Friday, January 11, 2008

Bringing Julie home

We just checked on Julie's condition and there is no significant change. So I will recap what we know so far.

Julie is being treated for Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia - her immune system is attacking (prematurely destroying) her red blood cells faster than her bone marrow can produce new cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all other tissues in the body, so Julie's body is starving for oxygen.

So far tests have revealed no underlying cause for Julie's body to be attacking its own red blood cells. But since there has been no sign of her bone marrow kicking in to generate new red blood cells since her transfusion and drug treatments, the doctors are recommending sending her to a specialist for a sonogram (for a closer look at her organs -- maybe there is cancer lurking somewhere that the x-rays couldn't detect) and a bone marrow test. Both of these tests are expensive and won't necessarily get us the answers we need.

We've made the extremely painful decision to bring Julie home, even though her condition has not been stabilized. We would like to continue giving her fluids and immuno-suppressant medicines through the weekend in the hope that her bone marrow may still kick in and start generating new red blood cells to replace the destroyed ones. But if she doesn't respond to this treatment we will have to make the painful decision to put her to sleep.

Words fail me to adequately express how bereft I am (we all are) about our dear, sweet Julie. She's only 5 1/2 years old. She's only lived half her life. She's not in any pain, but severely fatigued, dazed and confused. She's one of my babies and she's probably not going to survive more than a few weeks. She wants to come home, so we're bringing her home.

This is immensely hard for me. Emotionally. I don't want her to die. I don't want to see her die. There is nothing I can do to help her except make her feel comfortable and loved.

People have said to me that I am obsessively devoted to my pets. To me they are my children. (They were my children before I had children, which is not so uncommon.) They've said that once I have children of my own I will view my pets differently. I can categorically say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I do not feel differently about my pets. I still love them with my whole heart. (Well, maybe not so much the Molly fish in the fishtank. But I digress.)
They ARE my children.

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