Hello, I just joined this evening. I searched the forums first to see if this subject had been addressed and couldn't find anything previously posted, which doesn't mean it wasn't - just that I might have missed it in my search.
My 13-1/2 year old cat, Sandy, has terminal mammary cancer. Rather than go through our recent history of surgery and chemo, suffice to say that we decided to stop the chemo because the cancer had reached a point where any further intervention was useless. Even though she had no chemo side effects, the whole ordeal was just putting too much stress on her. We knew once we received the diagnosis there was no "cure" just a desire to maintain her Quality of Life with us for as long as possible. That's always been our priority.
We've experienced the loss of two of my other cats who we had for 18 years respectively. Their illnesses were different and the 'decision' was made for us or we just waited too long which, in retrospect, was selfish and carries a guilt that I'll never lose. I'm sure you can relate. But now we must make the ultimate-act-of-kindness decision for our Sandy. We've discussed this with both her oncologist & reg. vet, plus because only we truly know her best, we know when it will be time. The was a huge dilemma on our parts: When? They advised that if and when (most likely 'when') the hardened clusters of lumps begin to ulcerate...that it is time. Why put her through endless antibiotics and more trips the vet when these ulcerations and possible infections will continue. I won't do that to her. I've already promised her: "No more medicines, mommy."
My question is regarding WHERE. Originally we'd decided to take her to her reg. vet when we decide it's time. He's only five minutes away. But we are now considering having our goodbyes at home. Despite the shortness of the drive to the vet, she has always been terrified there. She'd curl in a tight ball into the crook of my arm and press so close to my chest to hide. When the vet or assn't. would move her, her little eyes would bug out with such fear. Since she will most likely not be in as weakened a state as our other two cats were at the time, I fear (for her) she will react just this way even prior to giving her a sedative.
What I'm asking is: Has anyone had to make the decision of vet office vs. home procedure? Did you use someone you knew or was it a service offered from a local hospital from one of their on-call vets? (Sandy has been going to Red Bank Vet. Hosp. in NJ for her oncology and they have a Home Service which needs 24 hour notice). Does it really matter if the vet is a 'stranger'? I've talked w/the Service's dept. and they assured me the vet will comply w/our wishes as to how and where in our home.
I'm sorry for this long introductory question, but since I haven't seen it addressed before, I wanted to give as much background info as possible and put out as many questions about it that I can think of now.
Thank you all for any advice, feedback, sharing or personal experience you can offer me.
Inasmuch as the after-grief is devastating, the pre-bereavement anxiety and depression is almost as horrific.