Triumph's Story Her legs may be missing, but her spirit isn't!

Archives: August 2005

Triumph HOME!
Posted by Triumph on 8/31/2005 8:59 AM
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Click to view: Triumph Comes Home
Hi Everybody.......Triumph here......Boy am I glad to be home.......I got to sleep in my very own bed last nite.....course I let mom sleep there too.....it was great. It has been a long time....almost 3 weeks. Mom could only access part of her email address from Denver so some of you have kept up with me and some haven't heard at all.

My surgery of 16 days ago was quite the history making thing....first time it has ever been done. Alameda East's Dr. Robert Taylor and 3 other surgeons and a whole staff of folks plus my friend Carol from Healing Touch for Animals and CBS News and who knows who else was with me in the OR.....and oh yeah mom watched too. The first implant was a little tricky but the other went quite quickly......everything was so very precise.......they had practiced the day before on a plastic model of me. I had tubes going in and tubes coming out and patches on my back.........I really was kept very comfortable post op and everybody hovered over me in intensive care for 5 days. I had a little infection but they found the right antibiotic and I have to take it for 28 days. So, part one of my permanent implants on both rear legs is over and we fly back to Denver again on the 18th of September to see if I'm ready for part two...this healing time is critical for my body to accept these new parts so please keep me in your prayers.....when I go back they will attach the hock part of my new legs if all the bones have grown into the titanium rods. There was one very slight hairline fracture in the right leg in surgery but it is already showing healing on the x-ray they took before I came home yesterday. I cannot put all my weight on the implants anyway until we go back so mom has a lambs wool lined belly band with handles that she has to support me with......which means......she cannot let me out of her sight or I will try to get up which I'm not supposed to do. She said I'm the heaviest pocketbook she's ever had to carry. My dressings are changed everyday and I'm real good about that and taking my medications......you should see me.......I have no fur from my waist down.......a little fuzz is growing back tho.........Dr Taylor keeps grinning when we ask what my "foot" is going to be like.......he just says it is going to be a Star Wars event and that I can chase the Thanksgiving Turkey all over......some kind of spring load keeps being mentioned.....can you imagine what it will be like for me to have the normal movement again just like other dogs......

Thank you everybody for your prayers......I am getting a new website soon.....then you can see all the pictures and for those who want to keep up with me the updates will be posted there........'til next time........Love Triumph


Home Tuesday!!!!!
Posted by Triumph on 8/26/2005 10:05 AM
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Click to view: Going Home on Tuesday!
Dear Godmothers, Aunts & Uncles

I'm probably going home Tuesday.....Dr. Taylor said if things keep going as well as they are, I can go home........I am so excited. I'm being good......or at least mom is making me stay good.....I'd still like to chase Joey the cat....I have to be patient tho......I still get my bandages changed every day, take my sun bath, do my exercises and I "babysat" my friend Hunter.....pix included....mom is mastering how to get the videos to DVD....she's not doing too badly......now all she has to learn is how to edit out some of the stuff....like peoples feet, knobby knees etc.......:)

love Triumph


8 Days After Surgery
Posted by Triumph on 8/25/2005 10:36 AM
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Hi everybody....well it's now day 8 after my surgery and I'm doing very well, I got what should be the last IV antibiotics tonite and just have to take the oral ones for 28 days....kicking the infection big time. This morning I had to take a little nap while Dr. Taylor and my friends resutured both legs.....the old sutures were coming loose so we had to take care of that.....for those of you who are squeemish, don't look at the pix labeled 2stumps...it is this am before surgery.....the skin is now pulled down farther toward the top of my implants and eventually it will all grow to there.......but you can see clearly how the surgery was done.....a rubber stopper goes over the metal piece and I have been getting rebandaged at least 2X a day....that's hard sometimes because they scrub pretty hard with special soap, put on special ointment...once they get to the rewrap part I'm ok and when they put me back on the floor I walk to the car....this afternoon you would have thought folks were trying out for the Denver Bronchos....I though I'd get away with chasing Joey the cat but they caught me and told me to remember I had to be good and be assisted woth a belly band....for another 4 weeks putting only 50% of my weight on the implants.......BORING.....

After I come back in 2 months my titanium "lower leg" will be attached to the exposed post along with a "foot" and I will be the completed bionic dog.......I can't wait to run after that cat......meanwhile I am letting everyone spoil me rotten.....all my friends at Alameda East come into my exam room when I check in.....mom says it looks like I'm holding court.........well.........

we're getting more sleep now......mom still positions herself so I would have to walk on her to get away without her seeing me during the nite......don't think these "legs" would feel very good on her.....it was bad enough when I stepped on her foot when she had her sandles on.....she let out a yelp.....wonder how it will feel when I have all my parts....:)

I'm eating well and want to come home......Dr Taylor still isn't giving any indication when tho......He would love for me to stay here for the 2 months but I told him to get real....mom offered to take him home with us and he wanted to know how the fishing was in Tennessee.......

Anyway things are looking up.........everybody was pretty scared for a couple days about the infection....but when they identified the bacteria they also found 2 drugs that would whip it....and you can bet nobody forgets to give it to me.....one of them is just plain nasty to the taste.

My love to all and thanks for all the support and love you send to us........Triumph


An Update from Denver
Posted by Triumph on 8/21/2005 11:13 AM
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Click to view: Recovering In Denver
Good morning Godmothers and Friends....I'm busy watching Animal Planet and asked mom to get my latest letter and pictures off to you. At this point she's pretty confused about who has seen what pictures so if you get a duplicate please forgive her....I've kept her on her toes this past week and she's pretty tired. The first nite home she didn't really sleep because she was afraid I might decide to take a walk on my own (which I did try but she caught me after 2-3 steps--the football teams should scout mom, she knows some interesting tackles) so last night she really outwitted me.....she took all the cushions off the sofa and put them in front of it on the floor where she slept and put me up on the sofa with my blanky and toys. I would have to have stepped on her to get over her and I didn't want to do that so I was good and stayed where I was supposed to. I did get her up early so I could go outside. The grass was wet so I had to put on booties (as in sandwich bags) so my bandages wouldn't get wet.....and the gang at Alameda had made me a great pair out of empty IV plastic bags....pretty smart aren't they. I am eating good and I don't have to have hardly any pain medicine.......probably won't take any today.

Everybody I mean everybody just falls in love with me. More and more awesome things keep happening. You know I've needed a website fixed for a very long time now and mom was praying and asking around for volunteers......if you can believe it.......a person (Angel) Michelle from Washington who didn't even know mom was looking for someone, emailed me a letter and asked if there was anything she could do.....she and some of her friends are going to do a super-duper one......watch for it in the future.

I visited Godmother Carol's class on the way back from the clinic yesterday.......as you know, our funds for my expenses were depleted but.........can you believe they generously got it going again......mom cries a lot! Everyone of them got down on the floor with me and pet me........I smiled for the cameras. Truth is I'm a ham........

I have to see Dr Taylor tomorrow for my progress report....Channel 4 will be there again to film the visit. They probably will not air this visit until I come back for my next visit in about 2 months. Dr. Taylor will hopefully tell mom when we can go back home to tennessee. I love everyone here but I sure miss my sisters.

Until tomorrow.......love, hugs, thanks, Triumph


A Tough Night
Posted by Triumph on 8/20/2005 3:20 PM
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Dear Godmothers, Friends and just everyone who cares......wow what a day.....actually I had a hard time last nite......I took off one of my bandages cause I wanted to lick my leg and they said I couldn't do that yet because of infection, had a little indigestion, couldn't go to the bathroom on my own....(gosh they expect me to go indoors and there's no grass and I can't get my darn legs in the right position so.......they "express" me...in other words squeeze my bladder until I really have to let go.....anyway my doctor got out of bed and came in to see me and take care of me......he helped me go back to sleep until this morning.....then.....they once again rebandaged me and said it was time to stand up.......my reaction was your want me to what?????

with the help of the doctor, the techs and of course mom and Carol......we did it.....they put a belly band on me and helped me up......lifted the 2 rear feet off the ground until we got where we were going.....as in OUTDOORS....wow actual sunshine......then they stood me up on all fours.....that wasn't too bad....I did squeek a little and then they wanted me to try to walk.....I sat down....that did hurt.....mom gave me all the words I'm used to hearing and she said...."Triumph, let's go.....you can do it and I got up and walked 4-5 steps......guess I showed them......mom has it on video too......I was pretty tired after all that and went back in......the techs took me out again one more time later in the day.....I still won't pee for them.....damn there's no grass....don't they understand and I'm housebroken so I just can't bring myself to pee in the ICU. We'll see what tomorrow brings......I listen to my favorite HTA CD today....that made me feel better too.....

I tried again to take the darn bandages off tonite so they once again rewrapped me and put a soft donut collar on so I can't reach it.......oh well.....tomorrow is another day.....will email you again...

love Triumph


Triumph Recovering
Posted by Belinda on 8/18/2005 1:48 PM
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Moe just called and they are on their way to the hospital and today our gal will be taking her very first steps on her new legs!! PLEASE keep the prayers, energy, etc..whatever your beliefs are please keep them pumping today!!!!

She was a little rotten last night and took the bandages off her left leg & foot and she had to peepee, they still have to express her bladder for her. Moe feels that she was trying to stand to go potty and then the bandage was taken off. From there they called the doctor in ASAP, she was sedated a little and then re-bandage and had someone with her the rest of the night. She is coming off one pain med today and will have all IV's removed they are still leaving the one line in case they need it and then they won't have to re-stick her again. She will continue with certain pain meds but are trying to reduce them as they can.


Out of Surgery
Posted by Belinda on 8/17/2005 9:09 PM
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Triumph is too groggy to write so.......

The surgery is over......post op x-rays showed the implants are in the exact place the surgeons wanted.....there was a little problem with the right leg....there was so much scar tissue in the skin more had to be taken off and then the remaining skin had to be really stretched to make the drawstring sutures around the bottom of the implant....second implant went quite quickly.......we have video of the surgery.....pictures......will try to attach some here.....will not include those for the faint of heart......

she is now in ICU...on a heated bed and was covered with a heated air matress blanket.....she is receiving pain management drugs, antibiotics, fluids etc.......she is being Triumph, the stoic one....people were amazed at how well she is doing post op....how quickly the anesthesia is cleared.......we just smile and Carol continues the energy work.........

she will stay in ICU for awhile.....Dr. Taylor overall came out of surgery with a smile.....and yes....I ended up watching the surgery he is still being quite secretive about stage 2 which will occur in 2 months when we come back as far as the Star Wars Bionic leg/foot is concerned.......it was awesome-- which doesn't even describe what was done......there were 4 surgeons, an anesthetist, scrub tech, Carol who never took her hands off her, camera crew et al

she has no hair from the waist down.....too much opportunity for infection........we all have to hold the prayers now for no infection or complications, .......the next two months are critical to the success of today's surgery.........if there is any dog that can make it happen, we all know who it is......

no words can thank all of you who have played so much a part in everything that is happening.....no matter what, it is going to contribute to many animals and people. One of the surgeons that was in the operating room today was a "people" Dr. who works with human limbs.........one of the other people there was the Vice President of Stryker......the company that makes the equipment and tools used in surgeries...special tools had to be designed for the implants that were done today.......so many have given so much.........our girl will be a success again.

only a few pix......we're exhausted.....been a very long day today....love to everyone......Moe and of course Triumph in what Dr. Taylor describes is her "extraordinary spirit"


Preparing for Surgery
Posted by Triumph on 8/16/2005 8:43 AM
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Everything went very well today.....mom got to actually hold in her hands the plastic models they made of my legs, the dry run surgery was done this am and Dr Taylor went over EVERYTHING that is going to happen.....things have changed and it is all going to happen in 3 stages....stage 1 is tomorrow.....the operation will entail cutting off about 1 inch off both stubs to get rid of all the bone spurs etc that have grown in the last couple years...then they will smooth the bone, the skin will be pulled back and then they will drill into the tibia to a precisely predetermined point, the drill is then removed, the conical implant is then screwed into place, the skin is brought down around the implanted rod to a predesignated point and a pursestring suture is done ( like a drawstring) around the implant leaving about a 1" piece protruding...this will be covered with a rubber tip for the next couple months until the bone is solidly in place and we come back to Denver for stage 2 which is where they will attach the next piece....then another 2 months of healing....and then as Dr T put it today...it's star wars technology....I get a bionic foot.....

When CBS news asked when it will all be in place he said....we want to give everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.....he said I could chase the turkey across the yard!

Are you ready for this one...there will be 3 surgeons, 1 anestheologist, Carol from Healing Touch for Animals, 1 surgical intern, CBS News , surgical technicians etc. in there with me.....the best team in the world......

In Dr Taylor's interview with CBS News today they wanted to know...has it ever been done before....he said they a previous candidate was cancelled before surgery because of other problems , a cat was done but not the same because it didn't have a knee...so I'm it..the first....they asked him why this dog and he said because I was special, he went on to talk about the unique spirit I had and because mom had taken such care of my legs that they were viable for this and that he knew she would do the necessary follow-up care......he looked straight at her and told her that if she thought tomorrow was going to be difficult....the next 2 months were going do be even harder with the daily care that would have to be done.....she told him not to worry that she would do it and..... he smiled and said....."I knew the first time I met you...you would do it!"......so TEAM TRIUMPH has been born and here we go.

I get to stay home with mom tonite and sleep in bed with her cause Dr T felt there would be no stress with this as opposed to being in a crate in a strange place....mom goes with me all the way to the surgery door and will be there when I come out.....they have a post op team, a pain control team, a general care team....said I would probably be hooked up to 3 different "pumps"...one for the antibiotics, one for the pain and one for general fluids.....they sure are taking good care of me.

I love you all and thank you for all the calls, prayers and everything....they even have a "babysitting" team for mom tomorrow.......we will be at Alameda by 7AM tomorrow and Dr T said we might even be done by noon......in any event mom will be in touch

I LOVE YOU ALL....Triumph


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