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Advise for the home stretch | Coping with Loss

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Advise for the home stretch
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24 July 2018 - 10:23 am
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Hi all, this is Escher's mom for those of you who remember.  I'm sorry I haven't been on and giving updates.  Escher had her hind leg amputated about 6 months ago.  She did fantastically as you all assured me she would.  We took advantage of every day the best we could; visiting the ocean, boat rides, and lots of cuddles.  Unfortunately, she her cancer has metastisized to her lungs as I was also expecting.  She has 3 large masses as of approximately 2 weeks ago.  She is fading slowly.  She has very little energy.  I am having a heck of a time deciding when it is time.   I have a dr. scheduled for euthanasia this evening as a matter of fact.  I know there will never be a good time to do this.  However, there is a fine line between doing it too soon, and doing it too late.  She is still mostly very excited about food, and seems alert in between dozing.  Unfortunately, that is about all I can offer in terms of her enjoying life.  She gets up only for potty and food, and doesn't even boss me around for belly rubs any more.  She doesn't seem to be in pain, but I certainly do not want to wait until she is.  Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

The Rainbow Bridge

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24 July 2018 - 11:05 am
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I am really sorry to hear about Escher. You don't need to apologize one bit, you were living for the now with her, that's all that matters.

Dealing with this part of the journey is so hard. We have this incredible responsibility to our animals to help them transition without suffering, and it weighs heavy on our hearts and minds. You are correct, it is better to say goodbye a day early than a day late. Some of the worst grief happens when pet parents feel guilt over waiting too long. 

So it sounds to me like as difficult as this is, you are following your heart and doing right by Escher. If you haven't already seen the Penny Jars Method to figure out quality of life, I encourage you to check it out. It may confirm what you already know in your heart. Also, this article can also help:

How to Prepare for Pet Loss Before It Happens

We are keeping you in our hearts today. Please feel free to call the Tripawds Helpline if you want to talk OK?

Give Escher lots of lovin' from us, and let her know that all our Tripawd heroes will be there to greet her when she is ready with her pretty new wings. 

{{{hugs}}}

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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24 July 2018 - 11:35 am
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Absolutely  we remember  the remarkable Escher!  And so glad she has had all this extended  bonus time for more loving  and spoiling  with you.❤

When evaluating  my Happy Hannah after her mets, I realized that my Happy Hannah would never miss a meal and would never stop  wagging  her tail. So for her, that was not how I would gauge  her quality.   And if she did stop eating and wagging, I would have waited  too late.  She did tire cery, very easily  though.  And she also started having a hard time sleeping, I guess due ti the mets interfering with her breathing  when laying down.

In her case, I wanted to release her before a crisis.  She didn't  appear to be in pain per se,  but I'm  sure dealing  with compromised breathing  was no picnic.  The scales were starting  to tip out of her favor.   I have always said I would rather do it too soon than too late.  Fluids could fill the lungs completely  out of the blue sometimes.   Now, that said, and this was just my experience, I have struggled  with the feeling of doing it "too soon".  But what price would she have  had to pay for what   most likely  would have been just a couple of weeks?  This was terminal  and could only get worse.

I also want to say, if you are feeling conflicted, you absolutely  can cancel the appointment  for today, give yourself  another couple  of days, and see how you feel then.  I only say this because, sometimes  when I read your post today,  you seemed  certain, and then when I would re-read it, you seem uncertain......all of which is completely  understandable. 

I think sometimes at this point in the journey when mets are affecting  our dogs in subtle ways, it's  extra hard.  No, not all dogs stop eating, not all dogs have that "look", not all dogs stop wagging.   But for some dogs, not bossing you around and rolling over for belly rubs,  is a sign of quality  fading.  My Hapoy Hannah stopped getting up to greet me, but happily  greeted  me in her bed wagging  and waiting  for her treat.  Subtle.  

I want to add ine  one thing.  If you keep the appointment  today, discuss your uncertainty  with your Vet.  If your Vet feels this isn't  even close to the right time, he will share that with you.

I really,  really  hope I've  helped you clarify and NOT caused  more conflict!! Not my intenet!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Virginia
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24 July 2018 - 11:51 am
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Sorry to 3xit so quickly.   Just wanted to add call our helpline  number and a helpline  call came in I had to answer!

1 844 TRIPAWD.   

It's  staffed by those of us who jave been through this entire journey.  I know Rene was my "Coach" as I was struggling  with  my decision  for Happy Hannah.   Two things stood out.  Basically,  whatmemory  would I want to remember, the wagging tail or a worse case scenario.  And she also said I coukd change my mind at anynpiint and reschedule.   Both thoughts gave  me guidance.

Lots and lots of love 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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24 July 2018 - 3:47 pm
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I'm sorry to hear that you need to make this decision, but the mantra is always better a day early than a day late, and count your blessings that we are able to let our pets go while they still have their dignity.

Not to be about me, but this issue hits especially hard because we had to make a similar decision with my mom a year ago.  In her case, it was take both her legs, or let her pass "naturally."  She had fairly severe dementia, and couldn't really participate in the decision, and a terrible quality of life, so we chose to let her go.  Unfortunately, as a people, she was unable to leave with her dignity intact, and it was a long process and quite sad.

Which leads me to Jake.  We put Jake in "hospice" last fall due to lumbosacral stenosis . . . he was losing control of his hindquarters and was in significant chronic pain.  We took him to our vet and asked whether it was time and she said "No!  I don't think it's time.  We can, but as you explain things, he still enjoys aspects of his life, so let's see what we can do about his pain."  She was absolutely right, and Jake got another six or eight months.  Then he had a bad day, and he fell off a step and was clearly embarrassed (here comes that dignity part).  The next day was worse, and we made the call.  That said, I will always regret not waiting one more day and planning things a little better.  You know, some chocolate, a cheeseburger or two, a nice long ride in the car, sitting on the seat next to me.  Perhaps you're a better planner, and have had a chance to do these things.

Regardless, a day (and sometimes a week) too early is better than a day too late. 

The Rainbow Bridge

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24 July 2018 - 4:14 pm
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Tom, thank you for your touching reply, it could not have been easy to write, but what a blessing to Escher's people and for others who follow this topic. 

My condolences for the loss of your mother, and of course for dear Jake too. Your wisdom on end of life decisions is priceless.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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24 July 2018 - 5:02 pm
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Hi sweetie 🌸

I hesitate to post here as I do not know if you released sweet Escher or not ...

But I feel I have to let you know when my Eurydice’s lung X-ray showed several tennis ball size mets and she was having difficulty breathing and lost her energy, my vet suggested cortisone and diuretics (to dry the liquid in her lungs).

She “recovered” almost instantly and had a fantastic quality of life for over one month. 

Worth asking your vet if that would help your baby at this stage.

Hope this helps ...

Sending you much love and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Green Bay, WI
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24 July 2018 - 10:03 pm
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Sorry that you are dealing with this sadness..... but fitting, as we said good-bye to our magnificent Dobe Nitro one year ago tomorrow (25th). We also went back and forth about "is it time?" We actually made, and cancelled 2 appointments before the third one was a go. He was a tripawd for over 3 years, beat the cancer that took his leg, but couldn't out-run old age. Everyone says "you will know" when its time. I prayed daily that I would know. We were extremely lucky that it wasn't a minute too early, or too late, but at just the right time. He was able to be released from his earthly body here, at home, out in the yard he loved, with dignity and grace. I pray this is your experience as well. Wishing you peace as you move towards this heartbreaking end of the journey.

Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tr.....27_2_1.jpg

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

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25 July 2018 - 1:02 pm
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I kept that appointment yesterday.  It was awful.  Easily the worst day of my life. 

Thank you all for responding.  This group has offered me so much kindness, knowledge, love and support through all of this.  I will never forget that.  

Next challenge, how to not completely fall apart.

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 July 2018 - 3:26 pm
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Ohhhh I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to you, it's never, ever an easy thing to go through. Healing happens at its own pace and I hope that over time you can take comfort in the memories, in all the ways she touched your life and everyone around you. Her spirit will always be a part of this world, and her story shall live on forever in our community and beyond. 

If you want to lean on us, we are here for you OK? 

{{{{hugs}}}}}

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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26 July 2018 - 12:22 pm
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I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Escher. Your love for her shone from your posts and I know how broken and devastated you must be feeling right now. Just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and sending love. 

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 9, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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27 July 2018 - 8:47 am
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I am so sorry for the loss of Escher.   It is never easy and yes, probably the worst day of your life and one you will remember for a long time or maybe forever. 

scandela said
I kept that appointment yesterday.  It was awful.  Easily the worst day of my life. 

Thank you all for responding.  This group has offered me so much kindness, knowledge, love and support through all of this.  I will never forget that.  

Next challenge, how to not completely fall apart.  

Oh you will fall apart and that is perfectly normal to do.  Don't be too hard on yourself as grief does come in waves.  One day you may smile at a memory and the next cry at the same one.  And it can happen minute to minute.   Watch for Escher's signs.  She will give you one to let you now she is ok.  It could be a penny from Heaven, a rainbow, or just a cloud that looks like a dog.

Run free sweet Escher.

hugs

Michelle & Angel Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Santa Fe, NM
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27 July 2018 - 9:33 am
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Falling apart is exactly what you need to do, it's exactly right. This sucks and I'm so, so sorry for sweet Escher's loss. 

As Michelle says, look for signs from Escher. She's not forgotten you any more than you will ever forget her. She's still here, just a different form. Sadly one that does not require tummy rubs. 

Isa sent me feathers, small white perfect feathers. and she's sent pennies too. It helps to know they're still watching over us. And they are, for always.

Run free sweet Escher - There's a party waiting for you at the Bridge.

hugs

Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

Virginia
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27 July 2018 - 10:29 am
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I just wanted to copy a lovely poem that our sweet Michelle shared not too long ago.  You'll cry like crazy, vut I think you'll find some  comfort.     Escher is feeling so good now, thanks to you❤

My dear human,

I see that you are crying, for it is my moment to leave. Don't cry, please. I want to explain some things to you.
You're sad because I left, but I'm glad I met you.
How many dogs like me die daily without meeting someone special like you?

I know it saddens you my departure, but I had to go now.
I want to ask you not to blame yourself for anything. I heard you sobbing that you should have done something else for me. Don't say that, you've done a lot for me! Without you I would have known nothing of the beauty I carry with me today.
You must know that we animals live the present intensely and we are very wise: we enjoy every little thing every day, and forget the bad past quickly. Our lives begin when we know love, the same love you gave me, my angel without wings and two legs.
Know that even if you find an animal that is seriously injured, and that you only have a little bit of time in this world, you provide a huge service by accompanying you in your final transition.

None of us likes to be alone, except when we realize it's time to leave.

Maybe for you it's not so important that one of you is next to us caressing us and holding our paw, helps us go in peace.
No more crying, please. I'll be happy. I have in memory the name you gave me, the warmth of your house that in this time became mine. I take the sound of your voice talking to me, even though I don't always understand what you were saying to me.
I carry in my heart every caress you gave me.

Everything you did was very valuable to me and I thank you endlessly, I don't know how to tell you, because I don't speak your language, but surely in my eyes you could see my gratitude.

I'm just gonna ask for two favors. Wash your face and start smiling.

Remember how good we live together these moments, remember the antics I made to cheer you up.
Relive like me all the good we share in this time.
And do not say you will not adopt another animal, because you have suffered a lot from my departure. Without you I would not live the beauties I lived.

Please don't do this! There are many like me waiting for someone like you.

Give them what you gave me, please, they need it just like I needed you.

Don't keep the love you have to give, for fear of suffering.
Follow my advice, cherish the good you share with each of us, recognizing that you are an angel to us animals, and that without people like you our life would be harder than sometimes it is.
Follow your noble task, now it's up to me to be your angel.
I will accompany you in your path and help you help others like me.

I will talk to other animals who are here with me, I will tell you everything you have done for me and I will point and say proudly: "that's my family".

Tonight, when you look at the sky and see a blinking star I want you to know that it's me flashing an eye; warning you that I arrived well and telling you "thank you for the love you gave me".
I say goodbye now not saying " goodbye ", but " see you later ".
There is a special sky for people like you, the sky where we go and life reward us by making us meet there.
I'll be waiting for you!"

Author unknown

Love and light 

Sally and  My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie 

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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27 July 2018 - 12:19 pm
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Thanks everyone.

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