Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daily Planet story an excellent look at the Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab

Rilley on the set with Daily Planet host Jay Ingram.
So Rilley's moment in the spotlight is over and he is lying beside us asleep on the bed, too tired to sign any autographs.  This gives us a moment to thank Daily Planet for doing such an excellent job documenting the wonderful work being done at the University of Minnesota and the Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab.

Watching the story tonight reminded us how fortunate we are to have been granted the opportunity to take part in this clinical trial.  Remember, this story is far from over, the clinical trial continues as Rilley will be followed closely by the University throughout the next year and we will be continuing to keep this blog up to date.

Discovery Channel Canada:  http://www.discoverychannel.ca/
Daily Planet: http://www.discoverychannel.ca/Showpage.aspx?sid=13287
Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab:  http://www.braintumorlab.com/

TONIGHT: Rilley's 15 Minutes of Fame!

Remember tonight Rilley's story will air on Discovery Channel's show Daily Planet at 7&11pm ET and 8pm for those on the west coast.  There is also an article in today's edition of the Georgetown Independent!

Photo by Ted Brown
(c)2010 Georgetown Independent and Acton Free Press

To see the article, follow this link:

Photo by Ted Brown
(c)2010 Georgetown Independent and Acton Free Press


Friday, November 26, 2010

Finally...a vaccine!

"What do you mean more needles?"
After many hours of phone calls between numerous people, government agencies and veterinarians we finally secured Rilley's first vaccine!  The package was intact and the dry ice was still keeping the contents viable.  Given all the confusion and delays, we asked FedEx to hold the package at their facility so that once all the requirements were met we wouldn't need to wait for it to arrive by truck.

Finally, just before 1pm today, the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency...aka Canada Customs) granted FedEx permission to release the vaccine.  Sara picked it up took it straight to Dr. Stephanie Ewing's office so that it could be unpacked and given time to warm up.

Rilley's injection sites marked by blue squares.
Rilley had his appointment for the first round of injections at 3:20pm and everything went smoothly.  We are happy to report that Rilley is none the worse for wear and was just a little ticked about the shots.  He will receive five more rounds of vaccinations in two week intervals.  The next four will be on this side of the border with the final injections to be administered back in Minneapolis during his three month follow up visit with Dr. Pluhar.
A closer view of the vaccination site.
Let's hope that the next shipments aren't as stressful!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yet another delay for Rilley's first vaccine treatment

As you know, earlier this week Rilley's vaccine was granted approval to be shipped to Canada.  Despite the fact that this regulartory red tape forced us to delay his first treatment by a week, Dr. Ohlfest didn't see this as a serious matter.  We had an appointment with Dr. Ewing booked for 5:20pm today.  Just prior to 4pm her office called to say that they hadn't received the shipment yet.  Sara called FedEx to find out what was going on.  As it turns out, despite all the efforts by Dr. Ewing here in Georgetown and Jessica at the University of Minnesota to ensure that all the proper paperwork had been completed, Canadian Border Services Agency (Canada Customs) have decided not to release his vaccine shipment!  According to them, a commercial invoice is missing, which the University insists was included.

Ok, so it's a paperwork snag...normally, not a big deal.  Just get it straightened out and all is well, right?  Well in this case, any delay can become disasterous.  The vaccine is packed in enough dry ice to keep it viable for 3 days.  However, it's been in transit since yesterday morning.  FedEx wanted some extra time to allow for the inclement weather in Minneapolis and the American Thanksgiving.  So the transportation time has used up two of the three days and as of this evening we weren't able to get it released from Customs.  This means that if we are unsuccessful in having customs release the vaccine tomorrow it will most likely spoil and another one won't be ready for two weeks.  This can't possibly be good for the success of his treatment.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring better news.  So we are keeping our fingers crossed again!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rilley's television debut!

Mark your calendars!

Rilley will appear on Discovery Channel Canada's nightly science show Daily Planet on Tuesday, November 30th at 7 & 11pm ET and 8pm PT!  Not only will they be airing the story that was shot both at home and the facilities at the University of Minnesota but Rilley will be making a special in-studio appearance!

We're sure he will stick around after to sign autographs.... ;^)

(We've updated the blog's banner with the show date and time for easy reference.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our little blog has had over 1000 hits!

As of this writing, our little blog about Rilley's adventures in tumourland has been viewed over 1000 times!  1062 to be exact and that has been in just one month.  We just want to say thank you to everyone for taking such an interest in Rilley and the work being done at the University of Minnesota and Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab.  Remember, the surgery may be over but the rest of Rilley's treatment is just beginning!  Please continue to read the blog and we will keep you updated on every step along the way!

Roy and Sara.

Our Little Elf

This is not at all a serious post.

Since last Christmas I have had Rilley's Christmas bell collar hanging on the key hook (yes I know I never got around to putting it away!!!). After Rilley was diagnosed with the brain tumor I would look at it and wonder if he would be here this year to wear it. I am confident that he will, but the problem is that his hair hasn't grown back enough yet to wear a regular collar yet.

I had to remedy the situation, so today when I was in PetSmart I found the cutest elasticized elf collar that can loosely go over his fur.

He looks adorable and reminds me of the "mischievous" little elf he is.

Rilley Our Christmas Elf.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Official - The vaccine has been approved to cross the border!!!!

First thing this morning we received an email from Jessica at the Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab confirming that the vaccine has been granted full approval to enter Canada!  She will be packing it on dry ice and shipping it on Wednesday.  It should safely at Dr. Ewing's office by late afternoon on Thursday and Rilley has his appointment booked for 5:20pm.  Now that all the paperwork as been filled and rubber-stamped the vaccine will be shipping every two weeks for four more shipments.  The sixth and final vaccine will be administered during our three month return visit to Dr. Pluhar at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. John Ohlfest (centre) and his team at the Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab.
The creators of Rilley's vaccine.
Another important development happened today as well.  Sara took Rilley to see one of his local Neurologists, Dr. Fiona James, for a follow up visit.  Dr. James is the one who had the originally diagnosed Rilley's meningioma tumour on September 10.  She ran a complete neurological exam and gave Rilley a perfect bill of health...well, almost.  It seems our dearest Rilley has another problem.  His girth!  He has managed to eat his way up to 50 pounds!  Sure, we can blame the medications.  Some of them have been known to increase a dog's appetite exponentially, but he is a Beagle after all...gluttony is one of his biggest attributes.  As for the neuro exam, he passed that with flying colours!  Dr. James even said that if it wasn't for the bald head and massive scar, no one would know that he had ever had a tumour.

The Mississauga-Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital.
The offices of Rilley's Neurologists, Drs. James and Duque, and Oncologist, Dr. Gauthier.

Over all this has been a great news day for Rilley!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

23 Seizure Free Days and Still Counting!!!

It may not seem like a long period of time, but considering before we left for The University of Minnesota and Rilley was having seizures on an almost daily basis this is absolutely incredible.

23 days is the longest period of time that Rilley has ever been seizure free. It is absolutely fantastic and really makes us realize that the surgery was definitely worth it.

Still no news on whether the vaccine has been approved for shipment, but I am still hopeful that it will be here early next week.

We (well I must admit I) am slowly learning that I can leave Rilley for short periods of time and he will be okay. I realized when I came home today that I didn't even check if he had had a seizure. I am slowly getting used to the "new reality" of life with Rilley without a brain tumor.

Enjoying his two favourite activities...sleeping and cuddling with Pooh bear.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Still waiting...and Rilley had a really good day.

We still haven't heard anything on Rilley's vaccine's approval.  Apparently a "case manager" has been assigned and we are trying to stay positive.  Hopefully the speed of this process doesn't take as long as government decisions stereotypically seem to!  We are still holding on to Dr. Ewing's belief that we will most likely see the vaccine arrive at some point next week.

Rilley had a really good day today.  He went for a longer walk...of his own volition...and then...he hopped up on the bed and pretty much slept for the rest of the day.  There are also other signs that he is on the mend.  Prior to the surgery, he wasn't able to sit on the floor without his rear side sliding away and now there is no sign of that.  Sara did some research and found that it definitely was a sign of neurological deficits.

So here's hoping that everything gets cleared up soon!  Again, we appreciate everyone's efforts and hopefully next week's Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. doesn't inadvertently cause it's own delays.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The stitches are out...and some thank-you's!

Rilley without stitches!!!!
Ok, so it's not big news but we promised to post a picture of Rilley without his stitches.  True, he doesn't really look all that different either but it's nice to post something fun for once.  He was such a good boy for it too.  I guess it helps that he really loves Dr. Ewing and just sat there.  (We don't think he even noticed the first few come out.)

We spoke with Dr. Ewing about the whole issue surrounding the vaccine and she is confident that we will be back in her office next week for the first shot.  Unfortunately it sounds like the poor girl at the University of Minnesota had a rough time dealing with the many levels and various agencies of the Canadian government until she found the right one.  Jessica, we really appreciate everything you have done and everything you had to put up with.  Thank you as well to Dr. Ewing (Mountainview Animal Hospital, Georgetown) for completing all the paperwork and to Dr. Gauthier at the Mississauga-Oakville Emergency Hospital for offering to do whatever she could as well.

There was even an offer of help from an old friend and his wife (also a vet) for offering to contact whoever necessary to help make it happen...thanks Mark and Dr. Jen!  Last names withheld to protect the innocent. ;^)

Off to the vet...bye, bye stitches!

We're heading off to see Dr. Ewing shortly to have Rilley's stitches removed.  There may also be a new development in the vaccine versus the border issue.  Once we have official word we will post it here.  At the very least we will post a picture of Rilley sans sutures tonight!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We've hit a setback

The U.S.-Canada border in northern Minnesota. (MPR Photo/Bob Reha)
Tomorrow marks Rilley's second full week since his brain surgery and we've run into a potentially serious setback.  There is a bureaucratic roadblock that is preventing the Ohlfest Brain Tumor Lab from shipping his vaccine.  Apparently the Canadian Government won't allow the vaccine into the country without regulatory approval from some form of Veterinary agency (we're not sure what that exactly means).  While there are people at the University of Minnesota, the Mississauga Oakville Emergency Hospital as well as Rilley's own vet doing their best to help this is really worrying us.  The vaccine is the key component to his treatment.  Without it the tumour will eventually come back, making all of the effort done so far seem like it was for nothing.  We are hopeful that someone on either side of the border will be able do something to get this moving but all we can do for now is wait.

Tomorrow, the stitches come out!   But the vaccine can't get past the border.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The First Vaccine is in the Works!

It may be a Sunday, but we just got word today that things have been set in motion for Rilley's first vaccine from Dr. Ohlfest's Brain Tumor Lab!  The lab will be shipping it directly to Rilley's regular vet office and Dr. Ewing will be administering it herself.  Rilley has an appointment this Thursday (exactly two weeks since his surgery) to have his stitches removed so we have our fingers crossed that his vaccine will avoid any hang ups at the border so that it can be here in time.  We are very excited!

Our girls and their favourite pooch!
They are a big part of the reason we sought out the clinical trial at the University of Minnesota.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back To His Old Self....

We've been worried the last few days that Rilley wasn't quite himself. Trust me he has certainly had no trouble eating us out of house and home, but one of the things which I truly enjoyed before the surgery was talking him for a morning walk with my coffee after dropping the girls off at school in the morning.

Now I know it has only been a little over a week since his surgery, but he almost seemed to be hating being outdoors. We were noticing that sunlight bothered his eyes to the point that even when he sunbathed at the front door he would make sure his back was in the sun and not his face.

I am happy to report that it appears this was a temporary side effect and this afternoon Roy & I were able to enjoy a beautiful walk with him. The funny thing was that he dictated where we walked to and he led us to the vet's office.

It is so wonderful to have our Rilley back and be able to enjoy all the things that we did before with him.
Sara, Rilley and our eldest daughter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One week out....

Rilley sleeping on the floor with one of his favourite stuffed animals.
Today marks exactly one week since Rilley had his brain surgery to remove the meningioma.  As you can tell from the photo above, he is doing just fine.  He is even beginning to grow some "peach fuzz" on his bald head and the incision is healing nicely.  The stitches will be removed in one more week, around the same time he will receive his first dose of the custom made vaccine.  When Rilley was discharged from the veterinary hospital, we were given instructions to keep him as still as possible and to not allow him to jump on and off the bed, nor to take the stairs.  Well, all we can say is...we've been trying, honest we have, but it is becoming extremely too difficult to stick to all the rules.  Regardless, he is continuing to recover very nicely.

The Crazy Cost of Medications
As a result of the lab work done in Minneapolis that revealed Rilley's high liver enzyme levels we have begun to back off his Phenobarbital and introduce his new anti-seizure medication Keppra.  We were warned that the new medication would be more expensive than the Phenobarb and how true that is!  To give you an idea, when Rilley was first put on the medication, we purchased 500 tablets of the Phenobarbital for roughly $84 CDN, this would last us around 100 days.  Conversely, 100 Keppra tablets cost $154 CDN and these will only last 22 days and he will be on this medication for the rest of his life.  If only I could add Rilley to my work benefit plan!  ;^)

Searching online Sara discovered that we could order 100 tablets of the generic version for just $28 USD but the online pharmacy doesn't deliver to Canada.  The ironic thing is, the pharmacy is located in Canada!  Surrey, BC to be exact!  Tell me that's fair!

Granted, Rilley will soon be completely off of his steroids, which is a very good thing, but the cost of that is negligible in comparison.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The results are in...Rilley's tumour has been graded!

We received a call from Rilley's local vet tonight.  Dr. Ewing had been speaking with Dr. Pluhar in Minneapolis and Rilley's tumour has finally been graded.  When Rilley had his surgery last Thursday, it was thought that because the tumour had grown so much and had begun to attach itself to his brain that it would receive a grade of II or III. 

For reference, World Health Organization (WHO) defines the various grades of a meningioma as follows:
Rilley before surgery with his original MRI superimposed.
Grade I: Benign Meningioma
Grade II: Atypical Meningioma
Grade III: Malignant (Anaplastic) Meningioma

Obviously we've been hoping that the tumour would not receive one of the higher grades...so, drum roll please!

Rilley's meningioma tumour is a ...GRADE I!!!!

We cannot say how relieved we were to get this news!  It means that it is the grade of meningioma that has the lowest risk of recurrance.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The long and winding road...a reflection on our first trip to Minneapolis.

Driving down the endless road!
So the long road home gave us time to reflect on everything that has happened since our departure last Tuesday evening.
Travelling home:
Having a rest in Wisconsin, the state that never ends!

When we originally arrived in Minneapolis we pretty much rolled right into the parking lot at the Veterinary Medical Center and walked straight into the pre-op appointment which included the presence of the Daily Planet camera.  As you know from the post that day we were incredibly tired and it took a lot of concentration to focus on the discussion.  We didn't have the camera there to get ourselves on TV, we simply want everyone to know of the incredible work being done in Minneapolis to help find a cure for brain tumours in dogs and humans alike.  We must thank Director of Photography Jay Kemp and Producer Michelle McCree for making sure that the camera was there to record the events without being intrusive.  Honestly, we can't say that we really noticed the camera at all and the appointment ran very smoothly.  We were extremely excited for what the following day would bring.

Asleep on the long ride home

Everyone expected Thursday's surgery to run smoothly as all the preparations had been in place for some time.  Dr. Pluhar had the original MRI scans that were done at the Mississauga Oakville clinic and all of Rilley's medical history (related to the tumour).  Even the physical exam done during the pre-op appointment was normal.   We received regular updates via Brian, the communications point-person for the television production crew.  Then when Dr. Pluhar came out while Rilley was moved from the OR to the MRI she told us that things had not been as simple as had been expected.  It seemed that everyone was shocked to learn that the tumour had grown much quicker than expected and that it had begun to attach itself to Rilley's brain.  Dr. Pluhar had hoped to remove the tumour in one complete piece, but given this new development she had no choice but to cut it into pieces in order to remove it.  This gave us a dose of reality and the true weight of Rilley's predicament began to sink in.  While it turned out that Dr. Pluhar skillfully removed the tumour despite the increased difficulty we realized that had we not made this journey, our beloved Beagle would have only survived for another week or two.

This development made a lot of recent events make sense.  Within the week previous to our departure Rilley had numerous seizures in greater frequency and he had begun to lose some control over his bladder.  We had actually commented that something seemed wrong and that things appeared to be getting worse.

Thankfully, we got to Minneapolis in time for the tumour to be stopped.  Dr. Pluhar literally ended up saving Rilley's life.  It appears that the only consequence to the change in his tumour is that it of a more serious grade.  We are still waiting to find out what grade of meningioma the tumour is but it doesn't change Rilley's course of treatment.

Dr. Pluhar getting Rilley
ready to be discharged
In two weeks, Rilley will have his stitches removed and he will receive the first of his vaccine injections.  The vaccine takes two weeks to develop and will be shipped directly to Rilley's regular veterinarian, Dr. Stephanie Ewing.  She has kindly agreed to administer the shots.  Luckily, Rilley loves Dr. Ewing, so he should be pretty happy to go see her on a regular basis.  He will receive an additional five rounds of vaccinations at two week intervals.

We also learned during our visit that Rilley's liver enzymes were at extremely high levels, most likely due to the Phenobarbital anti-seizure medication that he has been on.  This will now be replaced with another anti-seizure medication called Keppra which is not processed as intensely by the liver.

Rilley will be making return trips to see Dr. Pluhar at the University of Minnesota in three, six and twelve months for follow up MRIs and blood work.  But for now, he seems to be happy, healthy and back to his old self...causing trouble.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We're home, finally!!!!

After nearly 20 hours on the road (construction, doggie-breaks, wrong turns, etc.) we are finally back in Georgetown.  We're off to bed and will update the blog in the morning.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

6:30am in the Twin Cities....

We're packing our bags and heading out for the 16 hour drive home.  After a not so restful night with a bunch of drunk, rowdy, not to mention fighting, hotel neighbours we're looking forward to getting home.

Rilley can't wait to see everyone, especially the girls!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rilley is out of hospital and resting comfortably at the hotel

Rilley's poses with his neurosurgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar during his discharge from the Veterinary Medical Center. 
Rilley has amazed everyone, even the professionals at the Veterinary Medical Center at the University of Minnesota.  Less than 24 hours after his surgery he was discharged to us and is now resting comfortably at the hotel.

Rilley resting comfortably back at the hotel.  Don't let the scar fool you, he is pretty much back to normal.
We've even been given the go-ahead to begin the long trek back to Georgetown tomorrow.  So the girls will be able to see him before they go back to school!

Looking at the post-op MRI it is amazing to see how Rilley's brain had reclaimed the space taken up by the tumour.  The University will be providing us with copies of the images and we will post a comparison once those arrive back home.  Despite the fact that the tumour had begun to attach itself to Rilley's brain tissue, the experts agree that the tumour is completely gone.

Incidentally, on our way to pick Rilley up this morning, we were discussing that we had arrived in Minneapolis just in the nick of time.  Even though a meningioma is considered a slow growing tumour, had it been left in Rilley's head for any longer his life with us would have been cut much shorter than we had expected.  But now we know he is tumour free and ready to enjoy his life for the foreseeable future.

We are very excited to have him back with us and are looking forward to getting home.  We will post more about details about what are the next steps will be in the days to come.  Not to worry, this blog will continue with updates as he receives his bi-weekly vaccines and throughout his 3, 6 and 12 month visits back with Dr. Pluhar and beyond!  Yes, we will be doing the 32 hour, round trip trek three more times!  Despite the awesome work being done here and what looks to be fantastic results for Rilley, I am really not looking forward to those trips.  Does anyone know any nice people who would donate their private jet and/or local condo?  ;^)

The Morning After....

Dr. Pluhar just called to give us the morning update on Rilley.  He's been taken off of fluids and has had his catheter removed.  She told us that he is doing really, really well this morning.  So well, in fact, that he is trying his best to dig his way out of his cage!  Obviously, this is great news for us, but unfortunately jeopardizes any chance of Sara going to the Mall of America (America's largest mall), and to a lesser extent, of us having a quiet dinner tonight as I'm sure Rilley is ready to eat as much solid food as he can get his jaws on!

We will be meeting with Dr. Pluhar this morning to discuss all of his follow up care.  We spoke with Rilley's veterinarian back home, Dr. Ewing, and she is willing to administer the bi-weekly vaccine shots once they start arriving in two weeks.

We are both ecstatic at how well Rilley is doing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rilley's Evening Update

We received a call from Dr. Pluhar this evening with an updated on Rilley's recovery.  Apparently he is doing very well.  He's even been out for a short walk.  This is absolutely amazing!  To think that within the first day of having such major surgery to his brain he was up and about!  Obviously not with the same vigour as we have come to expect from him, but it is doubtful that a person would be out of bed and going for a walk the same day.  He is also already showing signs of being the same dog he was prior to today.  Apparently, when Dr. Pluhar got up to leave from a visit with him he started to whimper.  This left the medical staff wondering if he was in pain or just sad.  To check, Dr. Pluhar went to get him his stuffed Winnie (the Pooh) and once it was given to him, he settled down.

So as this evening draws to a close, it appears that today was a great success.  We have an appointment with Dr. Pluhar at the University tomorrow to discuss the results of his post-op MRI.

Rilley is in ICU

We just saw Rilley as he was being wheeled from the MRI over to intensive care. Aside from the stitches along the top of his head, he looks pretty good for someone that has had his head worked on! The word on the post operative MRI is that it was "fantastic". Until we get further details we can only assume that the surgeons were able to remove all of the tumour cells. (Or at the very least any that may be remaining are easily treated with the vaccines to come.) We will know more once we've had a chance to sit down and speak with Dr. Pluhar.
Rilley as he was wheeled from the post operative MRI and into the Intensive Care Unit. The intubation tube was removed immediately upon arrival in ICU. Notice his tongue sticking out, it is certainly bigger than you would think!

Surgery Update - Post Op

Dr. Pluhar just finished Rilley's surgery and stepped out to give us an update. She let us know that the surgery went really well, however it wasn't a simple as originally thought. Even though we've been calling Rilley's meningioma a "brain tumour", it technically is not.

It is a tumour of the brain lining called the meninges and a grade 1 meningioma simply pushes the brain tissue out of the way as it grows. Don't misunderstand, because the brain cavity is a sealed camber, any invading tissue will put increased pressure on the brain itself and as it grows larger it will begin to cause brain cells become damaged.

What was discovered during surgery today was that the meningioma was deeper into Rilley's brain had begun to attach itself brain to his brain cells. It is still classified as a meningioma, but will most likely be a grade 2 or 3 tumour and as the numbers suggest a more severe one at that. What this all means is that the surgical team could not simply go in and lift it out. They had to be careful to remove as much of the tumour cells as possible.

Rilley has now been taken to the MRI suite to have a scan in order to check if the surgeons were successful in removing all of his tumour cells. Fortunately, his specific tumour responds well to the contrast agent that they use and any remaining tumour cells will glow a bright white on the scan. If there is a small amount of remaining tumour cells, Dr. Pluhar is not concerned as the vaccine that Dr. Ohlfests team will produce enables Rilley's immune system to attack the remaining cells and kill them off.

We will get a chance to see Rilley as they wheel him from MRI to the Intensive Care Unit and the blog will be updated once we hear what the MRI shows.

Roy and Sara.

The Big Day has Finally Arrived

Morning has broken over Minneapolis, Minnesota.  With Rilley spending last night at the University, Dr. Pluhar had let us get an extra hour sleep and had us arrive around 8am. Upon arriving, she brought Rilley up front so that we could take him for his morning walk.  He seemed happy to get out of the veterinary hospital, so we took a few pictures with him before he gets his new hairdo...a shaved head.  (Poor little boy.)
Rilley out for his morning walk around the grounds of the University of Minnesota just before his surgery.
As we were walking back in, we noticed that he was moving slower.  Initially we assumed this was because he didn't really want to go back in, especially knowing what was to come.  Would you be in a hurry to have someone cut into your head????  However, Dr. Pluhar pointed out to us that he had been given Morphine and as the next half hour it really became evident!  Off to sleepyland for Rilley!

The Daily Planet crew arrived around the same time and started preparing themselves for their presence in the operating room.  Which also included getting into their scrubs!
Daily Planet Director of Photography, Jay Kemp posing in his scrubs.  We think he may be considering a career change based on the outfit alone! 
Around 9 am the anasethiologist came to take Rilley in order to prepare him for surgery. We said goodbye and now we wait....updates to follow.  (Luckily the University has public Wifi!)

We're Here!

Rilley, having a meal on the road.
After what seemed to be an endless drive from Georgetown, Ontario to Minneapolis, Minnesota we finally made it.  We would have updated this blog last night but the complimentary internet at the hotel was painfully slow and we we're just too tired to wait for it.  (No, we're not spoiled by the speed of technology, are we?)

The Veterinary Medical Center at the University of Minnesota
We pretty much rolled into town and went straight to the University of Minnesota for our pre-op appointment with Dr. Pluhar, Rilley's surgeon.  We had never met her and we hadn't even spoken with her on the telephone prior to now.  She was very patient and made sure that we understood all aspects of Rilley's treatment.  As for Rilley, he was his usual lovable self during the exam, althought I think he did take exception to the rectal thermometer!  But once all the physical checks were done, he feel asleep on the floor.  We must admit, the appointment went very well.  We hardly even noticed the presence of the television camera in the room.

Before we left, Dr. Pluhar even offered for Rilley to spend the night in the veterinary hospital, which we had politely declined.  After all, Rilley's big day was tomorrow, we would want to spend the evening with him, right?

Well...once we checked in at the hotel, our exhaustion from the trip was really taking it's toll.  Rilley was getting into everything and we knew that because of the effects of the medication (insatiable appetite and thirst) he'd be needing a lot of bathroom breaks.  So after a lot of thought, we decided to take the good doctor up on her offer and checked Rilley in for the night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rilley's Adventure Begins!

We are heading out on the open road!  In 16 hours and many, many coffees later we will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota!  We will update the blog as things develop, so stay tuned!

Roy and Sara