2 Million Dogs – The Blog

Cancer. Touches. Everyone.

Archive for December, 2010

Two Weeks

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 23, 2010

Luke’s latest update on Murphy, posted Thursday, December 23

From our 1pm meeting today…

The team at Colorado State University is confident that Murphy will show signs of tumor regression by the two week mark before they consider pursuing some of my whacky ideas like implanting a stent or shunt to alleviate his breathing difficulties.

I said something like, “Okay, but he sleeps for 30 seconds then awakens with an unforgiving version of apnea. It’s even effecting his eating.”

“He’s just going to have to learn how to adjust”, was the counterpoint and a good one at that. I had just posted the question last nite about how I could teach Murphy to breath through his mouth not his snout. But big dogs are inherently stubborn SOBs (sumbitches as we say in TX) so we’ll see how that works out.

I agreed to wait to implant a device contingent upon Murphy’s comfortability and that his clinical symptoms don’t worsen. But honestly it feels like a crapshoot like those commercials you see, ‘Give me a week and we’ll take off the weight.’ Bet it didn’t work for those guys.

Don’t get me wrong I have complete respect for and trust in our oncology team but I’m a contrarian and questioning everything is the responsibility you have when making decisions on behalf of a loved one who can’t speak for themselves.

So once again, we wait but we do so with benchmarks. I’ll meet with the radiologist Dr. Custis again next week for a clinical evaluation and then the following week to discuss chemotherapy.

There has been a plot twist though – we got back the results from the biopsy for the two new tumors and from way outta left field, they’re sarcomas not adenocarcinoma. Why? No one seems to know but they’re malignant cells and anything beyond that seems to have no therapeutic value. Roughly translated, it doesn’t matter what color they are – red, green, or purple they must die.

“You got two weeks”

Luke has posted a video of Murphy.

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TODAY Show Discusses Palladia for Dogs

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 22, 2010

Thanks to Chase Away Cancer on Facebook for the link to this video article on the use of Palladia for the treatment of Mast Cell tumors in dogs. Please follow this link to the video on The Today Show.

Like all treatments for cancer, Palladia is not without risks. If you are administering Palladia to your dog, please follow these precautions:

Precautions Necessary When Handling Palladia

Palladia is an anti-cancer medication and, as such, it needs to be handled very carefully. Palladia may be dangerous to unborn fetuses when handled by pregnant women. Women who are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant need to be especially careful in handling the medication.

Children should not be allowed to handle Palladia and Palladia should be stored in a secure location, as should all prescription medications.

When handling Palladia, dog owners:

* should wash their hands thoroughly after handling the tablets.
* should not try to split or break tablets.
* should wear gloves when it is necessary to handle broken tablets.
* should administer Palladia tablets to their dog immediately after removing from the bottle.
* should not handle tablets spit out by the dog without gloves.
* should check to make certain the dog has ingested the Palladia tablet completely if hiding the tablet in food.

Dog owners should wear gloves when cleaning up urine, stool or vomit from Palladia-treated dogs. Urine, stool or vomit produced by the dog should be tightly sealed in plastic trash bags, along with any paper towels used to clean up messes. The plastic trash bag may be disposed of with regular household trash once tightly closed.

Any towels, blankets or other items soiled with urine, stool or vomit from the Palladia-treated dog should not be washed with regular laundry.

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Clinical Trials and Ongoing Research Studies At the U of TN College of Veterinary Medicine

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 22, 2010

Here are some current clinical trials you might be interested in going on at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville. Please follow this link for further information.

Radiology/Oncology

• MRI characterization of cutaneous mast cell tumors and their regional lymph nodes in dogs (free MRI exam for dogs meeting inclusion criteria.) Contact: Dr. Steve Pokorny or Dr. Silke Hecht.

Oncology

• The UTCVM Comparative Oncology Program tumor tissue and DNA bank. Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Phillips, Dr. Amy LeBlanc, or Dr. Al Legendre
• Treatment with tyrosine kinase and chemotherapy of advanced malignancies. Contact: Dr. Al Legendre.
• Identifying risk factors for the development of canine osteosarcoma. Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Phillips
• Evaluation of the mTOR inhibitor Rapamycin in tumor-bearing dogs. For more information, see: Medical Oncology. Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Phillips or Dr. Amy LeBlanc
• “Evaluation of topotecan in dogs with naive or recurrent lymphoma.” Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Phillips

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Notes on Murphy

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 21, 2010

From 2 Dogs 2000 Miles, Tuesday, December 21, 2010.

Dictating my thoughts for the oncologists at CSU, others who have dogs with nasal adenocarcinoma, and in the interest of science.

Over the weekend Murphy’s ability to breath through his snout has diminished significantly. It seems this new tumor is spreading quickly. We hope the radiation will stop this growth almost immediately. In layman’s terms here’s how it works:

Cancer cells are referred to as ‘immortal’ because they divide unabatedly. The first one, not sure what scientists call it; perhaps the parental or originator, has a gene that for some reason is turned on telling it to start dividing. That one cell becomes two which becomes four, etc. until you have a tumor mass consisting of millions of cells. Radiation therapy attempts to interfere with the tumor cells’ ability to continue mitotic division thereby stopping growth. The cells that can’t divide eventually die off.

Back to Murphy. Even if this massive three day dose of radiation halts tumor growth, it’ll still be restricting airflow in the interim. We’ve already discussed a surgical option in Dr. Withrow’s words taking a roto-router and cleaning the tumor out but that presents some serious problems.

That got me thinking this morning. How can we improve breathing through his snout without surgery and how do we do something like this in humans? Well we know that when people have clogged arteries we place a stent in them permitting improved blood flow. Plus, stents are now drug delivery systems so this might be a way to administer chemo directly into the tumor site.

Must discuss this with Dr. Withrow…

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Luke Robinson — one of 25 Pet People of 2010.

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 21, 2010

Luke has been selected by Petside.com as one of the top 25 Pet People of 2010, along with Betty White, Bernadette Peters, Kevin Costner, Mimi Ausland (creator of freekibble.com), Ellen DeGeneres, Debi Boies, (co-founder of Pilots N Paws), and others. Congratulations Luke, Hudson, and Murphy, for your untiring work and dedication.

After losing his Great Pyrenees,  Malcolm to bone cancer, Luke Robinson sold his truck, put his stuff in storage and set off on a 2,300 mile walk from Austin, Texas, to Boston, Massachusetts, to raise awareness about the disease that’s killing so many of our pets today.

After more than two years on the road, Robinson, along with his other “boys” (Hudson and Murphy, also Great Pyrenees) completed the arduous trek this summer.

“Walking the final mile from Back Bay Fens to Boston Common was bittersweet,” recalls Robinson. “It marked the end of a long journey, the fulfillment of promise I made to Malcolm but the beginning of a new phase of my life as well.”

Robinson is writing a book about his experience and has started the foundation 2 Million Dogs to raise money for canine cancer research. He is also planning a documentary.

Thank you Maryann Mott for being the advocate for making them in the top 25 pet people of the year.

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Current Clinical Trials at the The University of Missouri

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 21, 2010

Cancer Patients Sought for Funded Clinical Trials

The University of Missouri is currently seeking patients for enrollment in funded oncology clinical trials. Study goals and suitability for each patient are discussed in detail with the clients prior to enrollment. Although clinical trial enrollment may not be the best option for all patients, in many cases, clinical trial participation provides the opportunity to receive novel, cutting-edge therapies free of charge or at a reduced cost and may facilitate treatment of pets where it would not otherwise be possible due to financial constraints or lack of other therapy options. Criteria for enrollment are outlined for each tumor type. Please direct referrals or questions to Debbie Tate, RVT (clinical trials coordinator) or the Oncology Clinical Trials Service at 573-882-7821.

For the full article, please follow this link.

There is quite an extensive list of studies on their website. Scroll down their page for more information on:

• Palladia™ for Canine Splenic Hemangiosarcoma
• Inhalant chemotherapy for canine lung cancer (NOT OPEN YET)
• Radioactive Gold Nanoparticles or Palladium Brachytherapy for imaging and treatment of canine prostate cancer
• Tavocept use to mitigate nephrotoxicity associated with cisplatin and piroxicam treatment of canine bladder cancer
• Bcl-2 Canine Lymphoma Study
• AD-198 Canine Refractory Lymphoma Study
• CycloSam™ (Sm-153-DOTMP) OSA Study
• Echocardiographic and Total Body Water Evaluation of Canine Lymphoma

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Become a Sugar Mommy or Daddy to Murphy

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 20, 2010

Re-posted from 2 dogs 2000 miles blog, Monday December 20.

The Boys in their tent.

Murphy’s total vet bills are expected to weigh in around $8,000. Ginger and I have already maxed out our care credit so we’d appreciate any help. I’ve always had a tough time with charity and those who know me intimately know this. That may seem strange but there will be a chapter on that in the book about it…

I’m a firm believer in trading value for value so this time I’m doing limited edition canvases, each autographed by me and bearing Hudson and Murphy’s actual pawprints. We have three photos to choose from all depicted nearby.

Murphy.

The photos will be transferred to canvas, then stretched over a wooden frame. Two sizes are available: 8×10 and 11×14. We’re asking $75 for the former; $100 for the later.

I’m limiting this run to 50 per photo which should completely cover his medical costs. That way some of you may consider buying one as an investment that’ll one day sell for $1 million when Murphy beats his cancer then runs for President.

Some of you wanted my current profile pic on Facebook (which is one of my absolute favorites of Murphy) but that was taken with an i-phone and is only 600kb far too small for photo quality. I might have it converted to a painting in the future.

The Infamous Fuzzybutts.

A couple of considerations. These prices cover the cost of shipping which will take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. The mom & pop shop we’re using does each individually. Ginger has also included our final Memorial shirt and our cause bracelets on the Click and Pledge page for some reason or other.

To purchase a limited edition canvas, click here

If you have any questions, shoot me an email at: 2dogs2000miles@gmail.com

Thank you.

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24 Stones

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 20, 2010

Reprinted from Luke’s blog at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles.

Murphy’s life expectancy got downgraded last week. That pisses me off but like I recently posted on Facebook, I don’t know whether I have more fight or faith in me but his metastatic cancer is not going to keep us down…

Here’s what’s in store for us this week:

Monday December 20th

– Drop Murphy off at CSU for first radiation treatment
– Afterwards pick up our good friend John Stalls (kivawalk ) and his dog Kanoa and head to Eldorado Springs State Park for a night of camping and knuckleheadedness.

Tuesday December 21st

– Sober up by 6am – say see ya to John. He’s a good kid…
– Murphy’s second treatment
– Gotta grab some gifts for my nieces before I go back to TX. Didn’t make it to Archie McPhee’s when we were in Seattle so I’m sort of at a loss. Educational or irreverence are the only gifts I buy people. There’s a family pack of wrestling masks at McPhee’s that’s out of stock I wish I could get my hands on for me and the boys – Los Perros Loco Lucha Libre…

Wednesday December 22nd

– Third and final dose of radiation
– Denver. My friends here in Fort Collins got tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Don’t know if it’s YMCA meets Slovenia yet but Murphy’s coming with us and we all know how good he looks in a tool belt.
– Afterwards we’ll take him to the Buckhorn Exhchange for a beefy treat he’s never had before

Thursday December 23rd

– Make Murphy Xmas Sammiches for CSU patients. While Murphy’s the greatest lover of The Honest Kitchen — even he likes to share during the holiday season. We’ll be making a coupla’ pies for cancer patients today.

Friday December 24th

– Take Murphy on a tour of Xmas lights.
– Leave cookies, coke & cigarettes out hoping Tony Bourdain, my new hero, shows up and doesn’t confuse Hudson and Murphy for albino possums and tries to make them into a stew.

Saturday December 25th

– Open House at Claire’s. It’s a sushi Christmas and our last real day in Colorado. Grab a pair of chopsticks, stop by for the Ginger Grinch, the Murphy Maki, and whatever the hell else I come up with

Sunday… never mind not going to happen. Snuggle Snuggle with Murphy…

Monday December 27th

– Leave 3am for TX. God I need my family now…

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Murphy’s Treatment Plan

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 19, 2010

From Luke’s blog post:

If you’re offended easily, please read no further. Don’t know what sort of graphic language will be expressed in this post and I have no intention of editing it.

A lot of you know me from our walk from Austin to Boston http://2dogs2000miles.org/  and some of our new friends don’t. Then, I was walking in memory of Malcolm whom I lost to cancer. Now I’m just a father who’s desperately trying to save his other boy’s life from this dreadful disease. I’ve made the decision to make a documentary of this latest chapter of our lives and I’ll post more about this as it develops.

It’s already a hard time of year from me since it was this time in 2005 when Malcolm was struggling and the metastatic tumor in his lungs was overtaking him. But this isn’t about me so let me bring you up to speed about Murphy.

I posted about his prognosis. We don’t understand why the first round of radiation failed… I have a theory but for now it’s academic and we can’t afford time for talk. The tumor has reached critical mass and if allowed to grow any further, it’ll shut off his ability to breath through his snout. If that happens he’ll have no quality of life.

The recommendation of the oncology team at CSU is that we have to act immediately and hit it hard with everything they’ve got. Their radiation plan is 30 grays administered over three days, the maximum tolerable dose.

After that we’ll look into chemo as an adjunct therapy. Thanks to everyone who posted to our wall about human cancer drug trials – Erich is compiling a list from your links so I can send emails out to the principal investigators.

The potentially catastrophic downside to this plan is there’s a 5% chance Murphy will succumb to massive radiation alone in a few weeks or months.

“What’s your decision?” Dr. Withrow asked me Friday.

Having sat through 30 minutes of if, ands, and buts – all I could think about was Star Trek. Strange since I’m not a Trekkie but when he said the first round of radiation merely stunned the tumor, I thought of the phaser and it’s two settings: Stun and Vaporize. At least that’s how I remembered it since the last time I saw an episode was probably in the 80s. Perhaps we didn’t hit it hard enough the first time and the Variant Trilogy machine was on the wrong setting.

I don’t know how much time passed after he asked the question – all the options and the probabilities of their outcomes cycled through my head like a centrifuge.

“What are we going to do?” he asked again.

“Let’s kill this mother f***er.”

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Prognosis

Posted by Erich Trapp on December 18, 2010

from the 2 Dogs 2000 Miles blog

Just met with the team at CSU and based on the PET-CT scan and the scoping this morning they say Murphy has 3 months to live without re-radiation, 6 maybe 8 months with…

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