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Old 03-18-2009, 10:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

My boy BoBo was not quite himself when I arrived home from work in the evening on Feb. 12. We were off to the vet the next morning as he had a hard time getting up and walking. Beyond pano, cuts and minor 'sport' injuries he has never been ill, so this was highly unusual for him. I suspected a blown disk first.

At the vet I realized that his abdomen was distended. The vet noticed the pale gums, and I knew it immediately. I lost my previous dog to hemangiosarcoma 9 years earlier. They took x-rays and confirmed internal bleeding. His bloodwork cinfirmed that he was very anemic. The vet sent us to the ER for ultrasound and emergency surgery. I wanted to go to UPenn, but she felt that we did not have the time because he was bleeding.

At the ER we ended up waiting 3 hours (I was very upset as the place was pretty much empty, but the ultrasound was a different "business"). The exam confirmed that he had a 4-5cm diameter lesion on the spleen, other organs were clear.

The next step was surgery. BoBo was a blood donor for several years, and his contract allowed free blood, if he ever needed it. I never thought we would need it but here we were. Since this ER did not work with our blood bank, I moved him to a different ER that did. This saved us $1000-2000, depending on the amount of blood we needed.

BoBo had his surgery at 3AM on Feb. 14, Valentine's day. he bounced back amazingly quickly, and he was pretty much his old self after two blood transfusions.

These are the pictures I took on Feb. 15, when I picked him up.

With the vet that operated on him



In front of the hospital with the tech that cared for him



And leaving his signature in front of the hospital



At this time we did not have a final diagnosis yet. The lesion could have been hemangioma, which is benign. Unfortunately, two days later the pathology results came back, confirming hemangiosarcoma. We got the diagnosis on Feb. 17, his 9th birthday. With surgery alone, his prognosis was 1-3months. I reread "Eich Chronicles" and knew how true this was.

We started chemo 2weeks later. I am going to document his journey for us and others. My beautiful, sweet boy is fighting for his life, please say a prayer for him. He is very brave and happy and he has made many friends at the different hospitals that participate in his treatment.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

My thoughts and prayers are with you all
he is such a handsome boy!!
Hopefully things will turn out ok!!

Enjoy every minute and please keep us informed
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

What a sweetheart. Prayers for you and your sweet boy!
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

RebelGSD, thank you for taking the time to share BoBo's progress through this terrible ordeal.

I am sending healing/fighting vibes to BoBo. BoBo looks like quite the gentleman, even leaves his calling card.

Val
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

OH dear, I'm so sorry to read this. I dealt with this dread disease just last year and it's a tough diagnosis to get and deal with. I was fortunate enough to have the consultation services of a former UPenn head of oncology long-disance. My girl handled chemo well, which I supplemented with holistic care.

I got some good support on a yahoo group called the Sumner Foundation--a chat group like this that offers support and information sharing on hemangiosarcoma. I spent hundreds of hours online researching treatment options, contacting universities and even drug companies. At this point, adriamycin aka doxirubicin is still the treatment of choice. UPenn is doing studies now on medicinal mushroom treatment, which is used with some success on human cancer patients in Asian countries.

If you are interested in going to the Sumner group and can't find it, PM me and I'll send you the link. This is such a tough cancer---it's invisible as you know, so you never know when a crisis will hit, that I found it helpful to share my anxiety and questions with others in the same boat. If you need anything, please feel free to PM me.

Bobo is beautiful and bless him for having donated blood. He looks like a happy, brave, stoic boy. I know that the prognosis is grim, but there were some dogs on Sumner who did buck all the odds and have very long survival times. Not to give false hope, you know what you are up against, but it can't hurt to have some hope for a better outcome.

My prayers to you and Bobo and I'll ask my angel Lucy to watch over him as well.

Jennifer
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

Prayers and positive thoughts for both you and Bobo. He looks like such a sweet boy.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

Thank you all so much for the prayers and the advice. We are in the UPenn chemo trial with the accelerated adriamycin regimen. He is a good candidate since he had no visible metastases on x-ray, ultrasound and exploratory inspection during surgery. I wish they had flushed the blood out of his abdomen during surgery. Apparently they did not do it because dogs can reabsorb it with time and he was quite anemic. He was pretty much his old self the day after the surgery and the two transfusions. He continues to do well a month after surgery, his blood count is good even with the chemo.

We are also going with the supplements. He is getting the mushroom used in the UPenn trials as well as other supplement that came recommeded (I spent $4000 on diagnostics and surgery and $500-600 on supplements already, just to give people an idea about the costs). I plan to rotate groups of supplements. So we are attacking the problem from different sides. I am definitely joining the HS group.

I lost my previous shepherd, Lady, to HS, she was gone within three days and she was too weak for surgery. BoBo bounced back to his normal self within two days, I think angels Lucy, Lady and Eich are watching over him.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

RebelGSD, I am SO sorry and will keep you and BoBo (also DH's high school nickname!) in thoughts and prayers.

We lost our 7-year-old Klaus to hemangiosarcoma at Thanksgiving, 2007. You are lucky to have caught it while still limited to the spleen. Klaus' ultrasound showed a spleen covered with lesions and many suspicious lesions on his liver. BoBo has a much better chance to beat it.

Thank you for sharing the journey. I know many will appreciate and learn from it.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

I'm so sorry your beautiful BoBo was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. You're lucky you caught it early and were able to have successful surgery and enrole him in the experimental cancer treatment.

My prayers are with both of you that the treatment will lead to BoBo having a long and healthy life.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Please say a prayer for my boy - HS

my thoughts and prayers are with you. HS s#%ks.
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