A little story about my four-legged daughter, Lux

(she's lying on top of B in this photo but I had to photoshop his nekid body out lol)

Recently, I've been missing little Luxy a lot. Because we have to create a timeline of the history of B and my relationship (as a part of the visa application), I've been looking at all the old photos, including the ones of her. It's been almost 8 months since Lux's passing and I still think about her every day.

B and I mostly keep the details of Lux's illness between ourselves and our families. I guess we didn't want to shock anyone or wanted anyone to think of Lux as being ill. I remember vividly the day that we found out that she had a large brain tumour deep in the center of her brain - apparently something that all Labradors are predisposed to. The doctor said it was inoperable and that she only had 3 months left to live. I remember looking at her happy, bouncy and excited self and thinking: how is that possible? True enough, 3 months later, her tumour seem too much for her to bear. And almost 4 months from the day we received the terrible news, we decided to let her go.

The first time we discovered she was ill was when I got shocked out of bed in the middle of the night. I remember being restless that night... I just could not fall asleep no matter how hard I tried. I kept staring at Lux's shadow and jumping out of bed when I hear noises of her feet scratching against the cupboard (just a stretch). I just felt so uneasy and I knew she was not well. She just was not herself the past few days and sometimes she would just lay still, seemingly with exhaustion.

Just when I was about to enter deep sleep, Lux had a seizure. Everything happened so fast and in a blur, I shouted for B to wake up. I was literally frozen and could not move... I just didn't know how to help her. Its the first time I have ever seen a dog seize up. She was convulsing and looked so scary to me. It is amazing how quickly and calmly B reacted - he stuffed his bare hand into her mouth so she wouldn't hurt herself by biting her tongue. Instead, she bit him. After her seizure, my hands uncontrollably shaking, I called the vet's emergency line.

The next day, we brought her in and did a comprehensive blood test. We were hoping that she had a minor food poisoning but her blood test came out fine... she was in perfect health. All her organs were  working fine. I remember being really worried and started googling for possible reasons for canine seizures. I read and read and read, and came upon this article of canine brain tumour symptoms. Lux had every single one checked. We brought her to another clinic for a brain MRI and it was then that the doctor confirmed her tumour. She was put on prednisolone - a steroidal drug that may slow down the growth of the tumour. But while this drug helped her recover, it also slowly took away her life. She started losing muscle mass to the point that her head hollowed and she could no longer get up properly after lying down. It broke my heart every time I see her struggle to get up.

Her medication gave her 1 to 2 good months where she appeared completely normal, aside from the side effects of weakened liver, extreme thirst and hunger. She was still excited and happy all the time, and for that period of time, B and I both regained hope that she may recover (somehow her brain tumour would stop growing) and have more time with us. While she still got the occasional seizures, she was able to recover quickly. We pampered her and tried to give her as much attention as we could. She loves her food and I often indulged her.

But when the third month came, she started deteriorating quickly. She started losing her ability to walk steadily, often tripping herself or losing balance, and she started losing her eyesight. She seemed so dizzy and tired all the time. Trips to the vet became even more frequent as we tried to keep up with her seizures, but there is only so much the vet can do. Her seizures were getting longer and more intense with each one... and as she gets increasingly worn out, B and I too started to feel the effects of caring for her. We worry every time we have to leave the house. Getting Lux to go downstairs for her routine pee and poo became nearly impossible sometimes and we had to do a lot of cleaning at home. When I have to be home alone with her, I sometimes repeat to myself "it will be okay, it will be okay" because I was so afraid to be alone if she were to have a seizure.

As her seizures became more and more intense, we were given drugs to be administered to her. One bad week of multiple seizures, the vet put a catheter in her arm and we were instructed to inject a sedative drug to help her calm down. Too intense of a seizure could cause her to over heat, causing heat stroke and brain damage. While B had experience previously with it, this was completely new to me and I dreaded using it. But as a mummy, when your baby needs your help, you have no choice but to be strong and so I did. I felt that I have no right to be afraid because Lux must be even more afraid and she needs us.

Throughout this time, B and I were asking ourselves if it's time to let her go and take the pain away from her. But every time I see her condition improve, even by 1%, I doubted my decision. This went on for a while. While I read that seizures are not painful (I really hope so), they cause dogs to be in a panicked and hypersensitive state. The first few times it happened, Lux would unrelentlessly pace the house in a robotic manner and get stuck in corners because she had no idea where she was. But as she got sicker, she just could not get up after a seizure. She would just lay there, eyes wide open, panting. She takes comfort in knowing that B is beside her and that really helps calm her down.

The last straw came when she had 2 seizures in a day, causing her to be almost immobile. The next day, we were getting some school work done, Lux had a seizure but this time, she did not even have to energy to move. Her muscles did not twitch and her legs did not move. It was really heartbreaking to see her pant and have a seizure but not be able to do anything about it. After the seizure, we decided to help her and give her a quick bath. Seizures causes dogs to lose control of their bowels, often dirtying themselves. As she laid down on the bathroom floor, B gently showered her. Her eyes were completely closed as if she was sleeping... her breathing shallow... just too tired. At one point, both of us nearly fainted because we thought she had stopped breathing. We were really scared.

It was that day that we decided that this damn tumour has gotten too big and too painful for Luxy. She has lost her quality of life, her ability to move... She does not know what is happening to her and constantly gets frustrated at herself. The vet confirmed that her blood pressure is low and she seem to have lost most of her eyesight. We decided to say goodbye to our baby at the vet and watched her sleep peacefully and pass on. I remember we each gave her a kiss and left. I cried and cried and cried so hard after that while B comfort me despite being heartbroken too. Despite that, I know that this is better for her and we must never be selfish and keep her with us because we would miss her.

We decided to cremate her. The next day, we went looking for a nice cookie tin to put her ashes in. Once, she ate an entire tin of Hong Kong's famous Jenny's cookies because of her insatiable appetite - I was so worried I had to call and ask the vet if that many cookies can upset her stomach! She seem to have enjoyed it though :) It is a nice and lighthearted memory of her that I want as a symbol of her. Not her sickness and not something representing her death but a cute and funny little memory.

I'm not exactly sure why I wanted to write this post... Maybe it is because I want to forget nothing about this period of time, despite the sadness. I miss Lux a lot and I still get a feeling that she will greet me at the door sometimes. I have her photos all over my walls and I will never forget about her. She is the single sweetest dog I have ever met, and I have had the privilege to be her mummy a short one and half year. I remember the exact moment that I first met her, the day we brought her to the beach, the number of times she pooped at inappropriate places, how she loves scratching her back (and food, how can I forget about food) and how she's always in the way. Luxy passed on just days after witnessing B's and my engagement and I really think that she is our little angel who brought us together. I'm sure she is happily frolicking in her little doggie heaven now with her friends :)

I would like to share this sweet article that B chanced upon just weeks after Lux's passing. Heartbreaking as it is, we completely understand their good intentions in doing what they did because we did the same.

Dogs just want to be loved and to love their family. When you're happy, they are happy too.

Sleep well my Bluxy, see you on the other side :)

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