Kassabella her brother Ernie and their family.

The fight to beat Oesteosarcoma

Dedicated to Kassabella.
Kassa and Ernie
Kassa story
Our Oesteosarcoma ordeal
The diary.
More stories of Jaw Cancer.
JL and amazing kindness.
J.L.Tribute to kassa
Ernies Story.
Kassa & Ernie stories
Sleeping with dogs - to help you smile

please excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes. When i no longer have tears I will see them better.
It all started about February/March  2004 as a cut on her top gum. It did not heal and after 6 weeks the vet Mike operated.He said it was a minor cut and should heal well.
I was away for a week and when I came back the gum was much worse. We were not sure if it was because she had been playing with sticks, or something under the gum was bursting through.
Several weeks later it became worse. Blood test all proved o.k. She went on antibiotics and it healed a little.
By now her breath had started to smell very badly. It was decided to take her to the vet hospital Massey which is in Palmerston North. This is about 2 hours drive away.
She was very healthy, shiny and full of bounce. As a Lab is.
She arrived on the Monday and they said they would call the next day after xrays.Even though there was no foreign body in the gum when she had surgery they thought this was the cause, as she looked too healthy.
On the Wednesday they called to say it did not look good, but they would redo the tests and call Thursday. This was the longest week I have endured.
Friday came the call that shattered my world.Kassa had Oesteosarcoma of the jaw and there was nothing they could do. I was heart broken. Why? It was not fair. She was a beautiful 2 year old dog.
I started to blame myself. Should I have taken her to the vet earlier, did my stress cause it. What?
There was nothing they could do.This  cancer is very aggressive and her jaw would bleed uncontrolably or the cancer would go to her lungs. The former most likely. I was told if it was the lower jaw or her hips they could do more. It is more common in the hips.I was also told it is very rare for such a young dog to get this. Cancer spreads more quickly in younger dogs, than older ones.
I asked about surgery and was told it was not possible.
Later I was told it could be and she would loose half of her beautiful face.They gave  her about a month to live. I was absolutely devestated.
When she came back from Massey she had a very bad bladder infection. She was so sick. I didn't want her to go up there again.She was sent home with Rimadyl to help with the pain after the biospy
Massey contacted me  a few days later and to say they thought they may do surgery. I was not sure if they were using her as a guinea pig or what and decided I didn't want them to to this.
Mike the vet rang and said "she has had it and keep her on Rimadyl."  I cried for a long time and  then decided we would fight. This thing is not going to beat us.
I searched the internet and books. There was a lot of information about hips and legs, but not about the jaw.
I took her off all processsed foods, carbs & sugars. I started a high protein diet with glucosamine, omega 3, vitaminE and C and fish oil. I later added Artemisinin. I could use antioxidants for several hours before or after Art.
The side of her nose had now started to swell and her gum was now bleeding all the time.
 A side effect of Rimadly is bleeding but Mike said it was the better drug for her.
I read books on holistic medicine and even tried waving a coloured flag around her. One day I caught myself in the mirror and looked so stupid. Kassy and I rolled on the bed laughing. It was this and trying to hammer apricot seed fro the stone that made me  decide laughter and fun was going to be our medicine. I would tell her everyday to fight Kassy fight.
If she looked like she was in pain I would gently stroke her and she seemed to feel better.
Kassy and I had a close bond and I was sure she knew what I was thinking. I would think of the things she loved most. The park, the river, and the forest walks. I would imagine we were there and hoped she would pick this up. Often she would get up and get her lead. I was never sure if she knew, or not. It didn't really matter. She seemed more settled.
People would kindly say," Enjoy every minute you have with her".
This was extremely hard and I would save my tears for in the car, or places she couldn't see me cry. I needed to keep positive for her.
People told me she would tell me when it was time.To live with this every day and not know if tomorrow was going to be the day the teeth fell out and the bleeding would start, or it would go to her lungs, hung over me like a black cloud.
I kept a diary and every day wrote changes and good and bad days. Kassy continued to gain weight. She looked healthier than any dog I saw.
In September she wasn't so good and one Saturday I  made the decision to see Mike on the Monday. I went to the local vets to get something. I am not sure what it was or why I was there. When I went in they had a pupppy running around. Hamish the vet had forgotten something and came in. He asked if I wanted the puppy and I told him about Kassa. He said there was no way it was Sarcoma, as she would be dead by now. Could he see her tomorow.
 He said. She does not have Sarcoma, she is too healthy.. Could he take the two teeth out and he could save her. I was floating. A miracle. I even said I would marry him if he saved my dog.
Next day he said he had been up all night and there was no record of a dog lasting as long as Kassa. He had been on the net to the U.S.A. vet hopsitals, read books and it wasn't possible for her to look that good after 5 months.
How could a team of specially trained vets get it wrong I thought. No something is wrong, but I clung to my miracle.
 He operated and called to say he beleived 99% it wasn't cancer, but did a biopsy.
.Another week of waiting and hoping. Her jaw was not bleeding now, which was good.
He was wrong. Kassy had O.S. and he would do Chemo.
A course of Carboplatin was given. Three doses three weeks apart. After the first one she was a little sick one day, but handled it all well.
Kassy and I kept fighting. I found it very hard making all the decisions on my own. I didn't know what was best for her. Oh what to do. Hamish saying he could give her time and Mike her other vet & Massey saying there was nothing they could do. But I had read of miracles. Or even one more year.
 I wanted to give her every chance. I didn't want to look back and say I wished I had done this or that. 
 The tumour went down and you couldn't see it.
During the chemo she would eat for the first few days then get fussy for 3 days.
The stitches took a about a month to go and these caused her a little trouble.
A week before the next Chemo she would be eating like a horse., have the Chemo, stop eating as much, then eat again.
At one stage she wouldn't drink much and I would take her to the river where she drank the water. Excersie also made her hungry and thirsty.
 At Xmas time someone said your dog has a bleeding nose. I paniced. I rushed off and cried all the way home in the car. She was to have chemo the next day and I tossed up whether to tell Hamish. I didn't need to worry. It started when I went in. I just stood there, cried and pointed to the floor. Hamish said it was ok. Nothing unusual, she looks great.
 I was finding making decisions for her so very difficult.The vets and I would think the swelling had gone down and family would say it had got bigger, or it is time to let her go. I couldn't, yet I didn't know what to do.  She looked so healthy and was enjoying life so much.I was struggling with it all. She wanted to live as much as I wanted her to.
I went away at Xmas for two weeks.when I came back nodules had grown on her jaw. I was sure now that things were not as good as I hoped. but the vets said the nodules were normal and they would operate.
 Kass was having some pain and not eating as well as she had been. I would make her food and nibble it to get her to eat more. Seeing me eat encouraged her to eat. It was often Liver, or things I felt sick at smelling let alone eating, but if she was fighting then I was doing all I could to help her.
 On the 9th of February she was booked in to have an xray to check her lungs and jaw and to have surgery on the nodules. I didn't want her to be woken up if things were bad,but couldn't say it so I gave them a note. They said she looked great and not to worry. She was bouncing around the vet office, and played with another dog.
 Once again I stalked the house not knowing what to do with myself.
At 2.15 the call came. Her lungs, lymph nodes and all her organs were very healthy, but the cancer was starting to grow.They said I could wake her up to say good bye, or bring her home and start more pain killers.
I didn't want to wake her up to see me cry. I didn't want to prolong her life if  she was going to be in pain and this horrible curse was going to eat her beautiful face away. I wanted to remeber her  looking healthy, happy, and with dignity.
My beloved companion Kassy  and her elephant crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 2.45pm on 9th February 2005.
That night I went to bed,and my bed covers had been pulled back and two of her toys were in my bed. (She did this every night.)She must have done this before we went to the vets. I then realised she had not wanted to go.I had to growl at her to get into the car. She loved going out. I had been so wound up in my own thoughts I hadn't taken any notice. Perhaps she knew.
I slept with her toys for weeks,until every time I rolled over the Xmas Bear would play Xmas music and wake me up with a fright.

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