Stitches Are Out

Met with Tate’s surgeon today, took out the stitches and gave him the “all clear” and thinks he’s doing great. 

No more Tramadol, nothing else but Rimadyl and just for this week.  That’s the long story short.

She did ask about my concerns about the Tram, I explained everything as best as I could but in the end she thinks he was picking up on my anxiety.  I resemble, I mean, I resent that remark!  Doesn’t matter, when he woke up this morning I could tell he was better.  Woke me up to feed him, ate kibble without any yummies added in, wagged his tail for hugs and pets.  And he hasn’t wagged his tail for a long time!  When we got home, we walked all the way around the block.  He had to stop and rest quite a few times but he did great.  Now he’s sacked out.

Succumbed to the Cone of Shame

Well, first, Tate’s off the Tramadol.  His pain is a little higher, I called the vet for a substitute but no return call.

Last night was the night from hell.  Panting and restlessness for hours.  The only time he settled was when I let him outside, he would have slept outside if I would have let him.  As soon as I brought him in, the panting started again and he tried to hide under the dining room table.  I laid on the floor and pet him but it didn’t help so I finally went to bed at 2:30 and listened to him pant for another hour before he finally stopped and put his head down.

Because his pain level is higher, I couldn’t put the onesie on him so the cone went on.  Oh, the drama!  So Dad took over.  Brought him outside and sat with him (low 30’s but at least it’s sunny!)  He let Tate bump into the house, get tangled in the bushes, stagger around.  When Dad would come into his field his view, he’d make his way over for some pets, which was kinda cute.  But the rest of it was hard to watch…so I didn’t.

Anyway, he’s been out there for hours now, napping in the sun.  What a relief. 

I hate this stupid thi..zzzzz

Tate’s Onesie

They just keep on coming up with new and creative ways to humiliate me.



Our latest effort.  Leg through the neck, tail through the armhole and snap around the waist.  He can even pee with this!  I just can’t deal with his reaction to the cone, he freezes with a stunned look in his eyes and stays like that…until we’re not around and then he slips out of it.  I can’t bring myself to torture him with it.  If this doesn’t work, tomorrow we’ll try to find a donut like Maddie’s.


One Week Ampuversary

Everyone has a different experience with this but here’s a synopsis of Tate’s first week.  I thought it might be helpful to someone facing a hemipelvectomy for their dog; everyone else will be snoring by Day 3.

Day 1 (Surgery Day).  Normal hemipelvectomy, very stable, followed by nothing but drug-induced sleep.

Day 2.  “Fabulous” is a relative term.  “Miserable” to the uneducated eye.  Regardless, he was standing and sort of walking, drinking and sort of eating, wearing a shoulder-to-tail stretchy mesh bandage.

Day 3.  We didn’t see him but Dr. reported steady progress.  IV out, the only remaining issue was the drainage, still too high to come home.

Day 4.  Continued progress but still a lot of drainage.  They cut back on his Tramadol.  We brought him home in the evening; he was his normal happy self but slower, and in need of lots of attention.  His appetite was great but he was drinking a lot more water than usual.

I was glad Dad slept next to Tater-Tot, even though this is against expert advice.  We wanted him steps from the back door, and didn’t want him alone.  He had a fitful night, out to pee three times, had his first poop (!), but couldn’t get comfortable on his new bed so Dad brought out the old one and he settled and slept.
First Day Home

Day 5.  He was panting and stressed; called and the nurse said it was okay to add more Tramadol.  A bruise developed close to the incision.  Couldn’t maintain suction on the drain, plus it looked like there was a leak where the tubing meets the plastic and Tate kept licking it.  Put on his e-collar but he wouldn’t lay down, staggered and stumbled around and I was worried he’d fall.  I decided to just sit with him outside.  His nose was very busy!

Brought him to the vet; Dr. Scott said the “leakage” is just weeping, of no concern.  He took off the full-body bandage and put a little patch on the drain site, secured with a wrap and Tate was much happier.  Slept the whole rest of the day.  Much quieter night.  But his appetite is declining a bit.

Without the mesh bandage, his butt looks so tiny, but she did plump it up with surrounding muscle.


Day 6.  Very normal morning, ate, drank, peed, pooped (it’s a little hard for him to keep his balance to poop.)  But all his parts down south seemed swollen.  It didn’t bother him until about 2 hours later, all of a sudden he started panting and licking like crazy.  Dad iced it (why didn’t I think of that?) and it was like flipping a switch, he immediately settled and fell asleep.  Same thing happened again in the afternoon, and hours later in the evening.  His appetite is even less.

Day 7.  Similar to yesterday, ice packs and the usual med routine.  But he hopped out to greet me when I got home from work.  By evening, he is showing more interest in activities, asking for a toy.  But then he doesn’t know which one to choose and gives up.  I think he’s bored.

Dr. called with path results (see previous post); she said the “swelling” is actually fluid accumulation and it will go away as the fluid is absorbed into his body.

Day8.  The day got off to a great start, clearly less pain, more appetite, more wagging.  We reduced the Tramadol, 2 instead of 3 and he’s been depressed and unsociable all day.  Didn’t budge when I got home from work.  Gets up and walks away from us when we try to spend time with him even for favorite activities like a good brushing.  Right now he is lying outside, hiding under the low branches of the spruce tree.  His new favorite place.

I am hoping it is just an adjustment to the meds, and not really being sad.  At least we are past the panting and need for ice packs, and he’s able to lie on his left side again.

Clean Margins!

Tate’s path report is in, the diagnosis is histiocytic sarcoma.  Good news is, she got 2 cm of clean margins!

Here’s what I know about histiocytic sarcoma:  Someone did a retrospective study of synovial cell sarcomas and reclassified the biopsies.  Some number of them (over half, I think) were actually histiocytic sarcomas and the outcomes for these was worse than the true synovial cell sarcomas.  This is roughly accurate but I don’t have the paper here.  Plus I’m not a vet.

Okay, so here’s my philosophy about statistics:  Acknowledge them and then discard them.  Duly noted, now let’s move on.  Two main reasons for this:

1.  If they tell you 95% of dogs do well and your dog is in the 5%, that statistic does you no good at all.

2.  On the flip side, statistically speaking, my mom should be dead by now.  When she was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, they told us the 2 year survival rate was 30% and that was with chemo.  We stopped her chemo early because she was dangerously close to “failure to thrive”.  Two years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which we chose not to treat at all.  And that was almost 2 years ago now.  So like I said, she should be dead and she’s not.  So there!  : )

On the home front, I think Tate has turned the corner.  Woke me up early (4:15!) to eat, laid under the tree outside enjoying the great outdoors until the thunder started and I had to bring him in.  No panting, no stress, moving pretty well once he got the early-morning kinks out.  So thank you for all the positive juju headed his way, keep up the good work!

All is Right with the World

I am so happy to be home.

They wanted to keep him another night but I said “No” so we brought him home with the drain (no problems) and we’re visiting his regular vet this afternoon, maybe take it out.

He’s so content, doing all the right things, great appetite, hopping to his pee place under the spruce tree.  He has a little trouble getting up the step into the house but is doing it unassisted.  He’s like a million times better than the last time we saw him.  Hops between Mom and Dad for pets and hugs.

Thanks to everyone!  I’ll be out of touch but wanted to let you know the good news.

Out of Touch

Sorry to report that our home internet is out of commission until Tuesday night (thank you AT&T, grrrr).  I will try to get out to get a connection somewhere but if you don’t hear from me it’s not because I’ve abandoned all my best supporters.

The latest on Tate is that we have to call back at 5:00 CDT.  We are praying that they can remove the drain today, which will make this whole thing a lot simpler.  Can’t wait to get him settled at home.

One More Night : (

They said we could bring him home but they prefer that he stay because he’s still draining and if we brought him home, we might have to bring him back tomorrow anyway to have the drain removed and so why don’t you just leave him here so we can empty his drain every couple of hours and check with us in the morning?

All I know is that we’re here, he’s there and everyone is sad.  Once I bust him out of there, I’m not bringing him back. 

Well, until I have to.

Hope to have happier news tomorrow night.

P.S  He’s eating and peeing.  That’s my boy!

One Unhappy Camper

The surgeon said she’d like to have us see him,  I suppose so we know what we’re getting into.  She’ll probably ask how we handled it.  I think they are a little skeptical about us because Tate is our very first dog.  And she said they’d give him his pain meds right after we left to put him to sleep.  So we went.

The most surprising thing for us was how small he looked.  I mean, besides the big chunk that is missing.  He’s wrapped up in a full-body mesh bandage that smashed down all his fluffy fur.  Plus he’s all kind of hunched up.  And I didn’t know a dog’s face could look haggard but it did.

I don’t think he was happy to see us, he just wanted to go home.  He hobbled (I would not call it a hop) right past us to the door.  He was panting and crying.  But we got him to lay down on the blanket with us and he settled a bit while we pet him and talked to him.  When Dad would stop petting him, he’d push Dad’s hand with his muzzle and press up against him.    And then after awhile he struggled to his feet and headed for the door again.  So we thought it best to leave.  At least he wagged his tail when we were petting him good-bye.

I’d like to think he’ll be happier at home but I have a feeling he’s just going to be this miserable for awhile before he gets better.  But we’ll feel better having him at home.  Poor little guy.

Hopping Around

Tate’s up and about, hopping around like a pro.  The surgeon is so pleased with his mobility.  He still won’t be able to come home until tomorrow; they have to do the usual stuff, get him off the IV and catheter, etc.

On the other hand, we know to expect him to crash once he gets home in his own environment.

We’re trying to decide if we should go visit him tonight.  Any thoughts?