another decision to be made

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Rylie, just hanging

Four weeks after amputation Rylie is getting back to herself. She is running and playing with the other dogs. She comes upstairs at night to sleep with us( well with some help from us and her harness).

She is eating on her own and everything looks great from the outside. But I know this cancer is deadly, I know its aggressive and fast moving and even though her lungs are clear in x-rays we did not do a CT so those micro-mets could be there..

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking how will i know before the pain strikes her so badly there is nothing that I can give her or do for her to keep it at bay. I dread that for her.

Rylie had an immune-mediated response last January where her bone marrow was wiped out by a de-wormer. We foster many dogs for a rescue group and one of our fosters had quite a few worms we were having trouble getting clean stools , so all dogs got treated asymptomatically.  Rylie did not fare so well in this deal. Due to this I am hesitant to do the standard protocol for OSA which is Chemo.

My husband Paul and I had both decided we were not going to put her and us through that, besides the fact that she is a dreadful patient and the last 4 weeks of force feeding food and pills was something I was not wanting to relive.

But there is a new Osteo cancer vaccine and I have heard of an oncologist that  will give the vaccine without doing chemotherapy first. This may be the answer to clearing up the micro-mets possibly.. At least I hope so. We have an appt for her first day of the vaccine next Friday Dec 13.. hoping its not a bad omen being Friday the 13th!!

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25 days after surgery

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Each day we would take a few steps ahead and I would be hopeful.. until then to have a setback.. The last 3 weeks have been emotional, physically exhausting and full of so much love.  The other dogs in my house have rallied to help Rylie and laid down next to her .

First week home after surgery
so many meds
a little better each day by day
healing nice

Amputation Recovery

Home after surgery

Before Rylie was discharged from Tufts Veterinary hospital I thought I was ready for her.  We had the orthopedic beds, we had scatter rugs in trail from living room to kitchen and to the door in the front of house and out back. I had a blow up mattress in the living room so I could sleep next to her. The first night went pretty well I was hopeful and confident in the decision I had made for her.  The next 2 weeks everything I initially felt was questioned when we had a lot of issues with pain management, a seroma that was increasing, lots of bruising and swelling , not eating , yelping out and crying. This was so heartbreaking to me since all I wanted to do was help my girl and extend her life to be full and happy and pain-free.  Each day I had to force feed food down her throat. Force feed pain pills forget the holistic cancer fighting meds or immune boosting all I could get down her was pain meds and what food I could force her to eat plus the antibiotics. We had 3 trips to vet and ER Vet during the first week, with the addition of codeine the pain seemed better however this brought constipation and stomach issues where she didn’t want to eat


A race against the monster Osteocarcinoma

Rylie’s xrays alone was not a diagnosis.  The area of concern wasn’t definitive.  That means a bone aspirate or bone biopsy or wait and repeat x-rays while if this was osteo the cancer would continue to liquefy her bone at a rapid speed. I felt the pressure and the need to be as least invasive as I could in case this was the deadly cancer osteocarcinoma.  While calling all over for appointments as soon as I could I ended up with an appt at Angell in 5 weeks out, an appt at Blue Pearl 4 weeks out and one at Tufts 2.5 weeks out. We took the Tufts appt.    As I sit to write this it was only 3 weeks ago but feels like a lifetime ago .   Calling surgeons and oncologist to try to get appt’s for something I am only hoping is a bone spur or a mistake. Finally though I could do something rather than look at her and cry , I was being put into action to help my girl and this I can do. I needed the task to be busy and feel like i was helping her.

Fast Forward to the Monday appt at Tufts for a recheck. We get in and discuss with ortho surgeon what has been going on and how I didn’t want to do a bone biopsy unless it was needed.  Surgeon suggested a needle aspirate less invasive and felt she would definitely get a result. While Rylie was having her sedated x-rays , my friend Terry and I had lunch went shopping and got the call that Rylie was done and we could head back to Tufts.  We get to the room and Surgeon comes in they were all laughing and joking and Im thinking ok good this is nothing.  Then the X-rays show up on the monitor it is most likely OSA the area is much larger, also the aspirate she said the bone was already very soft and mushy.  So she recommended Amputation and she could do that in 4 days later on Friday. She would call with aspirate results the next day in the am.

We got home settled in for dinner and the phone rang, this was Tufts the cytology was back and confirmed diagnosis for OSA. Once this was the actual diagnosis I wanted that limb off ASAP. They were able to do the surgery the next day!