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She's Madeline, She's Madeline

Bravest of Them All

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

The Beginning

October 16th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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It feels like we’ve been on a roller coaster ride since the day I saw the lump.  Labor Day – 2017.   The day that everything changed.  Maddie’s been super healthy since she was about 2 years old.  She’s  had a couple UTIs and a close encounter with SOMETHING that gave her a gash requiring stitches – but that’s it.  Normal check ups and one overnight ER stay for stitches.   Her first two years were a struggle with demodex mange and what seemed like one skin infection after another.  But she got past all that and has been a really healthy, happy girl.  She’s also a really big girl.

I’d always worried about bloat and all of us were a little crazy with precautions.  She would get a gas-x pill with every meal.  She wasn’t allowed to run or jump or get excited for at least 30 minutes before and 2 hours after meals.  I always feared that bloat would take her because so many Danes are lost to it.  But then Labor Day came and that one ankle just didn’t look right.  I inspected it and she was fine to let me touch it.  It was hard though, not soft like it was swollen.  It felt like bone.  She wasn’t limping, she didn’t stop running like a maniac after the squirrels, but it was obviously not right.

The vet who cared for Maddie since her puppy days recently retired so I had to figure out who to take her to see about the leg.  The practice had been sold to VCA so I just decided to go ahead and take her to one of the doctors there.  It took a few days to get an appointment but after a brief exam and x-rays, we heard the dreaded news – Osteosarcoma.  Maddie’s chest x ray looked okay, but the doctor said that the “mets” probably just weren’t big enough to show yet.

All I could say was “what do we do now?” I will remember her response as long as I live – she shook her head and said “she’s really big”.  I asked what she recommended and she said “you could amputate for pain relief, but she’s really big and it’s very expensive”.  She suggested we wait for the radiologist report to confirm but that any further treatment would require we see a specialist.  She sent us home with Deramaxx.

The next morning I called the office and ended up speaking to a vet tech.   I told her I’d read up on Osteosarcoma and understood it to be very painful and I was worried Deramaxx wasn’t enough to control her pain, I wanted something stronger.  I also asked about our options and the tech was very kind.  She told me the only real option was amputation, otherwise it would be too painful for Maddie.  She suggested I call an oncologist at our local Vet Specialty Center and also see if I could schedule a surgery consult for amputation.  I immediately did both.  We had to wait a week for the oncologist and two for the surgeon so I spent that time reading and researching.  Admittedly at first I was against amputation.  My daughters also spent the time reading and researching.  Fortunately one of the sites they found was Tripawds.  They began showing me pictures and videos of tripawd dogs, even giants like our Mads.  By the time we met the oncologist (who was AWESOME) I was much more confident about Maddie’s future.  The surgery consult also went well and both the surgeon and oncologist felt Maddie was an ideal candidate.  So we scheduled the surgery and set the wheels in motion.

Now it’s time.  Tomorrow is the big day.  We’ve had some detours along the way – a problem with her blood test results, questionable pre surgical xrays necessitating a cat scan.  And I’ve been on a seesaw of yes amputate, no don’t.  Thankfully reading the Tripawd forums has given me hope.  My fear was that amputation would be for us,  so we wouldn’t have to say goodbye, rather than for Maddie.  I worried it wasn’t “fair” to put her thru more pain with no hope for a cure. But after reading the blog posts and forums on Tripawds, I see that she has a chance to be pain free and happy.  Maybe it will be years, maybe it will be months, maybe it will only be weeks.  The important thing is giving her a chance to have some more pain free and happy days.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • dawn3g

    Your story sounds a lot like ours. Our Fallon’s amputation was a week ago Wednesday, and she came home Saturday. We found she had cancer after getting a limp investigated. Our vet discouraged us from amputation–Fallon is 11, tall (a greyhound) she would lose a front leg, maybe had the start of arthritis–but so many other places made us feel we should go for it, particularly Tripawds. Sounds like you’re being a strong advocate for Maddie, that’s what she needs right now And you’ll benefit from support–you’ve come to the right place 🙂 We’ll have Maddie–and you–in our thoughts tomorrow. Please keep us posted.

    Dawn–Fallon and Maggie Greyhounds

    • maniacmads

      Thank you – your story is one of the ones that inspired me to have hope. Maddie is a large (165+ lbs) girl who is 7 1/2. She’s also losing a front leg. Our regular vet retired so we don’t have that one person to turn to anymore. Fortunately the oncologist gave us a lot of hope. The surgeon was not as enthusiastic but he did not dissuade us either. I am very nervous which I know is not good. I hope Fallon continues to do well – I have been reading your blog!

  • rikntracy

    Welcome and please let us know how Maddie’s surgery goes tomorrow. Post a picture of your beautiful girl!

    No, you don’t know how long you will have with her but I can tell you the time we’ve had with Zato since his surgery in June has been priceless. He is pain free and very happy :).

    Tracy & Zatoichi

  • hazelgirl

    Maddie is in my thoughts for your big day today.

    I know how scary it can be knowing that your baby is going through a big surgery!

    Our Hazel has been home from the animal hospital since Sunday and she is adapting so quickly to three legs and everyday her incision looks better and better!

    Remember to be strong for her and when she finally comes home cheer her on for all the obstacles that she will overcome as a tripawd! Seeing her tail wag regardless of what she went through will make it easier for you and her to get through this!

    I hope for a speedy recovery for her and yes please post pictures and updates on her recovery! I love to read how other dogs are doing after their surgeries, helps me and my fiance for what we are going through as well. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! 🙂

    • maniacmads

      Hooray for Hazel! That’s wonderful to hear – I’m so glad for you. I am not sure how to post pictures! I did put some on the page marked “Media” but I’m not sure if that’s right or not.

  • linda8115

    Thinking of you and your Maddie today and sending prayers and hugs!

  • dobemom

    Welcome….our Dobe Nitro had a front leg amputated when we knew we weren’t ready to say goodbye. He loved life on 3 legs for over 3 years, and in the end, it wasn’t the osteo that took him from us, but old age. Good luck in your journey, you’ve found the greatest support system in the world with Tripawds!

    Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

    • maniacmads

      Thank you for sharing this. One of the things I worried about with such a big surgery was would she be able to have some time to enjoy AFTER healing. It is great to hear from all the people here whose doggies got months and years! Thank you!

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