My reminiscing continues….. It’s been just over ten months since I became a Tripawd. Mum thinks I was too high on the drugs to remember much about the amputation. She’s just jealous. Of course I can remember it. I was blissfully pain free and I was treated like a princess by all the wonderful staff at the hospital.
Of course while I was out to it and having my leg taken off mum was sitting by the phone hoping it didn’t ring too early. The surgeon had told her that they would xray my lungs and if there were no mets they would proceed with amputation. They rang mum in the early afternoon to tell her the xray had been clear and that I had come through the surgery really well and was comfortable in recovery. I slept through most of that day and night.
Mum wasn’t allowed to visit me until the next day. I surprised her by bounding in with my usual enthusiasm, dragging along the two attendants who were attempting to support my back leg. I was a bit wobbly but given that I still had the effects of an epidural in my system I think I did pretty well for myself. Mum nearly had a heart attack at the way my back leg bent at an unnatural angle.
I stayed in hospital for four nights after the surgery. The hospital staff praised me for how quickly and easily I adjusted to three legs and of course, as to be expected, I won them over with my cheeky and bubbly personality. Mum and dad visited me for about an hour each day. I was so excited and happy to see them although I did tire quite quickly. I was on morphine for the pain but by the time I was discharged I was on Tramadol and Rimadyl. I stayed on them for another two weeks.
Mum says she still doesn’t fully understand how the cancer was “graded” but her understanding is that I had an aggressive, high grade tumour ((high mitotic rate of 39 per HPF) but my phosphatase levels were normal and the chest xrays were clear. Mum was naively optimistic that I would at least make the 12 month median prognosis. There was some suggestion that I might have Telangiectatic osteosarcoma, a very aggressive form, but I’m not sure if that was confirmed because I was always given a prognosis of 10 to 12 months whereas Telangiectatic osteosarcoma has a prognosis of 6 to 8 months (and interestingly, also commonly spreads to other bones!!!).
The hardest part for mum was letting me go home with dad after I was discharged from hospital. I had always been with mum while recuperating from other operations. But it was dad’s turn to have me AND he could be home with me 24 hrs a day for three weeks. Mum couldn’t. It made sense because I wouldn’t be alone and especially because I refuse, I mean absolutely REFUSE to wear the cone of shame. It does not become me! I am a Princess!!! But mum was very unhappy. I know she wanted to be able to look after me and fuss over me. I would have preferred that too but I was really too drugged out to care where I went as long as it was out of the hospital. I loved all the people there and they fussed over me a lot but there is still no place like home!
I was ecstatic to go home and stood in the back seat pressed up against mum who was supporting me. The drive back to dad’s home took its toll on me (only about a 30 minute drive) but despite the exhaustion I still couldn’t wait to sniff and mark my territory as soon as I got out of the car!
The first couple of weeks were the hardest. I did whine a little from the pain and I was off my food a bit and of course I slept a lot. Much to dad’s surprise I preferred to lie on the incision side. He didn’t understand why. Within a few days of being home I did start being a bit naughty and harassing my dad to let me go for a walk even though the doctors had told him I needed to stay confined. I was sooooo bored, perking up a bit in the afternoons, keen to know what was going on outside. So he finally relented and we would visit the park on a regular basis and sit there and watch the world go by.
I saw mum a few times at the park during my recuperation. I was very happy to see her but I know it was breaking her heart to see me looking so forlorn and vulnerable. A lot of that was the drugs. Once I stopped taking the Tramadol (about 3 weeks after the amputation) I started to feel much more like my feisty self again and my appetite fully returned.
I missed having mum to fuss over me while I was feeling unwell and I know she missed being able to fuss over me. She cried every day from the day we got the news about my cancer until the day I finally went home to be with her one month later. That was a joyous reunion (but more about that in my next ramblings…)