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Author Topic: Vet Failed Me - And Maybe Tumor Support (Ranger? Ned?)  (Read 2541 times)
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ubergigglefritz
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« on: November 11, 2011, 11:24:59 AM »

I euthanized my cat back in February of this year. I continue to struggle with coming to peace with his passing, because I feel like there was more I could have done. If nothing else, more I could have found out by seeing and talking to a specialist, even if I couldn't have afforded treatment. Or maybe I would have found out that what he had was not very treatable anyway.

Anyway, he was an older cat (but not SUPER old), maybe 15+. He was a rescue, so I don't know his exact age. He was very healthy until his symptoms started. All his blood work was fine, he was eating, drinking, using the litter box, and running around playing with my younger cat. He went from this to pretty much completely debilitated in less than a month. At his worst, he could barely stand, and would get thrown off balance very easily. He had a very hard time keeping his balance when walking, and eventually didn't even have the balance to get in and out of the litter box (so used puppy pads towards the end). One of my most heart-breaking memories is him standing there, and my younger female cat (he was her HERO =) walked up to him and gave him a love nudge like she always did, but in his condition, it threw him completely off balance, and sent him rolling in a panic onto his back =( It breaks my heart thinking about how my younger cat must have been feeling to cause that happening, and to be watching all these changes in her best friend in such a short period of time...

In the beginning, all I noticed was just a little wobbling when he was standing. I thought he was just getting old. That's all the vet thought too, so prescribed something to help with what he thought was arthritis. When the arthritis medicine didn't help and his conditions got worse, I took him into the vet for a neurologic exam. He subsequently failed that test miserably, and my vet told me that it was just a matter of quality of life, and there was nothing I could really do. He said that I could do an MRI, but that even if it showed something, that I couldn't do anything, since they don't do brain surgery on a cat, and it was a very expensive procedure, so implied that it would be a stupid thing to do.

Right after euthanizing him, I spent a lot of time being upset, because I would never know what was wrong, and still worried that it wasn't a tumor or something, and in actuality, was something that I unintentionally caused. Just a ton of guilt.

My feelings about the whole experience resurfaced when my ex went through something similar with his dog (at the same vet practice, but a different vet) maybe a month or so ago. Only he was told by his vet that he should do whatever he can afford, since even if they find out they can't do anything, that he would know what was wrong. Completely different attitude. Because it was a dog, instead of a cat? Maybe :-/

I woke up this morning with a lot of thoughts for some reason. I went on my computer and started looking stuff up (and found this forum). Not only do people do brain surgery on cats, but there are vet neurologist practices specifically for the purposes that I was in need of, and many in my state even. I'm angry, because I feel like upon seeing how my cat was with his neurologic tests, he should have immediately told me that I could take him to one of these specialists to see what they think. Even if I could not afford an MRI, I could have afforded a specialist consultation at the very least. And they would have been much more knowledgeable in medicines, maybe there was something I could have given my cat to make him more comfortable, if nothing else =(

There is so much regret about everything in the experience. And so much worry about the pain he was in, that I wasn't able to help. Even the euthanasia didn't seem to go quite right. I worry that he didn't get enough sedation and was in more pain and scared through the process =( I just want some peace...

Thanks for reading... =(
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Spartycats
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 12:14:01 PM »

Welcome!

I'm so sorry to hear how hard this has been for you.  I hope you can find the peace that you were able to give your kitty.  Also remember he is not in pain now, and that he is always with you, in your heart.

I'm sure it's difficult to think about, but do you think it might help to talk to the vet sometime?  (Do you take your younger cat there?).  It might help to express your misgivings and concerns.  Perhaps your cat's rapid decline, and his neurological test, told your vet more than he spelled out to you - maybe about how quickly a tumor was growing, or it's probable location.  Maybe it will just help to tell him how you feel.

Also, in my area, there are pet-loss support groups, and they can be very helpful.  Perhaps there is one where you are?

I can tell by your post, how much your kitty was loved and cared for.  I hope you can find comfort in that.

 
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Meowli
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Oscar


« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 12:44:48 PM »

Welcome to Itchmo, sorry it was under sad circumstances, though. Most of us here have gone through the awful "what if" thinking in our grief over our beloved pets. I think it is part of the grieving process. I agree that you should try to talk to the vet, though, maybe there were more answers from the testing than you know.

You are not alone. Many {{hugs}}

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Carol
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 12:47:52 PM »

I am sorry to read your post but glad you found this forum...One of the worst things we do to ourselves is to second guess or think of the "what ifs" that could have been...I know these serve no purpose but I too am struggling with a recent loss and "what if" but I know it will do us more harm than good...what does us good is to talk (or post) and reach out for comfort or just have someone listen...people here really care...whether you are a newbie with one post or a member since the beginning---it does not matter....Misery needs company and posters here offer that.  I hope you can work through some of your feelings here....you sure found the right place.
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catbird
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 01:30:01 PM »

As others have said, second-guessing our decisions is often part of the grieving process.   We all do the best we can in the circumstances, and you did not do anything wrong, nor are you to blame.  The decision you made was loving, because you did not want your beloved kitty to suffer.  I am sure that he understood your love.  As I know from personal experience, receiving a diagnosis like this about a much-loved cat is often very traumatic, and the circumstances of their passing can stay with you for a long time.

Grief often works in the way you expressed today--people suddenly wake up with a whole rush of strong feelings again.  Talking about it often helps.  You have been very honest and courageous in your post.

Here is a thread with some other links that people have found helpful:

http://itchmoforums.com/memorials-and-support/mourning-the-death-of-a-pet-t10956.0.html

Sending {{{hugs}}}
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catwoods
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 03:07:06 PM »

I'm so sorry to read of the loss of your kitty. I recently had losses of both a pet and a human family member and I'm caught up in the "whatifs" about treatment option choices, that you and others describe. It seems to be part of the grief process, as others have said.

I think talking this through with the vet is an excellent idea. I hope that will give you some answers that will lead to a more peaceful feeling.

Also good ideas, reaching out here at the forum, the pet loss groups and the thread here in memorials and support, which I'm going to revisit myself.

Many hugs and hopes going out for you.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 03:11:29 PM by catwoods » Logged
lesliek
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 03:45:18 PM »

Welcome ubergigglefritz ! I am so sorry for your loss. As others have said, 2nd guessing decisions is a normal part or grieving, but you need to realize that you made the best decision you could with the knowledge you had. Your choice was made out of your love for your cat and not wanting him to suffer. That can never be wrong. I also had a recent loss and am questioning whether I waited too long. No matter which way you decide there are always doubts. Know that your kitty understands how much you loved him and that he is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge, happy, young and healthy again.
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ubergigglefritz
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 04:09:00 PM »

Thanks everyone for your responses =) I must have had a dream or something last night, because of my morning revelation and resulting emotions all day... I have found a feline only clinic in my area that may be a better fit for me. I don't know if I can go back after the feeling of prejudice against cats. I don't know :-/ There was a review online for this clinic that addressed my exact situation. She said that they were the only ones to take her seriously when her cat had cancer. If I talk to my old vet about it, it will be not at an appointment... Not exactly sure how to go about that, but I would hate for anyone else who is a client there to get the same "advice". But if I will get better service at this other clinic, I am hoping that knowing my other cats will be in better hands if they become ill, might make me feel that at least something good might come out of my experience :-/

His "neurologic" test was basically just testing different responses from my cat, it wasn't anything internal, and all in front of me. It did indicate that he was in pretty poor condition, but my vet said specifically about how even if the MRI shows something, it's not like they would do brain surgery on a cat. In hindsight, that is not an acceptable answer to me, as it IS done, and that is my decision, so he should have let me know so, rather than making me feel like there was no hope, nothing possible, so why try anything further than just sitting around and waiting...

I think my difficulty in getting past the "what if"s also has something to do with my personality. I tend to be very thorough in my research for decisions. I really don't think I've had any regrets in my life until this. I don't know if I've ever had so many things come up after the fact that I didn't know about to create those "what if"s. But it is hard to be so thorough when you are in a traumatic situation and need to decide relatively quickly, so was blindly and numbly trusting in his dismissal of nothing being possible.

I was also able to reach a vet neurologist in my area and told that doctor about my cat's symptoms (after telling him the situation and my experience with my other vet). He did his best to eliminate some of my fears, and said he does not believe that the symptoms indicate anything that I may have done, like poisoning or trauma or anything. Said it was likely infectious disease, immune disease or neoplasia. It is unlikely that I would have been able to afford anything extreme like surgery or anything, so the only thing that I didn't do that I would have liked to have received from a specialist, is further knowledge of a medication I may have given him to have eased some of his pain until euthanasia. So I'm down to only one regret, in addition to anger that there are so many people out there that don't think cats can be loved as much as a dog =(

Thanks for having this forum =)

Just saw Leslie's response and wanted to add. That is part of my difficulty as well (about the Rainbow Bridge). Hopefully it is not too "looked down upon" to get into religion on here, but I really don't know what I believe as far as what happens after death. I am usually very scientific, so it is just hard for me to just have "faith", but I am too emotional and spiritual to believe and be ok with our souls just "ceasing to exist". It scares me thinking that his end was so awful, and had nothing afterwards. I really do hope that there is happiness, and not just nothing... I know that he missed being able to run around (in his final weeks, I noticed the stereotypical "running dreams" =), so I hope he's running around, pouncing on string, and lounging in the shade (since he always preferred the shady parts of the room =). Maybe one of my family members up there is keeping him company until I come =(
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ubergigglefritz
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 04:29:52 PM »

Here is the list of Life Lessons From Baci =) The first one is about how he was at the shelter, had reached the end of his time, and they were going to euthanize him, when I came and adopted him =) We were together for 5.5 years.

   1. In the direst of circumstances, never give up hope.
   2. Never stop kissing the one you love (he seriously acted addicted to kissing me!).
   3. As long as you’re showing happiness, you can never be too loud. You will only provide comfort and happiness to those who love you. (Everyone who knew Baci knew he had one loud motor of a purr =)
   4. Be comfortable in your own skin and don’t worry if people laugh at you. Sometimes you need to flip your head upside down to fall asleep, and that’s ok.
   5. There is no shame in mistakes. Like forgetting to bring your tongue back in your mouth after sticking it out =P
   6. Patience is a virtue. Wait your turn. (I have no pictures, but I always want to remember Baci looking cute waiting for Abby to finish eating her fill when the auto feeder would dispense some food =)
   7. Eat until you’re full. Then laugh when others keep eating till they puke.
   8. Look to your younger friends to keep adventure in your life.
   9. Learn to expect surprises at every corner. (Abby loved scaring Baci around corners =)
  10. Love your friends and family, even when they annoy you. (Abby was the typical younger sister...)
  11. Don't hold back your expression of love. If you love fully while you are healthy, you will be taken care of when you are not.

I have a horrible memory, but hope that I will remember as much as I can about Baci, his relationship and interaction with both Abby and myself, and my love for him. I may move on and get new cats, but he will always be my baby boy =)

I also want to remember about how, at the new house, he'd come walking down the hallway, stop, and "mah" at me that it's bedtime ;-) He'd sit and wait for a while, but if I took too long, he'd turn around, go back to bed, and continue waiting for me there, ha ha. He was my bedtime police =)

(hopefully disclosing the two cat names won't get me into trouble)

Thanks for reading!


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lesliek
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 04:54:13 PM »

Baci was gorgeous ! I truly think they are waiting for us as well as watching over us. How else to explain how they guide other cats & dogs in need to us ? I thnik your beautiful boy is indeed running, playing and laying in the shady spots. I will light a candle for him.http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=I.
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 05:49:24 PM »

ubergigglefritz,

I'm so sorry Baci had to leave you too soon. You named him just right. For those that don't know, Baci, in Italian, means "kisses."

What you've written is absolutely beautiful and I know he knows what you wrote. Spirituality and the loss of a loved pet or person is always a tough one if you weren't raised with a religion or in a spiritual family. But, even those of us that were, often struggle with what really happens. I do know one thing, though. Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. Only changed. Einstein's theory is a good way of looking at things scientifically. I guess the only thing that's left up to you is to decide what form the changed energy might take. I do believe in the paranormal, having experienced plenty of it. Not everyone is open to that. I think everyone/everything that was living goes somewhere. Our energy might be recycled like many other things on the earth or maybe something else happens. I know what I've seen and heard and if you keep an open heart, you just might hear from Baci, too.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2011, 07:27:29 PM »

ubergigglefritz,

I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you did talk to the specialist afterward and hopefully that helped some.  We lost our first kitty due to CRF two years ago after two surgeries, and I found that second guessing is rather hard to avoid since hindsight is 20/20-ish.  I am still not sure that the repeated hospitalizations and surgeries, even though they seemed the correct choice given the facts at the time, were the right thing to do since Pretty had a control freak personality and may have much preferred to meet her end quietly at home.  She was a former shelter cat, and I think the ordeal of being left in the hospital "cage" was difficult for her even though we visited every day.  The lesson I think my girls have taught me, being the stoic tough gals they are, is their remarkable level of acceptance that the pain and the joys of life are what they are; the bad stuff endured, the good stuff enjoyed, and one doesn't negate or contaminate the other.  I am sure your Baci found steadfastness and security in knowing you were there as a constant source of love and strength. 
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JoMax
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2011, 11:11:50 AM »

I am sorry to hear you lost your heart boy - for that is what he was to you, as it seems to me reading your posts.

We can love & be bonded closely with many furries during our lives, but there are always the one or two special ones, the 'heart' ones.  And of course their passing always means even more grief, guilt and what ifs.  It was thus for me when I had to have my boy pts - I still think about 'why didnt I', 'maybe I could have..' etc. I too am usually very thorough & scientific, researching possibilities - which I did for over 2 years for his CRF - yet when he started fitting every couple of hours I was so traumatised I took my vet's advice that it was never going to improve.  Only afterwards when I came here and read Ned & Ranger's stories about their cats with brain tumors did I start wondering if I could have insisted on more tests for him.

I guess I will never know, and it's so hard to have to live with that reality - I still beat myself up about it.  But what I do know is we shared 19 wonderful years of love and fun together, and I light a candle for him every day and take his ashes to bed with me.

I know each case is different - but it does sound to me Baci's decline was very rapid - and very similar to a friend's 14 y.old cat who developed the same sort of balance problems over a couple of weeks -also initially dignosed as arthritis, but declined so rapidy over about 10 days he ended up loosing so much sense of balance he didnt know which way was up, and was very, very distressed crying out all  the time the last day.  A brain tumor that agressive and that far into the essential parts controlling movement and balance would not be operable - she made the brave decision to let him go rather than go through more testing at specialist places which would have upset him even more just to benefit her sense of needing an explanation.

You know you gave Baci life he would never have had - not just extra life, but proper loving, cared for life, which is the best we can give and what all furkids deserve. 

Bless you, and sending hugs & light to ease your pain and confusion about the decision.  As everyone else here has said what remains, and will never die is that love & special bond you shared - I too believe essence of all beings, their spirit,  does not vanish but remains, maybe in a form we cannot understand ourselves in the form we live here, but can offer glimpses, as bug has said, when our love makes us specially open to them.


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"I can think of many ways in which I would become a better person if I were more like my cats. But I cannot think of a single way in which my cats would be any better for being more like me."  A.N.Wilson
NedF
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 08:38:31 PM »

I'm sorry you lost your sweet kitty. It is difficult when the vet doesn't seem to understand the depth of feelings we have for our pets. I have had the experience one time where the vet didn't seem to even like cats and treated my cat roughly and caused her injury in doing so. I never went back there again. Since then (that was bout 25 years ago) I use a feline only vet.

I agree with what others have posted that we start second guessing ourselves during the grieving process. That's normal and also painful. I do want to say that, with the symptoms you described Baci having, it sounds like it came on very quickly - only a month for him to be totally debilitated. If he had a tumor, the rapid onset of symptoms indicates a very aggressive tumor and, from my experience with cancer, those are the hardest to treat because of the rapid growth and even with surgery, they often regrow quickly.

I think you did the best you could for Baci. When your cat becomes sick so quickly it's hard to think of all the questions to ask when you're worried and upset. I know you miss him but remember he's not suffering now, and he had many happy years with you before he got sick.
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"It seems that some creatures have the capacity to fill spaces you never knew were empty."  - Jean-Luc Picard
ubergigglefritz
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 07:46:06 PM »

Thanks again for everyone's kind words. Bug, you are right, he was named for the kisses he loved giving so much =)

Shortly after losing him, my mom told me a story about her near death experience when she was a child. She had never told this to me before, and she did then, to explain to me why she believes so strongly in there being something after death. It made me feel better, but then I made the mistake of asking someone who believes there is nothing after, how he explains near death experiences, ha ha. Overall, I still feel that I believe in there being something after, but experiencing things like this, it still makes me worry that there is not, it's just a fear, as I think a lot of people probably have...

GKit, your comments made me think of another thing I will always remember. After he had already started to lose his mobility and was spending most of his time on a folded up blanket I had on the floor, one morning he walked into my bedroom, and (rather difficultly) got up into bed with me. That was when I still felt a desire to live from him, before I felt he was ready to go. But I really felt it as a sign of love, that he wanted to be with me, even though it was getting more difficult for him.

JoMax, you have interpreted right, he was my special one! I will be lucky if I ever find another that I had as close of a bond with as we did... I feel the same way about my cat Abby's bond with him, which aids in even another thing for me to feel sad about =P They had a very special bond as well, and it makes me sad worrying that she will never have another cat friend like he was.

Thanks Ned for your empathy with the vet situation. I have found a cat only clinic in the area, and will be trying it for my cats' next visit... And not that you were intending to, don't give me doubt by saying "if", ha ha ;-) But thanks for your support in reinforcing that there was likely nothing I could have done. I am at the point where I only wished that I would have been given something that would maybe have eased his pain in his final days.

Unfortunately I only had him for 5.5 years, but those are 5.5 years he wouldn't have gotten at all, since they were going to euthanize him at the shelter when I said I would come down and rescue him.

Sorry if my response was kind of scattered, tried to respond to everyone's kind words =) You guys are a great group of people!
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