Last Friday I wrote about Daisy's biopsy. When I wrote that we knew what the results were but I was not strong enough to write about it. A full week later, I am able to talk about this without falling apart. I am normally a fairly impulsive person but with this we have taken a lot of time do to our research. We have gone back and forth so many times but I think I am finally where I need to be.
Thursday night, last week, we got the call from the University we were waiting for. The test results.
They were able to rule out a fungal infection but since the vet at Camden Pet Hospital told us this was very unlikely, we pretty much already knew we were not dealing with an infection.
The problem is, after running the tests three times and exhausting the entire sample, they are still not sure if we are dealing with Osteosarcoma or Fibrosarcoma.
The difference in these two cancers are very extreme.
Fibrosarcoma is local and will not spread throughout her body. Spreading only happens in very rare cases. To treat Fibrosarcoma, they remove the infected bone and there is a full recovery. If we knew for certain this is what we were dealing with, the next steps would be obvious.
Osteosarcoma is different. This type of cancer spreads quickly to other parts of the body. The treatment is to remove the bone and then follow up with Chemotherapy and/or Radiation. They told us that a dog with Osteosarcoma would live on average three months without Chemo and nine months to a year with the Chemo.
We spent countless hours debating the pros and cons of removing the bone. Since this is her front left arm, they will remove the entire arm including the shoulder blade.
Will she be able to learn to walk with three legs at her age? Will she be depressed and confused when she wakes up with a missing arm? How will she adjust to this major change in her life?
We also needed to decide if we wanted to put her through this major surgery if we later found out that she would need to have Chemotherapy. Is that how she should spend the rest of her life?
We turned to the Internet and looked for case studies of other dogs similar in size and age who have been through this same thing. I found a website called Tripawds.com and learned a lot of what I was worrying about was very common and they answered a lot of my questions.
First, she will learn to walk again. She will be able to walk hours after her surgery, will be pretty mobile in 3 to 4 days after surgery, and within a few weeks she will be back to normal. Even at 9 years old!
Second, she will not be depressed. She will be thankful that she is no longer in pain. She will not miss her hurting arm. Who misses pain?
Dogs do not get depressed. People do and we project our feelings onto the dog. She was happy before all this started and she will be happy after!
She will need to wear a harness with a handle on the back just in case she falls and we need to help her up. I need to stress, the handle is functional attire so I can do that. It is not a tu-tu or a sweater, I cannot handle that!
After spending the long weekend researching, soul-searching, and Internet-searching, we knew what to do.
She will be having her surgery on Tuesday and will be home with us on Wednesday night. Someone will be with her full time until Monday morning to aid in her recovery. By Monday she should be able to be home alone for periods of time.
This post does not in any way express the raw emotion we have felt over this decision. That is intentional. If I revisited my feelings right now I would fall apart and for the next few weeks, months, we need to be strong. For Daisy.
Because in the end, that's what this is all about. Making Daisy better so we can have her with us for as long as possible.
I will post again after her surgery. Eventually I will post pictures but I am not sure when I will be ready to take any.