pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: I am Naughty Cat

20 December 2016

I am Naughty Cat



Milton, misbehaving
2 December 2016

So 18 days ago, he was leaping into the spouse's cubby. There is often "field food" there--meat sticks, beef jerky, the stuff that guys who work outdoors keep around when they don't want to worry about getting lunch. The goodies get hidden these days because the cat will go after it, but he remembers it used to be there and always hopes we'll slip up and leave something tasty.

Milton has been just nuts since he recuperated from surgery. Kittening, running around, playing with toys, just a cat filled with joie de vivre. I dared to hope.

Hope ended Saturday night when I found a lump in his hip near the surgery site. Injection-site sarcoma is very aggressive, and even though the post-surgical margins were clear, we knew there was still a chance of recurrence.

I dragged him into the vet this morning. Dr. K wants to save this guy as badly as I do because the first thing he said was, "It's mobile and flexible and I say we take it out right now."

("Right now" means Friday morning. He was so adamant that I sort of thought he meant he was going to open up the cat then and there.)

There is a chance, just a chance, that it's scar tissue. I think the vet and I both know that it's not--I'm not even willing to entertain the idea, frankly--though Milton's behaviour has remained happy. The vet made the point that the cat responded so well to the first surgery that it's worth it to pop out whatever is in there. I even said the word "radiation."

This is the terrible, terrible place that medicine takes us. I watched in horror three years ago as my father-in-law died by inches after an incredibly invasive and probably worthless surgery. When my dog had brain cancer, we managed her tumor successfully and palliatively for six months and let her go with love when it was no longer manageable. By the same token, my cousin was just "cured" of the cancer she's battled for 13 years with one of the new immunotherapy regimens. So it all remains something of a crapshoot and the line where one abandons hope and let's nature take its course becomes more and more vague.

And it's back to calculus. I am so attached to this little stinker, but I know he's almost 16 freaking years old. He's been incredibly healthy for the majority of his life and he recovered so well 3 months ago. I don't want to overtreat him and increase his misery while decreasing his quality of life, but I have to do enough.

My standard has always sort of been "would I do this to myself?" With Mitzi the answer was clearly no. If I were 80+ years old and diagnosed with a brain tumor, I'd book myself on a long cruise and have them throw me overboard when I croaked. That is the truth. But if I had a single tumor in my hip and had to have another removed periodically? I'd probably do that until it didn't make sense to.

The vet promises me that this incision should be small, just a couple of inches. It may buy him another couple of good months. For now, I think we can all live with that.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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