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Recovery: Surgery day through Day 5 Milestones
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9 December 2015 - 8:22 pm
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Hello,  Bacon is an 11 year and 7 month old, male, Golden Retriever who became a member of the tripawds community on December 4, 2015 when he underwent a left front leg amputation.  I am submitting what we have experienced the last few days as I have found it so helpful to read when others have done the same.  I will post updates as the days pass.

Milestones

Surgery day: Friday December 4, 2015 out of surgery at 2:05 PM.  Kurt (Bacon’s guardian angel/attending during his stay at MSU) told us he would not get up.  Later in the day, Kurt reported he would lay with his head up and ate ¾ a jar of baby food.  Has not gotten up/out to pee yet. 

Day 1:  Saturday December 5, 2015 we were hopeful Bacon would come home today.  Kurt at MSU told us he would still not get up. They cathd him so he can pee. He ate a little bit of baby food today, drank some water when coaxed, and changed positions without getting up. We are very scared tonight and wondering if we have done the right thing.  Last call from MSU was 6 pm tonight.  It was recommended even if he is not ready to come home we come tomorrow morning for moral support for Bacon. 

Day 2:  Sunday December 6, 2015 Arrived at MSU at 9am.  We were very scared and not sure how Bacon would be.  Kurt met us smiling and said at 11pm last night Bacon got up for the first and went outside to pee.  He told us Bacon acted excited to be up and pulled on the harness as he moved forward.  We were anxious and scared to see Bacon.  So much of what we had seen on the internet showed scary wounds etc.  We could hear Bacon walking around the corner.  He looked so happy to see us.  He looks like himself just with some of his hair shaved.  He has a bandage stuck to the incision site.  Nothing about him looks scary.  He ate nearly a cup of boiled hamburger and rice we brought with us so his appetite is intact.  He drank water before we left MSU.  Ride home was uneventful.  Jason sat in the back with him.  Bacon independently stood when we pulled in the drive.  He needs us to pull forward on his harness to get him to move.  His gait very is slow.  His balance is off but he has not fallen. He can stand long enough to go outside to pee but wants to lie down quickly after we get back in the house.  Around 8 pm Bacon got up independently and walked a few feet to lie in the hallway.  He also got up on his own during the night and walked from the side of the bed to the bottom of the bed.       

Day 3:  Monday December 7, 2015 Bacon got up and walked to his food bowl independently for his morning meal.  We did not coax him.  I placed his food bowl in the holder and called him to eat.  From there we just waited and watched.  He managed well.  His balance is still off and he is still very slow but he appears more stable and a little faster compared to yesterday.  For lunch he required more verbal coaxing but got up and walked to his food bowl independently.  We stopped feeding him the boiled hamburger today and only fed his regular kibble due to his being gassy today.  We noticed he had liquidy BM on his bottom fur.  He has not had a BM since Friday morning.  We carefully washed his bottom fur off with warm water and a rag and took him outside.  He has independently peed each time we take him outside but he has not had a BM yet.  We do need to hold his harness handle for balance only when he is on the grass. He is very tired today.  We are wondering if this will improve once he stops taking the gabapentin (last does of that is this Friday).  Bacon got up to move and lost his balance but caught himself before he fell.  Around 6:20pm Bacon got up independently and walked to his bed. It is quite fluffy and required some navigation.  He was able to get on his bed by himself!  Around 6:45pm he came to his food bowl without even being called this time.  He had difficulty positioning himself in front of the bowl.  He was eating in front of his food bowl, lost his balance but recovered without falling. 

Day 4:  Tuesday December 8, 2015 Bacon continues to independently walk to his food bowl which was moved back to its usual spot in the kitchen.  He independently seeks out his water bowl now instead of only drinking when we bring him his bowl.  He sat upright today which is awesome as he had only been standing or lying flat. He went to his favorite chair and looked like he wanted to jump up into it.  This made me so happy to see a glimmer of his old self.  I redirected him to his bed though as he still has his sutures in.  He showed a lot of interest in a visitor pushing his head into her side to be petted.  He appears more aware/interested as he seeks us out now if we leave the room he is in to go to another.  He navigated uneven terrain to sit on the same blanket and cushion as Jason today.  He also sought out more attention from us today to be petted etc.  CHECK YOUR FURKIDS HARNESS BY RUNNING YOUR FINGERS AROUND ALL OF IT.  WE FOUND A HARD/POINTY AREA ON THE INSIDE SEAM WHERE THEY SEAM THE END OF THE WEBBING OF BACON’S HARNESS.  WE TOOK IT OFF, FILED DOWN THE SHARP POINTS WITH A NAIL FILE, AND TURNED ALL OF THE SEAMED SIDES OF THE PADDING SO THE SEAMS FACED AWAY FROM BACON’S BODY. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY MANUFACTURERS DO NOT DO THESE THINGS TOBEGIN WITH BECAUSE I HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE SAMS ISSUES WITH ALLHARNESS WE HAVE HAD FOR HIM SINCE HE WAS APUPPY.   I ALSO PLAN ON SEWING A FLEECE PATCH OVER THE D-RING AREA IN THE FRONT BY HIS CHEST AS IT GRABS HIS HAIR.  THE LAST THING OUR BABIES NEED IS TO BE ANYMORE UNCOMFORTABLE. 

Day 5: Wednesday December 9, 2015 Bacon had his first BM since Friday December 4, 2015 at 7am.  This was a majorly happy event for us.  He is interested in coming into the kitchen to sit by the table when we eat.  He is not shaking today when he stands still and appears to have improved balance when standing.  He appears more alert as he will bark and stand at attention when he hears something outside.   He pulled on his harness to move faster to see me when I got home today.  We removed his bandage todayWe are feeling more hopeful today.   Still no diagnosis.  Keeping fingers crossed he will not require chemo. 

Warmly,

Rebecca, Jason, Bacon, and Hamlet

  

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9 December 2015 - 9:21 pm
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Hi all ~

Murphy had his surgery at MSU also smiley  He’s a retriever-mix and had his right front leg removed 2 1/2 years ago.  It took almost 3 weeks to get a final diagnosis for us, but it was histiocytic sarcoma.  It sounds like Bacon is doing great!  The first couple of weeks can be a roller coaster, so small steps at a time.  You can try a t-shirt to keep his incision covered an clean now that his bandage is off.

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  

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10 December 2015 - 3:40 am
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Thanks for sharing your experience.  Bacon had his surgery the same day as my Lucky – front right leg.  We’re still waiting on a firm diagnosis as well.  It’s amazing seeing how they improve from day to day, be it big steps or small steps.  I look forward to hearing how Bacon copes/adjusts over the next week or so. 

Michelle

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11 December 2015 - 3:07 pm
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midnighter94 said
Hi all ~

Murphy had his surgery at MSU also smiley  He’s a retriever-mix and had his right front leg removed 2 1/2 years ago.  It took almost 3 weeks to get a final diagnosis for us, but it was histiocytic sarcoma.  It sounds like Bacon is doing great!  The first couple of weeks can be a roller coaster, so small steps at a time.  You can try a t-shirt to keep his incision covered an clean now that his bandage is off.

Donna

Hi Donna,

Thank you for replying.  Yeah!  Murphy 2 1/2 years!!!  Did Murphy need chemo with that particular dx?  If yes, how well was it tolerated? How old was Murphy when he had his amputation?  Did Murphy manage to get his/her sea legs and begin to walk well, run etc?    

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11 December 2015 - 3:10 pm
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luckyshumanmum said
Thanks for sharing your experience.  Bacon had his surgery the same day as my Lucky – front right leg.  We’re still waiting on a firm diagnosis as well.  It’s amazing seeing how they improve from day to day, be it big steps or small steps.  I look forward to hearing how Bacon copes/adjusts over the next week or so. 

Michelle

Hi Michelle,

The vet called me today to say because his lesion was so high up on the bone of his leg that they are waiting for “calcification.”  I am praying it will be a type of cancer that does not require chemo.  He has been through so much (as you are well aware with Lucky) and I DO NOT want to put him through more. How is Lucky doing?  How are you doing?

Warmly,

Rebecca 

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11 December 2015 - 3:26 pm
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baconsmom said
Hello,  Bacon is an 11 year and 7 month old, male, Golden Retriever who became a member of the tripawds community on December 4, 2015 when he underwent a left front leg amputation.  I am submitting what we have experienced the last few days as I have found it so helpful to read when others have done the same.  I will post updates as the days pass.

Milestones

Surgery day: Friday December 4, 2015 out of surgery at 2:05 PM.  Kurt (Bacon’s guardian angel/attending during his stay at MSU) told us he would not get up.  Later in the day, Kurt reported he would lay with his head up and ate ¾ a jar of baby food.  Has not gotten up/out to pee yet. 

Day 1:  Saturday December 5, 2015 we were hopeful Bacon would come home today.  Kurt at MSU told us he would still not get up. They cathd him so he can pee. He ate a little bit of baby food today, drank some water when coaxed, and changed positions without getting up. We are very scared tonight and wondering if we have done the right thing.  Last call from MSU was 6 pm tonight.  It was recommended even if he is not ready to come home we come tomorrow morning for moral support for Bacon. 

Day 2:  Sunday December 6, 2015 Arrived at MSU at 9am.  We were very scared and not sure how Bacon would be.  Kurt met us smiling and said at 11pm last night Bacon got up for the first and went outside to pee.  He told us Bacon acted excited to be up and pulled on the harness as he moved forward.  We were anxious and scared to see Bacon.  So much of what we had seen on the internet showed scary wounds etc.  We could hear Bacon walking around the corner.  He looked so happy to see us.  He looks like himself just with some of his hair shaved.  He has a bandage stuck to the incision site.  Nothing about him looks scary.  He ate nearly a cup of boiled hamburger and rice we brought with us so his appetite is intact.  He drank water before we left MSU.  Ride home was uneventful.  Jason sat in the back with him.  Bacon independently stood when we pulled in the drive.  He needs us to pull forward on his harness to get him to move.  His gait very is slow.  His balance is off but he has not fallen. He can stand long enough to go outside to pee but wants to lie down quickly after we get back in the house.  Around 8 pm Bacon got up independently and walked a few feet to lie in the hallway.  He also got up on his own during the night and walked from the side of the bed to the bottom of the bed.       

Day 3:  Monday December 7, 2015 Bacon got up and walked to his food bowl independently for his morning meal.  We did not coax him.  I placed his food bowl in the holder and called him to eat.  From there we just waited and watched.  He managed well.  His balance is still off and he is still very slow but he appears more stable and a little faster compared to yesterday.  For lunch he required more verbal coaxing but got up and walked to his food bowl independently.  We stopped feeding him the boiled hamburger today and only fed his regular kibble due to his being gassy today.  We noticed he had liquidy BM on his bottom fur.  He has not had a BM since Friday morning.  We carefully washed his bottom fur off with warm water and a rag and took him outside.  He has independently peed each time we take him outside but he has not had a BM yet.  We do need to hold his harness handle for balance only when he is on the grass. He is very tired today.  We are wondering if this will improve once he stops taking the gabapentin (last does of that is this Friday).  Bacon got up to move and lost his balance but caught himself before he fell.  Around 6:20pm Bacon got up independently and walked to his bed. It is quite fluffy and required some navigation.  He was able to get on his bed by himself!  Around 6:45pm he came to his food bowl without even being called this time.  He had difficulty positioning himself in front of the bowl.  He was eating in front of his food bowl, lost his balance but recovered without falling. 

Day 4:  Tuesday December 8, 2015 Bacon continues to independently walk to his food bowl which was moved back to its usual spot in the kitchen.  He independently seeks out his water bowl now instead of only drinking when we bring him his bowl.  He sat upright today which is awesome as he had only been standing or lying flat. He went to his favorite chair and looked like he wanted to jump up into it.  This made me so happy to see a glimmer of his old self.  I redirected him to his bed though as he still has his sutures in.  He showed a lot of interest in a visitor pushing his head into her side to be petted.  He appears more aware/interested as he seeks us out now if we leave the room he is in to go to another.  He navigated uneven terrain to sit on the same blanket and cushion as Jason today.  He also sought out more attention from us today to be petted etc.  CHECK YOUR FURKIDS HARNESS BY RUNNING YOUR FINGERS AROUND ALL OF IT.  WE FOUND A HARD/POINTY AREA ON THE INSIDE SEAM WHERE THEY SEAM THE END OF THE WEBBING OF BACON’S HARNESS.  WE TOOK IT OFF, FILED DOWN THE SHARP POINTS WITH A NAIL FILE, AND TURNED ALL OF THE SEAMED SIDES OF THE PADDING SO THE SEAMS FACED AWAY FROM BACON’S BODY. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY MANUFACTURERS DO NOT DO THESE THINGS TOBEGIN WITH BECAUSE I HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE SAMS ISSUES WITH ALLHARNESS WE HAVE HAD FOR HIM SINCE HE WAS APUPPY.   I ALSO PLAN ON SEWING A FLEECE PATCH OVER THE D-RING AREA IN THE FRONT BY HIS CHEST AS IT GRABS HIS HAIR.  THE LAST THING OUR BABIES NEED IS TO BE ANYMORE UNCOMFORTABLE. 

Day 5: Wednesday December 9, 2015 Bacon had his first BM since Friday December 4, 2015 at 7am.  This was a majorly happy event for us.  He is interested in coming into the kitchen to sit by the table when we eat.  He is not shaking today when he stands still and appears to have improved balance when standing.  He appears more alert as he will bark and stand at attention when he hears something outside.   He pulled on his harness to move faster to see me when I got home today.  We removed his bandage todayWe are feeling more hopeful today.   Still no diagnosis.  Keeping fingers crossed he will not require chemo. 

Warmly,

Rebecca, Jason, Bacon, and Hamlet

  

Day 6 Thursday December 10, 2015 Bacon appears to be able to have normal bowel movements despite the pain medications.  We trialed him walking out the back door today without his harness on (with us hovering over him to ensure his safety) and he did very well. He managed to maneuver around the back of a large potted plant we have in our living room.  This has always been one of his favorite spots to lay.  This required some agility. He also came IN the bathroom and turned himself around (it is a small bathroom) to lay by the tub as I took a bath.  Again, this is what he has always done but had not been doing since his surgery.  His incision site looks beautiful – no swelling, no reddness etc.  

Day 7 Friday December 11, 2015 Bacon takes his last dose of gabapentin today.  He will now only have codeine. When I came home today he greeted me by the back door.  This is a first since his return home. He has been spending more time outside looking for favorite spots to pee.  He is moving a little faster when we are outside.  He still struggles balancing when our other retriever (Hamlet) gets to close to him or runs by him.  His vet called today to say there will be a longer wait for dx as the lesion on his leg bone was so high up they need to wait for “calcification.”  I am praying it will be dx’d as something that will not require the need for chemo. He gets his sutures removed Friday December 18, 2015. That is the same day we will have our first appointment with oncology. Again, I pray we can cancel that appointment. I feel differently today then in the preceding days. I feel more at ease with what has happened. It appears Bacon WILL eventually adjust.  We have far to go but I can see a light at the end of this long tunnel. One thing is certain, Bacon is out of the pain he was in before his surgery.          

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11 December 2015 - 7:17 pm
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Yes, Murphy had chemo.  He had 6 doses of CCNU, which is a pill.  He handled it really well – sometimes maybe a little bit of a decreased appetite, but we also have a 1 1/2 hour drive home from MSU, and he was usually there most of the day.  He would have blood work done that day and then have it done again a week later at our regular vet.  He had to take denamarin every day to help protect his liver from the effects of the chemo. 

Murphy was 7 when he had his surgery done, he will be 10 next month big-blink  We never used a harness until his incision healed.   Here is a video from a couple months after his surgery…he was trying to find a mouse in the wood pile lol  I think he had been digging for about a half hour before I realized it! 

He had been limping on that leg for a couple months, so I think he adapted pretty quickly.

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  

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12 December 2015 - 12:28 pm
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OMG you guys sounds so pawsitive, I LOVE IT! What pawgress, congrats!!!

Oh just a tip for clarity in keeping Bacon’s story straight: you don’t have to re-quote the previous posts you wrote (which pastes all that copy into your current post). Just “reply” to the topic to keep your train of thought going. Hope that makes sense, let me know.

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12 December 2015 - 4:31 pm
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Hi Rebecca,

Just read your update on Day 6 and 7.  Sounds like Bacon’s doing really well.  Little by little he’ll get there.  

It’s Day 9 for our Lucky today.  He was quieter than usual yesterday.  Hubby is taking him to the vet at the moment – worried about infection – there is crusted yellow stuff on the bottom section of his wound and a new patch of fresh blood in the middle section of his wound. The top half of his wound looks fantastic.  All his bruising has cleared.  We’ll see what they say.  He was due to have his sutures out on the 18th as well, but I somehow don’t think so.

Michelle

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19 December 2015 - 6:58 am
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Hi Rebecca, How did Bacon go on Friday. Did he get his sutures out, and how is he?

Michelle

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21 December 2015 - 3:31 am
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Hi Michelle, 

Bacon did get his stitches out Friday. His incision site looks great. We also started chemo Friday. I haven’t posted because I have been so sick to my stomach with worry since getting the actual dx of osteosarcoma to realizing he was going to need the chemo. 

Saturday during the morning was uneventful. Around mid-day Saturday he appeared to be having trouble balancing while he walked. Im not sure if tgat was due to fatigue, nausea, or the nedication he is rakibg for nausea. Saturday night Bacon became very tired and picky with eating. He refused his typical kibble but would eat boiled hamburger. Sunday morning he was a little perkier but his balance was still off. By Sunday night he was eating his kibble again but is still very tired. 

I explained to the doctor that Bacon has always been sensitive to any medications; the amount recommended for his size has always been too much for him. Given that, they began him on a lower dose of chemo. I’m going to ask them to keep him there due to his balance issues, extreme panting, and fatigue. He has not vomited or experienced diarrhea, thank God. He has hacked though, panted, had issues with balance, loss of appetite, and been restless. By Sunday night the panting lessened quite a bit. 

I was feeling so hopeful before the chemo. Now I am back to wondering if I am doing the right thing by moving forward with doing this to him. 

How is Lucky doing? 

Warmly,

Rebecca

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21 December 2015 - 4:37 am
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Hi Rebecca. 

Glad to hear Bacon got his stitches out and the wound is really good.  Sorry to hear the diagnosis and the troubles since starting chemo. Sounds to me like his issues on Saturday may be due to the medication.  We’ve been told dogs handle the chemo better than what we would and have less side effects, but of course there would still be some sort of reaction to it.  Sounds like a good idea to keep him there if you’re concerned.  How often does he need it and what is he on?  Don’t beat yourself around the head – you are doing what you think is best for Bacon and his situation.  It is such a major ordeal, and with it comes the worry…you only want him well and back to his normal self.  He will get there.

Lucky only had 6-8 stitches out.  One part of the wound and had been bleeding due to him scratching, and he was still crusty where he had been licking like crazy the week before.  No diagnosis yet – hopefully when we go back just after Christmas to get the rest of the stitches out.  We had been going every couple of days for one issue or another (I’m a worry wort!) and the vet had explained chemo to my hubby, and now he wants to do it if it is cancerous.  I was anti-chemo – mainly due to his age, but the Vet was pretty positive.  

Overall, though, Lucky has been doing well.  His wound looks fantastic today. He has been given the go ahead to start going for walks – and has walked on a lead about 150 yards.  He is now laying on his amputation side, so he must be comfortable.   We have started weaning his medications too -he is down to half a Tramadol day and night as well as his daily dose of Loxicom.  He has had a couple of down days – we had a heat wave the past 4 days of 100-105 degrees, so I don’t know if the heat has made him flat, or the tapering of his medication.  He has also become a fairly fussy eater and isn’t eating much at all.  It is always a worry when they can’t tell us what is wrong.  But overall, he has coped and adjusted well, and he is lapping up the constant inside time, extra attention and hundreds of hugs.

Hugs to you both.  Hang in there.

Michelle.

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21 December 2015 - 10:25 am
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Michelle and Rebecca it’s good to hear how your pups are doing, thanks for the updates!

No matter what keep in mind that chemo is optional, it’s not mandatory. Of course we all want to give our dogs a fighting chance at beating cancer but if for whatever reason it’s not working out for either of your pups and detracting from quality of life, then there’s no crime in deciding not to do it. We’ve seen dogs do great with it and some not do great, we’ve seen dogs beat the odds with and without it. All that matters is your dedication to making quality of life a #1 priority and that in my mind is the best medicine there is.

Hugs to both of you, you’re doing great!

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25 March 2016 - 4:03 am
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Hi Michelle, I’m wondering how you and Lucky are doing. 

Kind thoughts being sent your way,

Rebecca

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25 March 2016 - 9:35 am
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Okay, how on earth I missed this thread in December is beyond me!!! Geez! I know I’ve kept up with Bacon on otner posts. Just wanted to acknowledge what a great job you did of chronicling Bacon’s early recovery! Very helpful!! The tips about checking harnesses for any rough areas that may irritate our pups was a great tip!!

Hugs to you!

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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