My heart is aching and broken into a million pieces right now. We had to put Stoli (Kitty) to sleep a month ago (1/2/12) today and it still kills me. My mind is still reeling at the reality of it all and that the world continues to turn without Stoli in it. My sadness and grief have lessened over the last month but still takes my breath away.
Stoli was my first child. An only child for three years until Dudey came along and with us for four years before I had Brady. So losing her isn’t just losing a dog – it’s losing a best friend and member of the family. She was a constant in my life, there every day (except when she was with Nana and Papa) and meant so much to me.
I feel so overwhelmed I just want to turn back time and change things. I wish this was one of those things you could just undo. I want violently push off the grief and sadness and have my Kitty back. I want control. I want to be able to fix this. I want things back to how they were. No matter how rough things got, we still had each other and that included Kitty.
The whole thing still seems so unexpected to me. Stoli had a couple of episodes with her breathing this year (the first in May, the second after coming out of surgery in August, and another in late December) but every time she had an issue, it proved to be okay and resolved with steroids and medication. I was really concerned and thought she might die after the first episode but the others weren’t as worrisome because the vet said Stoli was in great health except for these blips. After the one on December 20th, the vet suggested I should consult with a surgeon and consider having Stoli’s elongated soft palate shortened and checking for (and removing if needed) everted laryngeal saccules.
Since we were going to San Antonio for Brady’s birthday and Christmas, we put off making an appointment with the surgeon until the following week. As luck would have it with other appointments or meetings that Casey and I had scheduled, we had to schedule Stoli’s surgery for Casey’s birthday. The surgeon told us she that if she sedated Stoli and deemed she needed her elongated soft palate shortened and her laryngeal saccules removed that she would do the surgery right then and call us to let us know how it went. According to the surgeon, the surgery went smoothly and she was able to trim back her soft palate and remove the saccules that had turned gristly and were occluding 80% of her airway.
I was so relieved that I was able to pick her up and take her home on Friday. She was so happy to see me and seemed (mostly) like herself (she sometimes has a hard time shaking off the anethesia). It was a relief when she showed an interest in food and water as soon as she got home on Friday. She was still breathing kind of heavily and sounded congested but the surgeon said she thought it was just the after effects of the surgery.
When she stopped drinking water and showing an interest in food on Saturday, I thought she was having a hard time shaking off the anethesia again and would be back to her usual self in no time. When Sunday rolled around I got hopeful because she was eating more and voluntarily drank a few laps of water. I started worrying some as I drove her to the vet and she vomited again and then again when I left her at the emergency clinic overnight. I’m grateful I thought to take pictures of her while I was in the room with her before leaving but even driving home I wasn’t too concerned. The vet didn’t think she was dehydrated but that there was a possible case of pneumonia that would need to be treated.
I was relieved when I was woken up this morning and the surgeon (not the other vet there over the weekend) said Stoli looked good and her oxygen saturation was stable and at a good level and there was no pneumonia. I started worrying when the vet called back two hours later to say Stoli had an episode where she started turning purple and they had to put oxygen on her. My world started spinning out of control less than 30 minutes after that when the doctor confirmed that Stoli had laryngeal collapse and wasn’t getting very limited air on her own and that the two options were to place a permanent trach tube (which she didn’t recommend and had seen poor outcomes on and said she wouldn’t do it to her own dog) or put her to sleep while she was still under anesthesia since she doubted she’d be able to breath again on her own without the tube (I asked if we could wake her up to say goodbye).
So again, I’m not okay with this. I don’t feel at peace, feel completely blindsided, and don’t feel closure. I feel an emptiness and a sadness in everything I do. I just love and miss her so much.
I wrote this as the short tribute on my mommy blog and it’s the short, sweet tribute I wrote.
“My sweet baby, I’ll always be your mama and am so lucky and forever grateful that we had 7 wonderful years together. I only wish we had more time together but I’ll look forward to seeing you again in heaven one day. My heart is broken and a piece of it will forever belong to you. I love and miss you so much. Goodnight, sweet angel. You’ll never be forgotten. RIP 9/19/04 – 1/2/12”