Mina’s feeling better, much better. She’s even eating a little boiled chicken again. Poops are normal, her energy level is getting a little better, too.

Yesterday, we went outside for a walk after Mina slept for hours and hours. It started to sprinkle and then rain a bit harder and about 20 seconds after this video was made it was raining hard enough to soak Mina to her skin. OK, that’s not hard when she’s bald, but my baseball cap and T-shirt were wet through.

s.

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It’s definitely the chemo causing the GI problems. Last week on the Leukeran was awful for Mina, but this week she’s a whole new dog! Yesterday, she took a good walk and had that nice BM I told you about, she ate her breakfast and both of her mid-day snacks, and she ate twice more in the evening. She even tolerated my attempt to add bone meal to her chicken by mixing in a little veggie broth. Learned my lesson – the bone meal goes in the baby food until she’s back on Chow Now where I can hide the bone meal better.

We had a lively walk in the pouring rain yesterday when I came home. That storm blew in fast and left fast, but not before we had quarter-sized raindrops falling on us – all at once! We took another walk in the evening and ran into Cooper and his mom and some other neighbors. One of the guys tried to get Mina’s attention for some petting but she only had eyes for Cooper. Mina surely does love her own species. She lets Cooper drool all over her, too.

We had some play time indoors and Mina got another new supplement, fish oil capsules. It’s only for the short-term to help with her skin irritations. I’ll switch her back to flax oil when the capsules are gone. I can compromise on feeding her some farm animals, but I can’t take part in the destruction of marine wildlife when there are good plant-based alternatives available.

Mina’s urinary incontinence seems to have gotten a lot better, too. I find tiny spots on occasion, but not many of them. This is a very good thing as her two mid-day walks come to an end after chemo. Auntie Lolo promised to help us out during the chemo months, but it’s a strain on her staff to come and walk Mina and feed her every day. I’m hoping they’ll be able to come and check on her from time to time, though.

This morning Miss Bean ate her breakfast of boiled chicken with Forti-Flora mixed in, took all her peanut butter-coated meds and treats, and had a nice, normal bowel movement. I hope we can keep this going into next week, but we’ll see. That Adriamycin/doxorubicin is a real bitch.

s.

This morning I’m pleased to announce that Mina had her first normal bowel movement since Tuesday morning. w00t! She ate very well on Tuesday and Wednesday but I was starting to worry about the lack of poopage. Very relieved.

Right now, Mina’s eating boiled, shredded chicken and ground beef and eggs baked with a little garlic powder and parsley. I’m going to buy a cart of the cat Chicken Chow Now this weekend – it has more chicken in it than the dog variety – and cook it in little snack-sized balls for her. If she likes it, then I’m going to start slowly transitioning her on to that food. I am hopeful that after chemo is over that she’ll enjoy it again. If she does, then we’ll eventually transition her to eating it raw once her immune system is recovering.

Mina’s been in a really good mood these past two days. I turned off my computer at home around 8 p.m. because she wanted to play for a bit. Then we took a last walk outside and got ready for bed. She was her usual sleepy head this morning and didn’t want to walk but I told her we weren’t going inside until she pooped!

Today I’m going to find a better source of calcium carbonate for her, probably stop at Whole Paycheck on my way home. I bought the Tums on Dr. B’s advice but I just don’t want to give her that crap any more. I can’t get bone meal because I’m not always sure she’s going to eat, so a pill or capsule will work best. Mina still looks forward to her peanut butter-coated pills twice a day.

Oh … starting the second week in September I’ll be returning to my Thursday telecommute day. I switched to Tuesday to accommodate Mina’s chemotherapy schedule but I like Thursday better (sometimes adding Friday is not so difficult!).

That’s all for now. It should be a good week.

s.

I got home yesterday and Mina trotted out from the bathroom to greet me and started barking to go outside. We took a spritely walk to the leasing office for treats and butt rubs, then home for some dinner. She didn’t eat everything her aunties gave her yesterday, but she gobbled up her lunch and all her peanut butter-coated pills and ate some more later in the evening.

I made sure to spend time with her on the floor for belly rubs so there’d be no sniffle/snuffle stuff. At one point she grabbed her squeaky man toy and we played keep-away for a bit. We took a couple more walks so Mina could trot and bark at everyone.

This morning she enjoyed her Forti-Flora in organic baby food and ate her entire breakfast. I’ve removed all the sheets/towels/blankets from the living room floor because Mina’s urinary incontinence is much improved. She still has the occasional leak, but I find them easily and clean them up quickly. I’m tired of looking like a hobo camp around here. I’m still keeping the couch covered, though.

We’re good.

Mina is a clever canine. She’s also a very manipulative individual. Years ago she learned to make this sniffling/snuffling noise with her nose that makes me come running to see what’s wrong. The first time she tried it I made such a fuss that it’s become her standard “I’m over here all alone and you’re busy and ignoring me” attention-getting tactic.

It never fails.

Last night I was busy in the kitchen making her baked ground cows (beef, eggs, cooked and smashed carrots, garlic powder, parsley) and boiled dead chickens. This whole process requires about three hours, or my entire evening. About mid-way through dismembering the dead chickens I heard the ol’ sniffling sound. I knew she wouldn’t stop unless I paid her some attention, so I dutifully got on the floor beside her and made the appropriate fuss. Then I went back to the kitchen.

Not five minutes later I hear the sniffling again, only this time it’s more pronounced – more of a “snuffle.” Again, I stopped what I was doing and got on the floor with Mina and made a big fuss over her. When I stood up to go back to the kitchen, she gave me the side eye.

Not long after I announced it was time for some fresh-from-the-pot chicken and beef samples and Mina gobbled up the equivalent of three chicken thighs and a big scoop of the dead cows. She ate everything put in front of her yesterday, and this morning she polished off her breakfast and a half jar of organic baby food with the Forti-Flora mixed in. Cross your fingers that the rest of her chemo treatments go this well!

s.

**UPDATE**VIMP called to confirm our appointment and I asked about the ultrasound. I stayed on hold while the tech checked with Dr. B. It’s all set. Mina will have her usual CBC, physical exam and ultrasound and the appointment will take about an hour and cost anywhere from $75-$150 extra. If it gives me the answers I need, it’s money well spent.

It’s odd but VIMP has not called me today to verify our 9:30 a.m. appointment for tomorrow. Hmm …

Still no response from Dr. S. to the e-mail note I sent yesterday. I guess I’ll just ask for that ultrasound when I get there tomorrow. I honestly don’t know what to expect anymore and I don’t know Mina’s status at all. It’s all a confused mess thanks to TEAM GRIM REAPER.

Anyhoodle … Mina and I drove up to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park yesterday morning. We took the back roads to Front Royal and entered the park and headed up the mountains. We were not prepared for this trip – no sunblock, no DEET – but I did bring Mina’s waterer and my own Klean Kanteen filled with filtered water.

It was nice up there – humid and about 80 degrees. Every time we got out of the car to look around, we were swarmed with bugs. An invisible, neon sign that reads “EATS” must have appeared above my head as I seemed to be the only one swatting at bugs. It was a beautiful drive, not very crowded at all, although I did notice that all the lodges and campgrounds were full.

We drove until we reached VA 211 and headed down the mountain. That road is like a wild mouse roller coaster, which I thought was kinda fun but it annoyed Mina because the tight turns made it hard for her to stand up and hang her head out the window. Boy howdy, it was hot when we got down to normal elevation. I turned on the air and closed the windows, but Mina wanted the windows down so we had both fresh air and bought air at the same time. I didn’t get any pictures because taking pictures of mountains with a cell phone camera is just lame.

We rested the remainder of the day, but Mina did eat some last night. I cut up an Yves Tofu Dog and put it on top of her beef and chicken and she ate it all. Then she ate a couple of jars of baby food and NO PUKING. In fact, she has normal bowel movements now. I don’t hear any more gurgling in her stomach and her gas has subsided so perhaps whatever was bothering her (cancer or IBS, we just don’t know) has subsided. She ate some more chicken before going to bed, too.

This morning we drove to my office to pick up my laptop. I stayed home today because I want to make sure that Mina is feeling OK. She seems pretty chipper, even taking a couple of walks outside in the heat. She hasn’t eaten much today, just some chicken and half of a tofu dog, but that might be the heat. Mina has historically lost weight during the summer months because she just doesn’t eat as much. Or it could be like my friends Jill and other have suggested and this is just a very low spot on the chemo roller coaster. I hope it improves this week.

Here’s a picture of Mina and one of her friends whom she rarely sees, Chance. He’s older like Mina and they always get so excited when they see each other, but Chance’s human always pulls him away too soon.

Mina and Chance

Mina and Chance

And here’s a shitty cell phone cam video taken today of Mina on a walk. Notice how near death she looks …

Nothing is certain, very little is known, more tomorrow …

s.

Mina ate like a champ yesterday and enjoyed her walks and barked at everyone like a dog who feels pretty good. It was delightful.

I did not give her the last dose of Mirtazipine last night because I wanted to see how she’d handle food today.

This morning she woke me at 3:15 to go outside, and I noticed the level in her water bowl was down so she must’ve been warm overnight. But she made up for it by eating her entire breakfast and greedily swallowing her peanut-butter coated meds and supplements. We didn’t take a long walk this morning because of the rain, so I hope she gets a chance for a good stroll with Auntie Sherrie or Auntie Lolo (or Uncle Robb, who took care of her yesterday afternoon).

Rest week goes by so fast.

s.