We had the most special Valentine’s Day ever when the Medford Lakes Police Department came to the house to help Sweet Reet check off another Adventure List item (take a ride in a police car)!
February 21st was one year since Rita’s splenectomy. While it may seem silly to celebrate having an organ removed, had her spleen remained, Rita wouldn’t be here with us today.
How about your own National Day to help celebrate 11 months in remission?! National Margarita Day was celebrated February 22nd.
At Rita’s last oncology visit, Dr. Baez (Margarita’s new oncologist) cleared her to do whatever activities she pleases. We have been incorporating longer walks into our schedule, and this month Margarita took her first hike since her diagnosis last year.
Margarita, Porter, and their cousin Clyde enjoyed a nice hike together!
Margarita has accompanied me at school many times this month. At least once a week I come home for lunch, and after all the pups go potty, Rita will head back to school with me for an hour visit with the students. The students are thoroughly enjoying her company, and Margarita is soaking up all the love, pets, and belly scratches!
February 27th was one year since we found out Margarita had Lymphoma. We are truly blessed to be able to “celebrate” this one-year mark, as we know many dogs are not as lucky as our Sweet Reet to have made it this far. She is truly a Lymphoma Warrior!
Monthly Primary Veterinarian Check-Up
On February 4th, 2020 Margarita saw Dr. Campbell and had her blood work drawn again to retest her liver enzyme levels.
The results were as follows:
ALT Normal Range: 18-121
Rita’s ALT Values:
AST Normal Range: 16-55
Rita’s AST Values:
As you can imagine, we were thrilled! Dr. Campbell instructed us to increase Margarita’s Denamarin and have her blood work retested in 4 weeks. Rita will visit with Dr. Campbell again March 3rd to have this test done.
Current Liver medication and supplement dosage:
5 mg in AM
1 tablet twice daily (increased from the prior 1 tablet daily)
Dr. Campbell also suggested that we contact Margarita’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, in hopes to have her chemo-induced-DCM recheck appointment moved up, and also to inquire about the possibility of taking her off of the cardiac medication, Pimobendan. The less medication Rita is on, the better…this way her liver is not overworked with processing medications.
I was not able to get a sooner appointment with Rita’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, but I was able to speak with her. Dr. Bossbaly wants Margarita to stay on the Pimobendan at least until the appointment in June because she is doing so well on it. Dr. Bossbaly does not feel this medication will have any effect on Rita’s liver values. She also said that she was concerned that if Rita’s heart disease got worse, it would have even more of effect on her liver.
Monthly Oncology Check-UP
I was surprised to find out upon her exam that she gained over 2 pounds. Last oncology visit she was 52 pounds, and this visit she weighed in at 54.8 pounds. This could be a side effect of the Prednisone, and I plan to discuss this at our next monthly veterinary appointment with Dr. Campbell. On exam, Margarita’s heart rate and rhythm were normal and Dr. Baez could detect a low-grade heart murmur. Rita’s peripheral lymph nodes were normal and she was in good body condition.
Dr. Baez said Margarita looked fantastic! I shared with Dr. Baez that I was interested in exploring nutritional options for Rita and possibly adding in some holistic care to maximize all the treatment options for her. Doctor Baez provided me with some referrals for both a holistic vet as well as a nutritionist. I plan to discuss this information with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, at our next monthly appointment.
Although I rehearsed in my head many times, the next part of my conversation with Dr. Baez was very difficult for me to say out-loud. After careful consideration of Margarita’s current level of liver disease, intestinal disease, and heart disease, Brian and I feel as though if her Lymphoma resurfaces, another round of chemotherapy would not be a fair option for our Sweet Reet. However, if those diseases improve, and she is deemed healthy enough, we would absolutely explore chemotherapy again as an option. In the meantime, we are inquiring about any and all ways we can support Rita in hopes to keep her in remission for as long as possible.
If Margarita’s liver values decrease with her next blood test, we are going to hold off on her abdominal ultrasound until June (which would be 6 months since her last ultrasound). If her liver values increase with the next test, we will order the abdominal ultrasound to be completed ASAP.
With the “1 Year in Remission Anniversary” approaching, Margarita’s oncology visits will also now change from every month to every two months until she reaches her “18-months in Remission Anniversary.” At that point we will then increase the time between oncology visits to quarterly, (every 3 to 4 months). Dr. Baez asked us to continue to monitor Rita as we have been doing, and to reach out if we have any concerns. Margarita will have her next oncology visit with Dr. Baez in April.
This Month’s Treat
This month Margarita enjoyed a small taste of Bacon, Egg and Cheese Tacos with a side of Mac-n-Cheese from TGI Fridays !
We are looking forward to March – we have some pretty amazing milestones to celebrate!
This 1,952 acre state park is located on the edge of the NJ Pine Barrens.
This park has some pretty cool history. This park served as home for the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1941, a summer camp for the children of displaced Japanese Americans in 1943, a POW camp for German prisoners in 1944 and temporary housing for the Kalmycks who fled their homelands in Eastern Europe in 1952.
The park was purchased in 1930 for use as a state park. The remains of Native American encampments have been found in five different locations within the park.
We hiked the Parvin Lake Trail, which is 3 miles long.
With the help of Medford Lakes Police Department’s Chief of Police, Margarita checked off Adventure List item #2 on Valentine’s Day 2020!
A HUGE thank you to Medford Lakes Police Department ’s Chief Dugan for helping Margarita check off #2 on her Adventure List! (Take a ride in a Police car 🚔). Chief Dugan was nice enough to come to our house to pick up Sweet Reet and take her for a nice long ride around town!