On July 28th of this year, our life went sideways. That’s the day our Maggie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. Since that time, we’ve gone through a new form of radiation therapy called Sterotactic Radiation, four rounds of chemotherapy, countless blood tests and trips to the vet.
Through it all Maggie has been a stellar patient. She hasn’t balked at any of the treatments and still goes willingly into the back with the vet to get poked and prodded. The bone strengthening treatment she receives is an IV drip, so she has to sit there for three hours to receive it. That can’t be fun.
We’ve done our best to keep Maggie’s life pretty much the same for her. She doesn’t like surprises and counts on certain things to happen at certain times, so we try to keep that balance for her, even on her long vet visit days. Once her chemo is over, we plan to do a special trip to the beach for her.
Once she was diagnosed, we increased her pain meds and her severe limp improved. After the radiation treatment, the limp was gone completely, even at low doses of pain meds. She hasn’t gotten sick at all from the chemo – hasn’t missed a meal, or a poop in the 3 months. The only negative reaction we had was low white blood cell count after her 1st round. We delayed the 2nd round for a week, kept it at a slightly lower dose and her CBC panels have all been within normal range since then.
Maggie also has a slight wheeze when she walks so we’ve done regular chest xrays to watch for tumors in her lungs. She has a few spots, but they haven’t changed at all over the last few months, so the vet thinks they are just normal age changes.
We’ve implemented many of the changes that our holistic vet, Dr. Mahaney recommended and I have to believe that they helped keep her digestive tract in a healthy state and prevented some of the side effects you might see from the chemotherapy treatments.
Maggie has been doing far better that I ever could have hoped for. I was hesitant to do such aggressive treatments with her, worrying about her having a bad reaction like Becca did, but other than the time and cost involved, there has been no downside to this.
Maggie’s life has continued pretty much as it was before the diagnosis. She loves her morning walks and still scampers back and forth and all around, covering twice as much territory as me. Mealtime is second only to Find the Food as her favorite activity – her treatments have not had any impact on her appetite.
The only side effect I’ve noticed is she is slightly more tired – she explores the backyard only a couple of times a week instead of a couple of times a day and she lost a little patch of hair where the radiation treatment occurred. But that is growing back in a very distinguished grey that Maggie thinks is a little badge of courage for all she’s been through, and so do I.