Hank, my 7 years old great pyrenees, got bone cancer. It took me a while to be able write about this. I got him in at the vet early November for a limp. Nothing you can’t see in the winter time. The vet seemed worried about it so we did x-rays of his leg. Came back that the humerus bone was like a sponge. Hank was definitely in big pain. The vet told me amputation could be an option but chances were he wouldn’t make it. We went back home with pain killers and anti-inflammatory to make him more comfortable until it’s not bearable. I will admit it. I cried and and cried for days. My friend Hank at my side not knowing what was up with me but always patient and gentle. Often nudging my elbow for some petting.
Then one day I woke up refusing this fate for him. I had to do something. I got in touch with facebook friends which dogs had cancer. They recommended me to chat with the fellows at tripawds.com. This forum is about amputation and cancer treatments. Very nice people. As per their advice I went to meet and oncologist and a surgeon in my area. We had a good chat and I approved that amputation was an option for Hank. They made further x-rays of his lungs and saw not mets. I cried of joy because this gave me the green light for the surgery. The surgeon gave me an estimate. My hopes went down. There was no way I could afford the amount. I had already spent all my saving in the diagnosis and the consults.
They then showed me a leaflet for ACTSS (actss.ca). I applied and after filling all the forms they approved me. I was crying again. But then I hit another obstacle. The amount granted to me was not even half of what the estimate was. I lost no time and started talking to people. A friend told me about Clearwater vet Clinic (www.clearwatervets.com) in Rocky Mountain House. They made me an estimate that was fitting my grant without putting my dog’s life in jeopardy. They were amazing.
So December 7th I drove the 2 hours between Calgary and Rocky Mountain House to bring Hank for his amputation. The surgery went well and he recovered nicely at the hospital. He got tons of love and treats from the staff. Two days later I was finally reunited with Hank. I was so happy to see him. He stood strong on his three legs like he was born that way. I never saw that boy not looking strong and majestic. The staff at the hospital had bandaged him and I got told to have his bandage removed in 3 days.
Hank also had some neuromas issues. This is caused by the nerves healing a little wrong. It give the dog like a quick jolt. Apparently it’s normal. It’s started randomly and now he as them less often. I hope they will stop because they hurt him. Then the 10th day arrived. The vet undid the wrap and removed the stitches. Everything looked great. Since the cone was not a good option for us and because Hank tried to lick so he had to wear a t-shirt.
Hank had to stay quiet and adapt to his new life. Eating was an issue. It was a challenge to find something he would eat. Then he hadn’t had any bowel movements in days so I was getting worried. In between all my worries he seemed happy. He would spend some time on my bed while I was reading. I got lots of support from the tripawds community. That was really needed.
Things went to be better and better. And easier and easier. The fight for the food eased up when the medication stopped. On the 10th day it was suture removal. It was perfect. Even his hair was growing back nicely. I then took the boy for a romp at Nose Hill park. He loves that park. He had a blast hoping.
Now I’m working on getting another grant with ACTSS for chemotherapy. There’s no bypass, I have to fill all the paper work again. I’m bless to have a family vet so cooperative in sending files everywhere for me. Then the other plan is to get him on a holistic regimen. It might seem much to do but every step is worth it. Hank is doing good. He’s made at home in a chair and runs me over like a bulldozer every time we go outside. He also resumed going to the hospital to visit sick people. He gets lots of attention on his three legs but that’s what he loves best.
Stay tune for the updates on Hank’s fight.
To anyone who as to go through cancer in their pets. There’s hope. My way of dealing with Hank’s osteosarcoma is the way I think is the best for him and for us. You might want to take another route. One thing I’ve learned is that there’s no right way with cancer. Also if you need support or to someone to talk to, send me an e-mail in the contact section. I’m always available to help another guardian.