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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And miles to go before I sleep

Sorry for the silence! To keep everyone updated, Budz is doing well. He's now had two surgeries to get the cancerous tumors removed, and the 2nd surgery was less invasive than the first. He's up to regular energy level which is positive, but tough because he's still not allowed to go on full walks :(

We have had some bad news, in that the biopsy of the first tumor showed vascular invasion of the cancer (i.e., the cancer was in the blood vessels of the gland, so it's possible the cancer could spread anywhere in his body). At this point, it is unclear whether he'll need another surgery to remove his lymph nodes (with this disease there's a 50-75% chance that it spread to the lymph nodes, but his biopsy showed no lymphatic invasion of the cancer cells). We also need to decide whether to give him radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both.

As a student of science, with the good fortune to have access to lots of journal databases, I've been doing literature searches on and reading about studies of dogs with this disease (officially called apocrine gland carcinoma). I wanted to weigh the scientific evidence before making decisions on his treatment. Unfortunately, I've been disappointed. There are fairly few studies (makes sense given that this disease comprises only 2% of doggy skin diseases and it is probably deemed of less import than human study), and many studies have horribly small sample sizes (like 5 or 14 dogs). And results do not take into account doggy breed (which already creates a highly variable life-span)! So it's frustratingly difficult to take seriously the projected outcomes of radiation vs chemo vs surgery alone.

While my research on this topic has mostly been disappointing, a positive outcome has emerged. I contacted the lead researcher on a paper about this disease to get a copy of the paper. It turns out her oncology department can do a free consult for Buddie if my vet provides my pup's records. It would be really great to get advice from people really on top of the current literature and research on this topic!

In case anyone ever has the misfortune to have to a furry child with cancer, the The Oncology Service at North Carolina State University can provide consultation at no charge (either a written or phone consult can be done). Their consult request form can be found here (fax the completed form with your pet's records).

Friday, January 07, 2011

Budz and a rollercoaster emotion week

After what a crazy crazy week, look who's back home?! BUDDIE! Thanks for all the good luck and healing thoughts y'all have been sending him. Poor guy could really use them!

This week has been filled with emotional ups and downs. Wednesday night I got a call from the surgeon with the results of Buddie's tumor biopsies. The tumors are in fact cancerous. Needless to say, I've been crazy anxious and crying a bunch this week (once even in front of my next door neighbor. Turns out now we're on hugging terms).

I didn't sleep much Wednesday nite since Budz' surgery was Thursday. This also meant I was extra emotionally volatile when I drove Buddie to the surgeon's office Thursday morning. I had a mini-breakdown when traffic made me an hour late to get there (it took three hours to get him to the surgeon's office and then drive back home!!!). I was also anxious because I knew the surgeons were going to do chest xrays and ultrasounds of Buddie's lymph nodes before the surgery to see whether the cancer spread. Thankfully, the cancer hasn't spread!!!

So the surgeon went through with the operation as planned yesterday evening. However, he was only able to remove one tumor due to worries about excessive nerve damage. Buddie will be going back for a check-up next Tuesday, and if he seems to be healing well, he'll get the second tumor removed next week. I'll also be meeting with an oncologist next week to discuss treatment after Budz has healed from all the surgery. (2-3 weeks?)

I really am elated to have him home with me, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't extremely hard for me to see him like this. His backside looks like frankenstein's monster, and I can tell how painful it is for him. He'll also be confined to the kitchen for the rest of his healing period, and he's not allowed to go out for walks. We aren't even allowed to take him around the block! We can take him to the backyard to do his biz, but that's it. Poor fella.

Plus, being in a cone is so sad! Besides getting caught on the stairs when he goes outside, it's epically sad when he wants to scratch his ear. I can totally relate to not being able to scratch an itch. I try to do my best to scratch his itch, but I'm apparently not as successful as his foot would be.

*edited to add an actual outfit shot. My head has been all out of sorts lately!*

Picking up Buddie OOTD
West & Vine sweater sz XS (thrifted NWT $5)
American Apparel red long sleeve sz XS (thrifted $4)
Gap wool camel skirt sz 4 (thrifted $6)
Grey herringbone tights
Three Beacons Belt sz S- Anthropologie ($34)
Colorful Brazilian wood beaded necklace (gifted)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Budz update and returns OOTD

I'm currently sitting with a very zombie-like Buddie on my kitchen floor. Today, I brought Budz in to meet the surgeon and have a surgical consult. I left him at the surgical center for a biopsy (full surgery is scheduled for Thursday), and I just picked him up. Poor guy is still very drugged out. They had to put him under general anesthesia to take the biopsy. He had trouble walking straight on the short walk across the sidewalk from the car to my house!

He also sorta reminds me of students in class that are trying really hard to stay awake. His head keeps dropping down, down, down, and then he'll yank it up, because he wants to be awake and alert. Poor pup! Evan keeps sneaking him little pieces of bacon because he feels so sorry for him.

iphone pic of me 'n Budz recovering on the kitchen floor

I actually have OOTD pics from today, but they're on my camera, which is across the room. And Budz kinda wigs out whenever I get up, so I'll post them another time.

I do have some belated pics from last week. I wore this when I went to go return a gift that didn't fit my mother-in-law at Chico's (a favorite store of my mother and mother-in-law).

Apparently, I don't look like the typical Chico's demographic. The first time I went in there to buy a birthday gift for my mom, none of the SAs came by to assist me. At that point it would have been nice, because I was waaaay confused about their sizing (they use 0, 1, 2, 3 instead of small, med, large, XL. This led to much confusion when I held up a size 2 and thought I would swim in it!)

This time, when I went in to make the return the SA actually told me I didn't look like the Chico's demographic. She said she assumed I was making a return because the clothes at Chico's don't look like my style. I admit I'm somewhat ambivalent about this. I don't see myself as a Chico's shopper, but at the same time, when I go into a store (even if it's not for myself), I don't like people to assume that I don't belong there. Like going into a high-end boutique and not getting service might make one feel a bit stigmatized. Chico's is not a high-end boutique, but I still don't appreciate feeling like such an outsider (I feel this way even about a group I'm not that interested in belonging to... I think I'm just weird).

Chico's Return OOTD
grey plaid puffed-sleeve blazer sz (thrifted $6)
H&M mustard yellow cardigan sz 6 ($20)
Anthropologie Deletta tank (name? 2009 sale, can't remember price)
H&M black 3/4 sleeve shirt sz 8 ($8)
Lisa Skinny Jeans by Fire Jeans sz 5 (thrifted $7)
Nicole Winchester Leather Riding Boots ($100 at DSW)
Orangey-purple scarf (gifted)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year dear readers! I'm hoping all of you had a fabulous end to 2010 and I'm wishing you all happiness, love, good health, and prosperity (and fabulous fashion of course) in 2011.

Me and Ev trying to make "2011" with our hands

Brother-in-law and his gf do it better

This holiday break, I was fortunate to see several fantastic films with family. I just wanted to give a shout out to some of them, in case you're looking for some visual fodder.

In the theaters we saw True Grit by the Coen brothers.

It was hilarious - the writing and acting were done amazingly well. Hailee Steinfeld was phenomenal.

We also streamed the September Issue on Netflix.

I had never heard of it, but Evan flagged it as something that might interest me (although even he and his brother were quite fascinated by the documentary). It followed Anna Wintour and the Vogue staff through the production of Vogue's September Issue. By the way, I think it's so interesting that the Vogue offices look like normal cubicle office space, but just happen to be filled with fabulously dressed people. It was crazy interesting to get a peek at what Anna is like - or really not like. It was amazing how stoic she was. It was really hard to read what she was thinking. Only at the end when she was answering questions about her family did it feel like you were getting to know a bit more about the lady behind the glasses.

I channeled Anna a bit in my outfit yesterday (Okay, it was just me wearing sunglasses in the sunny, but cold, Seattle weather):

Gap Shirred Blouse (color "New Eclipse") sz XS (in-store sale $8)
Three Beacons Belt sz S - Anthropologie ($34)
Target Rhinestone chain necklace (sale $3.50)
Lucky Brand jeans size 4 (thrifted $8)
Forever 21 Rose Bracelet set in mint colorway($5.80)
Forever 21 F9635 Sunglasses ($5.80)

We also streamed this National Geographic documentary on Inside North Korea.

The documentarian had to lie about who she was and what she was doing to get in. Very interesting view of the country people we know so little about.

Other notable vidz included It's Complicated (was surprisingly LOL funny) and Joan Rivers a Piece of Work. I admit I knew nothing of Joan Rivers beyond her plastic surgery escapades, but this documentary helped me appreciate what she did/does to open doors for women comedians and I wholly admire her work ethic.

Happy 2011 peoples!!