I am not a fan of roller coasters. The ups, the down, the slow, the fast, the certainty of crashing, the beauty of the view from up high. Of course I have never actually been on a roller coaster but I have been taken on some emotional ones in my time.
no pup I know has been taken on more of an emotional roller coaster
than my friend Willie Nillie. Not only has it been filled with great
highs and devastating lows but it has gone on for almost three years.
2010 Willie told to us a that he had a form of cancer. He had a tumor
on his right leg between the paw and the knee. The cancer was non life
threatening but Willie needed to have surgery. The surgeon removed most
of Willie's tumor, but it had spread from his lower leg into the top of
his paw. It became entwined around his tendons, stuck to his bone and
wrapped around a vein. The Doctor said she had to remove his vein, his
tendons had be removed to facilitate healing, and the tumor would grow
back. Willie came home and recovered well from the surgery.
there was a big downhill on the horizon. A visit to the oncologist. And
then the paw began to become a problem. Jessie developed a hot spot on
it and a recovery that started before Halloween pushed past
saw the Radialogist who said Willie had a Grade 2 Neurofibrosarcoma. He
had 18 radiation treatments over several weeks. They got interrupted
by Christmas and a terrible blizzard. The only problem Willie had was
some burning on his paw. After radiation the healing began and there was
some problem bleeding and soreness. But Willie, like all pups, was
getting sick of the pain and bleeding and began licking his paw. This
put him in the cone of shame for three weeks. Over that time his parents
thought his tumor coming back but luckily, for now, it had not. At this
time what had occurred starting at Halloween had pushed past Easter:
the paw was still not healing right. The doctor thought the radiation
used to kill the tumor had also killed lots of Willie’s healthy tissue.
Around Memorial Day the paw had finally started to heal, but a few weeks
later Willie started licking it again, and he reopened the wound,
meaning no beach for him that summer.
next step was to put a blue wrap on his paw. The doctor surmised that
he was licking his paw because the new tissue growing back over his
wound felt funny. Then the runaway car that was carrying his family
began to speed out of control downhill again. There was another mass
behind his back paw on his upper leg. The doctor took a needle biopsy
and the pack had to wait a week. The result was not good. The sarcoma
doctor told his parents it was probable that they would have to choose
between amputation and the Bridge. Then their car began to climb again.
The doctor said that the cancer was grade one which meant it had not
spread to his lungs.
the tumor continued to grow. And then the hurricane hit the East Coast.
No not that hurricane. We are still in 2011. This was Irene. They
survived the hurricane and Willie fought off a bout of the runs and
they kept going.
another downhill. The tumor had grown so large they were afraid it had
broken Willie’s leg. Another surgery was needed. But instead of surgery
the doctor’s decided to put him in a shoulder sling because the bone had
not broken. Soon Willie was walking on all fours again. His paw was
healing and hair was growing on his tumor. Things were looking up for
Willie as he passed his third year anniversary of his first tumor
then things slowly began to take a turn for the worse. Around
Valentine’s Day he was limping again But under doctor’s care he started
walking on all fours.
spring it seems like he is on his way to recovery. In June the tumor
began to grow again and Willie went to his Dr Kari who was worried that
it was red and swollen.
July the tumor was back to being out of control. It was bleeding, and
could not support his weight. The tumor kept growing. It ruptured the
skin over it causing bleeding. Also it became infected. Willie soon was
wearing the cone of shame as he kept trying to fix the problem himself
caused more bleeding.
took Willie to a holistic vet to see if he could help. Gradually Willie
started to feel better. Don’t know if it was from the antibiotics or
the herbal medicine. He was eating, barking, and playing. On August 31
his Mom reported that his infection was going away and they hoped in two
weeks he would be back to being healthy.
the persistent tumor kept growing. In September it grew from 16 cm to
21 cm around in four weeks. His parents began to resign themselves to
the fact that the leg may need to be amputated. The doctor disagreed and
said that she could cut away the infected part of the tumor and keep
Willie as a four legged pup. In October, despite being in pain, Willie
was back to walking on all fours again,. He had some stitches in his paw
to keep the tumor from bleeding.
came Hurricane Sandy. While their home was spared their neighbors’
houses suffered significant damage. They were without electricity for
more than a week and cut off from their very worried friends. And then,
still without power, a Nor’easter hit, leaving them buried in heavy wet
snow. It was not until near Thanksgiving that they got power. Through
everything the family went through they still found the strength to give
thanks on Thanksgiving for their blessings.
the first week of January Willie was back to being a three legged dog.
His paw was throbbing again. The pain was so bad he was turning
aggressive to other dogs in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. The
vet determined that he had a broken toe.
January 7 the news was quite bad. There was a massive infection in the
area where he received radiation. The doctor thought the breakage was
caused by the cancer. His sad Mom became resigned to Willie never
gaining use of his paw again.
then another doctor said that the break was not caused by the cancer.
And Willie started healing. And their car started rising again. Looking
at it all, it is incredible what they have been through, and how they
have survived it all.
let’s give prayers that Willie’s and his family keep rising, and after
they have been through they deserve a nice long quiet break.
You keep getting better Willie and we will keep praying.