Charlie - DSH - Diagnosed with Colorectal Adenocarcinoma - Need Help.

Antonio65

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So what were my options, either put him to sleep/let him pass away or at least try the surgery. IF i didnt have him on insurance, i would only attempt medication then put him sleep, but since I got him on it i figured Id try one last time.
I think this is the way to go. At least you won't have any regrets!

So the only real hurdle is getting through surgery, and then that 1st week approx after for that possible leakage. I am scared to death, knowing the real possibilty that this may be CHarlies final days if it doesnt go well, but at the same time I know by that point Ive tried my best.
When my cat was going to face her surgery for her second carcinoma, I was told that the chances of surviving both the surgery itself and the next 3 days were poor, about 50-50.
I knew I was going to sentence her to death by my own hands by putting her through that, but I also knew she would have died anyway if I wouldn't try. So I decided to try and do my best, at least we would have tried.
Keep in mind that when I was told that the chances were 50-50, my cat had been hospitalized for 3 days and that I hadn't been able to see her since because the doctors said she would have had too high emotions and they would have make the surgery fail. She would need peace and relax before that.

She made it, she survived the surgery, she survived the first three days, she came back home. This made me feel so powerful.
Charlie will make it too, and you will feel as powerful as I did.
 
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miguel99nyc

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Hello,

Sorry I've taken a while to post.

I am very sad to report my cat Charlie has passed away during surgery. I've spent the past 3 hours crying, its just an unbelievable loss.

My vet had to call me, and tell me that although the surgery had went well (who knows though now at this point...), Charlie apparently suffered a heart attack. He did everything he could to revive him but it did not work. And all that fear I had - though not heart attack - came to realization and true today, on the day of surgery. He died, along without us there. I feel this incredible pain and guilt inside, when I shouldn't have taken him into surgery. I should have just let him remove stitches, and bring him home where he was more comfortable around. Before I even placed him into his pet carrier last time this morning, he was with me in bathroom just hurled up laying down and I petted him, not knowing it was going to be the last time I'd be with him that close, gosh it just hurts so much. And I think my other older 18yr old cat Sassy felt it. She been acting off all day today, seemingly at times just meditating or something. But she knew something.

I know now he isn't suffering anymore, but I shouldn't have went with this surgery. Cancer is cancer, he wasn't going to make it anyway, I know, but this whole process was just probably too much for him to handle physically which i was afraid of from the very begining. I just feel sooo bad now, so guilty, I just dont know how long this willl take to recover.

But just wanted to give an update to those that have guided me and make the suggestions all the way through this point - which as mentioned before, I sincerely appreciate with everything. Thank you everyone.
 

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I am so, so sorry. I hadn't been getting on here as much lately, so was catching up on Charlie's story in your other post and then came across this new post. I know right now it hurts so very much and I wish I could take that pain away from you. But remember, the guilt comes no matter what way they pass. We all feel it. If you had brought Charlie home, and he had passed away in a week, you would have asked yourself why you didn't try the surgery.

It's just so difficult, I know. It hurts like crazy. But we do what we think is best. That's all we can do. You fought hard for Charlie. And you loved him. He loved you. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. ❤❤
 

Antonio65

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I am very sad to report my cat Charlie has passed away during surgery. I've spent the past 3 hours crying, its just an unbelievable loss.
I am sorry and shocked, I really am.
This is so unfair, Chrlie deserved to live and have a long and happy life with you after the surgery.

He died, along without us there. I feel this incredible pain and guilt inside, when I shouldn't have taken him into surgery.
I know how you're feeling, the guilt that crushes your mind and heart. It's part of the grief process, I would say it is rather normal though it sounds crazy, because how can such a feeling be normal?
But would you have accepted the guilt for not acting at all?
I feel in my heart that you did what was best for Charlie, because you did it to save his life, not to let him go. You acted in good faith and this is what must lead you through the grief process, the awareness that you were moved by the love you had for him.

I feel your pain, my cat Pallina died at home in the night, in the next room, without me by her side when she needed the most. And a few hours before she passed, I had taken her to the vet for a chest draining (she had a fluid build up in her chest), and I will never know whether that treatment I asked the vets to do might have harmed her, though she was very ill already...
This guilt will never leave me.

I do hope you will much better soon, very soon.
Charlie knows that you didn't let him down, that you never left him alone, not even for a second. You weren't physically with him, but your heart was next to his in that moment, he knows that, he felt that.
RIP Charlie, you're another bright star in the sky.
 

fionasmom

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I am so sorry that Charlie has passed on and that you were not with him. As SnugglesAnn SnugglesAnn and Antonio65 Antonio65 have said, you, or anyone who has reached this point with an animal, were in a no win situation. A decision had to be made which was one that you never wanted to have had to make between not doing surgery and letting things run their course or attempting a surgery which had risks. There was no good third option of just bringing Charlie home and he would have been happy and healthy for a few more months.

I have been in both positions in the course of my life with animals and whichever you are in, it does not feel good. It is incredibly sad that Charlie passed, but he did not pass from the end stages of cancer or with you rushing him to an ER in the middle of the night when you realized that he could not stand the pain any longer. In that case you would have believed that the surgery would have worked and would have been the correct option and kicked yourself for not having done it.

Charlie no doubt was still under the effects of anesthesia and pain killers and may not have know what was happening or even who was with him. You fought the good fight for him and it is better that you tried as I think that it will give more closure eventually that you can look back from a better place and say that you gave Charlie every chance that he could have had.

As daftcat75 daftcat75 says he learned after his Krista passed, don't let Charlie's passing more important than his life and all those wonderful and long years he spent with you.
 

daftcat75

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I’m so sorry to hear about Charlie’s passing. I’m shedding tears over this and he’s not even my cat. 😭

Whether you did the surgery or not, the path not taken would haunt you. It’s just the nature of grief. The ifs and shoulds are going to be a source of pain for awhile. But know this. None of it matters anymore. Whether you did this or you did that, speculating about it isn’t going to change the outcome or give you another minute with him. That sounds cruel. And it is. But the quicker you accept that, the easier it will be to move through your grief. And as fionasmom fionasmom has said, the best way to move past the guilt and pain of his end is to remember and celebrate all the love and life you shared with him before that. The pain will fade with time. The love and the memories don’t have to. Treasure them always!

When you’re ready, please post a tribute (and pictures!) to his life and love in a Crossing the Bridge thread.
 
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miguel99nyc

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Hello Everyone,

Thank You all for the replies. It really means a lot to me. I apologize for not getting back sooner, been occupied with work which sort of helped get my mind of this loss a bit but of course, coming back home to an apartment without Charlie still hurts me even today, not seeing him walk around or greeting me at the door is just so saddening still. Now if anything, my older cat Sassy she starting to greet me at the door suddenly, but she too I sense she is feeling his loss despite her not liking him most of the times. She would just be staring blankly into walls or windows. She was like this the past 2 days, but today was starting to act a little like herself but I still have that feeling she's feeling Charlie's death as well. It killed me and I cried when I actually saw my Sassy in tears or watery eyes the evening Charlie passed. She would just be sitting on brother's bed and both her eyes seemed like it was very watery which it never really been like that ever. I began to pet her and cry because that moment that day Charlie died, I knew she knew it too, never seen her act like that.

But I think what's been making it tough to let Charlie's loss go is how it happened. I still get flashbacks of the vet calling me telling me that he was lost, that he turned all blue and had heart attack. It's still crystal clear in my head/memory unfortunately. I've actually done a little research though Im sure Google is not as accurate but, it doesn't seem like Charlie had a heart attack...let alone if he went blue it was due to oxygen supply possibly blood clot...but who knows at this point. But the worst part of this is my vet, whom from the beginning had suggested to do with a surgeon instead of him, not that he couldn't perform it but said he would prefer the surgeon. He knew my financial issues and that hospital was going to be extremely expensive, so he offered me his service and provided me with estimate. I went with it. The morning I dropped off Charlie, I didnt even say my goodbye :(, but I dropped him and then vet called me shortly after that to have my phone at hand he will call me with update on Charlie later in day after surgery, "hoping all goes well" he said. So there he went, going off sounding unsure of himself and I became very scared. I had placed all my trust in him, not just because of the many years Ive went to him for my cats and Charlie as well, but more recently, he performed the surgical biopsy 2 weeks ago just fine and Charlie came home fine with no issues. That made me confident that he can perform the surgery well. Sure, no guarantees, but never would I have thought Charlie would pass because of heart issues. He should have done perhaps the heart check/testing and/or blood work to see if anything else was wrong prior - just like the hospital would have done, but of course problem was the costs. I feel now the hospital although expensive, would have taken the much safer route 100% and possibly even the outcome would have been possibly positive in sense that a board certified surgeon performed the surgery rather than a vet. But the part I hate was that even the 2 days before surgery, Ive spoken to vet, surgeon, oncologist, oncologist assistant all convincing me to DO the surgery and that it should all go fine as Charlie seemd to be healthy. So I went into this with all the confidence in the world, but for it to have ended the way it did, just couldn't accept it.

What ticked me off but my emotions was just so saddening at time of the last vet call about Charlie's passing, I asked what will be the billing adjust to or at least not pay? Right? Because technically I'm not getting anything in return for $3,000, plus a pet was lost. And who knows if they even did the surgery right? I couldnt even go see Charlie due to covid. But when I asked the vet, he sort of chuckled literally like as if he laughed, and said "well you still have to pay for the surgery procedure". But I was already crying on the phone I couldnt even express my anger at the time. He offered his condolocenses as well but as these days passed, with some reasearch and the buildup to that last day where he said hoping all goes well, I now believe he did something wrong that led to Charlie's death - in essence, killed him.

So after talking to their office manager by email, seems like I have struck them hard and my realiization of the vet having done something wrong is becoming more evidently clear as not only I'm in process of fighiting to lower the bill - but expressed my anger about how I had the full trust in their clinic. I told them - if the roles were reversed and I was the vet doing the surgery, and it was their pet, they would feel the same but at the same time, to lose a pet in that manner, would make me look unprofessional and possibly other pet owners would seek legal actions against me (me being the vet). They offered me a good portion discount of the bill few hundreds dollars + deducted the 2 extra days of medication/injections if Charlie had stayed, but it still isn't enough for me. They know as they replied back, as I do, that no money will bring back Charlie, but after this, there's no way I can give them full amount when it seems like an error on their return. After my final email Friday night to them, they had all Day Saturday to call or reply back, but nothing. They are always so quick to charge my credit card on file...but this time no. They still haven't to today so that means they are not just deeply affected, but what I told them is clearly making them think it over because they would have charged me already, especially after I literally told them Friday night that if they cannot offer anymore discount on the bill, to actually run my card on file. But now 2 days later, nothing. Even surely by now the vet woudl have emailed me personally to try and respond back to me, but he hasn't. So its starting to become all clear. Usually when its about money, they are stingy on it and strict, but this time around for whatever reason they aren't. So, I don't know.

But again thank you all for the messages and replies, really means a lot to me. I will def post pictures of Charlie on that other thread as suggested to remember him. My little Charlie, Miss him so much now :(
 

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I do believe that other animals know when their friend is gone and I have had very clear evidence of that in my life. Sassy will come around but she is feeling his loss despite not necessarily always getting along with him. It is very hard to see a grieving animal, maybe worse than to be with a grieving human. But I believe that animals also understand more than we do sometimes about life and death and have a greater acceptance than we do.

I do not blame you for asking for a reduction of the bill. In most cases it does not happen but if they are willing to reduce the bill that is some slight consolation. It is always difficult to understand what happened and much of the answer is buried in obscurity. You had a good relationship with this vet and possibly he is honoring that and it does not prove that he did anything wrong or anything that put Charlie at any greater risk than the surgery itself would have been. Googling is not going to help although we all rush to do that anytime that something related to our health comes up. Almost all medical discussion on any website will tell you a worst case scenario, assure you that something could go wrong, etc because they do not want to get sued. The fastest way to convince yourself that you have cancer is to google some symptom you have and you will always get the long shot diagnosis.

I would love to learn more about Charlie's life when he was young and see some pics of him.
 
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miguel99nyc

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Thank You, yes definitely will. He was such a wonderful boy, some unique attributes of him was that he loved hanging from indoor bicycle (don't think i have pics of him doing that :( sadly ), to of course, training US to take him to the litter since he was a young kitten - it was frustrating and annoying but I still felt that was a unique funny feature of him. And as soon as he would come out of the litter box he would scratch his scratching post as if he was so happy. For whatever reason, he preferred sleeping in boxes rather than soft beds, was funny. If he did lay on our beds, he would use all four of his paws do set his bed rather then his front two - he looked funny doing that as well. He was always cute, and as of late in past few years, whenever he would use the litter on his own to urinate at least, the bathroom door stays open, he would come crying to us saying "I'm Done!", as if he wanted us to close the bathroom door after he was done. He would make sure the door got closed then he resumes onto whatever he wanted to do. That was very funny as well. And lastly - though part makes me sad the most as it is Fall season now, he LOVED going to window sill to see all the loose leaves fly around and he would stand on his hind legs up against window as if he were trying to catch them all. That was always so fun to see.

Now either I should stop completely on researching this Heart attack/Turning Blue being false for cats for most part or at very least - NOT result in a deadly outcome or I should maybe make some case about it.

Like, what I'm having a hard time now accepting is that nothing had gone wrong with the actual procedure itself. I have this bad feeling that something did go wrong but the vet resorted to the Heart Attack/turning blue/blood clot excuse? Because if anyone does research on this, it really seems despite those incidents, cat shouldn't necessarily die after it. The one thing that I know my vet mentioned about this procedure weeks ago was about the possibility of this tumor being on a critical blood vessel which wouldn't make it operable/removable. Now it begs to wonder, if he had still cut that tumor out and that critical Blood Vessel(s) (a costly mistake on his end) and resulted in Charlie's death. Though being angry now will not bring him back, but after reading all I could up online from other DVM's and sites, it doesn't seem that Turning blue or having heart attack is 100% death for a cat, let alone that be something possibly common in intestinal anastomosis.

What's even fueling my conspiracy is that today, Monday, despite being borderline blaming on the vet for the outcome of Charlie and asking further discount, they still have not replied to me nor charged my card. The reason I also said that I believe if they were against it or they possibly getting angry as well, is because they did it to me before in some way. I scheduled an Ultrasound, but they wanted half deposit. few days later I did not need the ultrasound because my cat Sassy was doing better (and from there on as well), so I wanted to cancel it. Not only they did not to allow me to cancel it, they did not want to refund my deposit - claiming that oh they need my deposit for the the technician to come in. But like, I KNOW if they only do Ultrasounds on ONE day of the week, there's BOUND to be several other animals being ultrasound so my deposit should not matter. I had to fight for it, until they gave up without of course yelling each other, and they refunded me - but then they threatened somewhat saying - "you will not be able to make another appointment for technician again and ask for another refund or cancel it". That left a bad tone - this was about 2 years ago and on top of ALWAYS my cats needing blood work AND Xrays usually all coming back normal, they take hundreds of dollars and the vet would say - "without a definitive diagnosis we can't do much", he would neglect to try medications as it would mask up the symptoms. So after blood xrays, he would always revert to ultrasound, then either some kind of biopsy or endoscopy. The vet would rarely ever want to end on just Bloodwork, Never. So we would still try medication , whether it was Cerenia for vomiting, or Famotidine for my Sassy for acid (CKD), or something else, 9 times out of 10, those medications work and my cats would be fine after. No need for Xrays or Ultrasound. That is why I've always had the impression this clinic was out for the money.

Not saying they are not professionals, or targeting me specifically, no. Otherwise they would be out of business and EVERYEONE would be leaving bad reviews. In the town I live, and the people type that go to take their pets there, there's no way they would accept on being scammed/cheated on either. So It's not 100% that this Clinic does this for a living our out of bad intent, but to an extent I believe they do since they didnt want to refund me my deposit nor cancel my appointment. The vet always sounded unsure of himself, but to even think of the fact that he killed Charlie not on purpose, of course by accident, but it was by accident because of his lack of expertise and possibly not a professional surgeon, he should have highly discouraged me from doing this procedure.

Yes I can try to agree with "oh if I didnt do surgery, I would be mad at myself for not putting Charlie through surgery". But I will be honest, back a month ago upon initial ultrasound, I cried like crazy knowing that the tumor was most likely cancerous. My primary vet did call it even before doing an ultrasound with FNA at hospital. So I can give him credit for giving me that possible outcome. But cancer is cancer, I knew my Charlie was going to pass either way, and would have been a miracle or a very long shot of him going into remission, especially after the biopsy coming back as adenocarcinoma few weeks ago, that already broke my heart and Ive accepted even further my cat wasn't going to make it. EVERYONE professionally from vet, specialists and hospital were telling me to do the surgery as that was the only possible hope, I would even have accepted if Charlie ended up dying from post surgery complication as periontitis, but to die like this IN surgery is still very hard to grasp. At this point, I would even try to seek legal actions...but I just don't know how. All their hospital form claimed that I signed and agreed to was that the procedure is no guarantee for diagnosis/cure, and that the clinic would do everything possible should an emergency come up. Nowhere it states that they aren't responsible for death of a pet and no legal actions can be seeked - or something of that sort. Some businesses state that kind of policy/term but not this clinic or on their hospital form. Plus even on that hospital form, it says in last line that if the pet isn't picked up after X amount of days, they would deem the pet has abandoned and they would put it for adoption + still be responsible for bill - otherwise they would send it to collections to get their money that way. Make sense, but still shows that they want their money - in some way, rightfully so. But that should be for an actual successful surgery+ hospital stay, not other way where I have to pay when they possibly have done a mistake that resulted in Charlie's death. Why should it be a gamble like that? Could go the same way if it were humans rather then pets, right?

Just not sure though if I did take such legal actions, how to even do that or if it's even worth. It won't bring back Charlie - but I couldn't let this happen to other local pet owners pets, or worse, even to my older Sassy 18yr old cat. At this point it would be to fight for this bill if it was Malpractice.
 

daftcat75

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I don't think you should pursue legal action. They obviously have more money than you do. They are insured against this kind of thing. They have a larger capacity to fight this if they don't want to settle. Lawyers are expensive and lawsuits take time. You would have a hard time proving criminal negligence. It will be a huge suck for time, money, and emotions. It would also keep you stuck in the worst part of grief: the haunting of ifs and shoulds, guilt, regret, and speculation. It keeps the focus on his death which I'm sure Charlie would not want.

Whether now or later, he was going to suffer. That's cancer. You knew going into this that his days were numbered. You just didn't expect the unexpected. Nobody does. I don't believe there was any nefarious conspiracy or even a lack of skill. Even if the procedure went 100% correct, look at all the injections they put into him before the surgery. Did you research the side effects of every one? The last surgery bill I had for Krista had nearly a dozen different drugs from sedatives to analgesics to drugs that kept her from vomiting. I was shocked and glad I did not see that list ahead of time. Anesthesia itself has risks.

Because nothing is going to change the outcome, I would prefer to believe that this doctor did the best he could do, and that's not always enough. I don't think you should read any admission of guilt into whether or not they are getting back to you or charging your card. They may very well believe that hounding a grieving cat parent for the final bill is perhaps something that can wait.

In the meantime, whatever pictures you do have of him, check out Shutterfly and Mixbook for ideas on ways to commemorate Charlie like prints, mugs, blankets, puzzles, memory books, etc. If your photos are stored with Apple (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc), you can group photos together into an Album and create a memory video out of them. You can choose which photos and videos are included, how much of a video, and the soundtrack for the memory video among other configurable knobs. There is probably a Google or open solution to do the same if your photos are not within an Apple Camera Roll. Instagram has also been helpful for me to curate through the thousands of pictures I have of Krista. Going through all those pictures helps me remain focused on her life rather than her death. I'm still very sad that she's gone. But I'm also finding so many happy memories to celebrate and elevate the love and bond we shared. The loss still hurts. But her memory is indeed a blessing. May his memory be a blessing to you!
 

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I realize you are struggling with this so I hope what I say does not add to the stress, but please take a little while to really think about this. It might also be helpful to reread things you have posted yourself on this site. Charlie had cancer. He was 15 years old. You spoke often of the risks associated with this surgery and how worried you were. The vets conveyed these worries to you as well. And the vet you speak of attempting legal action against even had advised that a board certified surgeon would be best. At 15 years old, just putting a cat under anesthesia can be high risk. Unfortunately, the outcome here was not what you expected and is tearing you apart, but please do not let your sadness and anger cause you to do something you may regret.

I say all of this not to dismiss your concerns, but sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure out what went wrong, and are so distraught, that we lash out at others. I often feel sorrow for veterinarians and the staff. They love animals and then have to remain professional when they see animals die. Your vet took the time to do this surgery and I believe he deserves to be paid. Just as with a human, they wouldn't waive the bill just because the surgery didn't result in the best possible outcome.

I completely understand your feelings right now, but please try to take a little while to take care of yourself and Sassy. She needs you now.
 

fionasmom

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I also advise against a lawsuit and daftcat75 daftcat75 has enumerated most of the reasons that it is probably not a good idea. Medical lawsuits, for that matter, are exponentially harder to prove and more work to mount than, say, the roofer who did a bad job and your house is now filled with water. You take a few pics, get out the guarantee that came with the roof, report them to the state licensing board and you might not even need an attorney to defend your case. Plus, aside from being angry, there is not much emotional interest in a roof. If you pursue this concerning Charlie you will relive every detail of his last months, along with every theory of what might have happened even if it did not, and will create a very dark place for yourself.

I did have an elderly dog die as a result of surgery about 20 years ago. It was to remove a tumor and the vet did immediately eliminate all charges related to the biopsy or further information that might have been attached to it. The dog woke up from the surgery and was placed back in his kennel, seemingly okay, and a few hours later his attendant heard him bark and turned around to see him fall over. I was told it was a heart attack and did believe them.

I am in Los Angeles, you are in New York City....maybe this is just big city veterinary care but none of my vets, cats or dog, have ever stopped after a blood test. There are always several more procedures they suggest and the older and sicker the animal is the more the procedure recommendation mounts. For that matter, even two year old cat Jamie had his very own ultrasound after a suspicious kidney reading on a blood test. As more and more human technology is used for veterinary care there is much more possible and some of it might not be just to sell services. I will personally consider further testing if it is not just going to be academic.

Charlie sounds like a very funny and charming guy. Being involved in some tribute to him would be a good way to deal with your grief. I do a journal for all my pets with memories, pictures, nick names, etc and have a special place where it is all stored. It is comforting even now to remember with some happiness a departed pet from years ago.
 
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