Friday, September 18, 2009


In the car (C just texted me this)

On a morning walk with her (chuckit) ball
at the vet waiting to be examined by the doctor.

19 Months Out of Radiation

And Honey's lymph nodes and lungs are still all clear :) She jumped up on the reception desk when we walked into the vet's office and ran over to the receptionist, stepped over her keyboard and licked her face. This is my 9 (SOON TO BE 10) year old dog with cancer. And arthritis. And cataracts. Who's blind in one eye. She remembered exactly what we wanted on the scale, and climbed up in the chair in the exam room to sit between us. Spoiled freaking dog.

She still can’t breathe out of her nose, and one of our friends suggested Benadryl. While it hasn’t magically reopened her sinuses, it’s for sure helped her sleep sounder and longer, and magically, we’re able to stick a ball in her mouth once instead of 5 times during the night. This means we get a full night’s sleep as well, and it is BEAUTIFUL.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer of the Hunndog - 2009

Honey helping me eat salmon sushi at an outdoor sushi place in Larchmont

Howdy! Summer out here is HOT. I know I should have expected that, it being summer and all, but C’s family came to visit and I was at least 100 every day. I had to arm wrestle a woman at kmart for the last table fan, which we’ve owned for about 5 days and hasn’t been turned off yet. The fires haven’t helped. It was cruddy and smuggy and yeech for a few days, and the station fire was clearly visible from our roof. One of our neighbors also had a heart attack, and since he has Carmine, a 12 year old 65 pound fluffy mutt with a pinched nerve who gets along with Honey, we figured we were the best option for him while his pack was in the hospital recovering. It took about 2 weeks, and by that point Carmine and Honey were well and truly a pack. I was never more than 7 inches from an old hot dog. I’d take a shower and by the time I was finished they’d both be standing in the bathroom looking at me like ‘omg it’s got her, what are we gonna do?!?’ While Carmine was with us, Honey developed a urinary tract infection. She woke me up at about 4 am and asked to go out, which is WAY out of character. I woke C up because I was nervous to go outside at 4 am, and made him promise to watch us from the window while we walked. I got Honey and Carmine on leashes and we went downstairs and out front and while they were sniffing around for a suitable place to tinkle, one of the homeless people who make a living out of collecting cans and turning them in for the recycle fee started yelling at me. I think she wanted to me let in the locked parking lot to go through the building’s recycle bins, but as soon as she shouted and started to walk towards me, both dogs went NUTS. I’ve known Carmine for 3 years and never heard him bark before. Both he and Honey were at the very end of their leashes snarling. I’ve been taking care of Honey and thinking how fragile she is for so long that I totally forgot she was such a good guard dog. When she as about 2, someone tried to break into a house she was staying in, they had unscrewed about half the bars that were over the window, and Honey broke the window out with her nose. I know this because she had a tiny cut, the glass was broken outwards, and the hole in the window was nose-shaped. Needless to say, nobody ever broke in.

Honey on C's chair, on C's shirt, with a ball he gave her in her mouth

Carmine the floofy dog

The most surprising part of all this was that Honey was ok with Carmine in her space. She let us love on him and even let him on the bed (once, and very briefly) but wasn’t at all mean. I have to admit I was worried that she would be sad when Carmine finally went home, but that happened Monday and she doesn’t seem at all fussed, despite the PLAYING they did Sunday and Monday. I was shocked. Normally (well, since cancer) she exists to regulate and prevent play in other dogs, but she did that frisk / front legs down and butt up, tail waving combo in his direction. C witnessed the phenom first and was all ‘LINDSAYOMGCOMEHERERIGHTNOWYOUWONTBELIEVETHIS’ and I almost fainted. It’s been years since I’ve seen her do that to another dog (she does it to us like 3 times a day). She has been having some trouble breathing through her nose lately, and we increased her prednisone to 10 mg a day. This means she gets a charge out of barking at joggers and GOD FORBID a dog walk by on the sidewalk where she can hear its tags jingling. But so far it’s making breathing easier. In fact, I just got a text that says ‘modified ball breathage’ so that’s a step in the right direction J she will sleep for a while with the ball in her mouth, but as soon as it falls out, she wakes us up to make her feel better. Last night I got sleep in 2 hour blocks. Not fun.

Visiting her friend Arnette a month or so ago.

my... what a delightful toy...

She’s also – drumrooooooollll – 20 months out from her diagnosis!! So awesome. She’s actually due for her every three months xrays pretty soon. I’ll update again when I know how her lungs look.

Monday, June 22, 2009

awful bad weekend.

My friend's dog, Maybelline, died in an accident Saturday night. She was about 2 years old, rescued from the L.A. City Pound after she was found abused and functioning as a puppy producer for a pit bull breeder. She was one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known and had a wonderful life with her owner. We will all miss her terribly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

17 months!!

Honey had her every-3-month chest xrays yesterday, and apparently climbed right up on the chair in the waiting room and sat down on it like a person. The doc even examined her while she was sitting in the chair, and gave her some lay's potato chips, that spoiled brat. But the good news is that she's now 17 months out of her original diagnosis, where we were given 3-6 weeks, and her lungs are "fantastically clear" and her lymph nodes are "perfect" and her heart sounds "awesome" (a concern 'cause she's been on prednisone). Also, her energy is great and her coat is all shiny and she's HAPPY, which is the most important part :)

Monday, June 15, 2009


We had a big weekend. Saturday we were up before Honey and that weirded her out considerably. But once she figured out she was going with it was all good. We headed up to an estate sale in silverlake, followed by a few stops at garage sales and then breakfast at an outdoor cafe (where she got a whole hard boiled egg) and the farmers market. Saturday was also the day the Dark Knight hit HBO so we spent the evening watching movies. Sunday we just hung out at home, except for a few walks. I was impressed that she was walking on the grass, she usually prefers sidewalk cause she has contact allergies to grass, but instead of her usual half block out-and-turn-around trick, she just kept going. I know a 7 block walk is just about nothing on most dog-walking-scales, but for Hun it's QUITE the walk. We called ehr the olympian for the rest of the day. And she even wated to play fetch yesterday afternoon!

She goes in tomorrow for chest x-rays, her first since having palliative radiation. I'm pretty sure she also needs antibiotics, her nose is pretty stuffed up.

Those strawberries were awesome!
Leaving the farmers market

sleeping on Gus

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The last thing that squeaky hedgehog will EVER see...


tramadol stepped down, and Hun feel awesome. awesome enough to kill poor hedgie. I did this with a mac, so I have a feeling the pics will be messed up. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

post-palliative checkup

So Honeydog weighs 62 pounds. Pretty impressive for a dog who was at an all-time low of 42 during the thick of definitive radiation side effects last year. It looks like we're out of the woods side - effet wise now, nothing should pop up, and she doesnt seem to have any sores or pain. We've been keeping her on tramadol in case she's hurting but so far it seems all good. She did feel bad Sunday, and we all just stayed in bed and watched movies until she got up, then we took her to petsmart for some noms. The vet said we can go ahead and start weaning her off tramadol and then off prednisone after about a week. She'll get some follow up xrays in July to look at her lungs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Through Radiation, on to world dominays-HUN-s.

Hun had her last dose of palliative radiation Monday and has (as of Wednesday afternoon) no side effects. I don’t think we’re out of the woods totally yet, we’re waiting until next Tuesday when she has her follow-up vet visit to clal a victory, but she can already breathe out of her nose and sleep through the night and apparently had a BLAST going to the vet every day and made a friend, Candy, who also has nasal chondrosarcoma and even looks like Honey. Boyfriend didn’t manage to get a picture because they were licking each other and wouldn’t hold still, but I’m impressed, since she started losing sight in her left eye she’s been pretty mean (scratch that, downright catty) to virtually all other dogs. Case in point - last night we had to wake her up and bribe her with duck jerky to take her for a walk at like 11pm, and she was seriously dragging – giving us these looks like ‘I cannot believe you would be so cruel as to make me ride an elevator and actually take multiple steps, you obviously live to torture doggies and don’t love me’ but its all an act, as soon as Maybelline (a grey pit-bull rescue that live in the building, about 3 years old, and mega-submissive, really a doll) and her human walked outside Honey launched herself across the sidewalk snarling with all her hackles up and teeth showing. I had to catch her in mid-air as she flew by me.

We’ve been giving her tramadol and prednisone and we’re both glad we get to start weaning her off. I think another few days on the tramadol to make sure no sores pop up and any that might be inside her sinuses have time to heal and we’ll cut the does. She’s acting completely fine though, playing tug of war and fetch, nosepunching the food container when shes ready for dinner (which is about every 45 minutes) and attempting to eat all the other dogs she can see. I think we’re going to take her to the beach over memorial day, or at least to get some pinkberry. I need to take some pictures of her for the vet, they have her day-by-day side effects photos from first round radiation and I wanted to give them the same for palliative, I think it would really help anyone whose dog is going through this, to see how hun reacted to both kinds. The problem is she wont stay still long enough for me to actually take a decent pic. Its always like honey mid-run or honey chewing on a ball or honey eating. I’ll really devote some time to it tonight, and I’ll post so everyone can see her xmen ‘do.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In other news...

I'm way too freaking sensitive. I just felt a 2.0 earthquake 28 miles southeast of here.

Must be tough to be the Hundog

Friday Hunday

I was sick yesterday and spent the entire day in bed. Honey helped me by making sure the blankets were firmly held in place and that there were a sufficient number of balls / squeaky toys in the bed with us in case I woke up and wanted to play. This morning I was getting ready for work and she kept trying to herd me back to the bedroom. I'm not exactly sure where she learned this, but maybe from Savannah, the huskie we fostered when I was in college. She gets between you and whatever it is you're doing and looks at you, wagging until you back up. If you don't back up fast enough, she barks. And then takes a step forward, until you're effectively walking in the direction she chooses. Every time I walked into the bedroom she would hop up on the bed and lay down, and when I left again she would jump down and give me a very exasperated sigh like 'CLEARLY there's something wrong with you that you don’t want to spend the day napping with my toys.' The kicker was when I was in the shower she made a nest with the clothes I had just ironed, rocketed snot all over my shirt and then lay down on them. Like 'you think you're going to work, don't you. Cute, human. really cute.' so I was late because I had to find a snot-free getup and then iron it. Cam is taking her to the vet for her next-to-last palliative treatment today, she apparently has doggie friends there, rumor even has it that she LICKED ANOTHER FEMALE DOG ON THE NOSE AND SNUGGLED WITH HER which I find amazing because we can't get within 35 feet of another dog, regardless of gender, without Honey acting like a land shark and trying to eat someone's face. I guess the sedative the vets uses really works.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Honey all comfyt in the car over the weekend

HoN O WaR (with a backwards 'R')

So we started palliative radiation yesterday. There really was no option, the tumor is bigger and stopping her breathing through her nose, but other than that she’s still my little war pig. So it was do this and slow / stop it growing for a while or have a dog who can't breathe. If the tumor was anywhere else, it wouldn't be necessary, but this will physically prevent her from breathing before the cancer becomes systemic. She came home from the vet with her face shaved and a green sharpie grid across her head to help them line up the 'zapper' and was totally her normal spunky self. We went for a walk and ran into a neighbor who had just been to the corner store and was walking home eating an ice cream, then another neighbor with a mini-bag of lays potato chips left over from lunch. Needless to say, she got the minibag of chips AND 3/4 of a vanilla ice cream bar, which she ate off the stick. So that, coupled with the fact that C has been calling her 'warpig' since she started taking prednisone, resulted in the xmen name 'HoN O WaR'. I totally want to get it in rhinestones across the back of her collar.

Palliative is really different than definitive, which is what she had in February 2008. The definitive radiation is 30 doses (!!) and has the goal of killing the tumor completely. Side effects, other nastiness insue. Palliative is 5 doses, and the goal is to reduce the inflammation around the tumor, and maybe stop / shrink it a bit. it's not a 'cure' like definitive intends to be, but to preserve the quality of life when it's necessary. The chances of side effects is vastly smaller. The doc predicted 'lots of snot, you may want to cover your furniture' (I told him that I didn’t care last time, I don't think he believes me). So she'll have her last dose Monday, and for a week or so after apparently will be a snot rocket.

I just heard about Sophie, the dog who's blog was the best guide to what honey went through, and she's been diagnosed with an additional cancer in her pelvis. So awful. The extra time you get is never going to be enough.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Recent pictures of the Hun

It's been a pretty miserable weekend.

Looks like her tumor is indeed "larger in some places" according to the vet. We're doing a long course of hellishly strong antibiotics to help with the sinus infection, swelling and resulting inflammation. They haven't really started working yet. She's acting just fine, playing and prancing and wanting to go with and bogarting the bed. I, however, have been dissolving into tears every 45 minutes or so all week. Every time she makes a stuff-ed up breathing noise I go right back to that awful month where none of us slept and I was sure she was going to die at any moment. I'm leaving in about 20 minutes to go get boyfriend (who's coming home from NY, and who's plane should have landed an hour ago) and I'm glad I get to take Hun with me.

I know we got more than an extra year from the radiation. She should have died in February 2008 and its March 30 2009. And I am happy. I am grateful and humbled and I know we made the best use of that time. But I wanted to be one of those people who are still coming back to the vet for the 'every-3-months-chest-x-ray' 7 years after radiation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Honding my breath

The vet gave Honey antibiotics after our last visit, she has having some nose drainage issues. she finished the course on Thursday or Friday and by last night was draining again. We've scheduled a CT scan for tomorrow, to "check the status" of the tumor. Apparently it could be growing again. For that they do aplliative radiation, which is 5 courses instead of the 30 she had before. Hopefully we'll know tomorrow evening. About the same time the Boyfriend's plane departs for NY for the week.

Monday, March 16, 2009

one year, three weeks out of radiation and still ALL CLEAR!

Honey had her last set of xrays last week, and I took the morning off work to go to the vet with her, the boyfriend and the boyfriend’s sister, who was visiting for spring break. Her lungs were still all clear, and the lump I found the week before wound up being fatty tissue and not a tumor – this makes her a full year out of radiation and still in stasis – no progression. I seriously almost hugged the vet techs. And I’m fairly sure the vet thinks I’m nuts. I directed him to this lump, on her belly and slightly smaller around than a dine, and he was surprised I’d noticed it while it was still so small. I told him I do weekly full-body dog inspections.

So the boyfriend’s sister got here last Saturday for a weeklong stay. Literally the first thing that happened was our downstairs neighbors started world war 3, and at 5 am were chasing each other around in the middle of the street screaming at each other. The first legible words we caught were “you sent naked pictures of yourself to a married American man!! You have two weeks to get your shit out and I never want to talk to you again!” None of us could figure out why it mattered that this guy was American (the neighbors are too, so it really makes ZERO sense) but after about an hour we called the cops. And then we called them the next night, and the one after…. But by Tuesday night he apparently had a new girlfriend, so we had a whole other range of noises to listen to. I’ve taken to moving chairs around on the non-carpeted areas of our living room every morning before I make coffee. So I think we all finally slept for a few nights, and then at 3 am Thursday night our toilet randomly started flushing.. And didn’t stop for about 45 minutes. I guess that’s better than it backing up, but again, no sleeping. Plus there was an early morning vet trip and my usual ‘omg Honey’s going to be sick’ flip out. Poor kid, it couldn’t have been a very cool spring break.

Honey did flip out when the bf’s sister left to fly back to Florida. It was my fault, we left her at home and took luggage for the airport trip, but I figured she’d chill out by that evening. Nope, she was still totally convinced that we had lost a pack member. Honestly, that dog is never happier than when we have overnight guests, she gets to move from bed to bed and lick lots of faces. Its quite cute, she just gets really nervous when they leave. I can’t wait for bf’s WEEKLONG trip to NY to lecture……. I’ll have to lay in a supply of nonperishable foods so I don’t starve, cause you KNOW I can’t leave her alone for a trip to the grocery store.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Honey's doing really well this week. She's bouncing around and doing her berzerker mode happy dance and bounding up and down the hall every chance she gets. There's been very little arthritis limping and lots of happy Hun rocketing around barking madly or laying on her back on the bed or couch licking our faces while her tail goes thumpthumpthump. Her radiation start date anniversary is February 5th - and this week last year she had a biopsy and we sat in a vet's office and were offered a choice between agressive and palliative care. I don't think I've ever cried harder. There was one moment I remember really clearly, she was trying to play fetch and couldnt breathe through her nose, it was the saddest thing, an old sick dog bringing the ball and then going to get it at this slow walk. She was standing right in front of me and looked at me with this awful hangdog look and i reached out and touched her nose and said 'its going to be ok, we're going to fix that thing' and her entire countanince changed. she cocked her head and her tail started wagging and her ears went up and it was like a different dog stepped in to finish the game of fetch. We weighed her the other day and she's a solid 57 pounds, heavier than she was before cancer treatment.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 - year of the Hundog

Sorry, it’s been a while. I had laundry to do and accidentally spill bleach on, cell phones to hurl across the room, break and reassemble, dishes to wash, dry, shatter and clean up, and holiday dinners to make, fingers to burn, flu’s to catch and the entire country to drive across. Twice. I’ve been busy, people! First things first, the cytology only showed inflammation and a course of antibiotics cleared up the swelling, so I guess it was an infection. Honey had a blast on the cross country trip. We put her memory foam bed in the back seat and she napped from LA to Tallahassee. The drive took 3 days (LA to Fort Stockton TX the first day – 1,055 miles, to Baton Rouge the next day and Tallahassee by 2 pm on the third) each way (on the way back it was Houston, Lordsburg, LA) and we stopped a few times every day to play fetch and sample local beef jerky. Honey got to meet cam’s parent’s dog Fiona and my parents dog Susan, I really expected Hun to dislike Susan, but by the end of the trip they were napping side by side on the couch. Really cute. She also got to see her extended family and get thoroughly pampered. The weirdest part of all of this is that it was warm almost the entire time we were home. There was one night that was cold enough to have a fire, but other than that it was total jeans and t shirt weather, so Honey got to nap in the sun in the back yard and didn’t have to wear her sweater. The only bad thing happened the last night, in Lordsburg NM. She got a UTI at like 2 am and demanded that she be taken out NOW, which I did without realizing it was snowing. So I’m standing behind a hotel at 2 am with a pacing uncomfortable dog in a snow storm wearing a t shirt, jeans and flip flops. That was no fun. By the next afternoon we were back in LA though, and went directly to the vet before we went home. We got new furniture last weekend, but other than that it’s been pretty boring around here. Lots of fetch, cam and I cleaned the house and I cleaned out my closet. Honey doesn’t like anything moving around and we kept having to coax her out of the bathroom, which is her hiding place, while we were cleaning. Some duck jerky reassured her we weren’t moving, just killing the horrid orange couch and getting an actual grown-up model. She’s a fan of the new couch now, so it all worked out for the best. I’m posting some pics of her on the trip. My dad took a studio portrait of the three of us, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Hun in the sun

Waking up on day 1 - in Arizona

Honey with her cat Arlo