Author Archives: nstephenson

About nstephenson

James is a black miniature poodle. He used to compete in flyball and agility and is passionate about swimming. His front left leg was amputated on Aug. 4, 2010.

James is worse

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My heart aches.  We have tried everything.  Last Wed., the vets did an endoscopy on James.  The camera took photos of his stomach and upper intestines and the soft palate in his mouth.  The lymphocytes in his duodenum are dilated and abnormal.  Most of your digestion takes place in the duodenum and dilated lymphocytes can disrupt the digestive process.  The vets took biopsies and inserted a feeding tube in James’ neck.

I have been feeding James with the feeding tube, hoping that this would help him gain weight.  I feed him 3-4 times each day for at least 20 minutes each.  The food in the syringe must be the right consistency and temperature.  And you have to feed it slowly and start/end with a warm water flush.

Despite my feedings, James is looking thinner and weaker.  As I write this, I am waiting for Dr. Tripp to call with the results of the biopsies.  My gut hurts and it’s hard to focus.

The sad part is that the osteosarcoma is in remission.  I was hoping for some great days after the chemo was all done.

Nancy (James’ Mom)


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Tiny James

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It’s been a rough 2 weeks.  I spent more than a week in the ICU (including Thanksgiving) with pancreatitis and (maybe) a GI ulcer or infection.  I came home on Nov. 30 and went back for visits on Thurs. Dec. 2 and again this morning.  Dr. Tripp says that I am anorexic and that my WBC is incredibly high.  By the end of last week, my blood work was a bit better, but I still will not eat.  Dr. Tripp gave me more IV fluids last Thurs. and sent me home with my own IV bag.  My breeder, Candy, helps by giving me IV fluids every day.

I am now down to 6.5 pounds.  (For you big guys, that’s like starting at 90 lbs and dropping down to 65 pounds.)  I’ve lost 28% of my weight.  Mom says I probably weigh less than one of Fortis’ paws!!!

I do not want to eat.  My Mom won’t let me eat anything with much fat in it and I don’t want all the stuff Mom and everyone else offers me.  I have lots of pills to take and now I can’t even have cheese with my pills.  I wish I could have something good to eat.  Mom gives me syringes of stuff that’s all blah and watery.

Besides not wanting to eat, I am looking and feeling better.  Today Dr. Tripp made me very sleepy and then she looked into my mouth and checked all my teeth and gums; she said it all looks good.  But I still don’t want to put any food into my mouth.  There was more blood work.  It’s a wonder that I still have any blood at all after all the blood they have taken from me.

I am a superstar at the Hospital now!   Everyone knows me and my Mom.  I know all the doctors and all the techs.  They are all my friends.  I told everyone that I get mail from my buddies on Tripawds.com!!!

Mom is hanging in there (we take lots of ET Gayle’s medicinal naps together), but she did freak out when she saw the balance on her VISA card.

Thanks for thinking of me,  JAMES

I’m HOME!

I’m home!  They let me go home!!  I’m still very sick, but I am home.  (And some people doubted that I would ever be able to go home again.  My tripawd pals knew better!)  I don’t know who is more tired:  me or Mom.  Probably Mom.

I have pancreatitis and probably a GI ulcer.  I threw up again this morning.  And I am down to 7.5 pounds.  They say I am anorexic…I don’t know what that word means, but if I was “small” before, now I am “tiny”.

More later.  I have to rest.  You should see all the pill bottles Mom has for me.

JAMES

James: Day 6 in ICU

Thank you everyone for your messages, love, prayers, and support.  I have been sitting with James for about an hour every morning and every evening.  As I do, I read him all of his email, over and over again.  I stroke his back and talk or read to him.

The consensus is that he has pancreatitis and maybe an abscess – no cancer – which is why we keep fighting.  He is on two antibiotics, pepsid, and pain meds.  SAT he was a lot worse, so they started him on pred and that has made him feel much better.  He is able to lift his head and look around.  He can’t stand up.  He is eating his cottage cheese and some turkey and chicken.

His WBC is through the roof.  He is anemic; we were hoping that it was “regenerative”, but it might not be now.

Dr. Tripp, our oncologist, is back in the hospital today.  She has been monitoring his case from home over the holiday.  I am back at work today.  Will visit again tonight.

Nancy

James: Day 4 in the ICU

James was admitted to the ICU on Wednesday morning (the day before Thanksgiving).  He has both an infection and severe pancreatitis.  On Wed. they gave him a plasma transfusion which perked him up a lot.  He is getting 24-hr care, fluids by IV, two antibiotics, pepcid, and pain meds.  His personal nurse, Ingrid, takes care of him by day, taking his temp and blood pressure and giving him baths.  He is eating small bites of cottage cheese.  Another crew tends to him at night.

I visit in the mornings and evenings.  Last night (Fri night/SAT am) he took a turn for the worse.  His WBC count is through the roof and his RBC count is dropping.  He does not look good.   I drove his blood sample up to Phoenix Labs in Lynnwood today as there was no pickup.  We talked to his oncologist on the phone.  We are still fighting this but everyone is very concerned.

Nancy

A Trip to the ER

Mom thought she might lose me this morning.  I started feeling bad on SAT, but ate some dinner.  By Sunday I didn’t want to eat at all, which is pretty common for me, so it’s hard to tell what that means.  By yesterday evening, I felt terrible and was lying on my side breathing heavily and didn’t want to stand up.  Then, when I woke up early, early this morning I started crying.

Mom jumped up and drove me to the ER.  I cried all the way there.  They took more of my blood and then let me sleep on my Mom’s lap for hours and hours until Dr. Tripp came in.  Dr. Tripp says they can make me feel better because it is an infection due to all my chemo treatments.  Mom hugged Dr. Tripp and nearly started crying.

I was supposed to have my 6th and last chemo treatment this Wed, but I can’t now because my bloodwork is all screwed up fighting this infection.

JAMES

A Fun-Packed Weekend

James here.  The best thing about this weekend is that it was so much fun that Mom *almost* forgot to worry about me.  I had my 5th chemo on Wed. and did not want to eat at all.  My stomach hurt and nothing tasted good to me.  This happens after every chemo and Mom always frets over me.  But this time she was too busy!  

We packed up the RV on Friday night and went to the dog show.  And guess who arrived at the dog show on SAT:  Spirit Jerry’s Mom Rene and Dad Jim and Wyatt!  That was so exciting.  Wyatt makes a lot of noise, but I didn’t think that was a big deal at all.  You should hear some of the dogs scream and bark when they are doing agility!!  And I barked louder than Wyatt when I ran in flyball!!  I knew that Wyatt was just really happy to be here.  Wyatt’s Mom took photos of me standing next to Wyatt.   I like Wyatt a lot because he has a lot of energy, just like I did at his age.   

My new friend Wyatt

Mom got to have dinner with Rene and Jim and Wyatt.  How cool is that?!!  And Rene gave me a tripawds.com cape which I think has super powers; it covered me from head to tail.  (That’s the advantage of being small.  On Lincoln it looks like a tiny bandana…).

Me and My Super-Cape

I got to wear my super-cape to the Puppy Up! walk on Sunday.   Lincoln, Sammy, Captain Jack, and Julian and JD’s mom, and my new friend Wyatt were all there.  I still felt sick to my stomach from the chemo, but the sun was warm and Lincoln’s mom and JD’s mom both held me which was soooo nice.

JD's Mom gives me a big hug! (Thanks for the photos, Rene)

Eddie here (James’ nephew).  My job is to be the “Play Police” and I had a really tough weekend.  Dogs were having a good time everywhere and I couldn’t stop them from playing.  Lincoln (who is really big) started rolling around on his back and I got to bark at him and tell him to stop it.  Then I saw Julian and Wyatt (who are even bigger than Lincoln!!!) wrestling and rolling all over each other and it was more than I could handle!  

Polly here (James’ niece).  Lincoln’s mom held James for so long that I nearly missed my agility jumpers run.   We got back right before my turn and Mom didn’t get a chance to walk or study the course.  But we ran anyway and we were great!  I got a big blue First Place rosette.  And later, Rene and Jim watched me and Mom run our standard run and we earned another First Place rosette.  Mom is so proud of me.  I am turning 16 next month and I am still running and qualifying in agility.  (That’s why I knew Uncle James wasn’t too old for his amputation.  He’s only a little more than a year older than me.)  I knew that Uncle James was not feeling well last night so I let him lie nearly on top of me.  He likes it a lot when I am very, very close to him. 

Polly's Blue Ribbon Run!

Katie here.  James calls me “the Evil One”.  Hey, just because I stole and ate his entire rotisserie chicken.  Get over it, James!  I loved all the excitement.  I got to bark a lot and see so many dogs.  When I met Wyatt, I went right up to him and said “Don’t mess with me!” and he was a really good boy after that…once he knew I was in charge! 

Katie doing Weave Poles

TJ here.  I had to stay in the RV a lot because I get upset when dogs have tags that jingle.  But I sure HEARD Wyatt!  Wyatt has a lot to say.  

Back to me, JAMES:  We’d have photos to post but Katie the Evil One hid Mom’s camera.  The Evil One steals everything she gets her paws on!  I’m feeling a bit better now and ate some cottage cheese and a few pieces of chicken for breakfast today.  Mom’s back to worrying about me again!

Chemo #5 and 3-month Ampuversary

I had my 5th chemo party today.  And tomorrow is my 3-month Ampuversary.  That’s good, because after chemo I don’t feel like eating much, but Mom might give me ice cream (which is the best) to celebrate!!!

I really like going to the chemo party.  My vet, Dr. Tripp, is so nice and Tim carries me around a lot and takes good care of me.  Mom’s been hand-feeding me Costco Turkey Breast!  Yummy.  I’m not very interested in “dog food” any more.  I like fresh chicken and turkey and yogurt (and ice cream, of course), but not much else.  Dr. Tripp said that I need to eat my vegetables and told Mom to get me some pumpkin or sweet potatoes or beans. 

You know what?  Mom’s been so good to me that my weight stayed almost the same.  Whew!  I know that some of you Big Guys are trying to lose weight, but my Mom’s always trying to get me to gain weight!  That’s because I only weigh 8.6 pounds.  (Am I the smallest Tripawd here?)

Mom told me that Jerry’s Pack is coming to visit this weekend.   Yippee! 

JAMES the poodle

Post Chemo Blahs…

I had my 4th chemo visit on Wed. 10/13.  By Friday I felt pretty terrible.  My stomach was all upset and nothing smelled good to eat.  Mom tried everything; I wouldn’t even eat the rotisserie chicken she gets just for me.  I didn’t want to move much.  I just lay in bed feeling yucky.

Mom was worried about me.  I could tell because she offered me so many different types of food and I didn’t want any of them.  So I whispered in Mom’s ear:  “I am strong.  I am stubborn.  I have a big heart.”  I think Mom heard me because she stopped fretting.

On SAT night we had Movie Night.  I LOVE movie night.  Mom sits on the sofa and we all try to get as close to Mom as possible.  Nephew Eddie sits to Mom’s left and puts his head on her knee.  I snuggle up to Mom’s right, with Polly as close as possible.  TJ is next to Polly and Fatso Katie curls up at Mom’s feet.  Mom can usually touch 4 (and sometimes all 5) of us at once.  And we make sure that she can’t move.  When I am feeling yucky from the chemo, there is nothing better than Movie Night.  Sometimes I even put my head on Polly’s back and listen to her breathing.  That’s very comforting.

Polly was grumpy because Mom had been giving ME so much attention.  But then Mom let Polly have the bowl of food I refused to eat.  Polly the Piranha ate the entire bowl in about 2 seconds!

By Sunday night I was feeling a bit better.  I went on a walk-about around the house and started barking for food!  I think Mom was really relieved that I ate some dinner, but she kept saying something about it being “4am” “4am”!  Maybe I should go visit Sammy!  We can both get up at 4am.

JAMES the poodle