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Sandpiper - Front Leg Amputation from Osteosarcoma (TODAY)
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Forum Posts: 18
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13 March 2019
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15 March 2019 - 6:33 pm
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As of today, we are new to the Tripawd Community, Sandpiper – 9 year old Black Labrador

Just two months after saying good-bye to his ‘sister’, Rodanthe – 10  year old Black Labrador, received the news Sand had bone cancer.  I fought Rodanthe’s fight exactly one year ago, this same time of year – Anal Gland cancer lead to finding of Adrenal Gland Tumor that lead to Spleen Tumor (caner).  Started Chemotherapy and had six wonderful months — life threatening surgery, tumors, high blood pressure…we did it!  At the nine month cancer check on December 5th, cancer in the lungs – I said goodbye on December 15, 2018.  She was the love of my life!

Sandpiper (by blood, Rodanthe’s nephew) suffered from elbow dysplasia several years ago and from time-to-time would have episodes of limping and pain but rest and some pain medication returned him to his normal active self.  Playing chuck-it, hard impact, always took its toll; however, months of swimming in their in-ground pool made it all better!

I noticed little to no activity, Sand was limping and early February made the appointment.  It was quick to diagnosis Osteosarcoma.  I have not recovered from the grief of Rodanthe and was faced with new, familiar obstacles once again.  Revisiting our fantastic Oncologist (a man I hoped to never see again), I was able to manage the pain for about a week and a half with medication but I quickly saw I was losing that battle.  On Tuesday of this week, one month after diagnosis, we devised the plan to remove the leg.  

Today we traveled two hours and Sandpiper was admitted to the same surgical hospital and operated on by the same surgeon that saved Rodanthe’s life.  The surgery went well, he remained stable and was off all monitors before I left the hospital.  At last update this evening, he is awake, enjoying his pain medications and was outside to try doing business.  

I’ve read some forums (tried to connect via chat) and while the message and support is optimism and positive, I am scared to death for his return home.  I am alone in his recovery, suffering from grief due to loss and a shock of a second cancer diagnosis in the house in less than a yea.  I have a third Labrador, Maggie who is Rodanthe’s litter mate (came to live with me at age 5). 

While I expect to receive direction and discharge from the hospital – I am looking to those who walked this road…what do I do first, what harness is best for front leg amputation, have others traveled this alone? There is a lot of good information here and I am trying but also very overwhelming and not a lot of time as Sand returns home tomorrow or Sunday.

Thank you in advance – for your help, for being here!

The Rainbow Bridge



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15 March 2019 - 7:50 pm
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Hello and welcome. I’m really glad you decided to post. If we missed you in the Tripawds Chat I’m sorry. You’ll usually find us there in the daytime hours, occasionally in evening.

Dealing with cancer once is hard but twice? Oh my gosh I’m so sorry. For now try to focus on helping Sand get stronger and heal. Your attitude makes all the difference in the ease of of recovery.

While you wait for him to return, do check out the Tripawds Reading List and our e-book Three Legs and a Spare for many tips about recovery and beyond. 

And yes, many of our members are solo pet parents but by no means alone. Now that you are here, consider us family, we totally understand what you are going through.

Keep us posted on how his homecoming goes! I’ll be back to check in on you.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Livermore, CA




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15 March 2019 - 10:09 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry cancer has found your pack again, so sorry for your loss of Rodanthe.

I can relate a bit to your circumstances- not long after losing my heart dog TriPug Maggie to a second cancer her little sis Tani’s mast cell cancer recurred.  I was still exhausted from the battle with Maggie- it’s so hard to gear up again for the fight. I was lucky (if that is possible) that Tani’s cancer was not her worst problem and she lived many years after the recurrence.

As far as a harness many people here use the Ruffwear WebMaster although this site recommends not using the harness until after sutures come out on front amps.  However, I have seen several people here use the harness right away out of necessity, they put a tee shirt on underneath.  Something to discuss with your vet.

Here is a Blog Post about choosing a Harness.

You can use a sling to help your boy get around at first.  If the vet doesn’t give you one you can make your own out of a reusable grocery bag- Here are the instructions.

As far as what to do first… get some rest!  You are stressed and probably already exhausted.  If they can keep Sand until Sunday maybe you should do that just to rest.  The recovery period can be bumpy and stressful- I was certainly second guessing my decision to choose amputation because Maggie didn’t seem to ‘bounce right back’.  There were no medical complications and we managed her pain well, she was just grumpy.  I was tired, stressed and grumpy right back at her.  It’s important for you to be strong and confident for Sand- so come here to vent and with questions.

It sucks that you have to fight again but Sand needs you now.  I know you can do it because you did it for Rodanthe.  We are here to help any way we 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

Virginia




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15 March 2019 - 11:30 pm
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As you can see from the great advice from Jerry and Karen, you have come to the right place for support, information and understanding. 

We are now your “support family” and you will never be alone with us by your side!!   And remember  that we have a helpline staffed by members  who’ve all been through recovery…and survived it!!!  1 844 TRIPAWD.  So we are just a phone call away, or a post away.  We also have a “chat” function  on this site too.

I ditto everything  Karen and Jerry said.  I want to add also  how very, very sorry I am to hear about your beautiful  Rodanthe.  You and Rodanthe  put up one heck of a fight!  You were a strong and determined  advocate for her and went above and beyond what many would do.  Rodanthe knew how much you .loved her.  It’s  apparent to us too.  You and Samdpiper have a very powerful Angel watching  over you both❤

I also was the only hooman (er…somewhat “mature” hooman) caring for my 125 lb Bull Mastiff Happy Hannah.  I was PETRIFIED!!!    SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!!    I had not found this community  until six days after her amputation.   I was EXHAUSTED  mentally,  physically  and emotionally.

This beautiful  community  threw me a life line and I never let go.  I learned what was “normal” in recovery,  what meds were best, what technology I could use to help her recover.  I learned about nonslip scatter rubs fot traction .  

And I agree, if you can have him stay until Sunday that will give you a little time to rest.  Recovery  is no picnic fot a couple of weeks.  This is MAJOR surgery and Sandpiper  will be adjusting  to three legs while recovering  from the surgery itself,   Managing  hirps pain can take some tweaking sometimes.  Most dogs come home with TRAMADOL, GABAPENTIN, RIMADYL AND AN ANTIBIOTIC.   

Sandpiper  needs rest, short, very very, potty breaks and then more resr fot two weeks.  No jumping,  no stairs.  Drinking and peeing are important.  He may not feel like eating  mich st first and may not poop fot a few days.

Qhen yoi gl yo pick him up, don’t  even bother looking at his incision.   Just look into his druggy eyes and tell him what a good boy he is and he’s going home!

BREATHE…….B R E A T H E……AND EAT LOTS OF ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE!!!!

We’re  all on Team Sandpiper and by your side the whole way!!  Yoive got this!!!

((((((((((((((((((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 March 2019 - 6:08 am
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Thank you all – what a gift to wake to such responses!  Thank you for the condolences – Rodanthe and I did have a very special connection and I stopped at nothing, financially, physically or emotionally to provide a consistent and constant best for her.  Last evening, a friend said a similar thing, Sand and I have a strong Angel looking over and protecting us.  Additionally, my dad lost his battle to his seventh cancer in the summer of 2016 – he was my human best friend.

I am on track thus far, did some research and going with the Ruffwear harness , just need to measure when he gets home.  Agreed and confirmed, the Surgeon said AFTER suture removal, until them, slings of a large towel etc.  When the time comes, I will also purchase a life vest to get him started in the pool – while I do not think he will need it as the water and the ball is his passion, I want that to continue and him to have confidence and enjoyment.

Last night’s 1015p update from Sandpiper’s nurse:  he was outside for a second time, this time without assistance but no business success.  He ate wonderfully.  He is enjoying his pain medication.  Yes, it is my understanding Sandpiper will come home with Tramadol and Gabapentin – we used 300mg twice a day for the bone caner pain and have lots on hand.

Funny you mention rest…I do not rest – I do, I solve, I provide; however, I had the same thought last night and this morning.  I was so very exhausted yesterday (immediately upon post op review with the surgeon) I rested all evening after the trip home.  This morning I did the same, I never return to bed after feeding the Labradors but I did.  I work three jobs and typically just keep going but today, opted to rest, be kind to myself and get ready for my boy!  When I shared my fear with a friend last night (someone who knows me), her response:  You will fight to the bitter end to figure it out.  It is who you are.

Today is prep for Sandpiper’s return, cleaning our first floor, removing ‘his’ sofa and purchasing area rugs to cover the tile and wood floors.  I will do my best to read the suggested reading – I know it’s there, I am just not a fan of reading….

My most sincere thank you again, I already feel lifted and no longer alone.

Billie Jo

Virginia




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16 March 2019 - 9:47 am
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Thank you for aking the time to update and to let us know you ARE getting some rest!  It makes all the difference  in the world!!   Along with ice cream and chocolate  of course!😉😉

YAAAAAAAAAAY  FOR SANDPIPER ALREADY MOBILE AND EATING!!!   He’s doing really, really well!!

Sounds like the pain meds will be adequate.  One less thing to worry about.  Just keep things chunked down, one step at a time.  As your friend said, “you’ll figure it out…it’s  who you are”.

This journey with Sandpiper is chock full of life lessons  for you, as the tripawd joirney has been fotr sll of us.    We all learned to really live in the moment, in the now, just like our dogs.  We call this Be More Dog !  No worries about the tomorrows, no time clock, no counting days on a calendar,  just being in the moment  and making each moment count.

And now we know Sandpiper has two Warrior Gua4dian Angels watching  over him, and you❤❤   Your Dad and Rodanthe  make quite a powerful force for you!

Hugs

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

PS. Continue  to rest your body and your Spirit.  As you can see, and as we can “hear” in your post, it’s  a wonderful  way to nurture your Soul.

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!

Here and Now


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16 March 2019 - 11:41 am
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rbrlabradors said
…going with the Ruffwear harness , just need to measure when he gets home…

Remember, it is the girth measurement, not weight, breed or height that determines the correct size. Don’t miss this recent Gear blog post:

How to Measure for a Tripawd Harness

The Web Master Plus Brush Guard is also the most popular all purpose support harness recommended for most Tripawds.

Forum Posts: 18
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16 March 2019 - 8:24 pm
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Sandpiper did not come home today.  This mornings update was positive – he went outside last night without help and doing very well.  The doctor knows my distance from the hospital and given that, preferred to keep him one more day  just to make sure all continues to go well for my boy.  Today’s plan was to discontinue IV medications and move to oral meds and monitor / manage accordingly.  

I had a fantastic, fifteen minute phone call a little later in the morning with his nurse – we talked about the setup Sand has at the hospital and I spent the day shopping and then duplicating that setup at home.  Sandpiper now has a 4′ x 5′ pen in our living room with slip proof mats and a comforter.  I also have runner rugs with anti-slip covering our path from the living room to the door for outside time.

This evening’s update was also positive, Sandpiper was eagerly awaiting his meal.  He has successfully done both businesses without issue and is tolerating the oral medications very nicely.  His nurse did mention that he was reluctant to move nor move as well this afternoon but she believes that’s because she tried to do so not long after giving him is Trazodone (I think that is the name).  She said he continues to progress in the right direction.

Now to tackle my Monday and returning to work issue.  I might have mentioned, all the doctors were quick to get the surgery scheduled to resolve his pain but there wasn’t much opportunity for setting expectations for the recovery.  I was not and am not prepared to be off work this coming week nor do I have anyone to check on him.

Thank you for easing the loneliness!

Billie Jo

PS  Jerry – yes, I read it and re-read it.  I also read reviews and suggestions to order the brush guard down size for a better fit.  I just need my boy home to take that measurement and be ready when he is ready.

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 March 2019 - 12:56 pm
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I’m glad your vet was honest in explaining that Sand would be better off staying one more night. Disappointing I’m sure but for the best as he heals. When he is home alone all day, he will probably sleep. Most dogs do. But if you have any kind of service in your area like Rover.com, having someone do a quick check in would put your mind at ease. Or is there any chance he can stay at the vet clinic for a few more nights? 

You’re doing a pretty good job as it is getting your home ready. You can handle this week!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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17 March 2019 - 1:41 pm
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I am a few days ahead of you in the recovery process. My DJ had a rear leaf amputation done on Tuesday. We can compare notes if you want. I have her in the corner of my living room with an x pen making  up an area about 3 feet across by maybe 6 feet long. 

Virginia




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17 March 2019 - 8:13 pm
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YAY FOR EATING AND PEEING AND POOPING!!!poopicon_pngpoopicon_pngpoopicon_png

Yeah, the Trazedone can keep them sort of sedated. That could explain why Sandpiper  didn’t  feel  like engaging  too ,much  in another potty break. 

Rough spot to be in as far as not being able to be home for the first several days and/or mot being  able to have him checked in on.  Sounds like you are able to keep him confined and able to keep the other dogs in a separate  area.  The main thing is to make sure he is “coned” and unable to get ro rhe stitches.  The Vet may. or may not, have a compression  bandage wrapped around the incision area.   Some Vets do, some don’t.   

Really glad to hear how well Sandpiper  is doing.  And love the name…..you’ll have to share how that came about!

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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18 March 2019 - 2:59 pm
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Sandpiper came home yesterday – what a day!

A different nurse shared the story that she never saw a dog pop up and walk (sort of drug her) from the surgery recovery crate to his recovery area!!  The Trazodone kept him from being over excited to see me but his eyes and tail told another story.  The long trip home was fine as he slept on my lap. 

Honestly, my only two challenges – Sand is losing control of his bowel movements.  He is making soft squirt and dropping messes and not really even realizing he is doing it.  And, despite what the nursing staff reported for his mobility – I am having trouble getting him to move to come back in the house after potty break.

I called last night and they said give the accidents another 24 hours, they ‘believe’ it be because he is learning to go on three legs and not emptying completely.  So, in a 12 hour span, Sand had 4 solid, large movements.  We are still experiencing some ‘leakage’ but not as much.

Today he snuck in some of his normal personality stuff – it was great to see!  

My question – is he to have activity during the day to avoid stiffness and weakness or is this truly a time of nothing but rest?  I have him setup for nothing but rest and that appears to be what he wants.  He is not fighting to be confined or wear his cone…just rest!!

Oh…thank you for the compliment on the name!  He was named after the bird you find on the beach.  The Boxer I had many years ago LOVED to chase those birds and he was named in her memory.  

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18 March 2019 - 3:01 pm
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A friend checked on him today – he went out for her and got a good drink.  

My boss is allowing me to work shorter days at the office; I will bring work home.  I am also setting up the webcam to keep an eye on him – if I see something going wrong, I can get home!

He does rest very peacefully – 

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18 March 2019 - 3:03 pm
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gracek said
I am a few days ahead of you in the recovery process. My DJ had a rear leaf amputation done on Tuesday. We can compare notes if you want. I have her in the corner of my living room with an x pen making  up an area about 3 feet across by maybe 6 feet long. 

  

I would like that – being new, do we just keep doing that here or start a new thread?!

Livermore, CA




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18 March 2019 - 4:22 pm
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Glad to hear he is home.

Our surgeon told us that Maggie was only allowed short, leashed, potty breaks for the first two weeks post amputation.  Rest really is the best thing for him right now.  

It wouldn’t surprise me if the loose stools and him being seemingly unaware is due to the trazodone.  Many pups at this point are constipated due to the pain meds- so actually he is doing great in that … department.

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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