inside where she fell asleep. She would eat everything in sight but the vet said just give her 1 can AM and PM (Hills kidney diet, very low protein). I've also given her a bully stick, a bunch of chicken treats (very small) and all these meds they have her on (2 antibiotics, prednisone, pepcid) and my supplements. Its supposed to rain all day tomorrow, that should be unpleasant. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

Friday Jan.22

Fri Jan 22

The blood work this AM showed the white blood count still too low so
2d chemo not possible. The vet is discharging Ginger this afternoon. I
will pick her up and bring her home. I have not actually talked to the
vet, she is off today but came in to read the bloodwork and consult
with oncologist by phone. I do not know the other blood work levels
(like the calcium and kidney values.) If Ginger is still hanging in by
Tuesday I am to take her back in to check the blood again. If her
condition deteriorates rapidly I will help her across the bridge.If I learn
anything new from the vet this afternoon I will let you know.

If anyone has ideas on anything I can do this weekend to help bring
her white blood cells up let me know. I want to do everything within
my power to see if I can help her beat this she has tried so hard.

Thank you for continued prayers and support. Please include my other
dogs and cat in your prayers, this is affecting them also, I have
tried to keep them informed and not be upset around them but they
Brought Ginger home from vet around 4 PM. Let her walk around a bit then took
her inside, let the other dogs out for evening run, of course they
wanted to see Ginger (as they simply circled around where she'd been
instead of heading off down the hill) so I kenneled them per usual
then brought Ginger out to her kennel, fed them all and left them for
about an hour. I am leery of letting them all loose together, these
are large boisterous outside dogs, and Ginger was shaking. Leaving
them quietly in their kennels, she stopped shaking. I then went out
and brought her inside. I will try her with the other dogs tomorrow
probably one at a time if I can manage it.

Ginger is very lively, in good spirits, the vet staff is amazed by
her. She is also skin and bone, dropped another 2 lbs, (now 36.8 lbs) tho eating like
crazy. I have a Tshirt on her because she looks cold, also she is so
skinny and has been shaved and it makes me sad every time I look at
her which I dont think is good for her or for me. There were no X-L
dog shirts available in town and her chest is too large (just the bone
structure) for Large so its one of my shirts with the excess material
rubberbanded .

She is on antibiotics, prednisone, pepcid, I've added a supplement K9
immunity which is supposed to build immune system. I also have all my
dogs (and humans) on astragulus and Vit C, I will up hers.

Her renal function is normal (no idea how long that will last since
she is now off IV fluids) Her calcium level still high 13.4, her white
blood count 3.3 with neutrophils .87
I will try the Reiki white light.
Thank you all for your continued prayers (I think this has kept her going as long as she has and kept her in good spirits, her spirit continues to amaze e?veryone who comes in contact with her) and support and input on things to try.

I am going to do my darndest to make this weekend (and any more time we have) wonderful for Ginger, lots of love, lots of treats.

Thursday Jan.21

Thurs Jan 21
Ginger is still at local vet, on IV fluid and antibiotics, giving it til tomorrow to see if white blood count goes high enuf to try the 2d chemo. I didnt see her today as I was in Greenwood, my husband visited her, the vet and staff had told me earlier she was very lively, eager to go outside, barking, they had her in the reception area so she could be around people, but didnt want him to come visit til 5, as they were concerned it'd get her even more agitated when he left. I was so glad they'd found a way of keeping her where she could be around people (she's a 'people' dog, not a 'dog' dog, she prefers being around people, though she gets along fine with dogs (and cats) as long as they can 'run' together (she doesn't like to roughouse with other dogs) My husband says he thinks the lymph masses are smaller and she really wanted to go out (but it was raining). She'd been out in AM for a 10 minutes 'run' in their small enclosed yard. I'm sure she IS going crazy being inside now that she's feeling better. Even with all she is eating she has lost another pound. Tomorrow, we'll know if its possible to try the 2d chemo (to which she has a 50-50 chance of response, according to the oncologist.)

Your continued prayers and support are SO much appreciated. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for my sweet girl.

Wed Jan.20

Wed Jan 20

We had a good night last night (though she had to go out to pee 3x)
ate a lot last night and this AM, was fine with the Damcat, trotted
(not ran, but a trot!) around the yard (but did not run like the wind
down the hill). I let the other dogs out for their run, then kenneled
them, then took Ginger out and she went to her kennel (next to the
others). I then fed them all (Ginger again) I am leery of letting her
and the others loose together as she is so frail but I wanted them to
see her and vice versa. I then took Ginger to the vet in Aiken to get
back on IV fluids. This was very difficult to do, I wanted to keep her
home. But I need to see if she can get the 2d chemo treatment and if
it will work. If I keep her off the fluids too long it will lessen her
chances is my understanding. But taking her to the local vet and
leaving her again was very hard. (Though Ginger, bless her, did not
show any fear, (except of 2 little poodles who were yapping), greeted
everyone in the lobby including 2 cats, was told she was a beautiful
brave good girl (I had to explain what was wrong as she is shaved and
looks pathetic) and then trotted off with the vet tech perfectly
cheerfully. Ginger is much braver than I am:-)

Later Wednesday
Talked to local vet, she had done bloodwork, white blood count still low, and FAXed to oncology vet. He later called back and said add antibiotics to the IV in the hopes this will raise the white blood count so she can tolerate the chemo. Vet was surprised at how lively Ginger is, said she certainly doesnt act like a dog with terminal cancer, and what a magnificent spirit she has , and she can certainly understand why I want to give her this last chance. All these people who have said how beautiful and wonderful Ginger is , I wish they could have met her 2 weeks ago. ....
maybe our prayers will be answered and we will get a remission, and this sweet girl will have some more time on this earth.

Tuesday Jan.19

Tues Jan 19

Talked to the oncology vet this AM. Ginger's calcium still high. He said her white blood count too low to do 2d chemo today. I asked his thoughts on bringing her home on no fluids (except sub-cu which I could do) he said in his opinion that was a mistake, she needed to be on the fluid if the 2d chemo would have a chance of working. I asked if she could come home to my town and be at a vet there on fluids, he said certainly, he'd give me the chemo (pills) and he'd work with the vet. I have several vets here, the one that was open today I contacted and they said OK. So late this afternoon I went to Greenville (I was already halfway there as I work in Greenwood) and got my Ginger. She is bright, cheerful but still oh so skinny, but very glad to see me. I finally got her home, (we stopped once to pee, there were other adventures that I may detail later) she greeted my husband, ate a bunch of food, drank, and went to sleep on her couch.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I am praying she'll be able to get the next chemo and that it will work to bring her calcium down. The lymph swelling is diminished from what it was Saturday but still swollen. I am also praying that she'll be able to come home after a few more days IV fluid. But we've gotten this far. The vet put her chances at about 50-50 for the next dose to work. I figured that was worth a shot. And I just couldnt stand leaving her way up there any longer.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Sunday Jan.17

Sun Jan 17

Weekend vet called this AM. Ginger is eating well 'she loved her canned food', her renal function is now 'high end normal' (creatinine 1.4 ) but the calcium level is the same as yesterday. The vet is going to add Lasix 'hoping that will bring calcium down' . The last chemo was Thursday. Apparently they wait a week to do 2d round and use a different chemo drug and some dogs respond to one but not the other. She is not an oncologist so said couldnt answer my questions about specifics. The oncologist will be there Monday. I still dont quite grasp at what point it can be determined if the chemo is working, I guess I'd thought we'd know more quickly than this. At least she is now eating well and is not sick (nauseous) or in pain.

Thank you for your continuing prayers and support. My other dogs (and cat) are doing better, I don't know if its that they understand whats going on or if they have just decided Ginger is gone ... but I remember my Damcat mourned the loss of my other cat, Callie,and didnt accept that she was gone until I brought her ashes home.

Saturday Jan.16

Sat Jan 16

My husband and I went to Greenville this AM (left at 6 AM, got back 1130) to
visit Ginger. She is stable, but the calcium level is the same. She is 'clinically'
much improved . she is eating some now, we got to walk outside and she
alerted to birds.ears up, in 'setter stance', straining on leash. She is still my
Ginger, wagging her tail, kissing my face, sitting for treats (and she now
takes treats again)but this is an outside hunting dog she does not belong in a
hospital but she is being very brave and stoic. Her kidney function is improved
as the IV fluid is working. But if the calcium level doesnt drop that means the
cancer isnt responding, this happens quicker in dogs than people. I will know
more from tomorrows bloodwork.

I no longer feel Ginger may think I've abandoned her, she made that perfectly
clear. The staff at the hospital are very knowledgeable and good with
animals, I dont think she is in any pain or discomfort (except of course the IV
tubes bother her and she has to wear an ecollar when not monitored. she is
not apparently bothered by that, as some of my other dogs would be.)

Your continued prayers and support are appreciated. I believe in miracles and
the power of prayer

Friday Jan.15

Fri Jan 15

Ginger is still in the oncology center in Greenville, on IV fluids, still very ill...
This morning's bloodwork showed a slight improvement in the calcium
level and creatinine (kidney), no improvement in BUN. She had eaten a
few spoonfuls of food late last night, none this AM. This afternoon
(530) the vet said she had eaten a whole bowl of food, was brighter,
he did an ultrasound and the swollen lymph nodes had gone down a
'fraction'. She is still wagging her tail whenever someone comes in
the room, he said she seemed more alert and 'brighter'. . Of course,
sick as she was when we got there Wed, she walked into the clinic
(well, not her normal proud strut, head up, tail up, more of a
shamble, but she was walking... greeted an elderly guy in the waiting
room (at least walked over to him and stood there waiting to be
petted), wagged her tail at each new person, licked me in the face
when I said goodbye, etc. He said some dogs with not as bad bloodwork
and cancer wont even get up and walk and have to be carried in, so its
hard to tell from 'clinical signs'. . Ginger is a very friendly and
loving dog (though very polite about it, not 'in your face' friendly
like my DB) and apparently that is still with her no matter how sick
she is.

He said basically she is improving, very slowly, she still needs to
be on the IV fluids because of her kidney failure. He said if her CA
level continues to drop the swelling should go down, and we'll be able
to tell if there is underlying kidney disease (or permanent kidney

I am going up in the AM to see her (have to get there between 8 AM
and 9 AM. They'll do bloodwork around 8AM, so I should be able to get
an update on her bloodwork and see if we're still progressing.

Thank you for all the prayers and good thoughts, I believe that is
helping my girl carry on.

Ginger update Thurs Jan.14

hurs Jan.14

Called oncologist Today in AM, talked to vet tech, said they'd done
blood work and the calcium level was down a little bit but all other
labs the same, including kidney and liver. So she is still in renal
failure. Tech said she had eaten a little last night and in AM, has
had 1 course of chemo, said they walked her outside and she was a
little 'brighter' (shes been on IV fluid since I left her there
yesterday). Called again around 530, talked to vet. She has stopped
eating. She still 'alerts' wags her tail when people come in the room
her kennel is in. He is now saying she  may have some kind of
underlying kidney disease, since she is so small for an Irish setter
and we know nothing of her parentage it may be congenital. He said
wait and see how the bloodwork is tomorrow.  I got the impression that dogs
usually respond to the chemo faster, my recollection of what he originally said
was often within a few hours, at the latest within 2 days, the calcium going
down shows some response but I gathered (you know how doctors are) that
he is very worried about the renal function and mainly worried that she is not
eating (as an indicator that she doesnt feel better) My heart is aching thinking
of leaving her alone up there, I wish I could tell her somehow I havent
abandoned her. Poor Ginger has been abandoned by her guardians so many
times, and here it must look like to her I've gone and done it too.

Ginger is very ill Wed Jan.13

Wed Jan 13

For those of you who do not know already, my Irish setter Ginger is
very ill. Last Thursday, she was fine, running,playing,energetic.
Friday she didnt want to eat but did. (she is normally very
enthusiastic about food) Saturday she refused to eat, stopped pooping
and started losing energy. I then noticed a small swollen area in her
abdomen by her back leg, by this time it was afternoon and all vets
closed. Her temp was normal, she still hadnt pooped, I thought perhaps
an obstruction, anyway I took her to emergency vet in Augusta Sunday
after church, by this time the swelling was much more pronounced,
xrays and bloodwork showed possible cancer (lymphoma) Finally got
referral to Upstate oncologist for Wednesday (due to the ER vet not
referring and instead sending me back to my regular vet Monday who
said (rightly) the ER vet needed to do the referral, I didnt get appt
til Wed as I couldnt go Tuesday due to a hearing). Mon and Tues she
got weaker and weaker, I managed to get her to eat a little pureed raw
chicken livers mixed with water and thats about it

Ginger update Wed Jan 13
Last night was a bad night. Ginger could no longer get up on 'her
couch' without help. She woke us every 2 hours (by shambling into the
bedroom and sticking her nose in my face) to go outside to potty.
About 4 AM she also vomited and pooped (first poop since Friday). In
the AM it took everything she had to get up, get into the car and make
the long drive to Greenville (normally 2 hrs, road work and a detour
added another half hour). She had her appointment at 11, they did an
ultrasound (had to shave her abdomen) more Xrays, bloodwork and
aspirated the by now hugely swollen lymph nodes. Around 3 PM we were
called in to talk to the vet. Basic diagnosis lymphoma, the nodes so
swollen were pressing on her kidneys and uretha which is why she is in
renal failure and colon. No tumors on liver (as the ER dr had thought
possible). The mass is the swollen lymph nodes not a tumor Her blood
work was basically the same as on Sunday. I left her there to be
hospitalized as they need to give her IV fluids to try to help the
kidney failure, we'll know by AM if this works sufficiently for chemo
to be possible. He said her prognosis (because of the multiple nodes
involved) was probably 6 mo if the weekly chemo sends cancer into
remission. (I was hoping for a year, but OK///) He assured me that
we'd know fairly quickly if the cancer went into remission and her
quality of life would be back to normal, until the cancer recurred,
(in 6 mo or whenever) and it would probably recur in the same fashion
it started (fine one day, wont eat and slight swelling the next,
listless etc,near death in 3 days) At least I would KNOW the next time
what was going on]and could act quickly to help her over the bridge before

she got this
sick again. I would probably NOT opt for a second round of chemo (as
its my understanding the success rate is smaller and the time shorter)
or radiation. But we'll see when that happens. So, basically, I said
go for it, if I can buy her 6 good months, I will (and it looks like
it'll cost about $10,000 if we make it thru the whole treatment, as of
now its around $5,000.) I feel so stupid for not getting health
insurance on my dogs, I now have it on the other 3.

One good thing, he put my mind at rest about my not spotting this
earlier, he said that lymph nodes can do this, swell up that
quickly, what was unusual about Ginger is the 'normal' lymph nodes you
think would be affected are not, and these in the groin area usually
are only affected AFTER the others. He actually said that a vet could
have examined her Wednesday (before she got sick) and seen nothing
wrong unless for some reason they did bloodwork.

I will know in AM if her renal failure resolved and they can do chemo.
When we saw her after the appt, they'd given her sub-c fluid and she
was quite a bit livelier, we walked outside, etc. Everyone commented
on how unusual it was for a dog with this bad bloodwork and this bad
Xrays to be still walking at all, and relatively alert, and commented
on how sweet she is and how much she loves people (tail wagging etc).
(I told them she's my therapy dogs for children, as she is so sweet
and gentle with them.) The nurse (or vet tech) was crying right along
with me. Ginger is indeed a sweet soul, and has affected many lives,
not just mine. I'm grateful for the year and a half I have had her,
and God willing, another few months