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Maggies Journey

A Westie's Journey Through Bone Cancer

Error loading pictures and videos??

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 11:37 pm on Sunday, November 22, 2009

I cannot upload anything, video or photograph. It will reach 100% and then say HTTP Error. Does anyone know what is wrong?

Maggie’s First Oncology Visit

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 8:19 pm on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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We have been very busy at our household. But everything is going really well! Maggie is 100% feeling better and back to her normal self again.

We are pretty sure Maggie had a septic or sepsis infection after her surgery, which was causing her high fever, abnormal behavior, and sleepiness (beyond recovering from the surgery). After being on the anti-biotic, Maggie has had a 100% turn around. And she is still feeling good!!

Maggie had her first oncology visit today at UPenn. We wanted to get a better idea of what she was up against and if there was anything more we could do for her. It turns out we really did not learn too much more. The cancer has spread to her lymph nodes, which is what the lumps on her back left leg and abdomen are. We had/have the option to proceed with chemo, however, from what the doctors say and what we have researched, chemo may buy us a little more time, but will not cure the cancer.

In Maggie’s case, the cancer has already spread and it being in her lymph nodes is not good. We had the option to do an ultrasound of her abdomen, but all that would tell us is how far it had spread. We decided against this because of how well Maggie is feeling recently. We basically want to enjoy Maggie as she is for as long as possible without putting her through too much. She is of course on an anti-inflammatory medicine to help with shrinking or keeping the tumor stable, even though we do not know the location of the primary tumor.

Anyway, this is just a little update. I will post more later including some new pictures and even a video if I can figure it out. =)

Our family and Maggie send well wishes to all of you and your loved ones!


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Supplements and Diet

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 11:25 am on Monday, November 9, 2009

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For some reason it just hit me today to type in home remedies for canine cancer. I also must have been oblivious to the K9 immunity banner on the home page, which I found after reading the Angel Exchange forum.

I am wondering what different things you all have tried at home and your experience with it. We have been so concerned with trying to get Maggie to eat anything, we give her whatever we think she will like, not necessarily what is good for her. We stand by this, because we want her to enjoy her time here, but if we could be helping her in some way, we want to do that of course.

The easiest thing I think I have read for diet is cottage cheese with fiaxseed oil. Has anyone see any results with this? How about the K9 immunity. Some members have offered it up in the Angel Exchange, so of course we are willing to try if the vet OK’s it. Any success with this? How about any other remedies, supplements or diets?

Maggie is currently eating Caesar’s canned dog food. While I realize this may not be the best for her (with the grain), she likes it a lot and will eat 2-3 a day. We also give her some of her favorites, spaghetti and french frys for special treats. How bad is this? I am kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner!

Here is a picture of Maggie getting her Vitamin D. She LOVES to lay by the door in the sun all afternoon.

Maggie enjoying the sunlight.

Maggie enjoying the sunlight.

Thank you for all the kind comments on Maggie’s appearance. I relayed all the messages and she was on top of the world. The best part is she is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside! 🙂

Maggies Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 8:33 pm on Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hi Tripaws Family!

Maggie is feeling much better – she is on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medicine. Ever since being on both medicines she has been much more like herself. She barks, plays, eats (a ton!!) and wags her tail. We hope she will be like this with us for a long while.

The news from the vet really wasn’t anything new. She basically said what you guys have been saying – spoil her and let her enjoy life while she is still around. They said that the meds she is on is about the only thing they can do for her. We just taking each day as a blessing and enjoying it to the fullest! Here is a picture of Maggie playing!

Maggie with her toy.

Maggie with her toy.

Have a great day everyone! =)

Day 9!

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 9:54 pm on Monday, November 2, 2009

Today is day 9 since Maggie’s surgery! She really hasn’t been feeling well lately. She still has a fever on and off. We have been giving her half of a baby aspirin to make it go down and for her to feel a little better. Today we called the vet and they prescribed her the anti-inflammatory medicine. What a difference that made!! She played with her toys, wanted to go outside and did more than simply sleep. We loved having our dog back for the night and hope that it lasts!

We are really nervous about the appointment on Wednesday to get her stitches out. Not for the stitches, but for more news on her cancer and what we can do next, if we can do anything. We have all been trying to feel around on Maggie for her “primary tumor”. From what we can tell, she has a lump or swollen area on her left back leg. She growls when you get near it and it is obviously something. The vet did not sound too concerned and simply put her on this anti-inflammatory medicine. They said we could bring her in today or wait until Wed., so we opted to wait since this medicine seemed to work so well.

That is really all there is to update. Besides today, every day after my last post has been the same. Maggie will eat, sleep and do her business outside, beyond that, she just seems out of it – even after being off the pain meds for a while. It really makes us feel like our time with her is limited. But we are still spoiling her and treating her like the princess she is… and praying for a miracle.

This is definitely one of the hardest things our family has gone through in a while, I don’t know how you all do it. One positive to all of this is that it has brought our family closer, including to our baby Maggie. I hope everyone out there can find at least one positive in all of this too!

We write more on Wednesday as we learn more. Keep your head up and tails wagging! 😉

Happy Halloween!

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 9:10 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2009

From our family to yours… Happy Halloween!!

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Sometimes we dress Maggie up for Halloween, but this year we thought a decorative T-Shirt was the perfect fit. I found this one on sale at Old Navy for $2.50! I couldn’t wait to get it on her. Even though it is not officially Halloween, tonight was our trick-or-treat night and I wanted everyone to see her in her new outfit. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters so Maggie greeted almost all of them, until the end when she was tired and I snapped this picture of her on her doggie bed. No chocolate for Maggie, but she got a fun bone!

Today was the last full day of medicine so we will see how tomorrow goes! Her nose is still on and off warm with a fever, which concerns me. I am going to bring it to the vets attention on Wednesday. Other than that, everything seems to be going normally.

I keep reminding myself, and my family, that Maggie doesn’t know she has cancer! This totally changed my outlook, thank you Tripaws friends. How depressing is it to know you have something like that and how lucky is Maggie that she doesn’t have to wake up to that fact everyday!! We are definitely spoiling her and giving her all the attention we can. I really think she is loving life, and that is what is important!

Love,

Maggie’s Family

P.S. Today Maggie rode in the car with Daddy to the bank, her favorite thing! She even got a bone from the nice teller. =)

Bad News…

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 8:13 pm on Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I couldn’t blog yesterday because we were hit with some bad news. The vet called in the afternoon with the results of Maggie’s biopsy… well, it is not osteosarcoma. We thought if it was not osteosarcoma, anything else would be bearable. Apparently she has an extremely race case of carcinoma. Carcinoma to me simply means cancer, but the way it was explained to us is that her shoulder bone tumor, the one that was removed, stems from a primary tumor somewhere else in her body. The vet said she, nor the other 4 drs. at our clinic, have seen this before. She did find 2 other cases in the vet database and in these cases the primary tumor could not be found. She explained that this type of cancer does not take well to chemo and that is about equally as bad as osteosarcoma. I literally started bawling as soon as I hung up the phone. I quickly remembered that I shouldn’t let Maggie see me cry, so I tried to stay composed, but lost it when I called my family to tell them. Everyone came home from wherever they were and I shared the news with them. It turned out to be a very sad day for all of us.

I think the hardest thing is not knowing what it is or what to expect. Has anyone else heard of this type of cancer or know anything about it??

Maggie gets her stitches out next Wednesday so they are going to check her out completely to see if they can find the primary tumor and then we can decide how to proceed from there. The vet did mention that they can put her on an anti-inflammatory pill that would help to shrink the primary tumor, even if they can’t find it and that this may give her a few more months. Basically I got the impression it would be between 6 and 9 months…=( and that they were going to try to keep her quality of life good during that time.

In other, better news, Maggie is still recovering well from the surgery. It seems like everyday she is more and more herself. Today she played with her baby, her favorite stuffed animal. She gets excited for treats and even wants to be up on the couch with us. She also rolled over today for me to pet her belly, which she loves. Here is a picture of her sleeping on daddy’s chair.

Maggie and her Daddy.

Maggie and her Daddy.

Despite all this, she is just not herself, and I just can’t help but think she is never going to be herself again. She just looks so sad sometimes. I would give anything for just one more day with my Maggie Mae! Her medicine is done in 2 days, so I am hoping we see a big difference once she is off of those. Also, the sac of fluids have gone down significantly – so no worries there.

Best wishes to all of you!!

Day Three

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 10:56 pm on Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello all! Today Maggie was very tired. She slept until almost 10am! We are lucky that we have one graduate from college without a job to sleep in with her =) and a Dad that has the week off. Maggie is getting spoiled with attention non-stop. Today we decided it was time for Maggie to start eating something besides treats so we got her some real chicken and mixed it with some canned chicken food. At first she picked out the real chicken pieces, but eventually ate it all. We were so happy!! The chicken was just a trial and we also bought about 7 different trial sizes of dry and wet food to see what she would like. We will continue to try these as the days progress. She finally went to the bathroom after eating, which was a first since after the surgery. We know this probably made her tummy feel better and it was what we were trying to have her do.

Like I said, Maggie was tired today. Unfortunately, her favorite thing to do is take a walk. Since the vet said not to take her off of our property and because she is pretty weak, she can’t do this. Tonight I took out her leash and you should have seen how excited she got!! I actually felt bad, because I was only going to walk her around the house to make it feel like a walk since our Tripawed friend Cherry suggested doing the things that she has always loved to do. Sadly, Maggie couldn’t make it around the house, so we went down the sidewalk and back. She was panting so I let her rest and then we came inside.

Tonight is her first night in her crate in a looooong time. She actually loves her crate, so the process of getting her to go in was easy and did not make us more sad about having to do it. The nights following her surgery we had one person sleep on the floor next to her doggie bed on an air mattress. That got really tiring for us and we decided the crate was a better idea as she is becoming more mobile and we wouldn’t have to worry if she fell, jumped on something etc. She is in there now and seems ok, so we will assess it tomorrow and go from there.

It was a chilly night and I was thinking how Maggie likes to wear sweaters in the winter. Did those of you that have sweaters on your Tripaws make your own sweaters or buy them without the missing leg hole? I am interested to know about this.

One last thing before I call it a (late) night. Maggie has had a sac of fluid below her incision and a small one above it since the day we brought her home. The vet said that it should not be a problem and to call if it gets any bigger. Tonight the sac of fluid looked a little bigger. Has anyone had experience with this or know what exactly is going on? I will probably call the vet tomorrow to see what they say, but wanted to check here first to see if we should be concern.

Sending love to all of you and your loved ones. =)

Day Two – Feeling A Little Better

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 7:24 pm on Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today, our second day after surgery, was much better than the first. Maggie hardly whimpered today. She showed a little bit of interest in some canned dog food and favorites like pretzel pieces and bologna, eating only a bite or two, but no dry dog food. She continues to drink water whenever she is thirsty, even walking to her bowl a few feet away. We are thrilled to see her more perked up today. It was a beautiful day here and she enjoyed some of the sunshine outside on the grass. Today, her tail wagged, opposed to yesterday when it was between her legs and she seemed to enjoy some company that came to see how she is doing.

Unfortunately, today Maggie started to lick her stitches. Having throughly researched this, I knew we could not let her continue to do so. We went to K-Mart and bought her a child-size white t-shirt and tied it up on her back. She actually doesn’t seem to mind it at all and it makes me feel better in case I miss her bothering with it. Here is a picture of her in her T-Shirt having a quick encounter with her friend Tela, our cat.

Maggie having an encounter with her playmate, Tela.

Maggie having an encounter with her playmate, Tela.

Maggie has been refusing to take her meds, even with peanut butter – the usual favorite. We have been putting it on the roof of her mouth for her to lick off. I will have to research some other ways to get her meds down effectively.

All-in-all I would categorize today as a good day overall. We, and Maggie, still have a lot to learn about walking on three legs.  Maggie’s balance is a little off and sometimes she gets tripped up and falls, but we are glad she is so close to the ground that it doesn’t bother her too much. We will see what tomorrow brings and hope for the very best!

To all of you out there going through the same thing, our prayers are with you and your loved ones. We hope the very best for you all!

Surgery and the First Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — maggiesfamily at 11:20 am on Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am so happy we have found this website. Our 8 year old West Highlander White Terrier, Maggie, was diagnosed with a bone tumor in her left front leg earlier this week (10/20/09). She developed a limp about two weeks prior to this. We took her to the vet after it did not improve in a couple of days. X-rays were taken and they did not see anything. She tested positive for lyme disease, and was put on medication for this. We were told her limp was caused by the lyme disease settling in the joint and should be gone in a few days. After it did not improve, we called the vet again and they changed her pain meds to an antibiotic. A week later, our Maggie was still not better. The vet said to bring in her for another set of x-rays and that maybe they missed a fracture. This turned into the worst day of our lives. We found out Maggie had a bone tumor on her left shoulder and that it had eaten away most of her bone. We were in shock, a tumor never crossed our minds. It was so hard to look at those x-rays and it was impossible not to be angry inside at the vet for missing this 2 weeks prior.We are still a little bitter at that and are praying those two weeks are not the difference between the cancer spreading or not spreading.

After listening to the recommendation of the vet and doing our own research online, we decided amputation of her left limb was the best thing we could do for her – for the pain. Maggie underwent her amputation surgery two days ago (10/23/09). Waiting around Friday and Saturday until we could pick her up was the hardest thing. All we could think about was our baby alone, afraid and waking up without us and finding she was missing her leg. I think the hardest part was not having her around in the house. It was so quiet – we kept forgetting she wasn’t there. When you are use to coming home and having your pup greet you, you don’t realize how lonely it is to come home and not have them there. We finally got a call Friday afternoon around 4 PM saying she did great during the surgery- so we were happy with that news. Now were just had to wait until Saturday to pick her up.

I woke up all night, jumping up thinking it was time to call and see when we could get her. We finally went to get her at 11 AM. Up to this point, we thought all the heartache was behind us – hearing the diagnosis, making the decision to have her leg amputated, leaving her at the vet for surgery etc. – but seeing her without her limb and the stitches that replaced her leg was even harder. Everything we read prior to surgery was so positive. They talked about their dog running around, relieved of pain – and all the pictures we saw were of the dog with its hair grown back over the shoulder. No one prepared us for what she would look like right after surgery and how hard it would be. Of course we stayed positive for her sake. The vet said they had sent the biopsy and we would hear back in 7 days. We are praying the biopsy will not turn out to be osteosarcoma and that all of the tumor was able to be removed. We were told a small breed like Maggie is not prone to this type of cancer, but that anything is possible. So we are hoping for the best!

Day 1 @ home – It is breaking my heart to see our baby laying on the floor so out of it. We were expecting her to at least be glad to see us, but she doesn’t even really seem to know where she is. She seems very uncomfortable, whining (more like grumbling) and crying almost non-stop, which she never does. When she got home all she wanted to do was drink water – lots of water. I have since read this is all pretty normal. A few times she drank too much, even with forced breaks, that she threw up the water. We are happy she is thirsty though, although she wants nothing to do with food – not sure how we are going to get her meds in her later tonight.

At first, it took a lot for her to simply lay down, she just stood there like she wasn’t sure what to do and paced around a little. She is finally, 5 hours later, laying down and sleeping. We were thinking she would be better adjusted, since she has not used the amputated leg for close to a month.

I have posted a picture of her since most all of the dogs on here are larger breeds. She only has 12 stitches (said the vet, but it looks like less). She is currently on her make-shift doggie bed since she can’t be on the couch like normal. Today is/has been extremely tough. I know we did the right thing because she was in allot of pain before this, it is just hard to be reassured of this while she seems to be so down. I just can’t wait for her to be back to normal and happy. Smile

Maggie sleeping on her first day home from surgery.

Maggie sleeping on her first day home from surgery.

P.S. It looks like she is missing both front legs, but it is only her left. She is sleeping on her right leg in this picture.