I lived at the vet’s office this week and I am filled with worry.
On Monday, my 7 year old cat Lily had surgery to remove a skin growth on her shoulder. The growth had been there for 2 years with no changes and her vet and I had watched it closely. I’d check it just about every night and he’d check it twice a year. He’d advised we take the conservative route and just watch it since it wasn’t in the typical location for skin cancer (head and neck) and it had remained unchanged over those 2 years. But then last week I noticed the growth had more than doubled in size in a matter of days. I took her to the vet on Saturday and we scheduled surgery to remove the growth on Monday.
The surgery went well and when I went to pick Lily up, the vet told me he thinks the pathology will show that the growth was malignant. The vet said he checked all her surgical margins and sent them off for testing to ensure he got rid of all the growth and potential cancer around the edges. He also said the most likely forms of skin cancers in cats are cured with surgery so there is a good chance Lily won’t need to have any more treatments. Now we are just waiting for the pathology to come back.
I’m trying to stay positive and reassure myself that if it is cancer, odds are it’s the more common kind and that we cured it with the surgery. But it’s hard to stay positive and rational when the word “cancer” comes into play.
Through this whole process I learned that white cats are more susceptible to cancer, especially on their neck and head. So if you have a white cat, please pay attention to any skin growths or lesions.
I’ve written about Bernie before. We thought we were adopting a 2 year old dog, but he turned out to be a formerly abused senior dog with a anxiety and a heart condition. We don’t care. We love him so much.
Over the past three years we have worked with a cardiologist to treat his heart condition but it is inevitable that he will eventually develop congestive heart failure. He’s currently on medication (Vetmdin) to try to slow down that progression.
Sadly, over the last two weeks he has started to exhibit coughing and wheezing, and it has gotten much worse in the last week. The cardiologist told us to keep an eye out for coughing as it is a warning sign that his heart is getting worse. I called two weeks ago to get him in to see the cardiologist but she is fully booked until July. I’m on the cancelation list, but with the coughing getting much worse this week, David and I decided to take him into his regular vet to see if there was anything she could do..
Yesterday the vet took x-rays and sent them to the cardiologist and a radiologist. The vet said his heart is enlarged to the point that it is pressing on his trachea. That’s probably what is causing his coughing and wheezing. She didn’t think there was fluid in the lungs, which is a great news, but she’s going to check with the radiologist to make sure. She’s also going to check with the cardiologist to compare the size of his heart this year to his tests from last August. Then she can gauge how much the condition has progressed. Once she speaks to the cardiologist and radiologist, we will start a new treatment plan to keep Bernie comfortable until we can get in to see the Cardiologist in July.
I hope we have a lot more time before things get worse for Bernie. I have to keep reminding myself that right now he is happy and enjoying life. And all I can do while we wait for more tests and a prognosis is continue to shower him with love.
It’s been a rough week, but I’m hoping for good news for Lily and Bernie. I am so thankful for our wonderful team of vets. I’m also really glad that we have pet insurance. It makes it possible for us to get the pets the care they need without having to deplete our bank account or go into debt. We love these little animals so much and will do everything we can to make sure they have full, happy lives.