Hello all. It has been quite some time since our last update. Sorry about that, but it has been very eventful to say the least.
First off let us send our condolences to all the wonderful tripawds that have crossed the rainbow bridge lately. It seems like too many good dogs have left us recently and they will all be in our thoughts and prayers.
Grab a drink and get comfortable, we have a story to tell. 🙂
As a quick refresher, Ginger is a 6 year old Golden who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in mid January 2010. She had a left rear leg amputation on 2/23/10. She has gone thru 6 doses of chemo, 3 carboplatin and then 3 andriomycin at the University of Pennsylvania in Phila.
Now for the update. While we were at the U of P during Gingers final chemo treatment, waiting for her return in the waiting room, we were approached by 2 Dr’s. I knew it couldn’t be good if they were “ganging up” on us. It turns out that they saw some swelling at the injection site after about 95% of the VERY LAST chemo had been administered. They immediately stopped the treatment. They were afraid that some of the chemo had escaped from her vein. Something called Extravasation. Apparently potentially devastating to her right front leg. As I told the Dr. “Ginger is already operating at 75% leg capacity. She can’t go down to 50%!” We had to return to U of P for 3 straight days for special injections of Dexrazoxane to try to counteract the possible effects of the extravasation. Then it was just wait and watch for the next 14 days to see if anything happened. Fortunately, their fears were unfounded and thankfully Ginger showed no signs of problems. Another hurdle covered. But a darn long 14 days. 2 weeks second only to the 2 week hell after amputation!
The next visit to U of P was to be for restaging. X-rays, blood work, etc. that was scheduled for July 29th. Well, on the 28th, Ginger was at home, out back with her littermate and life long companion Jack. I was out front with an electrical inspector. We went around the side of the house and when we got to the rear, Jack heard us and came running. Ginger tried to run with him and she gave out a yelp. Well in all that she has gone thru, I have only heard her cry out in pain once before, so I knew something had happened. When I got to her, she was sitting down and could not get up on her back leg. Oh no. Now what? Our regular vet, Glenmoore Veterinary Hospital is wonderful and got us in almost immediately. After an exam, the vet was leaning towards the diagnosis that Ginger had blown out her knee on her only remaining rear leg. We decided to wait until the next day and have the U of P take a look. I called first thing in the AM and they were able to schedule us to see the orthopedic guy at the same time as the restaging. After x-rays and an exam, the diagnosis was confirmed. Ginger could no longer support her weight on her hind end. Like our regular vet Dr. Koehl said, it was a catastrophic development. Dr. Runge, the ortho vet at U of P, a big bear of a man who gives off the feeling that he thinks he has the coolest job in the world, suggested that Ginger get a TPLO operation on her knee, saying it was pretty much her only chance, so on Friday, July 30th Ginger underwent surgery on her remaining rear leg. She stayed at the U of P until Monday. We got updates all weekend long and it all sounded very promising. On Monday we went down to U of P, not having any idea what to expect. They had her outfitted in a “Help em up” harness. Sorry Tripawds, U of P doesn’t handle Ruff wear harnesses, in addition, this one has 2 handles, the standard one between her shoulder blades and another one right near her tail. It worked wonders! We took our girl home and have cared for her for the last 2 weeks. Why does all this seem to go in 2 week cycles? 🙂
Now for the today update. It is 14 days since the surgery. Ginger is hoping around, at times on her own! Talk about a amazing! Dr. Runge is a miracle worker. We went back to the U of P today for suture removal and the smiles on the staff were all we needed to see. Ginger is doing absolutely fantastic! Dr. Runge had us walk outside with Ginger so he could see her walking and take pictures. It seems that a tripawd with a TPLO surgery is somewhat of a sensation at the U of P! We were also told that we had to take Ginger upstairs to the floors to see all the people who have been involved with her. It was funny to see and hear the intern who was handling Ginger when she told us that she had a long list of people she had to Nextel when Ginger was available! So upstairs we went. Ginger is a rock star at the U of P and with all the animals they see there, it is amazing that they can get so attached to any animal. It was also amazing to see the outpouring of affection that Ginger received when they all saw her. One of the ladies even said that seeing Ginger walk up to her was the highlight of her day, no wait week, no wait month! It was heartwarming to say the least. And then on top of all this, Gingers restage showed up absolutely clean!
We are cautiously hopeful and just loving our girl like crazy. We are at a point where we don’t know what anniversary to celebrate, no signs of cancer 7 months post diagnosis? almost 6 months post amputation? 2 weeks post knee surgery? Oh what the hell, we are gonna celebrate them all!