Wednesday, July 27, 2011
UPDATE! by Mel
First of all, I will tell you about the Horrible Things that happened to me. The first Horrible Thing was that Mom gave me a bath! Mom hardly ever gives us dogs baths because she is too lazy, and also because we don't like to have baths. But I have been shedding a bunch lately, and Mom is tired of seeing all these clumps of my undercoat sticking out. Whenever she tries to brush me or pull the loose hair out by hand, I snap at her. I just do not like people messing with me, especially anywhere on my back end! Sometimes Mom puts a muzzle on me and tries to brush me anyway, but I dance and twirl and try to make it as hard as possible for her to do this.
So anyway, that's why Mom got the idea of giving me a bath because she thought that would loosen up a lot of hair and she could get it out while I was having the bath, since I don't usually try to bite her when I'm getting a bath. Oh, and Mom also decided she would give me a bath OUTDOORS, using the garden hose, which she has never done before. Usually we get our baths in the bathtub. But Mom did not want a bunch of dog hair going down the drain.
First, before Mom gave me a bath, she mowed the back yard, which really, really needed mowing, even though we haven't had much rain lately. But the weather has been blistering hot, so Mom has been avoiding doing anything like mowing. However, she finally bit the bullet and mowed the back yard. Then after that, she was all hot and sweaty, so she sprayed herself with the hose to show me that it feels really good, but I didn't believe her. And after that, she gave me a bath. She got some of my loose hair out, but there is still a lot of it left.
Mom told Dr. Patricia that she has that same nagging feeling about me that she had about Piper, thinking that something is wrong with me. But I don't even have any real symptoms, like Piper has. Mom doesn't know if I'm just getting old or if I'm getting sick. Lately I like to hang out in some of my really special, safe places -- the ones where I usually go during thunderstorms. These are places like under Mom's computer desk or under the bed (where I sleep most nights now). So anyway, that's why we have to do all that bloodwork and stuff. But really I think there's nothing wrong, and Mom just worries too much!
Okay, so enough about me. I promised to talk about Piper, and I am now going to do that because she's a pretty nice little sister, at least most of the time. On Monday, Piper went to Dr. Patricia's office, and the radiologist came and did an ultrasound. And what the radiologist found out was that Piper's adrenal glands look fine, and her kidneys look fine, and her liver looks fine. So this means that Piper's Cushing's is the pituitary-based variety.
Anyway, this Mitotane stuff is very powerful, and it's what people sometimes use when they have cancer and are getting chemotherapy. Also this drug is very expensive. Mom looked at some prices on the internet, and they range from $2 for one 75 mg capsule to $7.49 for a 500 mg tablet. And of course, Piper will need to take a bunch of these pills, so when they cost that much apiece, it will add up pretty fast!
We don't know right now what dosage Piper will be getting, but Mom will find out today when she picks up the prescription. There are lots of possible side effects from Mitotane, such as vomiting and diarrhea and loss of appetite, so Mom has to watch Piper to make sure she doesn't get any of these side effects. Because if she gets any, Mom is supposed to stop the Mitotane and give Piper some prednisone to make the side effects quit.
Anyway, once Piper's levels of ACTH are good, she will stay on a maintenance dose of Mitotane (or a different drug, if she can't tolerate that one), and every 3 months she will have to get re-tested with the $250 test. So this is what Piper wanted me to complain about, and Mom said she would like to complain, too, because this whole Cushing's thing is turning out to be a very expensive illness, and she just hopes she will still be able to afford to buy us dogfood. Plus she also hopes that there is nothing wrong with me -- especially nothing expensive, like Cushing's!