Another year with Arwen – 15.5 Months Post Op

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It’s time for another year, and I am just updating Arwen’s blog to let everyone know she is still happy and healthy. She’s rocking the tripawd life, and enjoying the snow. She had a lot of adventures this year, and I know more will come in 2021.

I just want to send a message of positivity to anyone who is going through their dog becoming a tripawd. Arwen can still do pretty much everything non-tripawds can do.

Here she is getting on a paddleboard this summer:

And she always loves going out in the snow:

ArwenNickDec2020_10

ArwenNickDec202012

And of course, she loves just being with her family. Especially her fellow doggy cousins.

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Happy New Year to everyone! We’re running out of 2020 and into 2021 with hope!

 


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Arwen 14 Months Post Op

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I just wanted to give an Arwen pupdate! But there’s actually not a lot to say. Arwen is still living her best life. She makes us happy every day, and I’m sure we’re making her happy, too. She still seems perfectly healthy, though, as I’ve mentioned before, we have decided not to do chest xrays every 3 months like her vet recommended. We will probably settle on every 6 months, which means we’ll do her next xrays in February. But for now, we’re just cherishing each memory!

Here are some recent pics of her!

This is Arwen’s fall season pic wearing a leaf crown.

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This was our family dressed up on Halloween.

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We recently got snow on the mountains near our home, which Arwen is ESTATIC about.

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We went on a snowshoeing trip this weekend. We usually don’t take Arwen on walks longer than 1 mile to 1.5 miles, but took a wrong turn that turned it into a 3 mile hike. Arwen got really tired and kept stopping to rest, so my husband carried her back the last 3/4 of a mile.

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Best wishes to all of our fellow tripawd families! And to all the pups out there fighting osteosarcoma, too.

 

Arwen’s 1 Year Ampuversary

Arwen had her one year ampuversary!! One year ago, September 17th, Arwen had her left, front leg amputated. It was a hard decision (and the worst night ever), but here we all are, a year later! And what a year!

Arwen got to spend the winter playing in the snow:

ArwenFeb0202020

She got to go on a snowboarding trip to Washington:

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ArwenHeatherFeb2020_1

She got to go on two trips to the beach:

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She got to hang out with her cousins:

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She got to go on an Idaho-Montana road trip, where she got to see Flathead Lake for the first time:

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She got to go on lots of hikes:

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She got to spend lots of time swimming! (Always with a life jacket now. Just as a precaution, and it seems to make things easier on her.) :

ArwenAug2020

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She got to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas:

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She went on a couple river trips and got to see a new waterfall:

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She got to go camping:

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But mostly, she got to spend time with us:

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It would really take too long to detail everything we have gotten to do with Arwen this last year. We went for approximately 277 walks, enjoyed hundreds of hugs and cuddles, and shared thousands of kisses.

We get to fall asleep with Arwen in our bed each night, and wake up to her smiling, happy face every morning.

I am so glad my husband and I made the decision to amputate Arwen’s leg a year ago. It took away her pain and lengthened her life. I am grateful for every single minute I get to spend with this sweet angel. I have no idea how much longer I get to have her with us, but I would never give this year back. Despite the surgery, despite the chemo visits, we got so much happy, vet-free, pain-free time. I can look back and say everything we did was worth it.

ArwenPostOpDay43(1)

 

 

11 Months Post-Op

I have not updated Arwen’s blog in far too long! But we got good news that I just had to share!

Veterinary Follow Up

We did decide to do a 6 month follow-up for Arwen’s next chest xrays, but because of COVID it ended up being 8 months. But we got the good news a couple of weeks ago that her lungs are clear! We’re so beyond happy! It’s so stressful wondering if the cancer has metastasized, and such a relief to us that it hasn’t. Realizing that we are quickly coming upon over a year post-op, we are thrilled with this news. Every day we get with Arwen is such a joy.

ArwenJuly222020

Continuing Care

We continue to do Arwen’s physical therapy exercises every day, and she hasn’t had a day without a walk in 5 months. She gets a mostly homemade diet with veggies and poultry or fish and her K9 Medicinal mushroom supplements.

Arwen continues to go on lots of adventures with us. She has successfully been swimming (with a life jacket) and we just took her paddleboarding for the first time with 3 legs, and she did perfect!

ArwenNickAug2020_9

Birthday

Arwen also celebrated her 10th birthday in July!! This birthday was all the more special because we didn’t know at one point if she would have it.

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We will continue to make the most of every day with have with our sweet pupper. She is so happy and healthy right now. I look back at where we were a year ago and know we made some right decisions.

Arwen Finished Chemo

Arwen is done with chemo! DONE. No more going to the vet every week!! We are so excited for her. We feel very lucky because she did not have side effects from the chemo, except possibly the very last treatment (she seemed lethargic that afternoon then threw up twice the next day, but then was back to herself).

Throughout the chemo treatments, we were able to keep Arwen’s life very “normal.” Same routine as before, going up to the mountain to play every weekend, walks on weekday afternoons, lots of cuddles at home. We didn’t really travel much because we were worried about going too far from her vet if there was an emergency.  But now we feel like we can breathe a little more and just got back from a snowboarding trip to Washington with her.

FUTURE VETERINARY TREATMENTS

We have decided not to do further treatments for Arwen. There has been a lot of talk about the vaccine trials for osteosarcoma dogs. The listeria vaccine sounds promising, and there is a vet clinic a few hours from us doing this treatment, but as I mentioned in Arwen’s last post, the chemotherapy visits were stressful for Arwen.  Chemotherapy was only 6 treatments (with blood checks in between), and a few more treatments doesn’t seem like a lot, but we promised Arwen we wouldn’t admit her to a vet office anymore.

Arwen’s vet is recommending that for follow-up monitoring, we do chest xrays for Arwen in 4-6 weeks, then every 3 months after that. This is to check to see if the cancer metastasizes to her lungs, which our vet has practically guaranteed us that eventually, it will. We are still undecided on what we will do regarding this follow-up. She won’t have to be admitted for chest xrays so it won’t be so stressful for her, and we also wouldn’t be getting them done at the office she had chemo and her amputation at, so that’s less stressful, too. But if we won’t be doing any further treatments or chemo if the cancer is found in her lungs, is there a point in knowing? We are in 2 different camps, with my husband more not wanting to know, and me wanting to know.  We may compromise and consider chest xrays every 6 months. We’ll have to see.

But we will continue to focus on keeping Arwen as healthy as possible through diet, exercise, and mental health. She will continue getting her immunotherapy supplements from K9 Medicinals, and her daily Phycox glucosamine and fish oil. We may consult a homeopathic vet, but for now we are letting Arwen have a nice break from vet offices (exception: physical therapy).

PHYSICAL THERAPY

Arwen enjoys her physical therapy visits, where she gets lots of treats and we get to stay with her, and we truly feel that these visits have been beneficial to her. She has about one visit a month, but we do exercises with her every day.  Her muscles and core seem stronger since we started doing exercises. But her therapist still wants us to take it easy on long hikes. So we continue to keep walks under a mile for Arwen.

Because Arwen has bowing in her carpal wrist area, her therapist recommends Arwen wear a brace to prevent further bowing in the future. Note: Not all tripawds will need a brace. And a hard brace could hurt a dog if not fitted properly under the supervision of a vet or therapist. Arwen has a soft orange brace, but she recently got a hard black brace that Arwen’s physical therapist special-ordered for her based on her measurements. Both her braces are from Therapaw.

Arwen’s black hard brace is a lot larger than her soft orange one. It looks like a cast to me! I’m still getting used to seeing it on her.

THE FUTURE

We don’t know how long we have with Arwen. The vet told us 9-12 months from diagnosis if we did amputation and chemo, but we sincerely hope we get more than that. However, we have seen heart-breaking stories where the time was much shorter. And we have seen uplifting stories where the time was much longer, even when chemo was not done. We will just continue to live with Arwen knowing that we need to make every single day count. We love her so much, and seeing her happy is our favorite thing in the world.