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9th birthday cancer diagnosis
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6 September 2016 - 6:57 pm
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My sweet Izzi turned 9 yesterday. I adopted her at 6 months of age and she has been one of my very best friends ever since. Izz is a 65 pound pitbull. She's a little chunky but the typical bully barrel shape. She had surgery to correct a luxating patella in her left leg about 7-ish years ago as well as the cruciate ligaments replaced in both hind legs in 2014 - the right one in January and the left in April. She hasn't been dealt the best hand when it comes to these legs of hers so when she started limping on the right leg a few weeks ago I figured it was related to her previous knee issues. I brought it up with her vet at her annual checkup. He agreed it was likely just related to arthritis in the knee and suggested to give her Rimadyl on the bad days. About a week ago I realized the rimadyl was doing nothing for her. She wouldn't put any weight on the leg. Sunday I noticed some swelling around her ankle and also a lump which I knew in my heart was not a good sign so I made an appointment for yesterday evening. Since it was her birthday we went swimming, shopping, and got some treats and a new toy. She wanted to do about 20 laps around petsmart - she forgot about the sore leg for awhile :). And then that evening at 7 we went for an exam and the vet immediately knew we needed xrays. I already knew what he was going to say when he returned but it was still utterly shocking to see the damage already done to her bones. There is a tumor maybe the size of half a ping pong ball and the bone in each direction looks to be in terrible shape. I wish I knew how long this has been growing. I wish I had caught it sooner. Even the doctor was kicking himself for missing it and assuming it was just her knee. I can't blame him because I was right there with him. She's been battling knee problems her entire life why would we expect it to change? Anyway.. now we know. She has cancer. It's midway up from her ankle joint. It must be painful but not enough to actually slow her down. She's always been tough as nails and very spirited. Dr. feels fairly confident that it's not osteosarcoma but obviously can't be totally sure. I don't fully understand all the details but something about the way it presents doesn't seem to fit. I also cannot quite remember what the other name is that he called it. We discussed biopsies but I opted out. I don't want to put her through the extra pain just to end up with an inconclusive result. My instincts tell me just to go with the amputation. Of course we will do xrays beforehand to check for metastases in the lungs. If they are clear then I feel it's best to just remove the leg and give her a good fighting chance and not waste any more time. I hope that I am making the right choice. I have read through so many posts on this page and I feel quite a bit better about my decision. She has been through some pretty serious recoveries with her knees so I think we have a decent understanding of how to cope with life on 3 legs. I know this is quite a bit more extreme but I also know she's figured out how to hop and she has never let it keep her down. I am taking off work the full week following the surgery so I can be home with her at all times. I normally foster dogs and have a litter of kittens right now as well so I'm trying to make plans for them to move out so she has her house to herself and my full attention. I can tell there's a lot of advice here and a lot of caring people so I really just needed to vent in a place where someone will understand. So to anyone who takes the time to read - Thank you! 

Livermore, CA
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6 September 2016 - 9:12 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Your girl sounds like quite a fighter!  I'm sorry you are dealing with cancer but you have found the best place to be when dealing with amputation and cancer.

I agree with your decision to skip the biopsy, it's very painful and is often inconclusive.  And it sounds like the bone is damaged beyond repair anyway.

Sound like you are ready and comfortable with your decision.  You might want to look through Jerry's Required Reading List or download one or more of the ebooks available from the Tripawds Library. Both have lots of information on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

Let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns, we are here to help!

I'll be waiting for Izzi's next birthday...she needs a little better gift next year big-grin

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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7 September 2016 - 2:41 am
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Many of us did not do biopsies, and for many who did, the results were inconclusive.  No matter what the cause, if the bone is too damaged to heal, you are going to end up with amputation anyway, so why put Izzi through additional pain?  The first two weeks are rough (but my personal experience was not as hard as recovery from cruciate repair), and then she will surprise you with how well she does as a Tripawd.  Do you have a harness already?  We are big fans of the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness in the gear blog.  With a front leg amp, you will have to wait until the stitches come out to use it, but we found it really helpful.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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7 September 2016 - 8:42 am
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I'm sorry that you find yourself here - its a diagnosis none of us wanted to hear. Your thought process sounds like mine did - why do a biopsy when the leg would have to be amputated anyway? They will biopsy it once its removed and then you will know for sure. In my case, Clyde was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which is what the vet suspected at the outset.

You'll likely be amazed at how well Izzi will do on three legs. If you have slippery surfaces in your home (wood, carpet) be sure to get some sort of non-slip surface for her - we have a mixture of yoga mats and rugs everywhere. Its important to make sure she is confident on her legs and doesn't slip early on.

Good luck!

Kristin and Clyde

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7 September 2016 - 9:32 pm
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Hello and welcome! Sorry u find yourself here but I'm so glad you did. I haven't been here long but the advice and support has been a God send! 

Similar to your story, our Kylie girl (also 9yrs old) had some leg problems that went on masked as other things for months prior to us getting the diagnosis of cancer. But we finally did and luckily she got in to see an oncologist within 2 days of the X rays and the had the surgery the day after our consult. It's all very quick it seems but please take peace in knowing that you're suing the right thing by choosing the amputation as I truly believe it's the only way to give our fur babies a fighting chance against this nasty disease. Kylie is now 5 days post op and doing amazing!  I can tell she's in such less pain now! Even after major surgery! I also chose to take the week following her surgery off from work and am so glad I did. We also chose to skip the biopsy prior to surgery, we are waiting for results now. 

I will be thinking of your sweet Izzi & following your journey. The people here are amazing please ask things and reach out!

Hugs! Chris & Kylie xo

Schofield, WI
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8 September 2016 - 6:05 pm
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Welcome!  Kudos for following your gut and not doing a biopsy.  Most come back inconclusive anyway.  Beautiful Izzi just wants that leg to not hurt her and you'll soon be taking care of that.  Terrific you can take that time after amp off.  Sounds like you've got a good plan set so please keep us posted on your beautiful girls journey.

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9 September 2016 - 12:40 pm
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krun15 said
Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

Your girl sounds like quite a fighter!  I'm sorry you are dealing with cancer but you have found the best place to be when dealing with amputation and cancer.

I agree with your decision to skip the biopsy, it's very painful and is often inconclusive.  And it sounds like the bone is damaged beyond repair anyway.

Sound like you are ready and comfortable with your decision.  You might want to look through Jerry's Required Reading List or download one or more of the ebooks available from the Tripawds Library. Both have lots of information on what to expect with amputation and recovery.

Let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns, we are here to help!

I'll be waiting for Izzi's next birthday...she needs a little better gift next year big-grin

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls  

Thank you so much for the reading list - that looks like a treasure trove of knowledge. And yes I'm hoping her 10th birthday is much better!!!big-grin

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9 September 2016 - 12:41 pm
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otisandtess said
Many of us did not do biopsies, and for many who did, the results were inconclusive.  No matter what the cause, if the bone is too damaged to heal, you are going to end up with amputation anyway, so why put Izzi through additional pain?  The first two weeks are rough (but my personal experience was not as hard as recovery from cruciate repair), and then she will surprise you with how well she does as a Tripawd.  Do you have a harness already?  We are big fans of the Ruffwear Webmaster Plus harness in the gear blog.  With a front leg amp, you will have to wait until the stitches come out to use it, but we found it really helpful.  

I was wondering about a harness or sling or something to help her get around afterward. Those look perfect. Hers is the rear leg so it should work out really well. Thank you so much! 

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9 September 2016 - 12:42 pm
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lawcat said
I'm sorry that you find yourself here - its a diagnosis none of us wanted to hear. Your thought process sounds like mine did - why do a biopsy when the leg would have to be amputated anyway? They will biopsy it once its removed and then you will know for sure. In my case, Clyde was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which is what the vet suspected at the outset.

You'll likely be amazed at how well Izzi will do on three legs. If you have slippery surfaces in your home (wood, carpet) be sure to get some sort of non-slip surface for her - we have a mixture of yoga mats and rugs everywhere. Its important to make sure she is confident on her legs and doesn't slip early on.

Good luck!

Kristin and Clyde  

I had not thought of yoga mats!! That's brilliant. We have all wood floor so I have been worried about that. Thank you so much!

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9 September 2016 - 12:46 pm
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superkylie said
Hello and welcome! Sorry u find yourself here but I'm so glad you did. I haven't been here long but the advice and support has been a God send! 

Similar to your story, our Kylie girl (also 9yrs old) had some leg problems that went on masked as other things for months prior to us getting the diagnosis of cancer. But we finally did and luckily she got in to see an oncologist within 2 days of the X rays and the had the surgery the day after our consult. It's all very quick it seems but please take peace in knowing that you're suing the right thing by choosing the amputation as I truly believe it's the only way to give our fur babies a fighting chance against this nasty disease. Kylie is now 5 days post op and doing amazing!  I can tell she's in such less pain now! Even after major surgery! I also chose to take the week following her surgery off from work and am so glad I did. We also chose to skip the biopsy prior to surgery, we are waiting for results now. 

I will be thinking of your sweet Izzi & following your journey. The people here are amazing please ask things and reach out!

Hugs! Chris & Kylie xo  

Oh my goodness, a lot of similarities there! I am really glad to hear Kylie is doing so well. I believe Izzi will be the same way afterwards.. it's got to be such a relief to not have to drag around a painful limb anymore. Do you know how long before you get your test results back? 

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9 September 2016 - 12:47 pm
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linda8115 said
Welcome!  Kudos for following your gut and not doing a biopsy.  Most come back inconclusive anyway.  Beautiful Izzi just wants that leg to not hurt her and you'll soon be taking care of that.  Terrific you can take that time after amp off.  Sounds like you've got a good plan set so please keep us posted on your beautiful girls journey.  

Thank you so much! I feel very fortunate to have the time off to care for her! 

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9 September 2016 - 12:53 pm
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Hello everyone. Thanks again for all of the wonderful advice and support. It is sooo appreciated.

I have a small update to share. Izzi checked in to the hospital this morning around 7:30. She had chest x-rays and blood work...... And everything looks good! There are no mets in her lungs so they are going to take her into surgery this afternoon. They think it will be around 4 or 5 PM. I'm beyond relieved to find out that it hasn't spread. Now I just have to keep myself busy the rest of the day and try not to worry. She will stay over night in ICU and will come home tomorrow as long as she's feeling up to it. I will try to post an update as soon as I can big-grin

The Rainbow Bridge

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9 September 2016 - 1:58 pm
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Oh that is terrific news! You have the power of the Tripawds Community sending you and Izzi lots of love and well wishes. Keep us posted OK? We hope she can come home tomorrow!

P.S. I  know you have a lot on your mind right now, but just to make it easier to read your story, there's no need to re-quote everyone's responses to your posts. It tends to bog down the server when it has to pull up so much data over and over. It's easier if you copy/paste just a bit of someone's reply and use the giant " on your toolbar. Like this:

I have a small update to share.

Let me know if this doesn't make sense OK? I'm happy to help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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9 September 2016 - 2:01 pm
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Good news on clear xrays!

I'm sending positive thoughts for a successful surgery.  Please update when you can.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Durham, NC
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11 September 2016 - 10:17 am
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Another Izzi! YaY!

I hope Izzi's surgery goes as well as my Izzy did with her front leg amp a year ago. Keep us posted! We're all pulling for you and your baby! heart

Momma to the world's most beautiful American Bulldog, Izzy!! Lost her front leg to OSA 9/18/15. Diagnosed w MCT in June 2016. Celebrated her 1 year ampuversary with knee surgery on 9/18/16! MCT recurrence in Dec 2016. Happy & hungry til nearly 14, earning her wings on 7/31/17.

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