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Sarah&Ava

I'm not ready.....

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Ava update:  So went to the vets with Ava, the vet said there was signs she was holding fluid so did some blood tests to see if her kidneys or liver were failing and then to work out a treatment plan for that because she did not feel Ava was ready to go at this point, which I was relieved about, not least because i don't want to let her go but because I don't want to prolong her suffering because I'm not willing to admit it's time to let her go.  The vet said she was still too alert and full of energy to take that step today,  Anyway the blood tests came back clear for problems with her liver and kidneys so the vet said the most likely cause of the water retention is that due to the cancer seeding in her abdomen it's likely this is using up her protein stores which is causing a fluid build up.  They drained some of the fluid away but said it will come back but she didn'tknow how long this would take but at this point there is nothing that can be done to stop it and once it has built up and she can no longer manage it will be time to let her go.  I've got painkillers for her and the vet has given me her personal mobile so if she is not on duty when the time comes I can call her and she will come out to let her go.  It's relief and devastation all in one go, the pet taxi I use said she thought Ava was too bright to go at this time so I feel that I am in tune with her and will let her go when the time comes.

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Ava!!!  Sarah, I just saw that you posted and I held my breath scrolling down to your post. I feel relieved. Okay, I won’t say anything else. I’m just glad how today turned out for you and Ava.

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Thanks MelsGone, she's certainly keeping me in a level of high anxiety that's for sure.  Here she is at the vets earlier refusing to sit down!

Fotor_15185307231819.jpg

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Sarah,

Ava is absolutely beautiful!  I tend to gravitate towards bigger dogs anyway, just always been my personal preference, my own dog is big too, but oh my gosh she is gorgeous!  Her sweet face!

Okay, enough falling in love...I'm sorry for all of the turmoil you've been grappling with, but AM SO GLAD TO HEAR HOW THE VET TRIP WENT!  I should have checked back earlier, being sick is the pits, I had a dream last night that I wanted to respond to posts and couldn't because of being sick, my brain wouldn't work with clarity (not sure it does anyway), it shows how much everyone is on my mind.  I think you will definitely know when it's the right time, she'll let you know.  My son waited too long on Skye and it's something hard we have to live with, I know you won't do that, you're tuned in to her, and like the vet says, she still has energy.  Sweet sweet dog, give her lots of love for all of us here.

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Hi KayC, I hope you're feeling better.  Ava is beautiful, I can never get round a walk with her without at least 2 or 3 people stopping and staying something about her and getting lots of 'look at that dog' , people always smile when they see her, it will be weird not to get that reaction without her.  Whenever I've been with her I've always felt less invisible.  I'm glad I didn't have to let her go at the vets today but it did bring a finality to the situation by having to go through the vets rota for this week and over the weekend so that I know which number to call when the time comes.  I've been pretty much crying on and off since last night.  I don't know how I'm still functioning to be honest because I've only been sleeping for about 2 or 3 hours a night over the past few days because I know she is deteriorating and is less settled at night, although I've now got tramodol to give her in the night so she should be more settled.  She's been much better since the vet drained some of the fluid off which is good but also gives that bit of false hope that just makes me said.

How's your sister doing?

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She is so beautiful - yes a "good" and "bad" vet visit all at once. at least she is okay for a bit and your instincts we right on.

I am so sorry you are not sleeping well, I hope the meds help her and you feel you can really drift off and get some real rest. Don't feel guilty about doing that now and taking care of yourself too. You need your health and strength. Hope it's a good night. 

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Thanks AJWCat, Ava had a more settled night, I didn't but that's ok.  I moved the cushions of the sofa where I usually sleep with Ava at the side or in her bed, to the floor and put her bed next the cushions so we were effectively able to lie next to each other.  I think this helped to settle her, I feel like I don't want to miss a precious minute of being awake with her because I know it's only going to be for a few more days/nights and to be honest I'm not even getting tired in the day which I know is the stress hormone kicking in, however, I understand the importance of letting Ava die well and have a good death.  The dying and death part of my last dogs life was so horrific and truamatic thanks to an appalling vet that her death has literally overshadowed the 14 years we had together.  She had a good life compared to Ava yet her last couple of weeks haunt me to this day and is what I think about when I think about her sadly.  I know I have a great vet and have been given the chance to let Ava die well with minimal suffering and I know she will have a good death, it will be peaceful and I will know I was with her for almost 24/7 for the last 5 weeks of her life and she was made comfortable and had the least amount of suffering possible. So I can survive a few more nights of little sleep because I know it's not going to be for long and I will likely be so exhausted by the time she does leave that I will sleep and will not lie awake and torture myself with what ifs because I will know I did my best for her at the end.  I've read so many stories on here that sadly reflect that my story with Jasmine was not a one off and a bad ending can literally traumatise you and cloud all memories of  our precious babies.  So I feel blessed that however heartbreaking these last few weeks have been and that the next few days will be that I have a good vet and Ava is now home with pain relief and will not suffer more than is absolutely the minimum that comes with any death, it still breaks my heart that I am going to lose her but at least I have this.

 

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Everyday is so so hard, yesterday, Ava had spark and was full of life and after she had some of the fluid drained even more so, she had a much more settled night but today, she is much more lethargic which could be because of the tramodol she's on for the pain and also because she did so much yesterday that she's just worn out today. She's been out in the garden and stood sniffing the air which she loves to do and then came in she's didn't do a wee or anything she came back in and went to her treat drawer as she always does after going in the garden, it was supposed to be a reward for going to the toliet outside when I was first toilet training her but she worked out it was a way of getting extra treats and still does it now, she didn't even look in her food bowl but scoffed her treat (a frankfurter) down and is now lead next to me which is what she seems to really want at the moment which is to be expected.  She doesn't seem to be in any pain or discomfort just tired.  I'm hoping it's just the exersion from yesterday when she was quite active, she was on her feet for over 2 1/2 hours pacing and having the drain etc and she will feel a bit more sparky as the day goes on.  She's very peaceful unlike the last couple of days when I knew she was in if not pain then discomfort.  I am going to see how she goes for the rest of the day, she's still alert and mobile just sleepy which she hasn't really been for the last few days because she hasn't been able to settle because she has been so uncomfortable.
 

So I had made a decison to have her put down at home then have the pet crematorium come out after because I thought I could give them a call before I call the vet which would mean they could leave before the vet came and would be here shortly after which would give me time with her without feeling rushed and to be with her on my own to have that private time but not so long that it became traumatic. However....

The only concern I have now is that because she is holding all this fluid will this all come out within the first hour after she dies?  I know this shouldn't matter because she's my precious baby and I have cleaned up her bodily fluids for almost 10 years but I a) worry that it will be substantial and not just a normal wee (which for her is still quite substantial) or is this likely to be litres?  When I took her to the vets yesterday they said she was likely carrying and extra 5-7kg of fluid and I worry how much of that will leak out at her passing and b)if this is likely to happen I don't want this to be my last memory of her (and this bit sounds really silly but) and I don't want her bedding to be drenched because I don't want to have to wash her smell of it, I know I will want to keep her smell with me for as long as possible feel so torn but I know this is all part of the process.
 

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4 hours ago, Sarah&Ava said:

it was supposed to be a reward for going to the toliet outside when I was first toilet training her but she worked out it was a way of getting extra treats and still does it now

Haha, I had to laugh at this!  They're so smart, aren't they, they know how to work us!  When Arlie was a puppy I'd give him a treat when he came in the house and also when he went into the pen he'd shut the door and get a treat.  At the time I didn't have a fence and he was so strong he could pull me down with the leash (I had to learn some tricks for handling him), so I used treats to keep him focused on getting into the pen or house.  Now he asks to go outside and then he wants right back in to get a treat!  It kind of backfired on me.  

Yesterday was my worst day of the illness so far, and today is supposed to be hard too as the doctor said days 4 and 5 are the worst, we'll see.  I didn't sleep much last night, woke up at 1 and that was it.  Arlie wanted to go out to his pen and sleep in his doghouse, I guess I was disturbing his beauty sleep.  It's snowing so I guess I'll have some shoveling to do come daylight.

My sister is still with us, they're all amazed, I know it's a matter of time, she sleeps most of the time and gets up to eat once or twice a day, she used to be up all day, reading or watching what is going on, I know those days are over and it makes me sad.  She likes giving musical cards for gifts and I got out all the cards she's given me over the years and played them yesterday, watching Kitty's reaction.  Arlie chose not to listen to them and went in the other room.  :wacko:

Sarah, your plan for Ava is good, your concern that she be free of pain and go peaceably...that is the most we could wish for our pets.  Her being so tired is probably the medicine.  She really is such a beautiful dog, I bet you get a LOT of comments when you take her out.


Here's my Arlie when he was 140 (he doesn't look a lot different at 107 because he has so much long fur):

Arlie running.jpg

PC020003.JPG

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Arlie is a good looking boy and a character too by the sounds of it, I think he would get on very well with Ava they'd cause lots of mischief together and get away with it :D They certainly do no how to wind us round their little paws that's for sure.

Ava's been out for a couple of short walks today, I think it's good to keep her as active as she can be because it might help the fluid retention? maybe, I don't know but she is still ok just..., hanging on in there for today anywhat.  I really didn't want to have to call the vet on valentines day.

I'm glad your sister is still hanging on in there and at least she is getting up and is still eating, once these things stop then it really is coming close to the end.  Will you get to see her when it's time?  I laughed at the musical cards, I HATE them they are so annoying and remind me of when I worked in a shop that sold them, people would come in all day long and open them, it would drive me mad, but so funny that's you've kept them all and played them.  I'm with Arlie though I would have given up and left the room after the second one.

I don't think you should be shoveling snow if you are still poorly, is there someone who could do it for you? You've definitely been in the wars and need to take care of yourself, I'm sure the snow can wait a day or two.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Sarah&Ava said:

The only concern I have now is that because she is holding all this fluid will this all come out within the first hour after she dies?  I know this shouldn't matter because she's my precious baby and I have cleaned up her bodily fluids for almost 10 years but I a) worry that it will be substantial and not just a normal wee (which for her is still quite substantial) or is this likely to be litres?  When I took her to the vets yesterday they said she was likely carrying and extra 5-7kg of fluid and I worry how much of that will leak out at her passing and b)if this is likely to happen I don't want this to be my last memory of her (and this bit sounds really silly but) and I don't want her bedding to be drenched because I don't want to have to wash her smell of it, I know I will want to keep her smell with me for as long as possible feel so torn but I know this is all part of the process.

a.) If you are concerned with the amount of body fluid that may be released, then perhaps you should call the vet and ask them what to expect - yes?

b.) If it is to be a substantial amount, and you’ve stated you do not want the bedding to be drenched so you can keep her scent, then you can prepare her bed in such a fashion that most or all of the fluid will be absorbed into something else & her bed will remain as dry as you prefer. I understand her size, and yes, this can be done.

You’ve been very fortunate to have this extra time with Ava. I hope it has brought you more joy than affliction.

Bless Ava & I wish you well.

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Hi MelsGone,

Thanks for your reply, I have a check in before the weekend call with the vet tomorrow so I am going to ask her.  I know I have been very blessed with this extra time but it does come with the daily heartbreak of 'is this the day' 

Ava is still fighting like a lioness though, yesterday she ate 2 1/2 jars of frankfuters (her fav) and some other treats and went for 3 albieit very short walks and seemed much more confortable than she had the previous day, thanks to the additional pain relief.

Today, she woke up much more alert and dispite going out in the garden she refused to settle until I took her for a short walk, she then came back in and had 2 frankfurters and then went to her food bowl which she has not done for 3 days now, I put a tiny bit of food in which she ate.  I know this doesn't mean she's getting better or she is going into any kind of temporary remission, it just reassures me that she is not suffering too much at the moment that she wants it to end now.  There are still signs that she wants to carry on, waiting for the signs to change while it's a blessing is also exhausting because there is so much anxiety about the ending and making sure she is not suffering.  Thank you for thinking of her.

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On 2/14/2018 at 6:02 AM, Sarah&Ava said:

Ava's been out for a couple of short walks today, I think it's good to keep her as active as she can be because it might help the fluid retention

The vet told me (when Arlie scarfed down on several pounds of dogfood years ago when I was on the phone) that walking aids the digestion and so my son and I walked him for hours that night (he couldn't sit or lay down, his body was distended, he was in pain as the dogfood blows up inside of them) and it helped him get through it...so I would think walks for your Ava would be helpful, at least they wouldn't hurt as long as she is able.

I shovel my snow out same day as it freezes up hard during the night and then you can't remove it and you can be stuck with it for weeks or even months during the winter.  Last night I got more snow so will have more shoveling but at least it isn't a lot.  A month ago it snowed a foot in one day, THAT was a lot of shoveling!  The doctor did say I need moderate activity...not sure shoveling is "moderate" but it is activity!

I am praying for your Ava, I know how loved she is and what she means to you because it's comparable to how I feel about Arlie and any of us here feel about our pets.  Try to stay in today, take one day at a time so you can enjoy the time you have left with her and don't transfer anxiety to her.  Ever since my husband died I've tried to do one day at a time because in the beginning I didn't know about that and thinking about the whole rest of my life created much anxiety in me!  Now when I feel anxiety about something, I remind myself to stay in today.

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Wow you must get a lot of snow,  If we get 2cm we take a snow day in the UK, everything grinds to a halt, we literally can't cope. Mind you it's very very rare we get more that a couple of cm's.  I hope you're not overdoing it though, you need to get well first, I'm sure shovelling snow wasn't quite what your doctor meant by moderate exercise.  I think you're right about the anxiety and trying to stay in the moment,  I know I need to take one day at a time and I have to work on that.

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I shoveled my 40' ramp yesterday but left the driveway for later and lo and behold it warmed up in the afternoon and melted it!  That won't happen later on this week when they predict 30 as a high and 13 as a low.  In that case, if it snows during the night as they say it will, it will be frozen and there will be no removing it.

I've noticed a return of the anxiety since I've been alone the last couple of weeks, it's getting old.  But I am concerned about the weather predictions as they aren't for a day or two, they're from here on out as far as they can see.

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That was a bit of luck! Wow that's cold.  Anxiety is horrible, I have never experienced anxiety until Ava became ill, I think a big part of that is that I am alone and more isolated that I have ever been in the past which leaves you feeling incredibly vulnerable and thus more anxious.  Have you got neighbours close by, do you check on each other?  Maybe a few of the local community can pull together and get a sort of checking in process going if the weather is likely to be bad for a while.

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Oh goodness my heart goes out to you both. Sarah, glad to read Ava had a better eating/feeling day. You are right, she's not "better" but not suffering is key.

KayC, spring can't come fast enough. :( Cuddle up with Arlie and Kitty. Hope you are getting better soon.

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And this roller coaster continures.  Yesterday was a good day, Ava got up and was very perky, I gave her a chicken breast and half a tin of dog food she ate it all and then had some treats.  She then wanted a walk so we went out, she seemed quite strong so I thought I'd see if she could make it to the park, which is about a 7/8 minute walk away, she hasn't  managed to this walk for 2 weeks but she made it and we spend an hour in the park, we didn't walk all the way around just around the top part then I sat down as she snoofled and mouched around. We then made it all the way albiet slowly home.  She went out for 2 short walks later in the day.  She in total she ate 2 tins of food 4 chicken breasts  and plenty of treats and seemed happier, the water retention seems to be disapaiting and she was weeing alot more and not drinking excessively.  I called the vet to update her because she was expecting to have had to come out to put Ava down by then.  When I told her how Ava was doing she was shocked she said that she couldn't understand it because Ava should have declined quite rapidly after we left on Tuesday especially as she had been able to drain of as much fluid as she had wanted and didn't think what she had drained was going to make much difference and that by rights Ava should be drinking excessively and hadn't expected her appetite to have returned etc.  She said to update her on Monday but let her know if things changed over the weekend and she needed to come and let Ava go. 

So after a good day we went to bed, Ava woke up about 3am and was sick <_< then this morning went she went in the garden and I gave her a treat when she came back in she didn't eat it, I tried 3 different treats and nothing instead she went back to sleep.  A couple of hours later she got up ate one of the treats and wanted to go for a walk, we've just been an a short walk, she came back and ate the remaining 2 treats but has walked away from the chicken breast.  So still eating somewhat and still managing a walk but definetly not as good as yesterday so far.  The highs and lows of cancer :wacko:

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Sarah, I was elated as you were talking about Ava's day yesterday, and then to read she got sick and wasn't wanting her treats and chicken breast...I'm sorry.  The ups and downs of cancer is right, very hard.

I got an update on my sister last night, she's skin and bones, sleeps all the time, it's hard, knowing I won't see her again, knowing she's going to die any day.  

No the neighbors keep to themselves, don't check in with each other, it's not like it used to be, people are different now.  When my kids were growing up we helped our neighbors, shoveled their snow, went to the store for them, now it's like no one cares about the elderly and I'm alone.  A lot of people in this same boat...

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Oh man, Sarah - loved reading your fun day and then the bad morning comes. :(  Thinking of you this weekend. 

@KayC we'd all shovel your snow if we were near you! :wub:

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So Ava continues to fight and suprise, by yesterday afternoon she yet again decided she wanted to go for a walk, we made it to the park and back and she ate a good hearty meal. This morning she woke me up and there was not chance of a lie in, I've never been so glad to being pestered into getting up on a Sunday morning before, we went for a short walk and then to the park where she even played with a couple of dogs, she's been full of life and play all day and eaten two big bowls of food.  All of the food I had packed away has now gone and I have to buy some more!!! I'm supposed to call the vet to give her an update tomorrow which is hopefully going to be positve I'm so shocked by how well she is now compare to how she was at the beginning of the week when I really thought I was going to have to put her to sleep.  I know this is only a short reprieve but it's such a remarkable shift that I can't quite work it out but I know it can change from one day to the next.  But it's been really lovely to see her running around and I'm glad now that I chose to go for the drain on Tuesday to buy her a couple more days that opt for having her put to sleep even though at the time that seemed like it might be kinder for her.  She's had a lovely few days with lttle pain relief because she hasn't seemed to need it.

KayC I hope you're ok, it's really rubbish how communities have broken down.  It's a bit like that here too, this used to be a really tight community but in recent years things seem to have changed and I couldn't even tell you my one lot of direct neighbours names, they don't even speak when we leave the house together even if I say hello to them. 

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Good news! Short reprieve but still you have her for a bit more to love as much as you can. Good to hear!

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19 hours ago, Sarah&Ava said:

She's had a lovely few days with lttle pain relief because she hasn't seemed to need it.

I am so glad and these are the memories you will cherish.  I smiled as you spoke of not having a chance to lie in and how glad you were to have her pestering you.  Yes indeed!  So glad you had a good day!

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