Tuesday, April 17, 2007

tails from the second opinion

Well this is fun. I am with out internet access at home. I typed out this post previously in an email, but it is stuck in my outbox on a computer with out a floppy and all I have are writable CDs. I'm not going to waste an entire CD just to get this post off my computer, so I'll write it again.

Yesterday started out interestingly enough. We were in the middle of yet ANOTHER storm. wind and rain. didn't sound that bad till you turned on the news and realized that streets were being flooded out. they didn't mention anything around me, so I packed up Em, and headed off to work.

Since the appointment was at 11:30, I figured she could hang out at the office till 11 when I had to leave (I start work at 9). she LOVED being at the office. She was making goo-goo eyes at everyone, begging for treats, exploring all the nooks and crannies. I swear.. it is either "old kitty disease' or this tumor is totally messing with her mind. I've said this before, as a kitten and young cat, no one ever saw her but us. She'd run and hide from EVERYTHING. If you walked into a room too fast, if you opened up a plastic bag... sometimes even if you sneezed you startled her. I remember my mother talking about Smokey - my cat from childhood. when he got older, he no longer cared about things that used to freak him out like the dreaded vacuum. toward the end, he would continue to sleep in the only chair he was allowed on, and mom even vacuumed him..

well at 11, I packed her up and off I went. I got 90% of the way to the appointment when I got hampered by every route forward being blocked by flooding. so i had to turn around, go back 10-15 miles, jump on the highway, and finally I made it. I was 20-30 minutes late, but all their other clients were canceling, so they could and did see me.

i explained Em's symptoms. the dr immediately jumped on the words "brain tumor" and said she didn't think it was in the brain but in the sinuses. She asked if my vet had taken xrays, and he had said that since it was all soft tissue, it wouldn't show much. She agreed if she thought it was in the brain, but since she thought it was in the sinus cavity, she thought an xray would show something, and if perchance it was low enough in the sinuses, that it might be near the nose, we might be able to biopsy it. x-rays showed a mass in her right sinus. to my untrained eye, it seems to take up the entire right side. there is a bone that runs down the middle of the head, and it does seem to be protruding through that bone, or what ever technical terms work, I'm not sure. but the bone on the xray stops before it should. The dr thought it was interesting that she's been bleeding on the left side, since the tumor is on the right, but thinking about it afterwards if it grew from the right side, then started pressing in and destroying the left side, then there would be more room for the blood to flow on that side, hence the bleeding... since it is so far back, it would also explain to me why I think she's swallowing a lot more blood than I'm seeing, and why she might be aspirating some of it into her lungs as well.

She also wondered if the weight loss wasn't independent of the tumor. there is a phenomenon that she gave it a nice pretty name, but I don't remember it. when kittens are born almost all of them are infected with round worms by a matter of course. You deworm them to kill the active ones, then deworm in a few weeks to get the ones that were dormant and became active after the first treatment. well sometimes there are even more dormant ones that become active many many years later, and she couldn't help but wonder if this was the case with Em. - I told the DH this, and he jumped right on it, cause he's thought back at the beginning that it might be worms - anyway, on the off chance this was the case, we dewormed her. At the time of the vet appointment - with only half a breakfast in her and a couple of handfuls of treats, she weighed 9 lbs 8 oz. This morning before breakfast she was 9lbs 15 oz.. which is VERY encouraging, but not conclusive that my DH and the vet were right. Hopeful yes, and so I'll be constantly weighing her over the next couple of days / weeks and I so hope I have encouraging news on that front.

I asked what else MIGHT be done. She said there is a specialist in the city she highly recommends, who is wonderfully talented, who we could see about possible surgery. Unfortunately just to talk to him he'd want a catscan. There are so many risks with surgery and further tests, that I don't think the risks outweigh the 'rewards' why risk her immediate death during anthestisia for a possible chance at a year or two maybe three. And what quality would that life be? if everything goes perfectly, she's still going to have a lot of recovery to go through, and it would be so hard on her. Yes, money is an issue too, but I think even if everything was free, I don't think I'd put her through it. Maybe if it were smaller, maybe if... well lets not go there.. what ifs can kill you...

So the x-rays were beyond cool, as she has a digital xray machine. they immediately went to her computer instead of film. so she can email them to my vet. I doubt anything is going to change in the course of her treatment, but it is nice to know a little more. If she did have worms, then food should become less and less of an issue. The thyroid meds can probably go, and I won't feel the need to supplement her with dry, which means her insulin needs should drop. A vet tech on a board I frequent said that cancer eats glucose (ok that isn't exactly what she said) so if I can keep her BGs lower, maybe we can slow this a little (yes I am being hopefully optimistic with out a shred of evidence)

if I can get some weight on her, I won't be so certain she's going to die this month. If she stops bleeding as much, I can be hopeful that she'll make it through May.. I might even allow myself the hope that she'll make it through another Christmas..


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