Friday, December 3, 2010

A Juicy, Meaty Donation!

Boy, do I have a delicious morsel of happiness to share...a couple of evenings ago (just as I was posting my last entry here), Chris Meiering from the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund was writing to tell me that Sophie and I are the recipients of their maximum allowable gift of $750! That's enough to cover about one and a half weekly chemo visits for us, which is HUGE!

I immediately wrote my mother to tell her the good news, and she was amused at my mention of the "physical symptoms of joy" that I was feeling at that moment. From the very first day that we received the grant from Frankie's Friends, to EACH and EVERY donation on this page from family and friends, and now this new gift, my physical symptoms have been the same each time: My chest tightens up, my heart races, I feel butterflies in my stomach and can barely's not a heart attack, it is pure gratitude and relief.

THANK YOU for giving me this feeling!

Sophie is finishing up chemo now and I'll be on my way soon to pick her up. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Jenny & Sophie

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Quick Update

Hello, friends!

I am delighted to write that I survived my first 26.2 mile race at the
Phildelphia Marathon! I thought of Sophie so many times during the race - I kept telling myself, "If she can endure cancer and six months of chemotherapy, I can run for a few hours!" I truly believe that my shift in perspective since Sophie's diagnosis played an enormous role in making my first marathon possible.

I just have a couple of quick updates for everyone this week. First, Sophie had to skip chemo today due to a slightly low red blood cell count (similar to her condition after her first dose of vincristine, but not as severe). Dr. Oberthaler sent us home with a short course of antibiotics, and we're going to try again on Friday.

I was actually not surprised when I received the call from Dr. O this morning - my "motherly" instinct must have been correct when I sensed some changes in Sophie's demeanor over the past week or so. During Thanksgiving break, she slept more than usual, even refusing a couple of walks. She's been a bit more "clingy" and affectionate for a day or so, and this morning she was unusually well-behaved in the car (yes, I wrote WELL behaved - her normal baseline is unbridled exuberance!).

Thanks to the advice of supporters like Abby Stark Hartman, a high school friend of mine who is a vet tech in Minneapolis, I have realized the importance of communicating these seemingly subtle changes to your veterinary caregivers, especially in oncology cases. Thank you, Abby, for helping me understand the value of the instinctive bond that we share with our pets.

In fundraising news, the
Mosby Foundation has graciously offered to feature Sophie on their website. I am putting together the information they need and will share the link when available. We also put in a new application this week to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund - keep your paws crossed for us!

In preparing that last application, I concluded that our total need for Sophie's bill will be around $2300, so I have adjusted my ChipIn goal to reflect it. If you have ideas or leads to share, are willing to post our link on your social media page or simply forward an e-mail to friends, please get in touch with me at

Finally, through one of the many informal contests held by
Zipcar on their Facebook page, I managed to score $25 in driving credit! Zipcar has been indispensible to us in our weekly trips to chemo, so I just wanted to give them a shout-out here.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There isn't enough typing room in the universe to convey how special mine was.

Much love,

Jenny & Sophie

Monday, November 15, 2010

A New Contribution

Dear friends,

Sophie and I have received a modest bequest of $100 from the
Mosby Foundation! A volunteer named Sharon has been working on our application for some time. She wrote this afternoon that the foundation wishes they could have given more, but that they are overwhelmed with requests for animals in need. They want to give as many small gifts to as many families as possible in order to offer some help to everyone.

Of course I wrote back to tell Sharon that $100 is not at all insignificant - if it were, then we never would have gotten as far as we have with help from YOU, Sophie's fan club! We are grateful for gifts of any size, from kind words and hugs to eleventy billion dollars in cash :)

A quick update on chemo from last Wednesday's visit: Looking good! Sophie had some diarrhea after her dose of elspar, but we had some metronidazole on hand which took care of that. One of our roommate's mothers was in town this weekend, and Sophie loves cuddly company! Add to that the gorgeous weather in NYC, and it turned out to be a beautiful weekend.

I am working on a blog entry now about how Sophie's illness has affected my life as a runner—for those of you who do not know, I have been running in races for about a year and a half. It's an activity that is fraught with routines and planning, both of which are subject to disruptions in one's personal life. I don't want it to become a trite metaphor, but I do want to share my experiences, so stay tuned!

Much love and belly rubs,

Jenny & Sophie

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Great Chemo Visit This Week

Good morning friends,

I am happy to report that Sophie is doing well after yesterday's chemo visit. The medication she had yesterday is called vincristine (there is a rotation of 3 medications). It has become our routine for me to monitor her closely for 24 to 48 hours following chemo, but this week I am being particularly vigilant.

The last time Sophie took vincristine, her side effects were quite severe. What began with some nausea and lethargy became serious vomiting and bloody diarrhea within two days. I wound up rushing her back to the hospital, where I learned that her white blood cells were very low as a result of the vincristine. She stayed overnight in the ICU to receive fluids, stabilize her white blood cells and receive strong antibiotics to guard against infection. She recovered very well, but of course I had been dreading her next dose of the "v." That one overnight hospital stay depleted our grant by over a thousand dollars.

The oncology team at New York Veterinary Specialists reassured me that they would lower Sophie's next vincristine dose and administer strong anti-nausea medication, and it worked - here I am this morning with a happy healthy pup with a great appetite, and up to her usual antics. So far, so good!

Sophie has now received at least one dose of each of the medications in the chemo rotation, which means that the results going forward should be reasonably predictable. That is exactly the kind of peace of mind that this hyper-planner needs right now!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Contributions and Great News!

Okay guys, as of sharing the link to our ChipIn page on Facebook this morning, Sophie and I have received a whopping $160 from four contributors! That's enough to sustain us for two weeks of car rides and copays! I won't list the contributors' names here in case they wish to remain anonymous, but they know who they are and I have thanked them individually. I am most grateful for your contributions.

For anyone who might be wondering, contributions to this page are deposited directly into my dedicated account for Sophie via Paypal. As much as I'd like to use the funds for my own therapy sessions and the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry's, rest assured that your donations are being used appropriately.

In other fundraising news, Sophie and I have been awarded another grant! Pit Bull Rescue Central has graciously donated $250 to Sophie's bill. That's enough to cover about half of the cost of one weekly treatment, which is huge!

Sophie's at NYCVS this morning receiving chemotherapy (and lots of love from her new buddies there). This news, and your contributions, have cast a ray of sunshine on this day.


Jenny & Sophie