Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gilligans Status: Nothing but relatively good news so far!

Gilligan and I during a freak July snowstorm in DC....just kidding. This is Gilligan running the George Washington Birthday Marathon in 2007. During this marathon, the high was about 27 degree's, the wind chill was in the teens and even a snow squall occurred during the later part of the race. But Gilligan ever the patient and supportive spectator hung around so he could run the last 400 meters of the race with me! He likes to cross the finish line of race: the enthusiastic crowds, cheering, thrill of victory are all things he really loves. He just doesn't want to run 26.2 miles for this, so he slips in right near the finish:-)
After a terrible week last week in which Gilligan had to go back for some emergency procedures because the wound on his neck was not healing and in fact had swollen to the size of a grapefruit (in which I left him at the vets Tuesday night because he was seeming to struggle to breath). This week has seen a dramatic improvement!

Gilligan's neck wound is now barely larger than a golf ball, none of his wounds are oozing and he is now eating and drinking normally. He still takes up 90% of our bed and is on meds for the next week or so. But he seems to be back to himself.

Last week I was really upset when I left him at his vets overnight. He was struggling to breath and had been off his food from Sun-Tues. I was really worried about how bad he was and how depressed and lethargic he was acting. But now he is back closer to normal, which I am really excited about!

And this is followed by even more good news. Last week we (Gilligan and I) saw an oncologist. During this visit it was really sad to hear all the very discouraging treatment options. But we were there for more diagnostic tests including blood, radiography, etc. This week we got the results and all are looking good! This means it is unlikely his cancer has spread and he may be in 10% (as per the oncologist) or 30% (as per the literature) or 40% (as per the pathologists) of dogs who have one bought with Mast Cell and it never returns, spreads or becomes a major issue. We are treating him with Benadryl and are really thinking if his paw bump does return, the steriod has a pretty decent success rate in slowing progression and minimal side effects. The radiation and chemo sounded awful!

And as for removing more of the margins of his cancer, Tristan and I have decided we are NOT going to do this. Little literature and few medical professionals suggest this is an appropriate option considering they would need to remove two cell layers around the Mast Cell Tumor and in his case this would be bone. Finally considering he had this bump since last Fall, it is very likely it is a very slow growing tumor so it seems reasonable to assume in his case we do not need to treat it aggressively.

I am just happy to have my dog back who is now acting normally (although as lazy as usual) and seems perky and happy. He wags his tail, looks up at us when we say his name and has occasionally been seen licking his sister puffy the cats butt (which I hadn't observed for the past month). We are still going for ice cream a few times a week because now we know we must treasure every day with him.

In fact tommorrow is half price Gelato Day at Carmen's Italian ice. We are already drooling in anticipation!


Jamie Donaldson said...

Morrison is drooling in anticipation also! I am SO happy to hear good news for Gilligan! We can learn a lot from our dogs! Kozmo used to live everyday to the fullest and so should we! Enjoy!

Jimbo said...

I'm really happy for y'all, because when your pups look/feel depressed it spreads to everyone who cares for them. The reverse is also true, when they perk up, us humans can't help but be perked up too.

As an aside, we went the chemo route with Fergie, both injectable and in pill form, and unlike in humans, there were no side effecs (besides the cost!), and it was very sucessful bringing her into full remission for well over a year, she also lived every day to the fullest!

Oh, and Jamie - wishing you the very best for Badwater!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Great news about Gilligan, sister! Lazy dogs are the BEST healers! I knew he could do it.

BTW, I did NOT offend everyone in my last post.

Tammy, a runner I know
Ran with Gilligan, ofttimes in the snow,
The latter, a cheater,
Ran 400 meters,
While T. ran the WHOLE THING - the schmo!

NOW I've offended everyone.


Runner Tammy said...


You should find an ice cream place to take Morrison...then he can stop drooling and start eating! After that exertion back in April at Deer Park, Morrison definitely deserves a very belated frozen yummy treat.


I think the oncologist suggested the Chemo might just cause Gilligan to be lethargic and off his food a bit. But the radiation sounded horrible (daily sedation 5 times a week for 3 weeks, ulcers and lethargy/off food). We luckily have pet insurance with the cancer rider so cost is a bit less concerning (although the cap certainly would not cover everything), but Gilligan's quality of life is most important.

So far Gilligan is really responding to no treatment other than Benadryl and each day acts more like himself.


That poem is hysterical. I feel offended and am laughing at the same time.