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Theme Song

I’m constantly asked how JB and I stay so positive. As you all know, from the outside, it all looks easy – we all just have these rosy outlooks and we just seem to handle what comes our way. And while all that is true, what WE all know is that we definitely have our moments of fear, heart aches, second guessing, the blues and pure panic as to whether or not we’re doing the right thing. We don’t have answers, we just do what we think is right and do our best. And we look to each other for support because we all “get it”.

Anyway, so in addition to venting my fears etc. on this site, I have another secret weapon – Sammy and I have a theme song. Ok, I know this sounds corny – real corny, but it’s what I need some days…I’m not ashamed. When I have the blues and need a pick me up – I just step away, throw on my head phones and play our song as loud as I can. Sometimes I even play it 3-4 times. I often play it on my commute home so I charge in our front door ready for whatever is ahead of me. It gets my head in the game and makes me feel strong – whatever it takes, right!

So I’m offering up our fight song! Yup – going to share my cheesy secret to make you all laugh! But before you laugh…download it….play it…loud….and then tell me you don’t feel energized and ready to fight this crappy cancer thing! Ha! Here you go….

The Judds – I Will Stand By You.

Does anyone else have a theme song for you and your tripaw?

Ha…I’m giggling at all of you playing the song at the same time…we will rise above and fight!

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Tired Boy

Sammy Boy is still trying to catch up on sleep from his weekend away! The nasty lung mets can really wear a boy out. He’s doing well so far this week. Breathing and cough are the same…no changes. He’s eating so well. I know part of it is from the Prednisone, but his appetite was great before we started him on that. We’re just happy because it keeps his energy up…well aside from this picture. We have an oncologist appointment on Friday to check in. We’re on the fence about whether or not to have x-rays done. The results just really don’t matter at this point. That being said, I guess would be good to know what the mets are doing…aside from having a party…grrrr. We’ll see. Just thought you all may laugh at Sammy crashing in his pile of toys! xo

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Weekend Success!

We had such a brilliant weekend. It was a much needed re-charge for us and we were all treated like royalty. The team at Inn By the Sea could not have possibly made our stay any better. We love it there.

We had the most perfect room – with a private entrance right outside so we could take Sam out easily. The Prednisone makes him pee a real lot so having easy access was ideal. The only down side – every time Sam went out to pee, he immediately started pulling to the main lobby. And if I didn’t let him head in that direction, he plopped himself on the ground and refused to move! I’m not kidding – that’s the only place he wanted to be. It speaks volume as to how happy he is there. He just wanted to spend his time in the lounge with all his friends. He would look up at other guests walking in the front doors with a look of, “why are you in my living room?” or “come have a seat in my living room!”


They boys know exactly who is who – they know who gives treats from the desk (Mark) and who brings out the dinner (Michael) and who will sit on the floor and rub their ears (Eva) and who will come to the room to sit with them (Caroline) – and all the others that love them unconditionally. They adore each and every person there! They met some great new friends, Happy and Lincoln, and generally were their adorable selves – they made us proud.
They were thrilled to have dinner by the fire. Sam likes to alternate between the lounge and the cold tile of the lobby. We always pick a strategic seat so he can keep an eye over all areas.

 

We had a great trip to Portland on Saturday and met some friends for a drink. Some very kind people brought out a water bowl to share which I thought was funny when both boys practically jumped in. Also, it took me a moment when one of the guys said, “do your dogs like lobster?” and then I realized he was offering lobster cookies!


 We were lucky to get a bit of a snow storm on Saturday. Generally I don’t love the snow, but Sam does and we just were not sure he would get a last roll in the snow while he still can enjoy it. He loves making snow angels!

Sam is doing ok – his breathing is still gradually getting more labored and his coughing bouts a bit more frequent – morning is the toughest. He had a few coughs of blood this weekend. He’s still not in any distress and still has good energy and a good appetite. We’re just keeping him comfortable.
This weekend was all about creating more memories and spending good quality time with the boys away from our day-to-day. We wanted to unplug and get away from our daily distractions and really just chill. It was also about JB and I spending a special night out (thank you Mark for the dinner reservation!) so we could energize ourselves for whatever is next on our journey. We’re in a good place – we’re at peace and we’re calm and we’re ready for whatever Sammy needs. Thank you to all our wonderful friends at the Inn By the Sea for making this weekend so incredibly special.

 

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Shhhh…it’s a secret!

Sam here – I just heard my mom and dad talking and we’re going on a road trip this weekend! I think they are keeping it under wraps because they didn’t know if I would be healthy enough to make the trip. Are you kidding me?!? Bring it on – I’m a rally dog!

I’m a pretty simple pup – I like what I like and that tends to be anywhere my parents are. I’m not too picky. My happy places are easy – on my porch, at the beach, in the truck, gram and grampa’s…well, you get the point. All that being said, I do have one fancy place that makes me so crazy happy that I can’t stand it! It’s called the Inn By the Sea and it’s in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It’s a little bit of a ride, but not so long that I need a pee break….I can make it in one shot.

WooooooHooooo…it’s awesome there! They give me a dog bed and water bowls and treats when we check in. They even give me new poop bags that are eco-friendly because it’s a green facility. They also give me lots of clean towels because they expect me to go swimming at the beach in back. Can you believe that – they don’t just tolerate it, they expect it! The people that work there actually sit on the floor and pet me sometimes. My mom and dad like to sit in the lounge in front of the fire and drink wine…..do you know what that means (well, aside from the obvious)? That means I get dinner from the dog menu – they have “Meat Roaff” and “Doggie Gumbo” and “The Bird Dog” – it’s so hard to decide that I let mom and dad pick for me. And then I get K-9 ice cream with cookies on top for desert – and when I get back to the room, more treats because they have turndown service for me!

Usually when we stay here my mom and dad go out to dinner one night. While usually that would make me jealous, I love it because someone comes to our room to sit with me and Macklin. I love visitors but when the visitor is there for you and only you and doesn’t waste time talking to adults, it means constant attention which equals Love!

I need to get off the computer – just had to share because I’m so excited. I’ll keep pretending I don’t know and just be excited when we get there. I have great fake surprise tail wag – gets them every time. I’ll also make sure we take lots of pictures. The only thing that could make the weekend better is if all my tripaw friends could meet me there!

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Sammy’s Weekend

Sam continues to do ok considering his lung met “situation”. His breathing changes little by little every few days and he coughs a bit more. He’s not coughing a ton but when he does, it’s much harder. We can hear a faint rattle in his breathing and on Saturday he coughed up spots of blood. Not the fluidy reddish spots we’ve had for the past couple of weeks but some real blood. We were not alarmed as our oncologist told us to expect it at some point but it still feels like a punch in the gut. Sigh. We called our oncologist and had a long chat and decided it was time to put him on Prednisone. She’s so wonderful and gave me plenty of time to think and talk even though it was early on Saturday evening. We just want to keep him comfortable. We upped our dog walker to 2x per day just to keep an extra eye on him…especially since one of the side effects is increased urination. He’s such a trooper. He’s still eating well and has good energy so he’s not giving up yet…and therefore neither are we!

Sam had a great trip to the Public Gardens in Boston yesterday. He had great energy and loved all the attention from kids and other folks saying hello. We just strolled around for 2 hours – walking and sitting in the grass. Macklin was on high alert for squirrels so he was a little annoying at times but otherwise it was great. Here’s a picture on the bridge over the pond…there were many people taking wedding photographs and Sam definitely wanted in those pictures.

 

He did have one obnoxious moment – he wanted to go swimming in the pond (ick!) and so he plopped himself down at the top of the stairs and refused to move! And he just let everyone coming up the stairs step over him! As you can see, he’s laser focused on getting to the pond. He had a huge crowd of people taking his picture so he was hamming it up….and knew I would eventually give in!

 

And of course I did! We were sitting on the ground and every few minutes he would inch closer to the water….he really wanted to jump in to chase the ducks!

 

I love our weekends together!

P.S.

Sam here – I needed to sneak on the computer to air a grievance. My mom and dad went out for a birthday dinner on Friday evening for my friends Jeff and John – “the Twins”. Well, I would have liked to celebrate with the Twins too….I’m well behaved so they could have brought me to the fancy smancy restaurant. I got a steak out of it anyway so that’s not really what I’m mad about. My daddy got a big pink gorilla in a tutu to come to the fancy smancy restaurant to sing and dance! What?!? That would have been awesome. I would have ripped him from limb to limb. The Twins did nothin’….not even one bite. I could have demolished that singing gorilla…much better than the Twins….I’m just sayin’.

 

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Road Trip Fun!

Well, we had a fantastic weekend in Newport. As always, our friends are amazing. Toby and Doug were so welcoming and gracious – and their 3 cats too! They hosted a super fun end of the season cook out with their wonderful neighbors, Kate and Dan. Such a fun party and the boys were so good. We met so many kind people that really went above and beyond with loving Sam and Macklin. So many people we had just met were just sitting and hanging with the boys – it was so kind to see and really touched our hearts. Of course, Sammy was eating up all the attention – literally. Best I can tell, I think he managed to devour about 6 sausages. Friends kept saying, “….I only gave a ½ of a sausage, I hope it’s ok” and so I think all the halves added up to 6 – ha!

We had a great lunch on Sunday at a local restaurant – and the boys got to eat some yummy chicken. It was great to hang with Lissa, Toby and Doug and some of their friends and just relax. Sammy and Macklin were very well behaved at lunch – they let all the little kids pet them and hover around. Sammy is no dummy – he knows kids at lunch will eventually drop food – and boy was he prepared when a little girl 2 tables over dropped her grilled cheese on the ground – her mom just looked up and said, “fair game!”

Sunday afternoon we went back to Kate and Dan’s to watch the Patriots game. The boys were super comfortable at their house. They showed us pictures of their amazing Berner named Becket that crossed the rainbow bridge last year – Sammy could be his liter mate they look so much alike. They showered the boys with love and lots of belly rubs – boys were in heaven!

Unfortunately, we had so much fun – I forgot to take pictures! So all I have is this picture of a pile of exhausted dogs on the car ride home! Ha – they were gassed!

 

And now a big, huge shout out to the Red Dog Spa! They were filming some videos for their website yesterday so they invited Sam for a free hydro-massage so he could meet the new trainer, Alex. I haven’t seen Sammy this chill in a long time. Sammy was so comfortable with him and warmed up immediately. He swam, had then had all his muscles worked on – he was one happy dog!  All the staff at RDS are amazing – they make the boys feel like the only ones around when we walk in. Thank you! Of course, we didn’t leave without making a follow-up appointment! As you can see, Macklin was all over making sure he was doing a good job!

Now that’s one happy dog!

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Did You Say Roadtrip????

Yes, I did boys! Roadtrip on Saturday to Newport! We get to go visit our good friends Tobey, Doug and Lissa. Tobey and Doug are having an end of the season party and the boys are invited! Should be a fantastic weekend with wonderful friends! I hope they can contain themselves for the next few days — I think Sam would go sit in the truck now to wait for us!  Sit tight…only a few more days!

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Good and Not So Good

Happy 5th Birthday to Sammy! Such a happy milestone for us as we really were not sure 7 months ago when he was diagnosed with osteo if he would make it! Sammy turned 5 on Saturday, October 1st. He had a fantastic day. In addition to October 1st being Sam’s birthday, it’s a double great day because it is the first day all the beaches open back up to dogs. It always seems a little silly to me that we can’t share beaches during the high season, but we are confined to the one beach across from our house – it’s pretty rocky so no one bothers us. But as of October 1st, we can go anywhere we want! So we headed to a nice big beach with lots of room for the boys to run….and run (and swim) they did. Sammy spent the majority of the time in the water. He swam up and down the beach parallel to the shore with an occassional break on the sand to rest (and to make sure we were still there!). I think he is his happiest in the water.

 

And then we celebrated his birthday with a doggie birthday cake. I will confess, I put the birthday hat on only for a photo op and took it right off – as you can see, he didn’t like it very much.

But he did like the cake! And Macklin got a very special big brother treat.

And then the not so good – Sunday morning I woke up to Sammy absolutely gnawing on his back leg. When I jumped out of bed and took a look, he had completely chewed the inside of his back leg raw! It was just awful looking. I brought him downstairs and cleaned him all up – I used some peroxide and an antibiotic spray and then just watched him for the day. We kept a good eye on him but then he also started chewing on his front leg. By yesterday morning he had a bunch of sores all over him. Poor bugger. So I took him to the vet and he has a massive infection in his body. They think it’s likely because of his compromised immune system from all the chemo. As always, he was the perfect patient. Our vet was not in the office yesterday so we had to see someone new. She was shocked at how wonderful he looked – she agreed with us that he still really does not know he is sick and she commented that she had never seen such a happy looking sick dog. Sam is so funny! Any way, he’s now on a high dose of antibiotics and a low does of a steroid. That’s all fine with Sam as I think he was missing his peanutbutter covered “treats” when we took him off the metronomics! So not super bad, but not great. The sores are just itchy now so we just need to keep him from chewing – he’s been good so far. And in the spirit of glass ½ full — we had a horrible thunder storm last night so Sammy ran around barking from 3:30am to 6:30am – so while JB and I are running on fumes today…..at least it stopped him from biting at his legs! Sigh…I need a nap!

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Sammy’s Weekend

I want to thank each and every one of you for the kind notes of support! This community is amazing and the words of encouragement are always so helpful. I think we’re in a good place, but as you all know, the “stay positive” messages are always a boost. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Well, as usual, we had a great weekend. We were just out and about and enjoying our time with the boys. Sam had his typical Monday blues today – he hates when we go off to work. But Mondays mean Rich time (our walker) and he LOVES his Rich time so it’s a good trade off.

He looks pretty happy for a sick guy, doesn’t he?

Sam made it perfectly clear that his ride in the truck was not long enough – and he refused to get out! No, I will not go in the house…..

 

And here are my 3 tired boys chilling on the porch….recapping all the stories of fun from over the weekend – they love catching up and sharing all the boy stuff!

 

 

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Sigh – Lung Mets

Not a good oncology appointment.  We met with Dr. Cronin and it wasn’t great news.  Sam’s lung mets continue to multiply and the existing mets continue to increase in size. Mets that were pea sized 4 weeks ago are now the size of quarters. I don’t even know how to describe what his x-rays look like – seems like more mets than good tissue at this point.  We just can’t seem to slow the cancer down – it’s just not responding to the treatments.  Dr. Cronin said his cancer is just amazingly aggressive – sigh.  We discussed several chemo options but decided against it – given Sam’s struggle with the carboplatin we just don’t want to put him through more.  He hasn’t responded to either the carboplatin and metronomics so the likelihood of him responding to something else is not very high and we feel it will just diminish the quality of life he has left.  We’ve decided to simply manage his time with us – we’ve pulled him off all meds and will just continue with his supplements (fish oil, k-9 immunity, arteminisin).  We’ll hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  We’ll live large and make every day special.  We’ll lock up our emotions so that we don’t miss one second of our time – plenty of time to be sad later.  We don’t want to miss him while he’s still here and we don’t want him to sense any of our sadness (and anxiety).  Thank goodness he still feels pretty good.  He has a minor cough that has started and it takes him a little longer to slow his breathing – both very minor at this point so we’ll hope it stays that way for a bit.  When I feel down, I remind myself of how well we’ve done – Sam has a crazy aggressive cancer and we’re still fighting 7 months after his diagnosis.  That’s a long time – maybe 4 years in dog time – that’s a good fight!  He doesn’t seem ready to give up the fight so fingers crossed.  We’ll just take all our cues from him at this point and do whatever he needs.  Gotta run because I see some ears to be scratched!

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