A reason for distraction

Getting bad news is never fun, even when it's expected. I brought my cat, Isis to the vet on the 13th because there was a strange lump on her right flank. It didn't feel right - hard and mixed in with the muscles and ribs and right next to the spine. The vet agreed and did an aspiration sample and took some blood work. He looked at the sample, but didn't like what he was seeing. So he set the samples off to a pathologist to get a better diagnosis. That alone didn't make me happy - I've had Isis for nearly 11 years and she is really part of the family. The vet said that he would hopefully have the results of the blood work and the pathology report on Friday. So that was on my mind throughout the weekend of the Xterra Mountain Championships. Not a good way to prep for a big race.

Luckily, I didn't get the results until Monday. The news wasn't good. Her white blood cell count was three times normal, indicating a severe immune response to something; her platelet count was about half of normal, possibly related to something in the bones; her liver enzymes and function were also significantly elevated, another really bad sign. The lump itself was a plasma cell tumor, apparently a nasty kind of cancer that is very hard to treat. The vet wanted to get some more information for me, so he was getting a consult with an animal oncologist. That way I would have all the options - surgery, chemo, ect.

Well, the bottom line is that we would have to get a series of X-rays and ultrasounds first to determine the location, size of the tumor. Then, if it hadn't spread to other areas (unlikely, given the results of the lab work) it would still be unlikely that he could surgically remove it. Based on the location, there is a high likelihood that there was more then just muscle involvement. If ribs and spine and nerves were involved in the tumor, there was no way he could remove it. And if he could, it wold be a long, painful recover - made harder by her age.  The other option was chemo, which would only add about 6 months based on the lab values. And again, impact her quality of life, making her just miserable. Not something I could imagine putting my sweet Isis through - I wouldn't be able to explain what was going on, why she was so miserable.

So after discussing it with the vet and with Nick, we are not going to do anything at this point. We are going to keep her fat(ish) and happy. We don't know really what the prognosis is - it could be days, weeks or months, or even a year or two. I want her happy, not suffering. It's not the easiest of choices, but the one that is best for all of us.And since she's still underfoot, questing for crumbs, I'll take it.


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