Friday, 17 April 2015

In The Life - April 17th, 2014

This is a new series where I'll just do some... lifeblogging.  Catching up with you guys about stuff that's going on, or maybe not even about anything in particular but just.  Life!

To start it all off, I just wanted to take a moment out from the usual beauty/fashion/etc related stuff to talk about something that is very important and dear to me, more to get this off my chest than anything else.  After all, this is a personal/lifestyle blog more than just a straight-up beauty blog, and this is a big part of my life right now.  If you’d rather read about product reviews and hauls, or are at all squeamish about the idea of surgery or stitches (or just generally have no interest in reading about my cat) feel free to skip, I won’t hold it against you ^^

I'll put the rest under a cut, because it's quite long and you may not want to read.  But click to read more if you so choose.

I want to mention a current source of stress in my life – my cat, Pumpkin.  Some of you may know that I have two cats, Pumpkin who is my ginger-tabby-and-white 3 year old baby girl, and Miso who is my year-old black-and-white tomcat.  Miso has thankfully been the very picture of health since the day I brought him home, even though he was a feral little thing for all of the first day and a half. 

Pumpkin on the other hand, hasn’t been as lucky in the health and personal safety department.

Aside from a UTI shortly after she was spayed, she was hit by a car when she was a year and a half old and broke her pelvis in two places.  In the end she didn’t need surgery (which was a good thing because the positioning of the break meant they didn’t have space to fix it via a plate and screws) and after two months of crate rest, she was back to her usual self.  You’d never know to look at her now that she was ever in an accident.

After that she was doing fine for a year, until last summer we noticed a growth on her skin.  At first it looked like it might be an insect bite that was inflamed, and when it didn’t go down and she started licking at it and making it raw and sore, we took her to the vet. First we had to keep her in with a cone on to stop her licking at it, and when it still didn’t go down the vet tried some cream.  After this still had no effect – and in fact it continued to grow – she finally had surgery to remove it. 

The vet sent it off to the lab for analysis and the official diagnosis was a Mast Cell Tumour (or Mastocytoma in medical terms).  She explained to us that the condition is not that common in cats, but since she’s had one she’ll be very likely to get them again in the future, so we’ll need to keep an eye out and check her over weekly to make sure she doesn’t get any more lumps – and if she does, take her back to get it taken off, as although this one wasn’t very aggressive they can be quite malignant.

Fast forward to just after Christmas and she developed another tiny lump.  When I noticed it, I was cuddling with her in the dark and felt it in her fur, and thought she had a burr stuck it was so small.  But looking at it in the daylight, it was clearly another growth on her side.  The vet tried cream again for a week, and then when it didn’t work again she had surgery to remove the growth. 

This surgery was a lot more invasive than the first – the vet took pretty thick margins around the tumour to make sure she got all of the affected tissue, so although the lump itself was a bit smaller than a ten-pence piece, she had quite a large wound and the first few days of recovery was much more painful for her as her skin had to be stretched backinto place to stitch up over what had been removed.

But she recovered well and after a couple weeks she was allowed to go back outside again and was perfectly fine in herself – aside from a bald patch that is still growing back now.

And now last weekend I discovered another lump, one that is not looking like it will be as easy to remove as it’s on her inner hind leg just below the knee.  My initial concern was that, in a place such as that, there’s not all that much ‘extra’ skin if the vet needs to get large borders, but we took her to the vet this week so she could look at it and discuss the plan of action with her.

Honestly this vet appointment was almost more stressful than I anticipated it to be.  Rather than getting answers as to what happens next, we’re still in limbo.  The vet took photographs of the leg and the tumour so that she could discuss it with one of her colleagues, a surgeon at one of their local veterinary hospital.  She also asked us to bring Pumpkin in today so they can do a fine needle aspiration (basically take a biopsy of cells from the tumour) so that they can get it analysed, see how aggressive this one is, and then make a decision from there.

The best case scenario we’re facing right now is that the tumour isn’t super aggressive (which I think is unlikely based on how quickly it seemed to appear) and they can get away with cutting away the tumour without having to take much or any healthy tissue around it as well.  Then ideally, this could well be the last one she ever has and she’s perfectly fine and healthy going forward – because aside from these tumours, she’s perfectly happy and healthy.

If the tumour is aggressive, however, Pumpkin might lose her leg, and even then there’s no guarantee that she won’t get another one somewhere else a couple months or even years down the line.  Which I know there are stories abound of animals who cope and adapt extremely well to the loss of a limb, but for Pumpkin I’m not sure how well she’d do.  Purely because she’s a cat who loves being outside, thrives on playing outdoors and climbing trees and napping on the garage roof in the sun.  And although losing a leg may still allow her to do those things, there are a couple of bigger cats in our area and I’m worried that they might see her weakness and bully her, and she’ll have to be an indoor-only cat.  On every occasion so far that she’s had to stay inside for days at a time, she’s been miserable, so I’d hate to have to do it for the rest of her life – but at the same time I wouldn’t have her put to sleep when she’s perfectly healthy.

It’s just a difficult time right now, not having any answers.  My aunt took Pumpkin back for the sample to be taken this morning (since I’m at work – on my lunch break right now) and they just said they would call when they get the results and to let us know what the next steps are.  Which I know is all they can do right now, but I hate not knowing what’s going to happen.

So I guess I just want to say that I would appreciate you keeping us in your thoughts.  I’m trying my best to adhere to the Positive Thinking attitude, but sometimes you just can help but let your mind slip to the What If’s and different scenarios that might happen.  Hopefully we’ll find out before too long, and hopefully it will be the best possible news and she’ll be fine.  But for now I just have to wait and see.

EDIT:  The appointment on Friday was pretty straightforward, but we still won't know the next steps until the vet calls us with the lab results, which I'm HOPING will be this week.

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