Jake-E Boy has Gone
by Scott L
My Brave Jake-E Boy
We had just lost Daisy Girl as she surprised us with rear leg tumors that wound up being Bone Cancer which had metastasized (Her story is posted already under My two dogs and Osteosarcoma).
We were down to only Jake and held hopes of him living a long 15 or 16 years old. More than the 10½ years he has had.
Just last month, the wife and I noted that Jake had a slight dip in his gait as he trotted around the yard and that he had developed a small hard bump on his front right foreleg. X-rays indicated it MIGHT be an osteosarcoma developing. We took Jake up to KSU in Manhattan KS on Wednesday (10/12/11) to have a bone biopsy performed. Fully expecting that he may have to lose that leg if was cancer.
At KSU the Oncologist took x-rays (to compare with the ones from 2 weeks prior), took a chest x-ray and also did an ultrasound of his body cavity and took blood for a work up. The ultrasound and the chest x-ray did NOT turn up any hidden primary tumors that the bone tumor could be spreading FROM. The blood work did not indicate anything remarkable which also indicated that it wasn't a simple bone infection. But the bad news was that the new x-rays showed that his leg "bump" was now more defined and slightly larger. We actually elected to NOT do the biopsy as it was costing us time that cancer is only too happy to use against us. A bone biopsy carries a risk of breaking the leg bone and if it is a cancer, then it would never heal. Next step is still amputation.
We decided to switch from diagnostic mode to treatment mode. We wanted to give Jake more time and a longer life and scheduled him for surgery to have his right front leg removed. The day before Jakes surgery, he was bouncy, peppy and happy. It was difficult to watch his playful behavior knowing that the very next morning his "cancer" leg was going to come off. He was ignorant to his plight, but my wife and I were not. On October 21, 2011, we took him in to our local Vet Hospital to have what we thought was best for us all.
When we called to check on Jake following his surgery, which had gone as expected - we were shocked by the news that just a few hours afterward, he had crashed and they couldn't revive him. He had died under the influence of the pain relievers. In our haste to extend his life for us, we never even considered the notion that he may not survive through the recovery - but in fact he did not.
I'm posting this last up-date on Jake so that others, who may be facing a surgery/amputation option, may consider ALL possible outcomes. Consider the age and size of the dog and of his possibly passing suddenly. Say your good-byes prior to surgery, just in case. We wish we had said ours better.
We will never know how long Jake could have gone on if we had done nothing, but it would certainly have been longer than the decision that we made for him. Had he survived the surgery, we also don't know how much time we would have bought him as it was still probable that his cancer had micro-metastasized.
In hindsight, I wish we had been stronger and allowed nature to steer his illness. We would still have wound up in this empty place without him, but we would have put him down when the time presented his gate and done it with all our love and kisses without the pain of passing alone. By the time we got to the Vet to see him - he was gone.
God bless all of your pets - Love them to death.