Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Never Again!

Well, maybe one more time.

Meet Montana, the newest Di Silvestri dog.  She is a rescue dog, five or six years old and very sweet.  She doesn't have a whole lot of manners yet, and the cats despise her, but we love her.  We just couldn't help ourselves.

We were considering getting another dog sometime in the next few months, but we had all agreed that we did not want another Mastiff.  Although they have sweet dispositions and are great with kids, they tend to have health problems and don't live very long.  We did not want our kids to have to suffer another loss so soon.

However.  Sometimes things you are not looking for find you.  Montana was taken from her abusive owners by some women who train dogs for movie roles.  One of these women is a friend of the mom of one of Julia's friends.  When she heard about this dog needing a loving home, she remembered we had recently lost a Mastiff and were one of the few families she knew that was well-set up to receive a rescue dog like Montana.  Someone is almost always home, there are lots of people to pay attention to her, and we already understand the character of these large but gentle beasts.  So, they brought her over to meet us.

One minute was all it took.

I was the most resistant of all to the idea of another Mastiff.  However, when this scarred, broken and skinny dog came up to me, shaking like a leaf, she buried her head in my lap and found her way right into my heart.  She is my dog, more than anyone else's, and follows me everywhere I go.  She is not allowed upstairs because she has an unhealthy interest in the cats, so I have moved most of my desk operations downstairs to spend more time with her.  She wants to be a lap dog and is absolutely starved for affection.  When I stop rubbing her head, she pushes back into my hand and tries to get between me and anything else I am paying attention to that doesn't include her.

This poor dog was so mistreated.  She was chained to a fence most of her life and had terrible scarring around her neck from trying to pull away.  When the trainers took her from her owners she had a foul smelling infection and a broken rib.  She is fairly healthy now and prances around on her leash, but still has a lot of weight to gain (and doesn't eat much yet, which concerns me a bit) and plenty of manners to learn.  I am finding it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, though it is nearly impossible to get mad at her since no one ever taught her any better.  She is completely house broken, thank goodness, and doesn't bark much.  She is definitely a keeper.

We won't have her for long, given her age, but she is an unexpected blessing for us right now.  You know what they say..."If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans."  Montana was not in our plans, but here she is!  And we are glad.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Aint Nobody Got Time for Dat!

Here is the long-delayed revealing of what is happening with the tumor in my case anyone is interested.

After an X-Ray and an MRI of my right proximal femur, it appears that there is no risk for fracture and that the tumor is deep in the marrow, which may be painful but is not likely to break my bone at this time.  It is a fairly large tumor, 3 inches long.  Radiation was recommended for pain management.

Not too long ago I would have jumped right on the radiation table and been ready to kill that spot, but things have changed.  My attitude toward this cancer has become one of more or less peaceful co-existence rather than my former desire to kill, kill, kill.  Don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to see every last bit of it gone from my body, but since that is unlikely to happen, I am working with what I have.

Yes, my leg hurts, sometimes a lot, but many days it doesn't hurt at all.  After I verified with my oncologist that her recommendation to radiate was for pain only and not for a medically necessary reason, I happily declined.  I've become relatively casual about cancer in the bones, because it is not going to kill me.  Soft tissue organs are another story altogether, but for now all of those except the brain are totally clear.

I am way too busy to deal with radiation fatigue right now.   Fall is beyond crazy, with three football teams, a competitive gymnast, and two soccer teams, not to mention confirmation prep, two scout troops, band, choir, reading club and four different schools!  Throw in a husband who is gone more than he is home lately (not really complaining about that, we are blessed he has a good job) and you can see that I CAN NOT get sick.  Or tired.  Or spend 14 days straight driving to LA for radiation. There is just no way.

So, I have made a pact with the cancer:  Don't bother me further and I won't radiate you for now.  Good deal for us both, I think (though I am still waiting for confirmation from the cancer that it is on board with this).  I am very happy to be in a place of peace with this disease where I can choose quality of life over trying to completely eliminate it at any cost.

What the cancer doesn't yet know is that I am going back on TDM-1, now FDA approved and called Kadcyla.  The drug that worked so well for me at first diagnosis on a clinical trial is back in my life and I am really excited!  I was taken off the study when my brain mets appeared (even though it is not meant to cross the blood/brain barrier) but now that it is a real, marketable drug, I am hoping it does the same thing it did the first time I used it.  I hope it will knock back these bone mets so I don't need any radiation at all.  Sorry, cancer, but all's fair in war, right?

So that's the latest.  Everybody got time for dat!