6 Weeks Post Surgery – Checking In

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I don’t know where to start as I have not posted in a while.  We have had GREAT days and not so GREAT days but I would say we are doing GOOD.  Since the stiches came out we have been taking a short walk each day — it took us about a week to build up but we can do a portion of the neighborhood route that we formerly did.  I am constantly amazed at how well he is doing… he has even hiked his leg to pee!

We opted to go the chemo route to treat Anjing’s grade III fibrosarcoma.  Yesterday he received the second treatment after a one week delay.  The first round was rough, particularly with eating, as one day he would eat scrambled eggs and toast and the next day he would turn his head.  Same with boiled chicken and some of the other meals I was preparing.  We just kept trying different things and finally when he ate his first real dog food meal I just about cried.

I feel much more prepared for this round and know what to expect.  Hopefully things will go smoothly.  I have tried to take some pictures of some milestone events to share… we are living one day at a time and enjoying every minute.

A BIG thanks to my family and friends for all of your support.  I also want to thank this community for all of the shared knowledge and support, it is invaluable in navigating through this journey.

 

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2 Weeks Post Op: A get well present from my dog cousin that the mail lady delivered.
3 Weeks Post: I went for a boat ride! My favorite!
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The night after my stiches came out… Mom let me sleep on the bed…of course I REALLY stretched out.
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4 Weeks Post Op: Taking a walk at Stinky Beach — I got to visit with some other beach dogs.
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Relaxing on the beach and watching the boats come in.
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Just this week my pawrents took me out to dinner in the city. I decided it was a good place to nap. Lots of people stopped to visit with me.
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Week 6: All done second round of chemo…. loaded up and ready to go home.

 

 

 


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11 Days Post Surgery – One Week at Home – Helpful Tips

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Here I am chilling on the front porch...
Here I am chilling on the front porch…

Just an update on Anjing and what we have learned over the past week.  Anjing is doing good, we are taking things one day at a time.  He has been sleeping a lot, we have panting (i don’t think it is pain related), he is eating, drinking plenty of water and taking three scheduled outside “breaks” each day  — poopy came around day 5 and has been consistent ever since.  His attitude is good.  Today is “step down” days for the Tramadol 2 pills – 3X per day to 1 pill – 3x per day and tomorrow is supposed to be no Tramadol – though I do have some as a backup if needed.

We have learned a lot over the past week and I thought I would put everything in one post in hopes it helps someone else.  Some of this is basic stuff, but things you may not think of when things happen so fast.

Preparing your house:

  • Yoga Mats!  One of the techs at the Vet Hostpital suggested this and yes, these have been a godsend for getting around on our hardwood floors.  All of my spares and even my fancy cork yoga mat are lined up to provide a non-slip walking surface for Anjing.
  • Raised food and water bowls.  Anjing is a taller lab, so bending forward to his food and water bowl was a little difficult.  A 12″ food and water bowl holder for $20 off of Amazon has come in handy.
  • Old sheets and towels — Anjing’s favorite place is on our white slipcovered sofa.  Even though he has several dog beds, he was very happy and relaxed to recover on the sofa.  I removed the back cushions and took a few old towels and covered the bottom, and put a clean sheet on the top.  I had 2 spare sheets and have been changing them each day, keeping his “recovery” area clean and smelling good.

General Stuff:

  • Get on a schedule.  It helps you and your pet.  Of course there might be some slight variation depending upon how your boy or girl is feeling but on the first day home I found an App for my phone that kept track of all of his meds – that helped keep ahead of the pain and made sure he got everything when he is supposed to.  You can also figure out meals and potty breaks within this schedule too.
  • Food and water bowl  — I have been able to keep Anjing’s food and water bowl in their normal place – I incorporated a trip past it both going outside and coming in.  I used a cardboard box the first couple of days to figure out how much I needed to raise them up.
  • Pills  —  I have never had issues giving Anjing pills — I have always coated them in peanut butter and he has thought they were treats.  After surgery, he did not want peanut butter  — oh no!  After a slight freakout –  I went through the fridge and found that I had some salmon flavored cream cheese.  This did the trick!  Anjing has gotten lots of salmon flavored “treats” this week.
  • Food — the first day home Anjing did not want anything to do with his food.  Since we “rescued” him he has been on a steady diet of Sweet Potato and Trout dry kibble.  Another “oh no” moment.  The next morning his poppy made him scrambled eggs and toast, we served it in his bowl and his regular eating spot and he gobbled it up.  Later that day, I boiled some chicken breasts and made a “slurry” to go over a his food.  This he loves and I have been able to slowly transition him back to his dog food.  So far so good on this — only problem is that our cat now wants chicken too.
  • Stay positive — I have definitely noticed if I am down so is Anjing.  We both enjoy sitting on either our front or back porch.  The weather has been great this week and we have made a point of doing that for at least an hour each day.  During this time I have given him a little massage or brushed him and it helps both of us.
  • Read and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  My discharge instructions from the vet hospital was a bulleted list of 10 items.  All of the resources on Tripawds.com has been super helpful.  Call your vet when you have questions.

I hope that our next 5 days go as smoothly as the past week has.    On Monday Anjing gets his stiches out so that is our next big hurdle.  I am also going to try and get him in the car tomorrow as a test run.  He loves car rides so lets hope that has not changed.  I will post another update in a few days.

 

An Introduction…

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Here I am recovering in my favorite spot — the sofa.
Here I am on vacation last year.
Here I am on vacation last year.

I feel so fortunate that my sister found this site for me.  I probably would have eventually found it on my own but the last couple of weeks have been such a blur that I am thankful she directed me to it and I was able to find some very helpful information.  Thank you Tripawds and community.

Anjing (means Dog in Balinese) is my 8 or 9 year old rescue lab.  He came to live with us in the fall of 2007 when he was young.  Our vet thought he was about 1 year at the time. We almost named him “Sweet Pea” because he is truly a sweet dog.   He is the successor to a pair of labs that we had who lived a long (14 1/2 year ) life.

About 4 weeks ago, I took Anjing to the vet for his first “senior” visit.  I had noticed that he had started  panting and it was becoming more frequent.  I discussed this with the vet and she said that it might be a case of Laryngeal Paralysis which is common in labs.  She prescribed a med and told me to monitor him and if the panting became more frequent to start him on the med.  That weekend after the visit, I noticed that he had also started limping on his front leg – the panting also got worse – this time it was a fast labored pant.  A friend was visiting for the weekend and she and I both agreed he was in pain.  I called the vet back and she prescribed a pain med, both of us thinking that he strained something.  She said to monitor him for a few days and bring him in if he was not getting better.  After a couple of days I took him back in, this time in examining him, she found a large lump on his neck, just below where his collar fell.  She asked if I had felt it before and I had not.   She took a needle biopsy and put him on an Antibiotic — we agreed to touch base in a week — our hope was that the lump would go away.

A week passed and the needle biopsy came back inconclusive.  The lump was still there, unchanged and his right leg was beginning to be “pushed” out to the side a little.  My vet referred me to our local surgical center for an appt with a surgeon for removal of the lump. The appt was last Monday, August 17.  The surgeon examined my boy, and told me that the lump needed to be removed ASAP, it was in a bad spot to begin with and he suspected that it was pushing on his windpipe and putting pressure on the nerves in his front right leg, thus causing the limping.  The surgeon was very thorough and told me that it would be possible that he would have to take the leg depending upon how the mass had spread.  Of course, I thought “this is not going to happen”.  The surgery was scheduled for the next day, Tuesday August 18.

I gave Anjing a hug and lots of kisses the morning I dropped him off.  I told him to be brave.  The Surgery Center told me that the procedure would take place early to mid afternoon.  I went to to my office to try and work because I was very worried and concerned I needed something to take my mind off.  The hospital called me mid afternoon and said that Anjing was in surgery and that the surgeon needed to speak with me.  He explained that the mass had grown around the root nerves of Anjing leg and that the source of the mass appeared to be his shoulder.  He said that I had two options — he could take a biopsy and then do another surgery once we knew what it was or he could proceed and remove the mass BUT he would need to remove Anjing’s shoulder and leg as well.  We discussed these options and based on the information that I had, I authorized the surgeon to proceed with the mass and limb removal.  This was an unbelievable decision I had to make in an incredibly short amount of time.  Afterwards, I was in shock.

Anjing is an incredible dog, we have an incredible bond.  The night after the surgery all I could do was send him good thoughts and prayers.  The surgeon said that Anjing did well and the procedure was much more than he anticipated.  We had a few tough days ahead of us.

As anyone who has experienced this uncertainty can imagine, last week was a really tough week. There were highs and lows, and he had a blood transfusion one night as well.  I was told the the blood transfusion was not an abnormal requirement with the circumstances.  Anjing was released from the hospital on Saturday morning August 22 and so our journey begins…

 

 

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