Road trip!!!

Today, we woke up early to bring Maximus to the University of Guelph for his first radiation treatment.  We left at 7:00 a.m. so that we could be there for 8:30. Once there, we checked in and, while we waited, Maximus picked himself a comfy spot and cowered.

Maximus seeks shelter.

We spoke to the radiation oncologist who gave us the lowdown.  This would be the first of five weekly radiation treatments for Maximus. Regardless of the results, five would be it.  The treatment would target the tumor located in his right inside cheek, close to his throat. Apparently, in similar circumstances, radiation has shrunk approximately 70% of tumors.  The treatment will be administered in conjunction with a bi-monthly anti-cancer vaccine that, if effective, will stop the spread of this particularly aggressive form of melanoma.

The tumor will be monitored with each visit.  If the tumor actually grows rather than shrinks, radiation will be discontinued.

Side effects may include fur loss on the side of his face receiving the treatment and the development of a blister on the targeted area after the third or fourth treatment.


According to the doctor, with this treatment, we can expect Maximus to be with us for 6-8 months.  Without treatment, it would be less than a month.  In a very best case scenario, we’re able to get rid of the cancer.  But this is, apparently, a long shot.  Another side effect she mentioned was the possibility of Maximus developing cataracts – but that would occur a year or two after treatment and, if he’s around a year or two after treatment to get the cataracts then I’ll be happy to deal with them at that time.

Lily. A budding hospital romance in the works?

We left Maximus at the small animal hospital and, with two hours to kill, headed downtown.

Yes, Guelph has a downtown.

Sort of.

We stopped for breakfast/lunch…

At a place called Wimpys. I had a so-so Philly cheesesteak and some surprisingly good crispy golden onion rings.

After lunch, we took a stroll through Guelph’s version of the Forum Shops…

Hey! Where's the Harry Winston?
$2 canned snails. What a deal!

Eventually, we headed back and picked up our little guy.  He was happy to see us and, to our relief, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Homeward bound!

So, one down, four to go.  Here’s hoping we see some results!

Maximus thanks you for your support.

 Today’s entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal Jumbles!

57 thoughts on “August 11, 2011: Maximus’s first radioactive road trip!

  1. Hope he gets well soon. So small and so brave…! My prayers ti your babe!

  2. Talked to my vet daughter tonight about Maximus. She explained the same thing – about only doing a limited number of treatments. Hope they have a positive effect on the little guy. He really does look bummed in that one picture.

    Nola S.

  3. Hope your doggie gets well soon, so small and yet so brave. My prayers for his recovery. Denise.

  4. Good job, Maximus! And you too Joe. Is that a seat-belt harness Max is wearing? And Lily, too?

    I loved the picture of Lily, by the way. She looks adorable.

  5. Sending all my best to Maximus, and to you, Joe…you look sad. 🙁

    Hey, Joe…have you ever had a real Philly cheesesteak? Regardless of what people say, you really can only get them in the Philly area because it has to do with the bread as much as anything (and bread from the Delaware Valley is SPECIAL!). I prefer a cheesesteak hoagie (that’s with lettuce, tomato & onion) over a plain cheesesteak…and lots of hot peppers! Ketchup, no mayo. I don’t care for Cheez Whiz and most places in our area don’t serve them that way anyway, but instead just use American cheese, and/or provolone. But in the end – regardless of what kind of cheesesteak you like – it all boils down to the bread:


    Now I’m hungry. 😛


  6. well the news isn’t bad, isn’t all good. but certainly is hopeful. Keep up the good spirits, Max!

  7. Keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll get the best result possible. Big hugs to the little guy.

  8. ((((Joe)))) ((((Maximus)))) Thank you Joe for keeping us up to date with Max. I just feel so bad for the guy having to go through all that. He is certainly a trooper. My heart and prayers go out for both you and Max. Give him all the TLC that you can, and I know you will. Hugs and kisses for Max.

  9. So glad treatment #1 is over with and that Max is back home. Six or eight months seems like such a short time, but given the other option, it’s great. I’ve always been very aware of the limited time we have with our pets, but much more so since last year when we thought Elway had cancer in his spleen. We’ve also had to deal with his seizures for over 6 years, each time wondering if this will be the last time. It’s a hard way to live, but I can’t imagine life without him and the other three. I’m really glad you’re there for Max, and I know he is too. Love to all of you 🙂

  10. So hoping the very best for max!
    Maybe next time you can come to Kitchener and I can treat you Hog Tails!! You wouldn’t be disappointed we also have some awesome comic book stores!!

  11. Best wishes to Maximus.

    I do however have to ask: you did consider the possibility of a radioactive pug biting you, right?

  12. Poor little doggy.
    Joe, be aware that the last 2 weeks of the treatment could be nasty, even if successful your dog may be in quite a lot of pain. Maybe will require some strong painkiller, it could be heartbreaking but that’s what it takes to keep him.
    I wish you all the best. Hang in there folks.
    Take care.

  13. Good for Maximus! Looks like he did well. What a little trooper. Apparently everyone reacts differently to radiation treatments. When I had them, they didn’t slow me down one bit.

    Hope he continues to respond well and that the tumor shrinks!

  14. (((Maximus)))

    Lily’s adorable. She has manga eyes. I want a Lily plush toy! Ya’ know, for the kids.

  15. Maximus looks so sad. Fingers crossed he gets the best result from the treatment. Hang in there Maximus.

  16. On Tuesday, I just finished 8 weeks [Mon to Fri] of driving & “handling” my Father for his radiation treatments… [prognosis looks quite good BTW] – He isn’t any where near as ill, yet still didn’t “behave” as well as Max did!!

    Kudos to the Canine!!

  17. Hi Joe,

    I’ve been a long time reader of your blog but never left a comment before; I know I know I’m shocked and somewhat appalled with myself as well. I’m a Stargate fan and loved SG-1, SGA and especially SGU – Thanks for writing some truly entertaining scripts.

    One of my Mum’s pug’s Sumo, has been through cancer treatment. We discovered an aggressive malignant tumour on his right-hind leg, luckily it was caught early and he underwent surgery to remove the tumour and surrounding tissue and then underwent chemotherapy.

    We found that with his chemotherapy course his coat and skin became problematic; we were advised that Evening Primrose capsules really helped with reconditioning his coat and relieving minor skin irritations. He continues to enjoy one everyday as a treat and made a great recovery.

    I hope this could help Maximus’ with any side effects from his cancer treatment (fur loss, blisters) and aid his overall recovery.

    Sending some Pug Love from Scotland.

    Group shot!:


  18. Maximus couldn’t have a better family — sending prayers for complete healing, comfort, and peace of mind for all of you.

  19. Joe,

    Oye como va!

    My cats, Grace & Vai, are offering Maximus hugs and happy thoughts for better health. Or, if Maximus doesn’t like cats, then, hmm, well it’s the thought that counts.

    Grace might have a UTI, so I’m going to have to take her in to the vet for a check-up. Going to take Vai in too – Vai is pronounced like “eye” with a “v” before it 😉 – just to make sure he’s okay.

    This is a very mysterious time, it seems. You’re waiting to see how Maximus does. Similar for me with my cats. Well, not really similar but pet health related.

    And to top it all off, it’s a mysterious time for me, with my profession, as I found out last night about a music professor position that was just announced, with the search committee beginning their reviews of applications next Friday, although courses start next Wednesday. 😐

    Here’s more about that:

    I’m definitely applying for the position. I won’t disclose where just yet. I’d rather it be a sure thing. Trying not to get hopes up too high for it. I’m thinking more along the lines of keeping realistic expectations and high hopes. It’s crazy being on the edge of the seat, hoping to get that totally awesome and wicked cool new job. Nerve-racking, more like.

    So, here’s hoping Maximus overcomes things. And for my kitty, Grace, too. And then there’s the professor job.

    Have a nice day!

    Dr. D.

  20. One day at a time, Bless you Maximus and Joe and Akemi and the pups. Your puppys are lucky to have you as their doggy dad.~~ Lots of positive thoughts heading your direction~~~

  21. Will macarons make you feel better?

    I was going through some back issues of Canadian House and Home, and found an article about a patisserie in the Leslieville area of T.O. It’s called Bobbette & Belle, and they offer macarons as well as other goodies. You and Akemi deserve a little treat.

    Still keeping my fingers crossed for the best outcome for Maximus.

  22. All my best to Maximus! I had a golden retriever with a similar type of oral cancer years ago. She went through radiation therapy as well (they had offered to surgically remove much of her muzzle, which I declined in favor of the xrt) and did quite well. They told me at the time that dogs don’t seem to suffer as many side effects as do humans, which turned out to be true. Ensuring she got enough nutrition during the treatments was an issue, but it worked out.

    We were graced with her presence for about a year after the therapy was complete – and the fur where they had radiated her jaw and face turned bright white!

  23. Max has such innocent eyes. They just pull at my heart strings. I’m thrilled the first treatment went so well! I hope you get a few more painfree months with the guy. We are all here for you!

  24. So glad to hear the first treatment went without incident and crossing all crossable parts for good news. You might want to be prepared with some plastic (drop cloth/shower curtain) to cover car seats/floor with future treatments. After all, the 90 minute ride may be unsettling after the treatment. Does Max like to hang out the window during a drive?

    On the romance track…hmmmm, Lily seemed to be a bit of a tease in that photo. She may have her eyes on Max. What did Max have to say about this?

    Not sure who was more bummed – you or Max. You both need some sleep.

    IggyMing’s suggestion sounds good: patisserie in the Leslieville area of T.O. It’s called Bobbette & Belle, and they offer macarons as well as other goodies. You and Akemi deserve a little treat.

    Wishing and hoping for the best for Max, you and Akemi, and Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu.

  25. 1 down, 4 to go! Keep it up Maximus! 😀

    Looks like you took a trip to a Wimpys and weren’t a big fan of the cheesesteak. Next time you try a Wimpys, check out their burgers. Filling and delicious!

    Best of luck to the both of you!

  26. So far so good, Maximus; “sometimes good is good enough”(Platoon)

    @Joe, that pic in Wimpy’s, are you sure you didn’t wander into a Lynch set?


  27. Thanks for the updates. The pictures broke my heart. He is such a brave little man. You are all in my thoughts, my husband and I know what your going through so we hope you have a positive outcome x

  28. I know that “I hate doctors” look very well. I cower under the seats now, too. But then afterwards, when he walks out with you and Akemi (and Akemi, I LOVE the shoes), he is so much happier.

    Glad this one treatment is behind you. Praying for tumor reduction, that the anticancer vaccine works well to prevent spreading, that Maximus will be in very little discomfort throughout the treatment period, that he has himself a torrid love affair with Lily.

    I don’t know who looked more sad–Maximus before treatment or you, Joe. So much on your plate right now.

    Ohhhhhh. It’s 90 minutes ONE-WAY (I thought 90 minutes roundtrip). That is a VERY long drive. Bright side is it is a weekly trip and you don’t have to do that every day. I remember I hated the early release days with Patrick and school. We’d leave at 8:00 to get him to school by 8:45, then I’d talk to the teacher for a few minutes. I’d turn around and get home 9:30-9:45 and then have to turn around at 12:15 to go pick him up at 1:00 and we’d get home by 2:00. Fortunately there were not many days like that.

  29. I want to make Max happy because he makes me happy a lot!
    I love all four doggies.:)

    Thank you so much. 🙂

  30. we love you, maximus!

    ps. joe, how do you manage not to gain weight? at a fit 5-11 and 170lbs, the fear of weight gain really does keep me from enjoying good food more than once a week.

  31. Hi there, Joe, long time, no write. So sorry to hear about max. Thinking about him. Boy miss my Stargates!!! Sheryl.

  32. Lily is a cutie! I’m sending good wishes to Max to have the best possible recovery.

    Nice to see Mr. Binder and Mr. Wright. Looking forard to more news on Brad’s projects. Kisses to Maximus and the gang.

  33. If it doesn’t work, only a month? Oh, no. I hope he gets the 2 years from the treatment being a success.
    Please never take his picture at the top down from this site, even if he’s gone. It’ll be a way to remember him.

    On a lighter note, Max and Lily would make the most adorable puppies. Did he manage to get her phone number? 🙂


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