Day 4

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Well, what an exhausting time! Alexander is doing exceedingly well. He tires quickly, but he is always wanting to GO! It is so hard to keep him quiet.

The meds are making him pant a lot which sometimes makes me nervous, but I know it is just the reaction they give. His incision is looking really good, cool and dry, no seeping. Trying to keep him from licking it is a nightmare. He hates the t-shirt and the cone. Oh well, he’s gotta wear it!

His other legs are a little banged up, I think from stumbling the first day or two. He has some scrapes and scabs, but I think they are pretty minor.

He truly is amazing me. He is hopping right up on his mattress, and our bed. We have to keep an eye on him with the bed, we don’t want him hurting himself getting down, even though it is a low platform style bed….He goes in and out by himself, we finally got a bowel movement last night, HOORAY!!!

I do get a bit sad for him sometimes, I just hate to see him struggle, but every day he gets stronger. I can’t wait for the day when he can go to the beach and play again!


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Day 1 Post Op

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Alexander is doing really well. He has to stay one more night, but he ate for me today. He was VERY whiny, but I think it is a mix of excitement and pain meds. The good news is that he readily got up multiple time to keep greeting people. He was wobbly, but getting up! I think he is more unsure of himself laying back down!

This is going to be a long hard road. I keep looking at where his leg should be, but it’s not! Weird. It breaks my heart watching him struggle, but I think he is going to be up and going in no time.

Some pics from today:

Sleepy
It looks SO raw....

Resting

Surgery Day!!!!

Well, today is THE day. We woke up, if we even slept at 6 am. We brought him to the vets for his surgery, I promised I would only give him pawsitve vibes. So we sat there talking with the tech, asking the 100 questions on my mind, telling her about his RAW diet, then it was time to hand over the leash…..

The tech mentioned how calm and awesome my husband and I were being, I had to tell her how hard it was, we were holding everything in as Alexander feeds off other’s energy.

I bent down, got some big wet slobby kisses and told him to go on, have fun. He promptly dragged the vet tech over to the scale and jumped up. He stood there looking at us like, “Well, isn’t this what I am supposed to do here?” That certainly got a good laugh out of us!

The Evil Cancer, the Leg must GO!

It was a tough ride home, somehow I did not break down and cry! I got home, my husband went to work. As I sat there it felt like each hour added more weight to my chest. About 11am I had to take a Xanaxx to calm my nerves. I promptly fell asleep.

At 1:30, I got the call from the vet’s office. Alexander did beautifully. There was no problem with anesthesia, no complication with the surgery and he is now recovering. He is in ICU all night, they want to keep him calm and rested. We will be able to see him tomorrow!!!

I am so happy right now, it is ridiculous. I am anxious to see him, but I really am no longer nerous about seeing the leg. I just want to go get more slobby kisses!

Thank you ALL for being so supportive. I don’t know what I would have done without this wonderful outlet for everything!!!

Why am I up SO early?

Anxiety

Well, the good news is that we visited a different vet who believes that Alexander will do well as a tripawd. He is of good weight, his joints are good, but most of all his drive for life is strong.

The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, they will take him in, do the surgery, keep him for at least two nights to monitor his pain and stuff. If all goes well, then he will be coming home Thursday.

I know that we are making the right decision for him, it’s either his leg or his life, but I keep having anxiety attacks! I just start thinking about the complications from surgery, how it is going to be so startling to see him afterward, my baby in pain and everything else!

Of course the vets have to tell you all the risks for surgery, but all I hear is, “blah, blah, heart failure, blah blah, pneumonia, blah blah, bleeding” Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!

The vets also commented a couple of times that he needs to stay calm so as not to tear his stitches and other tissues, of course it makes me happy they think he’ll be so go, go, go, but now it makes me nervous he could hurt himself.

I am trying to prepare myself for the shock of seeing it for the first time, but I’m not sure you can do that. I am also trying to prepare myself for bringing home a doped up, in pain 165lb dog…..good thing my husband isn’t small…..

Well, I’ve vented enough. I hate that this is happening to him, I am so angry that he has to go through this, but I know that it is not as bad for them as it is us…..I just hate it.

Completely Frustrated!

So we went to the orthopedic surgeon today to determine if Alexander would be a candidate for amputation. The doctor basically looked at him and said, “Dogs over 100 lbs do not do well with amputation in the front.” He also told us that if we anticipated what we were getting into and the work we would have to put in, then he might be okay….

So, I asked him about the structural integrity of Xander’s other leg. His front feet turn out like a ballerina, not all the way, but enough to concern me with the integrity of the leg. The doctor said he wouldn’t know until after he amputated. He then told us we could try bandaging up the hurt leg and see how Alex does on three legs. They took him in the back, tied the leg up (completely heartbreaking to see) and let us come back. Alex was scared out of his mind, but upon me calling him, he came to me on the three legs, stood and even backed up a little….

My heart says he has the strength to do this, my head tells me he may suffer. If damage would be done to the remaining leg, I wonder if it would be over a course of years (which he doesn’t have) or months…..

Time for a second opinion, from someone versed in Giant breeds……

The Kindness that Humbles me….

On Friday, I set up an online fundraiser for Alexander. He is going to need some costly treatments and we don’t want finances to hinder us from doing the best for him. By Friday night, we had raised over $400!!! It is now Sunday night and we are already over $1000!!!

The fact that a lot of people care and can give a little, absolutely humbles my husband and I. At first we felt a bit like a charity case, but as my mom said, the money is for Alexander, not us…..So we committed that any money we may have after the treatments, we will donate to canine cancer awareness.

It is going to be a long hard road, it is nice to know that there is help.

The Tough Stuff

On Monday July 12, 2010, I brought Alexander in to have a bump on his wrist looked at by our vet. The vet was concerned and sent us for x-rays. When the x-rays came back, they showed significant bone remodeling along with darker lytic regions. Basically, all of the signs of Osteosaroma, bone cancer.

The next day we took Alexander to a veterinary oncologist. without further testing she told us that she was 90% sure it was osteosarcoma and gave us some horrid statistics. We went home heartbroken and lost and confused.

Wednesday, I woke up and was determined to get more answers. We got an immediate appointment with a new oncologist. The oncologist ran some tests, took more x-rays and gave us a lot more information.

The cancer has not spread to his lungs, so for now it is localized in his leg. Unfortunately, that leg is in constant pain. The most aggressive treatment, with the best results is amputation of the leg along with chemotherapy.

The aggressive treatment is approximated to give Alexander another year, with no pain in his leg. This treatment is scary, horrifying and I cannot describe the fears we have. BUT, the idea that Alexander could have another year or more to go play with his friends and run on the beach (as a tri-pawed), gives us the strength to go on.

Unfortunately for us, the treatments are costly. Amputation can run around $2500.00, the Chemo $2400.00 then add in x-rays and testing. In three days we have already racked up $1000.00 in bills for consultations along with x-rays and testing.

Many people do not understand why we go to these extents to help “a dog”. I don’t think those people have ever had an animal in their life that gave them what Alexander gives us.

Alexander’s Life

Alexander has had a lot of adventures, he has lived in three homes with us, taken trips to Jacksonville and Alabama, and met more people than we know.

We began attending Meet-up events specifically for Great Danes when Alexander was around a year old. Somehow it spiraled into us creating a new meet-up/social group for Great Dane owners and Dog lovers. The group expanded and grew to over 150 members.

With the group, Alexander has the opportunity to go out and see his friends in many settings. He loves going to Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City, Ft. Desoto Beach, Davis Island Beach, ANY dog park, ANY restaurant that will let him in and many fund-raising events.

Alexander has also made some amazing friends. He loves hanging out with Emma, Monte, Lilli and Miles. He is content to do zoomies with them in a backyard. Oh, and he LOVES torturing his friend Dempsey, who he lived with for a while….poor Dempsey!

Even at Four, Alexander loves toys. He has a plushie whale that smells so bad you would think it is toxic, but he carries that plushie around like his security blanket!

I think Alexander’s favorite thing in the world is good people. He loves to strut his stuff, having people gawk at him and love on him, as long as they don’t get in his face. He LOVES his back scratched and will arch like a cat!

Kevin and I get so much pleasure out of watching Alexander amaze people. Recently, a woman escorting a blind man asked us if the man could touch Alexander. Alexander walked right over, turned his body so that he could be pet, and let the man love on him. There are no words to express the joy and amazement that came over that man’s face.

Alexander does that to Kevin and I EVERY day.

About Alexander

Alexander is a Great Dane, born on May 12, 2006. He just turned four.

We picked Alexander out because he was the quiet one in the corner. He was so sweet and lovable. He came into our home to meet Baylee, our five year old (at the time) Great Dane. Baylee immediately ran from him, looking at us like, “what the heck is that?!?!”

Alexander (Xander) came into our lives as a whirlwind. He was a crazy little (not for long) puppy with an attitude. He made it clear NOT to get in the way of his food, or else. He loved toys, still does, and would howl along with anything that squeaked!

We began socializing Xander early, bringing him with us everywhere. This caused a little problem when he could no longer fit in the front seat, yet he insisted…..

Xander grew so fast, even as much as we tried not to let him! Great Danes are required a specific diet to prevent their bones from growing too quickly and becoming malformed. Despite all our efforts, Xander gained 8-15 pounds a week! He has finally topped out at 165 pounds and 39 inches tall….at his shoulder!