Wednesday was Rusty’s seven month Ampuversary and he is doing great! He is full of life and enjoys almost every minute to its fullest! He still has an occasional day that he is not very active nor eats until later in the day, but by evening he is usually back to normal and wants to play and eagerly eats his dinner. His diarrhea episodes have almost completely subsided and Dr. Macy cut his dosage of Budesonide in half.
Rusty's endurance is still fairly low, maximum of 1/2 hour in the pool and only one lap around the lake in the mornings (1/4 mile). Dr. Macy was comfortable with his current level, he said between the cancer, Chemo, desert heat and only three legs he was not surprised. Our temps should begin to moderate in early September and are anxious to see if that helps his activity level.
Rusty really enjoys his daily swimming! When we return from our dawn walk around the lake, Jan gives him his breakfast and I usually do some projects around the house to give his food a chance to settle. Around 8:30AM we put on our suits and say “surfs up”; Rusty heads out to the pool where he jumps in and waits for us. We are very lucky that he does not go into the pool other than when we are out in our suits; he still plays “cabana boy” and keeps the pool free of any leaves, etc.
Our appointment with Dr. Macy on August 11th was pretty much all good news. Rusty has gained another 1 1/2 lbs in the past month, which is a total of 3 lbs since he started gaining weight in June; Dr. Macy said that his muscle tone was excellent and he attributes the additional weight to his swimming. He did not find any lumps or other indications that the cancer has spread externally. He felt that since there were no other signs i.e., coughing, breathing difficulties, vomiting, etc., which along with the weight gain, that the cancer has probably not spread internally, at least not in any significant amounts, and he recommended that we wait at least another month before doing any X-Rays or other internal scans.
That was good news for us; however he again cautioned us that 95% of dogs with a level three cancer diagnosis pass in the first 12 months after diagnosis and/or surgery. He said that each month that Rusty shows no sign of recurrence it improves his odds of making it into the 5% that survive beyond one year. His blood work showed some deterioration in liver functions which is probably a result of the Chemo treatments; he said that he is not alarmed about the changes as they are still within acceptable limits. He is hoping that eliminating the Vinblastine IV Chemo treatments will improve those functions.
Dr. Macy is keeping Rusty on the Lomustine and increasing it to twice monthly for the next six months; he said that the Lomustine has fewer side effects than the Vinblastine and he should tolerate it without any major problems. Today was the 2nd dosage for August and as usual he is having a quiet day. The Dr. provided us with another prescription of Maropitant Citrate for nausea but so far Rusty has not shown any signs of nausea. His next appointment with Dr. Macy is September 8th.
Dr. Macy loved Rusty’s surfin’ video and was considering using it in some of his seminars! We have a large "Pet Lovers Club" here in Sun City and I asked (at the request of the club) if he and Dr. Huber would be willing to come to a meeting this fall and explain the surgery and cancer treatment plan they have used for Rusty; he said that they would! I will put together a PowerPoint presentation of my photos of Rusty from before surgery, surgery/recovery and return to normal life including his surfin’ video.