I think I always knew it would get to one of my dogs. But to be honest, I thought it would get to Copper first. He’s my little old man. He’s my 12.5 year old. It’s a fear of mine with every vet visit– is this the day they’re going to tell me he’s sick? Is this the day they’re going to tell me it’s not just arthritis?
You can imagine my shock when we found a lump on Zainey a few weeks back. It seemingly came out of no where. We had just given her a full bath and brushing at the self dog wash a few weeks before, and we’re always rubbing her but and legs. But, there it was on that left hind leg. Hard and immobile as cancer usually is. I knew right away that it wasn’t just a fatty cyst. It didn’t feel anything like the soft, movable cyst I’ve been monitoring on Copper’s leg for 5 years. It feels really bad I told Ben. This is different I told Ben.
Ben called the vet right away. They could see us the next day. After the cells from the needle biopsy were analyzed the vet said “likely soft tissue sarcoma” which we already knew meant the dreaded cancer.
Sarcoma. Abnormal. Cancer. Oncologist. Referral. Words you never want to hear.
We moved into action. We wasted no time. We switched her to a raw food diet almost immediately. We started her on holistic supplements to support her immune system and because we believe these inhibit the cancer–
CBD Oil, high dose.
Turkey Tail (Mushrooms).
Red Reishi Mushroom.
And we discussed surgery. We couldn’t get into Colorado State University’s vet office for an oncology appointment until August 8th so we had to make some choices. Wait– or take her elsewhere? We wanted to do what was best for Zainey, but we wanted that tumor out. Immediately. VRCC is a speciality clinic in Denver. I’d been there with Copper a couple times prior, and know they have solid reviews. So, I called them. They could see her. We met with an oncologist, and then a surgeon for a consult. We decided to have the tumor removed, in full, as soon as possible.
On Wednesday they went in and removed the tumor. The surgery didn’t take long– 35 minutes? 40? The surgeon called Ben when he was done to explain his findings. I had worked the night before and was trying to catch up on sleep. It’s been a long few weeks.
The surgery went as well as it could have. The surgeon said the tumor was encapsulated, fully, in the muscle of her leg. No visible tentacles or anything branching into other areas, and luckily far enough away from the sciatic nerve to allow for a full removal. He thinks he got clean margins– meaning– he thinks he was able to remove the tumor plus tissue around it, down to the microscopic level. We won’t know for sure until the histopathology report comes back. But, we can hope. And we can pray.
She’s doing really well post-op. Though he had to cut into her muscle, her mobility is fine. In fact, if she didn’t have a large incision with several staples, a bandage, and a bald leg + the cone of shame around her neck which is causing her to crash into literally everything, you’d never know she had surgery. It’s only two days post op and she’s already back to being her fun loving, hyper self. We have to keep her confined a lot of the time to keep her calm… (we don’t want those staples coming out!!!) but that doesn’t stop her from attempting to chase flies or from shaking that butt all over out of excitement (one of her nick names is Wiggle Butt). It’s going to be a long month while she’s recovering from the surgery.
Last week during the midst of all of this we celebrated Zainey’s 5th birthday as well as her adoptiversary. I brought her home from her foster home four years ago.
To celebrate, we took her camping. She wandered around camp off leash, intently watched squirrels run around our site, ate home cooked ground beef + veggies (thanks to Ben who cooked them all for her), stayed up late next to the camp fire with us, curled up in a ball, & slept soundly curled up in the tent next to Ben. It was a great final outing before the surgery. She’s been a huge blessing in my life. She’s practically attached to Ben at the hip. We have every intention of taking care of her until her final days, which are hopefully many, many years from now.