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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Falling off a cliff

Yesterday started out with a beautiful dawn snowshoe hike with my K. We saw the sun kiss the tops of the towering pine trees together.
 It was going to be a normal day, including a quick visit to the vet for a routine test.
At the visit, I mentioned that K had been limping on her 3-toed paw. The vet started running her hands over K's legs, feeling for any problems. I expected nothing to show up - I believed that was just a sore paw. After all, K had romped enthusiastically just that morning.
The vet's fingers focused on one spot and her brow furrowed. I still didn't feel panicked. K was fine, I told myself.
After some more probing and pointing out a lump on K's leg, the vet said that she wanted an x-ray of K's forelimb, due to a lump on her leg about 8" above where her toe was amputated a year ago. The vet and K trotted off into the back of the vet's offices.

The wait seemed to go on and on. But, I still assured myself that my precious K was fine. I kept reminding myself of how she'd run around that morning.
When the vet finally came out, she said that I needed to go into the back with her. Then, my stomach fell to the ground. "My" vet has taken care of our dogs for more than a decade. I know her well, and I knew what I saw in her eyes.

In fact, the vet had discovered a golf-ball sized tumor in a bone in K's front limb. She'd then x-rayed K's lungs to check whether any malicious cancer cells had spread into them. Fortunately, she didn't see anything bad on the chest x-ray.

When the vet told me about the tumor, her eyes brimmed with tears, I literally collapsed onto the floor. I know what this probably means. If it's osteosarcoma, we don't have much time. Unfortunately, it was Friday afternoon at 4 PM before Christmas weekend. The vet made a valiant attempt to pull together a group of experts at Colorado State to work on K last night but they'd already scattered into the wind, getting ready for the holiday weekend with their families.

The CSU vet oncology department reopens on Wednesday, and we'll be there in the morning. K will probably lose her leg that day, and we'll get a better idea of her overall prognosis. In the meantime, she cannot do anything more than very very short walks. Her bone is on the verge of breaking because the tumor is wider than the bone itself. We need avoid letting her break it because that could be catastrophic.
I've cried buckets of tears and felt physically ill since receiving this news. I don't yet know how much time we have left with K... but I feel pretty sure that, unbeknownst to me, K and I did several things together last week that we'll never be able to do again. Losing a front limb is so tough on a dog - they can't hike very far or romp with abandon.

I took this photo just as we finished our snowshoe hike yesterday, still blissfully unaware of what was growing in K's bone. I had no idea that we were just about to fall off a cliff.
In the midst of my grief, I keep coming back to one thing - I've had 8 precious years with a dog who has loved me unconditionally. Even if the end is soon, I've had the greatest gift imaginable - K as my dog and best friend.


  1. Oh, I am so very sorry. My heart just dropped when I read the news. I am hoping and praying for a miracle and that you will have 8 more years with beautiful K.

    I hope you enjoy every moment with K this weekend despite the upcoming procedure on Wednesday. Thinking of you both!

  2. Oh KB I cant tell you how sorry I am. That was not what you needed. Poor K, poor KB Love from EM

  3. Dear K.B,no words can help ease the pain or how saddened I am at this news. You've been thru the wringer than last year. I'm praying that K kicks this to the sea and that you'll have a long time together.
    Sending love to you all.

  4. Sending love and hugs. Love her every minute of every day - as you usually do. You know that you're both in my thoughts.


  5. Oh what awful news! My heart is aching for you. We're praying for k's health.

  6. This calls for a ring of paws, all crossed to call for the Power of the Paw. Or maybe in your case, the power of the mountain.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  7. I'm so sorry to hear this news. These months will be difficult for you and K but your love will help you be strong for K. Yes there are activities you may not beable to do anymore but you will still beable to do some. After such an operation, K's body will rebalance to cope and muscles will strengthen to accomodate her movement. As you well know nature has a way of working things out. In the future you will go on different walks with K perhaps photograph and see things you didn't see before. Life will change but she could still be happy, active and satisfied in life as other doggies are who have lost a front limb. I hope you will let us know how things unfold and how K is. I'm so sorry for your news and hope that the operation can help.

  8. I don't have words. You and K are so strong. I am hoping that you make it through until Wednesday OK and that the amputation will keep the cancer at bay for now. I am thinking of you.

    Mango Momma

  9. I am sitting here in tears for you and K because I am reliving how it felt for me to receive this same news for my precious Rudi. Saying that 'I'm sorry' doesn't seem like enough because I know how intertwined K is in your life and what she means to you. Please know that we are keeping you all in our prayers to find the strength to get through this. I am also hoping that this will not take K from you but she will remain by your side for years to come.

  10. Stopping by from Mango's blog to let you know that we have our paws crossed for you that all goes well.

    Sam and Pippen

  11. I am so, so sorry to hear this news. I am shocked by it so I can only imagine how you must feel. We always see such beautiful shots of K and your activities, that it is hard to believe that dreadful disease has been growing there. You will both be in my thoughts and I hope her surgery and recovery will be relatively easy on you both.

  12. We were hoping for snow like that in Vail last week alas we got very little

    Stop on by for a visit

  13. Oh my word.

    My heart goes out to you and K. Very best wishes to you both.

    F*** cancer. Our dogs' lives are already too short, even when they stay healthy. :(

    Much love to you both, and mojo for good news.

  14. Oh no! I hope she will make it to surgery without breaking it and will hope for the best possible outcome. Us doggies are resilient and even if she can't romp with abandon I hope she will have lots of good days to come.
    Paws are crossed! Big hugs from momma & I.

  15. many tears here

    We will be praying for you both. Please give K and extra big hug from us and a nice long snuggle.

    Lots of Luv & Kisses
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  16. Oh, KB, my heart hurts for you tonight. What ELSE must you endure?

    You have shared your intense love for K with us and we have fallen in love with her because of you

    My prayer is that, if she must lose a leg, she will have the most incredible life w/o it because of you and your faith in her spirit

  17. You and K are very much in my thoughts, and I'm sending you all the love and strength that thoughts can carry. Take care --


  18. Once again, a Saturday filled with sadness - last week for The HPP -

    And now sweet sweet K and her beyond awesome humans -

    Words failed me then -

    And they fail me now -

    'They' say dogs live in the moment -

    So make all the moments ahead last as you fill the bucket lists with memories -

    Please know we are here for you -

    Paws KHROSSED from PA

    Khyra and Phyll

  19. This was brave my friend. Now go and do a little more of what we talked about. It's ok.....

    Bert and My Vickie

  20. I'm so sorry. K has a wonderful life with you, something I wish I could give my boys the same thing. If K loses a leg, she will recovery quickly. We will keep her in our prayers.


  21. I am sitting here on Xmas Eve reading and re-reading your post wondering what is going on here. I can't get my mind around the situations that have fallen into your world lately. I won't be dramatic as the last time but I still want you to know that you are foremost in our thoughts like so many other of your followers are. Get lots of sleep and stay focused and please give K an enormous hug from us...Love the 3 amigos from Nova Scotia!

  22. Oh no, KB.

    Very sorry to hear about this.

    Our thoughts are with you.

  23. So sorry for the news. It would be terrible at any time of the year, but Christmas Eve? Sending a hug and a prayer for you and warm purrs and woofs for K.

  24. We're so sorry to hear this. K is in our thoughts.
    Morgan, Tsar and the Porties

  25. So sorry to hear this news. Please know that we will keep you and K in our thoughts and prayers.

  26. I wish I knew what to say. Please just know we are all with you and K and that our paws are all crossed for you both.

  27. I'm so sorry to hear about K and the diagnosis.... Please look into Artemisinin and its derivatives. My girl Sunshade was dx with cancer last year, and despite aggressive surgery, we were still unable to get clean margin. I opted to use some of the natural cancer fighting agents, and a year later, she just celebrated her 12th birthday.

    One of the yahoo canine cancer groups that I belong to has many osteosarcoma pups that have had their lives extended greatly with the use of Artemisinin and other cancer fighting agents.

    All the best to you and K, and still... we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas...

    Take care,
    Elaine, Sunshade & Jaffa

  28. I am so, so sorry to hear this news. I can only imagine the waiting is unbearable.

    You and K are in our thoughts this weekend.......and we will hope for a good prognosis.

    Healing Hugs coming your way.
    MinnaKrebs and Cheryl

  29. Dear KB
    The words we just read stopped us in our tracks. I went outside to get a breath of fresh air- so I could process what you just told us.
    I know you feel as though the sky has fallen.
    We are right here- with you. I know you cannot see us, but we are here. So many caring friends are gathering around you this Christmas Eve.
    We will keep sending postive thoughts and prayers to K and your family.
    If only there was something we could do to help- you know we would.
    We love you all

  30. I have no words, KB. None at all. I am reading this post with a sunken heart and a lump in my throat. I really can "feel" your bond with K through your blog, and through the private e-mails we've shared. You are an amazing person, an amazing dog owner.. you work so hard to give your dogs such huge amounts of safety and freedom, all at the same time. No one deserves something like this - but you and K ESPECIALLY don't.

    No matter what the future holds, know that you have done more for K in 8 short years - in this year ALONE, even - than most people do for their animals in an entire lifetime.

    I will be thinking of you this coming week as you go through something that I'm sure will be heart wrenching, no matter which way it goes.

  31. Still reeling from your news. I am in tears again tonight as I read your words here. I know that K means so very much to you. Sending you all the good vibes and thoughts and wishes and hugs I can possibly muster. I am just so very sorry.


  32. Oh my goodness, our hearts hurt for you
    Benny &Lily

  33. My heart breaks for you. I don't comment often but I love reading about the bond the two of you share. I will hold K and your family close in my thoughts and prayers.

  34. I am at a loss for words and my heart is so heavy. Our prayers are with you and healing thoughts, and comfort. You 2 have such a wondeful bond.

  35. Being a Greyhound person, a limp and the words osteo are frightening and overwhelming. I am so sorry that you've gotten this news. It broke my heart!

    There are a lot of Greyhounds who lose a limb and go on to lead pretty full and active lives. It is serious and severe, but it doesn't have to mean the very end. I know that you and K both share the same strength of spirit that allows you to soar and triumph over adversity. Please know that I am holding you both in my heart and prayers!

  36. I just want to wake up tomorrow and know this was all a bad dream. I can't wrap my head around this. Please let there be nothing but a miracle to come.

  37. Dear KB,

    I have seen so many pictures and read so many wild tales of the two of you romping,its sad to hear the end may be approaching.My own dogs are very dear to me and I guess sorrow is the price we pay for such unconditional love from them..

  38. What can I say other than you're all in our thoughts today. We're praying for a Wilf type outcome .

  39. We are so sorry to hear of your news. For a pack that leads such an active life, that's rough.

    Sending healing vibes your way and saying an extra prayer for you tonight.

    Wyatt's mom

  40. Our prayers will be with you for K's vet visit on Wed.
    BabyRocketDog & Hootie

  41. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  42. Oh, KB, my heart is shattering for you. Many, many paws crossed here and know that we are there to help in whatever way possible - even if it is just to offer our thoughts and prayers.

  43. We believe in Christmas miracles, may you be blessed with one ...
    sharing our purrs and our prayers with you during this time.

  44. Oh, KB, I just heard the news. I'm so very sorry and I know you must be so frightened right now. I wish I knew something wise to say that would bring you comfort. Just please know that you have a lot of people everywhere hoping and praying for K...and for you. We're holding you close to our hearts.


  45. Oh KB; know it's been a long time since we've checked into the blog scene, but read this news from Phyll and send you buckets of hugs. "Falling off a cliff" sounds about right - my hubby and I ache for you and we can just pray that you will be able to spend some peaceful time with K over the next couple of days. You are very much in our thoughts.
    xo Miche, Bill, Sammie and Avalon

  46. My heart aches for you all. But know that your blog followers will be with you through this journey. Also know that K has had the best quality of life possible because of you. This gives you some time to carefully consider your options, and ponder the quality versus quantity of life question. Hopefully all this support will make this next chapter somewhat easier to bear.

  47. I am so sad for K and you over this news - hopefully the operation will go well and K can have a semblance of a good life after it. Maybe it will have been caught early enough that it hasn't spread.

    Good luck to you both.


  48. I'm so sorry to hear this! I know this is a huge blow to you, especially after all K has been through and how well she seemed to be doing. My heart goes out to you. We know how resilient you both are, and I predict that if K loses that leg, she'll adapt with flying colors. Dealing with this on top of your own health issues is a LOT! Don't forget to take care of yourself.


    Sue T in AZ

  49. KB, I have no idea what to say other than what has already been said here.
    You and K are a testiment to have both over come so many obstacles.
    No matter what the outcome is for K's prognosis please know we will be here to support you through it.

    I am so sorry!

    Allison...Puddles mum

  50. I am also speechless! We will keep you and K in our thoughts and prayers. We are hoping all goes well for K.

    Sandra and Baylor

  51. I read about your sad news on dear Khyra's blog. My heart goes out to you all. I have gone through what you are going through with one of my own. Yes, do precious things with K. Talk to as many friends as will listen (lots on the blogs, I think), and cry buckets. After the tears comes peace and acceptance and gratitude and love. I know...
    It won't be easy.
    But you'll make it.
    You'll have lots of wonderful memories to fill your heart with, too, instead of pain.
    Carol from

  52. This really sucks. We're gonna hope for one of those Christmas miracles for K too...

    Tank's Asst.

  53. Khyra sent us, we are so sorry to hear this news.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sheila , Bob
    Hamish & Rescue Sophie

  54. My heart just broke and I literally feel sick! I am soo sorry to hear of this news and can only hope for the best for you guys! I lost both of my boxers to that horrible disease called cancer and I HATE it!!! I will keep you and K in my thoughts daily!!! <3 Try to have a Merry Christmas and keep on enjoying every moment you have with that precious girl!

  55. I'm so sorry. I know you didn't want a broken heart for Christmas. But if anyone can beat the odds, it will be K.

    We NEED to find a cure for this awful thing called cancer.


    PS: Merry Christmas

  56. This is the most heartbreaking news ever! We are so very sorry! I know amputation will be hard for both of you, but K and you are strong - you will make it!!! We are thinking of you.

    Patty and Family
    I don't have a blog . . .

  57. We are so very sad to read this, KB. But we know that both you and K have extraordinary spirit and so our hope is that you will once again conquer all. She is an amazing girl and that wonderful romp[ on the snow was pure magic. We are rooting for both of you here in France.

    Woofs and Hugs,
    Tommy and #1

  58. Dear KB,
    There are no words to convey how my heart breaks for you and K right now. I'm sending my thoughts and love to you all though I imagine that offers little comfort. Please know you have truly impacted so many of us and I know many people are thinking of you and will support you however we can. As a fellow Coloradoan I am happy to offer my help in any way in which you need it, by consulting with local vets if you should need any additional surgical opinions, or if you need a fellow dog lover to help with rehab appts or a dogsitter- anything. I know CRCG was fabulous for my dog Bear's rehab after leg surgery and they have locations in Denver and Broomfield. Additionally Eddies Wheels makes dog wheelchairs for both front, rear and all four legs which could help K adjust to three legs and still get around pretty well for however much time she has (hopefully ALOT). You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    All the Best,

    Heather, Bear and Pee Wee

  59. I am so terribly sorry to read your news of K. My heart aches and cries with you. K is such an amazing, wonderful dog, and I know you have held all of your adventures with her so close to your heart. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I pray the prognosis won't be bad, and that she will heal and defeat the illness on her leg.

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and may the magic of Christmas be with all of you during this time.


    Suka and K

  60. Hi Y'all,

    I checked your blog for an entry Friday but didn't get back until now, Christmas day evening.

    What a very sad and painful time for y'all. I'll pray for both you and K during this terrifying ordeal.

    BrownDog's Human

  61. A few lucky people have the opportunity to have a dog that becomes a soul mate. For those lucky few, the parting is all the more difficult. I'm thinking of you with a breaking heart, blogger buddy.

  62. Dear K and KB and family,
    I am still in complete disbelief over this news...I know your heart is shattered right now and rightfully so. This is just so wrong :( We are all sending our love and support and are so sad that you are all facing this-especially after such a difficult year.

    Thinking of you all and sending endless love your way,
    Sue and the whole gang at DVR

  63. I'm so so sorry about this. Tears came to my eyes when I read this. K is a beautiful strong girl. She knows you love her and that everything you do for her will be for her best. You've definitely had some hard health problems to deal with lately. Remember to take care of yourself too. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts and will be sending lots of love.

  64. We are so sad to read about this, KB. We are praying for K, she is a fighter and we wish you both the best. Praying and keeping our paws crossed for you.

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

  65. We cannot stay away from you for very long- because we care so very much.
    We are hugging you and K.

  66. Oh dear friends, if we had but one opportunity to change destiny, to deliver a miracle, we would hand it to you right now. We woo our love and support and strength and healing energy and prayers...and beg the Universe that this small gift provides some comfort and hope. Know we are at your side.

  67. I'm so sorry to hear about this horrible news. Nothing to're in my heart and prayers.

  68. Oh my god KB..........tears are flooding, I can't see....
    #*cking cancer....

  69. We are so sorry to hear about K. We will keep both of you in our thoughts and prayers!!

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Yoda, Brutus & Ellie

  70. Im so sorry to hear that yet another pup goes down with this dam disease. I know exactly how you are feeling right now. Ive followed your blog for a long time but feel now its time for me to comment. Our Leonberger Bruno was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his front right limb earlier this year. I wont overdose you right now, but when you feel you can, check our blog out. Lots of info on there to links that I found invaluable. Please feel free to contact us if you would like further details on anything but do listen to what Sunshade says about artemisinin and the yahoo support groups (links are on our blog). K may loose her leg but honestly it will be for the best and she will surprise you with how quickly she adapts, she will be able to do the same stuff she does with you in time. Sending you both healing thoughts and strength from us all here in Spain. Kiersten & Khumbu

  71. This news is so devastating... I'm keeping K in my prayers, I know she will never be the same dog after the operation, but if the diagnosis is not as bad as it could be, she is strong enough to live a different life. This is so unfair. I'm sending you both lots of positive thoughts!


  72. So sorry to hear the news about K. I've been where you are and I know your head must be spinning so I'll keep this short and to the point! It has been a life-saver for me! Our greyhound has been living on 3 legs (and kicking cancers butt!) for just over 2 years now! Wednesday will be a long hard day - but joy will come again! May you have strength for the journey and peace for the days ahead! Amanda & Boo

  73. Hi Everyone, I'm so sorry we have just read your news. Our thoughts and special love is going straight to you all. Oh K, we love you heaps. Love Stella and Rory (and Carol x)

  74. KB, I am so sorry. I can see why you would crumple with this news. So many blows, then raised hopes, then another blow. You've already had many words of wisdom and comfort from so many others. There is nothing more to say that would be enough.

  75. I am so sorry to hear about K. Let's all pray that it was caught in time and that she'll still have a long life ahead of her.

    We'll be praying hard for you over here.

    barbara, trixie, minnie and jeep

  76. I am so sorry. I lost my first Irish Wolfhound to osteosarcoma - one day it was just There - a lump on a forelimb.

    For many reasons, I made the decision to keep her happy and comfortable for as long as possible, and to make the tough call as soon as I felt that her quality of life was beginning to deteriorate. There are seldom easy decisions in these terrible situations, and we can only do our best and hope. My thoughts are with you and your lovely K.

  77. I am so sorry to read this post. One thing I think we all know is how much your dogs mean to you. I wish you and K luck on Wednesday. You are very lucky to have such a kind and caring Vet. Will be thinking of you.

  78. Just catching up in blog world. I am so sorry to hear about K. Don't give up...take care and give your precious pup lots of hugs!

  79. Oh dear. we are so sorry! We will pray for K.


  80. Tomorrow is Wednesday. I am still in shock, so I can't imagine what you must be going through. But 80 comments... know that there are a heck of a lot more prayers out there for you and K than just mine.

    I hope all goes well tomorrow, regardless the outcome.

  81. Dearest KB,
    I thought I'd come "back" a few days on your blog to read and to comment...
    What a terrible, terrible shock this is! I am shattered for you and so, so sorry to hear this news.
    I've not been around to your blog for a while, but was alerted to your and K's plight.
    Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and I will pray for the best outcome for you and K. I know how close you are to this special dog.
    Hang in there, dear friend.
    Sending lotsaluv to you,

  82. I am sooo sorry for your news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and K.

  83. OMG! I am sorry we weren't reading and commenting on blogs over the holiday because I would have found out sooner. I am so sorry! I am going to catch up on your more recent posts now to find out what is happening.


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