Guest postings will begin December 20th debuting Nancy of my year of sweat. Until then I will post on “Freestyle Fridays”.
Disclaimer: if you’re looking for a post filled with good cheer, you might want to look elsewhere or scroll to the very bottom and click the last link where you will get a good laugh. This is a therapeutic post I needed to write and maybe someone can relate or offer their story.
The multi-modal approach has not been as effective as we hoped. We have tried food and treats with supplements to help the joints, Prevocox (ibuprofen for dogs), narcotics to ease pain and get her to eat more, and getting her up and moving more. Nothing has shown any significant improvement.
I took both of my dogs to the vet for baths a few weeks ago and had my veterinarian check Elli as she seemed to be losing more weight. He did an exam, bloodwork and x-rays. When I picked her up he showed me how her spine is fused which explained her increasing difficulty getting up and around. And her bloodwork showed a few things going on, in particular, her increased calcium level. So, I took her in to re-check her blood and get a better snapshot of what was going on. This past Monday, I went in to discuss the “complicated” results. My sweet, sweet first baby, Elli, is aging quickly.
Basically, my Elle-belle likely has bone marrow disease/cancer based on the results and the opinion of my veterinarian and a local internal medicine/oncologist veterinarian. I could find out exactly what ails her if I were to put her through more testing, ultrasounds, and a bone marrow biopsy done at a specialty clinic a few hours north of us and depending on the results, we could do surgery and chemotherapy. However, I will not put my beautiful and sweet 14 year old dog through all that and my veterinarian agrees. Even if we cured whatever disease is inside of her, we cannot take away her arthritis or fused spine and that is the most concerning to me because of the trouble she has getting around. She slips and occasionally gets stuck.
The conversation on Monday led into what I was dreading as soon as I arrived with her. I rarely have time with my sweet dog, just me and her like the old days. My children are always with me at her appointments so even negative news I am usually able to easily cope with because of the distractions. This time, however, it was just me and her waiting to hear about her complications. The tears flowed before he even came in the room, because I just knew. After going over everything, he began discussing how to proceed considering there was nothing left to do. I have never euthanized a pet nor do I want to, of course. Yet, I understand that I cannot selfishly have her go on if she is suffering and I believe she will let me know when that day comes.
When my veterinarian called the next day to tell me the opinion of the oncologist, he suggested we try low-dose prednisone to help her feel better and improve her quality of life for as long as possible. However, she has diabetes insipidus and is on medication. This disease makes her very thirsty and occasionally lose control of her bladder. The meds help to prevent accidents. The prednisone makes her extra thirsty too and she has had a couple of accidents over the last couple of days. However, she is moving around much easier and I am trying to get some weight back on her by giving her beef stew meat, ground beef and anything else she likes. That is my goal from here on out, to make her comfortable and happy by feeding her all the meat she wants (minus baby chicks…which I may have to explain in another post) and giving her lots of love.
The problem (beyond everything above) is that I feel that I am already grieving her. Since Monday, I have felt a pit in my stomach, a lump in my throat and tears well in my eyes at random points during the day. I ache for her and the idea of not having her. I worry about the kids and how they will handle it. I remember all of our time together and how she has been with me through every single big life event. I remember her chasing after turkeys on hikes in Virginia. I remember her swimming in Lake Michigan. I remember her sleeping in bed with me before we had kids. She has been such an intricate part of my adult life. Yet by living in the awful future that inevitably awaits me, I am missing out on today. I know that I need to choose to let go of my heartache and get to a place where there is no more fear. Yesterday in savasana, the yoga teacher played the song below and while it is definitely sad and tears poured down my face, it made me realize that I need to get to that place of acceptance and beauty lying just beyond the pain. I know it is there waiting for me, I am just not there yet.
And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see what you find there
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair ~Mumford &Sons
And here is my sweet Elli.
As every asana has a counter pose, here is my counter pose for you. You will cry tears of laughter, I guarantee: 25 Autocorrect Fails