Oh, I am terribly sorry to hear this. Poor Russell. Poor you.
As the owner of 2 Shih Tzus, I would be floored by this if one of mine had that diagnosis.
Re the insurance... here in the UK pet insurance is much more common that over in the States, so I understand.
Pups often come with 3 months insurance cover when they come from the breeder, and then the expectation is that owners continue, or shop around. I have insured several cats and even pet rats when they lived with me.
My experience with the cat insurance was that every time I wanted to claim, there was a significant excess, or the item wasn't covered. I think I got a total of £200 out the insurance co. in that whole 12 years. When I started the policy I was paying £8 a month in year 1. By year 12 I was paying £360 a year. Definitely not value for money!!!
Now we have the dogs, I have taken a different tack. Instead of paying into an insurance company's coffers, each month for the entire life of each dog, I have taken out a Standing Order that automatically pays £55 a month into a savings account where it will grow and accrue interest for the whole of their lives. I intend to increase the monthly payment in line with inflation. So far, all vets bills have come out of my pocket, not the savings account, so the amount is growing nicely.
Having said that, there is an area of risk that is not covered - that of the dogs causing damage to other people and property (such as them running out into the road, causing a car accident, and me being sued for large amounts). Most insurance policies include this in their cover, and of course, I don't have that.
: mature setup; betta, purple rasboras, male guppies, amano and wood shrimp. Heavily planted.
22litre cube tank
: (Tagawa); betta, yellow dwarf shrimp. Pond snails and 1 assassin. Heavily planted.
Midnight in the 57litre tank
(Midnight) ember tetras, 1 amano, 1 ghost, 1 nerite, pond snails, 1 assassin, doing his thing. Heavily planted.
; honey gourami, cherry barbs, green neons, otocinclus, nerites, pond snails, amano. Heavily planted.