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Emily is an angel

November 21, 2009

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Well, it has been a long time since I have posted on my blog.  We continued to treat Emily for hip dysplasia and for osteoarthritis.  Our vet x-rayed Emily’s lungs (clear) and her kidneys and bladder because she was having some potty issues.   All were clear but she continued to get worse.  She was on prednisone and started adequan shots.  Nothing helped.

For the last few weeks my husband or my son had to get Emily up with a harness (Thanks Mac) and help her walk with a sling (Thanks Jake).  She had no balance .  She could not even roll over on her own.  It was heartbreaking to watch her.  So the week before we let her go I was laying on the floor next to her looking deeply into her eyes and I promised her that if we could not help her get better we would let her go.  She sighed and put her paw on my arm.  I think she was relieved.

On November 10 we took her to OSU Vet hospital where they did more x-rays.  This time her x-rays were not clear.  Emily had a huge tumor so big it was pressing against her esphagus and had grown into her spine.  She also had lung mets. They were not sure if the tumor started in the spine and grew out or what.  Emily was such a brave little girl.  We did not know she was in such horrible pain.  As hard as it was we kept our promise.  We went and picked up my youngest son from college (luckily he is only 1 1/2 hours away) and the five us were with her at the end.  She got to eat part of a McDouble and a couple of chicken jerky treats but was not as interested as usual. We were able to kiss and hug her and tell her how much she was loved. I was touched beyond description that even the doctor was crying.  Emily had that effect on people.  People would start not being sure of her because of her size and breed (Doberman mix) but would end up in love with her.

Anyway, Nov 10 was one of the hardest days in my life.  Truthfully I did not think a person could cry as long as I did.  I miss her so much.

We have two other dogs, a choc. lab named Bentley and a Minature Pincher named Marley but the house seems empty even now 11 days later.  Bentley and Emily were only six months apart and I think he misses her as much as we do.  I am grateful we got Marley two years ago because I think it has helped Bentley.

November 19 would have been Emily’s six month ampuversay so it also was a sad day for me.  I really thought she would beat the cancer and had happily anticipated the six month mark.  In the mail that very day when I was so missing her so much, was plaster pawprints that OSU had made for us. I just hugged them and cried.  I was so grateful to get them.  One of the things I had regreted is that I was going to do her paw prints  after we picked her up from her tests.  I didn’t know that we would not be bringing her home.

I know this is disorganized and rambling but I just wanted to update the blog.  We are going to pick her ashes up on Monday.  I don’t know if that will help or make me sadder but life is what it is, even when it sucks.

So even with all the pain and all the sadness I want to let you know I have no regrets about the decision to amputate Emily’s leg.  We gave her every chance at life and she had almost 6 more months.  Most of those were pain free.  Even with three legs Emily could run like the wind and that is how I want to remember her.  She was a beautiful. loving. sweet girl that thought she was a lap dog.  I feel sorry for the people that abandoned her.  There lose was our gain and I am grateful for every single minute we had with her.

Someone on Tripawds forum said we grieve deeply because we love deeply.  I think that is beautiful,  I wish I could remember who said it so I could credit them.  So thank you, Emily, for the love you gave us. I will always be proud to have been Emily’s Mom.

Debra


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Vet Results

October 6, 2009

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Thanks everyone. Here is the deal with Emily. Her remaining back hip has dysplasia and she has a couple areas with arthritis on two vertebrae towards the end of her spine. Not good news but not as bad as it could be. The vet has started Emily on prednisone and we need to watch her for about 72 hours to see if she improves. If she does not improve then it might be neurological but there was nothing to indicate that it is. Her x-rays ddid not indicate any additional cancer.
So it is good news in that it is most likely not life ending but Emily has a new battle ahead of her. After the prednisone we will start her on Glucosamine & Chrondroitin and also some Omega 3 fatty acid.
Thanks again. I will keep you updated on her (paws crossed) progress.

Debra

Emily is doing worse

October 5, 2009

Emily has to go back to the vet again tomorrow. Her front leg seems fine now but now she can’t support her back end. In my head I think it is muscle strain from the time she had 2 1/2 legs but I am afraid the cancer went to her spine. Emily is 4 1/2 months post amp. Has anyone else experienced this?

Emily went to the vet.

September 29, 2009

Emily went to the vet today and the vet is confident that Emily just injured her left front toe. Emily is zoned out on pain meds but other than that it is looking good. Thanks to all that offered advice and encouragement.

Should I be worried?

September 28, 2009

Emily doesn’t seem herself today. She is laying around with her eyes open, not moving. She does not have a cough and her breathing seems fine. She did whimper earlier today. She is still eating. This is my Present and my future. Will I worry about everything all the time?

Good News

September 16, 2009

Good news!  Great news actually!  No sign of cancer in Emily’s mouth.  I knew OSA don’t usually metastisis to the mouth but I coudn’t help but worry.

Still Waiting

September 14, 2009

We are still waiting on the results for Emilys biopsy for the thing on her mouth.  I hate waiting!

Emily’s Story

September 7, 2009

Emily is our five year old Doberman mix puppy.  She is a sweet little (well, big, but she thinks she is little) girl that thinks she is a lap dog.  In early April Emily started limping periodically.  We didn’t really think anything of it because she didn’t limp all the time.  In fact, she limped more if she knew we were watching her.  She is a bit of a Drama Queen so I thought she was faking it.  A couple of weeks later her leg appeared to have a swolen bump so we called out vet to have it looked at.  On April 30 Emily had her appointment.  Emily is a bit high strung so our vet could not get a good needle aspiration but what she could get did not have any cancer cells so we thought we were in the clear.  Not only that but her bump was not in the normal place for an osteosarcoma.  However, Dr. Douglas wasn’t convinced so we made a follow up appointment for the following week so they could put Emily under sedation to get a good x-ray.

May 5 was the day the bottom dropped out of my world.  I was at work when I got the call.  Emily suspected bone cancer.  I coudn’t stop crying and could hardly breathe.  I came home and looked up osteosarcoma and tried to convince myself that everything woud be okay.  I did not get that assurance but I did find tripawds.com where I had people to encourage me and get me through this.  When we got to the vet to pick up Emily Dr. Douglas showed us the x-ray.  It looked exactly like the one on the internet.  If you have gotten this news from your vet you know what we were going through.  Emily is a rescue dog and she means the world to us.  Dr. Douglas suggested we meet with an oncologist for a second opinion.  When we asked her how long we had with Emily we were unprepared for her answer.  Three or four months if we did nothing.  Maybe a year with amputation and chemotherapy.  Well, no way were we going to do that to Emily.  We loved her too much to cut off her leg.  How could we even consider that!  Plus, it is very expensive and we have two sons in college.  We could not afford it.  However, when it was pointed out to us that Emily’s leg would start to fracture and she would be in such pain that we would have had to put her to sleep to decided to borrow the money and go for broke.  Unintentional pun, but it fits!

On May 14 we meet with the wonderful medical team at the Ohio State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  We are very lucky to live within twenty minutes of there.  Emily was examined and the doctor confirmed our vet’s diagnosis.  As soon as we knew for sure that it was cancer we could not get her leg off fast enough.  We just wanted the cancer gone.  Even though we were told by both doctors that OSA always goes to the lungs we felt Emily had a better chance for survival if the source of the cancer was gone.

Emily went in on May 18 for her Pre-op exam.  Because she is such a nervous dog they let her come home with us and we took her back may 19 for her surgery.  Having said how high strung she is I feel I need to say that everyone at OSU acted like Emily was the center of the universe, and since she thinks she is, she graciously allowed them to dote on her.  

The evening of May 19 the medical student on Emily’s case, Sarah,   called and said that Emily was doing great.  Emily had lifted her head when she heard Sarah’s voice and when Sarah reached for the collar to take Emily out Emily jumped to her feet – yes, her three feet!  Sarah put the leash on Emily and Emily ran Sarah outside.  The next day the doctor called and said Emily was doing so well that we could come and pick her up.  We were thrilled and scared.  How does a three legged dog get around?  How would she look?  What if I couldn’t stop crying when I saw her.  Back to tripawds.com.  Whew!  Reassured we go to pick her up.  Emiy literally pulled her med student out of the room and into the waiting room where we were waiting. On the way to the car I started to panic.  The parking lot we were in was down the steps.  What were going to do?  Well, Emily solved the problem by running down the steps.  I had to go back to work but Kevin brought Emily home.  We had not expected Emily to come home yet so we did not have a bed prepared for her so Kevin started preparing a bed on the floor.  He turned around and she was gone.  She decided to take a nap so she jumped on the bed to sleep!  

The only problem we really had was with the pain meds.  Emily was pretty zoned out at times bu once she got off her meds she was herself.

Emily was accepted into a drug study at OSU that is a Clinical Evaluation of Combined Carboplatin/Gemcitabine in the Treatment of Canine Osteosarcoma.  She had her first chemo on June 3 with her second scheduled for June 24.  She was unable to have her treatment on that day because of a low white blood cell count.  Chemo was rescheduled for June 29  Thankfully, she was able to have that treatment.  July 23 Emily had her third treatment and on August 17 she had her third and final chemotherapy treatment.  At that time she had her first post-op chest x-ray.  We were on pins and needles but i am thrilled to tell you that her x-ray was clear.  As part of the drug study we agreeded to take Emily for chest x-rays every three months.  At our last appointment they said that if after a year if her lungs continued to look clear maybe they got it all.  No one had ever suggested that might be able to get it all!  We were thrilled.

Emily is doing great.  It is hard to believe what a three legged dog can do!  Emily runs across our yard with the other dogs, Bentley and Marley, and even jumps onto the trampoline!

Tomorrow she is having a “thing” removed from the inside of her bottom lip.  Even though it is probably not related to her cancer everything out of the norm is scary to us.  (This “thing” is like a little black pimple or dot.  They called it a soft mass.)

I will post as I know more.  Keep Emily in yur thoughts and prayers.  Thanks.

Debra