Coming home and Osteosarcoma Diagnosis

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Preparing for our Tripawd

On Friday we were running around like chickens without their heads. That morning I spent my time cleaning and getting the house ready for his return. We got new rugs to cover the hardwood floor and a big special bed just for him.

The excitement to see him was building quickly. I hadn’t seen him since we left him on Tuesday night after going to the vet so I was practically bouncing off  the walls. Around 11am I called the vet to make sure he could come home that day. We were told, yes, Kobalt could come home that day. He was doing really well and  the vet felt he was okay to go home. But then she gave me the news that turned the world upside down: Kobalt has cancer.

Osteosarcoma Invades our Home

Kobalt was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. For those who might not know what that is or just want a refresher this website has a pretty good run down:

Osteosarcoma in Dogs

After I hung up the phone all I could hear was ringing in my ears and the vet saying “He has cancer….only a month” over and over in my head. I broke down and just cried. How could this happen? Was this our fault? How can we even think about saying goodbye to him yet? I called my husband and told him the news. He was just as devastated as I was.

Once I stopped crying (and calling my mom) I decided that I wasn’t going to be sad right now. We could have a month left with him and I wasn’t going to waste that time being sad. I was going to be the best I could be for Kobalt so that he could do the same.  After Kobalt’s amputation, I knew that we probably couldn’t afford traditional cancer treatments (chemo, radiation, etc.).  So I started researching like crazy. I bought “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” by Dr. Dremian Dressler and poured through the various forums and blogs here on Tripawds.

Once my husband got home we both held each other and cried. We both felt that the universe was just unfair. No pet parent wants to have the conversations we did. How are we going to handle this? Can we afford chemo? What options do we have? What are our goals after this diagnosis?

How are we going to handle this battle?

We decided that yes, we can handle this. We love Kobalt and will always love him. This diagnosis wouldn’t change our love for him or his love for life. Chemo was out of the question. Kobalt’s amputation cost us $1500.00 USD and that was all of our current savings. There was no way we could afford the costly process of doing chemo. As for our options, we had both found that natural remedies and a holistic approach work very well in dogs. Our goals were simple: enjoy any and all the time we have left with him. Spoiling Kobalt wasn’t going to be a difficult task, but this time we were going to do it with his health specifically in mind. We wanted to give him every chance to continue fighting if that is what he wanted too. We keep reminding ourselves that: Dogs don’t have an expiration date.

Heading to the Vet

After our long tiring conversation we perked ourselves up and got into the car to go pick Kobalt up. When we got to the vet’s office the receptionist said, “Oh no!! You’re here to pick Kobalt up!” Apparently, while at the vet office he won the hearts of every single person who worked there. One of the vet techs was at the reception desk and went back to tell everyone that Kobalt was going home. From the back we heard a resounding “Awwww man!”. Despite our sadness we couldn’t help but laugh. Kobalt lights up any room he walks into. He is a gentle giant that (used to) give rambunctious toddlers rides on his back (his own choice). When he originally hurt his leg he never once growled at us or anyone else who looked at it despite his pain.  Neither of us were surprised that everyone fell in love with him.

Kobalt goes home

After the enthusiastic send off and medications from the vet, we finally got Kobalt in the car to head home. He was trying so hard to jump in all by himself, but finally relented and let us lift him into the car. When we got home he immediately wanted some water and had no problems.  At first it was shocking to see him without all his signature fluffy fur, but his incision looked healthy.

Right after drinking his fill he walked into the living room and after some coaxing climbed onto his new orthopedic bed. We could tell he was a little sore by the way he was walking, but he didn’t protest when I laid down with him to cuddle.

The rest of our day was emotional. Between being thrilled he was home and the sadness of his diagnosis we flipped between laughter and quiet tears. He had his first phantom limb pain when he tried to scoot closer to me. As a result of all the research we had done, we were prepared for them. Our vet also prescribed Gabapentin  so hopefully we will not see another phantom limb pain for a while.

Two days later

Today is Sunday and Kobalt is doing beautifully. He is regaining his old energy and even tried to chase a squirrel this morning (despite being on a leash, and to the consternation of both of us). Our sweet boy is thriving. Being a Tripawd hasn’t even slowed him down and he is still the same dog we have always loved. His incision is looking great and despite his new fur growing in and being itchy, he hasn’t needed the cone of shame. The new bed we bought him has been a big hit. You would think he is glued to it if he didn’t prance around in excitement when it is time to eat.

The positivity he exudes is contagious and we can’t help but smile when he is around. We have decided to follow the Cancer Diet and give him K9 immunity, Apocaps, and a few other thing to keep him this happy for as long as we can.  There is definitely some optimism as the vet told us that there was no cancer in his chest or blood work. Having him around is a blessing that we will always be thankful for no matter what happens. He can do this and so can we.

 

Thank you for all your comments and inspiration. This journey is just beginning and all the support helps. <3

 


To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!

Day One

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Today was Kobalt’s surgery day. We left him at the hospital last night with the hope that everything would be okay. Neither of us slept last night, we were both tossing and turning with worry. We were both up at 5am, him to work, me to start my research. I spent hours pouring over the Tripawds website and watching youtube videos.

I used my research to distract me from how long it was taking between phone calls from the vet. I wanted to call every half an hour to check on him. I wanted to rush down there and comfort him, but I knew that stressing out the vet was NOT the way to ensure his surgery went well.

The first time the vet called was just to tell us that he was about to go into surgery and that they would call us again soon. That happened at 11:30 am. I was going crazy. I tried to read, watch YouTube, or give attention to Kobalt’s siblings.

When the second call came they told me that they were finishing up his surgery. They told me that he was doing okay,but he had lost a lot of blood. Immediately I was terrified for him. How could I leave him alone there? Were we doing the right thing? We’re going to be able to bring him home right? The vet said they were going to keep a close eye on him and update us in a few hours.

The last phone call of the day finally came at 5pm. This time they were upbeat. They told me that Kobalt was finally waking up regularly. They said he is recovering well and everyone loves him. Of course, this isn’t a surprise to me whatsoever. He is an absolute doll. Kobalt used to be my service dog, but now I guess I’ll be his service hooman. The vet tech told me that the whole office was getting a kick out of his silly tongue. Kobalt has a genetic disease and needed half the teeth in his mouth pulled a few years ago. So he takes advantage of that and tries to look as cute as possible by letting his tongue fall out of his mouth. With the pain meds effecting him it was even sillier. The office told us we can see him tomorrow and we cannot wait.

I know that we will both sleep better tonight thanks to the tech who sent us this precious picture:

The operation

Back in November Kobalt slipped on some ice. He fell and whimpered, but got up and kept going. We weren’t worried about it at first, but after a week of him walking on and off on his left back leg we took him to a vet. The vet looked at his leg and did some physical manipulation and told us it was a torn ACL. She recommended against surgery and prescribed pain meds for him.

Another six weeks went by and he was walking on his leg again without any problems if he had taken his pain medication that morning. Then his leg, without warning swelled up. We were worried, but our vet told us his leg would probably swell so we continued doing what we were told. Less than a week later it was obvious that his leg was infected. We got him into a different vet as soon as we could. When we got there the new vet was horrified and told us his leg was broken. After some xrays (and actual vet work getting done) we were told Kobalt’s bone was infected. They told us that the infection was going to spread and likely kill him if we didn’t amputate. We agreed and our journey began. It all happened within 48 hours it seems like. He was fine one morning and the next we woke up without him here because he was in surgery.

It has been an absolute whirlwind. It has been terrifying and heartbreaking. We are just grateful that we caught it early.

 

That is the beginning of our story of Kobalt’s Journey.