Like a boss

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted.  But so much has happened, as predicted.  And more.  But that’s not what this post is about.  I got my renewal notice for supporting the Tripawds blog and realized that day after tomorrow is Dieter’s one year ampuversary!  Wow.  He has been on such a long journey (I hate that word, but it’s appropo).  And you know what?  He’s beating it like a BOSS.

We have been so lucky to be in Utah.  There is an amazing vet center, with amazing doctors (and staff!) who have really brought the latest in cancer care science and rehabilitation to the forefront of their practice.  I drive 30 minutes to see them and have no trouble doing it.  I’ve recommended them on the blogs, so if you’re in Utah, you’re in luck.

Interestingly, I wrote a post a long time ago about the importance of rehabilitation.  At the time, I had not started Dieter on rehab, but had been convinced by others that it was worthwhile.  I can now say that Dieter’s current state of health (mental and physical) is significantly improved through rehabilitation.  I can’t stress it enough; if you have access, do it.  You will be amazed at what your dog can do with help.  In addition to rehab, his vet recommended a change in diet, weight loss (he’s lost 14 lbs), and some ongoing medication that will help protect his joints (Adequan and meloxicam).  She’s run a barrage of tests on him over the last few months, and his chest x-rays have been completely clear so far.

The last post I wrote before this was was about the ups and downs, and the down I was referring to was the sobering conversation about average life expectancies for dogs with osteosarcoma.  Jim and Rene responded to that post by reminding me that each dog is different and that the averages are just averages.  In looking back, I realize that there was no way to know, at that time, whether or not Dieter would fall into that average.

About a month ago, Dieter finished his rehab, and he had a general review check-in with his vet.  She told me that she had never seen such a strong three-legged dog before, and that Dieter had responded to therapy extremely well.  Of course, the therapists are all ladies, so Dieter was happy to do whatever they wanted him to do, ha!  I was very pleased to hear that Dieter could now basically do anything he wanted, from a physical standpoint.  I asked the vet what else I could do, aside from what I was already doing, to help him.   She said nothing, that I was a model dog mom in this situation.  Again, I was pleased.  Then she got quiet.  One of the things I like most about Dieter’s (and now Otto’s) vet is that she’s a straight shooter.  She’s quick, to-the-point yet personable, and operates from an evidence-based perspective.  She is a CSU graduate and keeps in regular contact with them to keep up on the latest.

But her going quiet made me anxious.  Then she said, “You know what?  I think he can beat it.  His systems are all super healthy, his images are clear, he shows no signs of cancer or evidence that he’s fighting anything, and there are a bunch of things we can do to avoid factors that have known associations with osteosarcoma. [apparently certain vaccinations?]  He’s on the right diet, and is physically and mentally very healthy.  I think we have a success story on our hands.”  I was shocked.  I asked her if she’d had other patients who had beat it, and she listed off a short list, most of whom had osteosarcoma, and one dog that had lymphatic cancer.  All lived out full and healthy lives.  I just couldn’t believe it.  But she’s no BS-er; she would not have said anything if she didn’t believe it.  I asked her if she was serious about 10 times, and she said yes every time.  As with Jim and Rene, she reminded me that every dog is different, and Dieter has a good combination of things going for him.

I probably won’t ever clear the cobweb of anxious possibility from the corners of my mind, but in that moment I realized that I’d been approaching life with Dieter as a short-term proposition, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It started to dawn on me that there was a real possibility that he would be around for a while.  I honestly can’t remember something giving me as much joy as that realization.

Here’s a recent picture of my beautiful, healthy boy, enjoying the grass in Utah.  Like a BOSS.  😀

Dieter 9-14

7 thoughts on “Like a boss”

  1. Congratulations on Dieter! this is really good news – to know some dogs are able to beat the odds. I am still in the post-chemo anxiety period. Johnnie went through 6 rounds of carboplatin and his 6-month ampuversary is Nov 20.
    Are you giving Dieter any supplements?

  2. Daniela, I know where you are; hang in there. I know it gets said a lot, but remember to just take things day by day. Do a little something to make each day special and know that Johnnie is still the same dog; living the dog life. 🙂 Is he getting around well? Does he have a front or rear amp?

    Dieter also went through 6 rounds of carboplatin, just as a point of interest.

    I am not giving Dieter any supplements, however, he is on the Hill’s n/d diet. It’s a canned food and is basically meat and fat. Carbs feed cancer cells, so the amount of carbs he intakes has been minimized. It’s stinky and gross-looking but he LOVES it. I’ve gotten used to it, haha. And it gave me an excuse to buy a sweet vintage electric can opener.

  3. WOW!!!!!!WOW!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂



    And the best thing going for Dieter that no other dog has… YOU!!!

    You have a wonderful team of vets on your side and an ABSOLUTELY strong and determined dog! He is EXQUISITELY HANDSOME!!

    Oh gosh, let’s not forget, we have a ONE YEAR AMPUVERSARY to celebrate!! And that means Dieter gets one scoop of ice cream…just one scoop! He deserves it!!! And you get TWO scoops for being such an empowering example of positive attitude.

    You two are a powerful team! We’re all cheering for you Dieter!

    Keep rockin BOSS!

    I’m breaking out the ice cream! Two…maybe three scoops for me…and one for Merry Myrtle!!

    Still grinning over here!!!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

  4. Way to go Dieter!! You’re truly a miracle in action!!!

    I loved reading this post because so often our precious furkids succumb to this nasty disease. Your writing proves that there is hope and miracles do happen when facing cancer. Dieter is so fortunate to have you in his corner!!

    Congrats on the 1 year Ampuversary!!

    Sahana and her Angel Leland

  5. Wow! Bravo! Applawse!

    First, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s been long road to haul and you guys did it, with style and courage and role model behavior that everyone needs to aspire to when they find themselves in this nervewracking journey.

    Now, I don’t think that anyone has ever said it better:

    ” in that moment I realized that I’d been approaching life with Dieter as a short-term proposition, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It started to dawn on me that there was a real possibility that he would be around for a while. I honestly can’t remember something giving me as much joy as that realization.”

    This is the place that everyone needs to get to in order to make the most of whatever time is left together. If we can just skip past our silly human worries and be in that spot, oh the joy from the getgo!

    You did it. You have both made it to a year with so many life-changing realizations.We are so very, very proud. A BIG congratulations to you both and MANY thanks for your ongoing support! You are both making a huge difference in this community and beyond!!!

  6. Thanks so much everyone, for all the positive love and comments! I feel truly fortunate to have found this wonderful group of people, with such wonderful leaders (Jerry’s pack!). I hope that we can, in some small way, continue to contribute to this community. We love you!

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