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The Surgery

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Roxy didn’t get to come home yesterday evening as planned. Her surgery was longer and more challenging than the vet expected; however, it was successful and she is OK. They hope to be able to send her home this evening at the earliest or tomorrow some time.

8:00 pm: Resting comfortably, probably seeing pink elephants.

I dropped Roxy off at the vet yesterday feeling nervous but confident everything would go smoothly. I was told I would get the call to pick her up right after my last class for the day. But when 3:00 pm came, and I hadn’t heard anything, I started to get worried. At 3:30 pm I called the office dreading the worst, but the tech I spoke with assured me everything was fine, the vet had only just finished the surgery and Roxy came through like a champ. I felt better, but something in her voice suggested there was more to the story. She promised the vet would call soon to talk to me and answer my questions, but they “will definitely be keeping Roxy overnight.”

Around 6:00 or 7:00 pm, I got a call from the vet herself who proceeded to tell me about the surgery and answered some of the questions I had dropped off on a sheet a few days earlier. As I listened to her describe the surgery, tears began welling in my eyes and I paced back and forth mumbling the occasional, “Okay….” Roxy’s surgery had been a real challenge that took up almost the entire day. The large amount of fluids it took to compensate for all the blood she lost brought her temperature very low, despite having two heating pads.

The vet also made a last-minute decision about the surgery that I had assumed was the plan to begin with. Unbeknownst to me, her original plan was only to take about 2/3 of her leg, leaving a nub to help her balance when walking. But because we didn’t know exactly what kind of cancer we were dealing with (I immediately regretted not doing the biopsy), she feared leaving any part of the cancerous bone and decided to take the leg all the way up to the hip. I had assumed this was the plan from the start, so hearing that it wasn’t was more of a shock than learning that it had been done.

She told me Roxy woke up from surgery very vocal. I couldn’t stop myself from imagining what that probably sounded like, how scared my sweet girl must be feeling, and I sobbed. She wasn’t interested in moving to go outside or eat, which were the requirements for sending her home. After describing the surgery and letting me know Roxy was resting nice and doped up in a crate, the vet told me her techs had made a mistake when prepping Roxy for the surgery–my heart sank to my feet. The techs had prepped her left leg and the vet made a several inch skin incision before realizing the mistake. So Roxy’s entire rear is shaved and she has some stitches on her left leg. She apologized for the mistake and assured me it wouldn’t effect Roxy’s healing.

Roxy’s leg is being sent to a pathologist to get more information about the cancer. Depending on what they find out, she may need to go to NC State University’s vet school to look into the spots in her chest. Regardless, the vet would like to do another X-ray in a month to check on them.

Getting off the phone with the vet, I was filled with so much guilt and regret. Why didn’t I do the biopsy first? What have I just put my dog through? They almost took off the wrong leg! Was all the trauma she experienced even worth it? How will she feel about me after doing this to her? I cried.

I shared my grievances with friends last night, and today I feel a little better. What’s done is done, there’s no use regretting it and Roxy is strong and full of love. She will heal and her love for me won’t change. I can’t wait to bring her home.

9:00 pm Update: She went trotting around the yard with the vet last night!


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One Response to “The Surgery”

  1.   tinsch Says:

    Go Roxy! You’re gorgeous!!
    Even if they almost took the wrong leg ( wow, what a mistake…) I’m sure she’s in good hands and keep her under watch so having her spend the night there is probably for the best.
    My dog had to spend 5 days. Once she gets home I’m sure it’s going to be the start of a great recovery and of course she will love you not an ounce less!!
    All the best to you and Roxy
    Tina and Manni

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