Monday, July 10, 2017

Bailey Angel

We lost Bailey on February 25, 2017

She had a tough 6 months with some random things happening before she finally crossed her rainbow bridge.

One day last fall, we noticed one of her back legs was stiff... she's getting older so I just figured it was arthritis... but by the end of the day, her leg was swollen and she could hardly walk... earlier in the day I had made an appointment with our vet for the following day but I was worried I wouldn't be able to get her into the car by myself and Mike had to work... She also seemed to be pretty uncomfortable so I decided to take her to the emergency vet... Kayden went with me and Mike stayed home with the boys.

The vet ER gave her some pain meds and a sedative to make her comfortable and did a few x-rays... when the doctor started to explain the x-rays, I knew it wasn't going to be good. She pointed out a spot or 2 and explained that it looked like osteosarcoma, bone cancer... I asked her about the treatment and prognosis and she basically told me amputation was her best chance of survival but that they still needed to do blood work to confirm and more x-rays to determine if it had spread. She was very good about explaining what she recommended we do that night and what could wait...(translation: what was necessary for her immediate comfort and what would be much cheaper at our regular vet.)

When the doctor left to go get the meds we needed to get us through the night, I asked Kayden if she understood what was happening... she did not... so I explained as best I could that the doctor thought Bailey had cancer and that she would probably not be with us for very much longer... of course she started crying but I was able to keep it together and comfort her... a tech helped us get Bailey into the car and we took her home.

When we got her home, I told Mike what the vet had said and that I was still planning to take her to our vet the next day... I told him I was realistic and did not plan on spending any money to try to extend her life, but that I WAS willing to spend money to keep her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible... he agreed that was fine.

The next day while Kayden was in school, I took the boys to a sitter and took Bailey to our vet... while waiting for our turn, I Googled canine osteosarcoma... bad idea... very bad idea... I was in tears in the waiting area thinking I wasn't going to be able to keep her comfortable for as long as I had thought.

We get into the room and I hand our vet the disc with the x-rays and tell her what I had been told the night before... she examined Bailey and said she thought it was a bad reaction to an insect bite, not cancer... she went and reviewed the x-rays and did a couple more and still didn't see anything concerning... she asked me to show her what the ER vet said was osteosarcoma... when I pointed it out, she said, "That's arthritis!!!" She showed me the comparison x-rays she took and showed me examples of the bone cancer and arthritis... then she explained that emergency vets see serious stuff all the time but not a lot of run-of-the-mill stuff... "But not everything is a zebra... most of the time it's just a horse..."

So we treated Bailey for the insect bite, the infection that followed, and for the hole she bit in her leg before the infection was under control... Bone cancer that was really arthritis: random.... Insect bite: random... Infection: random.... Biting a hole in her leg: random...

During all this, we had been playing with her meds for her urinary incontinence because they didn't seem to be working anymore... and she developed this insatiable thirst... which coupled with incontinence gets complicated... So we had her tested for diabetes... tests were negative... but there is this rare form of diabetes called "insipidus"... Turns out that's what she had... the medication for that is some kind of eye drop... as if the idea of giving eye drops to an 80+lb Doberman isn't exciting enough, the drops were $50 per 1ml... yikes... and we weren't even sure it would work. But I felt like it was worth a shot... and they seemed to work so we went with it.

Then one Friday night, I let Bailey out to do her business in the back yard... she was walking kind of funny but, again, I just though "arthritis" and let her out back... but when I called her in 10 minutes later, she didn't come... very unusual for her... I went out to look for her in the yard and found her curled up on the ground on one side of the house... it took a little prompting but she got up and followed me toward the back door... but then she kept walking to the other side of the house and laid down again on the ground... it was harder to get her up the second time so when she did, I kept my hand on her collar and walked her into the house.  I walked her to her bed and helped her lay down on it... I knew it was bad and planned to take her in to the vet the next day... I also knew the way she was acting, I could very well wake to find her gone the next morning. We all sat around her bed and loved on her and took several pictures with her then went to bed. 

The next morning, she seemed to be feeling much better and wasn't acting as weak as she had the night before... I still wanted to take her in so I loaded her and Kayden (she just HAD to come) in the car. Our vet took some x-rays and found what appeared to be an intestinal blockage... not surprising since Bailey was known to eat socks... we chose to do exploratory surgery because it was the cheapest option and I really believed she had just eaten 1 too many socks and the vet could remove it. We loved on her and told her how much we loved her and good bye (because we knew there was a risk that she wouldn't wake up). We left so I could take Kayden to a play date and head home because the vet told me it would be a few hours and Bailey would need to stay the night to recover anyway.

But shortly after I got home, the vet called... it wasn't a sock... it was a tumor the size of a football attached to her kidney and growing through her abdominal cavity eating it's way toward her spine... there was no way to remove it without paralyzing her or her bleeding to death. The vet recommend we put her to sleep. I was 25 minutes away and I couldn't make it there in time to be with her... neither the vet nor I wanted her to wake up and be in pain be for we let her go... I wasn't even going to try to go but Mike urged me to go saying, "You want to see her...." knowing I planned to have her cremated and wouldn't ever see her again... so I went...

It was heartbreaking... she was my baby before I had babies... she was my best friend through a pregnancy, new motherhood, a divorce, 2 moves, a new marriage, and 2 more babies... And now she is gone.... I miss her every day...

And so life goes on... but she will always be remembered with love....

Rest in peace, Uptown Bailey Grace... You were a wonderful friend, companion, and mama to my babies... You can never be replaced....