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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surgery tomorrow

K is having surgery tomorrow to remove the bone containing the osteosarcoma tumor. She had two tests today to find out if she had any big tumors anyplace else in her body, and they were clean.

That information puts her in the category of osteosarcoma dogs who can have their lives extended by surgically removing the primary bone tumor and receiving chemotherapy. About 50% of dogs with osteosarcoma and no visible cancer besides the primary tumor survive for a year.

Tomorrow, the surgeon will remove about 2/3 of one bone (the ulna) in K's front leg. The rest of that leg will remain intact so K will still be a 4-pawed dog. We've chosen this particular surgery because it will allow K to be more active in the time that she has remaining on Earth than if she had the entire limb removed.

She'll come home on Saturday, and she'll recover for 2 weeks before starting chemo. Apparently, most dogs tolerate chemotherapy reasonably well, which was a big part of our decision to treat her disease aggressively. K's relatively young age, strong body, and amazing zest for life also helped with our decision. She has too much joy for life for us to give up on her now. Besides that, I'm greedy - I want more time with her.

On the day before K was diagnosed with a bone tumor, I featured this photo that I had taken of her. It seems like an ironic choice in retrospect. It shows her three healthy limbs. I didn't find out about the tumor until 24 hours later.
I feel like we are launching into a new chapter of life, a less active life, but a life where we'll make sure that we treasure each day because we know that our days together are limited. I hope that I can avoid worrying about the nasty C-word every day and instead revel in each day with K.

I think that, after her treatment, K and I will be able to enjoy sunrises and sunsets together again for a while, like we have for all 8 years of her life. While I'm heartbroken that K has to face an incurable form of cancer that will almost definitely shorten her life, I feel grateful that we will have at least some time together in the future.
I did nothing to "touch up" the photo of the sunrise. That is truly what the world looked like. One of my favorite things in life is watching a sunrise like this one with my Chocolate K.

62 comments:

rottrover said...

That sunrise is a beautiful beginning to this next phase of your life with K. She is so fit and strong we're sure she'll come through her surgery with flying colors. Our paws are crossed...

Chris said...

Good luck to K and you tomorrow. We will pray all goes well and she recovers nicely. I am curious about the surgery as we had no option except for full removal to the shoulder.

The chemo isn't too bad, but Lily does feel a little more 'down' a day or two after, but bounces back. She has had some issues with blood counts and such but that is too be expected.

I'm sure you will have many more years with your beautiful girl.

AC said...

I have tears streaming down my face--sadness for all that unfolded for K this week, but also gratefulness for the way you are able to see the world, both physically in those amazing sunrises and sunsets, and in spirit. That you and K get see and romp through this world together is no coincidence. The "joy and zest for life" fill both of you and I know will carry the pair of you through every moment you have together...as it already has.

harrispen said...

Good luck on your next journey with K. While the vets will tell you that "most dogs" tolerate chemo well, I can tell you from experience that not all do. Our Rottie was very nauseated from her chemo and would not eat or drink. We had to take her to the vet for IV fluids. Eventually they adjusted her dose and added an anti-nausea med to help her. I realize that K might not get the same chemo, but I wanted you to be sure to keep an eye on her when you start treatment (not that you wouldn't).

I will be thinking of all of you during her surgery.

Regards,

Cindy

Yoda, Brutus & Ellie said...

Will be thinking of K tomorrow and will keep her in our thoughts and prayers!!

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda, Brutus & Ellie

Mango said...

I, too, have heard that chemo is not nearly as hard on dogs as on humans. Will be keeping K close to my heart tomorrow.

Mango Momma

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Been one tough week and more for you and K. At least you have answers and a plan to move forward. We are going to think beyond one year and hope and pray for a lot more time together. Please give K some extra hugs from us.

Sam and Pippen said...

Our thoughts will be with K tomorrow.

Sam and Pippen

Chester said...

Hiya K! Nice to meetchya. I'm a friend of Mango's and Bunny Hound's and they've been speakin' of you and wantin' good thoughts sent your way.

I will gladly keep you and your PUs (parental units) in my thoughts as you begin this new chapter in your life. I know you'll adjust, us dawgs just have a way of acceptin' life's hard knocks better'n than the human breed. Just tell them to keep the negative energies outta their heads and away from you.

Big Brown (((HUGS))) and slobbers,
Chester ;0=)

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Thanks again for the update as we KNOW you have to be exhausted -

We'll echo what the others have commented about animals and chemo - they tolerate it much better for so many reasons -

SO, paws 'K'hrossed here!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra and Phyll
P.S. Now off to update our FrEYEday post! Our sky pics are nothing nearly as awesome as yours!

Nancy J said...

Cherish every day. Chocolate K will know how much you love her, and that immense wonderful love will get you through this hard time.The sunrise shows nature at its finest, and the colours tell of a new life for you both together.All hugs from Jean in NZ

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Every molecule of the collective White Dog Army is focused on sending hope and and strength to you and K. May this new journey, while not one of choice, still fill you with belief in the incredibleness of life and the invincibility of love. Know we walk beside you.

Raising Addie said...

Will keep praying for you both. We truly don't get a choice in what life throws our way, but you are blessed to have found each other to share your lives with. Many, many more sunrises will be in your future :) We just know it.

BIG hugs to you both.
Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie and Hailey

houndstooth said...

I think the sunrise is so beautiful, and a fortuitous beginning to the next step in life for the two of you. You and K are both two of the strongest, most resilient souls I know, and I think she'll come through the surgery with flying colors. I'll be watching all day to hear how it went. Our thoughts and prayers are still with you both!

The Thundering Herd said...

The sunrise is stunning, and such a great image for starting the next chapter of K's life. We are all rooting for good results and lots of time.

Barbara said...

Hey, we prayed for treatable, and we got it. Now we pray for a speedy, uneventful recovery, no recurrence and lots of time. Get busy people!

Maery Rose said...

Love the sunrise and your outlook. Once again, you inspire me.

Boondocks Love Shack Pack said...

Praying all goes well for K!

AROOOOOF!
Boondocks & The Love Shack Pack

Dream Valley Ranch said...

Oh KB-this is such a scary time and osteosarcoma is such a serious disease-but I am so relieved to hear that K's scans were otherwise clear so that you can be aggressive in your treatment choices and have more time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. She is so lucky to have such an amazing pair of humans as her advocates and as her loving family. Appreciating every joyful moment is sometimes the best we can do-having an opportunity to make sure that she gets more of them is even better. Here is to many many more of those moments together! Sending lots of love to all of you,
Xoxo
Sue and the crew

Trailblazer said...

Hey KB....

To look on the positive side....I'd say this is good news so far. When your last post said that the vet found a tumor that large, I thought the worst (but hoped for the best). The fact that the rest of her is clean is really good news!!!

I'm confident that, because she clearly loves life, she'll make it through this.

You all need some time to relax, and I hope you can get it soon. Nothing is worse than having to fret over the health of a loved one. It's got to be tied with the highest level of stress that a person can be faced with.

We're thinking about you all.

NCmountainwoman said...

If there is a snitch of good news it is here. I am so glad to hear that the dreaded "C" seems contained. I know the future will be a roller-coaster ride for all of you. Keep in mind there are so many of us out here who will be on that roller coaster with you every single day.

Those of us with dogs, especially those fortunate enough to have a soul-mate like you have in K will be sending neverending positive thoughts to you, K, the runner and R out there in the Rockies. The first is for a smooth and uncomplicated surgery tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Nothing I can say will take away worry or us being human and caring for those that we love with all our hearts. I understand that.

Just remember - she is a strong girl and is probably worring about you!!!

Always in our thoughs and prayers..

Sandra and Baylor

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Dear KB
The sunrise is painting a new beginning for you and K!
We thank you again for your update as we all care so much.
We send huggs to K.
I will send more healing bubbles to help K with her surgery tomorrow and to help her heal.
I will also send some bubbles to you to give your heart some peace and rest. Your family has been through so much.
Wishes for more sunrises and happy memories with your K, are being sent to you.
love
tweedles
ps- I know a Dalmation that had chemo for 2 years and did fine.

Two French Bulldogs said...

hugs to you and paws crossed for K. We will be thinking about you all day...
Benny & Lily

jen said...

What a beautiful sunrise. I wish K the best tomorrow in her surgery and my prayers will be that you and her have many more days to enjoy the world around her.

Bailey said...

I just stopped by to drop off some hugs and prayers -- Nala and I will keep you in our thoughts! :)

Woofs! <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

K9 Katastrophie said...

Chocolate K, we love you.

Maggie Mae said...

I am not sure that we can hold K and you any closer to our hearts, but we are going to try. :) We will be praying for you tomorrow.

Blessings and Love,
Janelle, Maggie Mae and Max

Nola said...

I'm crying. I have paws crossed and am praying K will be a miracle
Dachshund Nola

Hiking Hounds said...

I think you will be enjoying many more beautiful sunrises with K. :-) It's great that the cancer hasn't spread and you have this option for her. I bet she will do fine with the chemo. Zephyr had four aggressive chemo treatments and did well. I'm sure they'll tell you this, but you'll want to know about when her white blood cell count will be at the lowest from the chemo, for Zephyr it was a week after. I think the timing depends on the type of chemo and they should be able to give you a general idea of when it will happen. I had to take him in for blood work to monitor it. But, that's when you need to watch that she doesn't get a fever, etc. This doesn't happen very often, but on Zephyr's first round it did and I had to give more and different antibiotics and subcutaneous fluids at home (giving fluids is pretty easy and I didn't want him to have to stay at the vet's). The whole thing was scary, but he started feeling better within 24 hrs. This happened mainly because Zephyr's body was exhausted from fighting the encephalitis and was barely home from a week in the hospital. K won't have to deal with that. K is a strong girl and I bet she's going to surprise you at how well she'll do during and after her recovery. I'll be thinking of K tomorrow and we are still sending lots of love and healing messages to K and you all. :-)

Snowcatcher said...

You have an incredible attitude, and that's why K has such zest for life. Keep that part of the contagiousness going. I'm so glad others are sharing their experiences to increase your hope. And I'm so glad so many are rallying once more in your behalf. I hope you feel all the love and good wishes tonight, tomorrow, Saturday and for the next two weeks.

Berts Blog said...

What a beautiful sunrise, and what a sign of hope.

I still can't find words for you from my deep well of wisdom..(haha)

But my heart goes out to you and K and we will be thinking of you both all day tomorrow.

Bert and My Vickie

Luisa said...

You both will be in my thoughts tomorrow. Take care, and please give K an ear-scritch for me --

L

Stella said...

Here are more good wishes and prayers for our dear girl K. That the surgery will go smoothly and that time at home will be good to manage. We are lucky to be living in a time when information is readily available to us, our friend's experiences are there too.

That sunrise should give you the utmost hope for a glorious future with K. And we will all be walking along with you!

Cheers and hugs,

Jo, Stella dog and Zkhat

DV said...

Best luck to both of you tomorrow. tomorrow starts the path to making this better. And you never know...50% for one year can turn into 2 or 3 years. I've seen it happen.

Angus said...

We'll be thinking of you today . The good thing is less active lives just develop a different form of activity .

Wild Dingo said...

While we're happy to hear it is ther better of possible news, we know that what lies ahead is going to be difficult on every level. Much love and strength to you, k, r and the runner during this time. Power of the paw from all of us at wild dingo.

Sally said...

Paws crossed. We'll be thinking of you.

Maggie and Mitch said...

Our paws remain crossed. We have you in our thoughts and we are praying for the very best for K.

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Piappies World said...

A beautiful sunrise is another beautiful day. We pray that you and K will have lots of these sunrise mornings together. You are in our thoughts especially tomorrow and we remain all together here with crossed paws. You got lots of us here with you through, this K.

Love,
Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Wax, Wai-Pai & Forgie

browndogcbr said...

Like the beautiful sunrise is a promise for the day yet to unfold...

Tina said...

Hope surgery is going well! See, I told you I thought you were living in the perfect spot of the world. what a great picture! Enjoy every second you have with K, there definitely will be lots of sunrises you can watch together!

Winston said...

Will be thinking, and praying, for both of you today. Stay strong K!

Sending Wirey hugs your way,
Winston and Mom Shawn

Roo said...

So sorry to hear about this. Good news about it being only in one place. Paws crossed for K's surgery to go perfectly.

That is a most incredible sunrise :)

Hugs and wags,
The Roo Family

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock said...

We are sending good thoughts, vibes, purrs, woofs, neighs and hugs from France. May the surgery be a great success and you and K enjoy many more sunrises together.

The Poupounette Gang

DianeTaylor said...

It is Friday morning here in Baltimore - and I am at work with tears in my eyes, thinking about you and K and what you face today. She is so strong, that much is clear to me from your blog and the amazing photos and words you give us. My sweet chocolate lab Indy and I will be praying for a smooth surgery and a speedy recovery for K and you :)

LOVE that sunrise photo - it speaks volumes about life and what beauty there is in the world - we just have to stop long enough to see it!

God Bless - from the Taylors in Baltimore MD

Amber DaWeenie said...

Continued prayers for you and for K. Live every day to its fullest and then look forward to the next. One day at a time!

Janice in GA said...

One day at a time. That's all we really have anyway.

Still much love to you all.

NORWOOD UNLEASHED said...

A scary but new day is coming. You and K will perserve and light up like the sky. We are thinking of you. Power of the Paws.
norwood

3 doxies said...

We are heres fur ya'll and we is sending our most fierce vibes to be withs K during her surgery and furs you K furs you to has strength while ya'll goes through dis.
We loves you guys and we is heres fur ya.

Puddles
PS: Glad I could makes you smile.

The Thuglets said...

Your sunset is beautiful!

Thinking of K today and sending lots of positive thoughts for a successful surgery.

Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsx

Bassetmomma said...

Our thoughts are with you and K tomorrow. Having such a positive attitude will surely help both of you. The best lesson in life is to never take anything for granted. Sometimes it's hard, as we forget in daily life, but you definitely have your priorities straight. Cherish each and every moment. Good luck!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

I'm so glad you have access to this limb sparing technique / treatment that was pioneered here in CO. I wonder ... will K wear some sort of brace to support the leg on your adventures?

When I wrote a eulogy for a friend recently, I included this lesson that I learned from her ... Buying yourself more time is NEVER a waste of time, even if the outcome is the same.

K has a tremendous spirit and such strength. I truly hope that you have much more time than it seems today.

Good luck with the surgery! We'll continue to keep you in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog all the time, and I just know that from both of your strengths you will come through this with flying colors. K is a special baby and your love for each other is so obvious. We all love our animals and they are so much smarter than us. I wish both of you the best of luck and I know that you two will be watching sunsets together real soon. You are not in this alone.
Donna of NC

Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie said...

We are thinking of you today and have our paws crossed tightly.

Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie.

Corbin said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and K for a successful surgery and a quick recovery... we can't imagine what you're going through, but we're thinking about you.
-Corbin

Khumbu & Kiersten said...

What an incredible sunrise. Wishing all the luck in the world. Strength and healing thoughts heading your way. Hugs to you all. K & K

MurphyDog said...

its Friday afternoon here in Sandy Eggo...that means its even later in your neck of the woods. Me & Mom have been thinking about K & the rest of her family all day. Hoping to get an update soon, but understanding you have more important things to worry about now.

just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you

wags, wiggles & slobbers
Murphydog

mayziegal said...

We just wanted you to know that we've been think of you and K all day long. We're sending you pawsitive thoughts and hoping that everything's going okay.

Gentle wiggles & wags,
Mayzie

Painter Pack said...

Praying the surgery went well and that K is recouping comfortably. Also, thinking of you all and the pain you are dealing with...

Painter Pack

Wyatt said...

Hugs to you and K. We think you will be seeing more sunrises and sunsets together.

Love,
Wyatt, Stanzie and Mom

sophie...^5 said...

Sometimes "greed" is a good thing...in this case..be as love greedy as you can be!!!