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Daphne's journey

Chronicling Daphne's fight against bone cancer

Daphne's journey


December 8th, 2016 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

What a terrible day this has been!  A few days ago, our washing machine blew its transmission and we had to order a new one.  At the time I thought what a disaster!  My definition of a disaster has changed since that thought.

I have a beloved uncle in Brampton who suffered a stroke early last week and of course, my Mom and I have been trying to find time to go visit him but all this running back and forth to Guelph has made it very difficult.  But we had a plan for today.  Mom and I would drive straight to Brampton and I would visit my uncle in the morning. My Mom would stay in Brampton with my aunt and I would go onto Guelph, visit Daphne and stay in Guelph with my best friend, Jen.  The next morning we were hoping Daphne could come home.  I would pick up Mom in Brampton and she could sit in the back of the van with Daphne and we would all go home.

That was a great plan.  And like all great plans, it didn’t happen.

The phone rings at 7 am.  It’s my aunt. My uncle passed away during the night.  We obviously are super distraught because we never got a chance to say good-bye.  My Mom was crying so hard and I felt terrible, like it was my fault that she never got to see her brother one more time.  It IS my fault.

Now Mom is staying home and just as I’m getting my boots on, my sister-in-law calls.  My nephew was fired from his job and I have this deep feeling of dread come over me.  Sometimes, you just know this is going to be an epically  bad day.  I’m almost afraid to go see Daphne.

I drive to Guelph and the 1st thing they tell me is they are worried about Daphne because she hasn’t peed yet.  Not outside.  Not inside either.  They have drained her bladder with a catheter but they were hoping I could accompany them outside and she would pee for me.  So I met them outside and I was in shock.  She looked much weaker than the day before.  It was hard to explain.  She was dry retching which immediately alarmed me because Daphne is not a puker.  If this had been my 1st dog, Zhul, I would have thought nothing of it.  He was always eating grass and throwing up.  It almost seemed to be a hobby for him but not Daphne.  She doesn’t even puke when she eats grass.  It all ends up in her poop. So seeing her heaving made me very worried and specifically very worried about bloat.  I felt her stomach and did notice a fluid buildup which I pointed out to the vet student who texted Daphne’s vet about it but she was in surgery at that time.

So anyway, I try to get Daphne to pee but she could only hop a few steps before collapsing but God bless her, she was trying so hard to obey.  I finally said, nope this isn’t going to happen.  She’s in too much pain.  So the student got a cart and we carried her back inside.  They let me stay in the run with her because they were hoping my presence would bring down her heart rate. Normal heart rate for a Dane – around 80 beats/minute.  Daphne’s heart rate – around 170-180 beats/ minute.  Daphne was in severe distress and I felt that she was in severe pain and she continued to retch and retch.  And I felt that I needed to be her health advocate.  So I began a very gentle and polite campaign of asking questions and nicely telling them how unusual her behaviour was.  I really think screaming at either doctors or vets is a dumb thing to do – never put the back up of someone who might be saving your life (or your dog’s).  It’s counter-productive.  You want people to pay attention not shut down on you and thank heavens this is exactly what happened.

They ultra sounded her abdomen and found fluid in her stomach.  I had to leave at that point because they had to do a medical procedure to remove the fluid.   During the course of this procedure, they realized that her stomach had twisted and bloated.  They phoned me immediately to get permission to do emergency abdominal surgery.  I believe my reply was something like, “Hang up and go save my dog!!!”

The next 2 hours were pure hell and I prayed and prayed.  Made deals with God by the dozen.  Now a broken washer really didn’t seem like a big deal.

Finally I got the call that Daphne was out of surgery. It went well. They untwisted the stomach and tacked it down. As soon as the stomach untwisted, colour returned to it and there appeared to be no stomach death. For friends who might not understand what bloat is, the stomach actually flips over and it ends up creating a tourniquet around the stomach causing parts or all of the stomach to die. As the stomach continues to twist, it can rip the arteries between the stomach and the spleen causing the dog to bleed to death. And lastly, as the gas from normal digestion builds and cannot escape, it can cause the stomach to split open and the dog dies from shock and blood loss. There is little scarier to a dog owner than bloat.
However, NONE of that happened to Daphne because we caught it very early. Partly because I kept telling them during my visit that something was very wrong with my dog. So remember no one knows your dog better than you do. You see that your dog isn’t “right”, say something. But say it nicely, constructively and with respect.
Anyways, Daphne has pulled through and back on the road to recovery! Thank you Facebookers and family and friends for all the prayers! Some One listened.


8 Comments so far ↓

  • otisandtess

    I am so sorry to hear of your Uncle’s passing, and your nephew’s job loss as well. What a truly horrible day. But none of this is your fault. You were doing everything you possibly could to be in two or three places at once. Your Uncle knew how much you all loved him.

    Great job advocating for Daphne! My Otis was a lab/Dane mix. When he was about 1, my vet did x-Rays to determine if he had a lab stomach or a Dane stomach. We were fortunate – lab stomach. You did a great job identifying the problem. How fortunate that you were there for her! I am so glad the surgery was a success, and will be praying for the remainder of her recovery to be uneventful.

    • tracy06

      Thank you for the solace. My uncle was a great dog lover too. I miss him. But now Daphne has one more angel looking out for her.

  • hester

    That is a the very definition of an epically bad day and I am so, so sorry about the loss of your uncle and not making it to see him before.

    So glad you followed through on plans to see Daphne and be her calm and steady advocate and glad that somehow, the timing worked out and she is recovering as so often, the surgery is not in time with bloat.

    Hoping you have no more big hurdles and Daphne steadily improves from this point!


  • megstamum

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Uncle and for the horrible way everything combined to give you the worst day ever. I’m so pleased that Daphne is okay. She is very lucky indeed t0 have you for a Mum.

    Big hug,

    Meg, Clare and Elsie Pie xxx

  • Deb

    OH MY DAWG! What a day! So much stress and anxiety! Thank God Daphne is doing well now and that you were there to guide the Vets as they evaluated her! I will be thinking about you as you work through your grief and stress! Deb

  • tracy06

    Thanks everyone for so much support. I don’t think I make through another day like that with my sanity intact.

  • eborzage

    When it rains it pours! I am so sorry to hear about your Uncle. It sounds like you were meant to be with Daphne at that exact moment, and I am glad you were there and able to do advocate. Next to medicine, there’s nothing quite like intuition.
    Stay strong!

  • jerry

    Wooaaaaah. My heart goes out to your family, I’m so sorry about your uncle. That’s ruff. And Daphne? Wow. To make it through bloat after all she’s been through. What a rock star. Both of you really, what an advocate you are for her Tracy!

    I hope she’s home and recuperating now. She’s so lucky to have such a fantastic, loving family.


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