Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dingo's Montly Check Up Results

We got some positive news from Dingo's vet, Dr. Norman, yesterday. After his first weeks of chemotherapy there are strong signs that he may be heading for remission. Hurray!!!

Fortunately, the swelling in his lymph nodes has gone down dramatically, which is the first good sign. His appetite has been normal for weeks and he's gained a pound. All positive news. Now we just have to get the results of his blood work to get more details.

Everyone send out good vibes to our buddy that the progress continues.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cancer Diet Update For Dingo

Just wanted to give a quick culinary update on our buddy's diet as there have been some changes in the past couple weeks. Again, this is for those who may find the information helpful when trying to navigate through everything posted online. Take it with a 'grain of salt', as I do want to clarify that these dietary steps are just what we've chosen for Dingo and may not be appropriate for your dog. Every pet needs a different ratio of nutrients and these should be calculated by talking to your vet.

Firstly, we're cooking all his food by hand, which is a real challenge, especially in the mornings. I've never had to prepare a daily breakfast for anyone, and Dingo being the early riser that he is, generally means I'm preparing his meals before 7AM. We're also mixing in supplements, as simply feeding him 'people food' isn't going to guarantee that his body will absorb everything it needs. All his food gets chopped up and finely grated for maximum digestion. From what we've learned, a dog's digestive tract is so short that food has a much more limited time in the body. So, the smaller the bits of food the better.

I've also been lucky enough to find a great natural pet food store just down the road called Pet's Naturally here in Sherman Oaks. The owner Marie really helped me pinpoint some supplements to help keep Dingo as healthy as possible. She's dealt with cancer in her own pets and her experience really helped in getting Dingo started on the right diet.
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Sample of a delectable meal from Dingo's menu at
Chateau Dunn-Martin


3/4 Cup Ground Chicken (patted dry to remove fat)
1 Clove of Garlic (shredded)
1/2 Carrot (shredded)
1/8 Cup of Broccoli (finely chopped)
1 Slice of Apple
6-12 Edamame (Unsalted Soy beans)

Current supplements added to meal

1 tsp Colostrum (a supplement for the immune system)
1 tsp Daily Maintenance Powder (chock full of vitamins and minerals)
4 Drops of Vitamin E Oil
1/2 tsp of Poly MVA (given once a day)
1 tsp of Liquid Supplements (with Fulvic Acid, Zeolite, Quantocil and Deuterium Sulfazyme in Purified Water)

… and that’s it! Sounds yummy doesn’t it? Well at least Dingo thinks so.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Big Day At The Beach

Hello again from Dingo,

Thanks to those who called or sent email messages when they read I was feeling down after my last chemotherapy shot. I wanted to sneak back online just to let everyone know I'm feeling much better now after a 'ruff' couple of days.

As a way of celebrating me being back on my paws, Mark and my Auntie 'T' took me to the beach, my absolute, number 1, favorite place to play! I can't explain it, but the minute I smell the salt air, see the waves through the open car window, something comes over me. The open sea seems to beckon me like an old friend, calling out to me to play together. I often wonder if I was a sailor in a past life.

No matter how much I pace in the back seat or whine to go faster, we can't get there soon enough. We visited Auntie T's favorite Leo Carrillo Beach north of a place called Malibu. Funny name! They have a small section where four-legged people like me can play together. The sand felt great under my paws and made me forget my cancer troubles.

You can still see my surgery scar in this photo. So much for vanity!

I really need to learn more camera courtesy and not block others with my tail.

Once again the camera came out and I was forced to sit still when I'd rather be playing, but I know it's important to them so I gave them some of my best poses.

video
Here's a slideshow of Mark and I playing dodge-dog

At the end of the day, we all took a long walk down the beach as the sun edged closer to the water. It was my first sunset at the beach and it was really magic. With the fresh salt air in my nostrils and the waves lapping near my paws, I relished just being in the moment. Despite my illness, it reminded me of all the great things to treasure in life and why it's so good to be a dog.

My favorite photo of Mark and me.

Until next time.

yours truly,

Dingo

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Ruff 24 Hours


Hello again, it's Dingo.

Well it's been a full week since I started my chemo treatment, and up until yesterday it hasn't been too bad. I've mostly felt like my usual playful self, despite the doctor's warnings that I may not react well to those medications. The only weird thing that happeded was I wet the bed in my sleep one night. Very embarrassing! I must have been dreaming of the ocean.

However, I wasn't so lucky this time around as the most recent shot I got from the doctor really didn't agree with me and has been very hard on my system. Yesterday my shot was Cyclophosphamide which is the final in my trio.

I woke up Mark around 3 AM feeling very strange and he walked me down to the backyard. All I could do was pace around in a fog, my head cloudy from the drug. After about half an hour I threw up my dinner and then just found a place to lie down to recoup and enjoy the night air. Dad and I sat together until I was ready to go back inside, and he spent the rest of the night looking over me as my behavior was pretty erratic. I'm sure I freaked him out.

Today, most of my time has been spent sleeping but I did manage to get a scrambled egg down this morning and a little hamburger for lunch. Hopefully tomorrow I'll wake up feeling myself again.

Signing off for now and heading back to bed.

Yours,

Dingo

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Owner Mark's Birthday

Today is my buddy Mark's birthday. He told me he's 6 1/2 today (in dog years), though I'm not sure what that is in human years. We celebrated together and I helped serve them cake. Couldn't have any myself but I could tell it was pretty tasty.

I took this photo of Mark blowing out the candle on his birthday cake but I kind of messed it up. I'm afraid I'm all paws when trying to work the camera.

Dingo's New Cancer Diet

Ever since Dingo's lymphoma diagnosis, we've spent numerous hours pouring over countless sites on the subject. We've amassed a lot of information on the disease, traditional and alternative treatments and diet plans. If you've been through this before then you know it's an overwhelming and sometimes frustrating process. There's so much data floating around out there and unfortunately, it often seems to conflict. We thought we'd begin posting details Dingo's new program for those looking for information.

This first post is on Dingo's new diet. We've made the decision to keep him away from grains (complex carbohydrates) as much as possible. The reasoning for this is explained in the excerpt below I found online by R.M. Clemmons, DVM, PhD, and was confirmed by Dingo's vet.
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Although eating healthy is the best tool in the fight against cancer, once cancer takes hold certain dietary changes may be help the patient fight against the effects of the cancer. Tumor cells rely heavily upon carbohydrates for their energy and rob the body of amino acids. On the other hand, tumor cells cannot utilize lipids (fats) for energy while the rest of the body can. As such, diets with increased fat content may slow tumor growth, allowing the patient to fight against the tumor. Protein content must be maintained a levels sufficient for tissue repair, but carbohydrates should be held to a minimum. For those who prefer to prepare their dogs food, the following diet contains the ingredients important for cancer patients. In addition, it supplies the important nutrients for cancer protection. For those who can not cook for their dog, a commercial food should be of good quality, moderate protein (18-22%) content, low carbohydrate (3-13%) content, and high fat (55-60%) content.
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As a result we've stopped feeding him commercial dog food as many use wheat, rice or corn as filler. He's now getting home prepared and cooked meals that are high protein. The list below represents his current 'Menu'. We laugh because he's now eating better than us at times.

Meat – chunked or ground (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, etc.)

Vegetables – (broccoli, spinach, celery, bok choy, carrot, capsicum)

Fruit – (whole apple, whole pear, whole grapefruit, whole orange)

Other Goodies – Whole egg, flax seed, garlic, kelp, alfalfa

Hope this information helps those looking for answers when dealing with their own pets struggle with cancer. I highly recommend you confirm this or any information you find on the subject with your own vet to make the best choices for your pal.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lymphoma Treatment Begins For Me

Hello again to those of you reading from behind this flat plastic screen. It's me, Dingo.

Well, the guys are away having something called 'sushi dinner' with the neighbors. I looked it up on the 'interweb' and it has something to do with raw fish! There's a food called Dragon Roll, which sounds funny, frightening and yummy all at the same time. Hopefully they'll bring some home for me to try.


While they are out I thought I'd sneak back onto the computer-machine and talk a little about the weekend, and my first two lymphoma treatments.

So even though I'm 5 and a half, it's always a little scary for me to go the vet. It smells weird, there's always doggy-drama and I never seem to be able to get out of there without a shot in my butt. However, the first treatment on Friday went so well that Monday's visit, when I got a shot of Asparaginase, was much easier to face. That Friday I had two shots. One was Prednisone for the inflimation in my stomach and the other Vincristine for my chemotherapy treatment. I heard the man in the blue shirt tell Mark that the shots might make me very sick that night. After hearing this I decided I needed to stay very brave for both he and Barry. They had already been through so much and I didn't want them to worry more. However, by the time I got home I was feeling great and I didn't get sick at all. Just the opposite. I was so starving after 2 weeks of not eating a bite that my stomach began to growl. The guys cooked up some hamburger, eggs and carrots for dinner and I just ate and ate and ate. They praised me and we played "steal the oven mitt", one of my all time favorite games.


Over the weekend we went to one of my favorite places to get away and contemplate life, the Peter Strauss Ranch. It gives me a chance to get out and reflect on what's important to me, especially lately after the news. There's nothing like the quiet and fresh air of nature to help one forget one's troubles.

While at the park, Mark made me do all sorts of embarrassing 'cutesy' dog poses to post on this blog. He's gone a little camera crazy since all this came down, but I bear with it because I know it makes him feel better. I have to admit I'm smiling in the pictures but secretly rolling my eyes when he's not looking. I selected the photo above to share however, as I really like it the best. I think he captured my adventurous spirit and curiosity. Time is short and you must explore every path while here as you never know what's treasure is around the corner.

Once again, yours truly.

Dingo

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My First Blog Entry - By Dingo Dunn-Martin


First of all let me introduce myself. The name's Dingo. I like to consider myself your average, fun loving . . . well, some would say dog, though I'd quickly beg to argue with any who use that label with me. Lets just say in my mind I may be canine, but I'm as much a 'person' as the next guy on the block. I'm a Beagle-Shepherd mix, 5 1/2 year old, living in Los Angeles, California under the watchful care of two guys very dear to me. Their names are Barry and Mark and I have lived with them since Christmas 2003. I don't really remember much before this home, and unfortunately I never really knew my birth parents, but that's a story for another time.


I'm writing this blog, even though I don't entirely understand what a blog actually is, to any one who might care to read my thoughts. What's fresh on my mind is my recent diagnosis of lymphoma, a common cancer in four footed creatures like myself. The news is still reeling in my mind, but I've had several days to deal with the shock and move one step forward.

So it seems there are a dozen or so breeds of us 'dogs' particularly susceptible to this nasty disease. Unfortunately my Beagle-Shepherd cross mix happens to be two of those on the list. Just my luck. Now, now I don't want to dwell or pull at your heartstrings for pity, I just figured if there is going to be a blog written about me and my experiences during this time in my life, then I should certainly have some input. Who better to give you the inside story than the dog, er, excuse me . . . person himself.


I apologize in advance for my very basic typing skills. You'll have to bear with me as poking at this strange board with all these plastic pieces is quite difficult for those of us with paws. If I make mistakes be kind. I've just recently learned the whole 'alphabet thing' and have to hunt-and-peck my way through each word. Plus constantly having to refer to that Wikipedia site to make sure I understand your language correctly really slows me down. Also, I must be stealthy in my use of this funny computer-machine thingy and type only when my owners aren't around. Wouldn't want to freak the poor guys out and have them find me writing to strangers on the internet. If they knew their faithful four legged friend had talents beyond just chasing a ball they'd have me up all night writing all their personal . . . emails I think they're called.


So this first entry is really just an quick hello to the world and for me to get used to this crazy blogging thing. Quite frankly I don't understand the human preoccupation with communication through this flat screen and metal box. I've always preferred the more traditional methods of getting my message across through a good sniff of a butt or a healthy pee in the neighborhood. But as you all seem to like this method we'll run with it. I'll have more to say in . . .

Oops... got to go. I think the guys have just come home.

Until next time.

Yours truly,

Dingo

Saturday, April 4, 2009

About Dingo and The Purpose of This Blog

Two weeks ago my partner and I were given the devastating news that our beloved buddy Dingo was diagnosed with lymphoma, a common cancer in dogs. During those two weeks we witnessed a radical change in his personality, energy level and appetite. He no longer showed interest in his toys, rarely socialized with his favorite human visitors or his local dog pals. Within two weeks he stopped eating which put us at the point of desperation.

The news of Dingo's cancer came after numerous trips to his regular vet, testing him for a variety of different ailments that met his symptoms. Lymphoma was mentioned as a possibility but other conditions needed to be ruled out before the doctors made that diagnosis. Unfortunately, all other tests came back negative. Next a biopsy to his lymph nodes registered positively that material was present that might have been cancer and it was recommended the gland be removed for more complete examination.



































This image was taken 24 hours after Dingo's first chemo shot. The scar is where the lymph node was removed a couple days prior.

We received the news from the lab that there was indeed cancer present in his body and my partner and I decided to proceed with chemotherapy.

Dingo, being the strong willed dog that he is, surprised us after his first chemo session yesterday. The doctors warned me that most dogs get very ill after their first injection and we should be prepared for him to be pretty out of it. Prognosis was Dingo would probably just want to sleep and might suffer from side effects including vomiting or diarrhea. None of this happened with our boy, but rather, he bravely championed the day as if nothing was the matter. Within 6 hours of returning home he was showing signs of his regular spunky personality. He started playing with his toys again, visited with company and best of all, ate a good sized meal. Needless to say we're completely ecstatic! It's been 24 hours now and you wouldn't even have know, other than his scar, that Dingo is ill.

During the 2 - 3 weeks that his health declined I began to put many things in perspective. With the terrible fear of us loosing him, I thought of all the things I had intended to do with him but never did. Excuses of being 'too busy' or too preoccupied with more important things floated in my consciousness. I told myself that if Dingo could just regain his health, even for a short while, I'd devote as much time as I could to living in the moment with him.























Dingo and his other dad Barry.

So the reason for this blog is to document our time together, gather information on canine lymphoma then pass it all along to others who's dogs fall victim to this disease. Dingo is a very special member of our household and makes an impact on all who meet him. I just want to share with those interested in his journey at this point in his life.

Mark