well, today we celebrate – sixteen months since our ampuversary and we are doing well. seems the loss of the leg and the five chemo treatments helped us to put aside the soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis. we’re sure the voluminous number of medicinal naps, and the constant ‘tap, tap, tap’ of charon’s knitting needles helped us heal and helped us continue day by day. every day is a blessing.
but now, full disclosure… we’ve been keeping a secret of sorts, or at least we’ve been selective in the telling. it’s time to tell all, and maybe help others in the telling. in december of 2010, charon noticed an unusual growth on my tongue. of course we skeedaddled to see dr. moser, and she was very concerned. three days before christmas, i had surgery. charon was right there, next to dr. moser and our favorite vet tech glenda. two growths were removed from my tongue. in a few days, we found out that i had oral melanoma.
being a girl with a ‘black speckled tongue’, and having dark gums and skin in general, i was a likely target for this type of cancer. fortunately, i was able to get four treatments of a melanoma vaccine which is supposed to halt the growth of new tumors and ‘buy time’. they were pretty painless – the only pain being a few dim-wits charon had to deal with at the vet college…. we kept enjoying each and every moment, each and every nap, each and every treat.
well, at the end of may, it appeared the growths had returned. we decided to stick with dr. moser, as she had already saved my life at least twice before…(she is one of our angels). we took x rays and did a sonogram of my belly, and it appeared there was no spread of the cancer to my ‘innerds’…on may 26th, dr. moser again operated on my tongue. again, charon and glenda were by her side. this time, about nine tumors of various sizes were removed. dr. moser is a great surgeon – when she was done, there was a ‘drunken road’ of stitches down my tongue about six inches long.
the next two days were rough, but i was brave and i slowly got better. now, the sutures have all dissolved and my tongue works fine. although the tumors did return after the initial surgery, we believe the vaccine may have helped by restricting the spread of the melanoma – a true blessing.
we just didn’t want to tell our story for a while, but now it seems like the right time to tell all. sammy is so in love with me, i know the strength i gain from that will help me with any challenge i face. so many friends have stepped up to be brave for me, it has truly made the difference.
so, today, celebrate for me!!! sixteen months and going strong!!! treats for everyone. but please….take time to check your mouth, your tongue, your lips and your gums – for me, please promise you will. melanomas in dogs are usually oral or in the toes – so check and make sure all is good.
geesh, with all this typing, seems like it must be time for a nap…..