Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Pellets for the stove

November 2, 2015 Leave a comment
The dogs appreciating the prospect of warmth to come

The dogs appreciating prospects of future warmth

I went today to fetch more sacks of wooden pellets for the stove. We’re stocked up now for a fortnight or so. These are actually the pellets which we bought in advance of last winter and never used because we were away. (More about that in a future post.)

The dogs lost no time in occupying their usual positions – Taylor on his mat and Galileo on a green blanket on the pool steps. For anyone who remembers our dogs: note there is no Joules. He contracted very aggressive prostate cancer (despite being neutered) in April of this year and had to be put to sleep – by chance on his birthday. He was exactly ten years old.


June 5, 2013 7 comments
A perfect specimen

A perfect specimen

It’s the corncockle season, when furry buds open into sturdy, stunningly marked, bright flowers, one per stalk.

I told Chokri they were poisonous out of a sense of responsibility (you never know), and since then he’s looked askance at them.

To my “Don’t you think they’re beautiful,” he replied “I think they’re poisonous”.

But so are lots of things: oleanders, foxgloves, wisteria pods, sweet pea seeds, lilies-of-the-valley …

A while back I mentioned to him about foxgloves yielding digitalis, the heart medicine, and I could see he was impressed.

So in the spirit of being an advocate of corncockles, I looked them up on the net. Lo and behold, among a number of other things, they’ve been used to treat cancer!

I can’t wait to tell Chokri.

Meantime the flowers obviously have another enemy in these small snails, which are abundant at the moment.

Enemy number 2

Enemy number 2

Joules’ final check-up

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Joules on the ultrasound table

Joules has at long last been given a clean bill of health following his cancer, which was a grade 2 mast cell tumour, or mastocytoma.

His status is as if it had never happened, although we have to bear in mind that he has a tendency to get these most insidious and dangerous of tumours.

He behaved impeccably throughout his appointment, except for getting a bit introspective and morose when he was turned over on the ultrasound table just before I took the photo.

He has slight issues with his liver (a little enlarged) and his kidneys (a little damaged) but these are nothing to do with the cancer and don’t require treatment.

I’m so relieved. This has been a journey of over a year, with no guarantee of success.

The best thing of all is that Joules is a sunny-natured, affectionate dog who derives great enjoyment from life and can continue to do so.

Joules’ check-up

November 15, 2011 1 comment

Joules part way through his treatment for cancer

We took Joules to Terni today for his first follow-up.

The ultrasound showed that his organs and lymph nodes were fine – no signs of cancer.

However it also revealed a slight problem with his kidneys which wasn’t there at the time of the last ultrasound. It might have been caused by an infection when his white blood cell count was low due to the chemotherapy.

I was given some ‘pearls’ (gelatin capsules) of Omega 3 with vitamin E to give him – 3 a day for the foreseeable future. I won’t be able to resist jokes about swine and wisdom.

We returned home to a real mess. Kepler had somehow managed to get a book off the bookshelf and had shredded most of it with great thoroughness all over the floor. (It was a dictionary, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘swallowing a dictionary’.)

He was extremely hyperactive for about an hour, then just collapsed on his blanket under my desk and went fast asleep.

Joules of course was delighted to be back, and so are we delighted that his future looks as rosy as anyone’s can be.

Another wasted journey

August 30, 2011 1 comment


We drove to Terni today to find out, once again, that Joules’ white blood cell count is too low for him to have chemotherapy.

That’s the 4th wasted journey. But he has had treatment in between and we’re now half way through the sessions: 4 down, 4 to go.

I never would have believed the whole thing would be so onerous, but I haven’t doubted for one second that we made the right decision.

Apart from anything else, Joules has been in rude health and high spirits throughout. And who could resist the little face in the photo?

Cancer treatment for our dog

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

We’ve just made a third fruitless journey from Valtopina to Terni (two and a half hours round trip) hoping and expecting our dog Joules to be given his fourth chemotherapy injection. It would have meant he was half way through the cancer treatment and I could believe it might someday end.

But no, his white blood cell count was so low that the line on the graph scarcely lifted its head off the x-axis. Back to the drawing board.

The drawing board involves giving him a twice-daily dose of three-quarters of an antibiotic pill. I ask you. Dividing it in half is fine; the pill was designed for that. But splitting it again … A knife makes no headway at all because there’s a smooth coating on the pill; pliers crush one of the quarters. The best solution so far is pincers.

A happy Joules in his Elizabethan collar

But the worst of it is that there are 2 pieces to give the dog. Inserting 2 pieces into a moving target (the dog’s open mouth) risks one of the pieces dropping to the edge of the tongue from where it can be spat out. The best thing is to do it in 2 goes – but that means he’s forewarned and forearmed for the second go!