CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
toby update
Just a quick update on Toby. thank you so much to everyone who has sent me tweets, emails and posts on my facebook page. So appreciated!

I got an appt with a veterinary oncologist today. I called this morning and was at the office by Noon with the biopsy results faxed over from our vet. She examined Toby and did Xrays to make sure that the cancer hasn't spread.

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Then she went over all the options to treat his cancer. Oral cancers are usually very aggressive and the life expectancy from diagnosis is normally only about 3-5 months. However we did catch it early and he's a good candidate for an oral melanoma cancer vaccine. The vaccine is a series of 4 shots two weeks apart, and is a gene therapy that actually works with his DNA to help attack the cancer. Pretty amazing stuff. There are no side effects and all he has to get is a series of shots. So we decided to go this route. I don't want to put him through the trauma of radiation and the Dr didn't think it would give us any extra time with Toby.

The good news is that the life expectancy with the vaccine is about a year to 18 months, longer if we are extremely, extremely lucky. It doesn't cure the cancer, but it helps stave it off and will give us longer with Toby while he has good quality of life. 80% of the dogs who take the vaccine respond well. It's not cheap at all but how can we put a price on hope!

So there is a little glimmer of hope right now. We are doing our best to try to focus on the now. We have him with us today. He is feeling good and playing and perky today. For now that will have to be good enough because we don't know how many more tomorrows we have. We just have today! Hug all your pets!!!!

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COMMENTS:
claudine, so sorry to hear about your toby. my parents had a chow and she got this type of cancer, unfortunately mom and dad had been away on a trip and it was undetected. by the time dad found it (which was the day after he got home) it was too late.

i hope that toby responds well and that you get many more happy days. hugs to you!!
 
I am glad to hear the news this this will give Toby more time with you guys as well as you're having more time with him and having good quality of life. :)

What breed is he?
 
I'll be praying for Toby. Be strong. I know it's hard.
 
sending happy thoughts to little toby, we need him to be healthy and stick around for a long time!!!
 
Great news! and as you say each day is another extra day with the little man, enjoy each one and embrace the moments. Big hugs and scratches behind the ears M x
 
Claudine! I am sorry to here about Toby! I can relate we just had a scare with our new Main Coon kitten, Tyler, the vet thought he had an enlarged heart. We had him checked but he is healthy! We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers!
 
Claudine: it's good you caught it early and you have a wonderful chance of having Toby around longer. The therapy sounds like a good way to go. Fingers (and paws) crossed for the little guy!
 
My prayers and thoughts are with all five of you. It is such a horrible thing to go through and you have to wrap your thoughts around the positive and, yes, Toby will feel the positive vibes and where there is the positive - there is healing!
xoxo Marlynn
 
so sorry to hear about Toby! My kitty kat just had a bad health scare, and I know how it feels. His fuzzy face is in my prayers,

Susan in DC
 
I am so glad to hear that you have this option. It certainly sounds very promising. Hugs to you and Toby and sending prayers and good wishes for a positive outcome.
 
wonderful news and yes, today is a wonderful day!!!
 
I'm sorry to hear about Toby I will keep him and your family in my prayers. I know how precious our fur babies are BTW how old is Toby?
 
It's obvious Toby has the BEST parents and they have made a wise choice for him....you
are all lucky to be in each others lives. For whatever time he has he'll be happy, comfy and know he's had a beautiful life.
 
thank you everyone for your kind words and well wishes!!! So appreciated!!

Toby is 10 but for me that is too young! Little dogs can live to be 16. I want 16 darn it!

Even 30 years wouldn't be enough for me. Right?
 
I vote for spontaneous remission! I believe in miracles and prayers and tears! Last summer, Lily had a growth on her tongue that looked pretty scary and the vet said to keep a close eye on it to see if it changed at all. I looked at it every day and in my mind, only saw it gone! After a couple months, it got smaller and smaller and finally is gone. I think it was a miracle. I'm going to picture Toby with a beautiful, healthy mouth and pray!

God bless him!
 
Sending more ((((hugs)))
 
I am so sorry for Toby and you. I know you must be heart broken. I lost my big dog a few months ago to cancer. I still miss him. I am glad that there is a vaccine and that Toby will still be with you for some time. I will send him healing thoughts... and you as well. Take care
 
Toby is looking especially adorable in the picture you posted today : ) Wishing you all lots of love and good times and hoping for great results from the vaccine and that you have lots more good times ahead!
 
so sorry to hear about Toby, Claudine, however what a great treatment without having to do radiation therapy, I sincerely hope that Toby gets to live out many more happy years.

hugs to you and Toby.

xx
 
Claudine,

I am happy that you have a good option and I will keep Toby in my thoughts. I have a 16 year old cat that I love more than words can express so I know how you must feel. Keep us updated!
 
My heart and prayers are with you.
 
So sorry to hear about your little Toby. My heart goes out to you. I'm going to go hug my kitties now!
 
Oh no. I'm so sorry Claudine. HUGS to you and to Toby -- he sure is a cutie.
 
Claudine, you are so creative and resourceful in everything you do! that is just an amazing treatment for toby. i am so glad he is feeling so good. he is so lucky to have you and you him!
xo
melissa
 
Claudine
sending hugs from CA to Toby and you. That is something I definitely learned from my dog - enjoy each moment. Jake finds enjoyment in the smallest of things, a leaf blowing by, etc. It has made me look at the world through his eyes and appreciate the beauty instead of running from thing to thing at work.
I appreciate you sharing your story with us and wish 15 for you.
Toby could be the breakthrough for the vaccine.

all the best,
sharon
 
Sending you all lots of hugs and Good Thoughts. So happy to hear that treatment is available for Toby, and I hope that it keeps him in good health and good spirits for as long as possible. Cherish every day.

XOXO
Melissa
 
I'm sorry to hear about Toby - I wish you luck with the vaccine. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats myself and they are also a very important part of our family.
All the best!
Michelle
 
What an adorable pooch! He reminds me a little of my old Peke, Mr. Chubbs.
http://wbjewelry.blogspot.com/2007/09/loyalty-and-devotion.html
 
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