Hello friends! I'm Jennifer, one of Shadow's Moms. I found out two days ago that the vet thought my sweet little boy has Intestinal Cancer. It was absolutely devastating news.
Shadow has been the joy of our household since he was born. His Kitty-Mom, Isabella, was a stray who adopted my family, and moved into our back porch. She had five kitties, all boys. When it came down to it, we just couldn't give any of them away, so we kept all of them, and got everybody fixed as soon as we could. Shadow was always the first one to do everything - stop nursing & try dry food, use the litter box, throw himself over the baby-gate barricade that we tried to keep them all safe with... He has got so much love in him, and is so full of life, my Mom & I feel blessed that we get to share his life with him.
He hasn't had his usual spunk in the past couple of weeks. He gradually started eating less - which we first thought was a good thing, because this little chunker used to be a 20 pound cat who would break into the food at night - no matter how you hid it. Approximately one week ago, he refused to eat dinner, and then breakfast the next morning. We thought that it must be his teeth, so we took him in for an appointment at our regular vet that we've been going to with our pets for about 20 years. For $200, they "examined" him, and said that his teeth were "not that bad". They ran a full-panel bloodwork, which came back "pretty normal", according to the receptionist - we couldn't even get the vet on the phone. During all of this, we were not getting any diagnosis as to why he was not eating. We were also not getting any return calls from our vet, and called ourselves to get the blood work results, and to ask about what was causing him not to eat. They told my Mom that we should just go ahead and schedule a teeth cleaning if we wanted to.
I called Wednesday morning to schedule a teeth cleaning, and asked if it would be possible to split the bill into two payments of $150, two weeks apart. Although I didn't have to make payments, I was just wondering if I could, I was treated horribly. I won't go into what was said, but I will tell you that one line was "I can't help your financial problems". I refuse to ever go back to Rockledge Animal Clinic. My family has taken several different animals there throughout the years since I was about 10, including strays that I've had fixed, and a dog that was hit by a car and had a smashed leg. We have never been treated poorly up until now. I've even referred several people to them in the past. I am now sorry that I have.
Wednesday afternoon, I transferred all of my records for my animals to Aloha Animal Hospital in Indian Harbour Beach. We took Shadow in Thursday morning. IMMEDIATELY, as soon as the Dr. felt his stomach, he said that his intestines did not feel normal. He felt what he thought was a mass. He wanted to run x-rays so he would know what he was dealing with. Unfortunately those x-rays showed fluid in Shadow's stomach, and showed what looked like a mass somewhere around his intestine, but it was not clear. He recommended an ultra-sound, which I agreed to, although I didn't really have the money. I'm not gonna lie - I'm not rollin' in the dough, unfortunately.
They aspirated (took out with a large skinny needle is how I would describe it...) some of the fluid from Shadows stomach, and the results were inconclusive, but there were not cancer cells in the fluid.
The vet recommended exploratory surgery to find out exactly what was going on in there. I dropped Shadow off this morning at 8:15. From there, I went to work, and have listened to nothing but Dan Fogelberg's music ALL DAY because the vet's name is Dr. Fogelberg, and I'm odd like that. I figured it couldn't hurt.
Dr. Fogelberg says that Shadow does not have intestinal cancer. The "mass" that he felt was something that is affecting the fatty tissue in that area - either another form of cancer or an infection. He also found a spot on his liver & spleen. He took a biopsy of all three and sent them off. It turned out that it was a cancer that affects the fatty tissue. It had affected all of the fatty tissue in Shadow's little body.
We had to make the hard decision to put my sweet little Shadow to sleep today, May 16, 2008, at about 5 p.m. The cancer was extremely advanced, and there was nothing else we could do. We decided to have it done today, so that his last day would be a good day, and he wouldn't deteriorate any more.
RIP my sweet little Shadow. We miss you terribly already.
Thanks for reading his story. I appreciate every single person who helped Shadow, just by reading his story, and sending good thoughts his way.
I am leaving this page as is for now, until the rawness has healed a little bit. I just can't bear to change it yet.
aka Jennifer Fague
M Design Boutique/Melissa offers best healing thoughts to Jennifer...and in fact, anyone who has taken on the potential anguish of losing a pet, knowing that the joy of experiencing them is worth it. RIP Shadow.