The Story of Max


My name is Maximus Aurelius, but you can call me “Max”. I am an 11 year old Border collie. I began my life in a tiny town in Texas before I was adopted by my forever family when I was 3 months old. I was the shy little runt in my doggy family. When my forever mommy found me I was hiding behind a bucket. My brothers and sisters were all vying for her attention. She grabbed me and picked me up and has never let go. She said I had an irresistible pink nose and glass colored eyes.

Growing up I got into so much trouble. All was taken in stride and my family understood that I was just precocious. I had a happy puppyhood. I ate to my heart’s content, and well you know, also all the stuff I wasn’t supposed to. When no one was looking, I ate mangoes, avocados, cantaloupes and the list goes on and on. Trouble is my middle name, and toys were my favorite, I loved to chew on those soft hands and feet—I suppose it was on account I was teething. Ah, Crayons were fun! Mommy said that when this happened it’s as if I pooped confetti for days. Then I got into some heavy duty-stuff. I ate some sheetrock by the entrance door, tried out some of the yummy couch ( and kept coming back for more). And my favorite so far, was my family’s income tax check about -5 years ago. Mommy almost had a heart attack. She asked the IRS lady if she had to mail back the piece I left behind together, but the IRS lady laughed so hard it took a while for any real answers.

All my life I’ve loved car rides! I go get groomed and pampered, and to the vet’s. I have a really caring veterinarian. I am very well cared for.  In my old age, I began to get sick. Mommy noticed that I had labored breathing and I didn’t want to eat. She was very worried and hurried me to my vet. Tests revealed that I had renal insufficiency (kidney failure). And initial X-rays showed I had a mass in my belly. My blood work wasn’t good either. I  was so scared when the nurse began subcutaneous fluid therapy. Mommy had to learn to do that for me.  I was sent to a specialty clinic outside of my hometown.

Up Mommy and I went. She and I took a 2.5 hour trip-we took two trips up. I slept most of the way.  When we got there, the news was bad. I had a tumor the size of an orange in my liver. But the veterinarian gave us hope,  she said I had a 75% success rate.

Miracles occurred all within the same week of my diagnosis, even the money for my surgery came unexpectedly. (It is an interesting story in itself, for another time.) I was scheduled for surgery the following week –for a lobectomy.

When Mommy and I arrived at the vet hospital to meet with the surgeon, he was upset. It seems that I did not have the 75% chance. Apparently, I had no real chance. My surgery was very risky to the point the first surgeon backed out. He said my only chance was a senior doggy surgeon who would attempt surgery the next day. He was my only hope as the tumor was sitting on my major arteries. It was a very difficult surgery. There were many complications with the tumor in my liver. Mommy worried about me, but it was decided, the surgery would take place. I was scheduled for surgery at noon on 2/14/12.

The doggy hospital was so nice. They allowed Mommy to visit me, and stay with me until right before the surgery. She took me in her arms, and for the first time our eyes really met. I was very scared, before going into surgery she grabbed me and said, “come back to me doggy, you go in there and fight, and come back to me—I love you!”

I was prepped and sedated by 11:55 a.m., but there were those complications. Mommy said that as the surgeon began, he realized that this was no small tumor. He asked the technician to get Mommy. It was not looking good for me. The veterinarian (an internist) met with her and she was told that the odds were very grim. They gave her three choices. 1. They would close me back up and send me home. 2. Attempt the surgery and know that I may bleed out. 3. (Mommy wouldn’t hear this one–she said NO!)

I was blood-typed and ready for option 2. Mommy said she wanted them to try to save my life and that if something bad was to happen at least I got that fighting chance. The surgeon continued. Thankfully I only needed one pack of blood. His hands were guided by a higher power. The surgery was successful! Immediately after I was taken to the post-op where Mommy got a chance to see me soon after. I don’t remember because I was on doggy morphine. I spent 3 days in the hospital. I wanted to come home so badly. Everytime I saw a door open, I would try to sneak off.

The veterinarian, internist, nurses, Mommy and everyone called it a miracle. I had a chance because Mommy and my family love me. Despite the grim odds, I am here! I am alive! I have my set-backs and at times I refuse to eat. I am still on the lactaid ring, and I take many pills, but every day I breath better and I get stronger.

The tumor had grown into my chest cavity. Before the surgery I couldn’t breathe very well. I was very heavy too. It turns out that the tumor was actually the size of a small soccer ball. No wonder I would cough and feel like I was choking most of the time. I am glad it is out of me. The doctor called it a hepatocellular carcinoma—but I call it a second chance at life. I have the will to live and a lot of love. My veterinary surgeon is my hero! I am a cancer survivor, going on 5 months, and taking it one day at a time.

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