Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, how I wish I was at work instead of writing this post. How I wish I would wake up from this and find out it has all been a nightmare. How I wish I hadn't have even crawled out of bed this morning.

Several hours ago, Michael and I took Tessa for a second opinion regarding her enlarged lymph nodes. The antibiotics that the first vet gave us weren't doing any good as far as we could tell, and after my extensive internet research, I was really feeling like we needed to at least have some tests done. After talking about it on Saturday night, Michael and I decided that we would take Tess into our old vet (she used to go there as a small puppy) to see what they came up with. So I called first thing this morning and took the earliest appointment available.

Well, our worst fears were pretty much confirmed.

The vet did a needle aspiration of one of her lymph nodes, and looked at it under the microscope. After what seemed like an eternity, she came back in to tell us the bad news. She and another doctor both looked at the slide, and both agreed that the cells are consistent with lymphoma.

Deep down inside, I knew this was going to be the outcome. I knew it when I went to bed last night. I knew it when I woke up this morning. I knew it as I was driving her to the vet.

I just really, really didn't want it to be true.

Our dog. Our sweetheart, loveable, adorable, snuggly dog. With the best personality ever. Only 2 years old.


It's truly unbelievable. There are not enough tears in the world to convey what a blow this is to us. We don't have kids yet, so Tessa is our baby. We love her and treat her as such. It is so unbelievably sad to think we will not have her for as long as we thought we would. I am an emotional basketcase. And really, this is just the beginning of it all.

Simply put: We are devastated.

Lymphoma is incurable, so we know that no matter what treatment we ultimately decide to go with, our time is limited.

She's not even sick. She's still her normal, happy, energetic self. I try to be thankful for that, but at the same time, it actually makes dealing with this a little bit harder. I look at her little face and know she has no idea why I'm crying. And it's difficult to believe you have a terminally ill dog when she acts as if nothing is happening.

For now, I am trying to concentrate on the next steps. We are taking her in for surgery later this week. They are going to remove one of her enlarged lymph nodes to send it to pathology so that we can have a definitive diagnosis. As much as they said that they are pretty sure of (or "leaning toward") lymphoma, we won't actually know for absolute certain until the biopsy comes back. That will take approximately 1 week after the surgery. So we have more waiting in store for us.

Right now, we have to wait for her bloodwork and urinalysis to come back to make sure she is healthy enough to handle anesthesia. I can't imagine she won't be--she is one of the healthiest dogs out there.

Well, I guess she was the healthiest. Before this.

Needless to say, this is a very hard time for us. We didn't go into work after the appointment because it is too hard. I'm not even sure how I will move forward from here. I don't know how I'm going to go to work tomorrow. Or the next day. Or even the next day. How do we leave her alone at home, knowing that she's sick and we have such little time with her? Now, every moment is precious.

I just can't believe that this is happening to us. It's just one of those things you always try not to think about. Michael and I are the kind of people who are really grateful for the things we have. We have, on probably hundreds of occasions, sat back, looked at each other, and talked about how awesome Tessa is. How lucky we are to have her.

We have spent time contemplating where she would have ended up if she didn't end up with us. And we've been thankful that out of all the dogs in the world, we ended up with her. Because in our eyes, she is the perfect dog.

And now this.

We also have to tell the rest of our family members. I called my mom, and that was hard enough. Our family loves her as much as we do. Tessa comes to every family gathering on my side of the family. She's a true member of the family. My mom calls her the first grandbaby. I mean, seriously. She could not be more loved.

One thing is for sure: Life completely and totally sucks right now.

It's just not fair.


jenn November 3, 2008 at 2:20 PM  

Oh no :( Nothing I can say will make you feel better but know that I am thinking of the 3 of you! Much love to Tessa.

When we lost our family dog she was like a sister to me- I can't imagine how you guys feel :( Ugh...

Anonymous,  November 3, 2008 at 2:22 PM  


I am so sorry!! I know how much you love that dog! I will be keep in you in my prayers!

noisy penguin November 3, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

I'm so sorry Heather. I can't imagine how terrible you must feel. You guys are in my thoughts.

Amy November 3, 2008 at 2:36 PM  

I'm so sorry about your dog! I couldn't imagine going through what you are going through right now. :(

Gia November 3, 2008 at 2:44 PM  

I am so sorry to hear about Tessa. I know how terrible this truly is and how hard it is to deal with. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

hopeful #1 November 3, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

My heart goes out to you. I lost my cat very tragically and I will never forget the unconditional love that he shared with our family. My husband and I don't have kids either and our pets are our children. It's so hard when you are faced with something like this.

I pray for you and your husband, Tessa and your time that you have together. May you enjoy it to the fullest!

SouthwestNYer November 3, 2008 at 2:57 PM  

Oh my goodness I am so sorry! Words can not tell you how sorry I am.

Natalie November 3, 2008 at 3:05 PM  

I understand exactly what you are going through. Much love to all three of you and anyone whose life was touched by Tessa.

Anonymous,  November 3, 2008 at 3:14 PM  

I'm so sorry, and definitely thinking of you. FH and I also have 2 dogs that are our babies, and I cannot imagine dealing with this.

Jen November 3, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

I'm so sorry :( I'll keep her in my prayers.

Kristin November 3, 2008 at 3:32 PM  

I'm so sorry Heather. I lost my dog to cancer a few years ago and I still cry when I think about him. Treasure the time you have with Tessa and know that while she made your life better, you also gave a lot of love to her as well!

Sarah November 3, 2008 at 3:42 PM  

Man, that just sucks. We had to put down our dog a few years ago, he had cancer and all of a sudden one day lost his sight and started fitting. Our whole family was devastated, even my dad couldn't hold himself together. Enjoy the time you have left with her, and be thankful for the happy memories!

Linda November 3, 2008 at 3:42 PM  

I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to all of you! Take care of yourselves!

Hailey November 3, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

Oh my goodness. I am crying just reading your post. I am so sorry for you and Michael and poor Tess. My heart goes out to you guys. I just want to give you all a hug.
My dogs are 10 and up now and just that alone makes me wonder about how much time I have left with them. They also have health problems, although nothing like Tess.
They are my babies, my family, my furchildren...and we all hope that Tess has a happy life.
Love Hailey, Rusty, Miss P, and Kiki

Katy November 3, 2008 at 4:59 PM  

I'm so sorry, we have a furbaby too and I can't stand the thought of anything happening to her. Our thoughts and prayers go out for you.

erica November 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

i know i'm a stranger but i read your blog often (a road-to-the-aisle follower) and just want to tell you how sorry i am to hear this. as other said, nothing can be said to make it different, but my thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

Cara,  November 3, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

Hey, Heather. I have a miniature dachshund just like Tessa. I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm so sorry.

Chelsey November 3, 2008 at 6:17 PM  

Aww, Heather, so sorry to hear that! I'll pray for Tessa to get better and that the time you have left with her is precious. My heart goes out to you guys right now!

Brittany November 3, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

I am so sorry to hear about Tessa! :( My husband and I have a 2 year old Yorkie who, like Tess in your family, is our pride and joy, and I cannot imagine what you and your husband are going through. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers!

Alison November 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM  

I'm so sorry, I know how rough that can be... hoping that she stays healthy for as long as possible!

tab890 November 3, 2008 at 11:22 PM  

I'm SO sorry to hear about poor Tessa. I hope everything goes well with the surgery, your family will of course be in my thoughts...

Alicia November 4, 2008 at 12:35 AM  

I'm SO sorry to hear this - it seriously made me cry. That's so horrible and what makes it worse is that she's only two! Just be optimistic that she'll live for a few more years. Know that she's had a great life with you and Michael and the rest of your family. I'm sure she is happy to have had you guys as her mommy and daddy. I'll definitely keep you guys and Tessa in my prayers.

I have a 4 year old dog, Carmen, and I can't even imagine how you must feel right now. Make the time you have left with her memorable and enjoyable.


Sara November 4, 2008 at 3:24 AM  

our prayers are with you and tessa. I know how easy it is to fall in love with your pets and how deep the connection can be. It's terrible, i'm so sorry....

Anonymous,  November 4, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

:( This is so Sad! Heather, I'm sorry you have to go through this. You guys are in my thoughts!

Renee November 4, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

I'm so sorry Heather.. you're in my thoughts.

Jen November 4, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

Heather, I'm so sorry you and your husband (and Tessa!) are going through this. Keep your head up and just know that Tessa is the luckiest dog in the world to have you as her family.

Anonymous,  November 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM  

I cannot imagine what you and Michael are going through. I don't know you from Adam, but I've read your blog consistantly and my heart truly goes out to you. I cannot stop crying here at work for your family and what you are going through. Your family and especially Tessa will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Julia and Kurtis Kracke November 4, 2008 at 11:42 AM  

Our hearts go out to you and Michael. We are so sorry to hear about Tess. She is such a sweetie and I really enjoyed meeting her when all the girls were getting ready for your wedding. We just lost a kitty very unexpectedly so we know how you feel. It will get better, day by day, it just takes time, and thankfully you still have time to spend with Tess and let her know how much you love her. Give that little puppy a hug for us and please let us know if there is anything we can do. All our best.

Anonymous,  November 4, 2008 at 12:54 PM  

Heather - I'm so sorry to hear about Tessa. I don't you know you or her but it's easy to see how much you all love her.

Hang in there, and just try to make the most of every moment you have with her, as you said.

Stephanie November 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM  

I'm so sorry to hear that! That is so aweful! I lost my dog of 13 years right after my husband and I got married, it was like losing a member of my family.

Sarah November 4, 2008 at 4:38 PM  

I'm really sorry to hear about Tess. I was really concerned when you first mentinoed the lymph nodes. i had high hopes that they were just fatty deposits. My husband lost his dog of 12 years back in March. We found out last September that she had cancer. Her body wasn't producing enough enzymes to break down food. She couldn't keep anything down and her body just deteriorated. We don't have any kids but our animals are our kids. It was just as hard for us to lose her as it was a family member. Nothing I can say will make you feel any better about your siatution but take lots of pictures and do the extra fun things while you can. Ice cream cones or happy meals...whatever it is. (Asi sit here bawling). Those are the kinds of moments you want to remember.

Melissa November 4, 2008 at 5:10 PM  

Im so sorry to hear about this. I know you dont "know me", but I lost my dog to lymphoma in 2005. If you need to talk I defintely would love to lend an ear.

I have Tess in my prayers!

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