Miss Pixie was helped across the Rainbow Bridge, yesterday. I had taken her into the vet's on Friday, because she had begun to have this raspy, gargling quality to her breathing, and she was incapable of keeping down food. I initially thought that she had contracted pneumonia ...
... turns out she had lymphoma. And three tumors had been growing in her chest and on her esophagus. On top of that, her adrenal disease was not responding that well to the des. implant, and she was insulinomic (in that her bg was in the low 70s). We were hoping that with the pred. we could both stabilize her bg and maybe reduce her GI symptoms enough that she could come home for a day or two before saying her final goodbyes.
Unfortunately, during my twice daily check ins with her vet, it was decided on Sunday that she was just declining so rapidly that it was not fair to prolong her suffering. My vet was kind, and he waited the two hours it took us to get to his office. Once there, I got to be with her for a long while, just holding her and letting her know that no, I was never going to just leave her there (and she seemed surprised to see me, happy, excited, and it broke my heart that she had went that long wtihout me, and in so much pain).
Finally, when her fits grew progressively worse, I called the doctor in and he gave me two choices. The gas chamber, to make her fall asleep and then the shot to stop her heart. Or two injections. Though the chamber method is quicker, I decided I wanted the injections, this way I could continue to hold her and be with her as she left.
It was a bit rough, seeing as how her breathing was so compromised by the placement of the tumors. With the initial sedative, she began to panic as her muscles relaxed, resulting in seizure like activity ... which was hard to bear, but I stayed calm and maneuvered her into a position that helped clear her breathing pathways. I just rocked her and told her how loved she was, and how important she would always be. She laid over my heart, and she was so warm and so soft, and I just wanted her to stay with me so that my heart could stay whole that much longer, but I knew she couldn't, that ultimately this wasn't about me any longer.
This was about her, and what she needed, that she didn't have to take this last agonizing step alone. After about 5 minutes, the vet came back in and administered the last portion into her abdomen. Truthfully, her little heart kept going far longer than expected. That's how much fight she had, almost as if she knew, no matter what I said, that I still so badly wanted her to live. Finally, though, her heart stopped, and the vet and I just stayed there for a bit, petting her.
He said all the right things. How she's peaceful now, how it was the right thing to do, how I let her go with her dignity in tact, that her only other option would have been to slowly starve to death. He said that she had won him over, and his daughter as well, during their care of her. That she was amazing, and he was so, so sorry there was nothing more we could do for her.
He even had prepared a casket. A beautiful box decorated with a flower and angel ornament, and inside was a bedding set, complete with "mattress", blanket and pillow all in a purple, patterned fabric that looked so good against Miss Pixie's coat.
I ... couldn't believe how much that care and attention helped. Like ... someone outside of myself knew just how important this little girl was to the world (however small) she inhabited.
She was my heart-ferret. She was the eternal mother, the teacher, of her business. And we are now bereft of that strong, soothing presence. It's something we won't ever get back, and I'll mourn that forever. We all will. But we will pull through this. We won't forget her, her life and her loss, but in time we can allow the sharpest pain to fade and enjoy the memories she gifted us with. The memory of six long, glorious years spent with the kindest creature I have ever known.