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A Great Dane named "Quack"

What a good boy!

A Great Dane named "Quack"

We are two weeks post immunotherapy

June 28th, 2018 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

Quack finished his immunotherapy June 14th. He received ADXS31-164 three times. One dose every three week since the beginning of May. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t terrible. Quack had to be at Cornell at 7:30 am each time and then the immunotherapy made him a little nauseous and he’d run a low fever. He’d have meds for the nausea and IV fluids for the fever. He’d spend the night at Cornell and they would monitor him very closely. We’d pick him up the next day and he’d be more than a bit tired. His oncologist and the students and techs and other staff there have been so kind to him. They would always call and email with updates while he is there. You can tell everyone loves him. When we went in each time folks would all call out “Quack!” It reminded me of Norm on Cheers. When Quack goes I pack a bag for him with his food and his blanket and a toy for him to hold. We joke around that he’s just going to sleep over camp. I sent a detailed list of “Quack Facts” to for them:

He’s not crate trained (sorry, he really stressed out in the crate when he was a puppy).
He does not like children, horses, cows, or people in hats and he especially hates UPS uniforms.
He’s not used to being alone. He sleeps with humans in a human bed that he takes up most of.
He’s only ever been away from home 2 times before this when he was neutered and when he had his leg amputated.
He likes to sleep completely under a blanket (especially his head). It turns him off like a parakeet. If he gets sad cover him all the way up.
He has a thing for licking the inside of people’s ears.
He only knows three commands: “sit” “down” and “back-up” If you tell him to sit he will usually try to sit in someone lap.
He’s named “Quack” because our first dog was named “Quinn” and our second dog was named “Jack” and my daughter thought it was funny to combine them and call him Quack.
He likes to put the top of his head against a person which is how he hugs you. (This is his highest honor.)
He is by nature pretty mellow and he sleeps a lot and always has.
He does not like dogs who have pointy ears (Huskies, German Shepherds etc.) but strangely he adores Corgis.

Today he had imaging to see what was up with the met(s) in his lung. Today we found out that he has only one met in his lung but it is four times as big as it was before he started immunotherapy. The increase in size may mean that it is growing or it may mean there is inflammation and his body is fighting it. The x-ray can’t tell what type of cells are there. The good thing is he doesn’t have more mets in his lungs. The bad thing is we don’t really know what the larger met means. So that’s where we are. If he is alive in 2 months we go back for more imaging. I’m hoping that his body is fighting the cancer like crazy.


Setbacks Happen

May 4th, 2018 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

Mets, mets mets. Quack has mets in his lungs. We found out My 2nd. His chemo (carboplatin) didn’t control the spread of cancer. He didn’t get kicked out of the study as it turns out but he moved to the “salvage” group. That doesn’t sound very nice does it? He started immunotherapy with ADXS31-164. This is a a modified listeria virus that “expresses a chimeric human HER2/neu fusion protein”. Hopefully this will teach Quack’s body to attack his tumor cells. Currently Quack is recovering at Cornell after receiving his first dose of ADXS31-164. Last night his oncologist sent me the nicest picture of Quack laying down with his head in the lap of his vet student. I can’t wait to go pick up Quack today. He will get immunotherapy again in 3 weeks and then again 3 weeks after that.  Hopefully this works!  


Three is a Magic Number

April 26th, 2018 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

Quack has had chemo twice now. He just had blood work today two weeks after his second round of chemo. He gets blood work every week now.  His blood values were all right in the middle of the normal range. After the vet we went and picked up my husband and took a short walk on Binghamton University’s campus (that’s where my husband and I work). I ran into a couple of my students and they were delighted to see Quack. It was a good day, good news from the vet, fun on campus and Quack has been

Quack visits campus to pick up my husband Andy.

happy as can be. However, in the back of my mind there is always a bit of worry lurking there. Next week at Quack’s chemo appointment he also gets imaging to see if he has mets in his lungs. If he does he doesn’t get to be in the immunotherapy clinical trial anymore. He’ll never even get a chance at it. Both Andy and I thought he got immunotherapy once he was approved but apparently if a dog show mets they are out. Now of course I’m terrified he’s going to have mets. That’s how I roll from one imagined crisis to the next. When we came out from the vet today I was thinking I wish there would be some kind of sign that he’s going to get to do the immunotherapy that he is going to be okay.  Well, Blind Mellon came on the radio singing Schoolhouse Rock’s “Three is the Magic Number”. I’m taking that as the sign that he’s going to be okay. I’m posting the link for it if you want to hear it.


Two Days Post Chemo and Doing Fine

March 23rd, 2018 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Quack had his first chemo treatment two days ago. He had his amputation surgery 15 days ago. He’s been a bit more tired but he’s eating fine. He’s basically all systems go. Today he barked at the mail carrier and went tearing off like a crazy dog to the door. Good job Quack! We are once again safe from the mail. I’m kind of waiting for the chemo shoe to drop but it hasn’t really so far. He gets blood work next week and the following week and then chemo again in 3 weeks if all goes well.


Quack has a big day!

March 21st, 2018 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Quack has been doing well. Today is a big day for Quack. He got his stitches out from his amputation surgery. He’s really adapted to being a tripawd guy. Today he began his chemo therapy for osteosarcoma. We also found out today he is officially in a very cool clinical trial. This trial could extend or maybe even save his life. It involves the use of a vaccine, which has been modified to express a tumor protein (HER-2/neu). The vaccine hopefully will train the Quack’s immune system to attack the cancer cells. Quack is spending the day at Cornell getting some blood work and tests to establish a health baseline. Then he gets his first chemo treatment with carboplatin. He will have 4 treatments and then begin the immunotherapy. I was worried that he might be upset being back at Cornell, after all the last time he was there they cut off his leg and he had to stay for a couple days post surgery. After he came home from surgery he didn’t like to have his family out of his sight. Today he was happy to go in the car and even happy to get to Cornell and see all the other cool dogs and nice people. Everyone always makes a big fuss over him there. He’ll be going back again in 3 weeks for chemo again. Go Quack!!!!