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Aspen - Bone Cancer Pain


Aspen already had three strikes against him; his fourth looked like an impossible challenge. He was already suffering from chronic pain affecting his right front leg, both back legs, and his spine; that and he was already 12 years old!

For the month prior to presentation, Aspen had become more and more lame on his left rear leg. Examination at our practice revealed pain in the right fore leg, extensive pain along the spine, and pain in multiple sites involving both back legs; but the worst of his pain was found with pressure just above his left knee.

X-rays revealed bone cancer attacking the lower thigh bone at the knee level (click here to see his x-ray). Amputation of the leg just below the hip is the best way to control the pain of this disease IF the patient can function adequately without the affected leg. Aspen's Mom and Dad declined any consideration for amputation surgery. We were in full agreement; Aspen would not have been functional on 3 legs due to the severity of his right foreleg, right hindleg, and spinal disease.

We created a strategy for Aspen that began with an intense in-hospital startup sequence that included an epidural injection and bisphosphonate infusion. He was discharged on a combination of 4 pain relieving medications. Aspen's diet was modified; DHA and melatonin were initiated.

It wasn't long before the clients noticed that Aspen wasn't simply less lame on his left rear leg, he was better than he had been in years. Not only was the cancer pain under control but his other legs and his back all felt better (click for client email messages).

Aspen's disease remained under control for 18 months. Inevitably, the disease and the ravages of time combined to force his family to let him go. At 13 1/2 years of age, Aspen's family couldn't complain.

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