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My cat died of Lymphoma aged 6 and I am broken by it.

Discussion in 'Rainbow Bridge' started by KateR, Jun 23, 2020.


  1. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    My beautiful, happy, loving 6 year old cat, Monty, first showed signs of being under the weather four weeks ago today. He was withdrawn and jumpy and not eating much. I thought he must have been in a fight with another cat so I kept an eye on him and a few days later he seemed better so I didn't take him to the vet. Another week on and he became very lethargic and was hiding away a lot. He also seemed to have lost a lot of weight out of the blue (I could feel his spine) even though he was still eating. I made an appointment last Friday at the vets and took him, this was 2 weeks and 2 days since he first seemed off.
    I had to hand him over in the car park due to Covid restrictions but within minutes the vet came out and said she had found a mass in his stomach and wanted to do an ultrasound. I agreed immediately and within hours we were told he had a large mass and some smaller ones in his abdomen. It was such a shock and greater still when I was told to think about whether we wanted to do an operation to remove the mass or have him at home with steroids for palliative care. PALLIATIVE CARE?! Just give up on him and let him die? I couldn't and I still can't get my head around it all. Three weeks ago Monty was his normal happy self, running around the garden, rubbing his head against my legs for extra treats and curling up in my lap purring happily.
    My husband and I were both unanimous that given his health prior to this point we should do the operation.I spent the weekend sitting with him and booked him in for the operation on Tuesday. He was lethargic and down at the weekend but still eating and on Monday he really brightened up and was in the garden. I was hopeful. We were going to do everything that we could do make him better.
    On Tuesday Morning (thanks to Covid restrictions again) and this will tear me up inside for the rest of my life I said goodbye to him in his carrier. I told him how much I loved him, how brave he was and that we were doing this because we wanted the vet to fix him. As the vet nurse carried him away, he looked at me so sadly and I said 'Bye, sweetheart' never imagining that I wouldn't see him again.
    A few hours later, the vet called to say that the largest mass was the size of a tennis ball and there were several other smaller ones too, all in his bowel. He wanted to put him to sleep on the table but I pushed him to remove as much of the largest mass as possibly and once he was healed, we could try chemotherapy.
    Long story short, Monty didn't wake up. It was a week ago today (literally just three weeks from when he had first showed signs of being ill) and I am struggling so hard to get my head around it. How can he have been taken so fast? The vet said it looked like he had a very aggressive form of alimentary mesenteric lymphoma and that chemo or steroids would have been unlikely to have done anything for him. But what if they had? Did we make the wrong choice and let him down?
    I am killing myself wondering if I missed any signs but there were none apart from being lethargic and withdrawn those last few weeks. No vomiting, no diarrhoea, and he was still eating an drinking. I don't understand it. I have never felt grief like this and I lost my Mother two years ago very suddenly. We had a difficult relationship, but with Monty, it was pure love. I loved him and he loved me. I can't eat, I can't sleep and I have these waves of utter sadness that just take my breath away and my guts twist inside me. The house is so empty without him and his brother, Reggie, looks for him everywhere.
    I have a husband and two little girls and Reggie but I am finding it really hard to get through the day, I just want this sadness to end. I really thought I'd have at least another 10 years with Monty. His death was so sudden and so unfair and I would do anything for the chance to say goodbye to him properly and stroke his head one last time. I can't get past the guilt of handing him over to a stranger in the vet's car park and the thought of his last hours being spent scared and alone in a cage at the vets. It breaks my heart. I just pray to God he understood that we were trying to help him, not abandon him when he needed us most.

    See you at the Rainbow Bridge Monty - I promise you, that as soon as it's my time, I'm coming straight there to find you, until then, I will miss you every day, I loved you so much.

    upload_2020-6-23_9-56-15.png
    Monty, just six weeks ago in the garden.x
     

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  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I am so sorry for your loss of your precious Monty. Since cats hide illness until they are really suffering you couldn't have known these things were growing inside of him. And as the vet said, they grew very quick, getting him in sooner wouldn't have been likely to make any difference to the outcome. You are in shock so please, be gentle with yourself. What a beautiful boy.

    (I'll ask a mod to move this to the Rainbow Bridge section)
     
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  3. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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  4. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you
     
  5. teddylion

    teddylion PetForums Junior

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    This post has made me cry. There's something about losing a cat in particular that is just gut-wrenching, I can't quite put my finger on it. Sounds like he had a lovely life while he was here X
     
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  6. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    What a beautiful cat; I don't think you could have possibly done more for him. So sorry you lost him so young.
     
  7. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    He did, I just wish it had been a lot longer. Thank you ❤️
     
  8. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you. I really would have done anything for him ❤️
     
  9. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    So sad to read about your cat, Monty. This made me cry. Nature can be so cruel.
    As others have said, you did everything you could to help him.
    I, too, have lost my precious girl recently and am still haunted by seeing her little face looking through her carrier in the vets car park.
    Take care of yourself.
     
    #9 slw, Jun 25, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
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  10. Kittynanna

    Kittynanna PetForums Senior

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    I absolutely understand what your going through I lost my little dog on 13th June, I will never get over it either.

    If you have a close bond with an animal it hurts like nothing else, be it cat, dog or whatever x
     
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  11. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you. You too, I’m sorry for your loss also. My last memory is exactly the same and it is so hard...
     
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  12. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you. I am sorry to hear about your dog too. Very sad ☹️
     
  13. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    I am so very sorry for your loss of Monty.
    Loosing a pet is so devastating as they are family. Sometimes they are better than some Human family members.;).
    These illnesses can just come out of the blue and does not give you anytime to take it all in.
    You did the very best for Monty as I am sure the vets and the nurses took good care of him whilst he was there.
    I can certainly relate to the emptiness, crying and not eating. I think it is the lowest feeling ever that i have suffered.
    A few years ago I lost two within 24 hours. one through old age and a 3 year old with saddleback thombois.
    I hope your Hubby and family are helping you.
    It takes times so be kind to yourself.

    Rest in peace Monty and run free at Rainbow Bridge xx
     
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  14. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    I am so very sorry about your beautiful boy, what a handsome lad. Your story brought tears to my eyes because we lost our beloved YoYo, a Siamese, who was the same age as Monty, to the same disease a few years ago. We were going back and forth to the vets for eight months with them not really knowing what was wrong with him, telling us it was likely an infection He was diagnosed initially with asthma but he never picked up and began losing weight. One morning he developed a large lump on the side of his neck, I asked to be referred to a specialist. Although all this time they had taken blood tests, they kept telling repeating it could be an infection, not once did they mention cancer or tell us anything definite which i find strange. The specialist vet said they would remove the lump but he was too weak the first day, they did it the second day and, after doing a biopsy, told us it was an aggressive cancer which would only come back in a short time so we decided to have him put to sleep there and then. I was utterly heartbroken, I held him in my arms and I will never forget the look on YoYo's face at the end as he looked straight into my eyes, it haunts me if I think about it too much.

    Lymphoma is a fast and aggressive cancer which suddenly takes hold. and they go downhill rapidly. We didn't want YoYo to go through the same within a few weeks so the decision was really taken from us. I so wish the vets had told us it was cancer beforehand as I wouldn't have put him through the operation to remove the lump because he reacted badly to the anaesthetic afterwards which was awful to watch. The fact he was so young just made it worse.

    I think Monty passed away as peacefully as he could have if he didn't wake up and there would have been no guarantees he could have got better. It's sad you couldn't be with him at the time but he would have known you loved him. Don't blame yourself, you're not a vet, you couldn't know how ill he was anymore than we could with YoYo. I know it's no use my saying try not to dwell on it, only time will take away the raw pain you are feeling at the moment. Try and take comfort with poor Reggie who is missing him and your family who are also grieving. He's not suffering any more which is the important thing. The pain doesn't heal though it lessens with time. Hopefully, in a while you'll be able to talk about him and all the things he did to make you laugh and smile. Why don't you and the girls make a photo book of him, I found doing things like that a comfort. Take care of yourself. Sweet dreams Monty xx
     
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  15. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you, I miss him so much. I’m sorry for your loss too, that sounds absolute awful.
     
  16. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for the advice and I’m so sorry that you went through the same thing, only in such a long, drawn out way. That must have been really tough. It all happened so quickly for us that I still find it hard to believe he’s gone. Like you, I wish we hadn’t done the operation, but we just had no idea what the outcome would have been and just wanted to do anything to save him.
    Hindsight is cruel. Reggie is getting lots of cuddles, we both miss Monty so very much.
     

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  17. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    I’m so sorry to read your sad story of YoYo too, Charity.
    Ours is a slightly different story as Thomasina had a growth that was diagnosed in 2017, but we were advised to leave it alone as it was in a difficult place to operate on her larynx.
    She was fine for 3 years, until the end of February this year when she had noisy breathing and eating difficulties. Long story short, she had investigations at our vets ( I had asked for referral but my vet was confident to operate and time was of the essence). She was shocked at the size of it and recommended putting her to sleep there and then. But then said she could try and remove it as it wasn’t cancerous ( no biopsy was taken though and unfortunately the tumour wasn’t Sent away for testing - no idea why not!). It was removed and though it was touch and go for a while as her breathing tube kept blocking with mucus, she made an incredible recovery.
    Until 7 weeks after the surgery, when the noisy breathing returned and mucus in her throat. This was during lockdown and She was given steroids, which seemed to help for a week, but then when we tried reducing the steroids, she had trouble eating and breathing with mouth open at times. We upped the steroids again, but no joy.
    Weirdly, throughout all this she seemed her usual self - maybe hiding it well, I really don’t know. We saw the vet again ( this in itself was stressful as she got so stressed in the car, it made her salivate at the best of times, let alone with the breathing issues). we were told she had swelling under her larynx and my vet said we could either give palliative care or get a referral - though this didn’t sound like it would have a successful outcome.
    thomasina was 15 - though you wouldn’t have guessed by looking at her.
    I immediately went for the referral option, but this proved to be a task in itself to get a local referral during lockdown, with some animal hospitals not having vets ( just a nurse) on site overnight. I didn’t want to travel far as the journey alone could have had bad consequences for her.
    After getting a local specialist appointment, I doubted my decision and after much anxiety and stress, cancelled the appointment. Everyone kept telling me that I shouldn’t be putting her through intrusive investigations that required anaesthesia when an operation probably wasn’t possible.
    I kept having flashbacks of ringing the vets after her surgery in March, and being told the whole team was working on her as her breathing tube had blocked again and they were having trouble clearing her. It was heartbreaking. Could I potentially put her through that again. I crumbled.
    So I never found out if, indeed, the tumour was growing back. I had asked my vet if she would suddenly not be able to breathe, but she said she wouldn’t be able to swallow.,I didn’t want her to suffer, so as she was having trouble eating - and she so wanted to eat- I made the decision to have her pts. I regretted it ever since.
    So, you see there’s no right or wrong answer, as we question what we’ve done, whichever route we take.
    I struggle with not getting a proper diagnosis. I will always wonder and every day I have knots in my stomach panicking if I did the right thing. She was a tough cat that should’ve been given that chance. But then, could I have put her through tests that she may not have survived.
    You did your very best with Monty. We all have regrets with vets, where we question why they didn’t do this or that. It’s very hard to know what to do and we like to think we are being led by the professionals with our cats best interests at heart.
    sorry I didn’t mean to waffle on so much...
    x
     
    #17 slw, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  18. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    I'm very sorry about Thomasina @slw. It is an absolute nightmare knowing what is the best action to take, even with vet's advice, its always whether we are doing the right thing and if we should we have done something sooner or later, your mind spins. We must accept that we did what we thought was the best for our little ones at the time, its different to look at it with hindsight. All we can do is hang on to the fact that we saved them from further suffering then or in the future.
     
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  19. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    It’s difficult, but you’re so right. X
     
    #19 slw, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  20. KateR

    KateR PetForums Newbie

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    I’m so sorry to hear about Thomasina but it sounds like she had 15 wonderful years with you. You did the hardest thing but it means that she wouldn’t have suffered. Don’t beat yourself up, it really does sound like the best thing in a horrible situation.
     
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