stgulik: default icon (benita)
[personal profile] stgulik

Well, my poor dog Daisy has been diagnosed with cancer. She is 13. Sonograms and x-rays revealed a tumor in (near?) the bladder, as well as nodules in the chest.

I couldn't bring myself to ask how much time they think she has left, not with her sitting right there. :-)

The vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory to help her pee more easily. I'm glad to say it appears to be working. I'm not glad to say, it's generally working up and down my hall carpet.

She doesn't seem to be in pain yet, weirdly, but we are all keeping a close eye on her (still lively and trouble-making) behavior while we go through the steps to decide whether to permit chemo or let her illness run its inevitable course.

Chemo and surgery seem so extreme for someone who would not understand why she was being made to suffer through them. And they will really only buy her some time. I don't know. If you have any thoughts, I welcome them.

Date: 2016-09-10 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so sorry you're going through this and now have this decision in front of you. Your girl is beautiful and she's been with you a long time. There is nothing like a dog's love and companionship.

If I were in your position, I would ask the vet for pain relieving/symptom relieving medications for her and then just keep her with me until the time came when she was obviously no longer comfortable or getting any enjoyment out of life.

At her age, treatment will be a short term fix more likely than not along with being uncomfortable for Daisy. Like you said, she will have no idea why these things are happening to her, just that they're painful and/or making her feel badly.

There's also cost considerations but I realize that's not always an issue for people even if it's one for me.

You're in an unenviable position and I'm so sorry that you are. These choices are difficult and everyone's answer will be slightly different depending on their view of life extending measures. For me though, with such an elderly lady who doesn't seem to outwardly be in pain (aside from the urinary issues which are being addressed) I would do what I could to keep her comfortable and happy for as long as possible but not choose to go the route of surgery/chemo given her age and the probable prognosis because of it.

Of course, I would want to ask the vet what the prognosis with treatment is just to be sure.

*hugs* Take care. I hope you can come to a decision that you feel at peace with.
Edited Date: 2016-09-10 03:00 pm (UTC)


Date: 2016-09-11 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for weighing in. You captured the situation really well. Believe me, the cost of chemo is an issue for us as well, but if it would improve her overall situation, we'd probably figure out a way.

Date: 2016-09-10 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sweetie, I'm so sorry to hear this news, and know that you have some very difficult decisions to make. As someone who recently dealt with the illness of an elderly pet, I feel your pain so deeply. I wish I had the right answers. I wish I could wave a magic wand and be able to give you the best advice to take.

If you need to talk or anything, I'm here.

Date: 2016-09-11 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, darling. Thanks for putting up with me spamming you on GChat.

Date: 2016-09-11 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Babe, I don't think of it as spamming at all. I'm here if you need to talk, or rant, or discuss or cry. I'm here.

Date: 2016-09-10 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been in your shoes before, and I'm so sorry you are in them now. My beloved kitty was diagnosed with a cancer at 5, but it was already widespread at that point. It was slow growing, so I chose to keep him comfy, and he lived another 7 years before it got really bad -- but even then we were limping because I couldn't bear to put him down. Whatever decision you make, it will be the right one. Just get your vet in an honest, one on one conversation about what life would look like either way.

*hugs* Thinking about you.

Date: 2016-09-11 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It sounds like every pet's situation is different. Such a young cat, and such slow-moving cancer, meant you could afford to let her live a longer, quality life. Thank you for sharing your story.

Date: 2016-09-10 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would do what I could to make her comfortable, because she wouldn't understand the treatment. Whatever you do, it will be right for you and your family. Many many hugs.

Date: 2016-09-11 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. ::hugging you tightly::

Date: 2016-09-10 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
First off... *hugs you and your beautiful, darling puppy*

So, as an oncologist, I definitely have ~views. Of course, this is just my opinion.
It sounds like she has metastatic disease, which would be incurable. If there was a chance of cure I think it would be a harder decision (not that it's not difficult now) but in this case I think I would recommend keeping her as comfortable as possible since the treatment will only make her sick and weak (and she won't understand why she's being made to suffer) and it won't cure her anyway.
Yes, it may give you a bit longer with her, but at the expense of her comfort.

My heart goes out to you. This is never an easy decision and no matter what you decide I'm holding you both in my thoughts. *more hugs*

Date: 2016-09-10 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a gorgeous girl! There is lots of love and support for you here, regardless of what you choose to do.

She reminds me of my lil Samantha Bones when he was on his last legs. I chose the comfort route and knowing it was near the end, I had the chance to lay with him in his little doggy bed and sing "You'll Be In My Heart" to him every night. It was quite a comfort to me as well.


Date: 2016-09-11 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for sharing your story. ::hugs::
Edited Date: 2016-09-11 03:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-11 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't know you were an oncologist, alisanne. Thank you so much for weighing in. The vet did diagnose her as having a metastatic cancer--it's a bladder tumor that (they believe) has caused nodules elsewhere. She was prescribed an anti-inflammatory to make peeing a little more comfortable. And she is, but the side effect is more blood in the urine--actually, more blood than urine, truth be told. We're giving her vitamins and chicken to keep up her strength.

Date: 2016-09-10 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Chemo and surgery seem so extreme for someone who would not understand why she was being made to suffer through them. And they will really only buy her some time. I don't know. If you have any thoughts, I welcome them.

We call it the "final kindness" when putting down an animal; it helps, a little, to remind us that we're doing our best for a beloved, suffering friend.

I'd make her comfortable, spoil her rotten and spend whatever time with her you can for as long as you think reasonable, and then pay her that loving, final kindness. I'm certain you've given her a good life; giving her a good death, no matter how heartbreaking, is also right. *huge big hugs*

Date: 2016-09-11 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We talked about the future and about delivering the final kindness. And I'm with you--these days, it's all about making her comfy and spoiling her rotten with chicken treats and belly rubs. :-)

Date: 2016-09-10 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, dear, I'm sorry. I know how hard these decisions are.

I faced a similar issue with a beloved cat -- 14 years old when she developed cancer. In the end, I did not put her through chemo. As you say, animals can't know the purpose or goal of extreme medication; they can't make informed choices about what they might want. All they know is that they are sick and in pain. I felt that giving my cat chemo would have been something I would have done for my sake, not for hers (the vet said we could buy her perhaps six more months, and I thought, what good would six months be if they are filled with scary vet visits and side effects?) So I elected to let her go while she was still feeling pretty good.

Still, putting her down was very painful, and I have had caring friends who have made the opposite decision: they've given their pet chemo, and the pet came through it well, and there was over a year of happy life added.

So I don't want to try to push you in one direction or the other; everyone has to do what they think best, and each animal's situation is different.

But I'll be thinking of you.

Date: 2016-09-11 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't talked to the veterinary oncologist yet, so I don't yet have a prognosis if we went the chemo route. We are inclined against chemo, but think it would be a good idea to learn more, at least. I so appreciate your thoughts on the matter. <3

Date: 2016-09-11 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my heart, but she's gorgeous! I know you will make the right choice for you and your family. You have a lot of love and support, to help you through the next steps. Sending hugs and wishes of Comfort. ❤️

Date: 2016-09-11 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, honey. It's so nice to hear from you.

Date: 2016-09-11 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Since there is no cure for cancer, I think that chemo would only cause pain and discomfort during her remaining days. It would do nothing for the quality of her life, only perhaps adding a month or so to the quantity of her life. I wouldn't want her to lose her essential self, her joie de vivre. I would do what I could to ensure that she was not in pain. And if/when she was obviously suffering, I would opt for euthanasia. Actually, I think that would be my plan if it were me in her shoes (paws?), even though euthanasia is not legal for humans. What could they do? Throw my ashes into prison?
Edited Date: 2016-09-11 10:30 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-11 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
California is moving toward allowing the means to allow death with dignity for humans with terminal illnesses, and I'm so glad of it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The last thing we want is to put her through needless confusion and pain.

Date: 2016-09-11 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I'm so sorry.
I agree with you that chemo will only make her suffer more. Enjoy her, spoil her and be there for her.

Date: 2016-09-11 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, sweetheart.

Date: 2016-09-11 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i am so sorry you are going through this with your darling pooch. i can't imagine how difficult it is. i agree with the consensus, that i would not put her through the treatment which would be horrible for her and which she wouldn't understand and which wouldn't cure her anyway, only buy her a little more time. ultimately, i'd opt for making her as comfortable and happy as possible so you and she can enjoy what time she has left. much love and hugs to you and your companion.

Date: 2016-09-11 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
::hugs you back:: That's a good philosophy. We are all about making her comfy and happy these days, and we'll keep in touch with the vet as we go along. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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