thorn7679
10 years ago I moved cross country and into my first apartment. Missing the love of growing up with pets my whole life I immediately started looking for a cat to adopt. I found an ad on Craigslist where a woman was selling kittens that had been born in her backyard and she was just looking for help with the cost of food/litter. Perfect. When I got there to pick up a kitten she asked if I wanted to take two. There were two brothers who were incredibly attached so of course I said yes.

Winks and Butterball were attached at the hip. They slept on top of each other and never left the other's side. They tolerated me and let me pet them and give them treats :)

Winks has always been a little sickly. About 6 years ago I noticed he wasn't using the letterbox and wasn't eating so I took him to the vet. He had crystals forming in his urethra and surgery was needed or he was going to die that night. $2000 later he was a brand new cat and I had to give him prescription food for the rest of his life. A year or so later the symptoms returned and we were back at the vet. Another $1500 later and he was great. He stayed on the food and has not had issues since. 

Throughout his life he would get bumps under his chin the size of marbles but they always went away. His mouth and lips would swell all the time, sometimes pretty bad, but the vet couldn't give me a reason and they always went down. 

About two months ago he developed this large lump on the left side of his neck. It was the size of a small tangerine and literally appeared overnight. With his history of strange growths around his neck, head and mouth I assumed it would go down on its own. He let me touch it, squeeze it, play with him. His appetite was completely normal and there was absolutely no change in his behavior. I had also just lost my job and just come out of bankruptcy. I had no credit and very very little money.

This is where my guilt comes in. I waited too long. I hoped it would go down on its own and I was afraid that if I took him in I'd be told that another $2000 surgery was needed. I could not bare to say in essence "he's not worth it". I would move mountains for my pets but I just did not have that money. Plus, he showed no signs of distress at all so I prayed every night I would wake up and it would be gone.

Then two days ago he stopped eating. Winks does not just stop eating and I knew something was wrong. I immediately took him to the vet where they gave me an estimate of $200 to drain the growth or $600 to drain and biopsy whatever they find. I had barely scraped together the $200 and asked them to drain it and see if that helps. The vet at first thought it was an abscess but when she drained it, there was no puss, it was all blood. I was told this was not a good sign but he may improve just by getting the growth drained (and in turn give me more time to get the money for the biopsy/treatment). I went to pick him up about 6 hours later and his condition had gotten worse. He was severely anemic and would now need a blood transfusion on top of everything else. I asked if he could regain his strength with rest/food and they said possibly. However, they also told me a transfusion would only buy him another day or two before he would need another...he was just bleeding out and it wouldn't stop.

I took him home, held him in my arms, begged him to eat. I tried bargaining with him, pleading with him to just give me more time, but I could see in his eyes that he couldn't. My friend offered to lend me the money if I needed it so I took him back for a second opinion with a different doctor. She was so kind and honest and said that he was just at the point of no return and even if we did all of the transfusions and surgeries, his prognosis was very poor. I made the hardest decision of my life and said goodbye to my baby. I scratched his ears and told him I loved him until he took his last breath. I know, based on his condition at that moment, it was the right thing to do.

What I am struggling with is not knowing exactly what was wrong with him (vet couldn't say without the $600 in tests). Knowing I should have taken him in immediately when the bump appeared but didn't. its my fault my baby died and had I taken him in sooner maybe I could have gotten him treatment and he'd be ok. How do I live with myself knowing this is all my fault? I should have brought him in sooner and I didn't. One of the techs said that by the time the growth appeared it was probably too late but I can't handle the "probably". What if it wasn't too late and my baby is dead now because I was too poor/stupid to get him seen sooner? 

It also doesn't help that Butterball (his brother) is now searching the apartment and crying out all day and night. I have never experienced such gut wrenching heartache and I can't stop crying. My life has come to a standstill.




I miss you Winkies
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Kylea
I'm sorry for you loss! You gave Winks a beautiful life and you did all you could. I know he is looking down on you with love and knows that you did everything you could do for him.

I'm not sure what to say. Please know that I am thinking of you and will help you in any way I can. I feel a lot of guilt over losing my dog. She only made it to three years. The vet doesn't know what made her sick. I wonder every single day what I did wrong. I wonder a lot, "What did she eat?" "Why couldn't I protect her?" I have been told the guilt is apart of grief and that it will get better. Right now all I feel is guilt and I honestly cannot see it getting better for me. 

Just know that winks is no longer in any type of suffering nor is he sick. He will always love you and be with you. Praying that you find comfort and that the guilt will someday ease up.

Kylea
Kylea Barton
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thorn7679
Thank you Kylea and I'm so sorry for your loss too.

You are right, it feels like this guilt will never go away. Mentally I know I gave Winks a great life and spent thousands of dollars to treat his previous ailments. In my head, I know he was suffering and all the money in the world, even with surgery, biopsies, transfusions, etc., would have possibly given me a few more months with him. This would have been for me, not him. My heart on the other hand is breaking and screaming at me saying "what did you do". I know the probability of a full recovery was almost nonexistent but what if it did happen?

I'm trying to talk to myself like I would any of you wonderful members on this forum or to a friend or family member going through this. Rather than beating myself up I am trying to remind myself of the amazing relationship we had and how much joy he brought me. Could I have done more? probably. Should I have done more? I don't know. I miss him so much and the daily rituals are the hardest...but not knowing if I could have/should have done more is eating me up.
I miss you Winkies
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thorn7679
I saw somewhere that writing a letter to your pet might help and figured this would be a good place to do it.

Winkies,

I am so sorry. I'm so sorry that I didn't take you to the vet the day I saw that lump. You were always getting lumps under your chin, adult acne, swollen lips, and they always went away. Even the vet couldn't figure out what was causing those issues! I know how much you hate the vet after your last surgery and just figured the lump would go away on its own. 

But I knew something was not right. This was a different kind of bump. I owe you honesty and I didn't take you in immediately because I was afraid I would be told it was cancer or something that would cost thousands of dollars to fix. You know how I have been struggling financially and I couldn't bare to look at you KNOWING what was wrong and say I couldn't try to fix it. It was easier for me to try to convince myself that it would go away on its own.

You never acted differently. You yelled at me at breakfast and dinner time and ran along next to me while I walked your food to the porch. You cuddled with me on the couch and lounged around with Butterball. You were 100% Winks which only furthered my hope that the lump was nothing to be concerned about.

But I kept saying "I need to get Winks checked" and "that lump is just not going away". I knew it was a problem. I just wasn't ready to hear it. I hope you know I acted this way because I love you so much and the thought of you not being here was too much to take. If you had shown me any signs of distress I would have immediately taken you in. I would never knowingly let you suffer for a second. In hindsight I know you were hiding your pain because you loved me and didn't want me to worry.

On Tuesday I convinced my mom to let me use her credit card so I could take you in to the vet and finally get an answer once and for all. I was going to take you in on Thursday on my day off. On Wednesday I came home and you wouldn't eat your dinner. You just looked up at me when I asked what was wrong. I know now that was your way of telling me something was wrong. You and I went to the vet immediately and 24 hours later I was saying goodbye to you for the last time.

I'm sorry I didn't have the money to get you all the treatment in the world. I would have sold a kidney if I knew it would have saved you. The vet told me it was just to late to try anything and you were suffering. I'm sorry I was such a mess and crying so hard as I held you. I know that didn't help you feel better. I'm sorry you had to take your last breath in a cold vets office and I hope you felt me scratching your ears and telling you how much I loved you when you took your last breath.

Thank you for all the years of pure joy you have brought me. Despite the gut wrenching pain I am feeling right now I am able to look back at your photos over the years and smile. I remember how you and Butterball would cuddle up and look like one big cat. How you would play fetch with your favorite mousy (I'm sorry I couldn't find him for our last trip to the vet. I searched and searched and still haven't uncovered that toy). I remember how much you loved it when I would scratch your gross cat acne under your chin and I would do it until you finally got tired of it. I didn't care that it was gross ... you loved it and I loved that. Thank you for sitting next to me while I studied and worked on the couch and for running in and sleeping with me during my afternoon naps. 

I miss hearing you yell at me in the morning when it was time to get up and feed you. I miss you running into the bathroom with me first thing in the morning. I miss balancing two bowls in my hand as I walk out to the patio to feed you and Butterball. Carrying just one bowl just doesn't feel right. I am missing you every second of every day and the loss physically hurts. Butterball misses you terribly. If you have any way of looking down and reassuring him you are ok, please do it. I don't know how to explain that his brother is never coming home. Even Peanut misses you. Who is she going to chase around the house now?

Please know that I love you with every ounce of my being. Your loss has hit me so hard and while I know you would not want to see me in pain...I am. I'm guilt ridden for not taking you in sooner. I don't know if in the end it would have helped, but I should have found a way to do it sooner and not tried to convince myself you were ok.

I love you Winks and I will never forget you. I'm sorry i let you down and I hope you had a great life with me. One day we will meet again but until that day, I hope you will always be nearby looking over me. 

Picture 735.jpg  apartmentmission valley 109.jpg  Picture 857.jpg  apartmentmission valley 110.jpg  apartmentmission valley 107.jpg  apartmentmission valley 091.jpg 
I miss you Winkies
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Billysmummy
I am sorry for your loss and yes guilt is a big part of the grieving process. I myself carry a lot of guilt and can't seem to let go. I felt that I could have treated billy sooner and he would be in less pain, but I will never know if the outcome would have been the same. Hindsight is dangerous in these situations and if we had known sooner we would have done everything to stop the pain. I didn't know and neither did you. We both spent whatever money we could to ease their pain but sometimes it isn't enough and it is their time.
The guilt truly is awful and hopefully when we let go we are able to cherish the memories. We will never forget them but the pain of their passing will become easier ( I hope!). You gave Winks a fabulous life and did everything you could within your power to save him.
Take care
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thorn7679
Thank you Billysmummy. This forum has been so helpful and having people at all stages of the process offer their experience and words of comfort have really helped me with such a new/raw pain. I'm sorry for your loss too but thank you for your words of encouragement. They mean the world to me.
I miss you Winkies
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Jinxandmatildas_mom
Those are wonderful pictures , how happy he was, I lost both my kitties in 6 weeks, I still can't believe it, sometimes the money just doesn't matter, I racked up thousands in credit card debt for both my kitties, especially Matilda this past month alone, it didn't matter,they were still so sick there was nothing i could do, no amount of money could have cured them,I've also been in that position about 5 years ago,lost my job, declared bankruptcy ,lost my home, I fortunately got married a couple years ago and my husband really is the one who paid for all their treatments as I still can't get a credit card in my name and he has great credit, but as I said, it didn't matter, it sounds to me like there wasn't anything you could've done so please don't blame yourself, they know we did everything we could for them and they had great lives and loving homes,but I too go back and forth still and say well what if I had tried this or that sooner, then stop myself, I did everything I knew to do at the time, but I know it's very hard, know there are people here who understand and know exactly what you're going thru
Kathy
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OscarsMomma
I'm so sorry for your loss.

I went through similar "What if" guilt with my Oscar.

I recently moved and the move really shook Oscar up. Additionally, all the windows in my house were higher than previously, and he couldn't jump up my dresser to look out. When he just seemed to stare into space and hang out in the basement, I thought he was experiencing anxiety or depression about the move. So I got a calming diffuser to help him feel better. But that didn't work.

And then when I noticed he wasn't urinating as often, it dawned on me he had a UTI. Oscar had the same surgery Winks did, so he was prone to UTIs and I'd always caught them much sooner than this time.

When I took him to the vet for the UTI, they detected a huge mass. They removed the mess and discovered he'd been very close to being blocked. It had to have caused him great pain and discomfort. I felt so guilty afterwards because I kept assuming he was depressed instead of realizing he had the UTI.

I know logically that he would have died from the mass anyway (it was lymphoma), but I feel like I could have caught it sooner and he wouldn't have been in such discomfort for those first weeks after we moved.

I miss him something fierce. I have a new buddy, Alfred (Freddie), who shares similar markings as Oscar, except black, but has a completely different personality. I take solace in knowing I've rescued a kitty who otherwise wouldn't have had a home, but I also know I'd trade everything to have Oscar back.

I hope this group can provide you some relief; it did for me. I know now, having read these boards and learning from my counselor, that guilt associated with a pet's death is there no matter what. It doesn't matter whether your pet had an easy death (I was able to give Oscar a good last day) or difficult (such as when people realize too late what's going on)--everyone feels guilty.
Oscar was but 9. I had not even 4 full years with him. He loved me so much. And I loved him. He is sorely missed.
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susiebeagle
I empathize with you.

No pet should be allowed to die because of lack of money.

My Susie died because doctors at the hospital I took her too demanded $4,000 immediately. I asked for one evening to raise the money. I did raise the money, but it was too late. The doctors said if I left the hospital without giving them $4,000 that they would declare her abandoned. Then, they threw her into the waiting room like a piece of trash.

I took her home. She died.

I will never forget my Susie and I certainly never forget Richard Goldstein and Laura Goode, two stone-cold murderers who should, at minimum, be unemployed beggars. They're trash.
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OscarsMomma
Spread those names around! Bad, unfeeling vets should be ousted.

I had a good, gentle vet for Oscar. I found him after I had bad experience after bad experience at Banfield, from Petsmart. I will never go to a corporate vet ever again.

At Banfield I was charged $125 for each visit with Oscar--despite being on the wellness plan--because Oscar always had to be sedated. When I found the vet I go to now, the visit cost me $40 total, including sedation. When Oscar had to be catheterized after he started his urinary troubles, that visit cost me $1500 at Banfield. When Oscar had surgery at my current vet, it cost me $500--total, including the overnight stay and the meds. Just never again. Vets make all the difference in the world, and I can't picture Banfield being as gentle during euthanasia as my vet was. I'm so grateful to him, and I will be bringing Freddie to him as well.
Oscar was but 9. I had not even 4 full years with him. He loved me so much. And I loved him. He is sorely missed.
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danzey
Susiebeagle...........Yes spread those names around anywhere you get a chance!!!!  Go on Yelp, and give them a review!!!  When your out buying pet food, ask the people who are there who their vet is and then tell them your experience.  Your experience is true (even if it's one in a million) and needs to be told.  All  our experiences with vets (good and bad) have to be told...........danzey 
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Mistysmama
Winks is just so beautiful. Butterball is going to feel grief, so give him all the cuddles and kindness you can right now. Let him sleep with you if that helps him. It might. You can't take away his loss, but you can show him it's the two of you and he's not alone.

If all the vet could draw out of Winks's tumour was blood, then it is possible this could have been a Hemangiosarcoma. It is rarer in cats than dogs, but it can happen. It made me wonder especially as it 'appeared overnight' and there was excessive bleeding from the lump afterwards. These sorts of tumours behave like that. Of course I don't really know -but it might have been.
If it was, then believe me nothing you could have done would have made any difference. This doesn't respond to chemotherapy very well either. Catching it earlier? Not always possible. (Hard to know it's there when there are no symptoms, and too late when there are.) 
The best outcome really is a happy few weeks/days or whatever time there is at the end, hospice-at-home care (which you obviously gave him) lots of love, and a peaceful passing.
Winks was loved and he knows that.

I am so sorry for your loss.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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MurphysMom_0831
thorn7679 wrote:
10 years ago I moved cross country and into my first apartment. Missing the love of growing up with pets my whole life I immediately started looking for a cat to adopt. I found an ad on Craigslist where a woman was selling kittens that had been born in her backyard and she was just looking for help with the cost of food/litter. Perfect. When I got there to pick up a kitten she asked if I wanted to take two. There were two brothers who were incredibly attached so of course I said yes.

Winks and Butterball were attached at the hip. They slept on top of each other and never left the other's side. They tolerated me and let me pet them and give them treats :)

Winks has always been a little sickly. About 6 years ago I noticed he wasn't using the letterbox and wasn't eating so I took him to the vet. He had crystals forming in his urethra and surgery was needed or he was going to die that night. $2000 later he was a brand new cat and I had to give him prescription food for the rest of his life. A year or so later the symptoms returned and we were back at the vet. Another $1500 later and he was great. He stayed on the food and has not had issues since. 

Throughout his life he would get bumps under his chin the size of marbles but they always went away. His mouth and lips would swell all the time, sometimes pretty bad, but the vet couldn't give me a reason and they always went down. 

About two months ago he developed this large lump on the left side of his neck. It was the size of a small tangerine and literally appeared overnight. With his history of strange growths around his neck, head and mouth I assumed it would go down on its own. He let me touch it, squeeze it, play with him. His appetite was completely normal and there was absolutely no change in his behavior. I had also just lost my job and just come out of bankruptcy. I had no credit and very very little money.

This is where my guilt comes in. I waited too long. I hoped it would go down on its own and I was afraid that if I took him in I'd be told that another $2000 surgery was needed. I could not bare to say in essence "he's not worth it". I would move mountains for my pets but I just did not have that money. Plus, he showed no signs of distress at all so I prayed every night I would wake up and it would be gone.

Then two days ago he stopped eating. Winks does not just stop eating and I knew something was wrong. I immediately took him to the vet where they gave me an estimate of $200 to drain the growth or $600 to drain and biopsy whatever they find. I had barely scraped together the $200 and asked them to drain it and see if that helps. The vet at first thought it was an abscess but when she drained it, there was no puss, it was all blood. I was told this was not a good sign but he may improve just by getting the growth drained (and in turn give me more time to get the money for the biopsy/treatment). I went to pick him up about 6 hours later and his condition had gotten worse. He was severely anemic and would now need a blood transfusion on top of everything else. I asked if he could regain his strength with rest/food and they said possibly. However, they also told me a transfusion would only buy him another day or two before he would need another...he was just bleeding out and it wouldn't stop.

I took him home, held him in my arms, begged him to eat. I tried bargaining with him, pleading with him to just give me more time, but I could see in his eyes that he couldn't. My friend offered to lend me the money if I needed it so I took him back for a second opinion with a different doctor. She was so kind and honest and said that he was just at the point of no return and even if we did all of the transfusions and surgeries, his prognosis was very poor. I made the hardest decision of my life and said goodbye to my baby. I scratched his ears and told him I loved him until he took his last breath. I know, based on his condition at that moment, it was the right thing to do.

What I am struggling with is not knowing exactly what was wrong with him (vet couldn't say without the $600 in tests). Knowing I should have taken him in immediately when the bump appeared but didn't. its my fault my baby died and had I taken him in sooner maybe I could have gotten him treatment and he'd be ok. How do I live with myself knowing this is all my fault? I should have brought him in sooner and I didn't. One of the techs said that by the time the growth appeared it was probably too late but I can't handle the "probably". What if it wasn't too late and my baby is dead now because I was too poor/stupid to get him seen sooner? 

It also doesn't help that Butterball (his brother) is now searching the apartment and crying out all day and night. I have never experienced such gut wrenching heartache and I can't stop crying. My life has come to a standstill.






Thorn,

I'm so sorry for your loss of Winks and the awful experience you went through. Please remember that Winks (all our furangels) love us unconditionally no matter what. They know we do what we can and don't expect us to have all the answers. They just want us to love them and we do. You did so much for Winks when you could and he knows that. The same goes for Butterball. He knows how much you love him and Winks. If you had taken Winks in sooner maybe, and I mean maybe, things would have been different but that is something you'll never know which makes everything even more difficult. It has happened to many here who either didn't realize what was going on or the extent of it, were unable to due to financial issues, or who did everything humanly possible and it didn't work anyway. We all second guess and question ourselves and that's normal. I do it too.

I lost my beloved Golden Retriever, Murphy, on June 18 after 13 days in an animal specialty hospital, tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, surgery, feeding tubes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, you name it, it was done. It still couldn't save him. I question whether I allowed too much to be done, did I miss something that would have indicated sooner he was in trouble, should I have taken him home and let him pass in his comfortable, safe home surroundings; multiple questions and feelings of guilt. He was supposed to come home day 14 but took a horrible turn and I had to make the unbearable decision to send him to the Rainbow Bridge while holding him in my arms. It was by far the worst day of my life.

You said yourself "I scratched his ears and told him I loved him until he took his last breath. I know, based on his condition at that moment, it was the right thing to do." Knowing it was the right thing to do is what so many of us come to, even though we find we can't deal with it afterward. These are all perfectly normal reactions and all we can do is work through the grief process which takes a very long time. Writing to Winks is a wonderful idea. I write to Murphy every night, filling him in on what's going on, telling him how I feel about anything and everything. It's somewhat cathartic to get those thoughts out and down on "paper" instead of keeping them all bottled up inside. There comes a time when we all have to let go under many different circumstances but it doesn't ease the pain. That is the very heavy price we pay for being able to experience that unconditional love from our furbabies. We know going in that eventually it will happen. It's part of the deal and there's no escape unless we go first, which isn't a good thing since they need us. To be with them on their final journey, releasing them from suffering, is the blessing we return to them for all they've done for and given us.

Wishing you many happy memories of your precious Winks and sincere sympathy,
Murphy's Mom (Kathryn)
"Sometimes there is a dog who is so special, he is able to wrap himself so completely around your heart it is impossible to tell where you begin and he ends."  For My Beloved Murphy, 08/31/2004 - 06/18/2014


http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/MURPH121/Resident.htm


http://s327.photobucket.com/user/kathrynbrown1626/library/?sort=6&page=1
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