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When Indy was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Today, as I start our new blog ~ we have a reason to celebrate! Indy is a 10 month survivor! We are so truly blessed to still have him in our lives.  With the power of love and the power of prayer ~ a miracle has been sent our way!  We embrace each and every moment and are thankful that he has lived another day! We are so thankful that we have another day of his love!  

 I will start his story from when he was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma and what happened next. Then I will start a new page to give you an idea on how well he did after his surgery. Whenever I have a chance I will work on this more….so please stop by again and read about his amazing zest for life! He is an inspiration to us all!  

 Indiana was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on January 14, 2010 and we were devastated and filled with such sadness.  We suddenly had to face the reality that Indy wasn’t going to be with us for years as we had always hoped ~ but for only months. It was as if our whole world had stopped and all we could think about was what we could do to save our Indy’s life.  We were given our options and his life was now in our hands. This was the beginning of our most wonderful dog’s journey into eternity.   This came to us at such a shock and all in the matter of a couple of weeks.  


Rewinding to the week in December of 2009, I noticed that Indy’s walk wasn’t as smooth as it had always been. He had been walking with me for 4 miles each and every day for almost 9 years ~ no matter what the weather was. We started out when he was only a couple of months old!  It was always so comforting to me to feel his steady pace as he glided by my side.  I started to notice that his head was bobbing just a little bit and nobody else had seen it.  I am so close with Indy that I know his every breath and I know when something isn’t right.  

 The next week my husband and I noticed that he was limping ever so slightly when he was attempting to stand after napping.  He seemed to have favored his left front leg a little. I called the vet and let them know that I was going to treat him with rimadyl, an anti-inflammatory/pain killer, as I thought maybe he had the beginning of arthritis or that he may have hurt himself somehow. The doctor agreed that my choice was a good one. There really wasn’t any change in a few days, so I stopped walking him and made an appointment for him to be seen at his doctor’s office on January 8, 2010.   

They walked him around the office and could not see Indy limp ~ he was just prancing around as a happy Husky does! They too guessed that it was arthritis in his hips or back. They also thought maybe he hurt his left front wrist, as it was a little tender when putting pressure on it during his examination. The doctor suggested we  continue to stop walking and give him the rimadyl for another 5 days or so and gradually start to walk him once we saw improvement.   



By the beginning of the next week he didn’t seem to get better. We noticed one more thing ~ Indy was favoring his left front leg when he was standing and he didn’t seem to want to put his weight on it. Not one complaint or even a cry ~ such a trooper. I decided not to attempt another walk until we found out what was wrong. I called his doctor and they opted to do a series of ex-rays on 1/14/10. This was the first time I had to drop him off to be sedated and leave him for the whole day. I had to sign a waiver just in case anything happened under anesthesia. I left so worried but the  Foxboro Animal Hospital’s staff assured me that he would wake up and I would see him later on…and he did. I know I left Indiana in good hands, as they all love him! 

I received a phone call later that afternoon when I was at my daughter’s house and the first thing they said was that Indiana did very well with the anesthesia and he was acting just fine. However, they said, “We found something!” They found severe bone loss in his left wrist. I then asked, how could this happen? What did we do wrong?  Indy’s doctor was so kind and said we did everything right, this was caused by a tumor.  As we got deeper into the conversation, I felt as if I was having a very bad dream and wanted to wake up. I then commented that it’s not cancerous ~ is it? There was a big pause ~ and this is when we heard the most devastating words ever.  They were pretty sure that this was osteosarcoma ~ a very aggressive bone cancer that needed to be treated ASAP or our boy would not live for too much longer. I had already burst into tears and had to give the phone to my daughter for a few moments as they explained it all to her.  

Once I took a few deep breaths, I got back on the phone to have everything explained to me as well.  They commented that if we didn’t do anything, that there was a high probability that his wrist would fracture and then he would be in excruciating pain. (which we could never put him through). Besides that, the cancer would spread rapidly to his lungs and they didn’t expect him to live much more than one or two months longer. I pretty much sobbed through our whole conversation. How could this be happening to the most loving, sweet boy of ours? The staff was devastated as well ~ they never expected to see these results because he still looked and acted just fine!  

They presented the next option to us, which we felt was the only option for us to choose. This was to have his whole limb removed; including his shoulder. This would save him for at least 4-6 months longer.  It sounded so extreme and so frightening to hear those words ~ but so very necessary.  They did say that the cancer most likely had already spread to his lungs and at that point was microscopic and didn’t show up in the ex-rays.   He would eventually succumb to respiratory failure ~ he would gradually slow down and everything would become an effort and he would also lose his appetite for his meals and for life itself…however~ he wouldn’t be in pain…  As sad and devastating as this sounded ~ it was still a chance to save our baby’s life ~ even for a short time. We would have the chance to love him over and over again~ each and every day that we had left.   

They also talked about another option ~ treating him with chemo a couple of weeks after surgery. This may have given Indy up to another three months on top of the 4-6 months that was forecasted.  We would have had to travel an hour to the hospital each way and spending however long it took while we were there. This would have to be done 2-3 times a week for 2 months. We, personally, could not put him through the trauma of the treatments for that long and have him feel sick all of the time… What if he was not himself during those last 3 months?  We could not take the chance. We felt that we wanted him to have the best quality of life possible as he lives life to its fullest! 

I do want to add a post script about chemo ~ I have to say, if they told us we would have years opposed to a couple of more months ~ we may have re-considered and thought it over. I know some of you reading this have opted for chemo and in your case; it was the right thing to do. Please know that whatever you choose ~ will be the right thing to do in your heart.  We have heard too many bad reviews on this type of treatment ~ so this is why we chose not to pursue it.

This was so much to think about and so very overwhelming!  I immediately called my husband at work and totally fell apart and burst into tears once again. My daughter filled him in on what was happening.  I am so thankful I was with her when all of this rocked my world, as she was a very big comfort and did what she could to cheer me up before I drove home.  Before we made a final decision, it was highly suggested to us to see a specialist. We were given 3 choices and, together, we chose to bring Indiana to Tufts in Grafton, MA.   The staff at Foxboro Animal Hospital worked very fast and scheduled the next available appointment for the following week for us to go.The next few days felt so dark and empty…  My heart was broken and I kept wishing that I would wake up from this nightmare. I held on so tight to Indy and I didn’t ever want to let him go.  Every time I cried, he kissed my tears away. (And that was quite often!)  I spent every moment possible with him and we awaited the most dreaded trip to the hospital.

 On Wednesday, January 20, 2010 Indy was seen at Tufts.  We were there for what seemed for hours…They pretty much confirmed everything that was already explained to us.  Before proceeding, they needed to keep our boy overnight so they could medicate him & perform a bone biopsy to be sure it really was osteosarcoma. We felt confident that they knew what they were doing since; sadly, this is what they did quite often… It was so very difficult to go home without him… To go home and face what was happening to our loving husky who trusted us with his life.

It seemed like forever until we picked him up the next afternoon. For the first time in almost 9 years…our Indy was visibly in a lot of pain. I couldn’t help feel so guilty that we had this done ~ although we knew we had to.  I sat in the back of the truck with him and we cuddled for the hour drive.  He cried continuously and I joined him.  Once we got him home & gave him more pain meds, he calmed down and felt safe and more comfortable. He slept all night.

He now was limping ~ but we kept him as pain free as possible with his meds.  I sat out on the deck, all bundled up with him pretty much all day and into the night every day.  My flexible work hours allowed me to spend as much time possible by his side.  Each day he felt better & better. He started trotting around again like nothing was the matter ~ even though he was still limping ! We had to wait at least 5 days to get the results of the biopsy. I prayed that maybe it wouldn’t be such bad news; maybe there had been a mistake.

  *****I apologize that I am leaving  you hanging on for what happened next ~  I will try to finish one day very soon as I feel this may help someone else very special xoxo