I finally can right about it, I think. It's still so hard knowing she's gone. I have an especially hard time each night when I climb into bed. Kalli and Molly were my bed-warmers and now Kalli is missing. I know the feeling of loss will lessen as time goes by, but it's difficult just the same.
So what happened is the question I get at least once each day. Here's the story:
The last week of November Kalli had a bad smell in her mouth. I brushed it off because dog's smell sometimes. I thought she may had eaten something or had a virus; nothing else was wrong so I dismissed the smell.
Over the next for weeks, the smell didn't subside. She started to drool a lot more. She ate and played and was...normal except she seemed to have lost weight.
Finally, 10 days before Christmas her drool became really thick and had a pinkish tint. I took her to the vet the next morning.
She had lost 12 pounds in about eight weeks. She had thick drool which I found out had blood mixed in it. Her glands were really swollen and she had developed lumps throughout her body. Kalli wouldn't open her mouth for the vet, but she suspected Malignant Melanoma. To confirm the diagnosis the vet requested anesthetic.
The next day Kalli was put under and the vet called to inform me that she removed a racquetball sized tumor from the back of Kalli's throat. The tumor was most likely Malignant Melanoma, and the x-rays showed that Kalli had growths in her lungs. The vet suspected the cancer had metastasized. To confirm the diagnosis, lab work was completed.
A few days before Christmas, the vet confirmed her worst case scenario. Kalli had a very aggressive form of Malignant Melanoma that had metastasized to her lungs. The vet told us that Kalli had two to six weeks to live.
Malignant Melanoma is a tumor arising from melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment. Although there is no known cause of malignant melanoma, the predisposition of many breeds makes many researches believe there is a genetic predisposition for this disease.
Malignant melanoma can originate from different areas in the body, most often the oral cavity, skin, and digits. The aggressiveness of the tumore and the likelihood of the metastasis vary with the tumor location. Any organ may be affected by a metastatic melanoma (tumor that has spread from a primary site).
Melanoma is more commonly in dogs than cats and primarily affects middle-aged to older pets (often 9 to 12 years). Black dogs may be predisposed. Kalli was 10 years old.
I was shocked and heart-broken but determined to spend our last Christmas and New Year's celebrating with Kalli and the family. The holidays were wonderful.
The following week at Kalli's check-up, the vet was surprised at Kalli's fast healing and weight gain. The vet said Kalli may fight longer than she expected. I was thrilled but stand-offish because I knew the end was near regardless.
Kalli did well until Jan. 4 when she her health spiraled downward overnight. She whined and paced all night long and made multiple trips outside. Since she seemed fine the next morning, I went to work. When I got home, I found blood and diarrhea all over the house.
Kevin and I took Kalli to the vet. They immediately gave her shots and medicine to get the bleeding stopped. They kept her overnight to observe her and get her to eat. I called many times throughout the next day to check on her. She was eating but wasn't having any bowel movements. The vet wanted to see a bowel movement before releasing her.
At 4:30 p.m. Jan. 6, the vet called me to tell me to come to the office. Kalli was bleeding badly and they couldn't stop it. It was time.
Kevin and I rushed to see Kalli. (Thankfully my parents' were able to keep Isabella.) The vet came in the room without Kalli to prepare us. The vet said they had to clean Kalli up before letting us see her because of the blood. I didn't know what to expect - Was she weak and lethargic?. The vet brought Kalli in who was excited to see us. She jumped and licked and wagged her tail, all while blood dripped to the floor. The vet explained that Kalli would bleed to death. The cancer had spread to her intestines. There was nothing left for them to do.
Kevin and I held Kalli in our arms as she went to sleep. She fought it until the very end. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to see.
Now we have a dog angel in heaven watching from above.