Originally uploaded by dehmystic
Today at lunch my cell phone rang and the caller ID said Mizzou Vet Hospital...my heart caught in my throat. Even though I know Linus is gone seeing that ID pop up just brought back the anxious feelings I'd get when they would call with an update.
I answered it and it was Dr. Selting. She wanted to go over the final report on Linus. Since we were at lunch with coworkers I opted to call her back. Of course then that's all I could think about so as soon as we got back I put in a return call, hoping to reach her.
Luckily I was able to reach her and find out why Linus did not make it.
First off she said he had a lot of abnormality in his tissues. Primarily the cause of his decline was something called D.I.C. or disseminated intravascular coagulation. Basically, it’s a clotting problem that leads to the formation of small clots throughout the body. These clots then pull any remaining clotting factors from the blood and cause bleeding problems. She mentioned that the blood sample pulled just before we euthanized would not clot. D.I.C. is secondary to other causes, meaning it occurs when other problems are present, like cancer.
Also discovered were some small metastases in his lungs. These were too small to be seen on an x-ray and it's not clear whether the IL-12 treatment would have affected these or not. In Dr. Selting's opinion, the presence of these shows he would have succumbed to cancer eventually.
Another odd finding was belly muscle damage. It was not consistent with trauma or bruising but may be associated with the D.I.C.
No brain metastasis was found. So the neurological problems he initially had were not related to any cancer there.
Tests showed the pneumonia was resolving, there was no trace of bacteria.
Tests on his spleen and bone marrow both showed that his body was trying to produce the necessary blood components. Dr. Selting thinks this is why we saw some improvement, then when the D.I.C. got too bad those organs could not compensate enough.
There is still no firm explanation for the excessive edema but it too could be part of the capillary leak and/or D.I.C.
All in all, while we were hoping for a cure or a reprieve, the truth is he showed many signs that the situation was not going to improve and the pathology information just proves that.
Euthanizing him was the best choice we could make at the time as there was no way to combat all the problems in his little body. At least we don't have to feel like we gave up on him. It's also better to know that his cancer had metasticized because we agonized over not just choosing surgery when truthfully that would not have helped in as much of a way as we would have expected it to given the spread.
Processing all of this has reopened the pain of our loss. I think that's normal, and I know that we'll get a point where we aren't as weepy when we think about it. There's no time limit on grief, is there?