Friday, May 27, 2011

Kayla's Recovery...2 Weeks Post-op!

I'll start off by saying Kayla is doing great 2 weeks after her emergency surgery! Her physical recovery was quick and her staples where taken out 10 days post-op. Her emotional recovery, however has taken a bit longer, poor gal. It's evident it was a traumatic experience. Probably not the surgery itself but most likely the events leading up to it. She is continuing to get back to her same 'old' self each day.
On a less cheerful note, the pathology report of the mass on her spleen has come back and it was a malignant tumor (Hemangiosarcoma) :( It was not the news we were hoping for but Dr. C prepared us that it was most likely going to be the outcome, so I guess you can say we were not too surprised. We have 3 months (or less) to continue to spoil her rotten and that we will!

Back to th subject of her emotional recovery. It was strange. 3 day post-op she seemed to be doing wonderfully but things started to decline. The only way to describe her behavior was doggy dementia. We were very concerned because she kept trying to "hide" in small areas, seemed confused, pacing, panting, not wanting to lay in her favorite spots. She pretty much had to be coaxed into laying down on her dog bed in wich she would immediately plop down and fall into a deep sleep. The only thing that was normal was her appetite and that was huge. When it was time to eat she would really perk up! We brought her to the vet and he checked her out and said because of all her blood loss prior to surgery and the fact that she is old, we just needed to give her more time, more rest and lots of TLC while her blood repairs itself.
One week after surgery, G was talking to a friend at work whose dog had gone through the same thing. He said "Give Kayla some steak to help boost her iron and her emotional spirits". Great idea! So, that is what we did, along with some canned liver dog food. Now considering G and I have been non-red-meat-eaters for 20+ years, this was a real treat for her to smell a steak cooking on our grill.

She has continued to enjoy steak each day along with a wonderful variety of canned food. She has only eaten dry dog food for 13 years (with a few table scraps mixed in over the last 6 months) so she is loving this new diet and eating with great gusto!

In between meals, she still seemed down and not herself. Call it doggy depression, post traumatic stress or a combination of the two. We just wanted her old happy self back. She didn't want to let us out of her sight but G thought she needed some good old fresh air. Despite my hesitation, he put her out in the backyard by herself to see what she would do. She doesn't prefer to be out in the yard by herself on her best day unless it's on her terms and if she chooses to lay on the deck so I thought it would make things worse. Well, I was wrong. After several minutes of pacing with her head hanging low, she started lifting her head, sniffing the air and eventually layed down on the deck and enjoyed the fresh air...eventually falling asleep out there. That was definitely a turning point in her emotional recovery!

Another thing she enjoyed prior to surgery was a daily 3/4 mile walk on the greenbelt. 9 days post-op I took her on half the distance of her favorite walk so she could get caught up on her neighborhood sniffs. It was slow going but went well. After her staples came out, Dr C said I could continue to walk her, letting her set the pace.

She has slowly started relaxing in all her favorite spots again (with a little help from us getting her on higher things like the ottoman, her favorite chair and the foot of our bed). She doesn't seem to pace as much and even did well being left by herself. Emotional recovery takes time...even for humans!
How am I doing? Actually, surprisingly well. It was rough going there through the surgery and such but I guess when you see your dog aging you start to prepare yourself for the end even if you don't think you are. It helps knowing that Kayla has lived a life of a doggy queen for 13.5 years so I guess you can say I'm at peace with it as much as one can be.
Do we regret putting her through the surgery? Not one bit! Seeing her sleeping on the grass, eating steak, getting more kisses than she ever thought possible has been worth it! I'm guessing if you could ask her, she would say she doesn't regret it either!

She is old, her body is failing and when she lets us know she's had enough...we will let her go...


Carol said...

I am so glad to have read her progress, I can't even imagine the highs and lows each and every day you are experiencing. Molly is laying here right now next to me, much like that photo of you and Kayla there and I am getting all teary just thinking about last year when she had the growth on her eyelid and the depths of despair I went into, let alone poor Molly.

So I think you've hit the nail on the head, the body may heal but the emotions and the spirit and the mind plays catch up. She knows she's loved and that's the be all and end all to it. And you are loved in return.

Please keep posting about her progress, I have really been axious to read more about it. You will give faith to a lot of animal lovers when faced with a decision like you were.

Good girl Kayla, very good girl. You enjoy your steaks and green grass and sun on your belly and all the love your human family devote to you.

*Christie* said...

This is so sad Christine, but I'm so glad you are feeling as much at peace as you can expect. I love all the photos, I'm glad she is getting back to her old self also. She's so sweet. Spend as much time with her as a family as you can! I miss you!