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I’m a few days late but Charley’s 47th Month Ampuversary was on 9/28, so Happy Belated Ampuversary!!!   YIPPEE!!!  YAY!!!  WOO HOO!!!   HIPHOP” HOORAY!!!


We are getting very close to celebrating 4 years on 10/28/14!  To put 4 years into perspective in Charley’s life, he was 2-1/2 years old when he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma and he just turned 6-1/2 years old on 9/29.  On his 4th ampuversary, he will have spent 66.6% of his life as a Tripawd fighting cancer and it will be 1 year since having his metastatic OS tumor removed.  Pretty amazing indeed!  I can barely remember him having 4 legs.  This is why Charley is and will always be a Bone Cancer Warrior! 


To honor Charley’s AMAZING journey we have a BIG surprise for our boy!  Drum roll please…..


When Charley’s OS came back in October 2013, I promised him that I would take him to see the ocean to swim in the waves and run in the sand (living in St. Louis, MO he has never seen the ocean).  My parents, Joe, Charley and I are renting a mini van and driving 13++ hours to Cape San Blas, FL (It’s an inlet about 1 hr or so east of Panama City with the gulf on one side and St. Joe Bay on the other).  We rented a 2 bdrm house directly on the beach.  Cape San Blas is completely dog friendly with no beach restrictions…YAY!  Charley will be running in the powder white sand and swimming in the green blue gulf water!  He already has his own float coat to wear!  I hired a photographer to take sunset beach pictures of Charley and all of us too!  Long story short…it’s a surprise vacation for Charley! 

Charley survivor1


Charley LOVES his cow ears!  Every night around 7pm he will start bugging us for one…..if we don’t get him what he wants he will start barking!  Spoiled??  I say so and he deserves to be spoiled rotten!



Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to all of you and your furry babies!


Thank you for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, hugs, and kisses.  It is greatly appreciated and we can’t thank you enough for all of your support!


  Hugs from me and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley!  xoxo  





Charley started limping at about 20 months old and the limping was on and off for a few days.  We took Charley to the vet after my husband was playing with him and he hugged him around his front legs and he yelped in pain.  We requested x-rays immediately (instead of the recommended course of anti-inflammatory meds and a re-check in 2 weeks).   X-rays revealed a lytic lesion in his left mid-humerus that looked like osteosarcoma except that it was not in the typical location of “away from the elbow and towards the knee”.


We were referred to Dr. Buss, an oncologist, and he did a FNA (fine needle aspirate) of the lesion and it was not cancer but rather an aneurysmal bone cyst, which is extremely rare (there are only a few documented cases).  We went back to Dr. Buss every 1-2 months to monitor the aneurysmal cyst, which was resolving on it’s own, when 7 months later Dr. Buss noticed a lytic lesion in his left proximal humerus (same bone at the cyst, but up towards his shoulder) on the x-ray.  Dr. Buss put Charley on antiobiotics for 3 weeks in case it was a bone infection (his humerus bone was already compromised because of the aneursymal cyst and an infection was a possibility) and x-rays showed improvement after week one, but worsening of the lesion after week 3.  Dr. Buss did a bone biopsy of his left proximal humerus because Charley’s history was so atypical.  The histopathology results from Charley’s bone biopsy stated:  “primary malignant neoplasia of bone; most consistent with Poorly Productive Osteogenic Osteosarcoma”.…and so began our unwanted OS journey.


Charley was 2-1/2 years old when he was diagnosed with OSA on 10/19/10.  He had his left front leg and left scapula amputated on 10/28/10 followed by 5 rounds of i.v. Carboplatin chemo every 3 weeks apart.  Charley started chemo on day 13 after his amputation, immediately after his staples were removed.  Charley’s blood work after chemo was always fine and he tolerated the Carboplatin chemo well without any side effects.  Charley had follow-up appointments with his oncologist and chest x-rays to check for lung mets every 3 months for the first year after his amputation.  After the first year post-amputation, Charley’s follow-up appointments with his oncologist and chest x-rays moved to every 6 months.


Unfortunately, we found out on 10/24/13 that Charley’s OS came back as a met underneath his amputation scar…. almost exactly 3 years to the day after his amputation.  Charley had surgery on 11/8/13 to remove the cancerous mass (and prescapular lymph node) and the surgeon was able to get clear margins around the cancerous mass (1cm at the narrowest margin because the tumor extended down to his Brachial Plexus; and 2cm at the widest margin).


The histopathology report from Charley’s cancerous mass  removal stated:  “The mass of the left prescapular incision site most likely represents the recurrance of the the prior primary osseous sarcoma.  The recurrent mass may represent telengiectatic variant of osteosarcoma.  However, morphologically is somewhat more suggestive of hemangiosarcoma suggesting that the prior mass may have indeed been hemangiosarcoma of bone origin.  Margins in relation to the mass were clean in examined sections.  I am also suspicious of local metastasis to the subscapular sinus region of the prescapular lymph node.”


Dr. Buss does not think the tumor was a hemangiosarcoma, nor was his original leg tumor.  He believes the tumor that was removed was an osteosarcoma metastasis and specifically, Telangiectatic OS, from his primary OS tumor that was in his proximal humerus (removed in October 2010).


Here’s your oncology lesson of the day:

Subclasses of osteosarcomas are determined based on the characterization of the cells as well as the type and amount of matrix present.  Subclasses include osteoblastic, chondroblastic, fibroblastic, poorly differentiated, and telangiectatic osteosarcomas; however, there is no evidence of different biological behavior between the subclasses.


Telangiectatic osteosarcoma is an unusual variant of osteosarcoma, forming 3% to 10% of all osteosarcomas.  Radiographically, these tumors appear as purely lytic destructive lesions located in the metaphyses of long bones.  The location and x-ray appearance of telangiectatic osteosarcomas are reminiscent of an aneurysmal bone cyst and can test the acumen of a diagnostic radiologist. Distinguishing between the two entities microscopically can also be quite challenging. Telangiectatic osteosarcoma shows dilated blood-filled spaces lined or traversed by septa containing atypical stromal cells, with or without production of a lacelike osteoid matrix.


Because Charley had Carboplatin after his amputation, Carboplatin can not be used again because it will not work anymore because some cancer cells survived after that chemo initially and were dormant before becoming metastatic OS.  Dr. Buss explained that he would attack this metastatic OS with 2 different chemo agents for 2 reasons:  1)  to attack the cancer from 2 different angles; and 2) to minimize the side effects of each chemo.


Charley’s chemo was  alternated between i.v. Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and oral Lomustine (CCNU) every 3 weeks for a total of 6 rounds (Doxorubicin, Lomustine, Doxorubicin, Lomustine, Doxorubicin, Lomustine).  Charley has had 5 of 6 rounds of chemo (11/27/13: Doxorubicin; 12/18/13: Lomustine; 1/9/14: Doxorubicin; 1/29/14: Lomustine; 2/19/14: Doxorubicin).  His next and FINAL chemo #6 is Lomustine and is scheduled for 3/12/14.


Charley did take Cerenia (anti-nausea) starting on day 2 after the Doxorubicin for 4 days since the Doxo is harder on the GI system and GI side effects are the worst from days 3-5.   Lomustine is an oral chemo that is also referred to as CCNU.  It is commonly used to treat some cancers of the brain (it can cross the blood-brain barrier), lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and non-resectable soft tissue sarcomas.  Because Lomustine has a greater impact on myelosuppression (a condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.), Charley starts antibiotics (cefpodoxine 200mg) on day 5 after chemo for 7 days to prevent an infection because of low white blood cell count (leukopenia).   Charley had his blood work done between 7-10 days (at nadir) after his first 4 rounds of chemo as well as a liver profile after his first 2 rounds of Lomustine (since Lomustine can impact liver function) and all has been fine.  Charley does not need to have blood work after his last 2 chemo rounds per Dr. Buss.


Charley is now 5-3/4 years old and he will celebrate his 40 Month Ampuversary on 2-28-14 and his 6th Birthday on 3/29/14…so he has lived over 1/2 of his life as a Tripawd and with OS, so miracles can and do happen!





My goal with Charley’s protocol is to accomplish 2 things:  1) to support and strengthen his immune system in order to fight the cancer; and 2) to kill any rogue cancer cells by apoptosis; which will in turn give him a better quality of life and hopefully a much better quantity of life!  🙂


Here is my disclaimer about Charley’s protocol:
Every dog is different and no two cancers act exactly the same (even when comparing OS to OS, lymphoma to lymphoma, etc.).  I still tweak Charley’s protocol and nothing is written in stone.  Some pups tolerate lots of supplements without any issues and others don’t….too many supplements are not always a good thing in my opinion.  You have to do what works for you, your dog (or kitty), your family, your finances, etc.  Most importantly is to always remember to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!!


Since Charley’s OS returned this past October, I’ve added in Immunity4Pets and I’m back to giving the artemisinin/Artemix/Butyrex or artemisinin/artemether/Butyrex on a daily basis.  I’ve also moved his vitamin C and vitamin E from breakfast to lunch because you can’t give vitamin C within 2 hours of the Immunity4Pets.  I’ve also doubled his K9 Immunity Plus Chews to 4 chews per day.


Charley’s Protocol (68 pound, 5-3/4-year-old male neutered Lab):


Charley eats Orijen Six Fish kibble 3x day and we give Charley bottled water, not tap water because of the fluoride.


Breakfast: 7:00am
-20mg generic pepcid about 20 minutes before breakfast
-Orijen Six Fish Kibble 3/4c

-Immunity4Pets: 4 tsp sprinkled on food; dosing on container by weight (
-Berte’s Green Blend (; dosing on container by weight
-(2) K9 Immunity Plus Chews (


Lunch: between 12-2pm
-Orijen Six Fish Kibble 1/2c
–Berte’s Ultra Probiotics (; dosing on container by weight

-500mg of Vitamin C (Esther C)*
-400iu of Vitamin E*
-(2) 1000mg of fish oil
-(2) K9 Immunity Plus Chews

*Vitamin C and E are given daily to help flush the system so you can give the artemisinin/Artemix on a daily basis.


Dinner: between 5:30-6:00pm
-20mg generic pepcid about 20 minutes before dinner
-Orijen Six Fish Kibble 1/2c
-(2) 1000mg of fish oil


4-5 hours after dinner (between 10:30-11:00pm)
-Charley gets artemisinin ( daily with or without Artemix/artemether ( wrapped in Philly Cream Cheese
-200-300mg of artemisinin along with 4 Butyrex* (; when I add in Artemix or artemether I give him 1-2 caps for a total of 40-80mg of artemether


*Butyrex enhances the effect of the artemisinin/Artemix.


**Charley does not tolerate the fish oil at the 6500mg range and he gets the runs (based on the recommendations for cancer of 1000mg per 10 pounds), so he gets 4000mg/day.



I am one of the moderators on the artemisinin_and_cancer Yahoo group.  If you want more info about dosing the artes (including Artemix/artemther which is toxic at high doses), please consider joining the arte group.




Thank you for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, hugs, and kisses.  It is greatly appreciated and we can’t thank you enough for all of your support!



  Hugs from me and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley!  xoxo 


Charley survivor1


Sorry it’s been a few days since I updated everyone.  No news is good news because Charley is doing well!  He finished his Rimadyl yesterday and he’s pretty much off of the Tramadol.  We did give him about 1/3 of a 100mg Tramadol last night because he couldn’t get comfortable.  We think the discomfort now is more due to the staples pulling when he moves.  Charley’s incision is healing well.


It was hard seeing Charley in a drug induced loopy state when he was on a higher dose of Tramadol and we really missed his personality and happy Labby self.  Fortunately we are now finally seeing a bit more of his personality and his tail is wagging a lot more.


Today is day 8 since surgery.  Here’s a picture from day 2 post surgery.  I love this picture because his face looks like a puppy (even though he looks a bit loopy)!
Charley 11.11.13


Here’s a picture of his incision from a few days ago on 11/14.


Charley incision 11.14.13
This Thursday 11/21 (day 13 post surgery) Charley has an appointment with his surgeon (Dr. Luther) to get his staples removed and immediately after that we meet with his oncologist (Dr. Buss) to hopefully start another chemo.  The pathology report isn’t back yet, but I will keep everyone posted as soon as we get the results.


Thank you for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, hugs, and kisses.  It is greatly appreciated and we can’t thank you enough for all of your support!


  Hugs from me and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley!  xoxo 


I wish the news was better to share, but unfortunately it’s not.   I was waiting until Monday, 10/28, to post happy news about Charley’s big 3 Year Ampuversary, but I guess that wasn’t in the cards.


We just left the oncologist after Charley’s 3 year follow up for osteosarcoma…. and I just got done crying, for now.


Dr. Buss found a 3 cm hard lump that’s moveable close to Charley’s amptation site.  He aspirated it and he doesn’t like the look of the cells and it’s definitely a cancer.  He thinks it’s either a soft tissue sarcoma or an OS met.  We’ll find out tomorrow when he gets the pathology report back.


Best case scenario, it’s a soft tissue sarcoma and we can have it removed with clear margins and that’s the end of the story. Worst case scenario, it’s an OS met…and we have much bigger issues.


We go back Wednesday morning to meet with the surgeon as long as it’s a soft tissue sarcoma.  It would be an aggressive surgery to remove it since it’s close to his amp site and a lot of the tissue has already been removed, but we are willing if it’s a possibility.  We are not giving up on Charley now, just like we didn’t give up on him over 3 years ago.


The positive news if there is any is that Charley’s chest rads appeared clear, but we’re waiting on confirmation from the radiologist.


Please keep Charley in your thoughts and prayers.   I’m devastated…


Charley 34m2cancer sucksCharley survivor1Charley-favorite

Just wanted to share some great news!  Today is Charley’s 31 Month Ampuversary!!!  YIPPEE!  YAY!  WOO HOO!


Charley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 2-1/2 years old and today is his 31 Month Ampuversary!  Charley has lived over 1/2 of his life as a Tripawd Warrior with cancer!!!


Here’s the letter I read to Charley every month:


Happy 31 Month Ampuversary Charley!!!  You are our Tripawd Hero and everyday you make us so proud that you picked us as your mommy and daddy! ♥ ♥ ♥

Our wish to you is that you continue your fight against osteosarcoma with the same strength, resilience, and determination that you have since your journey started.

Our promise to you is that you will never suffer and when you tell us that it’s time, we will bravely and lovingly give you your well-deserved angel wings.

Your mommy & daddy love you more than you will ever know! ♥ ♥ ♥


Mommy & Daddy  xoxo


  We are so thankful and grateful for every bonus day that we have been given with Charley, but saddened that so many dogs lose their cancer battle way too soon into their journey. 


Hugs from me and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley!  xoxo


cancer sucksCharley survivor1

Just wanted to share some great news!  Today is Charley’s 27 Month Ampuversary!

We have been truly blessed and we can’t believe that Charley is going to be 5 in March!!!  After his OS diagnosis, we didn’t think that he would live to see 3.  Keep on proving all those statistics wrong Charley!

We are thankful for every day that we have with Charley and we take none of them for granted, because we know that unfortunately the cancer beast can rear it’s ugly head at any moment….so we continue to LIVE happily and fully with cancer!

Happy 27 Month Ampuversary Charley!!!  You are our tripawd hero and everyday you make us so proud that you picked us as your mommy and daddy!  ♥ ♥ ♥

Our wish to you is that you continue your fight against osteosarcoma with the same strength, resilience, and determination that you have since your journey started.

Our promise to you is that you will never suffer and when you tell us that it’s time, we will bravely and lovingly give you your well-deserved angel wings.

Your mommy and daddy love you more than you will ever know!!!  ♥ ♥ ♥


Mommy & Daddy  xoxo

Charley survivor1

cancer sucks

Happy 15 Month Ampuversary Charley!!!  We are so proud of you, our tripawd hero, and your fight against bone cancer!!!  GO CHARLEY!!!

Your mommy and daddy love you more than you will ever know!!!  ♥♥♥


Mommy & Daddy  xoxo

Thank you everyone for your positive thoughts, good wishes, prayers, finger and paw crossing, etc…


YIPPEE!!!  YAY!!!  WOO HOO!!!  Charley’s chest x-rays are clear and Dr. Buss, his oncologist, says that he looks great!!!  What a wonderful early Christmas present to receive!!!


Everyone thought Charley was mighty handsome in his “Survivor” tee!  We don’t go back to see the oncologist until February!  Wow!  4 months is the longest we have had in between appointments.


Pets and scratches to all of your furbabies please! 😉


Hugs and chocolate Labby kisses,
Ellen & Charley  xoxo

I go to the oncologist tomorrow for my 1 year follow-up appointment which means I get lots of yummy treats!


My mommy keeps saying that she is thinking positive thoughts and saying lots of prayers for clear chest x-rays and fingers and 3-paws crossed…whatever that means!!!


I’m going to wear my new cancer survivor shirt too!   Since I’m super handsome and will be wearing a cool shirt,  maybe I’ll get a few extra pets and scratches!


Hugs and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley xoxo


In celebration of my 1 Year Ampuversary yesterday, my mommy got me a special present.  It came in the mail today and now I can wear it to my big PAWTY tonight!!!  My grandma’s birthday is the same day as my ampuversary, so the PAWTY is for both of us!!!


My pawrents cut back my food a little bit…they said it’s because I get lots of yummy cream cheese balls filled with my supplements.  Unfortunately, I’m a bit more hungry lately.  As a avid counter surfing lab (who can use my only front paw to scoop the plates or food closer to my mouth), I scored BIG yesterday!!!  I was able to steal some slices of cheese and sausage and 3 pieces of pepperoni pizza (small square pieces)!!!  I don’t know why my mommy and daddy kept yelling at me…I’m starving!  I just wanted to sample some of the food they were eating while watching the Cardinal game too!


Anyway, here’s some pictures of my handsome self modeling my new shirt.


Hugs and chocolate Labby kisses from Charley!  xoxo

Chocolate Kisses is brought to you by Tripawds.