Maya’s Post Surgery Update

Maya had surgery to remove two spindle cell tumors, one resulting in a toe amputation and the other was removed from her back or fascia. Before going into surgery, all our options were discussed and fortunately the surgeon was willing to proceed with her surgery with just the aid of a lung x-ray. On the day of her surgery we arrived on time despite massive amounts of snow and bad road conditions. She was taken into the back room and given a sedative and I was told I could leave and they would call me with the results of her lung x-ray. It was explained to me that this type of cancer tends to spread to the lungs, and up until this point they were unsure if this had taken place yet. This was honestly the most nerve racking portion of the whole experience because they were not going to proceed with the surgery if she had spots on her lungs as it would be too far along and too dangerous to put her under anesthesia. So as they walked her away, I let them know I wasn’t going to leave the hospital until her chest x-ray was complete. I waited for about 45 minutes, watching National Geographic in the lobby and seeing over six different pets come in and out of the doors of this place. I could never be a vet or work in a facility like this- it’s way too sad and emotional. As the vet tech came around the corner with her mask and surgery hat on, my heart sank. She sat down next to me and smiled and said “So, her lungs look great, we are going to proceed with surgery in the next few minutes. She’s heavily sedated so she’s not stressed. We will call you once her surgery is complete.” I told my parents about this after dinner a few nights later and they said it’s the same feeling of watching your child be wheeled away to surgery. Your heart is suspended and the relief that everything is okay, or okay enough to keep moving forward is overwhelming. I started to cry and thank the tech and she headed back down the hallway.

Following the surgery, the tumors were sent to the U of M to be staged. I just received the news on the staging yesterday, and had been anxious to find out the results as it indicates how advanced or how likely the tumors are to return and metastasize. Her toe was a stage one tumor and because it was completely removed, the margins were well beyond recommendation and will not return. The tumor on her back was stage 2, which has a bit higher percent chance of returning and the margins were clear, but in one location they were only able to clear it by .3 millimeters. Ideally, it would be 5-10 millimeters. Radiation feels too aggressive at this point and she will be monitored every three months from here on out so that we are keeping track of any changes. So- all of this to say, Maya is currently cancer free, and has one less toe. I couldn’t be happier to have the heaviness lifted and be able to spend more time with her enjoying the outdoors and sunny mornings together. I think this aged me quicker than three weeks typically does to one person, just due to stress and uncertainty. It has been amazing to hear from clients about their pets and the sudden diagnoses they’ve run into. Nothing hits harder at the heart than something or someone you love being sick in a way that you can’t prevent or control.

Maya is officially in her retirement years and it is my mission to make her as comfortable and happy as she can be for the rest of our time together.

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