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 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.