Remembering Lakota Who Died of Oral Melanoma

Remembering Lakota Who Died of Oral Melanoma

by Trent Flair
(Omaha Ne)

I wish I had found this forum 9 years ago after losing our baby girl to oral melanoma.

It all started in 1999 with a trip to our local humane society where we found the cutest 3 month old German shepherd/ chow mix. We brought her home to be loved and spoiled. She was our fur baby as my wife and I do not have any children.

Fast forward to 2008. Lakota's story kind of starts with a visit to her family vet to get her yearly shots. After her shots were done the Dr. recommended a teeth cleaning. We were pressured in the past but just weren't comfortable having it done. This particular visit we were told that if there were any type of dental disease that it could get into her blood stream and make her sick. So we said yes.

In March of 2008 she had her teeth cleaned. In August of 2008 we started to see her salivating a lot so we made an appointment to see what might be going on.

The vet looked in her mouth a couple different times but took 1 more last look and there it was. A tumor. Located at the very back and side of her tongue. So we made another appointment to have a biopsy done. She had to be heavily sedated so he could get in there to do what he had to do.

Diagnosis was oral melanoma. And man was it large.

I wanted to know why he didn't see that only 5 months prior when he cleaned her teeth. What made that metastasize that large in 5 months.

We made an appointment with a very intelligent Dr from Kansas state and unfortunately surgery would not be advisable. She would lose a good portion of her tongue and what quality of life would that be?

We found out it was already in her blood. So we just brought her home and loved on her for as long as we could.

She got to go on 1 more camping trip. At this time she couldn't eat her food and had a hard time drinking because whatever she was able to lap up in her mouth, half of it would fall out because she couldn't swallow it. So she got a lot of chicken and rice and hamburger and rice. Had to chop it real fine or puree it.

A few weeks went by with her starting to lose weight and she had a beautiful fur coat which was now getting dull. That look in her eye was fading. We didn't want to seem selfish by hanging on to her for our sake.

Another week and a half went by just watching the deterioration happening. We had to make that decision as to know when it is time. We made that dreadful call to have the Dr come to our home as I was not going nor would she go willingly back to that office.

As that final day came we were sitting on the front porch and guess what Lakota was doing. Yep - chasing squirrels. We looked at each other and thought what are we doing. Sad part is things weren't getting any better for Lakota or us.

So the Dr showed up and we had her in her favorite chair. He administered the sedation dose which was supposed to give the family time to say their goodbyes.

All of a sudden Lakota started fighting the sedation and trying to just get away. We looked at the Dr and he said I didn't bring a large enough dose. Then he said he had to administer the final dose - the one that will stop the heart.

We got to spend a month with her after her diagnosis. She passed on September 22, 2008.

The next morning we woke and just started crying our eyes out. My wife said we needed to fill that hole in our hearts but I didn't want to go through that again.

Two months later we welcomed home another pound pup. Another 3 month old German shepherd mix. Lexie Sioux.

I have always wanted to tell my story so thank you for letting me share. It isn't only till now that those feelings are coming back. Our Lexie was diagnosed with arthritis. She is at the same age that we lost Lakota. I know arthritis is a lot more manageable than cancer but I can't think about losing another one. She has brought so much joy to us.

(This story was submitted on January 11, 2018)

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