when i think back on mini's life, and i've done so a great deal in the past month, i cannot believe that there is a possibility that there may not be much more left. she's been there....for everything. the growth one encounters between the ages of 18-26 is huge...especially when you're me...graduating HS, two years at one college, big moves to another university for the next three years, severe heartbreak, travels, more moving, more confusion, growth, making new friends, losing others, drinking legally, meeting the man i'd spend the rest of my life with, marriage, college graduation, one job, another job, moving, moving, buying a house, getting another dog, etc....the list goes on. mini has been there for it all.
mini has seen my most irresponsible actions, she's been there through the hardest, easiest and best times. she's seen me at my worst, and now i her's. she's been around longer than andy's been around....and i make sure the both of them know it.
mini showed signs of eye irritation on tuesday three weeks ago, within three days she was blind in her left eye, diagnosed with uveitis, then untreatable glaucoma two days later. four days after that she was scheduled to go into surgery for a complete eye removal...which didn't happen due to a slew of complications (anemia, 106 degree temp-obvious sign of infection). the following day the surgery did happen-in emergency room...the ER-vet style. her eye...and the mass it was connected to was sent for biopsy and came back as, seemingly, terminal cancer. long story short-no we don't know what sort of "time" mini has left. we do know she has low-grade fibrosarcoma in her left eye socket that it may be treatable, that they may have removed a good portion of those nasty cancerous cells when they removed her eye...and then again, we know nothing. we are planning on taking her to see an oncologist...soon and i am scared.
)the following photos are not in order. on my computer at work, i have difficulty moving them around!)
last photo before stitches removed. swelling considerably down; 9/29
Mini, moments before abscess rupture and emergency surgery; 9/17
Mini's eye at its largest; 9/17
Mini's diagnosed with uveitis and is 100% blind in her left eye; 9/10
Mini day after surgery; 9/18
Mini day after her surgery, swollen but in good spirits; 9/18
picking up little dog from the hospital; 9/18
day after surgery at gma and gpa's house; 9/18
the cancerous eyeball and abscess; 9/18
few days after surgery and finally home in seattle; 9/22
slowly healing, lots of snuggle time on the couch; 9/24
Mini's eye grows after she is diagnosed with glaucoma; ; 9/14
worst day of pain for both mama and little; 9/12
stitches out! lookin' good!; 9/29
one eye'd beauty. right after getting her stitches removed; 9/29
saturday before finding out blindness had set in; 9/10
day three of eye irritation, still no idea of what is to come; 9/7
i remember the day i realized mini would die. i pictured it much like my cat dinah's death. slowly, due to old age, peaceful and in my lap...while sleeping. i was sad when i realized mini wouldn't be around forever....and it was funny-one never thinks, "oh, i'm not going to (enter something in blank) because there is always an end" and i was part of that group. when i started telling my family i wanted a dog, most of them had similar comments:
"you know you have to potty train a dog, right?"
"dogs are expensive!"
"do you know how long a dog will be around? It's not just about wanting something temporarily! you'll have that dog for YEARRRRS!"
these things i realized, i didn't realize however, that a dog would then leave. die. go away. THAT was the worst realization.
now, as i look at mini and talk her through what a great time we have had...all the hard times included- i realize that yes, the actualization of her dying is a hard, jagged pill to swallow but what is worse than that is knowing how she will die. that this is, in fact, how she will go. cancer.
fighting back tears on my lunch break i realize that i may be the person who gets to call how and when this will happen, depending on how the cancer chooses to leave her in her final days. perhaps it will be peaceful, she'll just go after living with years of this nasty stuff. or perhaps andy and i will have to choose when. this is one of god's greatest punishments. not only will one fall in love with another being, but chances are you may have to decide the fate of that being- and unlikely situation to be put in with humans, a much more likely situation with pets. here, a being who cannot verbalize their feelings, their wants or needs is left with you to decide.
i pray it doesn't come to this. i pray when we go into the oncologist they have a good idea of what is going on and tell us she needs minimal treatment and will likely live another 5 or 10 years, at least. that she'll see her and just say, "oh mini, she's too strong! lets just keep an eye on her at this point, no point in making things worse, this is a great situation to be in- all things considered."
the thought of the pain of losing someone you love is unbearable, especially under such circumstances....when finances, ethics, personal care and the importance of the care of another all come into play it's even worse.
the stress that comes along with the responsibility of having a pet is immense. the fact that, what i personally feel for my "pet" (or child as i refer to her), will only increase with children? this love and devotion to another multiplies? well, i have to admit for the first time in my life i've thought to myself, "maybe i don't want to have children after all..."
my mom has written books on grief, suffering, parenthood, all of it. you think i would have some innate, almost genetic code that would prepare me for such happenings in life. such trauma. but no, i'm fearful. stressed. saddened and simply attempting to live each of the next days with mini by my side as often as possible. giving her lots of treats and making sure she and her brother finn get their walks twice a day (thanks to the husband). i've been giving mini a little extra food and snuggling her extra closely...she's been doing the same-snuggling tight to me in the mornings while i sit on the couch and put on my makeup. she sleeps closer to me than she has since andy came around...tight behind my legs or up close to my chest-something she hasn't done since she was a puppy.....