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Early Diagnosis of Osteosarcoma: Amputation without Chemo | Treatment, Recovery and Oncology

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Early Diagnosis of Osteosarcoma: Amputation without Chemo
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7 April 2017 - 6:41 pm
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Hello,
My name is Jen and I have a 9 year old Chocolate Labrador named Jack. He is my best friend and no doubt part of my soul. February 6th 2017 he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. We took him to the specialist for a second opinion and met with the surgical team and radiologist. The vet said "This is not a slam dunk case of osteosarcoma" because his X-ray did not appear to be the classic image. However, they compared X-rays that were 2 weeks apart and they did see some bone changes. With Jacks age, breed, size, presentation of swollen right lower leg, lameness and obvious discomfort, the fact he pain and swelling did not respond to 2 weeks of pain medicine and anti-inflammatory, and the bone changes the radiologist and surgeon felt confident to make the diagnosis. I spent a couple days with Jack and tried to feel what he was telling me. I knew he did not want to give up. He was not ready to say good bye to me. I could not sit around and watch him suffer with the constant pain, so I chose to amputate his leg. His chest X-ray appeared to be clear, blood work was all within normal limits, he has 3 strong legs without arthritis or dysplasia.

A week after we met with the specialist he had his front right leg amputated to the shoulder. The surgeon and techs were all amazed that Jack got up by himself and walked the day of surgery. I picked him up the next day and brought him home to recover. He is now 6 weeks post-op and doing amazing. He is running, playing and just recently swimming! big-blink

sleepyI understand the reality of the disease, however, I can't help but wonder if we caught it early enough could we have prevented mets? If the X-rays of the bone did not yet have the classic "starburst" appearance of the cancer in the marrow, is it possible?
Has anyone else had a similar story?

Germany
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8 April 2017 - 3:50 am
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Hi! Glad to hear Jack is doing so well!!

I was told by pretty much every vet that once the dog actually shows signs of something being wrong it's usually already pretty late. Now I know this sounds really harsh but I personally prefer to be surprised with a positive outcome than the other way around. And yes, we do have dogs here that have been living a LOT longer than any prognosis ever said so YES! There's definitely hope!! My Manni is actually 15 months post amp and so far we're all clear. I think, for me anyway, I learned to enjoy every moment and I actually make more of an effort than before to spend quality time together. I learned to be thankful for every day. And while I don't really expect that we beat this darn thing I know that he and I have been able to enjoy the best times ever!! And who knows, maybe we'll be the ones to beat the odds too. And maybe YOU'll be the ones to beat the odds! 

I don't think there are guarantees for anything and statistics, after all, are just numbers. Try and live in the now, even if that is hard sometimes, and try to ENJOY! 😊And positivity always helps with any disease. 

All the best! And screw stats! 😊

Tina & Manni

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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8 April 2017 - 5:10 am
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Thank You for the encouragement.  I had been doing so well emotionally since he made it through the amputation.  I am making an effort to do everything that Jack would want to do and one of his favorite things was being a therapy dog.  I can't help but worry all the time about him.  Any sneeze, cough, panting etc. I think the worst.  I don't know if it is my mommy gut telling me something is wrong or its my anxious worrying brain convincing myself something is wrong.  Anyways, when would you go back to get a follow up chest x ray?  What signs or symptoms should i look for?

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8 April 2017 - 5:11 am
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Did Manni do chemotherapy as well?

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8 April 2017 - 5:45 am
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Jaaaaackkkkkkk!!! We need pictures of you, you big lug!!! And to be a generous therapy dog to boot!!! And to recover so well! Amazing Jack! 

Good for you for celebrating and making every day A Day For Jack!!! It is never easy nor exactly less worrisome once the news is shared that it is cancer. Two things that I have read and heard on this site have helped me put things in perspective: cancer does what cancer wants to do, and you have to forgive yourself for not being able to cure cancer. Those are the realities of this disease. But, on the very wonderful, pawsitive, and inspiring bright side: each and every being's ( cats and dogs) journey is different and there are many, many, many success stories of loooooooooooong and happy lives after the diagnosis. Manni is a fantastic example of this!!! A year, two years, and even four!!! Not even the best team of vets can accurately predict: they use the best data and their experiences. Guess what?!? THEY ARE NOT JACK'S LOVE OF HIS LIFE! YOU ARE:):):) 

All of which is to say it is normal to worry, to be overwhelmed by the news and the wave upon wave of the information, and the constant monitoring. This is completely normal and everyone here understands and is here to support you and Jack from now on. 

My OSA Angel, Heffalump, went in for chest x-rays every 3-4 months and completed traditional chemo. Most dogs have very, very few side effects but again it depends on the dog. There are many who elect different paths such as no chemo, metronomics, homeopathic therapy, etc. What I do think is valuable is making the best decision for you and Jack and then not feeling guilty about any of it as we can all only do our best based on what we have at the time.

What treatment plan and protocols have your vets recommended? I know others will chime in soon with lots of help! Keep us updated and hang in there!!! You got this Jack! You really do! Huge hugs, best wishes, and PyrPaws all around! 

Germany
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8 April 2017 - 6:06 am
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Jen, yes. Manni did do chemo. And sailed through it. There's actually a thread just now you may want to read : http://tripawds.....ne-cancer/

that isn't to say that I believe beyond doubt that Manni's still with me because of the chemo. Jerry here lived for 2 years without traditional chemo. But would I do it again? Yes, because we didn't run into problems. And because you can always stop treatment. 

You're preaching to the choir here when it comes to worrying 😊 Many people here are a lot better at 'being more dog' than me but I'm getting there. We had our first follow up x-rays 6 months post amp and then 6 months after that. We've now graduated to every 3 months apparently (statistics are against us, getting closer, blahblah....). Yes, I am anxious every time (very) and I expect them to find something every time. I've also been known to take videos of Manni's breathing to show the (unnerved) vets and for comparison for myself, but shhhh, don't tell 😉

Now, the path you chose is the one for you and Jack. No matter which one it is. And he will love you for it. You just have to watch that you don't trip and fall on that path (emotionally) but keep on going for him. It's a bumpy path and I've lost my footing a few times unlike Manni, who just kind of hops ahead 😊

Tina 

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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8 April 2017 - 12:57 pm
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How do you share pictures on here? I am kinda new.

Please help with any advice on how to cope with the diagnosis and potential loss ahead.  I am so worried that he is starting to show signs of lungs mets.  Yesterday and today he has done "snorting"/gagging when excited. 6 weeks ago there was no sign of lungs mets, but I know OSA is very aggressive.  When would you recommend to take him in to be examined?

Germany
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8 April 2017 - 1:17 pm
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Breathe Jen. First and foremost. Like I said: I took videos because I was sure there would be something there. There wasn't. If you can't get any peace of mind: go to the vet that treated him or oncologist or whatever and have them listen to his heart and lung. If they feel the same as you they will take x-rays. You pay for all of that so you get to make the calls! 

Believe me. I understand you. Better than you probably think. And I am only now getting to the point where I think I may be able to take things as they come. But you know, the more positivity you show the more Jack will be positive and happy. 

You know, if it helps, always get in contact w your vets. Call them. It's ok to ask questions and be worried. It comes w their job description 😉

Huge hugs

tina & Manni

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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8 April 2017 - 1:20 pm
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Oh and I am sure loads of people here can tell you about mets and how it's not the end but honestly: let's cross that bridge then. Focus on now and focus on making Jack and you happy. Stay in the now. Take that from the expert worry-ward...😊

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...

Here and Now

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8 April 2017 - 6:51 pm
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labradorjack said
How do you share pictures on here?

Here are detailed instructions for adding photos to forum posts. If you don't already share photos online somewhere, you can start a free Tripawds blog any time and upload them there. Need further help? Post in the Tech Support forum and we'll be happy to help!

Please help with any advice on how to cope with the diagnosis and potential loss ahead.

Our best advice is to Be More Dog. Seriously, it's not just some silly saying. When you have some time, listen to our Be More Dog podcast from a canine cancer conference keynote address we presented to better understand what we mean.

I am so worried that he is starting to show signs of lungs mets...

That is understandable, and you'll find many helpful links about metronomics here in the forums. You can also search all blogs here.

Michigan
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9 April 2017 - 8:19 am
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Murphy had a different kind of bone cancer.  His prognosis was 12-18 months "if we were lucky."  But he also had a positive lymph node removed, so that should have shortened his prognosis.  He had 6 doses of CCNU, an oral chemo.  He just celebrated 4 years since his amputation.

For awhile we were doing chest x-rays to check for mets, but my husband and I decided to stop.  On one hand it drives me crazy not knowing, but on the other hand it's a couple hundred dollars each time and it raises my anxiety level each time.  So we are not doing them on a routine basis.  We did do some last fall - we found that a local vet (we had gotten him a canine flu shot not at our normal vet so that we could go to the PuppyUp walk & meet other Tripawd members) could do the x-rays cheaper than MSU & it wasn't a whole day ordeal.  Those were clear and I almost cried right there in her office!  I just took Murphy back there for his annual exam and she asked me if we wanted to do x-rays and I declined - his breathing seems fine, there's no coughing so I don't think he needs them - after her exam she agreed that his heart  & lungs sounded good. smileySo I guess if something comes up, if he seems short of breath, starts coughing or breathing fast, then maybe we will get some, but for now, no more. 

We all worry, believe me!  lol  We've all needed to be pulled back off the ledge a time or two.  But we're all here to help pull you back when that happens.

Donna

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

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

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12 April 2017 - 7:41 pm
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My heart is broken.  I am so sad to report that my beloved Jack went to heaven today.  My mommy gut was right.  Jack started coughing and peeing blood on Sunday so I took him to the vet.  I mentioned that he was breathing faster and harder so we did a chest X-ray and X-ray of bladder to see if he had a stone causing the bleeding.  I was devastated to find out that he had mets to the lungs, causing his cough, and a large mass on his spleen.  I took a urine sample the next morning and there was someone setting up a new ultrasound machine for the office and offered to take a look at Jacks abdomen for no charge.  Again, I was devastated to find out that he not only had a large mass on his spleen but also a large mass on his liver with some fluid in his abdomen, most likely blood from spleen.  His urine was clear, no bacteria, so we ruled out UTI and figured the blood in urine was from spleen.   Yesterday and last night Jack let me know he was tired and ready to go.  We let him go peacefully at home with me holding him with his head on my chest.  This is the day I have been dreading.  I feel a huge hole in my heart.  I miss him and just want to hold him again.

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12 April 2017 - 8:02 pm
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Oh I'm so, so sorry. Its just not fair that you didn't get more time. But you did everything you could for him and you gave him the very best gift of all, the gift of peace at the end. He know just how much you love him and he's at the Rainbow Bridge waiting, healed and well, for when you get there. My thoughts are with you.

Virginia
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12 April 2017 - 8:41 pm
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OH NOOO JEN!! SHOCKED!! STUNNED! I was just. Ow catching up on your thread and was so glad to hear how well Jack was doing. And then I saw this post.

I'm shaking my head in disbelief and crying with you. Cryi g so hard with you.

I will come back.

But PLEASE know this to be true...PLEASE! YOU DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE FOR JACK!! What happened to Jack is almost unheard of, but we have seen it. This piece of crap disease that we all despise makes it's own rules. It is brutal. It is unforgiving. It hides and it is sneaky. It takes the most innocent of the innocent.

I know you gave Jack at chance at a pain free life. That's what all try and do here. We take the risk that things may not "work out well".' But we TRY because we could not live with ourselves if we didn't try. That is EXACTLY what Jack wanted. He wanted a chance. He wanted to try.

You gave Jack a selfless loving gift today. He wasn't ready almost two months ago, but he let you knkw he was ready today.

There are no words that could ever express how very, very sad I am...we all are...to know Jack needed to leave his earth clothes today. We KNOW that liece of crap disease could NOT touch his Spirit and we know his Spirit irunning free now.

When you can, please share more about your MAGNIFICENT Jack with us. We are family now. We would love to see pictures when you can. If you have trouble posting them, you can email me and I'll be glad to try and post them for you. Just PM me.

Yiur heartbreak is not anything we can take away. We can only tell you we understand like o others can. We can also tell you your love for Jack came through with every single word.....shining through!

Hold onto us. Stay connected. You will be gutted with grief for awhile. The sadness will seem unbearable.

You and Jack clearly had a bond that can never be broken. You shared thousands of happy memories. Jerry always reminds us that the e d of the journey is just a blink of the eye compared to the thousands and thousands of joyous memories you created day in and day out.

Close your eyes and think of a happy memory....maybe it was a memory of something he did that was a little naughty..... maybe it was something that made you laugh out loud. Those are the memories Jack ws ts you to focus on. Jack is watching over you and he is always in your heart. He will send you a sign he is okay and he is with you so pay attention. Let us k ow what it is when he sends it.

Surrounding you with Jack's love, his eternal grace and his wagging tail..

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

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!

Durham, NC
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12 April 2017 - 8:43 pm
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Oh goodness, I'm so very sorry. You have your sweet Jack the best chance you could and he knows it. Hugs to you!

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