The worst news and saying goodbye

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We entered this Tripawd community and started our journey just a few short weeks ago.  Sadie girl had her front left leg amputated on Jan 21 after she was diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma.  Pathology reports showed that her specific type of cancer stayed localized a large majority of the time.  We did additional tests, including blood work and x-rays, just to make sure that the cancer had indeed not spread … and all tests came back clear.  Unfortunately, those tests didn’t catch the true story.

Sadie did great in the days immediately following her surgery.  About 10 days in she had several days of not feeling well … and quickly got worse, to the point where she wouldn’t eat or even stand.  After a couple of vet trips during those days with no answers (we originally just though it was stress) … we finally dug deeper.  Sadie was in kidney failure and further tests uncovered that the @#$* cancer had hid from those original tests … but was now completely taking over her kidneys, liver and spleen, along with all the surrounding tissue.

On Monday, February 8, I was forced to say goodbye to my best friend.

Sadie1

Although our story didn’t end as we’d hoped, I sincerely want to thank everyone in this community for the advice and support that we received during the last few weeks.  This really is an amazing community.

Please give your 3-legged babies a big hug for me tonight.  I wish you all the best!

Love,

Crystal and Sadie


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Staples out. Still waiting for our “normal”

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We’re on Day 13 post-op and this past weekend Sadie was almost back to her normal personality.  She was moving really well, following us everywhere, curious and happy as can be.  Then Sunday night came and she just seemed completely out of it.  She stopped following us and, really, stopped being concerned at all if we were moving about the house.  She just seemed lethargic and didn’t have much of an appetite.  She also seemed very clumsy again on our potty trips outside (which I had to drag her on because she had no interest in getting up), relying way more on the sling to hold her weight than she had been the last day or so.  I figured maybe she was just overly tired or possible had some muscle soreness just from the use of all new muscles, so I tried not to worry.  But Monday brought more of that same thing so I made the call for a check up with our vet …. and, of course, when we were at the office Tuesday afternoon Sadie acted just fine.  She hopped all around the room and inhaled the treats and samples of canned food like she hadn’t eaten in weeks.  Doc took her for a little trip outside to see how she was moving and was happy with the mobility that she was showing at this point in the recovery.  All her vitals were good … so vet just thought it was possible muscle soreness on top of the effects from the pain meds.  We decided to try and lay off the meds for now (only using them if needed) and see if that helped perk her up.  Doc also went ahead and removed her staples while we were there (we had an appt in 2 days anyway).  I left the office pretty confident that we were getting somewhere and that Sadie was just fine.

First staple free picture!
First staple free picture!

BUT …. not 30 minutes after being back home, she was back to just being motionless.  She did scarf down her dinner (I added a little of that AMAZING canned goodness from the vet’s office) … but the canned stuff didn’t sit well with her and it showed later that evening on our potty break.  At bedtime, I thought I’d see if we could manage getting up the stairs with some help … but she wouldn’t budge to even attempt the steps.  I finally just carried her up … which is something she would have NEVER allowed before.  And this morning she was still no different.

I’m trying my best to be patient, but I think I just really looked forward to that magic 2 week mark where I’ve read they typically perk right back up … and we just not even near that.  And the fact that she seemed to be doing so well just a few short days ago then took a turn backwards is a bit concerning.  The fact that she really didn’t use her bad leg much before her surgery had me hopeful that she’d adapt to 3 legs much quicker.  I had grand hopes of being able to go for short walks by our 1 month mark … but that doesn’t seem even near possible at this point.  Perhaps her senior age on top of her lack of fitness (she was a bit out of shape to begin with) means she just needs a lot more time to adjust.  Trying my best to stay positive here.  Almost 2 weeks into this process and I can honestly say that, for the first time, I’m wondering if I indeed made the right decision.

Day 9 – Slow progress is still progress

We’ve gotten past the one week mark!  Although there is still quite a bit of resting going on, Sadie’s normal personality is beginning to return in small spurts.  She’s moving around the living room quite a bit more now … beginning to follow my every step again.  Her incision has quit leaking fluid/blood, so that’s one less thing to worry about.  She did have quite a bit of fluid build up earlier in the week … but I’m happy to report that the fluid seems to have all gone down.  We’ve made an appointment to get her staples out on Thursday, which I’m looking forward to!  If nothing else, once those are gone I’ll feel more confident about helping her up/down the stairs … which means I can leave my nights of sleeping on the couch next to her behind and return to my bed!

Our potty breaks still require quite a bit of support from the towel sling.  She seems to be strong on the trip out, but starts relying on the sling to hold up her weight more and more on the trip back in.  She just seems to tire quickly.  I’m hoping that her age, those few extra pounds (we’re working on that!) and her lack of endurance prior to surgery (she had gotten a little lazy in her old age) doesn’t hinder her recovery too much … but I do think it’ll have an effect on the time it takes for her to get back to being able to move around as much as she used to.  We have some balance to work on and some strength to build … which we’ll start on once those staples come out.  I look forward to the day we can take short walks around the neighborhood again.

She may be 12 ... but she still sports that baby face!
She may be 12 … but she still sports that baby face!

 

Snuggles with Mom.
Snuggles with Mom!

 

A beautiful day meant we got to get some fresh air out on the deck!
A beautiful day meant we got to get some fresh air out on the deck!

Day 3 and 4; Rough patches

On day 2 Sadie seemed to be doing really well … trying to move around on her own and acting fairly perky considering she had had lost her leg just 48 hrs earlier.  But just as the research had warned me … Day 3 and 4 were definitely not full of roses and sunshine.  On Day 3 she lost her spunk and did nothing but lay around all day.  I know she needed the rest … but it was a bit shocking for me when my girl, who normally never leaves my side (seriously … I can’t take 3 steps without her following), didn’t even lift her head when I left the room.  Bruising had popped up around her incision, and, despite the warm compress therapy, she was retaining quite a bit of fluid around the area and was having some issues with leaking through the incision.  Fluid was all clear, so no worries, but it just made matters a little more difficult.  She also did NOT want to get up for her potty breaks and needed a lot of convincing.  On one trip, she barely stepped outside and just squatted on the patio … I can only assume the grass was just too far for her that day. Poor girl was just really sore.  It was a rough day for her and, mentally, a rough day for me.

Nap time

We’re coming to the end of Day 4 now, and things were slightly better today.  Her fluid has gone down quite a bit and I can see bits of her spunk returning. Although the downfall to that is that she is back to trying to follow me everywhere …. and I have the fear that she’ll overdo it.  Tomorrow I plan to spend a few hours back at work … which initially worried me to leave her … but now I’m thinking it’ll be good because if I’m not here then she’ll most likely just sleep.

Glad we have another few days out of the way and looking forward to getting past this recovery period!!

Our journey to tripawd-ism, Day 2 post-op

Meet Sadie!

Birthday girl

Sadie is a 12 year old Australian Shepherd … who still looks and acts like a puppy.  She’s silly, she’s energetic, she’s an all around goof ball.  And she’s been a part of my family .. and my best friend .. since she was 8 weeks old.

This past September Sadie had a small mass removed from her front left leg.  Pathology reports came back a week later with a diagnosis of histiocytic sarcoma …. a typically local, but aggressive, form of cancer.  Our plan of action was to wait and see … and just treat any associated pain.  But just 2 months later the tumor was back, and about three times the size it was when we removed it.  Our vet was sticking by the “just treat the pain” treatment plan, so we set out for a second opinion.  Our new vet (I LOVE LOVE LOVE her!) suggested amputation on the first visit.  After x-rays, blood work and a lymph node exam to ensure the cancer had not spread past the leg … we scheduled our surgery.

This past Thursday we headed for the vet for the big day!

Our last 4-legged moment
Our last 4-legged moment

Our vet called that afternoon with the update that surgery went great, and sent me a pic of our girl after she woke up.

A little stoned, but looking good!
A little stoned, but looking good!

On Friday afternoon, Sadie got to come home!

Home

Now we’re on Day 2 post-op and doing well.  She’s resting a bit, but is managing to move around the carpeted living room fairly well (she’s blocked off front the kitchen).  She’s clumsy, but she’ll get there.  She needs quite a bit of support on our potty trips for now, but I know that’ll improve with time too.  Our biggest issue at the moment is that we live in a tri-level town house … and she is used to going downstairs or on neighborhood walks for potty trips … and she is thrown off quite a bit by the trips to the front yard.  She’s used to doing her business in back or on walks … and would really rather not mess up her own front yard!  But she’s coming around there too.  And in between those must needed naps, her typically silly personality still shines!!

All smiles!!
All smiles!!