We went into the first chemo treatment with such anxiety and worry as we did not want to cause more discomfort for Zeus. The side-effects list we were sent home with was just terrifying. Not just for him but for us as well. However, we had blood checks every week and each time the results came back “perfect”. He is such a champ and we could not be happier with how things are progressing. None of the side effects became a reality except for maybe a bit of loss of appetite – but he has always been a picky eater so it is hard to tell.
I like to think that we have our new normal. Life is different. Life is also better. Zeus is running again but our walks are shorter and modified as he tires faster. We found new things to do and new ways to play. I am looking forward to new adventures and cannot wait to see him swim again.
The day before surgery..
And below…I made him a shirt! You can see the excitement and how impressed he is with my sewing skills. The cat was curious too, as they always are.
(We have to keep his scar covered for now because he has a large flap of excess skin. He obsesses about and tries to chew it off. The surgeon will check it again in a month and if it’s not getting smaller they may need to cut it off. In the meantime my sewing machine is out and I have a good excuse to use it!)
Our next chemo is on Wednesday and we hope he continues to do well!
And here we are, we made it through the first week – yay. Zeus is doing amazingly well all things considered. We are adapting and adjusting each day. First two nights were just so horrible that I am working on permanently deleting them from my mind. I know they are long gone from his mind. We have our first, officially scheduled, check up tomorrow. The incision looks great, so I expect praises 😉 he is learning how to efficiently move around and do things he used to do – like pee with his leg up, but he’s not quite there yet. He sometimes desperately tries to pull his left leg out of his shoulder socket as if it’s stuck in there, just so he can balance better. But then he just figures out a different way to do things and moves on while my heart breaks. I have a long road ahead of me and I have a lot to learn from him yet.
Exhibit A: Big Smile
On the day Zeus went into surgery I went for a bike (bicycle) ride and kept riding until I received a call from the surgeon telling me he made it and is doing well. That took 41.7km. Since then, I have gone out for at least a 20km ride each day. It helps me clear my mind and reset. I take the usual, and unusual, routes that Zeus and I used to walk and explore and it is amazing how distant they seem and almost out of reach for him now. I wonder, will he be able to go on long hikes, will he be able to navigate rocky sections, swim, run crazy with his leash in his mouth.
In my hands, I hold “Be More Dog”. A new journey awaits.
UPDATE: Since I had issues logging in for a few days this was supposed to be a week one update. We are now on day 10 post-op. We had our check-up and everything was fine. The surgeon said he looked great. I insisted on a blood test because I noticed Zeus’s tongue colour is a bit dull with a purple hue to it. Also, his gums didn’t seem that pink. All tests came back “perfect”. We also got a call from the Oncologist yesterday – and I am not good with all the medical terminology but it was confirmed to be grade 2 osteosarcoma. Stitches come out on the 15th and we start chemo that same day.
I’ve spent countless hours reading stories on this priceless website, learning, crying, smiling and I have been on a crazy emotional roller coaster ride since August 20, 2020 when our vet told us that Zeus has osteosarcoma in his left wrist. As many have experienced before me, I thought he injured his leg running wild and just needed some pain meds or maybe an x-ray to see if it is broken. Fast forward over some really unpleasant days, conversations, x-ray images, phone calls and near accidents, we have our pooch back home from the hospital. The surgery went really well and we are waiting for the pathology report now and options – chemo etc.
And who is this Zeus? He is a 7 year old vizsla who looks and acts like a puppy. He was the largest pup in his litter – way too big according to breeders, and that’s why we picked him. His legs are loooong and have always been sensitive, especially front ones. I don’t know if that played any part in the development of sarcoma or not but it’s just something that, in retrospect, could have been a sign of what’s to come. He is a goofball, loves people but is picky and I can always tell a bit about a person based on Zeus’s initial “assessment”. He is my radar for good and not so good. He is a swimmer and a runner but as a pointer/retriever dog that he should be, he can’t point, or retrieve, if his life depended on it. Twice he thought it would be a good idea to play with a skunk. He is petrified of cats, wind, and just random things like gnomes, Halloween decorations, lemon, phone chargers etc. But he is a healer, he knows when you need help and is there for you no matter what.
Night number one is well upon us and we had to increase his painkillers. We have some pretty good meds and hope he goes through this with as little pain as possible but he has been having a rough night so far. As I sit here on the floor next him I am in this heart and soul – no matter what it takes. All else comes second or doesn’t come at all. We are on this adventure together and it will be an epic one!!