This is the post I’ve been avoiding all week.
Lucky died on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at approximately 1 PM.
I know the time because I was there with him scratching behind his ears and whispering reassuring words.
His body was failing him and in his last week, his quality of life was incredibly diminished.
It was the hardest decision I’ve made in my life, but know that it was the loving, responsible, and compassionate thing to do. Lucky died with dignity.
I miss him terribly and it will take me years before I’m even ready to consider adding another dog to the family.
Thank you to everyone in my life who has extended their condolences. Thank you to Andrew and Kerryn Zechiel for assisting me in his last week. Thank you to the Hope Center (and specifically Dr. Conor McNeill and Claire McGillicuddy) for being so wonderful and for providing fantastic care to Lucky during his chemo. Thank you to my friend and veterinarian, Dr. Lynne Gallitz, for being our friend and for taking my late night phone calls when I was worried about something Lucky was (or wasn’t) doing. Thank you to my friends and family for being there for me.
While I’ve tweeted about Lucky since the end of June, I haven’t written an update post about how he’s been doing.
The week after that post was was written, Lucky was down to 75 pounds–skin and bones. Over the next two weeks, we got him back up to about 83 pounds, where he held steady until our last doctor’s appointment four weeks ago. He received three rounds of CCNU three weeks apart and at the last CCNU, we suspected he was relapsing. Sure enough, he was. We responded with another elspar treatment followed by another chemo drug. At this point, the oncologist suspected that the lymphomas was affecting his nervous system. We took him for a consult and the neurologist didn’t know if the lymphoma was affecting his nervous system or if it was a disc issue in his spine. We elected not to do an MRI (at $2,000+) because he wasn’t a candidate for surgery if it was a disc and chemo would be the treatment if it was lymphoma. Either way, the oncologist recommended chemo every week or every other week as the best treatment to maintain Lucky’s quality of life for as long as possible. Remission was off the table.
At this point, husband and I took at step back to decide if we felt like we could continue (financially, emotionally, etc…) and whether we felt like Lucky could handle the increased visits to the doctor.
We elected to stop treatment and notified the oncologist last week.
The chemo drugs are now out of his system. He’s on supportive medications. The lymph nodes under his neck are already almost as large as they were before we started treatment in June and he’s stopped vocalizing and barking. We’re concerned that these enlarged nodes will eventually make eating, drinking, and breathing extremely difficult, at which point a decision will be made. He’s sleeping a lot (consistent with pre-treatment Lucky), but his weight appears to be holding steady.
For now, we’re just trying to enjoy every day with him because I never know when I’m going to come home from work and find him gone.
He’s such a good dog.