An Update On Lily
Well, 2023 isn’t off to a good start. I have had a few of you ask me what’s going on with Lily (thanks for caring by the way) and it’s not good. Her health has been declining over the past 3 months but I think I was in denial that her “time” was approaching because when she was originally diagnosed in September of 2021, we were told that she had like 4-6 (maybe 8) months to live and that was WITH chemo. We opted for no chemo for many reasons and went with the 2nd treatment option given to us. We assumed it meant less time but BETTER time. So here we are, almost a year and a half later. She’s still here and was doing GREAT for the first year after her diagnosis. The tumor wasn’t growing, she was her normal happy/energetic/silly/sweet self. I’m BEYOND thankful for every minute, especially the ones beyond the time frame we were given.
Anyway, her tumor, which has been very slow growing for a year, finally began growing quickly over the past 4-ish months and is now taking up more space in her chest – making it difficult for her to breath at times. The heat makes it worse, so we’ve been foregoing keeping the house too warm and spending a lot of time outside with her in the cold to make it easier for her to breathe. Then a vet visit last week showed that her white blood count is extremely low and her liver is greatly suffering from being on over a year of medications (including steroid’s). The vet significantly reduced her meds and put her on some all natural liver support supplements to see if we can’t get her somewhat stabilized and get her liver numbers down. No idea if what we are doing will help but I’m hopeful, I’m always hopeful. We follow up on Tuesday and will know more then. My heart hurts. Bad. I spend a big part of the day crying and the other part fighting back tears (though I’m mindful to try to not do it in front of Lily too much because I don’t want to stress her out). My house is a disaster because I spend the time I “should” be cleaning, loving on Lily and smothering her with hugs and kisses. The house can be cleaned later. I can’t express my love to her after she is gone. I’m not ready, we just lost Otis in 2021, I’m not even remotely healed from that loss yet. Deep breaths. They aren’t actually helping though.
I’m “supposed” to be leaving for Chile on Wednesday BUT literally won’t know if I am actually going to board that plane until the day before, when we get the updated results at her next vet appointment. The vet said he would be honest with me last week when I asked him if I should just cancel my upcoming trip later this month. He said “not yet, let’s see if we can’t get her to turn a corner”. Ok, I trust him. The ONLY thing that makes me feel bad about not going on this trip is that I have a group of people who were counting on me to go and lead them on a whirlwind trip across Chile. So if I don’t go, of course I’m going to feel bad (although they are aware of the situation, I am not leaving them in the dark). If she’s stabilizing though, and seems to be improving, then I will go BUT go knowing that I may get a phone call at any time, telling me that need to leave Chile early. If this was a solo trip, I would’ve cancelled it last week already . . . but it’s not. That complicates things slightly. If things haven’t improved though, then it’s a no brainer, I’m staying home with her. It’s any easy decision to be here with her during her last days/weeks, no hesitation. She’s my girl, I’m her human. I honestly would not have a single regret about cancelling my trip to spend that time with her. I would’ve canceled this trip months ago but I thought we had more time. From what I had been told by her oncologist, we suspected we had until around March with her. So I cancelled the trip I had planned to go back to Iceland in February, as well as our trip New York in March. To make sure I was home for her “in the end”. I didn’t even think to cancel Chile because it was 2 months removed from March. Maybe I was too optimistic? Maybe I was in denial? I don’t know. Traveling can wait. Lily can’t. I love traveling BUT I love my fur babies WAY more. Money comes and goes, plane tickets can be repurchased. My sweet Lily needs me now and I literally don’t want to imagine not being here with her in her last moments.
The gut punches that life throws at you sometimes really hurt. I know now that 2023 is going to full of a lot of tears, heartache and navigating past traumas for me. I know losing Lily is also going to make having just lost Otis in 2021 feel so raw again. The truth is, I never let Otis go. He went so suddenly, that I just didn’t have the capacity to allow myself to let him go. I think I used knowing that Otis and Lily came from the same litter as a scapegoat to tricking myself into thinking that I still had a piece of him here, he wasn’t actually gone. I give her double love since he passed because in my weird mind, I feel like I’m hugging them both since they are siblings. It guess its been my weird way of trying to cope. Really, I’ve been in denial. Still, I can’t accept that he’s gone. When she is no longer here, it’s going to get uglier inside of me, I know it. I will be grieving her loss and his all over again. They will both officially be gone from my reality and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to navigate it. I could really use your prayers though that’s for sure. So can the rest of our family, humans and fur alike. Her loss is going to be felt deeply and differently by all of us.