Wednesday, November 08, 2017

my heart is so heavy

I cannot believe that I have to say good bye to you, forever.
Sammy and Me

You were always my boy.  Always.  Gracie was Mark's girl and you were my boy.

You've been my constant snuggler, my seeker of tummy rubs, my elbow humper.

I love your big, beautiful, bright shining brown eyes and smile as wide as the ocean.

I'll miss your biscuit cream and white fur, the softest, sweetest smelling cotton ball fluff that attaches itself to anything and everything and caused me to invest in so many lint rollers over the years.

I absolutely cannot believe that I have to say good bye to you, forever.

Cancer is stealing you away from me, it's a fucking thief.  It took Mark already, why you too?

You don't like everyone but the folks you do connect with you love fiercely.

You absolutely love me.  Or at least you love the lady who gives you food and tummy rubs.

You are my protector, my defender, my barking jerkball at times.

How much time have I spent yelling at you and dragging your butt back into the house over the years because of your out of control barking at back yard intruders, real and imagined?

You live in the moment though so you never seemed bothered when I was upset and honestly, I couldn't stay upset at you for very long.

Sam, you were the first dog who ever owned my heart and I will love you forever.

I cannot believe that tomorrow, I will have to say good bye to you forever.

I am relieved that the medication I've been giving you has given you a good quality of life the past few weeks.

I am relieved that you're happy and oblivious to what is going on around you.

I am so delighted to see you smile and run toward me for a treat or a scratch, like you have since you were a puppy and came home with us for the first time.

I watched you last night and again this morning, from inside the kitchen, as you lay outside on the deck in your favourite spot, oblivious to the cold, enjoying your view, watching over your yard like you have done for years.

I am sorry that you're not going to see the snow again buddy.  Snow is just about your favourite thing.   You love to lay in it, eat it, run through it, roll in it, you're a regular snow boy and I almost can't believe that you're missing it this year.

Oh Sammy... my special nap buddy, my monkey bum boy, my wiggly butt guy, my stealth cookie dough stealer, my buddy and my best friend.  I love you Sam.

I love you now and will beautiful, sweet, goofy, brown eyed, fluffy butt boy.

Monday, November 06, 2017

More Sammy News

My Sammy
I haven't been able to bring myself to write this update.

Many times over the past few weeks I have sat down and tried to start but didn't know where to begin.

It's time to do it though so I'm just going to start...

On October 18, we went back to the vet for a follow up appointment.  He seemed to respond well to the medications which had been prescribed the week earlier.  His legs were no longer shaking, he was eating well, taking his meds like a trooper, his stamina on walks was good.  Sam was still coughing but seemed to be doing much better.  On the 18th, they gave him a follow up chest X-Ray.  Not much had changed, a bit of fluid had decreased in his lungs but they weren't clear.

The next step would be an echo-cardiogram.

We made an appointment for October 23 and went home, continuing with the meds and hoping against hope that it was "just heart disease" and that the echo-cardiogram would confirm no growth in his heart.

Two weeks ago today, we returned for the test.  He was an amazing rock star throughout the ultrasound.  The vet was able to determine that there was a mass in his heart.  It was causing the healthy parts of his heart to work double time.  Without a biopsy, there was no way to say 100% that he had cancer but that's what it looks like.  Given that his cough had started in April but didn't become horrible until October meant that they considered the mass to be slow growing.  Sam was definitely not going to be living to be an old man (he turned 10 in August) but we had no idea how much time he had.  Could be days, weeks or maybe months.  I was told that eventually, he'd pass out and die, painlessly, almost exactly how Mark died.  Sam was basically going to drown in fluid from his enlarged and overworking heart.  The truly awful thing about this is that Sam is a really healthy guy.  He has some GI problems once in a while but his overall health is good.

When we went home, I was in a bit of shock, but not really.  I had sort of expected to get the worst possible news.  After what happened with Mark, my brain is sort of wired for that now.  I'd been told that if he got really bad, I could double his meds and then call them.  Last night into this morning, things got bad.  He's coughing more and more and the time between bouts is getting shorter.  Both Jasmine and I have taken to watching his chest very closely.  More than once over the past couple of days I've thought he had passed away.  I've doubled his meds so hopefully he's a bit more comfortable today but I know that's just a band aid solution.  I can feel him getting thin under his thick white coat of Eskie fur and I'm starting to worry that he's frightened and uncomfortable.  I don't want him to get a point where he can't breathe and I see that point is getting closer.  I love him so much, he's always been my boy (the same way that Gracie was always Mark's girl) and I can't imagine him not being in the house at the end of the day, "hiding" in the bedroom so I can call out "where is Sammy?  I don't even know where he is!" and then seeing him jump up and down on the bed as if to say "I'm here, right here!! Please come and scratch and rub me!!!"

At some point this week, I'm pretty sure I'll be saying goodbye to him and it's breaking my heart.  He's just been the best guy, always there when I needed him, especially after Mark died.  I want him to have a beautiful, peaceful death and I want to be there when it happens.  I want for him what Mark didn't have... I think that this is especially difficult for me because it's stirred up a lot of feelings I have about Mark's death.  At least I know that I will get through this, that doesn't make things any easier unfortunately.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Sammy is sick

Sammy, an American Eskimo Dog
Since April, Sam's had a bit of a cough on and off.  When we went to the vet for his annual checkup in April, the doctor listened to his heart and lungs and didn't hear anything irregular.  We both sort of thought it was down to Sam's seasonal allergies (he inherited that from me).  Toward the end of the summer, the cough got a bit deeper but was still pretty intermittent.

Over the past couple of weeks, it got pretty bad.  Again, the weather has been strange, windy and hot and my allergies have been bad so I sort of thought that his might be too but I was keeping a close eye on him.  We started to notice some weakness in his legs.  They would tremble sometimes and he started taking little breaks on walks.  The strangest thing was that he was off his food a bit (still ate but picked at it, only got really excited if it was something sort of smelly).

The weekend was pretty tough and I got him back into the vet yesterday.  I wasn’t sure what we were dealing with.  I thought it could be heartworm (he’s on a preventative but who knows right?), possible COPD (not uncommon in senior dogs and he’s 10 now), a flu/pneumonia or lung cancer.  It turns out that when he saw the vet, his heart was beating out of control, he had arrhythmia.  Not good.  Many dogs have heart murmurs but arrhythmia was uncommon.  Sam went for a chest x-ray and the results were alarming.  His heart his severely enlarged.  This could be caused by a couple of things:  heart disease or a malignant tumour in his heart.  If it’s heart disease, that’s treatable and if he responded well to medication, he could have some good years ahead of him.  If it’s cancer, well, that’s bad.  There is also a possibility, regardless of which thing it is, that he could die suddenly at any time due to his condition.

We were sent home with some drugs to try.  He’s taking Vetmedin (Pimobendan) which is used to manage congestive heart failure.  He's getting one 1.25 mg pill every 12 hours, one 20 mg Furosemide (similar to Lasix, treats build of fluid due to heart disease  - he presently has some fluid in his lungs that was seen on the X-ray) and one 5 mg Fortekor (benazepril hydrochloride) which is used to treat heart failure.  Next week we’ll go back for another X-ray.  They will be able to tell if the medication is helping and if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, Sam will need an echocardiogram so we can find out if there is a growth or not.

It’s scary.  I was a mess driving home from Sydenham.  I cried pretty much all of the way home.  He’s been such a good sport.  Sam’s being great about taking his meds and is being his good old goofy self (which makes this easier and harder at the same time).  I have no idea what the next few weeks are going to be like for him (or me) but I’m going to spend as much time as possible with him while we figure out what is going on.  He can be a bit of jerk at times but he’s my jerk and I love him.  Since Mark died, he gets onto my bed every night and keeps me company.  I can’t imagine what I’m going to do without him but I’m trying not to think about that right now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Because It's Tuesday - week of August 8

I'm posting this a little later than usual because I've been on vacation this week.  My routine is a bit off but that's okay because vacation, right?

Heard some sad news this afternoon, not surprising in anyway but still sad news all the same.  Glen Campbell passed away at the age of 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.  Our family has a bit of personal experience with "the long goodbye" because my grandmother was a victim of it.  It's a terrible thing to watch someone you love so dearly forget everything that is most important to them.

In the case of my grandmother, she left a lovely legacy of love behind, children and grandchildren and inlaws and outlaws and cousins and aunts and uncles who thought the world of her and remember her every day.  In Glen Campbell's case, we have a long career of musical awesomeness by which to remember him.

Many years ago, while I was working at CFRC, I heard Ghost of American Airman's cover of a Campbell classic and loved it instantly.  I'm sharing it with you today.  Have a listen, it's just an audio track, no video, but it's a great version.  Enjoy xo

Tuesday, August 01, 2017