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cyndelacyn

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I could hardly believe it was real a little over 4 weeks ago, when we received the diagnosis of liver cancer for Beri my 17 and a half year old female pembroke corgi. It had advanced beyond any type of treatment possibility. It had infiltrated most of the liver, as we saw on the ultra-sound film. They said it was an aggressive cancer local to the liver and she probably had it for 3 - 4 months and it would definitely metasticize.  If it had been caught in the early stages, it could have been removed.  Why isn’t there a standard procedure in place to monitor for things like this? I felt betrayed and I felt like I had betrayed her by not finding a way to detect this.  After that, for about a week, I was constantly on the verge of hysteria and actually weeping at work. I couldn’t help it, my pain was so severe. We also saw the holistic vet. (my regular vet. is traditional but open to alternative medicines). He said that he had no miracle for Beri.  He was my last hope and ironically, he had written a book about miracles in healing with alternative treatments.  I was lucky to have a good friend staying with me, not working, who was willing to  nurse her around the clock if needed.  He had hospice care experience (with humans) and understood what was happening.   Beri was with us a little over 3 weeks after that. She actually improved for a while and I stopped crying everyday. She seemed to stabilize.  We hand-fed her and gave her water with a syringe.  We expressed her bladder for her to urinate, but she could still poop on her own.  She stopped walking in part due to the severe arthritis she had but also cancer takes the muscle tissue for energy. I haven't had the nerve to ask my vet yet: could have been caught when we had blood work done back in June/July - in theory she would have had it by that time - were the liver enzymes elevated at that point?


Then, I began to wonder:

  • I stopped using bottled water around May and switched to tap water (planning to order a water filter).  Could this have caused the cancer?
  • We used a flea pill in May for the first time - Beri has flea allergies and my vet thought this would be better than the topical stuff. Could this have caused it? 
  • I had been very busy for over a year's period of time up to August and in May and June did alot of business travel - could she have experienced a lowered immune system due to being stressed that I wasn't around as much?  She had care during the day and sometimes evening by my boyfriend, but she's not as connected to him as me.
  •  We fed her Pet Promise, endorsed by Dr. Weil and having no byproducts.  Should I have bought a different food or made her food or put her on the BARF diet?
I just keep thinking I could have somehow prevented this.  It's somehow my fault.  We had discussed the BIG  Question with our vet, and she recommended that when Beri stopped eating, this would be the right time because by not eating she was telling us it was time to go.  Well, that never happened.  One day she seemed ok, the next day she just didn't look right... something in her eyes, the very texture and shape of her eyelid rim looked odd and she wasn't making alot of eye contact, but seemed a little more tuned out, distracted.  I knew that something wasn't right, she had also vomited. Yet, that night, I went to dinner with a friend, while my friend J. at home with her. I had been sick and at home for several days, and I really needed to talk, yet I was crying and feeling upset about Beri the whole time.  She passed in his arms just before I came home.  That was on 11/13/09. I felt like I had betrayed her because I was not there holding her and telling her I loved her.  I told her many times in may ways over the 17 years, but I wanted just one more time. Ironically,  looking back, I see that there were definitely gifts: she didn't get sick or pass while I was on a big project for work which would have seriously caused me problems in completing the project and consequently would risk my job, an old friend came to live with me in the end of August (because of the bad economy and not having a job or a place to go) and he nursed her while I was at work.  I had tremendous support from my neighbors immediately after she passed. It almost seems like this happened at the best possible time.

 I have known for several years that we might be close to the end, but  a part of me seems to struggle with accepting that this was inevitable.  In fact, I was thinking that we could make it to 20.  I wasn't ready to lose her.  I hate going on without her.  I feel like I will never stop crying.  But I know I will. I have experienced this deep a loss previously with another furr-baby. I just takes a while. For whoever had the patience to read this long entry, I thank you for letting me tell my story. 
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Minismom

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Thank you for your story.  I lost my beloved little cat Mini yesterday he was 8 years old..  I too feel like I will never stop crying   He developed fluid on his lungs caused by some unknown condition (cancer, his heart?)  The guilt oh this darn guilt I feel like I should have done something different.  Was it his litter?  Was it the cleaner I used?? The food he ate??  Was it because he was a little overweight??  and it goes on and on.  There is no Christmas for me this year.  I haven't stopped crying in days, ever since the vet looked so sad.  He was such a nice little cat.  Actually he was rather a big cat but soo nice.  Even the vet could hardly believe how easy he was to handle.

Your story made me cry more if possible.

Take care of yourself (something I will do again eventually I guess)

minismom

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cyndelacyn

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Dear Minismom:
I am so sorry about Mini, your poor little big cat! It's so devastating. And the guilt is so uncomfortable. I read somewhere that feeling guilty is a normal part of the loss.  I read somewhere that it isn't the cancer that kills them, it's the effect the cancer has on the other systems and their subsequent failure.  It's so tragic.  Looking back, I feel like I should have stopped everything when Beri vomited on that last day, and taken her to the vet. immediately. That was the sign that something was failing.  I'll never know why I didn't simply do that, but it didn't occur to me.  I'll never know why I just didn't stay instead of going out to dinner.  I kept getting the internal message to go home, and I ignored it.  I missed one of the most important moments of her and my life... to say good-bye.   I quite understand your feeling about Christmas.  It's just not going to feel good this year.I"m about 2 and half weeks down the road from her death, and I am still crying several times a day.  I am also starting to get used to her not being here and that hurts too.  There's no winning here.  It hurts and it will continue to hurt until it stops.  I've been through this before and I got past it, and it stopped hurting.

I hope you are taking care of yourself. That's so important.  You know, the basics: eating, sleeping, talking to people, and exercising.  God bless you and Mini.  I'm so sorry this happened. 

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