Its just the beginning Part 2

Buddy’s surgery was scheduled for Monday September 14th. I don’t think I slept the entire weekend. All kinds of thoughts were going on in my head. What if this is the wrong thing to do? He’s walking just fine right now. His pain is under control because they wrapped his wound after his xrays. He was taking Tramadol 3 times a day. Maybe we should wait? His back right leg was kicking out as he walked 2 weeks before surgery. It did not happen very often and it wasn’t worsening. In fact it was kind of a fluke but…What if he has that debilitating disease that dogs get where he can’t use his back legs anymore? I was obsessed with that. I researched the heck out of it. Sometime’s the internet is NOT your friend my friends. It will make you insane. What if, what if, what if…. The day before surgery we took him for a nice long walk. He was happily trotting along with a bit of a limp but happy none the less until we came to “The Fence”.  There’s an old, wheezing, dog down the street, behind a fence, that Buddy has arguments with. Fence dog started cursing Buddy out for being near his property (or at least thats how I play it out in my head). Buddy thinks its not Fence dogs property and lets him know it. As he starts to lean in to tell him what he thinks of him, he falls. His bad leg faltered and he was most definitely in pain.  He was able to finish his walk but after that incident, I knew the surgery had to happen. He never falls. Steve and my kids reminded me that it wasn’t that we were taking his limb. It was, that we were saving his life. That morning I got on my knees and prayed. I asked God to bless the Dr and the staff. And pleaded to please take this all from me.  My heart hurt so much. I asked for forgiveness because I hadn’t been leaning on Him more and asked Him to help me to trust Him. God is good and sometimes I forget that. We loaded Buddy in the car at 6:10 am. I felt sick. We walked him into the vet office and started to check him in. The lady at the desk didn’t see his folder any where and asked if we had made an appointment. (Insert 20 thousand really mad icons here.) ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! We calmly showed her our paperwork with the estimate. She fumbled around a bit and found that the Dr had a few surgical appointments available that morning and would schedule him in. Lovely. Works for us. Surgical nurse comes out and notices Buddy’s uncontrollable shaking and makes a crack about sticking a quarter in him. She very kindly goes over paperwork and asks if we would like to escort him to the back where he will be waiting for surgery. Confused, we said sure. We walked him to the back, said our goodbyes and helped get him into the kennel to which he immediately started to paw at the door. If  you are ever faced with this situation, don’t do it. It was gut wrenching to walk away from him like that. I cried all the way home. Steve and I both left for work after arriving at home. I got a text an hour later from our regular vet. (She was not doing surgeries that day so another vet would be doing Buddy’s surgery. We had known that though.) She was so very apologetic for Buddy not being on the docket. She assured us that surgery was moving forward and that she had talked to her fellow coworker in great length about Buddy in the days before leading up to his surgery. She was so comforting. I cried again and got back to work. I am an administrator for a preschool and let me tell you… preschoolers are the best distraction. I got a text from our vet at 11:30 that said Buddy was in surgery. He was doing great and the vet was half way done. My vet is awesome. How many vets are willing to text you stuff like this? She gave me more words of comfort and I cried again. An hour later Steve got the call that surgery was over and Buddy did great. He was resting comfortably and if all went well, we could pick him up Tuesday night. WOW. It’s done. That night Steve and I went for a walk, like we have done for 13 years, but with out our Bud Bud. We talked and cried a little and agreed that today, Buddy wins. No more cancer.


I promise. More later today.


It’s just the beginning Part 1

I’ve been tossing around writing a blog for days. Maybe weeks but then I finally decided well, why not. If this can help someone, maybe even just one person then, excellent! I want to give back to the tripawd community as they have been so wonderful to us.

Let me first tell you about Buddy. Buddy is a mixed breed dog (maybe Rhodesian Ridgeback with a mix of something else pretty awesome) that came to live with us just over 13 years ago. He followed my son home. Well, actually he followed him down a wooded path. We got a call from our son on a pay phone with the conversation that sounded something like this: “Ummmm…Hi mom. I found a dog. He started to follow me across a street and I didn’t know what to do.” UGH!!! Well, we took him to the pound in hopes that the owner would come claim him. No one came for him and 9 days later, he was ours, much to the chagrin of our 2 cats! Little did we know how much this 3 month old puppy would soon forever change our lives. All for the good.

So now let’s fast forward. Somewhere around February 2014 we  noticed a large lump on Buddy’s right front forearm. It wasn’t to alarming to us because he has fatty lumps all over. Seriously. He is Mr. Lumpy-lumpapolis.  If there were doggy liposuction out there, they could make a fortune off of us. This lump, though, was different. It wouldn’t stop growing. So in January of this year, we brought him in to the vet thinking that, once again, it would be another fatty lump. Our vet aspirated it and  came back with, “Guys, I don’t like the looks of this. This isn’t fat. This is likely a sarcoma.” Our hearts sank. The choice was amputate, to which we said no way, radiation ($$$$$$ OMG no way) or surgery in hopes that it would come back VERY slowly. He had surgery 2nd week of January to remove it. It was a grade 2. Which means, it’s going to come back. All was well until about May. A very nasty little bulge was starting to make its appearance. By August it had tripled in size. Once again we went to the vet with the hopes of removal. “Guy’s,” she said, “This will be the last surgery we can preform on this. It’s in a nasty spot. Not a lot of room to work with. You have to start thinking about choices again.” She could remove it, but this time it will come back twice as fast. (Cancer is just ugly like that.) It will start to bleed and become painful and then you have consider quality of life. We can see a doggy oncologist ($$$$) or amputation. (No way. That’s just cruel.) We opted to do surgery again because we wanted to prolong his life for as long as possible. Surgery was scheduled for Monday, August 24th. Our hearts were so heavy the weekend before surgery. I started researching diets for dogs with cancer. There has to be something we can do to help this dog. Then I started pondering amputation. How do 3 legged dogs walk anyway? Can a senior dog with a front leg amputation walk? They must get around in doggy wheelchairs. I’ve seen that on TV. Steve is pretty handy. I wonder if he could build one? So on a whim I texted my vet to see what she thought about these doggy wheelchairs.  She called me (on her day off!) and very excitedly said, “Are you telling me that amputation is on the table?!” And I said, “I don’t know? Maybe?” After much discussion, we decided surgery should go as planned and to leave this as a future thought. In the meantime I came across this awesome website called Tripawds. Hope. There it was. My eyes welled up.  Dogs, even senior dogs, CAN handle amputation. I thought long and hard that Sunday night. After a very tearful discussion with my husband Monday morning (the day of surgery)we thought, well, maybe if she goes in there and see’s there is not much she could do with the cancer, that maybe, she should just amputate. I texted the vet.  She called and said,” Wait, don’t bring him in yet. Let me make a call to my dog oncologist friend and see if there is another way. Maybe I have the amount of money involved wrong.” And so we waited. Surgery was scheduled for 1:00. She called at 11:30. We could do palliative radiation to the tune of $2,500-$5,000 with the knowledge that it might not work. That was an easy no. Her heart and our heart said if amputation is on the table and he is walking around pain free right now, let’s wait. Let’s give him more time with his leg. She said, “Call me or text me in 3 weeks to let me know how he’s doing.” That week we changed his diet and gave him all kinds of supplements with the hope to slow it down. 2 and 1/2 weeks later, it started to bleed. I texted our vet pictures. She called and said, “Tracie, it’s time to stop messing around. If amputation is on the table, now is the time.” I could just feel my body starting to tremble. “Ok, I said. But I want to make sure he is a good candidate. His quality of life is what comes first. ”  Buddy is 13 but you would never know it. My neighborhood is full of senior dogs but he doesn’t act like an

Relaxing after first surgery.
Relaxing after first surgery.
UGLY cancer growing on right front leg.
UGLY cancer growing on right front leg.

old dog. He still chases squirrels! We feed him well and he  goes for walks, without fail, twice a day. He can handle this. We just know it. So, the vet had his lungs x-rayed for cancer. She x-rayed his back and hips for arthritis. And we held our breath. All clear. OMG. Did she say all clear?! Surgery was scheduled for September 14th. OMG. My niece is getting married the 19th. The family will be here. How are we going to do this? Are we crazy? Stay tuned. More tomorrow.

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