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She's Madeline, She's Madeline

Bravest of Them All

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

It’s been a very eventful month….

November 29th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

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It’s been a while since I posted here.  I’ve logged in and started several entries, but changed my mind.  I was not in the frame of mind to sound anything but discouraged and I do not want people contemplating amputation to think it’s not worth it.  It is worth it.  Relieving their pain, giving them more pain free time, it’s worth it, despite the bumps along the way.

It’s been six weeks since Mads had her surgery and she’s had some challenges, but she’s plowed thru them like the brave soul she is.  She had kennel cough (that’s why she was so winded) from her stay at the hospital.  She felt crappy and wouldn’t eat or drink much, so she was losing weight.  She ended up with a UTI and then she had a seroma which really took her down.  Normally that wouldn’t happen, but because it went undiagnosed and festered for 5 days she got worse and worse and worse, eventually getting to the point she would cry out when she tried to move her head or neck.

During all these ailments, the doctors blamed her cancer.  Every symptom, to them, meant the cancer had spread until eventually the seroma burst open at the weakest point of her incision.  Wow what a huge mess.  But almost immediately she was back to being Maddie.  Pain free, hoping around, tail wagging and giving big, sloppy Great Dane kisses!  She has more energy and wants to romp in the yard.  She even tried to dig!  We are still leash walking her because we have to deal with the leaking seroma and have to limit her activity.  But she sure seems to be  feeling GREAT!  She’s eating like a fiend and she’s making up for all those days when all I could get into her was cottage cheese and yogurt.  She also seems to be missing her brother! He’s learned to live his new normal, separated from his best doggie buddy.  Now, when she hears him, she whines instead of growls!  I think that makes him happy as he wags and wags when he hears her.

We did not start chemo because she hasn’t been well enough.   At this point, I’m leaning more toward treating her homeopathically.  I have not been able to schedule a time with Dr. Loops – partly because I am constantly running Maddie back and forth to the vet and partly because I’m financially tapped out.  The large diagnostic and surgery expenses were bad, but we’ve had another two weeks of daily vet bills.  I’m very hopeful though that I can have a phone appointment with him next week, provided Maddie doesn’t need another surgery to put in a drain.  I’ve lost a lot of confidence in most of the docs at the ER/surgery center and if a drain is necessary, I’m going to try to find someone else to do it.  They examined her incision, made a note that it was hot and swollen, and still insisted it was cancer and not the incision making her sick.  Even I knew there was something not right with her incision site, but the doctors didn’t want to hear it because they were convinced it was her “very aggressive cancer”.

If I could pass on advice to anyone considering amputation for cancer, it would be two things.  First, go with your gut.  I knew Maddie’s cancer hadn’t spread but believing the doctors were experts, I gave in (mostly). Because I didn’t say “you’re wrong, I’m right and I want you to check that incision and find out why it’s hot and swollen”, Maddie suffered for five days.

If you think your dog or cat needs pain meds, insist.  Insist, insist, insist.  If you think that something isn’t right, be pushy.   You know your dog or cat better than the doctors do.  You know what is normal behavior for them.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for them and for yourself.  I wish I had done this better.  I look back on the whole drama from day one and think “if only I’d…..”.  But you can bet, going forward I will not make those mistakes again.

Now for the pluses of the last month.  Maddie has been xrayed, blood and urine tested, poked and prodded and guess what – she is metastasis free!  That all by itself makes the entire journey worth it.  She is feeling good, hopping around exploring the yard.  She’s not fast, but she’s steady which is what I think matters most.  She enjoys all her favorite things again: frozen yogurt, smelling the fall air, playing with her stuffies and snoring the day away laying in the sun.   She is learning to enjoy car rides (they are so frequent now!) and is not nearly as frightened at the vet’s office as she used to be.

All in all, I think we’re well on our way to a happy winter, spring and summer for Mads.


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5 Comments so far ↓

  • benny55

    You’ve had one helluva bumpy ride this first month. Hopefully all that is now past you and you can start enjoying being Maddie again! And it sounds like you are! 🙂 🙂

    HAPPY ONE MONTH AMPUVERSARY SWEET MADDIE! And here’s to a gazillion more!! 🙂

    To hear how well you are doing now just warms my heart!

    Now Mom, do NOT beat yourself up for one single second more on the “If only…”, okay? You, like every single one of us here defer to the “professionals” EVEN WHEN our gut says something different!! And I absolutely agree, IF a drain is needed, do NOT go back to the same place!!

    And another thing, ppsting when you’re discouraged or fearfeul is just as important to post when everything is just splendid!! We are always here for each other NO MATTER WHAT!! It’s important for “newbies” to see it IS normal to feel discouraged and it IS normal (sorta’) to jave these kinds of challenges! ‘We all learn from each other. As we’ve said somoften, every recovery is different. Because ofnyiur situation with sweet Maddie, we’ll all be a little more diligent about seromas, no matter how far after surgery they are!
    And that might not have been the case prior to this!

    To know Maddie is getting her sparkle back and will continue tondo so, just lights up my world today!! 🙂 🙂

    Thank you so much for this insightful and inspiration AND HAPPY post today!! 🙂 🙂 Can’t srop grinning!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    • maniacmads

      Thanks Sally – you always cheer me up. You are an angel and you and Jackie and Jerry and everyone else have given me so many MUCH NEEDED pep talks. Unfortunately we finally got the culture back today and my poor girl has MRSA. Can you believe that? The cynic/conspiracy theorist in me thinks she got it at that hospital. The ironic thing is – this is the best surgery center in Delaware. People come from all over Md, NJ, NY, PA to see these doctors. It’s the last place you would expect to get such crappy care. I had to get a weird antibiotic at a regular pharmacy but she got her first dose. On the upside, she’s SO MUCH BETTER. I’m thinking that the Baytril she was on for her UTI had to help somewhat – even though the doctor said the MRSA is resistant to that antibiotic. There is no other way to explain her being so much better than she was just a week ago. She suffered so much – I am very angry at those vets and that hospital.

  • paws120

    You have been such a WONDERFUL advocate for her health, you are ALL OVER IT!!! Maddie would not be doing as well as she is if it weren’t for her persistent mama 🙂 I am so glad this is finally getting straightened out and she is finally on her way to total recovery. Hugs to all of you and special hugs to Maddie, she is such a trooper!

  • benny55

    I saw your update in the forums (as well as your reply here). Soooo glad Maddie is doi g well and, in spite of sll her challenges, is on the road to FULL AND COMPLETE RECOVERY!!! If she feels this good with all these challenges, she’s gonna be hard ro contain once all this craaap is cleared up!!

    You have certainly been through it these past several weeks. You really are doing an excellent job of holding onto your sanity! 🙂

    Cheering for our girl! And glad she seems ready to reunite eith herr brother soon!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  • jerry

    Awww what a bright and hoppy update! Cheers to Mads and you for being such a great advocate. What a relief things are looking up for her.

    You should never feel badly about sharing bad news here, it all adds up to an honest picture of life on three legs and people really appreciate that. We sure do, thank you so much.

    We are looking forward to more tales of Maddie’s life on three legs so keep us posted!

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