Life-Saving PU Surgery for Simba

$1,640 of $3,100 goal

Raised by 15 people in 14 months
Jessi Chval  PORTLAND, OR
On February 5th my partner and I noticed our cat was acting odd, and soon realized that he was having bladder troubles. It was late at night on a Friday so we had to take him to the nearest emergency pet hospital, which happened to be VCA Pets. They told us he had a blockage and would have died if we hadn't gotten him in. Then they told us that to keep him alive that night it would be $2,800, at least. My partner had recently started working after four years of constant orthopedic surgeries. I am fully disabled with multiple life-long illnesses and can no longer work. I also have not been able to get disability yet since I am so young, though all my doctors agree that I am disabled. As you can imagine, faced with losing our cat and no money to cover the surgery he needed, we took out a loan, we set up a payment plan, and we talked them down to a bill that ended up being $1,610.95, total, including three days of hospitalization and a surgery to unblock Simba's bladder. 
We dutifully gave him all his meds four times a day, we switched his food, we started watching hime very time he peed for signs of struggle, and we celebrated having him home from the hospital and safe. As soon as we got him home, the next day we found out that my partner's job had been eliminated and he had been replaced by someone who was trained in dental hygiene (he was hired to handle billing, coding, insurance, and office management, which he went to school for during all of his surgeries). We quickly went from "in a bad financial situation" to "this really couldn't get any worse". Except that it could.
This morning, on February 22nd, Simba started crying after trying to pee, which broke my heart because he never even cried when he had the full blockage two weeks ago. We rushed him in to his regular hospital, where we have pet insurance (it covers the exam cost and takes 15% off of his meds and services he needs, as well as covers routine yearly preventative care like teeth cleanings. We love our cat and try to keep as healthy as possible!)
His hospital told us that fortunately he wasn't fully blocked yet, but that he may end up becoming blocked very easily. They are monitoring him as I type this, and he has received painkillers and a bladder muscle relaxant, as well as fluids. If we can keep him peeing by keeping him on muscle relaxers and painkillers until we can get this surgery done, then Simba wins and will get to live a full, happy, healthy life..

Even though he is pulling through this partial blockage and is able to pass urine again, he still needs a surgery to prevent this from happening in the future, which right now he's blocking every few weeks.

That surgery is $1,200 through Banfield Pet Hospital. It would straighten out his eurethra, allowing him to pass urine much more easily and would eliminate the constant fear we live in of this happening again and it would permanently lower the amount of pain he lives with from having bladder spasms and difficulty peeing. 

Other than his bladder, our cat is a very healthy little guy, he's only 6 years old, and he is my therapy cat on days when I am in so much pain that I have to stay in bed on a heating pad all day. He is very friendly, loves people, and has been with us since he was 4 months old and we found him meowing in the rain, malnourished, full of fleas and worms. When we took him in, both my partner and I were working full time, bringing in plenty of money to pay for any emergencies he may have. We got him fixed, vaccinated, got rid of his fleas and worms, and had him treated for his first two partial blockages that we caught early.

This time we would do anything for our buddy, but financially we have nothing to give. I don't want him to die just because I'm disabled and my partner has been dealing with non-stop health problems too. Clearly going into debt for our animal wasn't even given a second thought, of course I would pay anything to keep him around and let him live a full, pain-free life. That's where GoFundMe comes into the story. I am hoping that other animal lovers will see how much we care about Simba and consider donating or sharing our story as far and wide as possible.

The first goal we need to reach is the $1,200 to pay for the surgery that will permanently cure Simba's struggles with bladder obstruction. The other $1,200 is to cover his $200 minimum bill from today, and $1,000 of his last giant hospital bill. Meaning we would still be paying off the last $800-900 on our own, but we can do that much over the course of the next year. Unfortunately, we can't do all of it on our own and this surgery is necessary because of his history of recurrent and nearly-fatale bladder obstructions.

We need your help saving our loving cat Simba's life.

Our kitten means the world to us, and your support to save his life does, too. Thank you for sharing or donating to get him the life-saving surgery he needs.

If you would like to purchase something instead of giving to GoFundMe, I also run two Etsy stores, the first one sells jewelry:
www.HopefulSpoon.etsy.com

and the second store sells unique polished, carved, and rough gemstones and crystals for collectors and jewelry makers:
www.MineralismCrystals.etsy.com

With your support, I know we can reach this goal and save our beloved cat's life while preventing more major medical emergencies and financial cat-astrophes down the road.

Thank you so much for reading and caring, my partner Chris and I cannot thank you enough. 

I will also be sending out gifts from both of my shops to the top five donators once Simba's goal is met! 

Thank you again,

from
Simba, Jessi Chval, and Chris Sanborn
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Update 6
Posted by Jessi Chval
13 months ago
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Simba is starting to recover now, I can tell he's in less pain and is starting to feel more like himself. It's still gonna be a month or so before he's healed up, but we made it through the first week and that's great! He initially was screaming and hissing and growling when he peed, but lately he only hisses a tiny bit and then hops back up on the bed and goes back to sleep. Hooray! Chris and I ended up putting him on Gabapentin for nerve pain, plus an unknown sedative, Buprenorphine for pain, and Prazosin (a bladder muscle relaxant), so he's on almost as much crap as I am taking. Thankfully he doesn't have to be on it his whole life, just until he recovers.
Tomorrow is our first follow up appointment, which I'm hoping goes really well! He's eating, pooping, peeing, and seems calm almost all the time so I think we're doing pretty good. No infection, and the bruising and inflammation have gone down significantly. Even managed to wash him up a bit yesterday instead of just setting the damp cloth on his incision and hoping he tolerates it for a few minutes.

I'm really happy with the vet we chose (Dr. Thomas) and the clinic he owns, Tanasbourne Veterinary Emergency. His receptionist drove out to 181'st and met Chris at a fast food parking lot with Simba's meds the other day instead of making us drive all the way out to Hillsboro. So awesome!!! Who does that?! It was a huge help because that's a long, painful drive for us.
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Update 5
Posted by Jessi Chval
13 months ago
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Thank you all so much for donating and spreading the word, you have all helped so, so, so much!!!
We picked Simba up from his surgery out in Beaverton Wednesday night.
Right now he gets pain meds, a sedative, and a muscle relaxer every 8 hours. He is still bleeding a lot, especially when he pees, which sucks but isn't unusual. Just scary. My bedding is covered in blood but I would rather he get blood on my sheets than have to hang out on the floor. He just wants someone to lay next to and is pretty much asleep except for meal times and using the litter box. They did not send him home with a catheter, instead we plan to actively prevent the problems that a catheter may help with, like the urethra growing shut as it heals from surgery. I have a wet, cool cloth that we put on Simba's non-existent junk every few hours, which he definitely appreciates. A soft cone keeps him from messing up the sutures and allows him to eat better, but he trips over it a lot, so whenever we are both awake we let him hang out without the cone on, as long as he's being constantly monitored so he doesn't lick himself.

He needs a surgical recheck every week for the next month or two, he needs twice a month urinalysis run to make sure he doesn't have an infection, The follow up appointments are free, but they're in Hillsboro later at night. If anything goes wrong, the vet we got the best feeling from was also the cheapest, and he promised us continuing care at cost of anesthesia if Simba needs a second surgery after all this, fingers crossed that he will just be a normal recovery.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!!! You made it possible get him this surgery which will long-term extend his life expectancy, eliminates 2am trips to the emergency vet, hopefully, and should help all his other organs function more normally. I feel sooooo bad for our little guy, and really glad that they doubled his pain meds from last week. It's hard choosing to let your animal be in temporary horrible pain to avoid horrible pain and danger of death in the future, but I know we made the right decision. Everyone who helped us get this done is amazing and I appreciate you all so very much!!!

I will keep updating with how he's recovering, any money above and beyond his surgery and recovery costs will go to the first giant $1610 bill from surgery at the beginning of Feb to save his life, and to the new prescription food he needs. There is still a little left over from what you guys have donated, so it's being saved for his next four important and expensive urinalysis ($177 each, but at least the first one is free with our Banfield health plan.) and all his continuing care and medications, which we will need to spend another $100-140 on this month, at a minimum.

I'm in shock that we could all make this happen in a week!!! You guys are awesome and I love you all so much! <3 <3 <3
Simba's Post-Op Set Up in Our Bedroom
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Update 4
Posted by Jessi Chval
14 months ago
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All the donations and love and good energy sent Simba's way is overwhelming, and deeply appreciated. We called about 20 different clinics and vet offices around the Portland and SW Washington area, and we got a scary feeling from talking to all the people that we talked to. I did a bunch of research on the surgery he's having, which is called a feline PU surgery, which stands for Perineal Urethrostomy. The surgery has a very high complication rate of 31%. Complication doesn't mean that the animals die in most cases when this surgery doesn't work, but it does mean a possibility of needing follow up surgeries to further widen his urethra, or to get rid of scar tissue growth, and this his risk of UTI's will be higher for the rest of his life. He will be on a wet food diet consisting of specialty prescription diet canned food for both stress-induced cystitis, and to support his little kidneys, too.

This surgery will NOT be an easy recovery. I am very nervous about it. Very, very, very nervous. He will need to be crated, so we will be borrowing our roommates' large dog crate, so we can fit a new litter box with a new kind of litter that won't irritate the surgical site in there with him, which we will be cleaning upwards of four times a day. He will need constant monitoring, he will need to stay relatively sedated for up to a month afterwards, and I have made the difficult decision to put him on kitty anti-anxiety meds, amitriptyline, which I was against before all of this. The most important thing is keeping him calm, keeping him drinking, and keeping his surgical site and catheter clean. He will need to have a catheter for up to four weeks after the surgery and I hope so much that he doesn't pull it out, though he tolerated his last catheter REALLY well and I was very proud of him. The possibility of them hitting nerves or causing scar tissue growth is high and that scares me a lot too.

Knowing all of this information has caused me to rethink going with the cheapest surgeon we can find, and it turns out that Banfield's surgeons are not board certified at all, so we are looking at a bill more in the $2,200 range after all. Plus medications afterwards and follow up care. Fortunately even if we do the surgery through another hospital, we can take Simba to Banfield during the week and on Saturdays, but his mama and dad will be dreading Sundays from now on. We can no longer take vacations or leave the house overnight, because he stops drinking and eating when we are gone, and that is extremely dangerous in his situation, so my days of camping and traveling are on hold for what I honestly hope is a long time, not because I don't want to go camping, believe me, I do, but because Simba hopefully will live another ten plus years!

We are going to make further phone calls while we wait for the money from the last week to hit my account so we can schedule the next day.

Last night and this afternoon Simba took giant pees that could be heard in the other room, and he looked SO relieved, and Chris and I were both SO relieved for him. It's so funny to be celebrating every time our cat takes a successful piss, but that's my life now!

We also took him off his painkiller for the last twelve hours because he wasn't eating enough on it, and he seems to be doing great as long as the muscle relaxer is still on board! That's good news because I don't want him to have a tolerance to the only pain med for cats when he's recovering from this surgery. I don't want him to be in excess pain afterwards if at all possible.

Basically, I'm not just asking for your help and then hoping for the best, I am invested in making this surgery the cure for his continuing cystitis, by finding him the best surgeon who has the highest success rate, and by doing my research, by sacrificing our wants for his safety long term, and by giving him the most calming and soothing environment we can give him, as well as all continuing care after the surgery. Who even knew cats could get stress-induced cystitis?! I know now, but I really wish I didn't. Poor guy has been through so much this month already and March is gonna be even worse for him.

I've scared myself reading about all the things that could go wrong post-op, I've made a list of all items we need to purchase for his recovery, like a soft donut to go around his neck so he doesn't have to hang out in an uncomfy cone for a month, and so he can't wedge the cone against his catheter and pop it out. (OW!!! Please don't do that, Simba!)

Since he is getting the more expensive surgery that we were originally quoted at the beginning of the month, I changed the amount I'm seeking back to the original $3,300.

I know it's weird, but this terrifying experience of almost losing our little man twice this month has taught me so much about how kind the majority of the world is, and how much more can be done with a big group of hands rather than trying to be an island. I would have never asked for money for my own medical emergencies, which are numerous. Just yesterday I fainted and fell backwards into the tub and ended up with bone bruises on my spine and ribs and of course, a gnarly concussion. For our cat, though, when faced with losing his life if we couldn't raise the money, we found the courage to put this out there and ask our wonderful friends and family to help us out, and everyone came through for Simba in ways that have completely shocked and humbled me.

Thank you for helping us get to this place where our furkid will definitely be getting his surgery to prevent all future blockages! We can't thank you enough, but we will keep trying!!!

<3
Jessi, Chris, and Simba
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Update 3
Posted by Jessi Chval
14 months ago
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We are scheduling Simba's surgery as soon as we get quotes back from the doctors we called!!! You guys are AMAZING. I love you all so much. Thank you for caring, thank you for knowing how much Simba's life means to me and Chris, and thank you for getting our family to a place of hope and healing once again.

With love and light,
Jessi
My goofball is getting his surgery!!!
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Read a Previous Update
Jessie Armfield
14 months ago

Just a quick note to say good luck to you and simba. My Harry Pottomus actually just went thru this surgery 2 weeks ago! He is basically healed he was cut from belly to rear end because he had the P/U surgery and also the surgery to remove a glob of stones from his badder. He healed so quickly that you can't even see the scar on his belly. We tried the yesterday's news for a few days but they didn't like it so I stuck to our old litter but used a lot less. He is currently on the hills prescription diet c/d which is expensive and doesn't have a great aroma. Harry wore his cone for just a few days but doesn't even bother his incisions at all! In super proud of my lil guy. I will send thoughts and prayers your way. I'm sorry I can't donate but as I just went thru the same thing Harry has used all my funds. His surgery was $4200. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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$1,640 of $3,100 goal

Raised by 15 people in 14 months
Created February 22, 2016
$100
Anonymous
13 months ago
1
1
DS
$25
Devon Smith
14 months ago
1
1
SP
$15
Samantha Pulici
14 months ago
1
1
CH
$100
Celia Hassan
14 months ago
1
1

Love you, Jessi. Hope this helps Simba!

MO
$60
M Oleary
14 months ago
1
1

Im a reiki healer who is constantly sending energy/love/healing to Simba. SO Happy you decided to set up the GoFundMe page, and its working ;)

LH
$800
Laurie Haggart
14 months ago (Offline Donation)
3
3

Laurie, you are an amazing woman and we can NEVER thank you enough for what you've done for us, and for our baby, Simba. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

SK
$100
Stewart Kyle
14 months ago
1
1
R
$50
Rachelle
14 months ago (Offline Donation)
1
1
$25
Erinne Goodell
14 months ago
1
1

Glad to hear he's hanging in there!

$100
Sarah & Geoff Ashley
14 months ago
1
1

Geoff specifically asked me if I'd make this donation this morning; we're both sending our love!

Jessie Armfield
14 months ago

Just a quick note to say good luck to you and simba. My Harry Pottomus actually just went thru this surgery 2 weeks ago! He is basically healed he was cut from belly to rear end because he had the P/U surgery and also the surgery to remove a glob of stones from his badder. He healed so quickly that you can't even see the scar on his belly. We tried the yesterday's news for a few days but they didn't like it so I stuck to our old litter but used a lot less. He is currently on the hills prescription diet c/d which is expensive and doesn't have a great aroma. Harry wore his cone for just a few days but doesn't even bother his incisions at all! In super proud of my lil guy. I will send thoughts and prayers your way. I'm sorry I can't donate but as I just went thru the same thing Harry has used all my funds. His surgery was $4200. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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