What we know: Shit just happens.

After a long day of vets and lifting Indi in and out of cars, we know what is going on. There is good news and bad news.

First the good news: It is not cancer. Four months post-diagnosis Indi has NO lung mets and no osteosarcoma legions/ masts on her spine or in her belly. She is still virtually cancer free.

The bad news is it is not ACL tears, it is neurological. She has lost the use of her back legs because a piece of cartilage has lodged its self in her spinal column and is pressing on the nerves betweenย  her L2 and L4 vertebrae. Fibro Cartilagenous Embolis, the technical name for a piece of runaway ruptured cartilage in the spinal cord, is not directly related to cancer. It is most likely the result of a shift in her posture/ spine since her amputation. We don’t know what exactly caused it other than general tripawd pressure on a big dog.

It is curable. She can heal from this with physical therapy and time– an estimated 6 to 8 weeks. In the mean time she has lost her bowel control and her ability to urinate. We now have to expel her bladder for her 2 to 4 times a day so it doesn’t rupture. And even in 6 to 8 weeks when the cartilage dissolves, the nerve damage could be permanent. We just don’t know.

She can’t stand up. She can’t wag her tail. She can’t go to the bathroom on her own. Maggie’s mom Tracy, and Fortis’ dad Brett put it best: sometimes SHIT just happens.

Thank you for all the love and kindness in your comments. It means the world to me to know I am not alone. I don’t know what is going to happen in the coming weeks. My plan is to take it one day at a time.

About indi

Raina is Indi's mom. She is 30 and lives in Portland, Oregon. Raina was 22 when she got Indi and her heart broke when Indi was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Today Indi and Raina are living life one day at time. Things sure look brighter with a supportive Tripawd community.
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14 Responses to What we know: Shit just happens.

  1. admin says:

    Thnaks for the update. Whatever happens in these coming weeks, please know that we are all here for you and Indi. No one is ever alone in the Tripawds Community!

  2. Oh I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m just catching up to what’s been going on with Indy. Like everyone said on your previous blog, you have done everything possible and have loved your girl so unconditionally. Indy couldn’t be luckier to have you as her mom. I imagine this is very difficult and trying right now and it must be so hard to see her going through this. I will keep saying lots of prayers for you and Indy. One day at a time sounds like a good plan. Please keep us posted – we are thinking of you.

  3. stephaniedbar says:

    Raina, I am just now learning about Indi and your challenges that lay ahead. Sounds like you are doing a great job with Indi and treating her with tender love and dignity. You are a great dog mom. I think taking it one day at a time is a great plan. I am thinking of you guys and sending positive thoughts your way.

  4. jerry says:

    Oh Raina. I know this good news/bad news thing isn’t great, but when it comes to cancer, I can’t help but think that it is good news after all. So hard, I know.

    This Amazon book, Help, My Dog has Fallen and He Can’t Get Up may be useful for you at this time. It’s about a dog who had a spinal embolism, but his rehab therapy is very similar to what Indi’s is looking like.

    You may also want to check into the Yahoo Disabled Dogs group too, since they have a lot of experience with situations like this.

    Hugs, many, many hugs. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help OK?


  5. Tracy says:


    I’m sorry you and Indi have to deal with this added curve ball! But at least now you have an answer and now onward to helping your girl recover. My thoughts are with you through this. One day at a time, like you said, one day at a time.

    Hugs to you and Indi.

    Tracy & Maggie

  6. Ginger says:

    We are so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. But, at least it is fixable – and not stupid, ugly cancer. If there is anybody who can help Indi get past this setback, it is you. We just know you will do everything to help you pretty girl. Keep us posted, and give Indi a big hug and sloppy kisses from Ginger.

  7. etgayle says:

    sending our best prayers and juju to you and indi. the fact that the cartilage will dissolve is good, but time can move so slowly. gayle’s don had a disc break apart in his back and he had two back surgeries to remove chunks and pieces…alot of pain and rehab. hopefully indi’s improvements will come more rapidly. again, we’re sending our best to you guys, stay the course.

    charon & gayle

  8. Daisy's mom says:

    Sometimes we just have to pause take a deep breath as we continue our emotional ride on the Tripawd rollercoaster. Daisy and Sam send their very best and most pawsitive thoughts your way. Please keep us posted.

  9. CatiesMom says:

    Glad it’s not cancer, but still very sorry about this diagnosis. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to see Indi so helpless. Six to eight weeks can seem daunting; taking one day at a time is for sure your best plan.

    Sending many, many positive thoughts and healing wishes to both you and Indi. Hang on.

  10. nstephenson says:

    Hi Raina and Indi,

    At least you know what’s wrong. And that it is fixable. One day at a time. One thing at a time. We all know how hard this must be for you. I have been thinking of you and Indi and sending you positive vibes for the last 24 hours. I will think of you every time I sit down to feed James through his feeding tube. Hang in there.

    Nancy and James the poodle

  11. Mandy says:

    My Great Dane (Abbey) had pretty much the same thing (FCEM). A piece of rogue cartilage got lodged in her spinal cord and caused a spinal cord stroke. She was competely paralyzed from the “waist” down (including the loss of her bladder/bowels and the use of her tail). After three months of physcial therapy and much hard work on our part (carrying a Great Dane outside several times a day and expelling her bladder is not easy, as I’m sure you’ve come to find out with Indi, as well as mopping up the numerous accidents she had due to lack of control) she made an almost complete recovery ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, her left hind leg never returned, it was a “dead” leg and needed amputation, but she did regain her bladder and bowel contol and complete function of her right hind leg! Other than being a tripawd, she is back to normal after three and a half months of therapy and hard work and is doing great! Keep up with the physical therapy and I’m sure Indi will be back to her old self in no time. Abbey and I will be thinking of you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • indi says:

      Hi Mandy,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, Indi is already a tripawd. While it is way better to hop on three legs, one leg just won’t do ๐Ÿ™ I’ve come to peace with the situation and we are taking our time saying our goodbyes. I trust in my heart I am doing my best, honoring Indi and her time with me and knowing that she is getting ready to leave.

  12. fortisdad says:


    I’m so so sorry that all this is happening. It’s just not fair. I see the diagnosis wasn’t ACL tears after all but rather something called fibrocartilaginous embolism. I know very little about this condition. I’m hoping for the best for Indi and sending lots of positive healing thoughts.


  13. Rosalie, Brian and Spirit Xena says:

    Hang in there. You guys are great parents to Indie. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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