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Why Should I NOT Amputate?

With an “out of the blue” osteosarcoma diagnosis, we met the idea of  amputation with abject opposition. It was simply unthinkable to us. As we worked to become educated on the choices we were facing, I became increasingly distressed and — in trying to cope with my own emotions around the entire situation — I began developing a sort of “moral” flowchart. And, in so doing, came to view the decision-making process as more about pain management and quality of life than anything else.

Ultimately, the decision became quite simple and irrespective of our own emotional distress around “it all.” The decision to be made was not weather to amputate but, rather, to determine if there was a reason not to amputate.  I do not mean to suggest this is the correct choice, process, or path for others… but it has continued to provide great solace in an otherwise heartbreaking experience.

patches OSA decision tree
Click to Enlarge

Chemotherapy Begins

Patches’ First Post-Amputation Ride

Today was a good day. Patches got to go for his first R-I-D-E in the car since returning home from surgery. And, despite continued claims by the primary veterinary specialty center that the next closest veterinary oncology practice is in Phoenix or Los Angeles, Patches started chemo today… locally… in a comfortable, caring, and safe environment.

We were able to park directly outside the entrance. We were able to wait in the car until an exam room was available, and then someone from the staff held the door open for us. We walked through a calm reception environment with attentive, communicative, and friendly staff. It was only a few yards from the entrance to the exam room, with an easy pitstop on a nearby scale. 62.4 lbs (10 lbs lighter).

Yoga mats were already on the exam room floor when we entered… without even asking… although we had also brought our own. We sat by each other, and Patches laid down. Calm. Secure. I was moved to tears.

The vet tech arrived informed, knelt down on the floor with Patches, and had treats! She listened. She understood.

The vet walked in and immediately sat on the ground with Patches throughout our initial consult. I feel so grateful and simultaneously enraged that all the other veterinary practices — yes, including the AAHA facilities — refer to the specialty center. Reviewing the organizational structure on the Secretary of State portal reveals the specialty center is actually under the umbrella of a veterinary referral LLC. We had a delicious vegan lunch while Patches received his first dose, and began to strategize how we might best spare other families and pets from the unnecessary horrors of the specialty center (and ourselves from libel claims); rather than enable and ruminate on our guilt around what we and our Baby Dog have been through over the last 45 days.

Maybe, Maybe and Maybe

Maybe a reprieve. There are 2 oncologists in our giant urban area.. and we were looking to leave one of the practices. The second oncologist is only here 3 days a month. However, we were able to sneak in, because of a last minute cancellation. We are keeping our fingers crossed and trying not to hope. But the receptionist for the new practice actually answered the phone, and told us we could leave Baby Dog in the car until the room is ready, and that they had blue mats they can lay down in the exam room to make the dogs more comfortable on tile floors. Just someone being kind, and calling us back, and trying to help, made us break down. 

We are on day three of Amandatine – prescribed only after we begged, and then called in under the wrong pet name (“Captain” instead of “Patches”), and wrong DOB, causing me to have to be at the CVS for an hour, and going through 3 different vet techs, after a 10 hour day at work.

He has calmed though, and today an extra wide yoga mat arrived via Amazon, and Baby Dog is relaxing more – dreaming, cuddling with Dad, and tonight he lay down on his side -something he had not done since we came home. We changed pill administration to peanut butter and tonight, ground bison and a whole head of spinach. His appetite is down, but he is still eating, though only half of what he ate before, so I am using a lot of tupperware, and we are all adjusting. As I write this, Baby Dog is on the couch in the other room, and Patches Dad is finally taking a shower. I washed the sheets lining our couch, with a little laundry sanitizer, and may have had an extra glass of wine or two.  We are trying to relax, and seeing the dog more calm is helping us try to get there.

Here is the Baby Dog on his Extra Wide yoga Mat, modeling a fresh “can’t wear this anymore” undershirt from Dad. 

 

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