On Monday night, we started seeing some signs of distress from Sydney that had us really believing her to be in pain, and potentially the end to be near in terms of her fight with cancer. We could feel bumps down the side of left leg (tumor spreading) that seemed to be unstable in terms of holding her weight when getting up. She also paced constantly to try to find a comfortable place to lay down and stay there to sleep.
John texted our vet to get his opinion, and honestly, we went to bed wondering if it would be Sydney's last night with us.
The next morning, she still appeared uncomfortable and a little out of it trying to move. I kept telling myself the mornings and evenings are the worst, and just a few days earlier, she'd taken off after a squirrel or chased around with Whitley. But, the idea that this cancer isn't going away, and we don't want her suffering weighed heavy on all of our hearts as we set up a 3pm visit to see the vet. Honestly, we all believed he'd feel like the humane decision would be to put her to sleep, so we spent Tuesday thinking it was our last with her.
Brayden was stoic and didn't want to talk about it, but spent tender moments loving on Sydney.
Mikayla cried over and over throughout the morning before going to school.
John went to work and started crying during his team meeting, after explaining what would be happening that afternoon.
And, I - well, I started out strong - but, once the tear floodgates opened...I couldn't stop. I ended up calling Mom and Dad to let them know (crying as I tried to get the words out), cried with Mikayla, and then both Mikayla and I greeted Whitley and Stephie with tears in our eyes that only escalated when Steph hugged me tight.
I was debating skipping Bible Study, but after already missing two to headaches - and most especially, Whitley's enthusiasm to "play with her friends in the classroom" - I thought it would be best if I go.
It's hard to keep crying when this is going on... (She likes to pretend any chance she gets to be the driver at "Wildlife Safari". At times, after picking her up, Steph and her will spend ten minutes or longer in our driveway for her to pretend...so cute).
And, knowing what might transpire, I was up for doing whatever would make this dog happy for the day. Riding in my car and knowing she's going someplace is huge for her. So, off to Bible Study we all went.
And, then, I got there, and cried again. Dawn gave me this big hug, (having already been texted regarding my state of mind) and I lost it. Then, when the rest of the group came, she shared it as a prayer request and I choked back more tears. (Another member had to leave the room crying, I found out later she's taking her dog in for tumor biopsies the following week).
Later, before the video started, I ended up crying down by the bathrooms after reading Julie's text about it all and responding. Sheesh. SO MANY TEARS!
Immediately following Bible Study, Dawn had me come over to do paw prints of Sydney in clay to be fired and painted into a frame. Later, when its done, I'll add the pic - such an amazing thing for Dawn to do for us.
Meanwhile, Sydney just kept doing what she does on every other day - which meant she was acting normal. When Whitley wanted to take a walk around the block, Sydney seemed to want to too, and though by the end, she was showing favoritism to that one leg, she was still leading us.
(Well, it looks like Whitley is the leader here, which her first born tendencies seem to set as a very high value in any group, but when Sydney passed her up, I had to explain that she was our human leader while Sydney was the dog leader....)
This was taken later as we went to McDonald's. When we are dieting on Atkins and Sydney's been in the car with us, she's been able to score the buns from the protein we are eating (and would otherwise discard). On this occasion, I got Sydney her very own cheeseburger. She was a happy dog.
So, all this led to so much inner conflict over whether or not we would be making the right decision if we were ok to have her put down. Was I just ok with it because I didn't want to keep hurting, or was it really about her not hurting? I think a little of both.
I took this pic on the way to the vet. The whole family was in the car. Brayden was not interested in going in for the evaluation, but just in case a good-bye was needed, we wanted him available.
And, in a scenario eerily familiar to the time I took Sierra to the vet thinking I would be saying good-bye (only to learn that her liver was overtaxed from being fed countless hot dogs and hamburger patties at a family party - and she would recover), the vet gave us no reason to consider saying "good-bye" today. He said her color still looked good, her tail was wagging, she was moving fine... He said he couldn't tell us if it would be in one week or one month in which we would need to bring her in for that reason, but today was not the day.
So, we went back home with our beloved canine family member - with all of our broken hearts partially restored knowing we still had her with us. We also came home with doggy painkiller (a kind that wouldn't mess with her senses too much) and an anti-anxiety/sedative for the evening to help her sleep and loosen the discomfort she might be feeling.
Indeed she did relax...and on that latter medicine, was kind of dopey... (Don't you love how she crosses her leg. It's always been something she's done, but now it's constant...)
I know we didn't buy a lot of time today, but just for it not to be the end is huge. Knowing we are putting off more heartbreak is indeed worth it. Thank You God.