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Emily’s Story

September 7, 2009

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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 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  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.


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6 Responses to “Emily’s Story”

  1. Merlin's mum said:

    Glad to hear you’re doing well, I had my first dose of chemo on the 26th September. It’s great to hear your xray was clear.
    We’ll keep our fingers crossed for your ‘thing’!
    Licks from Merlin

  2. Emilysmom said:

    We are sill waiting for the biopsy results for Emily’s mout. Tomorrow will be seven days.

  3. Clair Picher said:

    A chum has established a blog that is running to inform people about animal cruelty, specially toward dogs and puppies. He and several other supporters are committing a good deal of work into it. We get a lot of inspiration from sites like yours. It’s really sad how some people abuse animals.

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