Elgin is 7 months post-amp now. He’s done so well, that we are glad we made that gut-wrenching decision. In reading everything we could about K-9 osteosarcoma and everything that comes with it, we kept seeing a repetitive theme: do all those special things your dog enjoys, while you can.
He recovered from his amputation of that back leg amazingly well, and that includes the chemotherapy, which he finished January 2. He even got walked MORE afterwards, than he did before he was diagnosed! I scheduled a pet photography session for him a week or so ago with a friend (OK, that wasn’t on Elgin’s bucket list, but something I wanted done.)
This past month, he began to favor that remaining back leg, and after putting him on Rimadyl, he seemed better. I stopped taking him for hops with his “browndog” girlfriends, and instead we sat outside on the front lawn, every morning for about 30-45 minutes. He improved, but we were still cautious. Having been reassured by our local vet that typical osteosarcoma cases do not spread to other limbs, but rather in the lungs or liver, running through our minds were thoughts like “What if it’s hip dysplasia?” or “What if it’s a torn ACL?” and we waited for our re-check appointment at UC Davis.
This past Easter weekend I was enjoying the gorgeous weather and planting my vegetable container garden. Elgin has a penchant for dirt. LOVES IT. So when he wanted to “help” me, I indulged him. He snuffled and rooted like a pig, shoveling out most of the dirt with his nose, and actually digging in the container with his front foot, scooting it across the deck. He was thoroughly enjoying this, so absorbed that he didn’t notice me leave to get my camera and come back. I called his name and his head popped up out of the dirt with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen on his face. I just had to laugh out loud. Then, when he was spent, he lay on the deck, covering as much of the displaced dirt with his body as he could. An afternoon well-spent.
Today, as we sat in the waiting room at UC Davis, my husband and I each had our ideas and concerns about what the results might bring. We had always anticipated he would get lung mets and would simply wind down, in a mostly peaceful way. As we looked at the x-rays in the exam area, we were devastated to learn that the mets had not materialized in his lungs, but rather that one, remaining back leg. The evil cancer had come back with a vengeance, painfully sealing the deal. Like deja vu, the vet went over all of the options of palliative care and other ideas, some of which were still in the trial phase. “Normally, we would give about 4 months for this stage of tumor. With this being in his only weight-bearing leg, we would be looking at more like one or two months.” said the vet.
We brought him home, and are trying to process this.
And so my parting thought for the day…. take the time to do the fun stuff your dog loves, while he/she is still able.