01 December 2010

No words.

There are no words to explain how I feel right now. Sometimes emotions are too deep and complex and raw to put into mere words... this is where I find myself right now. The long and short of it is that dear, sweet Fletcher's situation is worse than any of us expected. The option for surgery became moot once we understood that we wouldn't be able to give him the radiation treatment they recommended and that even doing such drastic surgery and treatment wasn't going to guarantee us all that much extra time with him. It became obvious that doing all this to him was ultimately going to be a selfish choice. So, we are leaving our adorable boy alone to live out whatever time he has left with us. No radical surgery, only palliative low-dose chemotherapy and NSAID treatments.

Right now we have a bouncy, exuberant, happy puppy on our hands and I fear that doing all these extensive measures would have taken that away from him and us. So we chose to leave him be his boisterous and loving self until the time comes.

I know we made the right decision, after hours of talking it out with the oncologist and surgeon at the UW Vet center, it became so obvious that this was really the only fair choice to Fletcher. I haven't come to terms with the fact that we may only have a handful of months left with him... whatever time it ends up being will be too little. But we have come to terms with what we need to do: love him up at every chance, spoil him rotten, and ensure his quality of life is second to none. We have a lot of years of love to cram into not much time, so we aren't hesitating with the spoiling. Not one bit.

Of course we are still holding out and hoping for a small miracle, but I think we understand that knowing our time is limited, having this time with him, being able to make the most of this time is a gift in a way. So keep sending our little guy your prayers and well wishes, we can certainly still use it. And thank you for standing by us and all your kind words.

Tucker, Swiss and Fletcher


Megan said...

After more losses than I can count, and dealing with all the fears and worries of being a milspouse, I've finally found (a little) peace. I try to remember that the value of a relationship is not in how long it lasts--I need to invest fully in every moment to honor my loved ones NOW, while they are with me. Anything could happen to any one of us at any time. You just have a pretty good indication of what Fletcher's future will be. I know it is heartbreaking, but don't let your grief for his future overshadow the joy of him now. Way easier said than done, I know. Just be mindful of it and you will find that you have more peaceful moments during this difficult process.

I'm so sorry that he's a sick puppy and I wish there were more options for his recovery. Sending you loving and peaceful thoughts.

Post Tenebras Lux said...

I am so, so sorry. Hugs.

Shannon said...

My heart goes out to you. I am so, so, so, SO sympathetic. Sometimes when a new chapter opens, another one draws down to a close, even though we weren't done with it at all. Why this is, I don't know, except to say that it's horribly and dizzyingly unfair, isn't it?

We lost our cat suddenly this past summer to lymphatic cancer, right after a PCS. He was my best guy, the furry apple of my eye, and we had grown exceptionally close -- especially in the months preceding his illness because my husband was TDY for about half a year. A few days after my husband came home he started acting a little off. We took him to the vet thinking he just had a cold or the pre-PCS jitters only to find he had a golfball-sized tumor behind his liver which had been growing for a long time. After the diagnosis, I felt like my world was jilted. I just had to sit, a lot. I did considerable amount of stopping, sitting and crying in the days and weeks leading up to losing him. Sometimes I even found myself angry at Kitty (yep, that was his name -- not particularly original, but completely perfect) for being sick. It was excruciatingly difficult, watching it all play out right before our eyes and there wasn't a darn thing either of us could do about it.

The only options we were given were intense chemotherapy/radiation treatments that didn't guarantee anything more than a couple of extra months with him (with an ambiguous quality of life), or simple pain management. He was so special to me, but we knew we could never put him through the cancer treatments. Instead, we decided to love on him more than ever and provide an unending buffet of cream and his favorite cheeses (he was something of a connoisseur) and warm, sunny days out in the yard. Oh, and a complete relaxation of all house rules. All I asked of him was that he make it with us across the country on a road trip to our new duty station, from Colorado to Virginia, and that he let me know when it was time. And he did both. Shortly after our arrival, we all knew, unequivocally, that it was time. We only had about 6 weeks with him from the time he was diagnosed. He was an exceptional animal.

Do your best to love on Fletcher as much as you can, even through the tears and other feelings that will come. I strongly identify with your palpable agony and helplessness, but I think you made the right decision about maintaining his quality of life. If nothing else, know that you and Swiss are better people for having him, and he is one darn lucky dog who hit the "dog lottery" of owners. Be as well as you can muster, and listen to both yourselves, and Fletcher, in the coming weeks and months.

Hil Fish said...

Really there are no words. It is so hard to loose the ones we love. Pets especially with their unconditional and unwavering love for us make a permanent home in our hearts. I wish your family much love and good times during this trying time. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Tucker said...

Shannon, thank you for sharing your (eerily similar) story here... it is incredible the amount of comfort and peace your story gave me. I am so sorry for the loss of Kitty and Lord knows this is a horrible, terrible way to lose a pet.

To Megan and PTL and Hil, thank you for the kind words and sympathy. No words will make this better, this you know, but support and kindness do wonders for the soul. Thank you.

liberal army wife said...

It sucks. on so many levels, it just sucks. But, giving him the love and enough palliative care to make sure he's not in pain and remains that happy goofball, is the true sign of love. Trying to give you more time, not caring how much he hurts during that time, isn't love, it would have been selfish. Your unselfish love and caring is something Fletch has been grateful for and will continue to treasure.

So enjoy him, squirrel away those silly moments when he does something goofy, or the lovely ones when he just loves on you. Give him tummy rubs from us here in VA. We've had to do this three times, and no, it doesn't get easier on us. all we can do is make it easier on THEM.


Slightly Salty said...

I am so sorry. There really are no words. I know how I'd feel if it was one of my dogs. Hugs!