Dark times ahead

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  1. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Can anybody recommend a reading about coping with grief?
    My only friend, my 4 year old pit, is happy and herself today.
    But, a biopsy tells a whole different story.
    She has Lymphoma; about 2 to 4 months to live.
    I'm supposed to watch her symptoms/pain progress, and then decide when she's had enough?
    To say goodbye, forever, my friend. I'll miss you?
    She's all I have, and soon she will be gone.
    This hurts more than the day I was told I would never walk again.

    How do I handle this?
    Where are my instructions?


  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    I am truly sorry for what you are going through. The hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life was to take my friends to the doctor for the last time. There is no manual or words of comfort that will make it any easier. Just remember that you are sacrificing to prevent her suffering.
    sleedeane likes this.
  3. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Well-Known Member

    I'm really sorry.

    The only book I can think of is one we read in high school, Tuesdays with Morrie.

    It has this very interesting passage about death and dying, where the idea is said that death is less different from life, more of a step over a crack rather than a massive shift. The say it far better than myself.

    Best wishes to you.
    sleedeane likes this.
  4. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Thank you. You said it well. I Googled TwM. I see they made a movie in 1999 starring Jack Lemmon (I guess he's the professor?).
    Yeah. I bet it really tugs at the heartstrings.

    I bought this:

    The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

    I need to man up and face this.
    I've been cryin' since her first examination (Wed, for swollen Lymph Nodes) hinted at it.
    This morning was the Aspiration (biopsy) results.
    The worst morning since the other bad morning almost 10 years ago.

    ...she's not even 5...

    Her name is Indio.
  5. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

    I'm very sorry to hear this. I have such a soft spot in my heart for dogs. I wish I was wise enough to come up with some comforting words that would actually be helpful, but all I can offer is my thoughts and best wishes. Hang in there.
    sleedeane likes this.
  6. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member


    Now she will be with me always.
    (the one looking at you)
    Gmash likes this.
  7. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time... Moderator

    Unfortunately there are no instructions or books that will help...

    Best thing to do is to make her as happy and as comfortable as possible. Talk to her Veterinarian for advise on things to look for! Give her lots of love and attention. Lots! She'll help tell you when it's time. And what's more surprising is that you'll likely know it too.

    Be strong for her and for yourself! The last thing she wants to do is make you unhappy...
    davoid, Gmash and sleedeane like this.
  8. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Awesome insight.
    Thank you so much.
    And the hardest thing is not letting her know how sad I am. It will make her weaker quicker if she senses my unhappiness. I'm fine now, because she's in my room sleeping.
    But the minute I see her, I get sick to my stomach and my eyes start welling up again, waiting for the next symptom to occur (she will start limping because of the inflamed nodes behind her rear knees.
    Her eyes will bleed.
    Her breathing will become labored.
    Kidneys and liver will shut down.

    How will I know when her life is too uncomfortable, when it's time?

    I think you're right. I think our eyes will meet, and hers will say, "please let me go now. I don't know what's wrong with me, but my instincts tell me its time to die".

    Your words bring me a little closer to acceptance.
    And I thank you so much.
  9. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    I think I screwed up.
    I'm not supposed to post pictures, am I?
    I will go read the rules again.

    Note to self:
    what an idiot.
  10. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    Pictures are perfectly fine. Post as many as you like as long as they are appropriate. If you want to commemorate your girl in a photo exhibition, I say bring 'em on.
    NightAngel79 and sleedeane like this.
  11. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    I went from sorrow to terror right after I hid the "submit" button.
    Thank-you Jesus
    And you too.
  12. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    No problem.

    Just so you know Jesus doesn't mind if you confuse us on earth, just make sure you get it right later. ;)
  13. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

  14. STL_Sean

    STL_Sean Member

    We just lost two f the biggest sweet hearts I have ever known. it has been a few weeks, and things are getting better. My wife really wanted their ashes returned, but what really touched me and I appreciate more than their ashes is that they took clay and got paw imprints.

    I just wanted you to know their are people who understand and are here for you as well as the option for the clay paw print impressions. I am not sure what would be worse going day by day knowing it is happening soon or losing them as we did suddenly and without warning.

    As other have said be strong for her and yourself. Remember to celebrate their life more than you mourn their death.

    Best wishes,
    sleedeane likes this.
  15. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Thank you Sean.
    I am sorry that you have been through this.
    I have lost 3 very close friends, all suddenly (at different times).
    Each one was an overwhelming shock to the system. I was so stunned, that they were gone so quick, without any signs or warning, that I became a soulless zombie.
    All I knew was that they were gone, and nothing was going to bring them back.

    They were like my brothers; yet I shed very few tears.
    Sometimes I will think of one of them, 20 and 30 years later, and cry a little.

    This seems to hurt more than I remember my friends' departures being.
    Maybe I love my dog more than I did them.
    Maybe it's because she is my only friend and family I have.
    I've only had her 4 years, next month (her 5th birthday also next month), but I don't remember what life was like without her; and I can't imagine the future without her in it.

    And unlike my friends' untimely passings, I do have full control of Indios last months here on Earth.
    And I am so afraid of mistakes I may make, and the guilt I will have thinking that I could have done something different, no matter when she goes.

    And every day that she seems a little down, I won't know of it's the cancer causing her pain, or because she's just bored or tired at the moment.

    Dragging it out like this...
    For weeks or months...
    It just ain't right.

    I like your idea about the paw prints.
    I would never have thought about that.
    I think I can do this.
    Yeah. This is good.

    And ashes...?
    Well, right now, she's sleeping with her head in my lap.
    I won't think about ashes and dust right now.

    Thank you again.
    Please take care.
  16. STL_Sean

    STL_Sean Member

    A beautiful thing about our furry companions is that all they need is a little love and attention. Indios will not hold any mistakes you may make against you (they are good like that) and neither should you. My wife is beating herself up over some woulda-coulda-shouldas, but I am sure our Kirra & Lacey have nothing but the enthusiastic love that they always did for her and would want her to be happy, (again, dogs are good like that).

    It seems safe to say you have plenty of love for Indios. Do the best you can and she will be a happy pup.

    I do not have any experience with this site, but anyone who volunteers to help others in this way seems like a pretty good group: The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.

    All the best,
    sleedeane likes this.
  17. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the link.
    You have helped me a lot with my coping with this.
    God Bless You
  18. BabyBlues

    BabyBlues Trouble Just Finds Me! VIP Member

    I just had to put my dog down this Tuesday. It was heart wrenching and I know what you're going through. But know that you are giving your dog an amazing gift by being able to help her and to ease her pain. As someone above posted, right now is hard but you'll know when its time. Lots of love and caring and spending as much time together as possible. That way you'll have plenty of good memories and they'll always help you smile.
    sleedeane likes this.
  19. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    I am so sorry to hear that BB. When you do that you are giving them peace instead of pain. It doesn't make it any easier, but it's out of love which will keep the memories of their life with you treasured.
    sleedeane and BabyBlues like this.
  20. doniago

    doniago Well-Known Member

    I'm very sorry for what you must be going through. I can't imagine it myself. :(

    My family's gone through three dogs, and each time they left us one way or another (one we kind of saw coming, one was a bad shock, and the last began breaking through screened windows if my parents left him alone, after they'd owned him for several years...they had to give him to a shelter after he jumped through a second-story bedroom window...he was okay, but they couldn't keep him at that point) I was in college or living 5 hours away, and while I'm more than a little ashamed to admit it, I was kind of glad I wasn't there when things went bad.

    I'm afraid I don't really have any good words for this kind of situation. I'm very sorry.
    sleedeane likes this.
  21. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

    If, as is obvious, you're an animal lover, you never get used to this part. Losing someone you care for is never anything but sad. Let your vet guide you; he or she will have the best interests of Indio at heart. Ask questions and seek as much advice as you need to give her the best quality of life for as long as you can. Above all, continue to show her the love that she shows you.

    I've been there too many times, so remember you're not alone. We're a community, and we care.
    sleedeane likes this.
  22. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    They say misery loves company. But I love nothing about you losing your loved one.
    I am so sorry your friend had to leave you, sad and in pain.
    Maybe someday our companions will meet and play together in a perfect place far from noisy stinky cars and hot asphalt.
    A place filled with green pastures and babbling brooks, where their biggest concern is who can find the better stick to chew on.
    Surely they will be rewarded for all the love and happiness they brought into our lives. For all the times that life just wouldn't give us a break, and they looked into our eyes with that "I'm so sorry that something is making you sad. I want to help you but I don't know how" look that made you smile when nothing or nobody else could.

    It seems they were put on this Earth just to enrich our lives so much, because they are so good at it. And they try so hard to make us happy. So unselfish. So faithful.

    I will shed a tear for your lose.
    I have plenty to share.
    And may your grief be short, and the happy memories never never fade.

    May better days be ahead for those of us that must go on alone without our best friend.
    BabyBlues likes this.
  23. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    Yes. And a proud animal lover. Proud of my girl for fighting so hard, because she knows that this weird pain that she is feeling, whatever it is, seems to make me sad.
    I know what the number one thing is on her mind.
    Through her own pain, her fear of this strange room that she's been stuck in for days now (radiation isolation), even her sense of abandonment by me; I know her primary instinct is to worry that I am not okay right now, that something is really wrong with me right now.

    Because thats what dogs do.
    They strive to see us be happy over all else.
    Their primary instinct over their primal instinct.
    And we love them so much for being our friend.
    No matter what else is Helter Skelter in our lives, our beloved canine friends will calm us down or cheer us up.
    Whatever we are lacking, our dogs seem to be able to make us need it a little less.
    They can fill great voids in our lives;
    and they can leave an even bigger one when they have gone.

    Thank you Slug.
    And thank you for loving yours, that have come, and gone, in your life as well.
    All dogs should have someone that loves them for being the best friend they could ever have.
    They should all be so fortunate to be loved and cared for, as so many live a whole life without ever knowing.
    What a shame for a puppy to be born and not be loved and cared for by us, as he so gladly will return many times over.
  24. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member


    I thought you, the support I so desperately needed a few weeks ago, might like to hear that Indio is fine.
    She was accepted into clinical trials here at the University, into what's called CHOP Protocol. CHOP are the initials of the 4 Chemo drugs that will be administered intravenously once every other week for 25 weeks.
    She has Stage 4 B-cell Lymphoma, which is better than T-cell.
    Her swollen Lymph Nodes went down 80% after the Indium (for Indio. wtf), a radioactive isotope, was introduced throughout her bloodstream.
    After 2 treatments, she's already 50% in remission.
    Expectations are that she will live, happily and comportably, for the 25 weeks of treatment. After that...
    Well, out of 100 dogs, 50 will live more than 6 more months, 50 less.

    In trade for this $3-$4 thousand dollar treatment, they get to study the cancers' effect on the gene Bcl-2, a gene found in canines and humans.

    It took some convincing, and a tug-o-war of my emotions, to realize that enrolling her in this study was not a selfish act on my part:
    I am truly lucky that she was accepted, because she will get about an extra year of happy life, and lives may be saved thanks to the learned knowledge.
    (She will always be...kind of like...an angel. Right?)
    Her comfort and well-being are paramount to the doctors, and obviously to myself.
    My heart and emotions are in shreds after the guilt trip a few very uninformed acquaintances -that have heard how rough chemo can be on people-hinted around that my motivations are purely selfish.

    I almost made a bad decision, thanks to them.

    But, I know I made the right one.
    Indio (except for one upset stomach) is happy, and doesn't know she's dying.
    What more could I ask, besides the obvious?

    To those that helped me deal with the initial blow: lunatic59,9to5cynic,Gmash,Martimus,STL_Sean,BabyBlues,doniago, and Slug, thank you.
    Thank you for being the only support I had in my little world. I don't know your faces, but I know your hearts.
    And I suspect some pain was awakened in your hearts as you told me about your own losses of your beloved pets.

    To comfort a total stranger.

    For now, Indio is a happy dog.
    I shall cherish our time together, and appreciate these days like it is our only days.
    And right now, I can smile and laugh at her, and shed not one tear.
    Not me.
    Not today.
    NightAngel79, Gmash and BabyBlues like this.

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