Category Archives: Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey

Cancer in Dogs – The Cancer Returns – Ramius’s Journey Part VIII

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of our Beloved Samoyed Ramius’s Battle with Cancer

In This Entry – The Cancer Returns

Ramius chillin'. Chemotherapy? No problem...

Ramius chillin’ on the sofa.

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and our beloved Samoyed Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

When we last left you in Part VII, we discussed Ramius’s physical therapy and rehabilitation process. Today we will talk about the unfortunate return of Ramius’s cancer.

If you’ve been following along in our series, you know that up until the summer of 2015, Ramius’s recovery had been going great. He was cancer free, and though he had his issues with mobility, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t overcome. We were expecting that essentially, we’d be dealing with an aging, cancer free Samoyed, and we were perfectly fine with that.

But things changed in the summer of 2015. One day, while we were attending to Ramius, my wife Pam noticed another growth near his butt, which of course, is the same region where he had his original cancer. Our doctors had been pretty confident that his cancer was at bay though, so at first, we remained hopeful. Perhaps it was just another benign growth that coincidentally occurred in the same area of his body. Continue reading

In Memory of Sweet Baby Ramius

Our Sweet Ramius. Always Smiling.

RIP Ramius – 8.24.03 – 1.15.16

Today is a very sad day in our household as it is the one year anniversary of the day we had to put our sweet baby Ramius to sleep. Long time readers are aware of his battle with cancer, but if you haven’t read it yet, I invite you to check out our retrospective of Ramius’s journey and battle with this horrible disease.

And as I’ve written extensively, one of the reasons we were able to have Ramius with us as long as we did is because of our great doctors and the great pet health insurance we had from Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. I urge everyone with a pet to check them out and to read my full review of their excellent service. 

Although we miss Ramius dearly, we will try to make today a celebration of his life. He was the sweetest dog in the entire world and he was my best friend ever. His smile, along with that of his siblings Zoya and Sacha, is what gave rise to the title of this blog.

Ramius relaxing on the couch with his favorite woobie,

For anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet, you know you never get over it. We will always mourn for our sweet Ramius, but at least we know he is no longer in pain. And we live with the hope that one day, we will see him again on the Rainbow Bridge.

Rest in peace, sweet baby Ramius. We love you.

Cancer in Dogs – Physical Therapy and Rehab – Ramius’s Journey Part VII

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of our Beloved Samoyed Ramius’s Battle with Cancer

In This Entry – Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Ramius chillin'. Chemotherapy? No problem...

Ramius chillin’ on the sofa.

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and our beloved Samoyed Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

Hope you’ve been enjoying our series so far, and our apologies for the long lapse between posts. We’ve been busy relocating to LA which has been taking up lots of our time as you can imagine. However, we’re settled now so we’re back on it!

When we last left you in Part VI, we discussed Ramius’s Chemotherapy Sessions. Today I want to talk about his physical therapy and rehabilitation process. Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Chemotherapy – Ramius’s Journey Part VI

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of our Beloved Samoyed Ramius’s Battle with Cancer

In This Entry – Chemotherapy

Ramius chillin'. Chemotherapy? No problem...

Ramius chillin’. Chemotherapy? No problem…

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and our beloved Samoyed Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

Hope you’ve been enjoying our series so far. When we last left you in Part V, we discussed Ramius’s Radiation Treatments. Today I want to talk about his chemotherapy sessions. Chemotherapy is a very scary word right? You don’t want to hear that your pet (or you) will have to go through something like that.

But if you’ve been reading along in the series, you already know we knew this would be the next step. After Ramius had successfully completed his 20 (yes 20!) radiation treatments, chemotherapy was to follow.

Side Effects

One of the big questions you’ll probably have if your Samoyed, or whatever kind of dog you have, is diagnosed with cancer and has to undergo chemotherapy will probably involve the side effects. We probably all know about the side effects chemo has in humans, and we wonder how, or if, it will affect our pooch. Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey Part V

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of our Beloved Samoyed Ramius’s Battle with Cancer

In This Entry – 20 Radiation Treatments

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and our beloved Samoyed Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

Ramius on his Favorite Leather Sofa

Ramius on his Favorite Leather Sofa

When we last left you in Part IV, my wife and I made the final decision to do a full 20 radiation treatments for Ramius. Now it was time to begin the process.

Radiation Therapy

It was on a Monday in the middle of July when we brought Ramius to MedVet Chicago for his first treatment. This was to be the first of 20 daily treatments and visits we knew we had to make. We understood this would an ordeal for all of us, most of all Ramius of course. But making 20 trips in a row (except weekends) to the vet is obviously a hardship in many ways. Fortunately, our jobs had enough flexibility to allow us to do this, and those who wrote our checks were very supportive. Without that, none of this would be possible. And fortunately, we were financially protected due to the fact we had excellent pet health insurance. Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey Part IV

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of our Beloved Samoyed Ramius’s Battle with Cancer

In This Entry – Radiation Begins

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

Ramius chillin'. Not concerned about all these radiation treatments

Ramius chillin’. Not concerned about all these radiation treatments

When we last left you in Part III, my wife and I had just finished our “4th of July Summit,” where we thoroughly discussed the best course of action for Ramius. And after that long weekend and much deliberation, we decided to go with 5 radiation treatments, instead of 20.

Our next step was to take Ramius back to MedVet Chicago and meet with our radiologist, Dr. Jayme Looper to talk through the process and schedule his appointments.

Meeting with Dr. Looper

Up to this point, all of our consultations at MedVet Chicago had been with Dr. Smith. So this would be our first time meeting with Dr. Looper. We were immediately impressed with how friendly and knowledgeable she was, and how much she already knew about Ramius’s case. Even though this was her first time meeting Ramius. Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey – Part III

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospecitve of Ramius’s Journey – Deciding on the Course of Action

Ramius says, "So...what are you guys talking about?"

Ramius says, “So…what are you guys talking about?”

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed away in January, 2016.

When we last left you in Part II, Ramius just had surgery which successfully removed his lymph nodes. The next step was to determine how aggressive we wanted to be in treating his cancer now that the lymph nodes had been removed. Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey – Part II

Cancer in Dogs – A Retrospective of Ramius’s Journey – Visiting with the Cancer Specialists

Thank you for reading our continuing series about cancer in dogs, and Ramius’s long journey with the disease, which started in the summer of 2014 and lasted until he passed in January, 2016. When we last left you in Part 1, Ramius had just had a growth around his anus removed that turned out to be malignant.

Ramius Smiling - Like He Always Did

Ramius Smiling – Like He Always Did

The next step was to run some additional tests and visit with the specialists at MedVet Chicago, formerly known as the Chicago Veterinary Cancer Center. We set up an appointment with Dr. Jacyln Smith, a Veterinary Oncologist, and she told us more about the type of cancer Ramius had and what our options were. Both Dr. Smith, and Dr. Jayme Looper, whom we would meet in the near future, are absolutely wonderful and would give Ramius the best medical care he could ever have.

Dr. Smith had reviewed the report and analysis from McKillip Animal Hospital and was completely up to speed with Ramius’s recently diagnosed condition and the surgery he just had. She patiently and carefully explained everything to my wife and me and told us what we needed to know.
Continue reading

Cancer in Dogs – Ramius’s Journey – Part I

About Ramius

I want to talk a few minutes talking about our beloved Ramius. Readers of this blog know how much he meant to me, and perhaps you saw my recent post about his birthday. He would’ve turned 13 this month.

Ramius Smiling

Ramius Smiling – His Familiar Pose

One of the reasons I started this blog is that I want it to be sort of a living a tribute to my best friend Ramius, as we used to call him. Ramius was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of cancer in the summer of 2014 and endured a long, courageous bout with the disease. He finally succumbed to it in January, 2016. This will be the first blog post in a multi-part retrospective about his journey and courageous battle with cancer. I hope you’ll stay with us the whole way.

His journey was a long one, and even though it was extremely hard, it was joyous as well. Starting this blog is not only a tribute to him, but also, I hope it will help educate and inspire any pet parents who have a dog battling cancer.

It can be a scary and terrifying journey and I don’t want you to feel alone. Many of us have gone through this and know the struggle. In fact, our first Samoyed, Zoya, also passed away of cancer back in 2008. So we know. We’ve been there.

Twice.

I’m going to try and recreate the last 2 or so years as best as I can. It’ll be a very personal and revealing journey for me as well as I explain everything that was going on with Ramius’s health and the decisions we made each step of the way. Many of these decisions were very difficult to make, and as you read this, you may find yourself making different decisions if you were in our shoes. That’s fine. These decisions are personal and painful. But regardless, I hope you will find the information useful, educational, inspiring, and even funny and entertaining. This should be a celebration about Ramius’s life as much as anything else.

So let’s begin. Continue reading