a celebration…and full disclosure…

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…..

Author: etgayle

gayle developed a small lump in her right front wrist. biopsy determined it was a soft tissue sarcoma, with amputation feb 17, 2010. she's recovering nicely, taking naps when needed, and enjoying every moment of every wonderful day. in december 2010 we discovered oral melanoma cancer. gayle had two surgeries to remove tumors, but the ugly disease took her from us december 12, 2011. love never ends.

15 thoughts on “a celebration…and full disclosure…”

  1. 1st…Happy Ampuversay!!!
    2nd..Thank you for sharing your ordeal. I had no ideal that oral melanoma was sonething dogs got.
    I will take your advice and take an extra close look everytime I clean their teeth.
    We will take medicinal nap in your honor on Sunday.

  2. OMG Gayle PLEASE don’t freak us out like that! I mean I know your DX was scary and the surgery had to have sucked but when I saw your post I was truly afraid.

    Thank DOG you had the power of the paw to get your through this! You are simply amazing and a really pawesome pup!

    We send our best wishes for a hopppy ampuversary!!!

    So when is the big day with the Coops?

    P.S. We didn’t know that about dark-speckled tongue dogs. Thank you. We will keep an eye on Wyatt Ray’s funky tongue.

  3. I was scared, too. I wet myself and blamed it on Evelyn. But really Gayle, you need to be careful. Do you need some sunscreen for your paws? What can you do to help Charon keep you healthy? Does sunshine matter? Can I buy you a hat?

    If I were you, I would forget about this for awhile and celebrate both your ampuversary and your engagement. I saw your pretty heart from Coop. I think you should just go ahead and marry him. Celebrate your ampuversary with a wedding!

    Stay well, beautiful! (Cooper, don’t get mad. I’m not moving in on your girl.)

    Love, Dakota

  4. Oh man, I am sorry to hear you went through this on top of losing your leg! I am glad to know that it is very hopeful for you my darling girl. Please tell your ‘sister’ mom Charon that we are sending hugs and healing thoughts for good health. You are irreplaceable.

    Mom still has to get a picture with your socks on, maybe after my visit with Dr. Pam tomorrow, all my love , Sammy.

    Dakota, it is SAMMY… S A M M Y!
    Cooper is my wingman. 🙂 He can’t have my girl!

  5. Oh my, Gayle, you have certainly been through the wringer, you and your mom both. I’m glad you told me, because my tongue has a big black spot on it. We PROMISE we will check regularly.

    But today, we are CELEBRATING! Treats all around.


  6. Yeah, I know. I meant to say one name and ended up with another. Blame it on the rotten fruit I ate out of the garbage this morning. I think it was fermented and now I have a hangover.

  7. Brave, brave, brave Gayle!
    You have been the best patient throughout this whole process!
    We knew your secret and we were cheering for you (secretly) every step (hop) along the way!

    We were also secretly idolizing your bravery! But now we can shout it out from the rooftops (or balcony in our case)! Gayle is so brave!

    And Sammy, NOT COOPER is your new sweetie pie! Awwwww.

    Now, go take a nap! Reading all the responses is exhausting also!

  8. Hey Gayle,
    Thanks for being brave enough to share with everyone. More people know now to check maybe you can save another pup!! Those of us with dogs with dark pigmented skin really need to be watchful!
    I know Spirit Maggie is watching over you- she really wants to nap with a pro but you need to keep your mom company for a long time yet.
    Oh yea- and way to kick cancers butt TWICE!

    Karen and the pugapalooza

  9. Oh, geez! Melanoma in the mouth???? Holy merde! I had NO idea that this was even something that dogs got.

    Rio’s got the lumpy bumps everywhere, and seems prone to growing them — fortunately most have been lipomas, but there have also been the recurring Mast Cell Tumors and the probable tumor in her pituitary (causing the Cushings). With as naked as she is, I’ve been pretty paranoid about sun exposure, but her skin has turned from a greyish pink to nearly black (when her hair started falling out, she had a tan line from where they shaved her for her surgery). Does this count as dark-pigmented skin???

    Thanks for posting, so that those of us out here can be diligent about checking for this sort of thing! And sorry you’ve had yet another evil cancer demon to deal with.

    Glad to here that you’re feeling better, though.

    Micki and Rio

  10. as an additional bit of info. canine melanoma is not ‘sun driven’ like human melanoma. too much sun isn’t good, but it isn’t the cause of the cancer, as far as research can tell. we are also fighting this cancer using daily laser activation of key acupuncture points for the face and mouth, and continuing with our acupuncture treatments as well. thanks for all the wonderful thoughts and prayers…every one of you has made a huge difference in our lives.

  11. Sweet , brave Gayle, we are so happy about your ampuversary. Way to go!! I know the tongue problems have caused you such pain, and we are so sorry about that, but thank goodness you are doing so well and got rid of those pesky things – and with a clean bill of health everywhere else. That is great news, my Illini friend. Keep up the medicinal naps and treats. They are clearly working.


  12. Wow, I haven’t been on in several days… Gayle, way to go on your ampuversary and congrats on kicking cancer’s butt yet again! I must say my heart was in my throat when I started to read your post, and it slowly made its way back to my chest cavity as I continued to read on. There you are continuously encouraging all of us through our battles and you were going through one of your own! You and your mom are amazing!

    We will keep you in our prayers, Charon & Gayle!

    Jenna and Chili Dawg

  13. Sweet Gayle – you are one brave tripawd and and I bet you have never complained even once while going through so much! I am so glad you are ok! Happy 16 months – what a milestone! May you have many more months of pure love & happiness!
    Indy kisses to you !
    Big hugs to your mom
    Indiana’s mom ~ Carol~~

  14. every time I get on site I learn something new. Wow, what you’ve been thru! Gayle, you’re such a gorgeous & sweet looking gal, & what a mom you have! Congrats on your newest celebration!

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