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Feeling guilty about the amputation and chemotherapy :(
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15 January 2017 - 5:39 pm
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Hello everyone. I came across this website a few days ago and was looking through it and reading some of the other stories and it seems like what I need at this point in time.  My story is different because for 8 months out of the year I live in an island where I go to school, so I am only back home for Christmas/Winter break for a month and for Summer break for four months. Two months ago on November 12th 2016, my Thara (8 year old, female Bernese Mountain Dog) started limping, I was going through finals so my parents told me about the limping and took her to a vet we trusted. We thought it might be her hips since she has had hip dysplasia since she was 8 months old and it had never given signs before, so we were feeling pretty good that we got 8 years with no pain or any other symptoms of the dysplasia. Well the vet took a radiograph of her leg because she thought it was a fracture. When she had the image and the report, she told my parents just with that radiograph since she didn't take any blood or do any other tests, that my Thara had cancer and had 3 months to live and there was nothing to do about it but just get used to the idea. My parents did not tell me all of this and so all I knew was that she was still limping and not was not as active as before, which we all thought was due to the dysplasia and to the fact that she is 8 years old. I got out of school and back home almost 4 weeks after that radiograph was taken and I saw my baby and my heart broke. She was so quiet and had no energy, she was in pain, she didn't want to eat, she didn't want to move much. I saw she was not supporting weight at all on her left back, in fact she was jumping around in three legs. When I went to check out her back left, she had a mass the size of a tennis ball, a bit bigger maybe. Well my world fell on me! After gathering my thoughts and being told by my parents that the vet had not given her anything for the pain, I started calling every vet I know (I am a veterinary doctor back home so I know the people I need to call when I need exams). So 2 days after I arrived, my trusted radiologistwent to my parents house and took the radiographs of her leg and chest. Next day a friend went and took the blood, and a sample of the "tennis ball" with a needle, and 2 days after my trusted ultrasound friend, did and ultrasound of my baby's belly. 

When I had all the results in my hand, we came to the conclusion that there was nothing else to be done but amputate and start chemotherapy since the sample of the tumor said that it looked like histiocytic sarcoma (a very nasty cancer since it doesn't respond to anything). I contacted an oncologist that came highly recommended so that we could do everything to keep my baby comfortable. While doing all the tests, we started Thara on pain meds, antiinflammatory meds (to help with pain but also with inflammation), antibiotics and appetite stimulant since she was barely eating. So we assembled the team and she was having her leg taken away a week after I got back home for Christmas vacation. We were not trying to cure the cancer since that sort of cancer wouldn't respond, we were just trying to get rid of the pain so she could have a good life however long she had. After 4 hours, she came out looking good. I went to visit her at the vet clinic that afternoon and she was still very groggy, but my mom, my brother and I, could tell she was feeling better! We got called next morning and told we were taking her home because there was no way of keeping her still (big dog, was in her own room, not a cage) and that she was eating and drinking and just wanted to move around. We got her home on December 21st 2016 and she was back to her old self! A day after amputation, which we all know is painful since it's a surgery, she was running around, eating  with an appetite and barking at dogs that went by our fence. We could barely believe it. How much pain was she in before? My heart hurts every time I think of that, and I am still as angry at my collegue as the first day when I think she did nothing, not even give my baby something for the pain for a whole month! Well we ll looked after her 24/7, we loved on her, took care of her surgery wound, and just made the most of our days with her. The leg that was removed was sent to the laboratory to be analysed, results came back wth osteosarcoma. 10 dasy after her amputation, December 30th 2016, she had her first dose of chemo (doxorubicin). She is the bravest, strongest soul I know. She went through all of it like a champion. Well the next days she was back to being quiet, not wanting to eat and we assumed she was nauseated because of the chemo. 2 days after her first dose she didn't want to drink. I rushed her into her now treating vet and she put IV fluids in Thara, gave her antibiotics and vitamins and 2 hours later she was eating and having more energy. We kept her on antibiotics for 7 days since her amputation wound had almost completely healed but there was one spot that was open and her immune system was kind of wonky after the chemo so it got a little infection. The next day she was back to her usual crazy puppy-ish ways (which made the entire family smile and be happy). After a month we finally had our life-loving, happy Thara back. Friday January 6th 2017 I had to leave to come back to school on the island and I my heart broke, because I don't know if by my Summer break in May my baby will still be there. 

I get reports and pictures from my parents every day. My baby is happier and healthier than she has been in a long time. We have a ways to go since it is cancer and she still has to go through the entire chemotherapy protocol. But she is now back to playing wiht her toys, eating, greeting everyone at the door with a wagging happy Berner tail.

I guess what brought me to write my story tonigh is that I have been feeling incredibly guilty about the amputation and I hate that I have to pump doxorubicin into her. I know what that thing does, I know what it is. I am a vet and I understand and know all the side effects of it. It kills me that I put that thing in her system, but I also know she needs that red thing because the cancer will kill her painfully otherwise. 

Thanks for reading all of it, if yo have some words of wisdowm to share with me, please do.

Here and Now

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15 January 2017 - 5:58 pm
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tara5mom said
...this website...seems like what I need at this point in time.
if yo have some words of wisdowm to share with me, please do.  

Welcome, and best wishes for Thara. Thank you for sharing her story.

Regarding guilt, our best advice is to Be More Dog.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here. Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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15 January 2017 - 6:33 pm
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admin said

tara5mom said
...this website...seems like what I need at this point in time.
if yo have some words of wisdowm to share with me, please do.  

Welcome, and best wishes for Thara. Thank you for sharing her story.

Regarding guilt, our best advice is to Be More Dog.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you're sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here. Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

Please keep us posted, your future forum posts will not require moderation.  

Thank you admin. I will go read what you have recommended

Virginia
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15 January 2017 - 8:57 pm
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Thara sou ds like an amazing resilient pup!! To hear how well she was doing so wuicke after amputation is quite inspiring!! Yes, she felt good because that painful leg was gone, but also because she was in some good drugs too!

There is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING to feel guilty about!! You took that pai ful leg away!! Just ask Thara if you should feel guilty because she doesn't hurt anymore and because she feels great! 🙂

O e thi g for certain, Thara does NOT hzve a time frame stamped anywhere in her butt!! Nowhere! She doesn't care about days on a calendar of statistics! They mean nothing to her! As the Admin Guy mentioned, it's all about BEING MORE DOG. Living in the NOW. In the present with no worries! She's feeling great and that's what it's all about!

Would love to see a picture of her when you can. 🙂

We're here for you, okay?

Hugs!

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

PS...Almost always we see Carboplatin used here for osteosarcoma...anywhere between four, five or six treatments. Just curious why Doxo was the choice?

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!

Germany
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16 January 2017 - 4:13 am
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I know the feeling well, trust me. For the longest time I didn't know if my decision to go through with the amp was the right one or if it hadn't been kinder to let him go. However, we are 13 months post-amp now and the last 7 months have been fantastic. what you did was right. getting different opinions and not letting your dog suffer was right!

we did chemo, too. we had our last x-rays almost 12 months after surgery and they were clean, which I put down to doing chemo. so again, you did the right thing. seriously.

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

Germany
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16 January 2017 - 5:14 am
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oh and we had doxorubicin for chemo as well as carboplatin.

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

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16 January 2017 - 7:04 am
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Hey Thara and Mom 🌹🐶

Yea, being more dawg is the secret to enjoying life with our furry babies and have but happy days, as many as we possibly can.

My girl Eurydice also lost her leg to osteo 8 1/2 months ago and has gone through 6 sessions of carboplatin, a little over one month of metronomic treatment and is now on session 3 of doxorubicin (sadly we found lung mets recently) 

My point of saying this to you is for you not to let yourself feel down, your Thara is certainly enjoying her life to the full right now.

Yes, to pump chemicals into their bodies is not what any of us would want but we are left with no options ... 

Try not to think too much with your vet brain, use your heart instead and concentrate on your girl's happiness. 

She will guide you through this journey.

Sending you lots and lots of love and tummy rubs to Thara 😘😘😘💞🐶

Michigan
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16 January 2017 - 9:15 am
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When Murphy was first diagnosed, he had been limping for about 5 months.  He was initially misdiagnosed - he had x-rays done at a radiology center who said they looked fine, so our vet put him on pain medication & an anti-inflammatory.  As long as he was on these meds, Murphy could walk on his leg, but as soon as he finished, he would lay down, not eat, yelp if we made him go out, it was heart-breaking!  We did this a couple of times thinking that he must have injured it running out the door (we do have 3 dogs & sometimes they're idiots lol).  Our vet couldn't pinpoint the spot, either - there was no swelling anyplace, and Murphy didn't act like any specific spot was bothering him.  It wasn't until we followed-up with the orthopedic specialist and got new x-rays that we saw the tumor.  So I understand well your feelings of guilt.  But you can't undo what was done, you can't go back and change anything, you can just go forward!

And don't go giving Thara a time limit - there isn't one!  When you say that there isn't a "cure" for histiocytic sarcoma, well, sometimes there is!  Murphy's final biopsy came back as histiocytic sarcoma, CD18+.  The lymph node they removed was positive, which means that it had already spread.  So we did 6 doses of CCNU.  Yesterday was Murphy's 11th birthday - and it's almost 4 years since his surgery.  He had chest x-rays done a few months ago and his lungs are still clear.  He can still run the fence, chase a squirrel, dig a hole in the yard, jump on the furniture, bark like a maniac, and live his life.  Prognosis is just a guess - there are plenty of stories here of pets that have lived long lives with & without chemo.  Thara doesn't know about the numbers - she just knows that the stupid, painful leg is gone!  That makes her happy big-grin  She just want time with you & her family, car rides, treats, walks, games, etc.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy is a 10 year old retriever mix. Front leg amputation 4/4/13 from histiocytic sarcoma. His pack includes shepherd mix Cassie, terrier mix Max & 3 cats, Jasmine, Rascal & Daisy.

Donna.png

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16 January 2017 - 5:52 pm
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Thank you everyone for all your kind words, I love reading about your stories. I will start replying to each of you individually, but for now I just wanted to leave you with a picture of my Thara 12 days after her surgery. She is such a happy soul.

15994534_10154585197998591_1565250025000905212_o.jpg?oh=d4b5f1810d19f8871604bb6f67e8ed3c&oe=5918AE18&dl=1Image Enlarger

Virginia
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16 January 2017 - 6:00 pm
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Thara is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Her mug is so smoochable!!

And she looks happy and painfree indeed!!

The only "reply" anyone needs here is to get updates in how well sweet Thara is doing...with pictures of course!! 🙂

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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16 January 2017 - 7:36 pm
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She is a beauty! And looks so happy and lovingly at you. She knows she is special and she can handle this. Let her be your guide.

Are your parents doing most of the work getting her to appointments, etc while you are at school? If so, then you and Thara are truly blessed to have them in your corner.

Hugs to all,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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17 January 2017 - 4:52 am
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She is beautiful.  And I think you answered your own question in your original post when you say that she is happier than she has been in a long time.  That is why we all make these decisions, so our dogs can go on enjoying life and just being dogs for a while longer.

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.

London, UK
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17 January 2017 - 6:02 am
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She's gorgeous and she really does radiate happiness ❤️ 

Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
Los Angeles, CA
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17 January 2017 - 9:11 am
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What a beauty!!! I love her smile. She looks great and happy!!!

Hugs!

alison with spirit shelby in her heart 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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17 January 2017 - 11:18 am
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OMD, Thara is a real stunner heart

I always had a soft spot for Bernese mountain dogs, yes, but nevertheless she is the most beautiful BMD I've seenheart

What a sugar pie heart

Zillion ear scratches for your girl and a big hug to you, you're both doing great big-blink

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