My cat Lucifer just passed away from intestinal cancer two nights ago. It was a pretty traumatic ordeal. He had irritable bowel disease as well, and a history of constipation. Due to muscle wasting and IBD, he died of an impacted colon and with a full bladder. He couldn’t walk on his hind legs any more due to the muscle wasting and was unable to use the bathroom for who knows how long.
Looking back, I wonder if he was constipated for weeks. I thought that he might be, but when we brought it up to the vet, he said that the tumor in his admomen was likely causing him to think he needed to use the bathroom when he didn’t. But, Lucy has a history of constipation, so I should have known to ask for more tests. I trusted the vet though and didn’t.
What happened was that when Lucy first came down with the mass, he was having terrible diarrhea. So, he was put on an anti-diarrheal and taken off the daily laxatives that he’d been on for constipation since 2010. David and I noticed a couple of days after the round of anti-diarrheal that he wasn’t pooping so started up the laxatives again. That was two or three weeks ago. We thought that the laxatives would clear it up but obviously it didn’t.
This all haunts me because I wonder if he was walking around constipated for like the last three weeks of his life. How terrible. And we don’t know because the vets didn’t take the right x-rays to check on his colon– they only looked at the mass in his admomen during that time. So many questions are running through my head: was he in pain? was he uncomfortable? Was he not eating due to constipation or cancer? If we would have gotten an enema right away, would the muscle wasting never had happened? Would we still have a few months with him?
The whole thing was so confusing, though, and the truth is that even if he’d had an enema two or three weeks ago, there’s a good chance it could have ruptured his colon or his mass. And his cancer was so progressed that this would have been fatal for him anyways. So really, it was all a no-win situation. I just wish, though, that we would have tried a few weeks ago. It might have given us more time with him, or if it worked, might have made the end of his life more comfortable.
I am just so sad that he walked around so uncomfortable for so long. Should we have put him down earlier, I wonder. I remember when Marmalade had intestinal cancer that we put him down before he had this kinds of complications, yet when his quality of life had deterred so much that he wasn’t really living anymore. Why couldn’t that have happened with Lucy?
This is the reality of cancer, I’m learning, is that the complications can be really terrible. This is true for a lot of diseases, though, especially the ones that I myself deal with such as Chronic Active Epstein Barr. It’s not the Epstein Barr that takes us out, it’s the complications from it, such as rare lymphomas that only HIV, Epstein Barr patients, and others with these types of diseases get.
Cancer is just terrible, then. I wish that Lucy never had to go through that, and that he was still with us. It was a horrible end to his beautiful yet sometimes tragic life (he’s a dometic violence survivor). I can feel though that today he is finally at peace, which is good.
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