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Thursday, May 30th, 2013...7:09 PM

The Pig Dog hits the three-month mark

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Ah, yesterday made 12 weeks to the day Sam-bern-a-dino got his OSA diagnosis…and today is our three-month anniversary of our amputation.

In many respects, things are pretty much back to normal–sure, we still stress about some things, but in general, Sampson is just Sampson. We don’t forget to celebrate the milestones, but we don’t babypants him and have no hesitation yelling at him when he’s a douchecanoe. :D (For example, last night, Sadie had what appeared to be a, er, some part of a deer (??). Now, SHE gave it right up when told to do so. Sam, OTOH, ran (well, I use that term lightly) up, snatched it and horked it down as fast as he could. I managed to grab a couple of splinters from him, but other than that… :eyeroll:. I am sure he’s got femur pieces working their way through his gullet now. BAD DOG :p)

We graduated from PT this past week, and it was a mixed event. Up through six weeks, he was doing great on the treadmill. We were up to almost 20 minutes, and he was even doing it unassisted. Then, week 7, he just flat out refused. Thrashed, cried, struggled, and stood with his feet on the edges. Even with John supporting him, we didn’t make it very far. Same thing again in week 8. So that was frustrating, since we can’t figure out WHY he would suddenly hate it.The only thing we could think of was that in week 7, we started coming in the AM instead of the PM for our sessions, and maybe that timing had something to do with it. We’ve also developed super tight, sore quads, in addition to all the trigger points…so that doesn’t help, either.

He’s been struggling a bit at the end of his walks–the quads sort of give out on him and he’ll take a tumble or two, so we spend a lot of time on return trips standing and waiting to move again. :p I think a lot of this may be due to the prednisone destroying his muscles and his stamina…but it’s a double edged sword, I guess.

OTOH, that last PT was also a victory, as John said that he was absolutely the most lively and happy he’s seen him in two months of PT. Sam always manages to get two out of the three A’s…Attitude, Appetite, and Activity…but never three :D .

We continue with acupuncture, which seems to help, and he tolerates well. I’d like to come down off the pred, but I think we need a couple more sessions of this at least before we try it.

On the whole, though, we are doing well. (“As good as some old ladies, and better than most” as my grandma always said when you’d ask how she was doing) He really is as perky and alert and happy as he’s been in…a couple years, probably. Physically, sure, we’re slower–most of the time outside he sits, more than explores, and I know his legs probably bug him–esp. on “endurance” type stuff, but for just getting around the house, ambling in the woods, and the occasional burst of speed through the acre yard, he’s fine.

Honestly? Sam doesn’t have cancer. He has OLD. :p The amp sort of exacerbated the old, but that’s it–and we’re dealing. The having cancer is a funny thing–on one hand, this whole experience has really made me cognizant of how much time we spend worrying about things we really shouldn’t, and how living in the now can bring so much more joy and presence to our daily life. On the other hand, it will, eventually take Sam’s life. But truth be told, I’m not angry at cancer. I’m sad he’s getting old. I’m sad that that is complicated by cancer. I’m sad that I can’t do more to alleviate the difficulties that come with both of those things, but I’m not angry.

In a very strange way, it’s been something of a gift. At his age, we knew we didn’t have 10, 5, heck, probably even 2, years in front of us. We KNEW he was here for a finite time. But that was always so speculative. It’s easy to live in denial, to take every day for granted, to just let them meander by in a same-ol same ol pattern when the end never seems like it’s going to happen.

Somehow, his diagnosis made that end…real. As in, it’s not a maybe, someday, sort of thing. It’s a “this will happen.” But after the initial shock, what I was left with emotionally wasn’t what I THOUGHT I’d be left with. Instead of causing us to spend these last few months worrying, crying, contemplating an end that hasn’t happened…it’s taught us how to absolutely live for today. Make life about the quality of the moments, not the quantity. Revel in all the little things that makes Sampson who he is–both good AND bad.

So, here we are (in a meandering post suddenly turned somewhat maudlin, and probably borderline saccharine….), at three months. :-) It has been interesting, and challenging, and I’m sure that will continue. But Sam has adjusted, and we have adjusted…and for the most part life goes on as it always has. Sitting in the yard, chasing squirrels, humping Sadie, eating random dead things (and/or helping make random live things BECOME random dead things), knocking down the barricades and eating cat crap out of the litter boxes, getting attention from his girlfriends at the vet=GOOD. The small handful of pills, a new goofy walking style, and some tired legs…LESS GOOD, but still a worthy price to pay :-)

And for reading this far, and in celebration of the successes of the last three months (and because Sally and Happy Hannah love pictures :-) ), I now present you with Portraits of Sampson as a Young (and Furry) Man:

Sam in a hat (age 2)


The OGs…Sam and baby Maxxie

Sam (Age 4) tries to blend in with some kitties


Sam and Frank sleep off a New Year’s hangover:


Probably my favorite picture ever:


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