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I Think We Are Approaching The End With Tess


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It hurts me to write this, and I don't want to jump the gun, but we feel like Tess may be getting to the point where there is not much more we can do. I haven't posted for a while about the PLE because it's been such a roller coaster, with confusion, frustration, and more than a little guilt and fear. She'd been on the Rx diet, and pred since mid April, but without a lot of improvement. I know that nothing was going to miraculously put weight on my emaciated girl, but it was just hard to know if we were doing anything right. She stopped eating the Royal Canin, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion, since even though we liked the new vet, we didn't feel that she had a lot of experience. So my friend and co-worker referred me to her wonderful vet, an older woman with tons of experience, and we went there last Thursday. We were there for 3 hours! She took a lot of X-rays (and only charged me for 2), and sent them for consult with a radiologist to make sure she wasn't missing anything. She felt we would probably see a tumor, but there was nothing conclusive. The other organs, including the spleen, looked unremarkable. She did have some fluid, ascites from the PLE, but there was also a little blood when the vet aspirated. She fed Tess, gave her a B 12 shot, upped the pred, and referred us to an internist at PVSEC, the emergency and specialty hospital. The appt. on Sat. was for a consult and ultrasound, if we decided to do one. We learned some things from the internist, but decided not to do the ultrasound. All 3 vets feel that Tess is in the end stages of the disease, and cancer is likely, and we didn't feel that the aggressive treatment we decided on would change if we knew the ultrasound results. I know that lots of people would have done it, but we just didn't think it would change anything. Maybe if she was a lot younger (her 11th birthday is June 1) and the symptoms were just starting---I don't know. But the vet recommended an even higher dose of pred, and because she's not absorbing meds as well as not absorbing food, suggested injectable pred. Doug has no problem doing this (I'm filled with anxiety about it), and has been giving the injections with no problem. She's on another med (and Pepcid to help with stomach upset), and has been tolerating all of that. We decided to go with another food, and got some limited ingredient dry---rabbit and potato. She loves it (so does Lydia), and has been eating well. Her stools are still not real firm, but she actually has poop that I can pick up, no blowout diarrhea, a definite improvement. All of this gives us hope that she may have some good, comfortable days, but then we get other stress. She is nothing but skin and bone. And our freaking steps....I hate them so much. Tess has gotten afraid of them. She's stumbled a few times, probably because she is weaker, and then is afraid to continue up the rest of the steps after the little landing. Most of you know the dogs have to do these 22 outside steps to get into our house---no getting around them. Doug hurt his back a few nights ago getting her up the second part. She seems to be more hesitant at night, though they are well lit. Then sometimes she is okay. She still wants to go for walks, so I've been taking her and Calvin for short walks during the day, and she always likes that. She's gotten up the steps afterwards. To cause less stress and exertion, we sometimes just let her pee in the family room like Lydia. At least we have that option. It seems like doing the steps is getting harder for her. And we don't want her to fall like Lydia. That would mean the end.

So this morning...Doug let them out at 6 AM, and she got up the steps okay, but then kind of collapsed at the door. Doug carried her into the house, and she got onto the couch, and then seemed okay. This hasn't happened before. It looks like there is more fluid in her belly. She is still eating, and runs into the kitchen for treats---which are just marshmallows, or pieces of the dry food. I know she's tired, but she's still Tess. She still looks at us with a light in her eyes, she still roos, she still seems to want to be here. I've put in calls to the vets to see if they think there is anything else we can do, I guess just to make her more comfortable, to relieve some of the fluid, I'm not sure. Or is it time to say goodbye, even though she hasn't let us know that? Should we pay more attention to what we see physically than to what she is telling us? We hate to let her go if she wants to be here, but we don't want to wait too long. This is so, so, so hard.

I'm sorry this is such a long, involved post, but I just needed to say it.

Edited by queenwinniesmom

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Nancy, Mom to Evangelina, Kiva and Laila
Missing Lacey, Patsy, Buster, my heart dog Nick, Winnie, Pollyanna, Tess, my precious Lydia, Calvin Lee, and kitties Lily, Sam and Simon
My Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Catsburgandhoundtown

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Nancy, I'm sorry. It hurts my heart to know what you are going through. I think as long as she is responding well to the food and has that light in her eyes I would give her some more time. Hopefully the vet will be able to help you more.

Big hugs :grouphug to you and Doug. I know how hard these times can be.

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Guest MurphysMom

Trying not to cry while reading this! My heart hurts for you. I have no advice, since I have no experience in this, but you are in my thoughts and prayers! :hope:heart

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:grouphug Nancy, if it helps, what I did with Pal was when I could see that he was getting weak behind to the point that he was stumbling and getting up/down was more challenging, I sat and talked with him. His appetite was still good, but we had reached the max on medications and treatments (years' worth) and it was clear that at 14.1 his body was simply wearing out. We decided better a day too soon than a day too late, to enjoy to the absolute max his last day and try to do as much as possible of what he loved ... lots of special noms, a stuffin' bone, a short walk in the rain in his handsome raincoat. He had a brilliant last day and we didn't have to face the crisis that was surely lurking. Hugs to you as you face this road that too many of us wish we had not walked together. Whatever you decide, it will be entirely from your enormous love for your girl.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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All 3 vets feel that Tess is in the end stages of the disease, and cancer is likely...

This is what sticks out to me. If she were my dog, I'd probably send her to the bridge. She won't get better, only worse, and if she truly is in the end stages....well, you don't want to wait for that crisis moment that Jan spoke of. The steps just compound the issues she faces, and you can't have Doug getting hurt carrying her up/down.

 

It is certainly never easy, and Tess' journey brings back memories of Jack for me--he also had a protein-losing disease, and it's awful to see them wasting away. :(

You and Doug have given her such a happy, loving life. Never ever forget that!!

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Brady still had some light in his eyes and ate his meals. However, there was cancer in there somewhere, too. When he was unable to really stand, I let him go. He left with his dignity intact and in my arms. I was a total mess, though, but who cares.

 

I have heard that if you are thinking about it, then it may be time. Hugs.

 

Cindy

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Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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I would give her a really good day then ask the vet to come to the house and let her run with the wind. Why wait until she tells you she's had enough and cannot do this any more? Better to let her go with a happy day.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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Guest IrskasMom

Nancy , I thought you wrote the Story of my Angel Morty .There is nothing I would do to have / keep him around . He was so emaciated from not eating and we got really nothing conclusive about his obstruction in his abdomen. His Eye ( Glaucoma ) compounded the misery and enormous Pain . The most perfect , soulful Boy , how could I let him suffer . I pray you find Peace with the decision you make :grouphug :grouphug :grouphug .

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If she is struggling but not in real obvious pain, just discomfort, she's probably not ready. But it is probably close.

 

I see some are saying it's time now, and others are saying not yet. Only you can truly know if she's ready. I was too late with my Pearl but too early with my Nana. But I can't do anything about it now. They are both gone and I've moved on.

 

Remember, whatever your choice, it's out of love for Tess.

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Only you know when Tess is ready. I'm not even going to try to tell you when that is. I know how much you love your pack and trust you'll do the right thing.

 

Remember back in January when both of us where stressed out about how to get around Seneca Lodge's new 2 dog limit? I know that neither one of truly expected back then to be losing our hounds before July rolled around. :(

 

Gentle :grouphug to you and Doug.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Thank-you for all the kind words. I think we will be making the decision to let our little girl go. Though it's so much harder when she is not looking at us and telling us without speaking, I'm so afraid that we will wait too long. In comparison to 9 years of sharing our home and hearts with Tess, I don't feel it's fair to risk even more sadness if we do wait too long, or if she becomes even more compromised.

Today when I let Calvin out twice, she broke my heart when she ran to the door to go out too. I couldn't let her do those steps. Doug is still at work, and if something happened, I'd never forgive myself.

 

Jan, something you said really resonated with me. "He had a brilliant last day and we didn't have to face the crisis that was surely lurking." Rather than hope for a few more good days, perhaps we owe it to Tess to make sure she leaves us with no pain, knowing she was safe and happy until the end. To say that she is loved and spoiled is a given, and the time we are sharing now is not filled with my tears. They do pick up on our sadness, I think, and I want to be sure she knows how good and smart and beautiful and perfect she is rather than be confused by the sadness that will come all too soon.

 

Laura, how I wish we still had the problem of being over their stupid limit. Lydia, if she is still with us, will have to stay home if we go to Grapehounds. Calvin will be our only dog going. That will be so bittersweet, remembering the wonderful time we had last year with all our girls.

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Nancy, Mom to Evangelina, Kiva and Laila
Missing Lacey, Patsy, Buster, my heart dog Nick, Winnie, Pollyanna, Tess, my precious Lydia, Calvin Lee, and kitties Lily, Sam and Simon
My Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Catsburgandhoundtown

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:grouphug no words, I know you love them and will do what's right for Tess

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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I don't know if you believe in them but we used an animal communicator Latifa from Animals Can Talk. We had a conversation with my girl Peace when we found out she had cancer. She was ready to be set free but agreed to stay a few more days for us. She asked for a specific tech to be in the room with her and said she did not want my Luka in the room. She went on her terms and it was a peaceful passing. She has been back to visit us as she promised she would.

Latifa has helped me with my new hound too.

Hugs to you all, I know this is one of the most difficult decisions to make.

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I'm so sorry you and your family are going thru this!

as we all do at one point , it is never, never an easy decision -- but it sounds like you've made it

and can now give the gift of freedom ---

 

Enjoy her while she is still here -- cry for her when she is gone - and remember with smiles and love as the pain subsides!

:candle:grouphug

lorinda, mom to the ever revolving door of Foster greyhounds

Always in my heart: Teala (LC Sweet Dream) , Pepton, Darbee-Do (Hey Barb) , Rascal (Abitta Rascal), Power (Beyond the Power), and the miracle boy LAZER (2/21/14), Spirit (Bitter Almonds) 8/14

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I am sorry that you are going thru this, again. Paul was almost 13 and we kept making goals for him. If he could only live to my birthday, Len's birthday, Christmas, etc.

 

His back was weak, his legs were wobbly, he had only two teeth left, but he was a happy boy and always finished his meals. Then he began to get incontinent; not every day, and then he began leaking on his bed. He refused to wear a belly band, and the thought of him laying in his own pee upset me. He was a proud, beautiful boy who raced until his was 4-1/2. He didn't deserve to finish his life like that.

 

You have to let you dog leave while she still has her dignity, or is in so much pain or uncomfortable that you have no choice. Our vet in New Jersey, used to say, better a day too early, than a day too late.

 

G-d bless you, Doug and Tess.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul, Fuzzy and Shine
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

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Guest PiagetsMom

I think that the hardest situation to make a decision for is when you have a heart that is willing, with a body that just cannot do what the heart is asking it to do. I fear that I am also heading in that direction, and I send you a heartfelt :grouphug You and yours will be in my thoughts.

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Hugs.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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:grouphug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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