February 17, 2012

Rest in Peace My Sweet Leesie

With a heavy heart, I write Lisa's final post. I've been horrible about keeping up with her blog, seeing as it's been 2 years since my last entry. Lisa had been doing well until last year when she started experiencing recurring urinary tract infections. Lisa's vet tried to convince me she was showing signs of Cushing's disease. I didn't want to see it at the time. To me, she didn't exhibit any of the classic signs of Cushings, the constant thirst, potbellied appearance, etc. However, little by little more of those symptoms began to appear. For various reasons, the most prevalent being Lisa's age (at the time 13-14ish), we chose not pursue a full on diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Rather than put her through the stress of that, we chose for palliative and supportive care. And for the last year, she had been doing well.

However, this past summer things took a turn for the worse when Lisa's hind quarters would no longer cooperate with her and they would simply collapse under her. I sat in the yard with her and cried over what she wanted me to do. The sparkle was still in her eyes. She was acting more like a "normal" dog than she'd ever had. I asked her if she wanted to go....her response was to slap me with her paw. Her way of telling me to shut up, she wasn't ready. Back to the vet we went and we came home with a prednisone prescription. This little drug is both a blessing and curse. Within a day, Leesie was up walking around like she was before. Yeah, sure, she'd slip here and there, but it was a marked improvement over the previous days.

So for the past 4 or so months, Lisa had been on steroids she would have good days and not so good days. Overall, she still seemed happy and the sparkle was still there. The last 2 to 3 months have been a different story. During this time, she'd become extremely difficult to manage her bathroom activities. She wasn't incontinent as she would go if she was outside. You just had to manage her very well and be vigilant about what she did when she was outside and when. Once back inside, she would give you no cues that she needed to go back out and accidents would follow. Because of this, her freedom to roam the house was over. Now, she was stuck back in her ex-pen when we couldn't physically watch her. Also, her rear had begun to get weak again. She wouldn't move many times, even when encouraged. That would be a bad day; on the good days, she'd follow you all over the house.

Little by little, her quality of life markers were being scratched off the list. She could no longer roll around on the carpet - something she enjoyed immensely. Her walks in the yard with me had become non-existent. And while she still loved to eat and that desire was still there, one of the side effects of Cushings' is increased appetite, so that couldn't be used as an effective qualifier. Lastly, and the most important one of all, the sparkle in her eye is nearly gone. It gives us brief flashes here and there, but I don't see it like I did. That's when I knew we were getting close.

It took me going away and having someone else care for her to truly open my eyes and let me see that I had been going through the motions because I didn't want to face the decision. Unfortunately, it's a decision that has to be made. Yesterday, I called the vet and made the appointment. At 4:30 this afternoon I'll walk into the office with her in my arms, and make good on my promise.


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