Lucyz_Dada
My 10 year old Staffie best friend was diagnosed with mast cell cancer two days ago. The roof of her mouth has an open lesion 2cm in diameter, and she had a fairly large oozing mass on her right lower lip. There is swelling visible in the bone structure of her left cheek. Here’s the thing... 2 weeks ago, none of these things were present. Lucy was her normal, goofy, brilliant self.

I noticed bloody drool on her freshly washed sheets and immediately examined her mouth. I saw the lesion, and it was slightly bloody. I called her vet, and made an appointment for the following Monday. Over the weekend, her condition rapidly worsened. The mass on her lip formed seemingly overnight, and the lymph node grew so fast I couldn’t believe it. On Sunday, I noticed the swelling in her cheek. I hit the internet hard. I am still in disbelief that this came on so fast.

The doctor’s visit only confirmed what I had found online during my marathon search. Lucy’s blood test showed that her liver enzymes were “off the charts”. We discussed the possibilities and prognoses for each. It would appear that Lucy’s cancer is advanced to the point that surgery is not an option, and chemo might give her 8 months to a year of less than optimal quality of life. Not to mention that the cancer clinic is 70 miles away.

I will not put my buddy through the cutting and poking and overnight cage sleeping. I will manage her pain, feed her roast chicken by hand, wash her sheets twice a day, and sleep next to her bed, kiss her sweet head, and hold her when it’s time for her to leave me.

She has been my entire world for 10 years this coming July 4th. I have no family, my few good friends live hundreds of miles away. Rarely has Lucy been more than an arms length away in all that time. When I look into her eyes, I feel my love returned 100 fold. I will escort her to her last breath, and I will not let her suffer beyond her willingness to take it.

For now, with Prednisone, and a couple of pain meds, I have my old Lucy Girl back. The lymph node has shrunk to the size of a grape, the mass on her lip is much smaller. The swelling in her cheek is unchanged, as is the lesion on the roof of her mouth. She has her moments of obvious pain, but her appetite is back, her tail is wiggly again, and I thank God for every remaining second.

I, on the other hand, am an emotional wreck. The daytime is great. Lucy feels good, and we’re checking off bucket list items. At night, when it’s quiet in the house, I can hear the changes in her breathing as she sleeps next to me. She whines sometimes in her sleep, and has many more active dreams than usual. At night is when the reality of soon being without my sweet girl hits me right in the heart. I’ve already cried for hours over this... and there will be many, many more hours to come.

I am so appreciative of the honesty of Lucy’s vet, the heartfelt commentary here, and that I have some quality time to spend with Lucy before it becomes unbearable for us both.

If I had known 10 years ago, this would feel as it does... I would adopt Lucy a hundred times over. I cannot say that about any other relationship in my life.

I’m here because you all get it. You are my unknown partners in this experience, and you have my love and respect.
Jim
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JulieF
Jim,
I am so sorry you are going through this.  My best advice, which you already know, is to enjoy all your moments with her.  You are obviously a devoted dad to her and your decision to not let her go through chemo and surgery is absolutely the right one.  He quality of life would go downhill and for what - a few more months, maybe?  No, you will do the right thing for her when the time comes.  Make sure you take tons of pictures!  6 weeks tomorrow will mark the day I had to let my 19 year old cat Patch go due to advanced kidney disease - very common in elderly cats.  One of my biggest regrets was that I did not take more pictures of him in his last few months.  I came home one day and he and his "sister" Roxy were sleeping together  in a sunny spot.  It was so sweet and I should have taken a picture.  Don't know why I did not.  I will pray for you as you go through these next few days realizing what is to come.  Make sure you keep posting as you go through this.  I have tears in my eyes even now as I think about the days after my Patchy boy passed and I feel for you.  

Bless you and hugs.
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Lucyz_Dada
Oh my gosh, Julie... Thank you so much for your lovely words! These are the first happy tears I’ve had in a long while. The people on this forum are the best. I promise to abide by your suggestion to take lots of pictures. As sick as she is, she’s still so beautiful!

Bless you for taking the time to brighten my day!
Jim
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badgerblythe
I am so sorry for what you are going through with your beloved Lucy.  I have just been through a similar situation, with my best friend in the world, Lily.  She had a late cancer diagnosis as well, and as we waited for more tests she continued to deteriorate. The tests revealed there was no treatment that would extend her life more than 2-3 months, and the treatment would be very intense and painful for her.  I too, sat up at night listening to her breathing and occasionally crying when changing positions. We slept on the floor with her the past week and spent all day trying to make sure comfortable. She would have moments of being her old self again, but then I would see in her eyes that she was exhausted and uncomfortable. We put her to sleep two days ago, and honestly it was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done. I have only minutes at a time a day that I stop crying-- and I am unable to hold it together to play with my two small children for more than 30 minutes.  

My husband says, and I am trying to believe-- that these past couple weeks and her moments before death will not be what she remembers-- they are only a tiny blip in what was 8 years of love, adventure, and more love. She was with me almost 24 hours a day, and I miss her beyond measure... But I do believe she is happy, pain free, and somewhere nearby.  Snuggle your sweet Lucy as much as you can, and she will let you know when it is time to let her go. I am trying to remember, and I will suggest to you-- to think about that it is much harder for you to let her go then it is for her to go. She knows she is loved and you are doing all the right things by her.  Please tell her that there is a very goofy, loving, bulldog waiting for her on the other side-- and she will show her the ropes.  
BB
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Monroegirl
Hugs to you. Enjoy your time with her.
Monnie's Momma
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Lucyz_Dada
BB,

Thanks for your kind words. The story of your Lily is so sad, but I want you to know that the love and trust Lily had for you when she passed, wasn’t built in her last weeks. I know our animals tend to live in the moment, and the reason they have that luxury, is because they know we love them. They relive past experiences in their dreams, and they remember us being there.

Lucy had a rough night last night. She was in so much pain, I thought she was going to seize. Through all of her pain, every time I touched her, she would wag her tail and look right into my eyes. She’s not ready yet. This morning I got up and gave her meds to her... an hour later, she was Lucy again. All day today, she’s been in high spirits, and she even wanted to go for a ride in the mountains. When we got home, I fed her and we chilled on the couch and watched Deadwood (she likes the horses). I just gave her her meds for tonight, and she is already asleep on my bed. I hope we can both get some sleep. I think I’m going to partially amend the medication times to “as needed”. She won’t have to wait again.

I’ll keep you all posted on our journey, and continue to read your stories. Thanks for your kind words! All of you!!!
Jim
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MaxsMom2
Jim, Lucy is so lucky to have you. I feel so horrible for you. Max was my world. I begged the doctor to let me have him a few days at home. She said even pain meds wouldn’t make him comfortable. I don’t mean to say that what your going through isn’t torturous but I just would have given anything for him to have passed in his loving home surrounded by his family. I’m sure it’s not much comfort, but the fact that you can have her in her home with you is so sacred, she’s in her safe loving home. No matter what happens, she’s with you and in her comfortable home with her Dad. 
Laraine Esposito 
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Lucyz_Dada
Laraine, 

Thanks for your kindness. You have nothing to fear as far as where you sit with Max. That boy is smiling his big puppy smile, and he’s no longer hurting. Think of him that way, before you think of anything else. Every day, start your routine with that thought FIRST. Not saying you shouldn’t cry, hug his blanket, or be sad... but only afterward. Perspective is everything!

I know exactly how lucky I am! Many folks here never got much of a chance to understand what was happening before their beloved dog or cat was too ill for them to come to grips with what was coming.

Lucy is holding her own. The meds are easing her pain, and have slowed the cancer remarkably. I have been given some time. I will be forever grateful for that. I am not deluded however. I know that this is fleeting, and when the cancer adapts, it will come on with a vengeance. Lucy will not suffer needlessly nor alone. I will do right by her. Most importantly for me; she will know exactly how much she’s loved before she leaves. Grief will then be mine, and we’ll see if I can take my own advice!

Thanks again, for your kind words. I am so wishing you strength, healing, and great hope for the future.

Jim Allen
Jim
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Mdmoore
Jim, you are doing what’s best. I had to make the same decision about my best friend.  She had cancer and Vet gave her 6 months if chemo and surgery is done and those months would have been torture for her and for me.  I focused on the quality and not quantity of life.  I know how much you love Lucy, I can tell by reading your post that you want what’s best.  Treasure every moment with Lucy and I’m sure you are giving all your heart and love to her.  
M moore
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CK1991
I’m so sorry this happened to your beloved Lucy. I’m so glad you have a time to spend with her!
As someone mentioned take pictures ..spoil her with lots of treats and if she’s up for some playtime, great! Cancer unfortunately is so very painful and animals hide pain. It’s an instinct so it’s hard to tell how much pain they are in unfortunately but you know your beautiful girl.  I will leave you with a poem that I found gave me so much comfort after I had to have both my little  dogs pts. Hugs to you and Lucy! 
6382582C-F9E7-45F0-AAAB-837E14949329.jpeg  Hi Jim,
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peke_bb
Hi Jim, 

I'm very sorry about your Lucy. My heart breaks for you. Thanks for sharing your story. It was beautifully written. Reminds me of what I went through with my dog BB. My dog was diagnosed 2 years ago with mast cell tumor. We decided it was best to put him on Prednisone. Luckily, he lived for 2 more years without any complications. Definitely cherish every single moment and take lots of photos. I took a lot of photos up until his final days, even though he was getting in a bad state, but I don't regret any of them, wished I took more. One of my biggest guilt was that he passed when it was still very cold here, and I couldn't take him out to enjoy the weather during his final days. Definitely keep us posted. I'm here to listen if you want to talk. Prayers and hugs to you Jim.
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Lucyz_Dada
To all who replied to my posts, I thank you for all the kind words and wishes. On the 22nd of May, at 12:45pm, I ended Lucy's pain. For a couple days after my last update, Lucy had some good time, and we took advantage of it. She rapidly declined to the point where there were not even any good hours. I can't imagine how bad the pain was for her to bear. I doubled her pain meds... to no avail. I promised her that I wouldn't let her suffer beyond her willingness to put up with it. We spent our last hours together on the Arkansas River, under a big Cottonwood tree, and then we made the short drive to her veterinarian. It was fast and she passed with her head in my lap.

I haven't been able to function properly until the last couple days, much less give you all any updates. I wish I had been stronger. I can't believe how fast she declined. Hard as I tried to prepare... it was useless. I've never cried so much in my life. I've been chronicling the last week with Lucy, and at the end, I wrote a short note to Lucy that I will place with her ashes, next to a spring in the Collegiate Range to the West of the upper Arkansas Valley. I thought I would share it with you all here.

Thank you all again, for your kind thoughts.

Jim Allen

 

5/31/2020-

To: Lucy Girl,

 

I’ve decided for now, to close this writing, my sweet old buddy. I’m going to try and stop all the crying, and misery… and move forward. I will always love and remember you. You will be in my heart always. I have to move on with life, sweet baby. We humans are cursed to live as long as we do. I want you to know that our 10 years together were the bright spot in my life to this point. I will get another puppy to help me continue my life’s story. She will never replace you, or what I feel for you. You were such a good friend, and more than that, a great companion for all these many years. I will miss you forever, my Lucy Girl… my Binkie. Watch over your Dadda, and keep those Wahoo Tigers away! I miss you with every ounce of my body and soul. If you can… help me with my new puppy. Give me the wisdom to raise her better than I raised you, and the heart to know how much I love her, so that I don’t make the same mistakes I made with you. Thank you so much for all you gave me, girl! You were always my angel.

 

Love,

Dadda

Jim
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MLovesRuby
Oh Jim...….Hugs hugs hugs to you.  Your letter to Lucy Girl is so beautiful.  I cried with you.  You loved her enough to let her go, with dignity and grace.  I lost my baby to cancer 3 days ago and I haven't stopped crying.  They will be in our hearts forever.  Love to you...……..
Michelle
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Lucyz_Dada
Michelle,

Thank you! They will indeed live in our hearts forever! Wishing you strength, healing, and love.

Jim
Jim
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peke_bb
Lucyz_Dada wrote:
To all who replied to my posts, I thank you for all the kind words and wishes. On the 22nd of May, at 12:45pm, I ended Lucy's pain. For a couple days after my last update, Lucy had some good time, and we took advantage of it. She rapidly declined to the point where there were not even any good hours. I can't imagine how bad the pain was for her to bear. I doubled her pain meds... to no avail. I promised her that I wouldn't let her suffer beyond her willingness to put up with it. We spent our last hours together on the Arkansas River, under a big Cottonwood tree, and then we made the short drive to her veterinarian. It was fast and she passed with her head in my lap.

I haven't been able to function properly until the last couple days, much less give you all any updates. I wish I had been stronger. I can't believe how fast she declined. Hard as I tried to prepare... it was useless. I've never cried so much in my life. I've been chronicling the last week with Lucy, and at the end, I wrote a short note to Lucy that I will place with her ashes, next to a spring in the Collegiate Range to the West of the upper Arkansas Valley. I thought I would share it with you all here.

Thank you all again, for your kind thoughts.

Jim Allen

 

5/31/2020-

To: Lucy Girl,

 

I’ve decided for now, to close this writing, my sweet old buddy. I’m going to try and stop all the crying, and misery… and move forward. I will always love and remember you. You will be in my heart always. I have to move on with life, sweet baby. We humans are cursed to live as long as we do. I want you to know that our 10 years together were the bright spot in my life to this point. I will get another puppy to help me continue my life’s story. She will never replace you, or what I feel for you. You were such a good friend, and more than that, a great companion for all these many years. I will miss you forever, my Lucy Girl… my Binkie. Watch over your Dadda, and keep those Wahoo Tigers away! I miss you with every ounce of my body and soul. If you can… help me with my new puppy. Give me the wisdom to raise her better than I raised you, and the heart to know how much I love her, so that I don’t make the same mistakes I made with you. Thank you so much for all you gave me, girl! You were always my angel.

 

Love,

Dadda



Jim, I’m so sorry about your Lucy. You have been in my thoughts. We are never prepared for such a loss. I’m a very strong person but losing a pet that you love so much was like no other pain I have ever felt. The first few days are the most difficult for me. Praying for you and keeping you in my thoughts. 
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