Three years ago was the hardest day. A few days prior we made the hard, but the most beneficial life-changing decision to have Applesauce’s leg amputated. After her diagnosis of osteosarcoma in February 2017, the talk of amputation was off the table. She was a big girl – 85-90# and had hip dysplasia. Her right hip was the worst of the two and if we removed the left leg, this hip would bear the brunt of her weight. It was not an option.
Fast forward to April – after several successful tumor injections, the tumor was dissolving, but so was the healthy tissue in her leg and the leg became necrotic. We were bandaging the leg with potty pads, hand towels, and wrapping it with tape and it was still seeping through. The stench alone was enough to make us all sick. It was obvious she did not feel good, didn’t want to eat. It hurt to move. I knew we couldn’t continue this and in my mind, the end was near.
During a visit to the vet to have the bandage changed, Dr. Novy wanted to do another round of X-rays. They came out clean – there was no sign of metastasis in her chest. Bloodwork revealed her liver and kidneys were healthy and functioning. What, if anything could we do?
“What if we do remove her leg?” was the immediate question that came out of my mouth. In my desperation to find a way to save her life, I was willing to sacrifice her leg. I was quickly mentally preparing for a new reality but I was willing to do whatever was needed. We made the decision to remove the leg.
April 25, 2017 she had her surgery. It was successful. I visited her that afternoon and evening and she was still pretty groggy but she knew I was there.
The next morning they had her outside in the sun and I sat with her and brushed her. They told me we could bring her home later that day. I was relieved and scared to death. But my love for this dog overrode any fear or apprehension of what our future would entail.
Bringing her home that night was like someone had watered a flower that had thirsted for days. She bloomed. Her appetite was back, her spirit was back, the light in her eyes was back. It would be a journey from here on out – and I navigated the waters as best I could – but she had another 18 months of living her best life – and I will cherish this journey for the rest of my life. I miss my girl so badly and my heart has a permanent chunk removed, but I do not regret doing anything and everything I could for my girl.
Osteosarcoma is NOT a death sentence. It is a horrific, scary diagnosis, however, do your research and talk to everyone and ask all the questions. Advocate for your baby.
I’d give anything to still have her here with me – but she lived her best life – and she lived a life within her age range for her breed. She will live on in my heart forever and I will do my best to use her story to help others move forward.
Applesauce went on to participate in CLEAR (Canine Cancer Education and Research’s www.clearcaninecancer.com) documentary “My Friend Standing Strong” which focuses on canine osteosarcoma research.
I miss my girl so much it’s hard to breathe some days, but I know her journey was not for naught and she’s out there being a guardian angel and allowing me to share her journey and our experience.
Applesauce my monkey girl – my saucers – love and miss you 24/7.
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