Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two years and still causing mayhem at the manor!

November 4, 2010

That was the date; the date that would change Rilley’s life.  It was exactly two years ago today that Rilley began the experimental treatment that would eventually see him cured of cancer and in his own small way contribute to the field of cancer research.  While there have been many other dogs in the trial, some with much more aggressive tumours than he and some who have lost the battle, they all deserve to be recognized for their part in this important study.

But this is his day, a day to be celebrated for it was approximately 730 days ago that Drs. Pluhar and Hunt removed the tumour from his brain.  Then Dr. Ohlfest and his team worked their magic to create the custom vaccine.  Together they all gave Rilley licence to cause further turmoil and destruction in our beloved home.  Yes, you read that correctly.  If it wasn’t for the dedicated professionals at the University of Minnesota, life would be just a quiet existence for our family.  Days would have become dreary without the excitement that a certain furry, four-legged, misfit of mischief could bring.  We would no longer have felt the love of the beagle who takes great pride in being the self-proclaimed Lord of the House.  Had we not made that 16 hour journey to Minneapolis, we would not have the pleasure of cleaning up after endless garbage raids and how could we overlook the joy of coming home to a wide open fridge, with its contents strewn about?  The resulting stains to the upstairs carpet because, surely, we could not expect him to devour his bounty on the cold tile kitchen floor.  Let us not forget the absolute thrill of being woken up at 3am because Lord Rilley has deemed it an appropriate time to be served his breakfast!  Sorry buddy, but you lose on that one…a quick bathroom break and perhaps a treat for not keeping me waiting while you patrol the back yard is all you get that early in the morning.

It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since Rilley’s surgery.  It is equally difficult to realize that his year-long participation in Dr. Ohlfest’s clinical trial ended a full year ago.  Despite all the time that has passed, it still seems strange that we no longer need to plan return trips to the Twin Cities; it was beginning to feel like a second home.

Sure there have been some moments when we were concerned about his wellbeing, a couple of incidents involving focal and minor breakthrough seizures, but nothing that has caused us concern that the tumour had returned.  A slight adjustment to his medication seemed to take care of these issues and all is well.  Speaking of medication, he is still taking anti-seizure capsules three times a day and will remain on those for life.  A couple of things have made this a bit easier to manage.  The first being Dr. James' recommendation of a veterinary pharmacy out of Arizona that makes it a bit more affordable to buy this volume of medication.  The second, which is of the utmost importance to Rilley, is the existence of Greenie’s pill pockets.  This is where his boundless appetite works to our advantage.  If it weren’t for these wonderful little morsels pill time would be much more difficult...and they now come in a peanut butter flavour!  

Needless to say, our family is thrilled that Rilley is doing so well after all this time.  He seems just as full of energy as any other dog his age, perhaps even more so.  There doesn't appear to be any evidence to suggest that I won’t be sitting here two years from now writing another similar update.

Happy two years Rilley!!!!


  1. Great job Riley!!!!! You deserve a steak dinner : )
    Much love and support for your continued happy healthy life!! You are one of the lucky ones!

    1. Thanks Ann!!!

      Roxy and Rilley's other canine cancer friends are never far from our thoughts.

      By participating in this trial we hope to help not only dogs with brain tumors, but also humans.

      Rilley truly is one of the lucky ones - as are we!!