ONE year since Osteosarcoma entered our life!

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It has been one year since Sarge was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, and we began this unpredictable journey.  From the very beginning, it seemed as if every decision was wrought with fear, uncertainty and indecisiveness.

“Do we amputate?”

“Do we just do radiation?”

“Will Sarge be able to handle the Chemo?”

“Are we doing the right thing?”

 “How long will Sarge be with us?”

 “Would he want to go through this if he had a choice?”

It seemed with every wince of pain, set back, or side effect of the chemo, I allowed myself to question the route we had chosen.

Now that we can look back on the last year, I can say without the slightest hesitation, that we made the right choice to amputate and start chemo. Without the complete support of our amazing veterinarian, Dr. Aaron Heintz DVM, family and friends, we could not have come this far!

There is not a day that goes by, that Sarge’s “hoppy” personality fails to impress upon me the significant level of joy he allows himself to live everyday.  He never frets about when/if his cancer is coming back, he never worries about the next chemo treatment (he actually gets excited to go see his favorite veterinarian).

We have so much to learn from Sarge’s never faltering zest for life and just living in the moment.

Sarge has learned that cancer means: even more loving and cuddling than he ever experienced before, fast hopping propels more efficiently than a slow hop, people that were scared of him before because he was a “BIG dog!”, now approach and inquire as to why he is missing a leg and readily pet him, he gets grain free food (not that he knows what that means) but he knows he gets home cooked turkey, chicken, steak, fish, eggs,  and extras like yogurt, coconut oil, peanut butter, and all kinds of special “yummies”, he gets tons of car rides and fire pit time; which is one of his favorite things in the world and he gets told “I love you” A LOT!

I pray we are blessed with another year, but I am learning from Sarge to live in the moment.  I will be thankful for today, for the moment and for the memories!


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All you need is LOVE!

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Sarge 8

This Handsome boy is 8 months post cancer diagnosis!  Yesterday offered a wonderful early Valentines gift.  Sarge had gained a much needed 10 lbs!  Sarge had shown concerning weight loss the last 3 visits, while receiving carboplatin treatments, so his veterinarian (Dr. Heintz) wanted us to keep a close eye on that.  With the help of the things he loves; peanut butter, scrambled eggs and lots of chicken to go on his grain free food, we packed the pounds on.   He is now a perfect 90 lbs!  The vet could not have been more pleased with his progress and said he looked amazing!  Sarge is always excited to go to the vet hospital and just loves everyone there.  His attitude has been stellar throughout this entire process.  Sarge has always had a gentle, loving, calm demeanor, and a contagiously brilliant personality.   Obviously a result of lots of love and effective training by Mom… Ok, in reality, probably his Mastiff/Boxer genetics.  Sarge greets everyone in the office, then lays down next to Dr. Heintz and allows him to preform whatever needs to be done that day.

Dr Heintz said that even though we have completed the 6 scheduled chemo treatments back in December, he recommends that we revisit chemo about every 3 months as maintenance.  Sarge did not tolerate the adriamycin, so we opted to utilize single drug regimen. Due to the fact sarge tolerates carboplatin so well, we do not have fear in continuing to do this and hope it will prolong his healthy, happy, fire pit loving, cancer-free days.

I know these days wont last for ever, and I am fully aware that Osteosarcoma returns, but for now, we are basking in the reality that he is pain-free, loving life, spreading his crazy perfect love to everyone he meets and filling the role of being his Mommies very best friend!  My life will just not be the same with out my pawsome canine son.

I love you and am so very proud of your brave warrior spirit and lack of fear in the face of this often terrifying process.  You are an inspiration to anyone facing life struggles.

On Valentines day we will spend the day basking in the unseasonably spectacular 75 degree weather, before the cold front and snow hits on Monday.

 Here is to another day of celebrating LIFE!

A life filled with unconditional LOVE!

 All you need is LOVE!

Sarge8

Carboplatin next to last treatment.

Sarge is resting after his chemo today, so I will enter his report for him.  He had a complete work up today including chest x-ray, aspiration of a growth on his chest and a complete blood count that ALL revealed he is doing fabulous!!!!  His blood work indicated that his liver and renal function looks great, also his Alk phos levels look great (which if elevated can indicate cancer is active), the WBC (white blood cell count) and lymphocyte count all looked normal which is also good news as chemo can affect these as well.    Dr. Heintz could not be more pleased with his progress and status.

Dr. Heintz has agreed to let me “shadow” during Sarges next carboplatin treatment, so that I can take a video to show the “behind the scenes” protocol of a canine chemo treatment.  As a fur-parent, I think we often worry about what happens during these visits, when we drop them off and pick them up hours later.  Seeing the actual steps during a chemotherapy treatment may help us to be more comfortable about the process.   

As healthy as Sarge is, it is easy to forget that the cancer is still in his system.  Every day that he is with us and feeling happy, hungry and pain-free, is a gift.  We try not to let the thoughts of the cancer returning, overshadow our joyful time that we are being blessed with.  We have always loved our Sarge to the moon and back, but since his osteosarcoma diagnosis and subsequent amputation, he has received more love and affection than any dog could wish for, and we will continue to shower him with all the affection that a cancer warrior like Sarge deserves!!

Chemo (2) down, 6 to go.

My doctor said I did GREAT today.  Was talking all this mumbo-jumbo with my mom about “renal function, liver enzymes, granulocytes, heart rate, lungs” and a bunch of blah blah blah…. also said that my “WBC was 6”, which I guess is good because Mom seemed happy about all that.  I am pretty tired because they gave me something that would make me an “Ace”???  Hmm, thought I already was, but…. don’t feel like an “ace” right now, I feel like I drank a little too much beer (like I would know).  As you can tell, just holding my head up is quite the task and I cant seem to walk a straight line.  Heck, that’s already tough on 3 legs, come on folks!  Tonight is gonna be a hedgehog cuddlin’, relaxin’ with Mom & Dad kind of evening.  Those silly people have no idea, I got this cancer thing whipped and this chemo stuff is nothing for a strapping, strong muscled up dude like myself.  Cancer can kiss my bodacious ole gluteus maximus!

sarge chemo2

 

 

Better to “hop on 3 than limp on 4”. AMEN!!!

I have always loved cooler weather.

My energy level was so high this morning and I begged my Mom for a walk.

I think she was a little nervous I might hurt my back leg again, or tucker out too fast, but I kept pushing the issue, she finally gave in,  and OFF we went.

I showed her!

This is just what I needed to make my first real walk perfect!!

Check me out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqIt_UFMi3s

Rough couple of days.

I am very concerned about our Sarge (I was told this would happen).  He was understandably under the weather on day 1 one (second day post op),  but day 3 he was up and around, doing his boxer wiggle when we would come into the room, he had a sparkle in his eye and a little bounce in his step.  He literally was improving hour by hour.  His progress was amazing to me.  The last 2 days he has actually regressed and it seems that every hour is a struggle.  He was having no issues standing up, walking outside to go potty and was even begging to go for a walk with his housemates.   We stayed with him or had his grandpawrents stay with him,  the last 2 days we have left him alone for a few hours at a time.

I almost fear he is favoring his back leg and he will turn around and almost nip at his knee.  OF course I am now wondering if his knee has taken too much of a beating.    Also some of the areas around the incision are “twitching“.  We now are having to carry him out to potty and all he does is potty and look at us to go back inside to lay down.  I called the vet and they seemed to be unconcerned.   He was drinking out of his water dish, and I am now having to drop water in his mouth with a 10cc syringe, also he will no longer eat without us hand feeding him extra special yummies.  

Please tell me that a significant regression like this is all part of the process and not something to raise concerns!  Reading others posts, I see that 2 weeks can be a turning point.  I might just need to wait and let this time pass.  It just makes me depressed to see him act so depressed.   I know a lot of websites say dogs do not get “depressed”  that we humanize our babies.  I feel strongly that this is not true.    We hear of dogs refusing to eat and starving to death after the loss of their human loved one or a fellow fur buddy…. that is depression.

SO ready for 2 weeks to get here…. then the chemo starts. :oZ