feast your eyes on what, if all goes according to plan, will be the last picture of flanagan with 4 legs. on monday, as long as his chest x-ray is clear and shows no spread of the bone cancer that has made itself at home in his right front leg, that leg will be removed and we are fully expecting to get more time with him. this is our fifth tango with osteosarcoma and while the first four all presented in the exact same, predictable way flanagan’s is completely different (no surprise there). it was silent until it eroded his ulna to the point of breaking. i’m looking at the different presentation as a good omen and i’m going to believe we will get more quality, pain-free time with him once we get him over the amputation hump.
flanagan has some emotional challenges that require special planning when it comes to vet care. i chronicled much of his early years with us here so for a quick primer when flanagan (aka pinky) came to us he was about 1-1/2 years old and had spent that first 1-1/2 years doped up on prozac and ace (tranquilizer) 24-7 until his original people dumped him in a kill shelter with no meds, although they did provide his vet records which were immensely helpful to know what we were dealing with. you can read his whole gotcha story here.
i truly believe that flanagan is autistic and because his first people didn’t know how to deal with that they chose to drug him. when we first brought him home we literally couldn’t touch him and truthfully i don’t remember now how long that went on for. looking back it seems like a blip but i know back then it felt like forever. this is the first (grainy) pic of us together and you can see that i'm close but being very careful not to touch him:
the night after we got him we needed to run a quick errand and because we wanted to make sure he was safe we caged him. when we got home he was out free, the crate was in two pieces and destroyed. we happened to have a camera set up that caught the very edge of the cage and i very vividly can still see the crate rocking all around and then him popping out. i promised him that night i would never tranquilize or cage him ever again.
keeping those promises to him has required an amazing vet, which we have in spades in dr. singleton. last year when he needed to have a cyst removed she worked with us on the anesthesia and as soon as he started to wake up we took him home to recover. we’ll follow that same procedure on monday, which is why he won’t have the chest x-ray until right before the surgery. i’ve always worried what we would do when flan needed vet care or a good exam because that’s not really possible for him. we realized years ago that the shower is calming for him so whenever we need to do something like examine him, groom and cut matts off, etc., we head to the bathroom. this weekend, when after a few days of meds the limping and swelling didn’t improve, dr. singleton came over and did not hesitate to head to the shower with us – she was able to examine and laser him peacefully with a little water running on him. when i took him for x-rays the next day i held him while she gave him the exact dosage of propofol to knock him out long enough to take the x-ray, he woke up and we went home. i truly don’t know what we would do without her.
i wish i could put into words how beautiful and amazing flanagan is - explain what an absolutely special being he is and how privileged i feel to spend whatever amount of time i have with him but there’s no way i could pen that picture correctly. he is his own man. sensitive, loving and gentle all in his own way and just an absolute delight of a being. i’ve decided to not be sad or worry about how long i have with him and just continue to enjoy him and just be grateful that such a magnificent creature made his way to us. if you could think of him monday and wish him well it would be so much appreciated. i truly believe i will be posting photos of our deaf, autistic, 3-legged, cancer-free gentleman in the coming days.