There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No sunshine in Idaho....

Here is the long version.

(I have no idea what the font is going to look like...I did this as a word doc and pasted it...looks weird to me, sorry)

Before we took our trip last November Penny went to the doc. The doc casually asked if she was having any joint problems. Nope, she was fine. So, two days before we left she started limping mildly on her right front leg. She went up to the doggie spa for the week we were gone and Kate, the doggie spa owner, said she was about the same while we were gone. After being home for about a week the limp was worse. Back to the vet. We dropped Penny off for grooming, the vet was to see her while she was there, we told the tech that it was her RIGHT front leg and her LEFT front leg was x-rayed. We didn’t know that at the time. The left front joint was inflamed so we started her on a course of Rimadyl for 2 weeks. She got better. But within 2 days off of the Rimadyl she was worse. So, back to the vet.

By this time you couldn’t tell which front shoulder it was that was messed up because she was walking so weirdly. She was started on Medicam for arthritis and got some pain pills to get her over the hump. She got worse with that treatment and was walking so off center that she was walking on the TOP of her back left paw. Back to the vet. She was started on Prednisone twice a day. She was perfect……so after 2 weeks of twice a day it was cut back to once a day and no pain pills.

Slowly but surely she has gotten worse. She was obviously in pain and we started her back on the pain pills last week and made the umpteenth vet appointment. Yesterday when we talked to the vet we told her that we were really, really concerned about all of this and wanted to know if there was any way we could pin down what the issue was. She said she needed to do another x-ray. She did and realized that she had never taken an x-ray of the right leg because the only comparison she had was of the left leg/shoulder. Would it have made any difference if the right leg/shoulder had been x-rayed from the start? Nope, it wouldn't have changed one thing. There it was….the long bone closest to her shoulder is overgrown along the shaft, looks frayed and thick on the x-ray and the diagnosis is either an osteosarcoma or a chondrosarcoma. The osteo is fast growing and quickly spreads, the other is slower in growth. Since we have been dealing with this for almost 5 months she thinks it is the slower of the two.

She laid out all of the options….biopsy to find out definitively what kind of cancer it is, amputation and chemo, chemo alone, or comfort care. We had the opportunity to talk to Penelope's first owner at Christmas time. Penelope is thirteen….maybe 14. I have already blogged about the kind of life she had until we adopted her…… while she was happy, was a free spirit and loved the forest more than any animal in this valley…..she was badly neglected and had no vet care. Since living with us she has gotten routine vet care and her shots, had two abscessed teeth removed that could have killed her with the horrible infection that was there, had benign tumors removed from her eye lids so she didn’t go blind and of course there was the infected paw that she had the first day we got her.

So, over these last months we have curtailed her car rides, walks and play because we were advised we needed to let her leg rest and not jam her joint. Not any more…..she will continue on the Prednisone to keep the rest of her body from blowing up in pain and inflammation, give her pain pills throughout the day and at bedtime, take her on rides as often as we can, walk her in the forest on a leash, and love her to pieces. To do anything else would make her miserable and maybe give her 6 more months. It would also cost more money to do anything else than we have the resources for. We have no timeline for her life, no idea of what organs this will spread to, but we will just do our best to make her happy.

Fuzz seems to be comfortable, is eating a little and is more mobile. So, we have established a little Hospice on our Road.

Sometimes I feel like we must have done something wrong here…environmentally or something else that I can’t figure out….Sophia dying of some weird blood cancer, Drakie and her thyroid/renal mess, Fuzz with this bowel cancer and now Penny. I wonder if we are irresponsible pet parents because we can’t pay for further treatment. This just feels so miserable. You know and I am willing to admit that we have replaced our kids with these pets…..kind of what old people do that are isolated to any degree. I love them more than I healthily should and so does Steve…..but that love is what it is.

So, there it is. Sweet Penelope, the former good will ambassador of the neighborhood is slowly dying and there isn’t one damn thing I can do to prevent that. I feel like shit.

12 comments:

sageweb said...

oh sweetie, I am so sorry. You have given these pets the best life ever. These pets are yours cuz you two have made them better lives. Don't blame yourselves. You have done great things for these animals.

Sling said...

Do NOT feel bad for one instant Rosemary.
Life is measured by it's quality,and you and Steve have given those creatures a wonderful one!
Whenever the time comes to grieve,I hope you find some measure of comfort in that.

Mom said...

No words except I'm sorry. You are a wonderful caregiver for these animals. You have given them a wonderful life. The bad thing about love is that it causes so much pain when we loose our loved ones. But the love we receive is well worth the price. Hugs to you my friend.

Shammickite said...

if you lived 100 years ago, all that veterinary medical expertise would not be available... you would just love your pets and look after them in the best way you could until the end, and that's what you're going to do. You have given all your pets a good life, good food and good care. Nothing wrong with that!
Don't be sad. Be happy.

jan said...

I've had the experience of prolonging the life of pets through expensive veterinarian care and I am convinced now it was just for me, not for them. Sham is right, you've given your pets a good life and they've given you wonderful memories. That is nothing to have any regrets over.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I think you've made the right decision. It's obvious how much love you have for your fur-babies - and they know that, too.

kenju said...

I'm sorry Rosemary.

Chris said...

My heart aches for you...I don't know what to say...sending hugs!!!

cs said...

I feel like crap too. I't's just not fair! Out critters are here for only a spec of time and then they get sick. I hate it! Oh, Ro...you are not the cause sweetie--you are their cure. We are just given some gifts to enjoy for a short while...just too damn short for me sister.

What beautiful babies you have--always will be honey. don't even try to fight the sadness--it's part of loving them. they love you too...tons.

I guess I am no help to you tonight--sorry friend. I can totally relate though....

Miss Healthypants said...

I am SO sorry to hear this, Rosemary!! But don't you blame yourself one bit for any of it! You have been a wonderful pet Mommy, and your animals know it and love you for it.

My heart goes out to you, and I will say a prayer that you will be comforted through all of this...

madretz said...

They most certainly are the loves of your lives right now and rightfully so. Each and every one of them knows how much you love and devote yourselves to them and they love you just as much back. Unfortunately there's always going to be a lot of grief when there are a lot of fur-family to take care of as they and we get older. And as we get older, the attachment and bonds become stronger, making it so much harder to say goodbye. yesterday I drove by my vet and I burst into tears. I miss her second and with every turn I do in this house. And even though your in the thick of the sadness right now, you know it's gotta be better than not having experienced the love they've given you and the love you've shown them. Right?

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