I mentioned in a previous post that we’ve been dealing with a sick dog. Well, we didn’t realize just how bad it actually was. She underwent surgery last week to remove a mast cell tumor from her chest which we presumed was causing all of her GI distress (blood in her tarry poo, nausea, not eating). Over the last week she wasn’t healing well and still appeared to be bleeding in her intestines or stomach, so we brought her in for an emergency ultrasound on Saturday to have her checked out. They spotted yet another mass, this one on her intestine. We scheduled her for surgery on Monday, but Sunday night she was fainty and anemic so we ended up bringing her back to the ER to stay overnight. During her surgery on Monday, our vet discovered she had not just one, but three individual tumors on different parts of her intestines. The one particularly angry and nasty tumor was far into her body and wasn’t even caught on the ultrasound, a 6cm whopper that was bleeding both into her intestine and into her abdomen.
Thankfully, the vet was able to excise all three tumors in a 5 hour surgery yesterday. It was long, invasive, and intense. The tumors were sent off for biopsy and we should get the results in a week. Unfortunately, the prognosis isn’t good. The location and distance of the tumors indicate that something systemic is likely going on (like lymphoma), and the odds that the tumors are benign is like 1%. At this point, we’re opting to not pursue chemo or radiation because the prognosis is typically only 1 year for dogs and I’m just not wanting to put her little body through that for what feels like my own selfish purposes. Right now, she’s still at the ER and we’re waiting on her to start eating solid foods again so that she can come home and rejoin her family.
I have to be honest that I am struggling, big time. I’ve been crying almost nonstop since Saturday night, my eyes feel puffy and sore and are burning from the salty tears. She’s only going to be 5 in November, so she’s still so young. And she’s always been healthy, aside from occasionally refusing to eat meals. She’s so wild and active and these past couple weeks she’s been a shell of herself and it’s so hard to see her so sedated and quiet. I look at her brother Krogan and I get so sad when I think of him not having his best friend to play with anymore.
The hardest part is that all this has put a dark cloud over my impending birth of our child. I went from being so excited about what these next couple of months could bring to being terrified about the thought of losing Echo during one of the most stressful times of my life. I had all these visions of our baby growing up with him, and she is such a sweet dog and was going to love the heck out of him. I have all these thoughts going through my head — is it better that we know now, and that we can make the most out of however much time we have left? Is it harder or worse now, because we know she has an expiration date that’s closer than we ever thought it would be? Would it have been better to not put her through this last surgery? How will we know when the time is right? How will the actual process go down? I was bawling my eyes out when I had to say goodbye to her when she went into surgery — what will it be like when I’m saying goodbye for the last time? What will this house feel like without her? Will I even be able to be excited about the birth of my child when I’m so gloomy over Echo’s health? And then I feel guilty for even thinking these thoughts…how can I compare the birth of new human life to the loss of a canine? But then I think about how she’s one of my best friends and well, you get the point. I’m dwelling, but I can’t make myself stop thinking about her. Half of the reason we bought this house is so she’d have a huge yard to run around in because she loves to play, and we just got it fully fenced for her and she hasn’t even been able to enjoy it.
This is all made harder by that fact that this one is MY dog. Even though Luke and I got her together for Christmas in 2010, she’s always been a momma’s girl. She snuggles with me in bed every night, she follows me around the house and won’t let me go to the bathroom without accompanying me. She sits under my desk while I work with her head on my lap. She licks my face every day and wags every time she hears me talk. I love our other two dogs, but Echo is special. She’s my heart dog. I know I need to just appreciate the time we have left and not focus on the fact that she’ll be gone sooner than I want her to be, but it’s just so hard. I want to feel prepared for her to go, but I’m selfishly just not ready. I haven’t had to say goodbye to a dog in my adult life, I’ve never had to watch my pet die. How does anyone handle this without cracking? How does life just go on afterward, when her pictures hang on the wall?---------------
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