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> New Here, My 12 year old rat terrier Bitsy has cancer
Deidre
post Aug 29 2014, 11:24 AM
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Hello everyone. I am new here and I just wanted someone to talk to. My rat terrier Bitsy was just diagnosed with lymphoma. She's doing really well; so far so good. But I still have a problem. I have "episodes" where I can't stop crying and I get so desperate and scared. She's not even gone yet and I'm going crazy. I'm not sure what I will do when she does pass. And I feel guilty because I have 5 others to take care of and I am more focused on her. They're not neglected by any means, but they don't get as much Mommy and me time as they used to. I just feel as though I'm failing all of them, especially Bitsy.
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moon_beam
post Aug 29 2014, 12:41 PM
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Hi, Deidre, please permit me to offer you my sincerest sorrow in the cancer diagnosis of your precious Bitsy. What you are feeling and experiencing are very normal emotions - - for what you are experiencing is called Anticipatory Grief. This is a horror roller coaster ride of its own for it is a time when you know your precious Bitsy's earthly journey is not as long as you want it to be, yet your heart cannot help but keep hoping that her veterinary care provider will be able to restore her to a good quality of life.

I know sooo well from first hand experience what it is like to have a very seriously ill companion to look after with other precious companions who equally need my attention and care. Please let me try to reassure you that your precious companions know that Bitsy is not well and needs your extra attention, and so they are just happy for the time you can share with them. Still, there are times when you will feel overwhelmed, and it is these times when you will need to take a moment just for you to take a deep breath then release it - - and try to clear your mind.

You mention that your precious Bitsy is doing really well at this time. Would you feel comfortable sharing with us what your veterinary care provider has recommended for her - - for instance, has your precious Bitsy been seen by a specialist (yes, veterinary medicine also has specialist practitioners), is she receiving chemotherapy, has she had surgery to remove the tumor, do you have a prognosis for your precious Bitsy's quality of life care, etc.. Please know we are here to share whatever you feel comfortable sharing with us.

One of the most important things for you to focus on is to just take one day at a time, Deidre. This will help you to stay focused on what needs to be done at the moment, and will help you to stay focused on the good moments you share with your precious Bitsy and each of your precious companions - - and will help you not become so overwhelmed by "what could / will happen." If you are not already doing so, you may find it helpful keeping a journal on how your precious Bitsy is doing, which will also provide you an opportunity to write how YOU'RE feeling as well. Many people find this helpful, and will provide you a "history" of your precious Bitsy's journey for you to cherish later on.

Thank you so much for sharing your precious Bitsy with us, Deidre. Perhaps sometime you will feel up to sharing a picture of her with us - - but only when / if you want to. Please know you and your precious Bitsy are in my thoughts and prayers, Deidre, and please let us know how you both are doing.

Peace and blessings,
moon_beam


--------------------
In heaven's perfect garden there is no grief or pain, and all of God's creation join the angels' sweet refrain.

The most blessed way I have of knowing God's comforting love and grace is to look into the eyes and heart of God's creatures' sweet angelic face.
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Deidre
post Aug 29 2014, 07:08 PM
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Thank you for your kind words and understanding. We are only doing supportive care for Bitsy. Too many people around me have had cancer and other diseases and their last days have been awful because chemo/radiation or any other treatment made them feel worse than the cancer. We are just giving her prednisone and vitamins to help her feel better. I just got her a stroller for walks so she can go farther and participate in more. There was no tumor, bloodwork from the vet during her last physical tipped us off. We just thought she was slowing down or that it was her heart (she has a murmur and congestive heart failure too). She's doing better now that her heart meds have been adjusted and the weather not being so hot the last few days has done wonders for her.
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moon_beam
post Aug 30 2014, 02:52 PM
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Hi, Deidre, thank you so much for sharing with us how your precious Bitsy, and you, are doing. I can understand your desire to not subject your precious little girl to treatment. When my beloved number one kitty son Eli was diagnosed with end stage Lymphoma at 6 years of age I was totally devastated, and followed the advice of the veterinary practitioner to have him receive palliative chemotherapy. As Eli had taught me many lessons during our earthly journey together, he also taught me that just because a procedure can be done does not mean that it is appropriate. Four months after his diagnosis he transitioned home to the angels. Four years later my beloved beautiful baby girl Abbygayle was diagnosed with end stage Fibrosarcoma. I opted not to subject her to chemotherapy, but instead permitted surgery for the tumors. After her third surgery she let me know that it would be the last, and her veterinary care provider and I agreed that it was time to keep her as comfortable and happy as possible with palliative care. The survival statistics for Fibrosarcoma averages about 9 months even with treatment, and about 9 months after her diagnosis she let me know that it was time for her to be released from her frail, painful physical body. So please know that whatever decisions you make on behalf of your precious Bitsy are the RIGHT ONES for her, and for you.

I do know what you are going through, Deidre. The good days are very good and your heart soars with joy, while the not so good days are fraught with worry. Please know we are here for you for as long and as often as you need us.

I hope today is treating you and your precious Bitsy kindly, Deidre, and that you both will have a peaceful evening. Please know you and your precious Bitsy are in my thoughts and prayers, and please let us know how you both are doing.

Peace and blessings,
moon_beam


--------------------
In heaven's perfect garden there is no grief or pain, and all of God's creation join the angels' sweet refrain.

The most blessed way I have of knowing God's comforting love and grace is to look into the eyes and heart of God's creatures' sweet angelic face.
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Deidre
post Sep 2 2014, 05:14 PM
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Bitsy is doing pretty well, she's getting a little weak in her hind quarters, but that was to be expected on the prednisone. One of my friends just found out her mother's dog has cancer too and then one of my other friends just found out she has breast cancer. I hate this!!! Why can't they find a cure?!? Just ranting today...
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moon_beam
post Sep 3 2014, 10:33 AM
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Hi, Deidre, thank you so much for sharing with us how your precious Bitsy and you are doing. Cancer is a very insidious disease - - it is silent while it is taking hold of the physical body until symptoms become obvious and by this time the caner has usually begun to spread. There are many "debates" as to why a cure for the many cancers has not yet happened in the medical world - - much to do with money and corporate incentives being the center. The problem for me is not so much a "cure" - - but what the process of treatment entails. Thus comes the need for individual decisions as to what constitutes "quality of life" versus "quantity". No matter what successes are made in developing cures for cancer, or any other disease, we will always be faced to some degree of having to make this distinction. As caregivers and guardians of our precious companions we are the ones who are responsible for making this decision, and whatever decision we make on their behalf is the RIGHT ONE for them, and for us.

I am glad to share your news that your precious Bitsy is continuing to do well. I hope today is treating you and your precious Bitsy kindly, Deidre, and that you both will have a peaceful evening. Please know you and your precious Bitsy are in my thoughts and prayers, and please let us know how you both are doing.

Peace and blessings,
moon_beam


--------------------
In heaven's perfect garden there is no grief or pain, and all of God's creation join the angels' sweet refrain.

The most blessed way I have of knowing God's comforting love and grace is to look into the eyes and heart of God's creatures' sweet angelic face.
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Deidre
post Sep 9 2014, 02:47 PM
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Well Bitsy had a bad night. She threw up twice and was just so uncomfortable and unhappy. I took her to the vet and she seemed better. The vet thinks she will be ok. They have her there now and she is drinking, getting vitamins and her furosomide by injection as well as something to calm her stomach.

I was so scared. I'm not ready to say goodbye yet.

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moon_beam
post Sep 10 2014, 12:53 PM
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Hi, Deidre, thank you so much for sharing with us how your precious Bitsy, and you, are doing. I do understand how concerned you are for your precious Bitsy. Medications can temporarily upset her system, so you were very wise to take your precious girl to the vet yesterday so that they could give her supportive care to help settle her tummy. Unfortunately as the cancer progresses it will become more important to gauge the quality of her daily routines. If she begins to show symptoms of pain this may be able to be managed for awhile with pain meds. Chronic pain is debiliting both physically and emotionally, so if her pain can be successfully managed with pain meds for awhile this will enable her to continue to have a decent quality of life.

I do soo understand how you feel when you share with us: "I was so scared. I'm not ready to say goodbye yet." The reality is we are NEVER ready for the moment in time when our precious companions must precede us to the angels - - even when we "know" it is a blessing for them to be released from their frail, failing, painful physical body. Please let me try to reassure you once more that each of us are here for you through every step of this present journey with your precious Bitsy, as well as later on.

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful picture of your precious Bitsy with us. I hope today is treating you kindly and that your precious Bitsy is back home and feeling much better. Please know you and your precious Bitsy are in my thoughts and prayers, and please let us know how you both are doing.

Peace and blessings,
moon_beam


--------------------
In heaven's perfect garden there is no grief or pain, and all of God's creation join the angels' sweet refrain.

The most blessed way I have of knowing God's comforting love and grace is to look into the eyes and heart of God's creatures' sweet angelic face.
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Deidre
post Sep 12 2014, 04:05 PM
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Well Bitsy had a bad day yesterday, but she was better today. I took her to my church and had her blessed by the priest anyway. Just in case. I know the end is near but she was so happy today when I took her out in her stroller and kept her with me. She's asleep now and she ate and even got up on her own to go to the bathroom. They're such little things, but they mean so much to me.

I took my other dogs for a walk and left Bitsy for the first time. She just can't walk anymore. When we got back, she had gotten up from her bed in the bedroom gone potty on her pee pad and relocated to her bed in the living room. She even looked a little miffed that we went without her. I guess she's not ready to give up yet.
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moon_beam
post Sep 13 2014, 08:20 AM
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Hi, Deidre, thank you so much for sharing with us how your precious Bitsy, and you, are doing. I can so relate to all your emotions you are feeling - - your heart soaring when you see your precious Bitsy doing well, and your heart sinking in sorrow when she isn't. Unfortunately this is a part of the Anticipatory Grief journey. I am so smiling that your precious Bitsy is letting you know that "she's not ready to give up yet." I know how much this means to you - - and to her. I know you and your precious Bitsy are already doing this - - cherish every moment you have together.

I hope today is treating you and your precious Bitsy kindly, Deidre. Please know you and your precious Bitsy are in my thoughts and prayers, and please let us know how you both are doing.

Peace and blessings,
moon_beam



--------------------
In heaven's perfect garden there is no grief or pain, and all of God's creation join the angels' sweet refrain.

The most blessed way I have of knowing God's comforting love and grace is to look into the eyes and heart of God's creatures' sweet angelic face.
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KimPDX
post Oct 6 2014, 01:42 PM
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Hi Deidre,

I am new here, too, and have a very sick baby. I just wanted to tell you I hear you and my heart is heavy for you. All the best, as much as that can be right now.

Kim
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Remembering Dais...
post Nov 12 2014, 11:57 PM
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I too understand your decision to not take extraordinary measures to extend her life. Some times, the final gift we can give our beloved companion is to let her leave this earth without pain or fear.

My dear Daisy began to deteriorate from her liver condition in her 11th year. I took her to a specialist who gave her medication. Then the condition began to affect her brain and she went into an altered state where she kept pacing and pacing and didn't seem to know us. I rushed her back to the animal hospital and he suggested admitting her in a final attempt to save her life. I told him that I didn't want her to die at the hospital alone and afraid, but he convinced me to give it a shot. She stayed there two nights. Then he called and said he had done all that he could. I should come get her and she would either rally or not. She was so terribly weak, but she knew us and licked us and wagged her tail, although she could not really move. In the morning, she was howling and in a seizure. I rushed her back and the doctor on call asked if I wanted her to try something, but I knew that it was over, it had been over two days before, and I just shook my head. Daisy left this world as I petted her and told her I loved her. I wish I had given her that gift two days before.

I regret that she had those two days in the hospital and wish that I had let her go two days earlier.

Just remember, when Bitsy's time comes - you have given her a wonderful life, full of love and happiness. There is no more you can do.

And finally, and most importantly - and this thought helped me a lot. If you had not known Bitsy, she would have still lived, gotten cancer and eventual (hopefully not soon) pass on. That is just how it is. But if you had never known Bitsy, you would not be feeling sad now, but she would not have such a wonderful life, filled with happiness and love. So, your sadness is the price of her happy life. When I thought of it that way - I knew that no matter how much the grief - it was worth it - to have had those moments with Daisy. I wouldn't have missed a minute of it.


Daisy's mom
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Deidre
post Jan 14 2015, 12:53 PM
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Thank you so much. Bitsy has passed, but I can think of her with love and happiness. Her sister Maggie misses her the most. She doesn't have a playmate anymore. But I tell her that Bitsy is a shining star watching over her. I wish I could make the pain of losing her go away, but the only way to do that would be to not have known Bitsy and I wouldn't trade my Queen Elizabeth for the world.

QUOTE (Remembering Daisy @ Nov 12 2014, 10:57 PM) *
I too understand your decision to not take extraordinary measures to extend her life. Some times, the final gift we can give our beloved companion is to let her leave this earth without pain or fear.

My dear Daisy began to deteriorate from her liver condition in her 11th year. I took her to a specialist who gave her medication. Then the condition began to affect her brain and she went into an altered state where she kept pacing and pacing and didn't seem to know us. I rushed her back to the animal hospital and he suggested admitting her in a final attempt to save her life. I told him that I didn't want her to die at the hospital alone and afraid, but he convinced me to give it a shot. She stayed there two nights. Then he called and said he had done all that he could. I should come get her and she would either rally or not. She was so terribly weak, but she knew us and licked us and wagged her tail, although she could not really move. In the morning, she was howling and in a seizure. I rushed her back and the doctor on call asked if I wanted her to try something, but I knew that it was over, it had been over two days before, and I just shook my head. Daisy left this world as I petted her and told her I loved her. I wish I had given her that gift two days before.

I regret that she had those two days in the hospital and wish that I had let her go two days earlier.

Just remember, when Bitsy's time comes - you have given her a wonderful life, full of love and happiness. There is no more you can do.

And finally, and most importantly - and this thought helped me a lot. If you had not known Bitsy, she would have still lived, gotten cancer and eventual (hopefully not soon) pass on. That is just how it is. But if you had never known Bitsy, you would not be feeling sad now, but she would not have such a wonderful life, filled with happiness and love. So, your sadness is the price of her happy life. When I thought of it that way - I knew that no matter how much the grief - it was worth it - to have had those moments with Daisy. I wouldn't have missed a minute of it.


Daisy's mom

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