My dear beloved Casey's earthly journey ended peacefully this morning, shortly before 10am. I truly feel that I have lost my soul's sister.
Casey and I shared an unconditional love, and a bond that death may bend, but will not break. She had beautiful, intelligent, wide green eyes, but when they lost their lustre, I knew that I could not ask her to linger any longer in her physical body.
In one of the last photos I took of her, just 8 days ago, on November 18th, 15-year-old Casey still retained the spark and curiosity and joie de vivre of her younger days, even though she had become more pensive and deliberate as a result of the cancer that had wracked her little body for many months.
Casey had been diagnosed with an unspecified adenocarcinoma at the beginning of March, when a large growth was removed from one of her anal glands by Dr. Brian Holub of the Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Chelmsford.
Henceforth, I chose to support her by a combination of homeopathic remedies prescribed by Dr. Charles Loops, coupled with supplements and acupuncture treatments by Drs. Randy Caviness and Carol Gifford at the Integrative Animal Health Center in Bolton. Casey seemed to be thriving and doing very well until the end of August, when I noticed that she had developed a slight limp. An ultrasound confirmed my dreaded suspicions: the cancer had spread throughout many areas of Casey's body, and the prognosis was deemed to be "very grave."
But I did not give up, and neither did Casey. We dug in together, as a team, and increased the frequency of her acupuncture appointments, working primarily with Dr. Gifford to stimulate Casey's immune system, tempt her with a variety of foods, and keep her as balanced and as comfortable and as healthy as we could, given the circumstances. And Casey held her own for three more months, until just a few days ago, when her breathing became labored. On Monday, X-rays revealed that the cancer had invaded Casey's lungs. We had finally reached a mountain we could not climb.
Casey never felt sorry for herself, no matter what challenges the cancer threw at her. When an enlarged lymph node pressed against her spine and ultimately led to the loss of feeling in her left hind leg, Casey soldiered on, undeterred. She deftly ran up and down the stairs, and was able to claw her way to the top of my bed until just a few days ago.
I had known that we would not defeat the cells that were marching out of control throughout Casey's body, but I had hoped to keep them at bay a little longer. As Casey and I faced her health challenges, we became even closer than we had ever been before, and I knew, as I single-mindedly devoted myself to her care, that it would make it even more painful when I had to say good-bye.