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Amputation scheduled, second guessing
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4 April 2018 - 10:13 am
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So our 9.5 year old English Mastiff was diagnosed with bone cancer last week. It's in her front leg. Our vet said it might be best to comfort her for the rest of the time we had with her. I started researching radiation therapy to help reduce her pain. Decided to visit an oncologist to inquire about the treatment. After blood work and xrays, the oncologist said she is a good candidate for amputation and chemo. It took a day to decide and have the surgery scheduled for tomorrow. I don't know why I'm questioning it so much today. She doesn't put a lot of weight on it, so I'm thinking she's in pain no matter what we decide. At least with the amputation, the pain will subside. I just can't see sitting around and watching the cancer take her over and do nothing about it. I also do not want to go through amputation and chemo and cause her more pain. Any comments or help would be appreciated. Thank you for reading.

The Rainbow Bridge

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4 April 2018 - 10:37 am
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Hi roxycorbin, welcome. I'm in the Tripawds Chat room for a bit if you want to talk.

Kudos to you for getting a second opinion from a specialist! Good job! Too many old school vets automatically dismiss large breed dogs as candidates for surgery. But we have talked to some of the best vet surgeons in the world who have told us again and again that size alone should not be an issue in deciding on amputation. Sounds like your girl is in great shape! What's her name?

You're not alone, everyone who has had to make that heartbreaking decision has questioned it before, during and even after surgery. But as your dog's light comes back and she gets into a new normal, odds are good that you will be amazed at her resiliency and glad you decided to move forward with the amputation. Most animals do much better than we ever think they will.

No, recovery isn't all rosy and sometimes there are challenges that make us wonder if we did the right thing. For example, it's not unusual for giant breed dogs to take a bit longer to recover. But overall, they bounce back on their own schedule and do well. Just don't compare her recovery to others, remember she is her own dog.

Have you seen Jerry's Required Reading List or the Tripawds e-books yet? Be sure to check them out, they will answer many questions and calm your nerves as you wait for the big day. Keep us posted and let us know if you have any questions at all OK? During her recovery you can feel free to post in "Size and Age Matters" as this is where many people come to look for stories of giant breed amputee dogs and cats. 

We will be thinking of you!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 April 2018 - 11:02 am
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Thanks for the reply Jerry. Her name is Roxy. It's true what you said, our vet is old school. He looked at her results from the oncologist though and said she's a good candidate for amputation, but was worried about her quality of life. I was upset with myself that at first I was just going to sit around and let it be. I'm so glad I went for a second opinion. I didn't think treatment was even an option before the visit. How could I sit around and watch the cancer take her over when she's otherwise healthy. Your reply definitely reassured me that our plan is the best course of action. I know the amputation recovery will be challenging, but it has to be done. I haven't even thought about the chemo part, but one step at a time. I will check out the readings and e-books. I will also update our journey that begins tomorrow. Thanks again.

Virginia
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4 April 2018 - 2:04 pm
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Hello to Roxy...sweet smoochable Roxy!!  .Mastiff mugs are just so darn smoochable! 🙂

Sorry you find yourself here.  As you can see though from the wonderful insight from Jerry, you are in the right plzce!  We understand the emotions of this crazy nourney like nomothers can.  We also understand the depth of your love for Roxy and your willingness to do whatever it takes to give her extended quality and pain free life! 

When my Happy Hannah, a "fluffy" Bull Mastiff, was first diagnosed and my Vet "mentioned" the word amputation, I said absolutely not!  He ki da' nonchalantly suggested I speak with an Orthopedic Surgeon and see what. they said. As her pain got worse, znd after speaking with the Surgeon, I set up the surgery appointment...only to cancel it oit of fear!!   Needless to say, I had not heart of this incredible site.

Long story short...rescheduled it...she was walking withi 24 hrs....recovery was rough for a couple of weeks......And then her sparkle came back-!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂  We had a glorious extended bonus time of over a year!!  

The important thi g is to live in the NOW!   Stay in the present and don't waste one second worrying about tomorrow!  Roxy doesn't have a timeframe stamped on her butt and she could care less about days on a calendar!!   Be More Dog !!

She'll spend at least one night at the clinic, maybe more.  She'll probably come home with Tramadol, Gabapentin, Rimadyl and an antibiotic.   Managing the pain is important,  ut it can make them a bit whacky too.  Drinking and peeing are important, but she may not be hungry for a few days and may not   poopicon_png for a few days.

STAY CONNECTED!!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  EAT LOTS OF CHOCOLATE!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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4 April 2018 - 2:36 pm
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My wife and I waffled all the way to the surgicenter before taking Casey's left arm off, but once we did it, we haven't looked back (much).  A couple things . . . Casey had only a slight limp before diagnosis, and maybe it was just knowing there was a problem, but that limp got a LOT worse within a week, even with pain meds.  In the days leading up to the surgery, Casey would hold his sore leg up to us, showing us what hurt, hoping we could help.  Well, doggone it, we could and we did.  Finally, in the week or so right before his surgery, Casey started shedding phenomenally.  Not clumps, but lots of individual hairs.  That stress shedding stopped within 48 hours of his surgery.

Now Casey's not a Mastiff, but he was a 65 pound (now 55 pound) Golden.

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4 April 2018 - 3:57 pm
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Roxy is experiencing the same thing Casey did with the limp getting worse in less than a week. Last week is was a small limp, today she hardly puts any weight on it. She sits on the couch now and gives me her leg while staring out the window. It's almost like she's saying take it, I won't look. I know it hurts her, and it has to be done. Thank you for your reply.

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4 April 2018 - 4:21 pm
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Thank you for the reply benny55. I keep reminding myself to focus on the current moment when I'm with her and not to worry about what the future holds. A lot of good information in your post. Thanks again.

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5 April 2018 - 8:09 am
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A little update. I dropped Roxy off this morning. I didn't make it out of the parking lot before I wanted to go get her. The whole ride home thinking I just put her through so much, and why, because I'm being selfish. It was so easy dropping her off, but now I feel like I screwed up. I know this is not easy, but God I hope I made the right choice. 

Green Bay, WI
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5 April 2018 - 8:21 am
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Hi, welcome to the family....it is totally normal to second-guess the amp decision - you are not alone in that. And don't be surprised if, in the coming days and weeks, you start second-guessing yourself again. I know I did with our Dobe, Nitro. He had a front amp due to osteosarcoma at age 8 1/2; not nearly as big as your girl, but a big, deep-chested dog nonetheless. Recovery was rough for us the first  couple of weeks - I remember more than once saying to myself "what have I done?" He went on to live over 3 years after that, and did amazingly well; old age took him from us in the end, and we never regretted the decision to amputate. The important thing is to stay calm and positive, especially in front of her - she will feed off your emotions. When i needed to cry, I went outside away from him, until i was composed. 

The chatroom is a good place for support and info, and we have a helpline to call as well. Good luck, sending you good vibes.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Virginia
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5 April 2018 - 8:29 am
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And your mantra flr the day:   Im doing this FOR Roxy and  not TO her!"

A d again:  "I'm doing this FOR Roxy and not TO her!"

Extta hugsheart

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.  Consume lots of junk food!  It helps calm the nerves!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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5 April 2018 - 8:45 am
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It is such a hard decision but from all the posts I've read here, people are petty much always glad they did it. Things will probably be rough for a while and you will wonder again if you did the right thing. Keep posting and remember, the oncologist thought this was a good idea for a reason. Lots of folks here have been through the same thing and will give you all kinds of support. Hang in there.

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7 April 2018 - 8:28 am
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Hi Roxy and family heart

Even if you have your doubts now (we all have our moments ...) you will soon realise it was the BEST decision for Roxy.

Regardless of the notional progression of cancer (and we have a lot of success stories here!) what you are doing with amputation is removing 100% of her pain.

And let's never forget bone cancer is excruciatingly painful.

As for your baby's size, fear not, she may take a little longer to recover than smaller breeds but recovery doesn't last forever.

Besides, as you've seen, we're all here rooting for you and happy to advise any time.

My girl Eurydice was a very large Great Dane (77kg pre amp) but that did not stop her mastering the art of living on three and enjoying every single minute of every single day.

And so will your baby Roxy.

Sending you a huge hug and cuddles to your girl heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Schofield, WI
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7 April 2018 - 8:41 am
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Any update on Roxy?  Been thinking about you both...❤️  Just so you know I was the one pushing for the amp and I was so strong up until we left Max there for surgery......got back to the car and completely broke down.  Believe me we understand your feelings.  I finally chunked it all down in my mind knowing if I did nothing we'd be loosing our boy in a matter of weeks until the pain was too bad....by amputating I was giving him the only chance to go on.  So then I was able to wrap my head around it.  Hugs!

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21 April 2018 - 8:02 am
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So I'm very sorry for the delay in updating Roxy's progress. It's been a very busy few weeks. We picked her up two days after surgery. She was able to walk into the room we were waiting in, after multiple breaks. The one thing I feared was she would be a different dog for a couple weeks, but she wasn't. The first day she was a little out of it, but by day two she was wagging her tail and loving her treats. It took a lot of blanket cleaning due to her wetting herself. This took a few days, but she started going outside regularly. We used a harness that supports her neck and back end to help her get up and walk. She was able to get up and walk short distances that second day, but it was still a struggle. All she wants to do is go to the bathroom and go right back to her bed in the living room. The first week though it was like having the old Roxy back minus the leg. This past week though we started to notice leaking of some fluid from the bottom of the incision. The top healed perfectly, but the bottom started to open up. Wednesday of this week it started leaking a large amount of fluid. We brought her back, and it turns out the fluid was sitting at the bottom and there was an infection. Two nights and a complete re-stiching, she was back home with a drain for the fluid. It was definitely a set back since we had chemo scheduled for Friday. The good thing I learned from the oncologist is that dogs with infections on their amputation site outlive those who do not. That's really the only positive to come out of this last visit. It was a lot more money, and the biggest thing was the delay of the chemo. Of course leaving her again and seeing the pain she was in that night was once again filled with a lot of crying. It hasn't been easy, but when she's looking at you and wagging her tail, you know you made the right decision. She also isn't in pain like she was the days before amputation. The leg severely hurt her. She doesn't have the freedom she once had, but she's a Mastiff all she wants to do is lay in the grass sniff the air and then come inside and sit on you. I want you all to know I really appreciate all those who commented and helped put my mind at ease. I don't think you realize the help you give someone by posting a supportive message. It helped me get through a very tough time. I look at the amputation as the biggest hill to climb, and the rest is all downhill afterwards. I will continue to post updates on Roxy's success. Hopefully I can also find some time to contribute for those who need a supportive message in a very difficult time.

Green Bay, WI
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21 April 2018 - 8:28 am
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It was good to hear from you...sorry for the tough time you're all going through. You noted that the amp was the biggest hill to climb, with the rest all downhill - I don't want to scare you, but the whole journey seems to be a rollercoaster ride, with many, many ups and downs. Although you are right, the amp is the biggest thing to wrap your head around, and the rest sort of pales by comparison. Don't be too upset with the delay in chemo. We didn't start chemo until 5 weeks post amp. It took that long to get a diagnosis of osteosarcoma. I remember being so stressed about the time delay too; but it all worked out, Nitro rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years after his surgery. Good luck as you move forward, keep us posted.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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