August was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in August 2016. I made the decision to amputate her leg immediately. As each day went by post-amputation August looked better and better. Cancer had taken her leg but not her spirit!
I settled into a routine of cancer research, finding holistic supplements, and weekly vet visits. Through my limited research and advice from the vet, chemotherapy was the next step. Chemo does not affect dogs the way it affects humans. Most dogs experience very mild, if any, side effects so her quality of life would still be fine. I decided as long as she was happy, I would keep doing whatever I needed to do for her.
By the time bone cancer is diagnosed in a limb, there’s a 90% chance it has already metastasized to the lungs. Her initial chest x-ray showed no signs of “mets” in the lungs, but the doctor said that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It just means they may be too small to see.
August would have chemo every three to four weeks (depending on her white blood cell count) and then go in for check ups each week in between treatments. Two months after her initial amputation surgery chest x-rays were taken to once again see if there were any signs of cancer in her lungs. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the results.
Thankfully, they came back clean! August will go in for her fourth round of chemo next week and so far she is happier and more active than I’ve seen her in a long time. She runs at full speed in the backyard and jumps up to fetch tennis balls. She can hang with the best of them at the dog park. She has no idea what’s going on so she continues to live in the moment.
The cancer diagnosis was tough to hear. But I draw my inspiration from August. She’s not letting it stop her from enjoying life so I won’t either. I take it day by day because I never know when I might get the dreaded news that the cancer has spread. I get hope by reading stories of dogs who have lived a year or more after diagnosis. In the meantime, I’m enjoying every second I get with my sweet girl and will continue to make memories. We’re in this together.