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Dec 8, 2016

A Tough Week


Crash is sick.
And I feel like I'm right at the breaking point most days with my emotions and my sanity.

Don't get me wrong, life isn't all gloom and doom, although I think Mark and I both agree 2016 has tested us in ways we had not anticipated.

I am still finding joy among the pain, and still laugh and smile each day, even if brief.

For weeks, I watched Crash throw up frothy-vomit after most meals and after big gulps of water.
I observed when he started showing less interest in his food.
Odd, I thought, since he was still full of a TON of energy, often running from room to room, playing his version of "fetch" (which really meant he would scoop up a tennis ball with his snaggle tooth, and bolt out of my reach, never really giving up the ball again).

So I switched his food, thinking maybe he just simply grew tired of what he was being fed for years.

Then I got the best news that our transfer worked and I was pregnant!

Crash started lapping up water at an alarming rate, and not being able to hold his pee through the night anymore.

He continued to throw up as well.
Our new morning normal turned into whoever got up first would clean up a pile of pee and a pile of puke.

I prepped my morning progesterone shot and would shuffle into work with messy hair and a lot of concealer, trying to fake that I didn't have worry or sadness.

It always seems like there isn't enough time in the morning, no matter how early I get up.

So we took him to the vet.
He had a UTI, which was sort of odd because he is male, but we were given two weeks of antibiotics and sent on our way.

And the dramatic need for water and overnight peeing stopped.

Victory!

Pregnancy symptoms started to rear their ugly head, and my nausea and intense, immediate hunger creeped in, but sometimes it was pushed to the wayside so I could re-focus on Crash.

But then he stopped eating.
And grew weary and weak.
And the constant drooling started.

A side effect of the pills?
Maybe.

He was tense and angry and it made me nervous.
Nervous for our future. I have always been nervous about him and his biting, especially around kids.
We have always had to watch our step around him; move too fast and you could easily become a victim of those teeth.

But I love him to death, so no worries, I'll just make sure I accommodate his failing eye sight and tense nature.

I went to pull him to me one evening, and must have squeezed his side a tad too hard, because he launched at me like I was trying to fight him.
Luckily I knocked him away and had enough time to hop over the baby gate, narrowly escaping his immediate attack. Something I'm all too familiar with, but you don't give up on loved ones.

A quick blip in the evening, and it was business as usual mere minutes after the incident.
He tends to forget as quickly as it takes to get him angry.

That night I held my stomach, fearing I may have moved too quickly and would cause a miscarriage.
That was the first time I worried about the babe, but all was well.

I tire more quickly these early days of my first trimester. It has taken me much longer to do simple things like decorate for Christmas.
All the while Crash slept next to the boxes of decorations.

Still in an eating lull; Monday morning we scheduled a vet visit.
They re-tested his urine and blood.
And the results came back completely normal.

Crash puked again Monday night while we slept.
The first time we saw blood.

I panicked and made another appointment Tuesday afternoon for an x-ray.

Through it all I was able to smile while we waited, watching Mark squirm because we had to sit longer than 10 minutes. He kept asking me to go grab him candy from the front desk.

The results were worrying. They showed an extremely bloated stomach and enlarged heart.

We were shipped off to the ER for an ultrasound, and after several grueling hours, an attempt at a biopsy, and many tears later, we were given a "sort of" result:

Crash likely has lymphoma in his lower stomach and intestines.

There is an intense thickening in the walls of the affected area, likely causing the gas build-up and nauseous feeling.

They couldn't be sure without more invasive testing; including a scope and more internal biopsies.

But the writing was already on the wall.
The doctor gave it to us in black and white, and we stared at him blankly while he spelled out our options.

We were sent home with a bunch of meds and an impossible schedule to keep.
Much less intense than the cat's recovery schedule, but more impossible since Crash is so stubborn.
It is difficult enough to get Crash to take one cheese-wrapped pill a day, much less 4+ and one that requires a syringe.

I laughed far too loud and hysterically when they told us it would be over $500 for an ultrasound and four antibiotics.
Thinking....I have literally had seven dozen ultrasounds this year, all costing less than this.
They had us by the balls.
I surrendered my credit card.

Merry Christmas, I said, looking at Mark.

And if the medication didn't take down the inflammation?

Game over.

It's cancer 100% and we need to deal.
Once diagnosed, survival with lymphoma ranges from one week to six months.

The next day I had my weekly baby scan and lab-work.
And I ugly-cried all morning and all the way to the appointment thinking about Crash's fate.

Our baby is growing right on track at 7 weeks, 5 days, measuring .6" long with a heart rate of 168.
One more week and I graduate from the fertility clinic.
I smiled looking at the photo of our lil' man. He looks like a tadpole right now.

And then cried again knowing the likelihood of Crash and this baby ever meeting were slim.

I stopped by the grocery on my way home, and bought everything I could think of that Crash may eat. Doctor's orders to feed him anything he will stomach.

At my front door were two deliveries: our Christmas cards and a bag from the Gap...my maternity jeggings. Two things that brought another moment of joy in the day.

I rushed inside to check out our cards, laughing at how ridiculous they are.

Back to Crash. I shoved two pills into his mouth, narrowly missing those teeth, and started furiously opening cans and containers of food.

Vienna sausages....tempting to smell, but not eat. Next.
Apple sauce....nope. Next.
Cheerios...hell to the no. Next.
Baby food mac n' cheese.....maybe...maybe....he ate a little.

I'll take it!
I scooped the rest of the container into a bowl and he took one sniff and walked away.

Fuck.

Burn is whining because Crash is getting all the fun food and he's not.
The cat comes sauntering in and starts eating the open containers.
I shoo him away but not before Burn barks ferociously at the cat.

I slide the non-eaten food to Burn and he gobbles it up without chewing.

Carrying Crash under my arm, and laptop in the other, we settle in for the afternoon to finish working.
He snores loudly the entire time.
I can barely focus.
In between work, I am frantically googling everything possible, from cancer symptoms and recovery, to side effects of the pills he was just on, etc.

That evening, I made dinner for Mark and myself, and Crash got one whiff of the food and perked up.
Oh! Maybe he'll eat!
I gave him a plate and he laid down next to it and fell asleep.
Shit.


After putting everyone to bed and cleaning up, I walked out of the laundry room to the sound of him gulping down his bowl of food.

I stopped, dead in my tracks, holding my breathe, for fear I may startle him and he'd stop eating.
Mark was at the sink, doing the exact same thing.

We waited for 20 minutes.
And he cleaned his plate.

I scooped out seconds, and he gobbled it down too.
I left thirds, hoping he might come back at some point in the night.

Mark and I looked at each with blood-shot eyes, smiled so big, and high-fived so hard I thought my hand was bleeding.

We went to bed satisfied for the night.

The next morning was a complete 180.
He fought me on his pill.
He wouldn't eat.
I left him seven different food options, put down his pee pad, squeezed him and told him I loved him, and finally left for work with bags under my eyes from crying, and messy, half-wet hair.

I am so, so friggin' tired, but am trudging on.

Mark and I had a very serious conversation about where we stand with everything.
There is no denying Crash has cancer.
Dogs that won't eat are at the end of their lifeline and cancer is to blame most of the time.

It seems silly to even bother with additional testing. I don't feel it's right for him to be hooked up to machines and put under and cut and poked and prodded, just so the doctor's can hopefully confirm he does have cancer.
I don't get the logic between knowing a bit more, and knowing what we already know.

We both agree he will be kept comfortable, in our home, in our shelter, in our protection.

A french bulldog's life expectancy is 10 years, and in one month, Crash will be 11.
He has had the best possible life a dog could have. We have given him the best shelter, the best food, the most love, and the best care possible. I have bent over backwards for his happiness in the past, and will continue to do so until his last breathe.

And he has walked away from many, many hurdles in his life.

Surviving his first car accident, the day we brought him home.
A mis-diagnosed kidney failure.
Facial paralysis.
Double staph ear infection.
Lock jaw (3 times)
Multiple dog fights with outside dogs (usually provoked by him, one was not, and the other dog didn't fair well)
Being hit by a car
Falling into a pool....twice.
Two hematomas in his ear.

And the list goes on. He has always bounced back, always been our little fighter.

But I know.
I can see it in his eyes.....he is tired.
He doesn't want to fight anymore.

I'm hoping when Mark gets home, he'll tell me Crash ate all his food (with the hidden pill) and he is perky. I want comfort for him. I want no pain.

I want my normal back.

The worst part of all of this is the waiting....knowing the end is sooner than later.
I wake up every morning and tip-toe towards Crash's bed, listening for snoring, hoping I hear it.

Crash has been in my life for as long as Mark has, and it breaks my heart to think that I won't be able to hear his insanely loud snoring, or smell those rancid farts, or have my little shadow following me all over the house, especially to the bathroom, or those silly repetitive sneezes that make his whole face twist up, or those wide smiles that make him look like a little clown, or those funny bunny hops as he chases after a toy, or the sound of him licking his paws, or how he sniffs the cat too closely and then sneezes in his face, or how he would rather sit in the sunlight, preferably with his head just over the edge of the pool, or sleep on the driveway while we play croquet, or sit on the edge of my toes when he wants to be pet, or bite any and all tires that move, or tuck his face into Mark's thigh when he sleeps on the couch......for very much longer.

Alright, this post has been sad enough.
The end isn't here yet, and I am trying my best to keep his interests at the forefront, give him the attention, and still focus on myself and cooking this babe.

Mark and I have been through a lot of shit this year, and I thank my lucky stars every day that IVF worked and we have something to grateful for this year, otherwise, I may not be so positive about it.

2016 has been a mother-fucker.
Thank you for your continued love and support.
I'm hopeful to update with good news in the future.
XO

3 comments:

  1. I am so sorry about Crash. Watching our furbabies decline in health is one of the hardest things ever. They bring so much joy to our lives, it's hard to know their time with us is coming to an end. If you are interested, please research Dr. Doug English and his recommendation of Golden Paste (turmeric) for Crash. It's obviously not a cure for cancer, but it can help his quality of life and has numerous health benefits. I was turned on to him when our Boston Terrier was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. I firmly believe the Golden Paste gave us more time with her than we would have had, and helped tremendously with her discomfort during those last few months. Prayers for y'all and for your Crash.

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  2. Tia, I'm so sorry... you're losing a family member and it's just heartbreaking. Sending prayers that Crash's days are painless and filled with love.

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  3. We love our pets so purely, so simply, that I think the pain is so pure and awful too when they leave. The love they give us is too good to last long in this world.

    I had to watch my sweet black kitty get sicker and sicker, and eventually make a decision for her. I hope Crash decides on his own when it's his time to go, but if you do need to choose, you'll know when it's time. I found a vet who came to the house which made all the difference.

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