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Jabba-Bear's Blog

Osteosarcoma: clinical trials and goofy smiles

Jabba-Bear's Blog

Jabba’s lobectomy

March 10th, 2013 · 9 Comments · lobectomy, metastatic lung cancer, metronomic chemotherapy, osteosarcoma

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On Monday, February 18th,  Jabba-bear was admitted to Carolina Veterinary Specialists (CVS)  upon referral from his primary veterinarian (Oldtown Veterinary Hospital).  By that point, Jabba’s condition was critical. It was clear that  if we didn’t act fast, he would die…soon. That day, the doctors at CVS  performed an ultrasound of his abdomen, to try and visualize the mass in  his lung for a biopsy.

Jabba-bear at CVS during visiting hours. The small patch of  shaved skin on his side shows where the doctors attempted to do a blind biopsy of the mass in his lung (following the ultrasound).

Jabba-bear at CVS during visiting hours. The small patch of shaved skin on his side shows where the doctors attempted to do a blind biopsy of the mass in his lung (following the ultrasound).

Jabba-bear loves to push on our feet as we rub his belly! This was the most energetic he had been in 3 weeks. We felt that he was showing signs of improvement.

Jabba-bear loves to push on our feet as we rub his belly! This was the most energetic he had been in 3 weeks. We felt that he was showing signs of improvement.

This procedure was, in some ways, a gamble because lungs are ill-suited for ultrasonographic examination given that they are typically full of air (and ultrasound doesn’t work well through oxygen). As such, the doctors were unable to get a good look at the mass. The next viable option was lung surgery. As detailed in a previous post, Jabba-bear spent nearly one week at the “hotel” (CVS), receiving ample IV fluids and pain medicine, as he bravely withstood test after test after test. Eventually,  it was determined that Jabba was healthy enough to sustain surgery (no organ failure, no noticeable masses in his liver, etc.), although there was still some risk involved as Jabba-bear had been so sick for such a long time, and we were not sure what was causing his illness.  On Thursday, Februrary 20th, Jabba-bear had a lobectomy. Specifically, the surgeon removed the caudal lobe of Jabba’s left lung.

We were not allowed to visit Jabba-bear the day of his lobectomy, but we went to check on him Friday morning. This was a very difficult visit for us. As soon as the technician left us alone with Jabba, he starting crying…Loud, wailing, cries. We had never heard him make those sounds before. We didn’t know what those vocalizations meant. Was he in pain? Was he suffering? Was he yelling at us for putting him through yet another major surgery?  We felt helpless. We looked at each other and wondered if we had made the wrong decision. The technicians assured us that Jabba was not in pain, that he had spent the whole day resting comfortably (and quietly).  However, he was still not very interested in food.  We asked if we could try to feed him. The technician brought us quite a selection of wet and dry food. To our surprise,  Jabba-bear ate it all! This lifted our spirits. We stayed there petting Jabba-bear as long as possible, until it was time for him to go back on his IV fluids.

The next day, February 23rd, we checked Jabba-bear out of the “hotel”  and brought him home!

Jabba on the way home form the vet (after the lobectomy).

Jabba on the way home form the vet (after the lobectomy). The blue bandages covered the incision site.

Jabba-bear was happy to see the car. He had never been boarded before, and this was the longest he had ever gone without seeing his pawrents. When we got close home (turning onto our street), Jabba-bear perked up. He lifted his head, looked at the road, and started smiling!

The doctors sent us home with pain medicine (Tramadol) and steroids (Prednisone) and told us to limit Jabba’s physical activity for at least two weeks (no jumping, climbing stairs, running, etc.). We weren’t too worried about this since Jabba-bear is an extraordinarily lazy dog. Even though his sister, Beyonce, was waiting for him, we knew that they would be OK. Honestly, Jabba-bear and Beyonce do not interact much, save for the  occasional forced cuddling on Beyonce’s part.

We spent that whole day laying on the floor with Jabba-bear, scratching behind his ears, petting his backside….letting him know how proud of him we were. He is such a brave boy!

Jabba resting on his pillow. Beyonce give him a concerned look.

Jabba resting on his pillow. Beyonce giving him a concerned look.

By Sunday morning, Jabba-bear seemed to have improved significantly. His appetite had returned, and he seemed more energetic. Jabba kept rolling onto his back, begging for more belly rubs. As a result, he wiggled out of his bandage and exposed the incision site of his lobectomy. Although the below  picture might look gruesome, the incision site was neat and clean. We thought the doctors did an excellent job!

Jabba's incision site exposed!

Jabba’s incision site exposed! Beyonce stayed close to her brother, making sure he was OK.

We took Jabba-bear back to CVS to replace the bandages, since it was recommended that they remain on for one week.

Jabba's new threads!

Jabba’s new threads!

The following Thursday, Februray 28th, we took Jabba’s bandages off to allow the incision site to “breathe”. By this time, Jabba-bear had figured out how to jump on the couch again, and well….we let him.

Kisses from Beyonce.

Kisses from Beyonce.

Close look at the incision site.

Close look at the incision site.

There's that goofy smile again! (one week after the lobectomy)

There’s that goofy smile again! (one week after the lobectomy)

What a handsome boy! So serious.

What a handsome boy! So serious.

Brother and sister on the couch.

Brother and sister on the couch. Jabba loves to look out the front door.

Jabba's idea of resting comfortably.

Jabba’s idea of resting comfortably.

Lion-bear?

Lion-bear?

All things considering, Jabba-bear is doing very well. He started the high protein diet (Hill’s prescription) a few days ago, which we will write more about  soon.

He is no longer taking pain medicine, and he is tapering off the steroid treatment. We are still thinking about the next step for Jabba-bear (i.e., whether to put him back on cyclophosphamide and/or  palladia).

Thank you so much for all of your support over the past few weeks. 

 

 


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9 Comments so far ↓

  • jerry

    Yaaaay Jabba! Oh wow what an amazing dog you are. I’m so glad your people shared the details of your surgery and recovery because I’m pretty sure nobody else here has done that and few have gone forward with the lobectomy. I’m THRILLED that you are doing great! You are young and you have spunk and I know you’re gonna keep on rockin and rolling!!! Woo hoo!

  • jerry

    Oh one thing I wanted to ask: may we share these details in our Tripawds News blog? I know that folks really want to hear about this kind of thing and it would be so helpful. Thanks for considering it, you are a ROCK STAR!

    • tamaram

      Of course! We would be honored for these details to be featured in the News blog! Thank you for asking!

      We believe that Jabba’s case, although unusual, can both educate and inspire other Tripawd owners. As such, we will continue to provide detailed information and updates concerning Jabba’s progress. Thanks for reading the posts!

  • fetchon3

    My goodness! What an ordeal! Yikes. He is one trooper, quite a warrior, and so handsome at that. He’s a good looking pup! Now that’s it’s been a few weeks, how’s his health? You wrote how sick he was for so long – how are things now? Keep up the great work and fight on, Jabba!
    ~ Katy

    • tamaram

      Thank you for checking in Katy. Jabba is amazing. It is almost too good to be true. We know that he has a very aggressive, evil cancer growing in him right now, but you would never know it. Yesterday we went to the mountains for a hike. We weren’t sure how Jabba would handle it, but in the past, he loved going for hikes. We took him off-leash and he had so much fun. He must have climbed 2 miles up and down the mountain. We will write more about this soon!

  • fourminipups

    Jabba it is so good to see you feeling better. You are such a beautiful boy. Keep up the fight – you are a rock star!

  • dharma

    Way to go Jabba! 🙂 Your story caught my eye because we are also Clint’s/patients at Carolina Vet Specialists and we’ve been SO pleased with their care!! It’s wonderful to see doctors and pawrents who are so willing and able to do everything possible to help our fur babies even when it seems so daunting.
    Congrats on your successful surgery & best wishes for continuing health!
    Hugz,
    Kristine (dharma) & Kermit 🙂

  • Bruiserbruno

    So happy to hear that despite the scary prognosis and bumps in the road jabba has persevered. This is a true testament to how much he loves you guys and how much you all love him. With Bruno I vowed to keep fighting as long as he wanted to. You guys are giving jabba a gift through all the effort you put towards his recovery. This process is gut wrenching, I know, but oh so rewarding. I pray for the best for you all. Can’t wait to hear more.
    Maricela and Spirit Bruno

  • tamaram

    Thank you Maricela and Spirit Bruno, you’re blog has really inspired us. It is good to know there are others out there, like you and everyone else on Tripawds, that are as crazy about their dogs as we are!

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