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Mercy's Story

Mercy's story of cancer and amputation.

Mercy's Story

The little things…

October 22nd, 2009 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

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When you’re a high anxiety person like myself, it’s the nights that get rough, when the sleep just doesn’t come because your mind just won’t stop racing.  Of course, as of late, the racing thoughts have all been Mercy.  Thoughts about what we’re losing, what we’re gaining.  The worries.

Once I made the decision to go for the amputation, I’ve taken a LOT of pictures of my girly with her 4 legs.  In doing so, it reminds me of the little things she does that she won’t be able to do, or will have difficulty doing now.

I’ll miss the way she has always “spazzed” and “crawled” when excited, moving her front paws in ways that are hard to describe.  Without both paws, this probably won’t be possible.

I’ll miss playing with her with her favourite toy (or my hand) under the blankets, watching her dig them out.

Watching her dig to make her bed before laying down.

Watching her play with and/or discipline the cats.  I could never get to them fast enough when they were being naughty, and she learned when she was allowed to go tell them off.  She never hurt them, but she sure gave them what-for.  I’m afraid she won’t be able to keep up anymore.

Watching her wash her eyes.  Like a cat, she would lick her paws and wipe at her eyes to keep them clean.  I won’t see that anymore.

Balancing and laying on the back of the couch.  She’s always done this.  It’s her favourite perch to sleep on.  I’m afraid she won’t have the necessary footing and balance to do this anymore.

I’m going to miss so much, all the little things I took for granted before.  I keep trying to convince myself that we’ll gain new little “perks” when she turns this new page in her life… but I can’t help but feel sorrow for what will be lost.

The worst part about the late hours, when my friends, family, even Mercy is asleep, is the miserable thoughts of what could go wrong.  Knowing how horrible and disoriented she gets after anesthesia.  More than many of the other patients I see.  Hoping the pain management will be enough to help her stay comfortable.  Being afraid to touch the surgery site.  Being unsure how she’ll respond to having a leg, and shortly thereafter, being without it.  I’m afraid for the first wobbly steps, or the first time she wipes out.  As a surgery tech, I haven’t decided yet whether to be there for her recovery, like usual.  After her mass removals, I’ve held her until she was ready to go.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch her with the confusion of the anesthesia, and the confusion of the amputation.  It’s going to make me cry regardless, and just thinking of the ifs, and the images, and all my worries make my stomach turn.  Which makes me feel ridiculous, since I’m a vet tech and should be stronger for this, and with all the condescending “it’s just a dog” that gets tossed around.  She’s my baby.  My coworkers keep reminding me that it’s going to be harder on me than it is on her, and I hope that’s true.

Unfortunately, the things that go bump in the night aren’t always kind.  I wish it wasn’t 2 weeks away.  I wish it was time for us both to be done with the operation and on the road to recovery.  It’s still all surreal to me. 9.5 years ago, I would never have believed that the adorable little puppy would become this strong, awesome, senior tripawd.  After her surgery, I hope to inspire our clients whose pets are diagnosed with cancer.  Like Baby, a chihuahua whose owners are on a fixed income and struggling with trying to treat their dogs cancer with limited means.  They’re concerned with amputation, and I’m hoping that Mercy will be able to show them, and others, that it truly is better to hop on 3 legs than limp on four.

In the meantime, the milestones Mercy and I have to wait for are,

NLT 10.26.2009 (hopefully) should have the radiology report back confirming there are no pulmonary mets.

10.28.2009 Sutures out from her last mass removal surgery.

10.29.2009 Abdominal ultrasound and ultrasound-guided aspirate of her prescapular lymph node.

11.03.2009 Fentanyl Patch placement.  Hopefully should already have the results about whether there has been any metastasis to the lymph node and whether we need to take that too.

11.04.2009 Amputation.

I’m also working on supplies that might make it easier for her after her surgery.  She already has an e-collar from her mass removals, and is using her soft-sided travel crate so she’s less likely to get hung up or bump herself too hard.  She already has shirts available, and more on the way.  Not that they’re necessary, but why not?  I’m going to measure her and order her the recommended Ruff Wear harness.  I’ll be setting my bed up on the floor so that she’s comfortable and I don’t have to worry about her trying to get up and down the bed.  Over the next couple weeks I’ll be trying to think of other things to make the transition more comfortable for both of us, does anyone have any recommendations?

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Liz Davis

    Just remember that we all love Mercy too and will do everything in our power to make sure she is not just “ok”. I would love nothing more than to make her transition to her new 3 legged life as easy and comfortable as I can…

  • mercysmom

    Oh, I know you will. You also know I’ll do what I do best, STRESS AND PANIC! go enjoy your vacation!

  • jakesmom

    Hi Mercy’s Mom!

    I’m so sorry that Mercy has to go through all this… She is adorable!!!

    But we are all here for similar reasons… Our babies were diagnosed with cancer. I’m also a certified vet tech… but never ended up working full time as one (I work full time in human cancer research )… just worked part time as a vet tech, over the past 20 years… I just can’t stay away!

    I have seen lots of bad stuff and can handle everything (or so I thought)… but when it came to my Jake and his whole ordeal… I totally turned into a regular client. Sometimes I think that knowing too much, made things alot worse for me!

    I panicked and worried about everything that could go wrong during and after Jake’s surgery… but he came through with flying colors… I worried (still do) that one of Jake’s other legs will break (his front leg fractured and that’s when he first got diagnosed)… I worry every time he pants too much that he already has lung mets…

    Definitely make sure you have some time off for the first week after Mercy’s amputation. That’s what I did, and it really helped… You’ve got the bed on the floor, and are getting the harness… that will help alot! You’ll be surprised after a while, all the things that Mercy can still do on 3 legs… she will accomodate for sure. Animals are so resilient… not like us humans!

    I’ll be thinking of you and Mercy on the 4th!! Keep us posted!!

    Jake’s Mom

  • jerry

    What a beautiful post, thinking of all the ways in which your life will be different. Yes, you do lose some things, but overall you gain so much more. Cancer is so strange that way. The gifts this awful disease brings are more than we can ever imagine. Unfortunately silly humans don’t realize it at first, it takes a while, and that’s normal.

    I would say just prepare yourself mentally for being strong for Mercy, because she needs your pawsitive energy more than anything to help her heal quickly. You are an awesome pawrent, she couldn’t ask for more. Hang in there.

  • Tazzie

    You might be surprised to see some of the things you think you won’t see. Tazzie still rough houses with the cat and hangs out on the couch in positions you would not think possible. (He tried to give me his paw once, which he used to do all the time. That did not work out so well, kerplunk!) I have also some behaviours and puppy craziness I have not seen in years.

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