Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Meet the team that saved Ruff's life

First, the good news.

Dr. Michele Muldoon, the surgeon who removed the tumor from Ruff's belly two weeks ago, removed the staples in Ruff's belly this afternoon at the CARE Center and when she brought him back to me she informed me the biopsy showed the tumor she removed had no signs of cancer. While she was working on Ruffin I was given a tour of the Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator machine that Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann used to attack the brain tumor in Ruff's Pituitary Gland. 
 Dr. Muldoon, the Surgeon and Taylor Cull, referral coordinator
Notice which way Ruff always faces when he is surrounded by women.
 Thank you, Ruff, that's better.
Here's the PetCure Oncology radiology team: Kelli McSwain, the technician who operates the Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator, Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann, the radiation Oncologist who plots and plans the therapy sessions and Ruff's new girlfriend, Taylor Cull who wanted to know when Ruff was coming back so she could give him another hug. (and I got one too, after acting jealous, uh, not so much acting)
 A wider angle shot showing the table.
Kelli McSwain then described the set up of the forms that hold their patients stationary on the table while the radiation treatment is done. Kelli had all the excited demeanor of a proud parent talking about her favorite new toy.
And the control room where the technicians operate the image guided radiation machine.
My reaction to all of this was one of great hope. I had 42 sessions with a similar device last year to treat my prostate cancer. I hope Ruff's treatment becomes as successful at repairing his vision as my own cancer that was totally cured. Thanks for the tour guys.
Here's the Elekta Spark radiation machine like the one they used on me. It is so encouraging to know that Veterinary medicine is now able to take care of our beloved pets as well our hospitals can take care of us humans with such high tech tools like Image Guided Radiotherapy technology.

Life goes on .... because Love Always Wins

This afternoon I'm taking Ruff back to the CARE Center in Loveland, Ohio to have the staples removed from his surgery. I will talk to both of the doctors who treated him a few weeks ago, Dr. Pohlmann, the Oncologist and Dr. Muldoon, the Surgeon who removed the tumor from his abdomen. Ruff seems to be having a difficult time coping with his blindness and maybe the veterinarians can give me some advice on how to make it easier for him.

Meanwhile, back at home, Bessie seems to be practicing her own form of therapy on Ruff. As the photos show, isn't love wonderful. If the weather outside wasn't so nasty I'd say Spring was in the air.
Love always finds a way to win the day.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

My greatest sorrow.

Today, Saturday, March 25th, I buried my life-long friend and wife of 57 years. Jacqueline was given a solemn Requiem Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Walton, Kentucky and buried in Highland Cemetery in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

I am still feeling numb from the events of this past week and I think it is going to take some time to get used to being alone for the first time in my adult life.

I want to thank everyone who sent flowers and prayers and messages of condolence. It enabled me to draw on your strength to help get through this.
You should know that as I promised, the ashes of Jacqueline's devoted service dog Axl were placed inside her casket so they can spend the rest of eternity side by side.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My beloved Jacqueline has passed away.

Please be advised that my beloved Jacqueline, wife of 57 years, ended her 10 year battle with Alzheimer's late last night. She passed away peacefully in her sleep and is now with her devoted service dog Axl for the rest of eternity.
UPDATE: Tuesday, March 21st.
Funeral arrangements for Jacqueline.

There will be a two hour viewing Friday March 24th, between 5 - 7 PM at
Chambers and Grubbs Funeral Home
11382 Madison Pike
Independence, Kentucky 41051

There will be a Funeral Mass at 10 AM Saturday morning March 25th at
Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church
472 Beaver Rd
Walton, Kentucky 41094

Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.


Saturday, March 18, 2017


My big, beautiful best friend Ruff is finally home. I had to steal him away from all the girls at the CARE Center. Everyone there was telling me what a big sweetie he was and I think they wanted to keep him. All I could say was Ruff was a people person in dogs clothing. And while I was standing at the front desk getting checked out Ruff was at the end of his leash trying to make new friends with a couple in the waiting area.

Here he is, along with his Super Dog cape.
He has to go back in a few weeks to get the drain tube removed and his staples taken out. I'm sure the girls will be glad to see him again.
We haven't even been home 6 hours and Ruff almost ruined the operation. Right after dinner I noticed Ruff had somehow gotten his hind foot inside the loop of the drain tube that had been sutured into his belly and came close to pulling it out. The CARE Center suggested putting a t-shirt on him but it was too short and didn't reach his butt. So I pulled out an old pair of suspenders and ...... take a look.

Notice how long the drain tube is in the above photo? That's what Ruff got his hind foot tangled in.

Here's the fix I made.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
UPDATE: Sunday, March 18th.
I found that my jury-rigged suspenders needed some tweaking. When I took Ruff outside to go potty it wasn't too convenient to unsnap the suspenders at his butt end and resnap them when he was done. So I cut off the long end of the suspenders and just clipped the short end across his butt. This way I can just slide the t-shirt up over his rear without unsnapping the suspenders. 
After he gets the drain tube removed he won't need this any more. But this is definitely better than the Elizabethan Collar the Vets gave me.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Help save Ruffin.

Scroll down for Latest UPDATE: Saturday, March 18th.
Please note: Because of the links here for Ruff's Go Fund Me campaign and for my Facebook page, I am keeping this page on the top of my blog and will continue to post updates below.

For many years friends and lovers of Rottweilers around the world have enjoyed the stories and photos of all of my Rotts on my blog LIVING WITH ROTTWEILERS . Now, my big, beautiful best friend Ruffin needs some very expensive medical treatment and I need help to pay for it as soon as possible. Ruff, as everyone calls him, lost his eyesight last month and his Ophthalmologist thinks there is a tumor pressing on his optic nerve. Ruff will need a CT Scan first, followed by radiation therapy to remove or kill the tumor in order to save his life. And if successful it may even restore his eyesight. Ruff has undergone several tests already and all the possible causes for his blindness have been eliminated. So now, the tumor is still growing and getting worse every day.

Today I started a campaign on Go Fund Me to help raise some money to pay for the treatment. Please visit this link:

The total package is more than $10,000 and the treatment cannot begin until it is paid for. The CT Scan and everything related to the radiation treatment must be done at the C.A.R.E. Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Please pass this information to all of your friends. I also just started a page on Facebook but I have no experience working with it yet.

Thank you.
Nelson Abdullah
UPDATE: Click this Link to my Facebook Page:
UPDATE: Monday, March 6th.
I was worried over the weekend because Ruff had not wanted to eat anything so I took him to our Vet. He was running a slight fever with 104.5 temperature (2 degrees above normal for a dog). The doctor gave him a shot of Penicillin and shots of Baytril, Cerenia and Meloxicam and almost a quart of Saline water under his skin.
The generous donations so far on my Go Fund Me campaign have enabled me to get Ruffin scheduled for his CT Scan tomorrow (Tuesday March 7th). I'm not sure how soon the results will be known but we will plan things from there. Our Vet thinks the problem lies in his pituitary gland and also affects his liver and other organs.

Prayers are still needed. Also need more response on Go Fund Me.
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 8th.
I am going to keep this page on top of the blog while I continue to post dated updates because it has the links to my Go Fund Me campaign and to my Facebook page.
Last night I fried up another boneless pork chop for Ruff and he ate the whole thing. As small as it was it was only his second meal in four days. He has lost 15 lbs in the past month. Hoping that he was gradually getting his appetite back and because he has a fondness for pork, this morning I cooked up a whole Roast Pork that I had cut up for two adult meals. It only weighed about 1 lb but after I diced it up Ruff ate the whole thing along with a half cup of kibble. Tonight he ate a whole can of dog food.
Yesterday I drove up to the CARE Center in Ohio to have them do the CT Scan. The cost for that used up the entire funds raised so far on Go Fund Me. This afternoon I received a phone call from Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann, the radiation oncologist from PetCure Oncology at the Care Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She said the tumor was located in Ruffin's Pituitary Gland inside his brain. Dr. Pohlmann outlined a course of treatment using 3 sessions of radiation. The cost has been fixed at $8,100. As much as that seems to be I cannot let my best friend go without getting him the best help possible. This is the debt I am willing to pay for the thief that stole my heart.
After talking with Dr. Pohlmann I did a Google search about her and her work and found a great story on the local web site for TV station WLWT in Cincinnati that is worth watching. Here is the link
Now we need more prayer than ever before.

UPDATE: Saturday, March 11th
I realized a few days ago that I could not wait for the Go Fund Me campaign to generate the entire amount needed for Ruffin's radiology treatment. After talking again with Dr. Pohlmann about the costs she agreed to let me put a down payment and pay the balance when Ruff comes home. So yesterday I dropped off Ruff and maxed out my credit card with a $2000 down payment. Earlier this week I already requested a loan/withdrawal from my IRA to pay the balance but the worst thing to happen there is a big tax headache which I hope to avoid. There's not a lot of money in the account anyway.
After dropping Ruff at the CARE Center we did a tour of the facility and I informed the staff that Ruff loves to be around people and that he was raised on love and gets lots of hugs every day. So before I left two of the girls came over and did just that and made Ruff feel right at home. 

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will take Bess with me and we will drive up and visit Ruff. I think Bess has started to notice how empty and quiet the house is and she seems uncomfortable with this. I felt the same way two months ago after old man Axl died and Bess is too young to understand what's going on. When I tell her my plans for the long drive to see Ruffin, her eyes light up with excitement.
UPDATE: Sunday, March 12th
I just got back from visiting Ruff at the CARE Center. Bess was very excited after her longest ride in the car and was very happy to see the love of her life when they brought Ruff into a private visiting room. The staff told me Ruff was eating very well and on his way to regaining the 15 lbs he lost when he got sick a few weeks ago. I brought a package of his favorite treats, sliced beef sausage from Milo's Kitchen, and Ruff and Bess finished it all.

The CARE Center is a big place with a large staff 7-days a week and there were several girls on duty to keep him company. Tomorrow he starts the radiation treatment and I won't see him again until I pick him up on Thursday to bring him home.
UPDATE: Tuesday, March 14th
Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann from the CARE Center called last night and informed me that as a result of the full-body CT Scan they detected a malignant tumor hanging below and outside of Ruff's belly in front of his penis. Because it is not inside his abdomen the surgical removal is not very complicated and can be done while Ruff is still under anesthesia following his last radiation treatment on Thursday. 

I received another phone call from the CARE Center today and was told Ruff had just come out of anesthesia following his first radiation session. He has made several friends while in the hospital and is getting many hugs from the staff every day. His appetite is still improving and he is well underway regaining his lost weight.
I sent an email over the weekend to WLWT News Anchor Sheree Paolello thanking her for the great news story and interview she did with Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann at the PetCure Oncology CARE Center and she sent me the following reply last night.

Oh my goodness.  I’m so sorry to hear about Ruffin.  He’s beautiful.  I just want to give him a big smooch. I hope you’re able to get financial support from friends and family.  I know it’s OUTRAGEOUS…  but I have heard great things about the PetCure treatment.
In the meantime, I’m sending a little prayer your way for your big teddy bear.  He looks like such a sweetie.

Sheree Paolello/ WLWT Anchor 
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 15th
Dr. Kelsey Pohlmann called today to advise me on Ruffin's progress. Ruff will have his last radiation session tomorrow and immediately after will be taken into surgery to remove the tumor hanging below his belly. He will then spend one more night in the hospital at the PetCure Oncology CARE Center and I will drive up there Friday afternoon and bring him home. 

This has been quite an ordeal for my big best friend who has never before been away from home in his whole life and even though the staff has taken care to see that he gets as much love as possible, he has still been in a strange place for a whole week and he must miss his family. 

While the surgery is not complicated it is still surgery and I wish everyone will say at least one more prayer for Ruff's safety and a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: Thursday, March 16th.
11:45AM  Dr. Pohlmann called me this morning and said Ruff had his last radiation session and was still under anesthesia and they were moving him into surgery for the tumor. This morning I also got a revised estimate for the surgery and they lowered it about $200. TOTAL: $1,616.00 to $1,702.00 plus $8,160.00 for the radiation treatment.

I am waiting now to get a phone call from the Dr. Michele Muldoon, the surgeon, to hear how Ruff is doing. Dr. Kelsey Pohlman said she and the other girls on the staff had been giving Ruff daily hugs and Ruff was giving everyone kisses so she felt he was handling his situation very well. I questioned Dr. Pohlmann about Ruff's eyesight and she said not to expect immediate improvement, if any. And the "if any" is contingent on whether or not his optic nerve has been damaged. I guess this is the way doctors often qualify their outlooks with a lot of unknowns.

They also convinced me of the necessity for doing a biopsy on the removed tumor to confirm if it was malignant. They said the CT Scan only looked suspicious.        

2:20 PM
Dr. Michele Muldoon, the surgeon called me just now and said Ruff is out of surgery and doing fine and the tumor appeared to be just a benign fatty tumor. But she said one side was hard which made for the suspicious image in the CT Scan and that it had an infection in it. They will not know for sure if it was malignant or not until the tests come back in about two weeks. Meanwhile Ruff will be home tomorrow afternoon and he will have a drain in the incision and be on antibiotics.
UPDATE: Friday, March 17th.
Bad weather, icy road conditions and a medical emergency at home prevented me from making the 45-mile trip to pick up Ruff and bring him home today. I will be going tomorrow to bring him back to his family.
UPDATE: Saturday, March 18th
RUFFIN IS HOME. See the new post and the photos.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

UPDATE on Ruffin. Bile Acids test results prove nothing.

The Bile Acids Test results came back today and the one test that I was hoping Ruff would fail appears to be the one test that he passed. For had he failed this test it would have been a clear indication that Ruff's liver problems had caused a condition called Hepatic Encephalopathy in Dogs. Not only did Ruff pass this test within normal parameters but the results were upside down. So once again after another search for an explanation for the readings of this test I found a testing laboratory that posted a chart that suggested a retest was in order in a few weeks. 

The Bile Acids Test requires an absolute 12 hour fast but Ruff had a few small biscuits between 11PM and Midnight the night before so when I dropped him off I told the Vet not to do the test before 11AM or Noon. Then I read today the 12-hours rule is a minimum time frame and could be longer. The test begins with a blood test to determine the preprandial (before meal) level then a meal is given followed by a second blood test two hours later. Ruff's test had slightly higher values than normal (19.5) before he was given food and afterward his score was lower than normal (16.9) for post-meal.

A PDF chart I found on IDEXX Laboratories explained how the results can be skewed: "Preprandial values will occasionally exceed postprandial values. This is usually attributed to spontaneous gall bladder contraction or preprandial specimen obtained prior to a sufficient fast. When preprandial values exceed the postprandial values, always check the pre- and postprandial samples are properly identified."

When my Vet called today with the results he suggested waiting two weeks for another blood test to check on Ruffs liver enzymes. When I take Ruff in I am going to have the Bile Acids Test done once again. The costs so far have begun to really add up. Each blood test was $67.50, then two bottles of liver supplement pills $201.19 plus two visits to the Ophthalmologist $500. Plus another $330 at the Emergency Hospital when Ruff was vomiting for three days. But the course of this is minimal compared to a CT Scan ($1000) and radiation treatment which, even still, may be needed once the tests have eliminated everything except a tumor.

For well over six months now I had been growing more and more concerned over Ruffin's declining eyesight. And then about six weeks ago I took Ruff to an Ophthalmologist for an eye exam and by then Ruff had become totally blind. The doctor said the cause of the blindness was not in Ruff's eyes and more likely was the result of something like a tumor on his optic nerve. He suggested a CT Scan and the hospital that did that work wanted a blood test to show he was healthy enough for anesthesia.  

The first blood test revealed extremely high enzyme spikes from Ruff's liver and over the course of 5 weeks Ruff had four more blood tests and the enzyme levels only declined a slight bit as his doses of prednisone were reduced to zero. This led to hours and hours searching for likely causes and I thought I had found a solid connection. I have frequently read lists of symptoms for different diseases but never before had I seen so many that matched what Ruff was now going through so I had my hopes the Bile Acids test would be the cause of Hepatic Encephalopathy instead of an astronomically expensive CT Scan and assorted radiation treatments for a brain tumor.
Symptoms and Types of Hepatic Encephalopathy in Dogs
    Circling, running into walls and acting confused after meals
    Learning disabilities (difficult to train)
    Sluggishness (lethargy) and/or drowsiness or sleepiness
    Aimless wandering
    Compulsive pacing
    Head pressing
    Blindness related to brain abnormality
    Sudden aggression
    Lack of appetite
    Increased urination or lack of urination (inability to urinate often seen in male dogs)
    Frequent voiding of small volumes ( small poops )
    Orange-brown urine (often seen in male dogs)
    Increased thirst
    Excessive salivation
When anything new comes up I will post it. I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to save my best friend.