Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bad News

So I am told that my cancer is back...oddly I feel fine. I figure since I don't ever feel sick I shouldn't worry about it. Donna says we get to go to the hospital a lot more again. I like the hospital, it reminds me of when Donna used to take me to work with her when she worked in clinics. I am told it is not normal for me to like hospitals but everyone is really nice and I get to see other dogs...even some with cancer like me. I know they poke me but it doesn't really hurt. Also since all this started every time we go to the hospital, Donna gets me chicken nuggets after we are done...every time!

So today was a really long day, they poked at my neck, I overheard something about needing cytologies from my lymph nodes. They also took blood from me, but just a little. I used to donate blood when I a younger dog to help other dogs that Donna and Walter said were very sick. So I can sit very still and get a LOT more drawn then they took today...but no one tell them ok! The hospitals liked me being a donor because I was so big and could give a large amount. I was just annoyed I never got to meet the dogs I helped, Donna said it was OK and they were very appreciative and I was a hero to those dogs. I think she is a bit dramatic!
Then I waited while they looked at all this stuff. This was OK because I get to watch everything going on. I try really hard to get every one's attention, sometimes it works. After they got the results they went and told Donna, why no one discusses it with me I have never figured out! When they came back they gave me chemo again...I thought we were done with it! It's OK though, I do pretty good with it, none of it makes me sick. After this I started thinking about the chicken nuggets I knew I was going to get...when they started to take me back to Donna I decided that they were not going fast enough and thought it would help if I pulled them down the hall...for some reason humans have never liked being pulled anywhere, but they didn't understand that the faster I got to Donna, the faster we could get in the car and the faster we would get to that magic drive-thru thing where the people just hand chicken nuggets out a window!!!
{Please make sure all dogs know about this magic window, all sorts of food comes out it!!!}

So I have had a long day, I got my chemo again, I ate my chicken nuggets, rode in the car, ate my dinner when we got home, took my pills and now I am going to lay down and nap (in Donna and Walter's bed of course!).


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Story

Hi, my name is Hannibal. I am a 10 year old Great Dane mix. I have cancer...lymphoma to be exact. To be even more precise I have Stage 4a B-cell Lymphoma. I was diagnosed on July 7, 2007 and have been in remission for 13 months, I am told that is a long time. Unfortunately, my humans, Donna and Walter think I have come out of remission and so I am going to see my oncologist tomorrow.

Let me tell you a little more about myself. First, I am told that I am the BEST DOG IN THE WORLD....I am also told I wasn't always, especially when I was little. I live with two humans Donna and Walter, they are a little crazy but they spoil me so it's OK, I do my best to keep them in line. I also live with my best friend Vergil, a 7 year old mastiff, and two younger more annoying ones; a mix named Aggie and an American bulldog mix named Buford. I am in charge of everyone and I am pretty good at it. We also have 5 cats that are actually pretty cool...for cats.

Donna and Walter got me in Ohio when I was very young. I had another human once but it didn't work out, he wanted me to be a guard dog for his mechanics business and he wasn't very nice to me. Then I got really sick with what they call parvo, this person had me treated but while I was in the hospital he had motion sensors put in his shop and when I went back I kept setting them off, so he took me to the hospital where I had been hospitalized and told them to take me or he was going to get "rid of me" (Donna and Walter won't tell me what that means). The vet who treated me took me and called Donna, who she was friends with. She knew Donna would help me and be a sucker for me. Donna LOVES big, big dogs and already had a bullmastiff named Grady, (who would become one of my favorite friends of all time). Lucky for me, Donna said she would help me but only if Grady liked me. I did my very best, which was hard at 10 weeks old to make Grady like me and it must have worked because he did and so I came to live with Donna and Walter forever.

Having come from an abusive past, I initially was worried about pleasing everybody, and I was very scared that Donna and Walter would leave me (they called it separation anxiety). It took many years but I finally realized that they would never leave me. I was apparently a very happy, hyper puppy...and got into alot of things. I used to like to stand on Donna's coffee table, she didn't think it was funny especially when I weighed over 100 pounds. I also got very tall, very quick and I liked to help Donna and Walter with the dishes, so since I could reach the sink I would take the dirty dishes out and "help" them clean them...for some reason they didn't think I was helping (I let them do the dishes now). Over time I calmed down and settled into life with my humans.

I am proud to say that I am a retired therapy dog and I used to enjoy visiting with people and kids. I also used to do advanced level obedience and even some agility for fun. As tall as I am I really liked going through the tunnels, I did a super fast "commando crawl"! I have never met a dog I didn't like and I am pretty level headed. Donna uses the phrase "rock solid temperament". I also had never been sick a day in my life until that day in July 2007.

We moved to Georgia May 30, 2007. I went and sat the closing of our house (Donna and Walter didn't want to leave me in car and I got invited in!), I was told I was the first dog to ever do that and they said I was a "gentlemen". All was well for about a month and then at the beginning of July, Donna noticed I had lumps on my neck and back legs. Donna got real upset...she used to work in clinics and so she knew it what was wrong with me. I just felt a little tired, I was 9 years old! Since we didn't know anyone in Georgia yet, she put me in the car and off we went all the way back to Northern Virginia to the Regional Veterinary Referral Center, where Donna used to work and where they had an oncologist (she says they are the best vets in the world!). Let me say because of that separation anxiety thing I had, I LOVE the car and going places, even if it is just around the block. I think my favorite thing in the whole world is to go "bye bye"!!! Also because Donna worked in clinics I used to go to work with her all the time, I LOVE clinics. I know I am not supposed to...but I always have fun at clinics and get to see human friends and other dogs. So I was fine heading to NOVA! When we got there I had to go see all the specialists, I saw the oncologist, internal medicine, cardiology and even surgery. The worst thing was the bone marrow biopsy, but I went to sleep for it and it wasn't too bad. The cardiologist said that my heart was perfect and would be OK for chemo. The internal medicine specialist checked my belly, he is the one that found the spots on my spleen. I have two spots, both are lymphoma, but they don't bother me. Then the oncologist started my chemo (she did the bone marrow biopsy too), it actually wasn't bad. I am told we are not like humans and rarely get sick. SO that began my journey into cancer. I began chemo July 2007 and finished it 8 months later in Georgia at the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital (you didn't think she drove me 10 hours each way every week! By the way she says these vets are also amazing!), still in remission...that is until now. I will find out tomorrow if I am out of remission.

Donna and Walter have been really strong for me, I know they get upset and I try to show them that I feel fine. And I do feel fine, I have never been "sick", I lost a little weight but still weigh what I always had when I was younger. I still eat my food...although I have convinced Donna that I will only eat when she puts cooked ground beef over my food (Vergil likes this as he gets a little on his food too)! I play with all my friends and even discipline them when they get out of line. I managed to convince Walter that I should sleep in the bed, which he agreed. In fact I started a whole new rule: only dogs with cancer get to sleep in the bed! I celebrated my 10th birthday July 28, 2008 and got all sorts of treats. I know the humans are worried but even though my lymph nodes seem big again, I still feel good!

I will update my status soon...I thought I might be able to help other humans going through this with their canine friends and I hope I can. I really like meeting and helping people. I welcome comments and questions!!!