Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rilley's 10th Birthday!!!!

The front door adorned with a birthday banner.
Today is Rilley's 10th Birthday.  It is more of a symbolic celebration as we adopted him from the Ontario SPCA on this day eight long years ago.  At the time, we were told that he was two years old but they could not be any more specific than that so we settled on April 28th!

The evening started off with a steak dinner.  Keeping in mind his recent progress with the battle of the bulge, portions were moderate with a good helping of veggies!
Steak dinner with all the trimmings.
Sara and our youngest daughter Elizabeth baked him a special birthday cake earlier today.  They found a carrot cake recipe that would suit both human and canine alike and decorated it with cream cheese icing.  However, despite being given dinner at the table, Rilley still wasn't sure if he was allowed this indulgence so he made a cautious approach, snatched the cake and made a speedy escape!

"Mmmm...cake!  Should I?  Yeah, but I think I'll take it to go...."
The cake was made with special attention to his diet...perhaps this is why the only one who really enjoyed it was Rilley.  In all honesty it was more suited to the canine but Elizabeth really wanted to make her special friend a birthday cake and she did a really great job!

We hope you enjoyed your 10th Birthday Rilley!  Everyone is very happy that you are still here to celebrate it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trouble for Jake the Warrior

We learned last night that Jake the Warrior, the Boston Terrier we introduced to you two months ago when he was heading off to Minnesota, has hit a major set back in his own battle against a brain tumour.  It turns out that Jake had not been feeling well over the past week so his owner's Frank and Jenn took him to the vet.  An initial exam revealed that he was having difficulties with his right side, the opposite side of where the tumour had been removed.  An MRI confirmed that Jake's tumour has returned and is actually bigger than before.

Although we don't know them personally, Sara and I share in Frank and Jenn's shock and disappointment.  We would like them to know that they are in our thoughts and despite what has happened we wish them and Jake well.

From what we understand, Jake's tumour is a glioma, which is different than the meningioma that Rilley is under treatment for.  As such he is part of a gene therapy trial as opposed to the immunothearpy trial that Rilley is participating in.

You can read more about these developments on Jake's blog at:

Post #70! Rilley's Shiny New Tag

The blog has reached it's own milestone of sorts. This is our 70th post and we thought it would be nice to continue with some light-hearted banter as the subject of cancer can be a real downer.
Rilley sporting his new dog tag.
Since the Beagle of Brain Tumours, the Pooch of Pills, the Mongrel of Medicine won't take his anti-seizure medication without his beloved Greenies Pill Pockets we had to pay a visit to the local Pet Smart.  You see, on our last return from Minneapolis in February we had picked some up and were amazed at how much easier it was to get him to take his medicine.  However, a few days ago, someone left the bag on the counter and Rilley decided to help himself despite the fact that he had already had his morning pills.  Before Sara (the aforementioned "someone") could notice, he had managed to retrieve and devour eight.  Hence the need for more.

Now, Sara being one who cannot leave the pet store (or any store) with just the required item began to wander the aisles.  Of course, she had a valid reason.  Sara is one of those people who could come up with an excuse, nay, rationale for anything and as it turns out today, April 10, 2011 is the eight month anniversary of Rilley's very first seizure.  What better reason could one think of for a pooch's present?

Well, this is what we came home with...a custom engraved dog tag (just in case he forgets his own name)!
Rilley's new tag.
Apparently his old one was wearing out!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

MILESTONE: 5 Months, No Seizures!

Tomorrow marks Rilley's fifth straight month without seizures and it has been nearly eight months since this whole adventure began with his first seizure on August 10th of last year.  We can't wait until we hit the next milestone in one month's time of being half a year out from surgery and with the way time has been flying by it will soon be here!

Interestingly enough, Sara had emailed Drs. Ohlfest and Pluhar tonight to let them know how well Rilley has been doing and in his response Dr. Ohlfest mentioned some positive news about his treatment.  It turns out that while they were doing some advanced testing on the blood that was drawn during our February visit they found that "tumor-reactive antibodies were induced by the vaccines."

It would appear that the vaccine injections have indeed made a difference and Rilley's immune system has produced it's own army (of sorts) to seek out and destroy the cancer cells that caused his meningioma in the first place.  As was evident by the clean MRI done in February these anti-bodies appear to have wiped out the few tumour cells that the team wasn't able to completely remove during surgery and now, in theory, the anti-bodies should keep this particular tumour from recurring.

This is fantastic news and we'd like to thank Dr. Ohlfest for passing that along to us!