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Scout’s Success Story: Hemipelvectomy for Soft Tissue Sarcoma
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Forum Posts: 4
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6 July 2016 - 3:04 pm
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Last year, Scout—our 11-year-old Golden Retriever mix—had an amputation. This wasn’t a regular amputation but a hemipelvectomy – her left rear leg and half of her pelvis were amputated due to a soft tissue sarcoma. Without the surgery, she would’ve had a couple months to live. Now, one year later. Scout is our mighty 12-year-old tripawd cancer survivor. As I type this, she lays at my side after playing in the yard with her dog siblings. She’s doing wonderfully.

Due to the costs and involvement of a hemipelvectomy, few people pursue them for dogs, so it’s hard to do research to make an educated decision. A hemipelvectomy has a longer recovery time and steeper cost than most amputations. But I know that this surgery is why Scout’s still here and why she’s doing so well, and I’m so grateful that we pursued it. Here are a few things I’ve learned that I wished I had known a year ago:

What was harder than expected: Seeing Scout after surgery was heartbreaking. There were bandages and tubes were a leg once was. When we brought her home a couple days later, the recovery was tricky; she dealt with complications that had us to the emergency vet frequently. Those first couple weeks were really, really hard. We navigated a situation that few people have been through, with a dog who couldn’t tell us how to help her, and we were afraid that we had put her through too much. 

Why I’m glad we did it: While those first couple weeks were hard, the recovery that followed was full of some of our favorite memories. It wasn’t much longer before we had our first walk with her, with her wagging away and me behind her (trying to keep up with her!!!), equally laughing and crying with overwhelming gratitude and joy. A couple months later, she was the picture of glee on her first mini-hike. Those were the moments that got us through it.

One year later, Scout’s happy, vibrant, and cancer-free. She still loves her neighborhood walks and romps through the woods. Her walks are shorter now, but they come with a victorious hop in each step. She’s proof that a dog can kick cancer’s ass with three legs.

What helped us:

  • Rugs! Hardwood and tile floors are tricky for tripawds. We have rugs everywhere now, giving her a path that offers sure footing. This helped her confidence and mobility immensely.
  • A ramp: My husband constructed a ramp that allows her to bypass the steps outside on our deck. While many tripawds handle stairs well, Scout can have a hard time with wood steps. The ramp gave her the ability to run outside like the old days. Putting roof shingles on the ramp makes it weather proof and gives her solid grip.
  • Toe-Grips: Such a simple invention, such a brilliant idea. These toe grips slip onto her nails, giving her greater traction .
  • This site: Tripawds.com was a great source of information and comfort to us as we made our decision and worked through recovery. I’m very grateful for the community here! If I can answer anyone’s questions or hear their concerns, I’m happy to help.
  • Patience and Kindness: If you pursue the amputation, be as kind to yourself as you are to your dog. The path will be tricky, and you won’t always feel like you’re doing the right thing. Ask questions when you have questions, cry when you need to cry, and celebrate the heck out of each victory, no matter how small.

No one wants to see their dog with just three legs; but life on three legs isn’t suffering. Life is different, sure. But our lives now are filled with just as much happiness than before and even more gratitude—for each day, each walk, and each wag.

Scout, three months after her surgeryImage Enlarger


Scout, three months after her surgery. Look closely enough and you’ll see her fabulous Tripawd dog tag.

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Scout, five months after her surgery

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 July 2016 - 8:07 pm
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Ooooohhhh! clapWe’re honored and so hoppy for your pack and Scout, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking time to share your story here!

Yes, hemipelvectomies are daunting. The first time we ever heard of the procedure was when a beautiful dog named Luna lost her leg to the same procedure. There aren’t many who have been through it and we are grateful that you shared the ups and downs of Scout’s recovery here, thank you so very much. It is wonderful to know she is doing so well!

I’m curious, what kind of complications did you experience? With every new story shared we learn so much!

Thank you for being here. In our busy world, it’s a beautiful act of generosity and kindness to take time to help others in this way. You and Scout are warriors through and through!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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6 July 2016 - 8:07 pm
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Oh and would you mind if we shared Scout’s photos in our gallery?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Minneapolis, MN
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6 July 2016 - 8:27 pm
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Love this post and love your beautiful girl, Scout.

If you don’t mind my asking, where exactly was Scout’s STS located?  Is location partly the reason for the hemipelvectomy?  Curious because my boy’s cancer is also an STS  – peripheral nerve sheath tumor located in the brachial plexus, so front leg amputation, no plevis.  Was Scout’s STS the same type as Pofi’s or a different STS.  

So happy you shard and happy for you that she is flourishing!

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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6 July 2016 - 8:47 pm
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Hester, I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with an STS as well. So stressful. But Pofi looks like a fighter!

Scout’s was also a peripheral nerve sheath tumor that became quite large and wrapped around the muscle in her leg, but it also went rather high as well, bumping against her pelvis. You’re right — location necessitated the hemipelvectomy, which was the only way to ensure clean margins during the surgery. (If not, we would have had options to pursue chemo afterwards as well to help attack any remaining cancer cells.)

How is Pofi? How are you?

Pofi looks like such a sweet boy. Give him an ear rub from me.

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6 July 2016 - 9:02 pm
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Jerry, thank you for your kind reply. I can’t tell you how much this site and the people here helped us during this process. Please use Scout’s photos in your gallery if you’d like.

Scout’s complications dealt with her suture site. The tissue around the sutures began to die. Everything underneath was healing great, but the tissue up top wasn’t doing well, so some of the sutures wouldn’t hold. We had lots of back and forth visits to the vet to figure this out, with some trial and error. An infection resulted as well. It was extremely hard — it’s a heartbreaking thing to see. But we had a wonderful surgeon and oncologist who were there for us and found a solution. And the recovery did come, even if a bit later than hoped for. But throughout everything, I really do believe that dogs know we’re trying to help them, even through those moments of chaos and uncertainty.

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7 July 2016 - 3:37 am
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What a great post, both for Scout and for folks who have to make a similar decision in the future.  Beautiful pictures, and congrats on Scout’s one year ampuversary!

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 July 2016 - 6:43 am
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Beautifully expressed story. Scout is a stunning girl heart So happy for her and you and your family. Congratulations and hoppy anniversary laughing

Zuki Wuggafer 30/09/06 - 11/11/16. Right hind tripawd due to Osteosarcoma. He had a strong 5 and half months as a tripawd but unfortunately a secondary issue with his spine ended our battle. He loved life, loved our family and was the best dog I could ever ask for. Truly my first love, forever in my thoughts and heart.

Read our story: http://zuki.tripawds.com/

Minneapolis, MN
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7 July 2016 - 7:06 am
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Thank you, Jen.  Pofi is a fighter.  Unfortunately the STS he had was very hard to diagnose as it is so hidden.  When we finally did have diagnosis, we rushed to MRI and surgery, but the tumor was very large and not well encapsulated, so we had some poor margins despite an extensive surgery removing part of a rib and a “destroyed” lymph node as well as the leg and a log of muscle and nerve tissue.  It was graded 3 of 3.  You’ll know this cancer is usually considered locally aggressive, but not likely to metastasize.  We have ruled out metastasis to nearby lymph nodes at the moment, but lung metastasis is a worry.

And today, I am worried a lot.  He did brilliantly immediately post surgery and for the first two months, but his stamina seems taxed in the last week to ten days.  

We are currently following a Metronomic chemo protocol with Cytoxan and Palladia alternating.  Glad you posted and glad Scout’s outcome was so good!

heart

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

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7 July 2016 - 8:47 am
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Jen said
Scout’s complications dealt with her suture site. The tissue around the sutures began to die.

Wow. I can’t imagine how hard that was on all of you. I would have been a mess. Thank dog you had great vets on your side! be sure to hop over to Oliver’s topic if you get a chance, he and his people are going through similarly extremely frustrating ups and downs right now.

We’d love to put Scout in the gallery, thank you!

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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7 July 2016 - 3:45 pm
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Wow, Hester — Pofi’s not the only fighter in your family! You’re doing so much to help him! My grandfather taught me that dog people are the best kind of people, and you’re proof of that. I hope he begins to feel better soon and get his stamina back.

Michigan
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7 July 2016 - 8:12 pm
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Jen ~ I remember when Scout had her surgery, but wow, I guess I didn’t realize that it had been a year!  Hoppy Ampuversary Scout!!clapclap  I remember thinking, half of her pelvis?  how can they do that?  And I’ve wondered how she was doing.  I’m so happy to see that she’s doing well! 

heartDonna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

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  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs

Donna.png

Schofield, WI
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8 July 2016 - 5:10 pm
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 Congratulations beautiful Scout on one year!  You are one beautiful & stunning girl!  Not to mention what a Warrior you are!   Thank you for sharing your full story here as I’m sure it will help countless people navigating this journey!  Now go celebrate that beautiful girl with steak for all!

Linda, Riley & Spirits Mighty Max & Ollie



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9 July 2016 - 8:42 am
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Happy ampuversary Scout clap clapping to many more to come clapheart

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 :-) 

Virginia




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10 July 2016 - 4:44 pm
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Oh Jen! My heart is so full of love and appreciation and admiration for you and your amazing Scout!heart

Taking time to share Scout’s continuing “Victory Tour” is invaluable! You will help others more than you will ever know!

Talk about a dog making a difference…living a life of purpose…touching loves…yep, that’s Scout!!heart

You have done an exquisite job of detailing the agony of recovery and the unbridled joy of seeing Scout live life to the fullest and giving you happy and loving memories to carry in your heart for an eternityclap

HAPPY ONE YEAR WOW AMPUVERSARY!!!clap

Steak and ice cream!

Lots of love!

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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