Chapter 4 ~ February 2004
I am glad to report that Pinche, AKA Sponge-Bob Fur-Pants, spent a whimper-free night.
Although there were several indicators that "Pinche slept here" thru-out the house, it was nothing compared to Saturday night.
Nothing anyway that an extra-heavy load of laundry and some carpet cleaner couldn't handle.
Moppette, a Canadian-Canine (I think - or are you a kitty?) wrote to say she was sending a pillow of "white light" for Pinche to rest on. Pillow received, mission accomplished!
For those that have asked what medications Pinche is taking, they are: Baytril, Cephalexin and Deramaxx.
of course, a healthy dose of the famous canine cure-all:
Sponge-Dog continues to improve.
He is walking just fine, taking his medication, eating well and rapidly returning to the grousy old boy he was before.
The sheets are still down -- just in case -- but we're only doing one load of doggy-related laundry a day, which is also a good sign.
Pinche's main surgeon called me yesterday to discuss the next stop on Pinche's road to recovery: the melon sized tumor on his back.
The doctor needs a new cat-scan since the last one is already two months old. He'd like that done as soon as possible and suggested waiting about ten days from Pinche's last surgery which would be next week so I've already begun calling around to get an appointment.
So the new plan is: get stitches removed, get cat-scan done and get tumor OUT!
Poor pup -- he'll be back in the hospital soon. So far he's proven to be a fighter -- strong and resilient against all the stuff that's been thrown at him, so I have faith.
And I know all of you do too.
Today a lady called into my radio program -- crying she told me that doctors found a lump in her breast and she has to go in next week for another mammogram and ultrasound.
More than advice, she needed someone to talk to. She spoke of being depressed, scared and overwhelmed.
It was a long on-air phone call but to sum it up, we spoke of the importance of not giving up hope, the power of positive thinking and the importance of arming herself with information.
She was much calmer at the end and while it in no way compares to what she is going thru (and I told her that on the air) I couldn't resist sharing Pinche's story.
I didn't go into the whole thing but I did mention how the tumor on his kidney turned out to be benign as did the biopsies on his liver, prostate, etc...this after the ultrasound and catscan had showed some serious abnormalities that had everyone thinking it was pretty much over for him.
Just like I have been telling my dog and myself lately, it is so important NOT to give up! Especially when there is still hope, when there are still options.
The caller promised to update me after her next doctor's appointment -- maybe we should all send her some white light and good thoughts too.
If it worked for one old dog -- it will work for anyone who believes.
In December, a rough and tough policeman and his wife sent Pinche a surprise Christmas present: two boxes of Milk Bones.
They've never met him.
And this weekend, a brown paper wrapped box was delivered to my door addressed to "Pinche Graciette -- Sponge Dog, in care of Gigi".
It had been shipped first class all the way from across the country -- 2991 miles to be exact -- from Massachusetts to California.
Inside, peanut butter and molasses doggy biscuits. Low fat, of course, being that they are for a Hollywood kind of a dog.
A present for Pinche, from a new-found friend and dogblog reader Paula.
A present for a dog she does not know who is owned by a person she has never met.
On the package, handwritten block letters spell out "FRAGILE". The warning meant for the contents but it also describes the recipient -- an old dog going thru a tough time for whom a cookie means the world.
And for the old dog's mom -- the fragile gift is a reminder of how important a random act of kindness towards a stranger or from a stranger can be.
lesson in love as we continue on Pinche's Journey.
Well, tomorrow's the day! The day we embark on "Part Two" of this journey -- or is "Part 22"?
The poor pooch has been thru so much sometimes I don't know what part of the trip we're on.
Tomorrow afternoon Pinche will have his second catscan done.
It will mean a little more anesthesia and more prodding but it is crucial to his next operation. Doctors need to know, or rather see, how far down the melon-size tumor on his back is. The concern being that it may have attached itself to an organ or something during these last two months.
Last night as I sat on the living room floor with him and looked at the scar on his shaved belly, I couldn't help but think once again how strong these animals are.
Or is it the strength of our love that helps pull them thru? Or the strength of their love for us? Probably a combination of everything.
As he lay there I went and got a ruler and placed it beside him -- I was trying to get a feel for how long the scar on his belly is. Let's just say the ruler looked kind of short compared to the scar, so it's at least a foot long.
I cannot imagine what it must feel like....and to think he'll soon have another ruler-sized one on his back.
Anyway, back to tomorrow.
Start sending the white light (please), crossing paws and fingers, tails and toes, turning on the porch lights and the balcony ones too, puppy-prayers, good thoughts and "buena vibra" (good vibes)...anything and everything to help see him thru what hopefully will be the beginning of the end of the cancer and the assorted tumors that came with it.
us luck -- we'll need it.
It causes mild deviation of the external abdominal oblique muscles,
but does NOT appear to involve the muscle itself."
In layman's terms, that my friends, is GOOD news.
The catscan shows that the tumor does not appear to have attached itself to anything which is great since we need to un-attach it from Pinche as soon as possible.
A special thanks to the folks at Animal Imaging in West L.A. for getting the report out to Pinche's surgeon so quickly.
I spoke to his doctor this afternoon and the surgery is a go!
Monday night Pinche will be checked into the hospital for some pre-op tests and Tuesday morning they will operate on him.
This operation, like the last one, will be major surgery. The tumor is huge, both on the inside and on the outside.
The tumor is in the same place that the first one was in -- the one we had removed last June just to see it grow right back again. That one was cancerous so it is most likely that this one is too.
But tonight, I was thinking -- what if?
What if this time it wasn't?
I mean, we all thought he had renal carcinoma -- and that tumor turned out to be benign.
But what if he had had renal carcinoma but after the mega-dose of white light and prayers he received from all of you around the world......what if?
I know we're talking miracles here but hey, a girl can dream can't she?
total for today: $750.00
It is just after midnite Friday morning and I am ending my day hoping for a better one tomorrow.
Pinche is tired -- very tired.
And even though I know that he has good reason to be, it's hard to see him down.
He didn't really want to eat much and that's worrying, especially for a dog who eats anything and everything first and asks questions later.
He has also learned a new trick -- how to chew and swallow a hot dog and then spit the pill that was in it back up. Impressive, huh?
Giving him his medication today has been shall we say.... challenging.
I received another email today that almost brought me to tears. Again, the random acts of kindness from strangers has been amazing.
tell you all about it tomorrow.
Today was "Pamper Pinche" day.
Which in his world means lots of good food, a game of ball and a trip in the car to the park with his best buddies Bubba, Dan-Dan and me (Bubba the dog -- Dan Dan the person).
Life is good!
We played ball and it was good to see Pinche's excellent eye-to-ball-to-mouth coordination still there.
Even though it was a quiet game with short and slow throws, the hump on his back spun him around more than once and down went the poor pup onto the grass!
But being Pinche, he just wobbled back up and was ready for another round of throw and catch.
There are new pics of Pinche's adventure in the park on the picture page.
The old boy's appetite is also back -- something that's had me really worried the last few days.
And while today's diet wasn't the best that canine cuisine has to offer, there was a lot of protein in it so Mr. Atkins would be proud.
For breakfast, a round of the now infamous liverwurst balls stuffed with that secret ingredient of antibiotics! Yummy!
Lunch was a Jack in the Box special -- a Supreme Croissant (for the fast-food impaired, that's bacon, ham and cheese on a croissant). A few french fries were thrown in to complete Pinche's drive-thru dining experience.
And for dinner, voila! A masterpiece creation of Pork steaks -- the other white meat -- fried up with a dash of olive oil and onions.
A few more liverwurst balls and milk bones completed today's menu.
Tomorrow, Pinche goes back to the hospital to prepare for Tuesday's surgery.
We'll deal with that tomorrow -- tonight we'll just bask in the enjoyment of a good day -- filled with good friends and good food.
What more can a pup ask for?
more can any of us ask for?
After spending a quiet day at home, Pinche was checked into the hospital this afternoon.
Doctors wanted to do some blood work on him in preparation for tomorrow's surgery.
When I called to check on him this evening, they told me that he hadn't eaten his dinner but did gulp down a nice portion of milk bones and "treats".
Ahhh, just like a kid -- no room for dinner but always room for dessert!
My roommate told me that after Pinche left, Bubba stood by the front door and cried for the longest time.
He has a plaintive, inconsolable howl that breaks your heart to hear.
I can only imagine what goes thru his head --or rather his heart -- when he sees his best friend leave without him.
Does he envision Pinche on a wonderfully endless car ride -- his doggy hair blowing back as the wind hits his face -- only to arrive in a lush green field where milk bones and games of catch abound?
Or does he know?
Does he know that his bestest buddy in the world is fighting for his life?
I can sense it.
so can he.
Pinche is on the operating table and surgery is about to begin.
would probably be a good time to say a puppy-prayer.
Shortly after five o'clock this afternoon, Pinche came out of surgery -- one tumor and seven pounds lighter!
"It" is gone!
Doctors say the surgery went very well -- they were able to remove the tumor in it's entirety and just as the CT scan showed, it was not attached to anything.
Of course, there are always those microscopic cells that stay behind but we'll deal with them later.
Right now, he is bandaged with a suction tube connected to where the tumor had been, to remove any fluid buildup which is common.
As of a little while ago, the patient/pooch was resting comfortably.
Thank you...thank you...thank you for all your support in this.
And sorry for such a late update -- I know many of you have been checking for news thru-out the night but I just now arrived home from work.
Pinche is doing as well as can be expected today after undergoing such a major operation.
Doctors say that he's already been up on all fours and they have walked him a little bit to stretch his furry legs.
He is still bandaged and has a catheter in place.
The doctor also told me that Pinche doesn't want to eat so I plan on asking his best human friend Dan Dan to take him a little roasted chicken tonite to see if that will tempt his taste buds (I have to work).
I'll let everyone know later if "Plan Chicken" works or not.
Meanwhile, it is a very gray day here in Los Angeles as the sky is filled with rain clouds.
Bubba-Dog is obviously under the weather -- in more ways than one.
He too didn't eat his dinner last nite as he wandered the house looking for Pinche.
think he thinks this is just one really long and
not-so-funny game of hide and seek.
The good news: "Plan Chicken" worked.
The bad news: A slightly groggy and very grouchy Pinche tried to bite the hand that was feeding him.
Ahhh Pinche, Pinche.
Twelve years of loving you and you still have the episodes where you lash out.
Dan Dan was kind enough to heed the call of a hungry pooch who, tired of hospital food yearned for something tastier tonight.
A quick stop at "El Pollo Loco" (fast food but delicious charbroiled chicken) to pick up chicken legs and a side of tortillas (what can I say - Pinche likes his side dishes) and on to the doggy hospital.
A now nine-fingered Dan Dan reports he was sitting on the floor feeding Pinche when as he was reaching to give him another piece of chicken, Sponge-Dog tried to bite him.
Apparently, Pinche still had a piece of chicken in his mouth and felt Dan Dan might be reaching out to take instead of to give -- he now associates the hospital with a place that takes things from him like his kidney, his hump and even his you know what.
The bite not really more than a good knick (that's only because Dan Dan moved quickly) that only drew a little blood.
Dan Dan said nothing to the doctors apparently fearing they might put him under and try to fix him.
Humor aside, the good news -- besides the fact that Dan has all of his fingers -- is that Pinche ate well.
A late night check tells me that he still has no desire to move and will only take a few steps before resting.
Again, not a surprise considering the kind of surgery that he just had.
Hopefully tomorrow there will be some improvement.
Boy, the road to recovery sure can be bumpy, can't it?
As if things weren't complicated enough, Mr. Pinche and that unique personality of his is complicating them even more.
By now you know that he is no angel pup -- he's a real dog's dog to whom biting is an acceptable form of communication.
Last night's snap on Dan's finger has today turned into full-fledged biting.
And doctors report that while his health is improving, his mood certainly isn't.
He is biting everyone at the hospital left and right....as the doctor was explaining the situation to me I felt like Pinche was about to be expelled from school -- thrown out for bad behavior.
But being the patient souls that they are, they are willing to keep the bad biting boy until both his mood and condition improve enough that I will be able to handle him at home.
Thank you, doctors!
Sometimes I feel that there are way too many milkbones on my plate -- this is one of those times.
Pinche is still in the hospital.
His recovery and return home complicated by his moodiness and all the sharp teeth in his mouth.
Right now the plan is to bring him home tomorrow.
I am hoping that leaving the hospital behind will improve his mood.
I know that it will do wonders for Bubba-Dog who has suffered his absence greatly.
Ohhh, my poor Bubba -- such a gentle and loving soul who has missed his best buddy so much it's made him sick.
First, he wouldn't eat and then he began throwing up.
The last few days I have been preparing him some "home cooked" meals and it seems to have done the trick. He just ate a wonderful dinner of chicken and rice.
At least physically he's feeling better although you can still see how sad he is.
Bubba is truly an amazing soul -- loyal beyond belief and extremely sensitive, he has an uncanny ability to sense when something is wrong or when someone is sick.
-- they are amazing animals, aren't they?
Can I have a milk bone?
I knew you'd pay my ransom. I knew it!
Can I have a milk bone?
What took you so long?
Can I have a milk bone?
Did they tell you I bit everybody?
Can I have a milk bone?
Can I have a milk bone?"
Imaginary words heard loud and clear
Pinche is home!
A very happy and changed dog.
His appetite is strong, his mood is good and his bounce is back!
Of course, the lampshade around his neck has him bouncing off the walls and off of me but you can tell he's feeling much better.
Sans the seven pound tumor on his back, he even looks dog years younger. Really!
I have already snapped a few "welcome back" pictures and will have them posted tonight, as well as a more complete update -- including information about his new medication and a financial update on the running total of Pinche's Journey.
Meanwhile, lift up those milk bones and say a toast for Pinche -- the pooch is back!
Sorry for not having posted in the last few days -- between being on "Storm Watch 2004" and cleaning up after the boys, there hasn't been an extra minute.
Pinche continues to improve by leaps and bounds. He is eating well and walking around just fine.
Wrapped in liverwurst balls, he takes one Carprofen tablet - a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug also known as Rimadyl -- twice a day (each pill is 100 mg).
As for Mr. Bubba-Dog, he's doing fine but is one nervous pup.
First, it was the lampshade around Pinche's neck.
The sound of Pinche dragging it against walls, seeing him bump into everything and everyone and the continuous nudging that he was giving Bubba in the rear end, was just too much to handle.
Needless to say, we lost the lampshade.
Ahhh, much better. For both boys.
And for me, now that I think about it.
But Bubba is still bent out of shape over all the changes in his regular routine -- they are creatures of habit, aren't they?
It's raining here in Southern California, so the boys are both inside most of the time. I have barricaded parts of the house that are off-limits to doggies with soft stools and other unmentionables and Bubba doesn't seem to like the furniture blockades I have set-up.
Not that they do any good because he still manages to get thru.
That's about it....oh, I think I have now officially passed the $10,000 mark in monies spent on Pinche's medical journey. I need to add up the new numbers and do a new grand total.
Wow, ten thousand dollars -- that's a lot of money, huh?
Or is it?
Chapter 5 ~ Mar. 2004