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Handsome Henry

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Handsome Henry

Making the decision to amputate…

July 1st, 2016 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

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Henry was diagnosed with cancer on May 31st, two days before his 10th birthday.  My vet advised that Henry’s case would have to be transferred to an oncologist and surgeon, the sarcoma was too large to remove it all.  If I elected to try and remove the tumor he would need radiation to shrink the rest of it.  So I have to put my totally healthy on the outside dog through surgery and 20 days of radiation and we’re not even removing all the cancer?  He’s not sick.  He’s eating.   He’s not in pain.  I don’t understand how I can do this to him.  She was kind, she said she wasn’t an expert in this area and to make an appointment with an oncologist asap and they could go over treatment plans and options.  She gave me a referral but said it was up to me and I could go wherever I wanted and she’d get his records where ever I decided to go.  I took to social media to see if anyone had any info on a dog oncologist.  I’d never heard of the place she referred me to and knew there was a place close to home that dealt with this sort of thing.  Then the messages started.  Is Henry ok?  I ignored them.  Others posted names, a few close friends had gone to ORVS and had good things to say.  But for some reason I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t make the decision which oncologist to go to.  I couldn’t make any decisions at all. I can’t even say out loud that he has cancer without falling apart.  I’m not strong enough for this.  He is fine.  He’s eating, he is not showing any signs that he is sick.  He’s happy.  Now I’m supposed to take him somewhere and he’s going to need surgery, radiation and maybe chemo.

Finally I got it together and made an appointment.  The soonest I could get in was Saturday the 4th.  Even after I made the appointment I struggled with, am I going to the right place?  Should I take him  to more than one place.  I just want to do the very best I can for him.  The waiting was driving me crazy.  The not knowing was agonizing.

Saturday finally came and my parents went with Henry and I to the oncologist.  My parents wanted to be there to support me and because they love my baby too and they were not going to let us go through this alone.  I am so blessed that they have not let me go through this alone.

The oncology team was awesome.  They loved Henry and explained every option and answered every question. I had no idea that radiation required them to be put under anesthesia.  I mean it makes sense but anesthesia is a risk on a good day, but everyday?  As I mentioned in my previous post, Henry had surgery in October of 2015 and he did not do well when he came off the anesthesia.  He became very aggressive and wouldn’t let anyone touch him.  Hours later he barely recognized me and was miserable.  How could I do that to him?  He’s 10 years old, I don’t know if his overweight body can take it.  Of course the other option was amputation but if the cancer had spread, he still may need chemo and/or radiation.  I had a lot to think about and they had to run tests on him.

I discussed with my parents but until I knew if the cancer was contained or not, I didn’t know what I’d do.  It did seem like his best odds would be if there was no spreading of the cancer, amputation would give him the best chance.

We got the test back and ultrasound, x-rays, blood work, everything else… all looked good and pointed to the tumor being contained to the foot/leg area.  So now my joke that I should just cut off his leg since he’s had so many problems has come true and I feel like an idiot for ever having said it.  The only concern the oncologist and eventually the surgeon we met with, was that Henry was over weight and his remaining front leg already had a bit of a patellar luxation and he would have to lose weight.

Now we had to check out and schedule the surgery.  The woman at the desk said she could get him in Monday morning.  I almost fainted.  Monday.  In 2 days.  She said she had openings on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, into the next week.  Again, totally paralyzed.  I paid the bill and the very nice woman advised that they were open 24 hours a day and when I was ready I could give them a call.  By the time we got home and I pulled my big girl panties up, I called and scheduled his surgery for Wednesday the 8th.  Monday seemed just too soon.  I needed more 4 legged dog time, but didn’t want to let this tumor spread anymore.

In the days before the surgery we took walks, he had visitors, I made a mold of his left paw and I worried.  I worried about his future.  Was I being selfish.  I worried how our life would be moving forward.  I still at times feel like I’m in a constant state of worry.  I mean it’s only been 3 weeks, 2 days and 1 hour since his surgery, so…


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5 Comments so far ↓

  • jleidun

    How are you? How is Henry doing? I know your feelings and feeling paralyzed to make a decision. Thinking of you.

    • justdebbie9

      Thank you! Henry is 3 weeks post op and doing great. I plan on writing about our journey after surgery next. (Thought I’d blabbed on enough today!) It was interesting to revisit those feelings that feel like they were forever ago but were just a few weeks. So much has happened.

  • kazann

    It gets easier with time. It’s been 2 years since my cat had her amputation and I can’t even remember what she was like before. I remember someone said their cat went in for an amputation and came home with more personality. I have the same experience with Mona. I have seen her do things that amaze me. She went to the to check her weight the other day and she stretched out on the scale, they got her weight and she stayed on the scale and ate treats. She would not have done this 2 years ago. All the best to you and Handsome Henry.
    Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

    • justdebbie9

      Thank you Kerren and Mona. I’m waiting for his personality to come back full time. I know it’s still early.

  • benny55

    You did an excellent job of chronicling this part of Henry’x journey, your emotions and the your thought processes! We understand all too well!

    A d the whole time Henry isn’t worried about a thing! He doesn’t give a rip about any ole diagnosis, nor does he spend anytime worrying about his tomorrows. Henry lives in the now, in the present. Ahhh…the bliss of BEING DOG!

    Hang in there! You’re doing great…and so is Henry! And a shout out to your caring parents!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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