Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our Nikki Sue

I was going to post some things I liked about DC and our a heated bathroom floor and Bath & Body Works products...I know, cool huh! But, our oldest dog has been having some medical issues and it has kind of put me into a funk. I was looking for a recent picture to post but couldn't find any, and our property management company is going to be here today anytime between 9-5 to do an inspection so I"m sort of pressed for time. My luck they will come when Ryan is taking a nap! So, i've got one ear listening for them, but if I have time I'll post a pic of her. Normally she is in every picture we take (usually a butt), and for some reason every folder I clicked on didn't have any dog pics.

Nikki has one of two issues. 1) She got into something toxic and it threw her liver for a loop. She has a sensitive GI tract already and has been on "sensitive stomach" food for years. She does really well with it but you give her any other type of dog food and you've got a mess to clean up :( When we found out she had arthritis she even reacted badly to the glucosamine and fish oil. Now, usually when the dogs get into something they leave a nice trail of debris and we know what it was. The other issue is that with 2 dogs you are never quite sure who ate it. The only thing they have gotten into in the last week was a dirty diaper. GROSS. I will not get into the fact that Ethan puts diapers in the laundry room trash. Won't get into IT. But for some reason, the dogs got into it. The vet said that some of the packing or the crystal type stuff they use to stop wetness in the diaper could have been toxic to her, especially with her sensitive liver. Her liver values were 10x higher than they should be. Not good.

2) Cancer. Not much to say about that other than it sucks. So, we are hoping it was the diaper and that with some liver support meds she will fight it off herself. She is acting much better, eating again, and not drinking so much water. All good signs that she is rebounding. But at 10.5 yrs old, you cannot rule out cancer, especially with a history of high liver values. Because she responded to the liver meds before, she is on them again for 1 month and then we'll recheck her blood. If it is still high it is probably cancer. Ethan and I have already decided at that point we would do the x-ray to see if there is a mass there. If there is, we are pretty sure we would stop there. We don't want to put her through a biopsy, surgeries, and chemo. From what I've read about liver cancer in dogs, it might prolong her life a year, but the quality of life would be unknown. There is also a cost factor in that we are talking thousands of dollars.

I told the vet as soon as we think she is in pain is when its time to let her go, and I get tears in my eyes just typing that. Ofcourse I was a blubbering mess when I talked to the vet on the phone yesterday. Luckily, Ethan's sister works there and I'm hoping she told her I"m not a crazy person all the time :) For me the decision to let her go as soon as she is in pain came very easy for me. She has not brought me one ounce of suffering (ok, getting in a fight w/ our other dog was not the best thing she ever did, nor was ruining my cashmere sweater but I'm over it) and I could not do that to her. She has been complete joy from the day we saw her at PetSmart almost 9 yrs ago. In a way, I feel like she made Ethan and I a family because we got her just 2 months after we got married. She has been with us through all of our changes. So, my goal is to help her however I can. If I have to be selfless and let her go before I'm ready, then I will do it.

I've been having these thoughts of how it would happen. Could I even drive her to the vet? Would I physically be able to walk her inside knowing I would walk out without her? Could I be strong for Ethan who has a special bond with her or would I just crumble and make him take care of me? What do you tell a 2.5 yr old when their dog doesn't come home? Is it possible for our other dog to know what is going on and is there a way she could say goodbye to her sister? My mind is telling me I can make the decision, but actually doing it seems gut wrenching and heart breaking.

So, if you are a prayer type person or someone like me who doesn't "traditionally" pray but has spiritual thoughts or conversations with whatever higher being you choose, I ask that you pray for Nikki that the liver meds work again. And if not and it is cancer, pray for her to be comfortable for as long as she can, and then pray for us to have the strength to recognize when its time and to follow through with what we have to do with love and compassion.


Steph said...

Hi Brandi, my name is Steph - and I'm a friend of Liz Fischer. I read your blog from time to time when I decide to "stalk" Liz's friends...and I just had to leave a comment on this post! This breaks my heart for you - and I'm sitting at my desk crying! I LOVE my dog so much too - and he is starting to get old and I constantly think of what it is going to be like when it comes "time". What a tough time for you - but when you stated you will do whatever you have to for Nikki, it leads me to believe you will know when to do it and you will do the right thing! The love of a dog is the greatest!!! I wish you and your family the best through this time! And regardless of when the time comes, I believe Nikki will go straight to doggie heaven...because she obviously served her purpose here on earth - bringing you tons of love and happiness!!! My thoughts are with you!

usmcfamily04 said...

Hi Brandi, I'm Mandy--another friend of Liz's (and Steph's). I am another really pathetic dog lover. I had to put my eldest dog to sleep 2 summers ago and it was very difficult. But, like you said, I knew it was time. We had been contemplating it for over 2 years and I kept saying "I think we will know when it is really time"...and I did. I had to do the hardest thing for me, to save her from the pain. Not a day goes by that I do not miss her. But, I do not regret it--it was the right thing to do at the right time. She was a little dog who lived 15+ great years. Us dog lovers know that this is one of the most difficult decisions you have to make. God bless you during this time!