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A New Reality

When August was diagnosed with bone cancer it took a few days to sink in. Maybe it wasn’t bone cancer. Maybe there had just been a mistake. If it is, maybe she will be the exception and beat this. A lot of maybes.

I didn’t know much about bone cancer yet, but the common theme in all the informational articles I had read was “aggressive.” This cancer moves fast and there’s no time to waste. I consulted with my primary vet. She consulted with her trusted veterinary oncologist and they concluded that yes, the best course of action is to amputate the limb with the primary tumor immediately. I went home. I made a video of August’s last day with all four legs. Within a week of the initial diagnosis, she had her back right leg removed.

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The realities of amputation surgery aren’t pretty.

I was a nervous wreck the day of the surgery. The last time one of my dog’s had surgery, he passed away from complications hours after. With that fresh in my memory, I couldn’t wait for the phone call letting me know August was okay. It came that evening. Not only did she make it through surgery just fine, the doctor told me she was doing as well as he hoped she’d be. She would need between 2-5 days in the hospital before I could bring her home.

I visited her every day in the hospital after her surgery. That first visit was tough, as she was full of staples and her entire stomach was a blackish blue, but her spirit shined and she did not want to sit still! She covered me in kisses to let me know everything was okay. The vet techs said she was getting up on her own and dragging them around when it was time to go outside to pee! She was definitely not having any trouble maneuvering on three legs.

On the fifth day I finally got to bring her home. I was still nervous. Could she rupture something and bleed out internally? What if she hurt her one good back leg? I brought her home on a Monday and had to be gone a few hours that night. The vet tech assured me she would be fine alone I just needed to keep her confined. I did not have a crate big enough for her to be comfortable, so I cordoned off a tiny spot in my bedroom using chairs and placed her bed there. I left for my work event but my mind was on August the entire time.

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See mom? I got this!

The doctor’s orders were explicit. No running. No jumping. No activity other than walking for two weeks. When I returned home that night, August was not where I had left her. Not only did she somehow bust out of the chairs surrounding her little area, she had managed to wiggle out of her cone and jump up on the couch like nothing had happened. As a matter of fact, she was smiling.

I took that as a sign she was going to be a fighter.

To be continued…