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31
January
2010

Last Day as a Quadrapawd8

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Abby is my almost 6 year old black lab (birthday’s St.Patrick’s Day!)  I’m in my mid 20’s and have had my girl since college.   We’ve both been through surgeries, moved multiple times, been through job lay-offs, stupid boyfriends breaking our hearts and everything else two young girls go through but have always had each other.  She’s my best friend, my constant companion and my spoon buddy just about every night. 

Napping

Here's Abby napping on one of her 3 beds...spoiled girl! She likes to use her toys as pillows...her choice here is her new elephant, edgar

Since this is our first post I’ll provide a little background about how Abby and I ended up here…the day before her hind leg amputation.  A week and a half ago I took Abby to the vet after noticing a limp that wouldn’t go away.  When she was 8 months old Abby was hit by a car and had knee surgery which involved 4 pins being placed in her left hind leg.  All the pins were removed within a year after surgery however the knee has never been 100% and limping was something that was somewhat commonplace, especially  in cold weather and after long bouts of playing.  This limp, however, didn’t resolve itself and continued to worsen so I took her to our wonderful vet, Dr. Cole,  expecting a small fracture or some sort of ligament strain.  Until last week Osteosarcoma was not a word in my vocabulary and I was planning Abby’s 6th birthday and how we would spend our next 6+ years together, so you can imagine my surprise when after the xrays  the vet came in looking very solemn.  I will never forget his words as he entered the room with his laptop, xrays displayed, and turned off the lights…”Well, I’m glad we did the xrays, but I’m not happy with what we found”. Of course, myself being the eternal optimist I was thinking “oh boy, Abby needs another knee surgery, she’s such a little mess!”  But I was way off-base on that prediction.  As Dr. Cole  put the computer up so I could look at the films he mentioned “bone cancer”.  “Ok” I was thinking “Cancer..but only in her knee…we’ll get rid of the tumor and she’ll be fine”  just as I was thinking about treatment  my vet drops the bomb. “As far as treatment options there’s really not much we can do.  The average life expectancy is 3-6 months” At that moment my whole world crumbled beneath me.  There I was, just myself, my sedated 80 pound beautiful girl (they sedated her to get good xrays and not irritate her already sore leg), and our vet and I couldn’t stop crying. This couldn’t be happening, not to her, not to my Abner.

I did as much research as I could, took Abby in for xrays of her whole body, saw an oncologist and asked a million questions, talking to my vet just about every other day. We were fortunate that Abby’s xrays showed no evidence of tumors anywhere other than in her hind leg and her Alkaline Phosphatase levels were normal.  Because of this and the amount of pain she was in I have opted for amputation and chemotherapy. 

So….here we are.  The day before her surgery.  Its cloudy and chilly (well, chilly for Florida) but Abby’s enjoying the cool weather in her favorite spot, the front porch, watching all the people coming and going in the parking lot of our apartment complex and barking at anyone who heads towards our stairs.  I can’t help feeling sad that today is her last day with all four legs, however when I see her limping, even with Metacam and Tramadol, I know I must be doing the right thing.  I’m nervous and scared and am so worried about what she’s going to think when she wakes up after her surgery, but I know I can’t dwell on these thoughts.

Here are some pictures of my girl’s last day “limping on four legs”

Tongue Out

This is a new look for her…sleeping with her tongue stuck out!

Porch Bone

Showing her bone off for the camera

 All in all today is a very low-key Sunday for us.  Abby’s been napping a lot and we even watched a movie in bed.   So wish us luck as we begin our journey.  All the diagnostic tests have been done and now we start our fight. We are lucky to have tremendous support from family and friends to help us through what I can only imagine is going to be the toughest fight of our life.  However, we keep hope in our hearts.  When we recieved the diagnosis my Mom gave me a little advice that helped her when her Mom (my grandmother) was battling cancer.  You have to think of them as living with cancer, not dying of it.  With these words in mind I have re-gained my positive outlook and gone into action to do all we can to fight this disease.I want to say a special thanks to my Mom, brother and sister whose financial and invaluable emotional support has helped Abby and I more than they’ll ever know.  You guys are the best.


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8 Comments

  1.    admin at January 31st, 2010 9:18 pm:

    Sounds like Abby is in good hands. Thank you for sharing her story! We’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. Best wishes for a perfect procedure and complete, quick recovery.

  2.    Ted at January 31st, 2010 9:38 pm:

    Good luck with the surgery! You will certainly notice a lot of similar stories here. Our Baby Nikki is now on day 12 post surgery and she’s doing great. Prepare yourself for the first couple of days home, as they will be the absolute worst. You will be surprised though at how quickly Abby bounces back.

    Let us know if you need anything at all!

  3.    Hopalong Harley at January 31st, 2010 9:50 pm:

    We’re keeping our paws crossed all goes well tomorrow for Abby!

    You’ll find tremendous support here at Tripawds.com; I found it very comforting knowing I wasn’t the only one dealing with a dog with cancer who was now only going to have 3 legs. I was so scared and sad when I dropped Harley off for his surgery, but now almost 3 months later, I have zero regrets. You’ll hear it a lot, that the first two weeks can be hell … and they can. But your baby will amaze you how well she will do. Us humans have a harder time with it than they.

    -Gwen & Harley

  4.    cemil at February 1st, 2010 12:00 am:

    Abby and Abby’s Mom…
    I think not knowing what to expect is harder than dealing with the hard things. Abby will most likely surprise you with her ability to bounce back. There’s lots of information and experience here for you to take advantage of and even, usually, a quick response when you need to vent.

    I hope everything goes well–post in the forums and let us know!

    Mary and Cemil

  5.    krun15 at February 1st, 2010 12:24 am:

    Good luck with the surgery tomorrow. You are probably in for a rough couple of weeks as Abby recovers- but after that she will surprise you with her adaptability. Be sure to check out the forums for much more information and support.

    Karen and the pug girls

    p.s.- love the red collar, my Maggie also wears red.

  6.    Ruthie at February 1st, 2010 8:44 am:

    I can’t thank you all enough for the support. I just dropped Abby off for her surgery…she was pumped! haha She thought everyone was having a party for her. I’ll be sure to post after picking her up and bringing her home. Its going to be a tough couple of weeks as everyone has mentioned but better for her in the long run. Please check out Abby’s Fundraising Pawty info under Tripawd Pawtys forum

  7.    em6619 at February 1st, 2010 11:25 am:

    Please let us know how it goes. My 7 year old boxer is going in for a rear amputation on Thursday. She has synovial cell sarcoma in her joint and this is the best advice to make her feel better. I am very nervous and sick over this. I believe it is what is best for her but as you know very hard.. My thoughts are with you and Abby.
    Ellyn

  8.    Peyton's Path at February 1st, 2010 11:27 am:

    Good luck Abby! You will do great and it sounds like you have a very strong mom right by your side every step of the way! It is a roller coaster ride the first few weeks, but stay strong! Abby will surprise you at how well she adapts and how quickly she does it! Good luck! We are sending lots of good thoughts and prayers your way!



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