I'm sick to my stomach. I lost my dear Namac yesterday to this horrendous cancer. He was 9 1/2. On June 18th I woke up in the morning and as I opened the back door, his brother darted out back and I felt my heart drop to the floor because I saw Namac not moving. I rushed to him and noticed his eyes following me as I approached, but when I reached him, he had stiff limbs, a locked jaw, and cold and pale gums. I screamed to my wife who was in bed, "Namac's dying!" and she ran out of the room and screamed so loudly and violently that my sweet boy wagged his tail one time. We knew at that time he was still with us. I immediately, with no hesitation, picked him up in my pajamas and put him in the back of the SUV. I remember shaking and breathing as if I was shell shocked by a bomb. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the ER and Namac had crawled his way to the front and held my hand wanting to be touched.
When I reached the ER, they acted very quickly and got him in the back. I was expecting them to come back and tell me he was dead. Luckily, I was told that he had been stabilized and was in cardiac tamponade. They had extracted 35 ml of non clotting blood from his pericardial sac. They suspected a tumor on the right side of his heart, kept him overnight to give him IVs and monitor him, and set me up to see a cardiologist for an echo.
It was 5 days before he saw a cardiologist. For the first 2 days he was VERY weak and incontinent. I treated him with the utmost love and respect- 24/7 kisses, pictures, full body massages, the works. I felt like he was dying. I changed his diet to fresh cooked chicken, pork, veggies, eggs, parsley, kale, turmeric, cottage cheese, coconut oil, and sojos grain free mix. I rubbed him with lavendar and frankinsense oils to keep him calm. I treated him to raw turkey necks, turkey backs, grassfed lamb, t Bone steaks, and bully sticks. He got a can of fresh high quality sardines daily. I wanted to make sure he got the freshest food and cooked meals if this was his last rodeo. I cherished every moment and cried every day with severe anticipatory grief.
Finally it was echocardiogram and ultrasound day. As I entered the clinic, I remember feeling numb with a ton of adrenaline in order to be able to bear bad news and not break down in front of the doctor and other doggy parents there. After all, I am a 36 year old man that can only be brought to his knees by his sweet dog. After the echo was done the cardiologist came in with a smile on her face and told me that she not only saw no more accumulated fluid, but could not detect any tumors. She warned me that its more difficult to see tumors on the heart if there is not any fluid, so warned she could be wrong, but felt great after what she had seen. I remember asking her if it is most likely idiopathic and she said most likely. I then asked in disbelief, "sko I can take Namac into the mountains and go hiking again?" She smiled and said, "absolutely."
Namac- feeding off of my energy, became like a puppy again. He has a companion husky brother that he has been with his whole life (I rescued them together). Everything was so amazing....I felt some relief. Because I am crazy obsessed with my boys, I installed a 6 camera system that has 2 way audio so I could continuously check on Namac and make sure he hadn't collapsed while I was at work. Every moment I had for 3 weeks, I would check on him and when he was asleep I would talk to him and see him respond. Every time I saw him moving was like hitting the lottery. As every day went by, I felt better and better.
Three weeks of pure love and enjoyment went by. It was this past Monday and my wife called me. "Vafa, Namac's gums are a little pale. I am worried." I remember being in disbelief, yet chalking it up to my wife's inability to diagnose as well as I can. I was in denial. I rushed home. When I got to him, he had a lot of energy and was so happy to see me. I checked his gums, and although a bit pale, I pushed his gums and they turned white, then turned right back to a pale pink. I felt that he was OK, even though they were pinkish pale. Because I was worried, I made an appointment with an excellent holistic vet and took him straight for a consultation.
On the way to the vet, Namac had his beautiful head out of the window the whole way soaking up the smells and sounds. I had a hard time concentrating on the road because I was so at peace just seeing how happy he was. I finally tilted my rear view mirror and would glance at him every now and then just to feel some euphoria. We made it to the holistic vet and I promptly ask the vet to check his gums. His response- "they look nice and pink to me." I asked him to check his heart beat with a stethoscope and he had an extremely difficult time hearing a heart beat and told me, "its probably because he is such a big dog." He really had no knowledge on treating an idiopathic pericardial effusion and told me that I should give him CoQ10 and beef heart. I left the vet's office feeling I had gained nothing and was EXTREMELY worried.
When we got home that night, I took Namac and his companion (Felly) for their nightly walk and dinner. He was very ginger and slow on that walk, but he made it through and ate very well. His gums were still that pinkish pale and when I pressed them in, they went white and recovered back to the pale pink. I was worried, yet tried to stay positive. I had a sleepless night. I stayed up until 3 am monitoring him and when I checked his gums they were slightly cold, yet pink. I finally fell asleep because he looked so peaceful and I wanted him to rest.
That morning at 7 am I woke up to my wife, "Vafa! Namac's legs are wobbling!" I immediately jumped out of bed and the adrenaline and numbness came right back like a 10.0 earthquake. I went to the kitchen and he followed me in and I offered him a treat that he loves. He sniffed it, and layed back down. That was the first time in 9 years I had EVER seen him do that. The 10.0 earthquake feeling quickly was followed by a tsunami of pain, grief and sadness. I knew in that moment that my boy had something serious and it was back. He was not in cardiac tamponade, so I thought it MAYBE was a little fluid. He was still able to walk, all be it, very very slowly.
I took him back to the ER and got him squeezed in for an echocardiogram and ultrasound. I was shaking in the lobby and had already cancelled all my work appointments for the next couple of days expecting the bad news. The nurse technician....not even the Dr.....came in and I already knew from her serious "bad news" face. She told me he had a 1.5cm to 2.5 cm tumor on his heart and they were 99% sure it was hemangiosarcoma. She said he had fluid around his heart and tummy and they had extracted 360 mll of fluid! They told me he was stable and my options were
surgery or chemo. I was told the surgery involved them breaking his ribs to gain entry to the heart and perform open heart surgery, while its beating, to remove the tumor. Then they suggested I could do chemo in conjunction and he may live 1-3 months if the surgery was a success. I asked if he could die on the operating table and they said it has happened a number of times. I thought to myself that him dying without me was NOT an option.
I was devastated and took him home after his procedure. His gums were nice and pink and he had a vigorous appetite that evening but was limping and very slow. I knew he was declining. He had diarrhea like water over the next 3 days. Being the selfish owner I am, I clung to hope and had him on yunnan baiyo and ordered a bottle of turkey tail mushroom in hopes of a miracle.
On that 3rd day, I had come home with my wife at 5pm after an appointment and we didn't hear him barking and howling when we opened the garage. I knew he was alive though because of the camera. I had bought him some new chew toys and I opened the door and started squeaking his toy. He cried with joy and tried his damndest to jump up and grab it. He grabbed the toy and went to his bed and started guarding it. I kneeled down and checked his gums. They were ice cold and pale. His breath was cold as well. I looked at my wife and gave her a thumbs down and went numb. I knew this was it. I grabbed his leash and he happily came outside with Felly. I told my wife, "this is our last walk." He made it about 5 minutes to a grassy hill where he loved to relax. He stumbled and collapsed right in his favorite grassy spot and began to decline right in front of my eyes. I tried not to let him see my fear and just kissed him, massaged him and sang to him. Every time I thought he would take his last breath he would fight back and try to raise his head. I felt terrible for him and called my wife to grab the things and pick me up to take him to the ER.
After loading him into the car with Felly, he seemed more relaxed and layed down and panted with a relaxed smile on his face. I called my family and they met me at the ER. When we reached the ER his gums had turned a bit pink again. I asked them to check to see if he had fluid. They came back 10 minutes later and told me that blood was collecting around his heart again. I had to make a terribly tough decision, but it involved my whole family. As we were discussing, Namac vomited his last 2 meals undigested. I think this was his way of telling me that he was done. I asked the Dr. to Euthanize him.
In a nice cozy and dim room, surrounded by family and our family dogs, Namac was layed to rest. He was upset when he saw the needle, but as I massaged him and sang to him he turned into putty in my arms. He trusted me so much. I didn't cry. I was brave for him so he wasn't frightened. Once relaxed, I gave the doctor the nod. She injected him and within 10 seconds he went lifeless in my arms. Once I knew he was gone, I continued to kiss him and cried violently. I saw my family get upset and I calmed down. I allowed Felly to inspect his body and I knew he knew what was going on. I know he needed to not wonder where Namac went if I didn't bring him.
Its almost 24 hours since this happened. My keyboard is soaked. I feel so empty, lost, and have no idea how I can ever get through this. Felly is depressed. He was the alpha. He was beautiful. He was loving. He was loyal.
I miss him. He was my rock. He was my baby.
I'm glad those 3 weeks I thought it was idiopathic. It allowed me to give him relaxed love and have less grief.
He had an amazing life and I pray to God we are reunited again.
I hope this story did not upset anyone.
Love and peace.