I got the urge to write, so I thought if I sat down to write, something might come to me.
In fact, the thoughts that come to me are, as have been the case of many of my thoughts over the last couple of months – thoughts of Cassie, my sweet baby dog. The card reading for today of Emotional Healing included a suggestion to write to expel some emotional pain, and I realised that that is what this will be – a purge of sorts.
I have never known a dog as sweet as Cassie, and never known a dog to be such a pain in the arse.
It was around seven months ago, just before Anzac Day, when Cassie started limping on her left foot, which turned out to be an abscess on her toe. Her sore toe soon paled into insignificance when she had difficulty breathing with pneumonia, a condition totally unrelated to her sore toe.
After a few nights spent at the veterinary specialist centre, which doubles as a veterinary emergency centre after hours, her foot once again became a priority when it was discovered that she couldn’t walk on it. In order to take the pressure off her toe, it was necessary for the surgical vets to include a splint in her bandage, as the toe was stubbornly unwilling to heal without it.
Unfortunately the splint caused pressure sores on both sides of her foot, and although the toe was now healed, the pressure sores took another six weeks to heal, needing regular rebandaging. It was only after we stopped giving her the anti-inflammatories she had been taking for her arthritis, which we discovered were impeding her body’s healing process, and began applying medical honey to her wounds, that she finally began to heal.
Just before the bandage came off her foot for the last time, she developed incontinence. Our euphoria at having her foot finally healed lasted only until we saw the medical specialist, who informed us that Cassie probably had kidney disease, but in her examination had also found an infected tooth.
We were back to the dental specialist to have her tooth out, which apparently was a bit of a drama because of the way the tooth had split, and because of the infection that had gone into the bone.
A couple of weeks later we were back to the medical specialist for follow-up blood tests, when she was able to confirm that Cassie did have early stage kidney disease, which would be managed by diet, but there was no cure. She was able to prescribe some medication to aid with her incontinence.
The idea was to reduce this medication if possible, but incontinence always reoccurred when we reduced the dose. As it is now, on the higher dose, we still have accidents occasionally while she sleeps, but they are not a nightly occurrence as they had been.
This incontinence wouldn’t be such a drama if it wasn’t for the fact that Cassie sleeps on the bed with us, so we had to be creative with towels, and bed covers made from waterproof mattress protectors.
We have to ensure that Cassie drinks enough before she goes to bed to ensure we are looking after her kidneys, but not so much that she puts back in more than she lets out with her final pee for the night.
A few weeks later, Cassie started licking and chewing on one of her many lumps, and it was bleeding. It was a melanoma, which is normally benign in dogs, but because of the problems with it, the vet said it should be removed. As she had a few other melanomas as well, it was decided to take 5 out, while she was under the anaesthetic.
Unfortunately, the two worst melanomas happened to be on her back knee, and instead of a small incision for each one, the surgical vet had to take them both out in one long incision. Because of its position and the stretching and bending of the leg, that wound wouldn’t heal and the sutures came out, causing the surgeon to have to staple the wound. Cassie’s wound finally healed after many bandage changes and weeks later.
We took Cassie back to the specialist centre a week or so ago to see the eye specialist, and then a follow-up appointment with the medical specialist. She had seen the eye specialist about a year before, as she had started to get cataracts, which, at the time didn’t warrant operating. We took her back because her eyesight was obviously deteriorating, and she seemed to have lost 3D vision.
The eye specialist told us that Cassie was completely blind in her right eye, and it didn’t seem to be caused by her cataracts or retinal damage. She thought it was possibly caused by a tumour. Because of the 20% risk of damage during cataract surgery, her left eye, which she could still just see out of, could not be operated on, as that would risk total blindness.
We then saw the medical specialist who was happy that Cassie’s blood and urine tests had shown an improvement in her kidney condition, rather than a deterioration. We put this down to the special kidney diet she is on. Although Cassie didn’t like the special renal tinned mush, she loved the nutritionist-approved home-made diet we found online. Although it takes a bit of work with all the cooking, it is worth it to know that she is happy with it, and it is obviously doing her good.
We happened to mention to the medical specialist that Cassie had been snuffling and sneezing a bit, which the vet found concerning, so we arranged for Cassie to have a CT scan a few days later.
The results from the CT scan showed that Cassie had a tumour at the back of her nasal passage on the right side, which had already eaten away some of the bone, including the bone separating her nasal passages from her brain. They were unable to biopsy, due its position, but it looked like it was growing rapidly and would soon become an issue for her brain, and also her breathing.
When we left the specialist centre that day, we were naturally distraught. Wasn’t it enough to be suffering from kidney disease, why did she now have to have a tumour? As we left that day, we were convinced that we would not allow any more intervention on Cassie, but we agreed to an appointment with the Oncologist, just to get all the facts.
On Friday, we had a long discussion with the Oncologist about the tumour and the radiation treatment he was proposing. The facts we were presented with led us to believe that the benefits would outweigh the risks, and following a telepathic conversation with Cassie to get her opinion, we have booked her in for the recommended less aggressive format of radiation treatment – once each week over 5 weeks.
We are hoping this will allow her to see out her last 6 to 12 months with us with less pain and discomfort. Although the vets haven’t said this is a possibility, we are even praying for the miracle of the sight being restored to her right eye, as her lack of vision seems to be her main cause of distress at the moment. As her hearing is not good either, when Cassie is distressed, she lets us know about it very loudly, causing us to be distressed also.
As you can imagine, all of this has been most stressful. Cassie has given us so much to worry about. I even find myself stressing over the weather, as it is more difficult to dry the waterproof covers on wet days.
Naturally, my spiritual education helps enormously, but like everyone else, I am only human. On a good day, during a good moment, I can hand all of my worries over to the angels and God, and feel the joy and peace that I am.
As I learned some years ago, your cork will always float. In other words, if we take the worries off our shoulders, we will always find joy and peace. And we only have worries if we are thinking about the past or the future. There are no worries in the present moment.
On a bad day, during a bad moment, however, I am as distressed and depressed as anyone else would be. Which is why I am finding writing this blog so cathartic, as it has helped me just as promised, by allowing me to release, into these words, a lot of the stress that I had been carrying.
I’m sure you can understand why I called Cassie a “pain in the arse”. How many other dogs do you know who can claim to have seen someone from every specialist department in the specialist centre – medical, surgical, dental, ophthalmology, and now oncology?
I was joking to the receptionist at the specialist centre that Cassie must have made a pact with the specialists before incarnating, that she would see every one of them during this time in her life. The receptionist reminded me that they also have a physiotherapist department, and I said: “Please don’t tell Cassie.”
I hope you can understand the reason for my distraction recently, and why I want to spend as much of my spare time as possible with Cassie.
I am praying for a positive result for Cassie’s treatments, and I am grateful for any prayers that you are able to offer, too.
(These were previous blogs about Cassie: http://www.lorelletaylor.com/cassie/ , http://www.lorelletaylor.com/the-lesson-of-the-bandage/ )