Anticipatory grief is something I can relate to. In February 2017 Brandon was diagnosed with Cushings disease and Hyperparathyroidism shortly after he turned 14. Both were serious, the second problem even more so as it would gradually cause kidney failure. An expensive operation may have been a good option for a younger dog but not for an old dog with multiple other health issues as well. The vet told me he probably had no more than a few months. Brandon was my constant companion, my soul mate and the joy of my heart, so naturally I was devastated to think of watching him waste away and die over the next few months. I cried every day for months. Meanwhile, Brandon's health remained about the same. The summer went by and he was still with me. When fall arrived he was about the same, still comfortable and content, still declining but not "actively dying."
After his diagnosis the vet had advised me to just take him home and "enjoy him." Enjoy him? That would be very difficult given the death sentence I had just received. But after 6 months went by I started to do just that. My husband started to suggest that the vet could have been wrong, but I assured him that no she was not wrong, that I knew Brandon was dying, but not as quickly as I had thought would happen. I was thrilled when Brandon turned 15, although I was always aware the end was getting closer. I remembered a nurse telling us when my mother in law was dying that you can't be on death watch indefinitely; it's too exhausting. This was true with Brandon. I coped with the anxiety by telling myself, "Yes he is going to die, but not today." And although I am not prone to quoting Bible verses, I often reminded myself that, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." As much as I hated this long period of pre-grieving, it did give me a lot of time to prepare and to think about what I would do at the end, what criteria I would use to make the decision. My sister had to have both her corgis euthanized last spring, so we talked about this subject frequently. Fortunately when the time came it was very obvious. He stopped eating and drinking and became very listless. He was dying. I took him to the vet so that his death could be peaceful and he could die in my arms. That was about 9 weeks ago. The whole process was not easy. I used to tell my friends that although Brandon was feeling pretty good, for me it was slow torture. Living with constant anxiety was so difficult, so I can well imagine what you are going through. You have been through it recently, which does not help. I found this forum 4 weeks after he died and wish I had found it sooner. I hope it will help you as you try to cope with your beloved cat's illness. Dachsiemom
Moira - remembering Brandon
"Better lo'ed ye canna be. Will ye no' come back again?"