Saving Sandi Sue

Well, what was supposed to be a simple check up for old age turned into a death warrant for our Sandi.

But after hours of driving, a ton of tears, and a lot of prayer, we ultimately decided to risk surgery.  And in typical Sandi fashion she came out running!!! If you’re interested, you can read the whole story below.

We’re now trying to raise money to help offset the costs of her expensive surgery and scheduled follow-ups. If you feel so inclined, our family would be eternally grateful for your help in allowing us to keep Sandi alive, even if just a little bit longer. Also accepted: Prayers and positive thoughts ❤️

Something had been wrong with Sandi for a few weeks. She was unable to stand up and would become lethargic for no apparent reason. In our minds, worst case scenario would be arthritis requiring costly daily medicine. The “c” word? Didn't even cross our minds. 

But, it appeared as it usually does when it's least expected.  After a few ultrasounds, the vet told us that Sandi had a massive tumor on her spleen—likely cancer.

Apparently, dogs (and humans) don’t actually need a spleen. But they do need blood. And this massive tumor had already begun erupting and leaking into her little body.

The vet gave us three options: (1) immediate surgery; (2) euthanasia; or (3) take her home where, already in an anemic state, she would likely die within 12-36 hours.

On top of being expensive, the vet told us that surgery was risky. Due to the size of the tumor and Sandi’s age, it was highly likely that the tumor had already metasticized. In other words, they expected to open her up and see cancer everywhere. In that case, the vet would have no other choice but to euthanize her on the table.

The vet ultimately told my mom that if Sandi was his dog, he’d go ahead and let her go.

My sister and I rushed from Tallahassee to St. Augustine (thanks to Anthony) in order to say goodbye to our best friend. We knew that our family couldn’t afford a surgery, especially one that would most likely prove fatal. And if we had to let her go, at least we would be together when it happened. The vet did not think she would last the three hours it would take us to drive home, but my mom was not going to do it alone, and we certainly were not going to miss a chance to say goodbye.

When we arrived home, Sandi appeared normal. How could this be a dog that was dying? Her tail was wagging, her tongue was panting, and her spirits were relatively high. We had stopped and bought a jar of peanut butter, and Sandi happily slopped it down while we tearfully tried to figure out what to do. 

Selfishly, we just couldn't put her down while she still had a smile on her face. So we frantically gathered her in the car, drove up to the emergency vet clinic in Jacksonville, and prayed for the best.

The vet on the other side gave us a similar prognosis. At that point we really had nothing left to lose but money.

Y’all. Miracles happen. Four hours later the vet came out of surgery with a smile. She did not see ANY signs of metastasization. No other tumors. Her chest X-ray was clear. She had fresh blood via a transfusion. And the poisonous spleen was gone.

All really good news considering the first vet just 12 hours earlier predicted that Sandi wouldn’t make it through the night.

Now, the bad: Although the spleen and tumor is gone, the cancer may not be. The tumor will be tested within the next week and we should know shortly thereafter whether we can expect to go through this again soon.

The surgery cost nearly $2,000, and her pre- and post-op treatment will add hundreds more. It really sucks knowing that this could have been prevented, or caught sooner, if we just had the funds to take her to the vet earlier.  But our lesson has been learned and our spirits have been lifted and we won’t take another moment with her for granted, whatever the cost. ❤️

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Katie Kilbride 
Tallahassee, FL
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