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Maggies Journey

A Westie's Journey Through Bone Cancer

Surgery and the First Day

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

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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.

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October 25, 2009 @ 6:43 pm   

Hi Maggies Mom,

Welcome to the Tripawd family… I’m sorry that Maggie has had to go through all this. My Jake had his front right leg amputated a little over a month and a week ago because of osteosarcoma.

The first week is the worse, I think. The pain meds will make Maggie act and feel weird. But this is normal, after all, she’s gone through a big surgery. But she will get better each day. She may have some ‘bad’ days here and there, but we’ve all seemed to have gone through those… You might get her a little T-shirt to wear, for those times when you can’t watch her (like when your sleeping)… just in case she decides to lick and chew at her incision. Or if you have an E-collar, that would do the trick too.

It’s very important that she takes all her medications as prescribed, so if she’s not eating on her own yet, then you will have to try to entice her by putting them in cheese or peanut butter… and if that doesn’t work, then you’ll just have to shove them down her throat. Ask the vet to demostrate how it’s done properly… or maybe someone on the Tripawds forum can explain it step by step.

I really hope that when you get your diagnosis back, it won’t be cancer… but if it is… you are not alone! We are all going through the same thing with our doggies… Some of us do chemo afterwards, others (like Jake) don’t.

Well dear… I just wanted to welcome you… Sending you and Maggie a HUG!!

Jake’s Mom



October 25, 2009 @ 7:40 pm   

Hi Jake’s Mom!

Thank you for the welcome and for commenting! It really made our day to see someone else being so supportive who went through the same thing. We did get Maggie a T-Shirt today and she doesn’t seem to mind it at all. We are glad, because she was beginning to lick at her stitches. She had a much better day, which made us all very happy! I am so glad to see Jake is doing well over a month after surgery. That gives us great hope and encouragement. Blessing to your family and your two furry friends! =)

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