hoping for the best
Surgical procedures and I have a mixed history. Whenever I’m the one going under the knife, luck seems to always be on my side. When it’s someone I love, it never seems to work that way. If I could switch it, I would. In a heartbeat.
I’m an optimist. When things go wrong, I research things to death–but I mostly believe that things will be okay. I believe that things will work out. But, sometimes, they don’t. Sometimes, things change in a blink of an eye from hopeful to tragic. And there’s nothing anyone can do.
This past week, with Fogg, has been rough on me. I’ve had to revisit some stuff related to my mother’s surgery and subsequent death. It’s brought up emotions that I thought I worked through, but the feelings this week brought them up in ever nuanced ways.
Today was the first good day I’ve had–where I’d hit my groove. Where it wasn’t hard. Where Fogg was doing well. Her vomiting stopped, and I fixed it on my own. I was looking forward to the weekend.
I was about to order some food for dinner when my phone rang. I remembered my vet’s number and recognized it–knowing somehow that it was test results.
And I could tell before she told me what they were that she was preparing herself. The way my mother’s surgeon had braced himself when he told me Mama was gone.
While the large mass was a mast cell tumor that was essentially cured by the surgery, the smaller finger I felt–that had only appeared just before her diagnosis–that I instinctively knew felt bad–was not a mast cell tumor at all. It was a fibrosarcoma. Malignant, invasive. Fuck.
The good news? Both were removed, probably completely. The margins were good. The vet had been aggressive because of this second portion–because I had seemed more worried about how fast it seemed to be growing. This was why her incision was so large. But fibrosarcomas are basically insidious assholes. They rarely spread to organs, but they recur–sometimes as much as 70-90%. Luckily, the vet doesn’t think this is the form from vaccinations or the one linked to feline AIDS. She’s older, and the location is not a place where vaccinations occur–usually.
So, this is the better form. But recurrence is more likely than not, and recurrence is pretty bad. If it metastasizes, it doesn’t look good. We could do nothing and just watch to see if something comes up again. We had good margins, so it may never come back. But there’s a good chance it will. Our other option is to open her up again–getting wider, deeper margins–to make sure these little bastards don’t come back. But even that isn’t guaranteed. We can do surgery again if it recurs, but there’s only so many surgeries you can do. And each one is really hard on a cat.
If we do the surgery, we can do it with our vet or a specialist surgeon who would likely be even more aggressive in treatment and would give us more options. And might recommend chemotherapy or radiation.
I feel like I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t take an aggressive route. But I don’t want Fogg to suffer over some unknown. I trust our vet and the staff. I know how they operate. So, we’re doing the repeat surgery in about a month (earliest we could get in). With our vet. If it recurs, I’ll do the specialist route. I think this is kind of middle ground–where I wouldn’t secondguess everything if something bad happened later.
It seems so ludicrous that something like this could just show up overnight and change our world so completely. Here’s this healthy, feisty, happy little cat with this demon timebomb that could show up at any minute. It’s absolutely terrifying and completely beyond comprehension.
This feels so much like my mother’s illness and subsequent death. Life was going pretty well for me before this shit just showed up. I was so hopeful and optimistic that this year wouldn’t be full of crap. That maybe I’d finally get a break from grief and pain. I was in a similar place when Mama got sick–finally knowing what I wanted.
And then that feeling of–HOW is this happening? How is this even possible?
As I said–I’m an optimist. But sometimes, I wonder if I should just expect the worst–so I’m surprised and not completely blindsided by it. This hurts. A lot. But mostly because I was so sure she’d be okay. And we were just a week away from normal.
I know every living being dies. And when things grow old, they get sick. Fogg isn’t that old, and she’s really never been sick until now. She’s such a sweet, amazing cat. I hate that she is being put through this. Especially when she seemed completely fine before we knew what this was. I’m really just heartbroken about this. I know I’ll get through it if I have to say goodbye, but man, I just don’t want to.