Three of Sarge’s favorite things: friends, sun and water! The only thing that would have topped it off is a fire, but since it was almost 100 we passed on that! :o)
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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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!
Dr. Aaron Heintz D.V.M. ,with Wedgewood Pet Clinic in OKC (405)-848-3329, explains the chemo treatment process. Although these videos are not edited, I wanted to post them on Sarges blog to share and show how wonderful Dr. Heintz and his staff are and to explain the process of a chemotherapy treatment to those interested. Many thanks to this wonderful staff, that not only are giving Sarge happy, healthy months of life, but are also the most friendly staff anywhere! Sarge is always thrilled to go to his appointments and literally is running in the front door, excited to see everyone! Sometimes he even acts like he wants to stay there to visit longer. So there is no doubt they are taking excellent care of this sweet cancer warrior!
Pre Chemo Blood work while Mommy holds him still:
Dr. Heintz D.V.M. explains the chemo process.
Prep for IV placement
Pre Chemo Medications
IV fluids to hydrate pre-chemo
Nikki administering Carboplatin
Sarge being am amazingly “patient” patient.
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!!
But, I would rather Mom do it for me!
When I was recovering from my leg fracture and subsequent amputation, my Mom and Dad would drive me around the block so I did not have to miss out on my daily “walks”. Besides walks, my other favorite activity is going for car rides. The destination matters nothing to me, just the enjoyment of getting there! Can you tell I am just a tad bit excited to go? >