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She's Madeline, She's Madeline

Bravest of Them All

She's Madeline, She's Madeline

How Tripawds Helped Us So Far – Day 5 Post Surgery

October 22nd, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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So far, so good.  Today is day 5 and other than the unexpected attitude toward my other dog, Maddie is coming along great!  I know how fortunate I am that my daughter found this forum and I started reading, reading, reading.  Some things that have happened would have been shocking and probably not handled well had we not been prepared by reading all the posts, blogs, comments and answers to my questions.  Maddie is doing great in large part due to the people here.  Things I learned  from everyone here helped prepare us.  Phantom pain – just once so far – but I knew immediately what it was and what to do.  The suggestion of a sheet or canvas bag to help her up, never would have thought of that.  Before finding Tripawds I thought this little rear lift thing would have sufficed if I put it under her tummy – NOT.   The surgeon only sending us home with 5 days of pain meds.  I would never have known to ask for more, I would have just figured the doctor knows best.  The wound seeping, the not pooping for a few days, etc.  All of those things would have been met with return vet visits causing all of us undo anxiety.  Thankfully I knew she may not poop right away (she finally went on Friday and she’s now back to her regular routine!) and that she may have a little dripping from the wound.  I want to thank everyone here especially Teresa who’s beautiful dane girl also had a front leg amp.  She gave me the confidence that Maddie could manage – despite her size.  We are now moving toward our new normal and things are choppy of course, but Maddie is recovering very well and I feel like all the advice I got here has made a huge difference.  Thank you all.

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Home and Day 3!

October 20th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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Maddie got to come home yesterday morning and we were all so happy to get her here.  She is doing really well considering everything she’s been through and her hospital anxiety levels.  The first thing she did when she arrived home is go straight to the backyard to potty (still wasn’t squatting but who cares)!!  We were so proud of her!!  Then she ate and took meds and took a power nap lol.  As of this morning she’s been home for 24 hours and she’s doing a little better every hour.  She is getting up and hopping from one place to another.  She stood up to eat her dinner last night which surprised me and she’s now squatting to potty!!

She has had a bit of a ‘tude with her doggie brother – growling and lunging at him when he walks near her so we are keeping them apart.  He is very upset and just whines by the door to the family room where Maddie is.  I told him that she’s not feeling well and needs time to recover.  I pray that she’s not in more pain than she’s letting on though.  That is a worry I have.  She insists on laying on her incision side but the hospital says that’s fine – that sometimes the pressure feels good.  We’re icing her incision regularly and all in all she is doing great.

I’ve read on the forums about the possibility of a “crash” in a couple days when all the hospital meds are out of her system.  We are keeping a close eye on her.

All things considered – she is doing really, really well and I’m hoping when she is feeling back to her normal happy self, she’ll want to be with her buddy again!!!


24 Hours Post Amputation

October 18th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

This morning was 24 hours post amputation for Maddie.  The hospital says she’s doing very well and already standing up.  She’s got some edema which is spreading so the doctor wants to keep her another night.  She is up and around though and went for three walks today!  She’s not peeing outside though and they think it’s because she’s not confident enough to squat out there, where inside she can lean a little on the side of her pen.  She’s a very anxious dog – she gets upset and nervous with the slightest change in her routine so I suspect that also has a lot to do with it.  Still refusing food but that doesn’t shock me.  She’s not likely to eat when she’s upset and they have said she’s very anxious.  I think (hope) I’ll be able to get her to eat when she gets home.  At this point, I’m to call tomorrow morning and hopefully she’ll be able to come home around 9 a.m.   I miss my girl so much.  The house just doesn’t seem right without her here.



Surgery Day

October 17th, 2017 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Today was the big day!!  We gave her tranquilizers at 5 a.m. to help reduce her anxiety.  It seemed to work – she was pretty chill!  We dropped her off at 7 a.m. and were told her surgery was first thing in the morning.  We left her with a bag of all her favorite foods and a T Shirt (as suggested by some of the great Tripawds members).   She wasn’t thrilled and at first decided that she was not going to walk back with the nurse, she was going to walk out with us lol.  They put this little ribbon leash around her neck and I’m thinking to myself, even drugged that’s not going to move her (I was right)!  So I pretended like I was walking with the nurse then tried to do some sly maneuver which didn’t work.  But eventually she headed back.   It was so sad but I held it together and told her what a great day it was for her – she was getting rid of the nasty leg that had been causing her pain and would soon start a whole new chapter of her life!  I think she was calmer because I was calmer.

By noon I still hadn’t heard anything so I called, waited on hold and was eventually told there was no one available to talk to me yet!  Talk about ANXIETY!  Anyway, the surgeon called me back a little while later and told me that Maddie did very well – the surgery was routine, no surprises.  Lymph node looked good (but it was being sent for a biopsy) and that she was starting to wake up.  He also said she would be sent home with the same meds she has been taking (Tramadol, Gabapentin and Deramaxx) because he used a long-acting anesthetic (this was a surprise because we never talked about it).  He said he felt that it gives better pain management and helps reduce the amount of narcotics she will need to be on.   He knows the most important thing is her comfort and I do trust him (despite my anxiety) so I know she’s in good hands.  She’s in an ICU that is staffed 24/7 with doctors and nurses so if she is in any kind of distress, they’ll take care of it.  I was hoping she would get to come home tomorrow but the doctor said it may need to be Thursday.  We’re all okay with that as long as she is okay.  I am so glad her surgery is over.  I pray she is calm and not frightened.   I just wish I could fast forward thru all the discomfort for her.


The Beginning

October 16th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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.