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590 Ali Strinkaus Maddy

The week before Christmas, we got the results from the pathologist on the skin removed because of cancer. It was Maddy's third surgery, this time a major surgery taking off large areas of skin from her chest and arm pit area.

The first surgery, the cancer was apparently aggressive and spreading. A piece of skin was removed. The margins came back clear. Then where her scars were, it looked like it was coming back a second time. Maddy did so well we removed it again and thought for sure we were good. 


Then a third surgery.

This time the doctor found a tiny spot on her other leg and decided to remove it and have it tested. Well, pathology reports show it will come back again in any place, just can’t tell when or where. So, we came to a difficult decision, no more surgeries. We were so lucky that she is a Sharpie with a lot of extra skin. Maddy was great through surgeries and recoveries.


Our vet gave us many possible options: We can send her to California to a specialist and she will be there awhile, we can send her to a surgeon here who can do skin grafts, or we can try chemo which would just be giving her pills and visiting the vet to see how its working, or we can just let Maddy live her life.


ChineseSharPeiLet me introduce you to Maddy

Maddy is a Sharpie with a lot of extra skin. She is 11, going on 12 in March. Maddy has been happy all her life and has a great personality. She is the sweetest little girl ever. Maddy also has had quite a bit of medical issues that started about three months after we adopted her from a shelter about 11 1/2 years ago. She has cost us a little fortune.

 Photo of a Chinese Chinese Shar-Pei

Maddy loves going to the vet.
All of our fuzzy kids do.  We try take them in anytime, just for cookies, so it’s always happy visits.
Maddy doesn’t like overnight visits at the hospital, being put in the kennels. She is not great with that and will stress, and stress can cause a Sharpei fever.
When Maddy gets a Sharpei fever she can’t walk because her hocks swell and she gets so hot and very short of breath. My vet is great, and did a lot of research. Thanks to her years of understanding Maddy, she is on a regular medication and hasn’t had a fever in years now.


Difficult decisions

We had to think of Maddy's age, how she is with overnight stays.  I have had to decide there is no way I am taking her to California, to deal with this cancer. I don’t want to stress her out and affect her health in other ways.

There is the option of a special surgeon for skin grafting. My vet and I talked about it. She totally agreed with me on, “Why put her through that when this cancer will eventually come back in other places?."

The other two options are, let Maddy live her life out and when skin cancer gets bad just keep t-shirts on to keep any possible infections away, or try chemo.

Chemo may make her feel ill or give her the runs, but the vet said there are new meds out that will counteract that.

We have thought about this long and hard.

We want Maddy to stay happy. So far, what cancer was there was removed and there is a tiny red spot showing. What we think is we will try chemo.

If Maddy does well with chemo, we will try a cycle of it, test her bloodwork and carry on, if we can beat this. If Maddy has a rough time with chemo, we will quit it and keep Maddy happy and comfortable as long as we can.

She is the sweetest girl ever. I want to keep her happy. I believe in quality in life over quantity. It is the hardest decision ever when you have to decide. You just have to think, it’s for them not yourself. You love them so much you don’t want to let them go.  It’s unfair to keep them in an uncomfortable way.

I had to make the decision with my little Sam, at the end of this summer. They are your babies.  They aren’t supposed to age or get sick. They are supposed to live forever. The hardest thing dealing with this, is to act all happy like nothing is wrong. You don’t want to stress them out. You have to think it's all for them. What these guys give us is amazing. We have to respect them and love them. Be fair to Them.

UPDATED Jan 8, 2017

Ali Strinkaus: "Hi there, just checking in with Maddy. I picked up her chemo drugs two days ago. I felt sick, it really hit home.  Yesterday, I gave her first prednisone. Tonight I gave her, her first chemo pill. I had such a hard time I kept putting it off."


Just looking at that precious face

I hide her pills in a warmed up piece of pepperoni. For years, all her meds go in pepperoni. She loves it. She sits so nice, giving me a look like she is saying, "come onnnnnnn!"

So here she sat, looking up at me, being sweet as pie. And I am giving her a chemo pill. The possible side-effects of sickness are diarrhea. I don't want to upset her, but I want to try to fight the cancer. It is so hard. I gave her a pill for upset tummy an hour before chemo just in case.

Now, it's the wait and see how she does. If it makes her feel bad I will stop them.  But, I feel we should try.  Hopefully we can beat this. We go back to vets next Tuesday to check her blood and how this is effecting her. She gets a chemo pill once a day for 7-10 days, but stays on prednisone.

Where Maddy's surgery has been removing skin, right by the fresh scar, there is new redness, which is how it looked last time the cancer came back. I am going to buy a non-toxic felt pen tomorrow and outline the redness to see if it spreads. 


Today is day five of chemo for Maddy.

 I still hate giving it to her, I feel like I am poisoning her. I have to put on rubber gloves to give the pill to her.

When she urinates, I have to throw a glass of water on it and pick up her pooh right away (I should do it right away all the time, it's easier). Well, Maddy is as happy and silly as ever. Her appetite is a bit bigger now due to prednisone.

No side-effects so far. The only change is her big fuzzy peach snout is a bit thinner. I have seen it happen with past meds and it comes back.

Maddy is still my precious chubby chops, anyway she looks. Tuesday, Maddy goes back to the doctor for follow up to check her blood, to learn how these drugs are taking effect. I think the worst is waiting for results now.


I will keep you updated.


Edited by Julie Bradford