Death is such a cruel part of life. You can't have one without the other. I struggle with the thought that I wish I knew exactly what to do to make it all go away but I have just been reminded that I certainly did not wish this illness on her and this situation is way beyond my capabilities. I was overestimating my powers. We must remember that it is simply a case of God calling his beloved friends home. However I wish that He could do more gently in everybody's case though! There is nothing easy about it especially when it brings up the painful memories about those that have gone before
Hugs to gorgeous Gambler!!
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My first Golden was 5 1/2 years old when he started having big greasy bowl movements and just seemed off a little. I made an appoinment for Mondays, it was a friday at the time. It was Father's Day weekend 1989.
Sunday night, Sam went out to the fenced yard and did not come in. He usually went outside for only a short time. I found him laying in the yard groaning and covered with Mosquitos, we lived in Michigan at the time. I brought him in the house and started calling vet clinics. One vet finally answered and said to bring him in, he would meet as at the clinic.
We went there, lifted Sam out of the car and he walked to the clinic. The vet examined him, saw he had pale gums and decided to see if he could tab his belly with a syringe, because it seemed a bit extended at that time. Nothing but blood in the syringe.
The vet said, that he must have been hit by a car. I said, no way, he is never out by himself. The vet said, he had to open him up to save his life, see what is going on. He did not have staff on hand, so my husband and I had to assist.
I was not a licensed tech yet, so I had no experience. As soon as Sam was put under, he crashed and stopped breathing. I was in charge of breathing for Sam, bagging him, my husband assisted otherwise. I really did not know what I was doing and the vet was injecting Sam with something but to no avail. Sam was gone.
The vet asked if he should open him up to see what happened. We agreed. As soon as the first cut was made, blood gushed out, tumors everywhere.
The vet said it had to be the spleen originally and suspected lymphoma. We were devastated and had to leave Sam there, since we lived in military housing, no way to bury him.
Oddly enough, years later I went to college, became a technician and started working for that particular vet. He still remembered Sam.
Sam number two, was 12 1/2 years old when he had routine bloodwork and vaccinations done. He had started getting a bit picky eating and I told the vet. We were now in Tennessee. Bloodwork showed decreased number of red blood cells and slightly elevated liver values. The vet said to repeat bloodwork in a month.
Okay, Sam continued to be picky about food and did not eat a lot. I talked to the vet about it, he said to keep an eye on it. Less than a month after the initial bloodwork, Sam started moaning and groaning one evening and we took him to an emergency clinic.
They drew blood, said that his blood was not clotting anymore, his blood plasma was yellow and he was diagnosed with DIC. X-rays were taken, showed irregularities on the liver and possible heart. He was injected with Heparin for the DIC. Since Sam was stable, he was sent home with us with instructions to take him to our regular vet in the morning.
I spent all night on the floor with Sam,listening to every sound he made. He moaned and groaned all night. It was breaking my heart.
First thing in the morning, I took him to my regular vet. Sam was unable to walk and little ol me had to carry a 85 pound dog to the car. My husband had gone to work already.
More x-rays, blood drawings, IV catheter and fluids. The heart did looks like it had growths on it, as well as the liver. Blood clotting got worth. I was to take Sam to another clinic for an ultrasound. Okay, went to the other clinic. Sam was groaning and painful. Ultrasound showed possible tumors on the liver, heart. The word was, he had lymphoma.
Went back to the other clinic and had to leave Sam there for more fluids, prednisone and other meds. I was to pick him up in the evening, because of no-one being on duty during the night and I was a technician by that time. The vet was actually confident that we could get Sam through this with chemo. He said it is not a death sentence.
I picked Sam up that evening, he could not walk, finally had got something for pain. I somehow managed to get him into the house. He was hooked up to IV fluids, I kept monitoring him. He started becoming more and more painful and restless. I took his face in my hands and I knew he was going to die. I told him that I loved him and that he can let go if he has to, mom will be okay and does not want him to suffer. Sam let go. He started bleeding from the nose after he passed. I suppose between the blood not clotting and tumors bleeding, he did not have a chance.
When I notified the vet the next morning, he was shocked and said that he did not think Sam was going to die.
I am already paranoid about what the future will hold for my current 9 year old Golden and my senior lab mix.
Doug, I don't know if this helps you, probably not. I am sorry. But, it helped me a bit, getting it out, even after all those years, when it seems like it just happened yesterday.
My boys from left to right:
Thunder Dachsi Toby
My Toby, my heart dog 3/12/2003 - 3/30/2013, I miss you Toby!
Thunder March 2001 - 2 January 2014
Last edited by cgriffin; 11-11-2012 at 05:57 PM. Reason: add
I lost my Tess last year to hemangiosarcoma. She turned 11 years old March 2, 2011. Of those 11 years she only went to the vet for well being checkups. Never was sick a day in her life, could still jump in the air and spin around. Around April 1 she stopped eating, I took her to the vet the day after, he thought it might be pancreatitis, started some meds. Several days later I took her back to the vets, she still wasn't eating, he did a abdominal x-ray, which showed some suspicious crowding of her stomach. He referred me to a large animal practice, on April 15 she had an ultrasound which showed multiple nodules on her liver and spleen, probably hemangiosarcoma. We got sent home with more meds, can't remember what now, they said she may have a couple of months or so. Five days later she collapsed with a bleed, probably a heart based tumor had burst and I made the difficult decision to let her go. I guess if we had to lose her to cancer, we were lucky in that she didn't suffer, and wasn't sick for a long time, in total less than three weeks from stopping eating to passing away.
4-1999 till 10-2011
Topbrass Ready To Rock, Tess
3-2000 till 4-2011
Topbrass Miss Liberty Belle, Libby
Morningstar Treasure Eye'L, Raider
Topbrass Tuggin On My Heart Strings, Tugg
We lost our 2nd golden rescue (11-12 years old) to leukemia, which, unbeknownst to us, he had when we adopted him. Palliative care (prednisone, blood transfusions, a 'cocktail' of steroid/B vitamins, etc.) made him to feel better and have energy. 7 months from diagnosis to his passing.
Our 3rd golden rescue (also a senior) was healthy and full of play, but 6 months after we adopted him he quit eating and drinking one day. An X-ray showed a massive cancerous tumor in his stomach. We helped him to the Bridge that day.
Our current rescue, Andy, was 1 or 2 when we adopted him 10 years ago. He was diagnosed with lymphoma last December 1st. After 22 weeks on the Madison-Wisconsin chemo protocol he fell out of remission and was hospitalized for several days, refusing any food - even broiled chicken and his other favorites - for over a week. A big dose of a rescue chemo drug, Adriamycin, last April brought him back into remission.
Since April he's doing very well on a maintenance chemo protocol of 20mg of Prednisone daily, and every three week CeeNU (now every 4 weeks). I believe the Denamarin (a powerful antioxidant/liver protectant) is also helping to fight the lymphoma. It's his own body that really has to fight the cancer cells. Antioxidants are proven to help the immune system fight.
Cancer is such an unpredictable an insidious disease. Some respond well to treatment, others do not. Others doing exactly the same regimen Andy's getting have not responded as well, others have. I surely never expected Andy to live this long when we were slammed with the diagnosis last December 1st. However, some stories (like Meggie on GRF - link at top right in Most Viewed Threads, "Lymphoma" gave us hope.
Like you, I've poured over dozens and dozens of articles online, mostly in the early days. I must have read 400 pages in the first 2 days. Some provided hope he could live with lymphoma, others not so much. Besides the medicine and supplements he's been prescribed, the only change we made was switching to a 'no grain' diet (glucose=sugar=cancer loves sugar) and double filtered water (Brita filter on faucet filtered again through Brita pitcher). We've added some lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower to his food and home cook for him 2 or 3 days out of the week (chicken/veggies/a little brown rice). His food is Natural Balance kibble mixed with Natural Balance and/or Soup For The Dog Lover's Soul canned. We had to try a few different ones because he turned up his nose at some of the other high end dog foods like Honest Kitchen. Every meal, we add something that smells really good (chicken, brocolli, and always splash chicken or beef broth on top). When he sniffs around his bowl and smells different things he really seems excited about eating.
Our MO is and has been: "Carpe Diem" (Seize The Day .. and any treats offered ). At any time the drugs could quit working and we'd have to say goodbye. Not today. Living in the 'now' - today - is something Andy's journey has taught us around our house. We learn so much from him. Like being reminded how little we need to be happy in life - shelter, love, food - and how every moment is a gift. As M. Scott Peck said so aptly in "A Road Less Traveled" - "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why they call it 'the present'.
BTW, Andy is somewhere around 11 or 12 now. He acts like a young boy except for napping more the past couple of years. Like middle aged me LOL.
We wish you all the best. What treatment/supplements is your golden receiving?
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love never never dies
I documented my case in this thread when I joined the forum.
http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...ever-dies.html (Love Never Dies)
I joined this forum because I felt I was alone and no help and lost - mixed emotions - guilt, anger, depressed... Why me and my Bentley? After I read others' heart broken stories, I realized my case was so similar to others (my opinion). But I was so childish and immature at that time...
For The Love Of Bentley: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-rainbow-bridge/118720-love-never-dies.html
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Oh Christa you have been through so much! I am so sorry. I know what you mean about it feeling like it happened just yesterday.
My4goldens It makes you wonder if going quickly and sparing the prolonged mental and physical torture is the kindest way to go but then you miss out on all of those extra special moments that suddenly carry more meaning. It is a tough either way.
Dborgers I admire your strength to go through this so many times. Through all of the worries it looks as though you have learned so much and are so inspiring to others. Andy's journey is simply amazing. Keep up the great work Andy!! We wish you many many days of joy together ahead.
LND - Thank you for sharing your story again in such detail so people can be educated. Im so sorry, I had no idea, it was so recent. Where have I been? I think that I have worked out how to use the forums properly now. A lot of what you said brought back some heavy memories for me. However I cannot imagine the pain and sadness of caring for and losing such a large being. I applaud you for still being around to help others when your wounds are so raw. Thank you. May the fog lift for you a little further for you each day.
I have no idea of what the future has in store for us but at least I feel a little more prepared when reality hits.
I do know one thing, that being with people who TRULY understand the pain we feel when we lose one of goldens is extremely important. I don't know how I would cope without my golden friends here. I think when we are entrusted with our precious goldens the love is so great between us that the grief once we have to let them go is a very slow process that takes years to work through. Some days are good and some are not but the reward was the days we spent with each and every one of our fur kids. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my goldens at the bridge and for some of them it has been 20 + years that they have been gone. Then I hug Gambler and he knows I need that hug.
Dis is da gamboi an da Gussee an angels BoBo an Emmikins
"What we have enjoyed we never lose. All that we loved deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
I just joined this week after losing my heart dog to cancer last month.(Oct. 21)
His name was Fletcher. In November 2011 I noticed a small black lump on his upper lip. It was removed and biopsy showed malignant melanoma. Regular vet suggested monitoring monthly to make sure there was no regrowth and to check lymph nodes for swelling. That was not good enough for me so I consulted an oncologist and apparently the rate of multiplication (I forget the jargon now but I was well-versed last year) of the cancer cells was high so he recommended "scar revison"...basically another surgery to remove more tissue. Original vet did get clear margins but oncologist said he did not remove enough and recommended second surgery. We went ahead with second surgery plus all the staging tests and found out his WBC was elevated. After many many tests , included one called flow cytometry. it was revealed that Fletcher had a second cancer...chronic lymphoma. Poor guy.
While researching melanoma online I read about the oral melanoma vaccine which has shown to boost immune system of dogs with this particular cancer. It is given after diagnosis in a series...twice a month for two months and then every 6 months for the rest of the dogs life. Fortunately we live 15 minutes away from a board certified oncologist that can administer the vaccine and started Fletcher on the vaccine two weeks after his second surgery. He was never treated for the chronic lymphoma...the WBC never increased to a high enough count to warrant chemo.
Looking at him...you would never think he was a dog that was fighting cancer or a senior dog at 10.5 years!
On October 21 Fletcher woke up normal with a healthy appetite, full of life acting like his playful self. During the late afternoon he curled up on my bed with me and fell asleep. At 5:00 he wouldn't come downstairs for dinner and he had pale gums. He didn't want to move and he was panting. My husband picked him up (all 90lbs. of him) and we brought him to emergency vet. Bloodwork showed normal RBC (vet thought he was anemic) and tests showed fluid around his heart. They tried to drain it but was unsuccessful...his heart began throwing arrythmias. It was hermangiosarcoma. Knowing there was no cure and he would suffer we made the difficult decision to send him to the bridge. He did not suffer. I take comfort knowing I didn't have to watch the cancer slowly drain the life out of him.
Hermangio is scarily common in goldens. He lived almost one full year after the melanoma diagnosis but it was a different cancer that took him from us.
When I got Fletcher 10.5 years ago I made sure he got all his clearances. I didn't want to worry about having a dysplastic dog...honestly that was my biggest worry! How ignorant...at the time I wasn't even aware of the prevalence of cancer in goldens. Now I know but I still plan to get another golden next summer. I love them that much and I hope my golden girl Gracie(8 years) stays cancer free.
Carolyn in MA
Mom to Gracie (8 years young)
Fletcher, my heart dog at the Bridge (5/02-10/12)
When Beau was diagnosed with osteosarcoma for the longest I could not believe it was true. I finally came to terms with it and let Beau reach the stars before he could suffer. Sorry, Doug but I can't travel down that road again but here is his thread:
http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...ured-list.html (Beau joins the injured list)
I also started this thread in celebration of his life:
http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...ting-life.html (Amazing Beau, Celebrating Life!)
I have no regrets for the decisions I made for Beau and I live each day cherishing the special moments we shared together.
"Beau" Mr. Beaujangles Dancin on a Wim CD, RN , ASCA CD, CGC (RIP my shining star 1-17-11)
"Baylee" UCD Baylee Golden Butterfly Wings CDX, RN , ASCA CD, CGC
"Baxter" U-CH Promise's Purpose Driven Vision CGC (looking toward the future)
"Blayze" U-CH Promise's D'Best Aim For The Goal'd(the new kid on the block)
Carolyn, what a tough journey you have been through! Isn't it amazing that things never turned out the way you think that they will? Life always throws an unpredicted curve ball.I was sure my boy was going to die of renal failure but it turned out to be lymphoma in the end. It is also amazing that no matter how painful this cancer ride is most of us are willing to do it all again once we lay our eyes on another browned eyed beauty. The many years of joy and love over rides the pain in the end.
BayBeams - I hear ya. This is all too surreal for me right now. It is difficult to prepare yourself for the worst when your pup has the brightest smile, is doing the happy dance before rolling in the grass! Your thread has me in tears for you both
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