So, for those who do not follow me on social media, my cat – the boy whose life I saved and the boy who has saved mine more times than I could ever attempt to count; the one who has been the one in the “it’s just you and me, babe!” for 12 years – has been diagnosed with a very rare manifestation of a rare cancer in cats. I am not sure if this is curable; I have read conflicting information and the information I have received from vets is pretty grim; his surgeon even told me he had never seen a cat with this condition ever get through it. But, because of who HE is, I MUST have hope. I adopted this little guy back in 2010; he had been in the kennels for over 5 months because “orange boys are the least likely to be adopted” (a quote from the head of the rescue organization from whom I had adopted him). He had been coined “Valentino,” both because he was rescued on Valentine’s Day and because he was very different than the other cats, a true lover. I had gone into the store that day to try to adopt a dog … and there is a longer story than this, but suffice it to say that I called my mom when I saw there were no dogs and only cats, she came to meet me, and the then-Valentino went from hiding away from all the other cats to jumping up in her lap. He won us over with his love from the beginning.
When he was about 2 (I think he was a little older / is a little older; when we adopted him they said he was about 9 months old but I think that information was from when he was RESCUED), SP because extraordinarily ill. When we took him to the vet for an emergency appointment the doctor found that he had heart murmurs and arrhythmias and told us we needed to contact a veterinary cardiologist right away, which we did. And so, for the next 6-7 years of his life, to the tune of something like $1200+ additionally a year, Sparky Puck had echoes and cardiology consults every 6 months and he was (and still is) on a combination of heart meds given 2x/day to treat this congenital disease (for those of you who might not know this, most orange cats are male – this is a genetic issue – and out of the majority of orange cats who are male, about 20% have congenital hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or a gradual thickening of the heart walls that, untreated – and sometimes even treated – will lead to death). Around the time SP was 8 – that is, the time at which most cats either live or succumb to this illness, he had his “final” regular echo … and the cardiologist stood in awe. The heart wall thickening that was very evident when he was younger had completely reversed … and my boy had a perfectly normal heart.
I can go on and write a whole list of such “miracles” with which this boy has been blessed, but to the point I am making here, I am just praying for a miracle.
On 18 May of this year, my baby boy had a rhinoplasty to clear out his “stuffy nose” that had plagued him, along with intermittent very serious lethargy, anorexia, and other life-threatening issues (the number of times we have been to the ER or to ER vet appointments are also just about innumerable … and the number of times I have held him thinking he was dying are even more numerous than that) for about 9 months. They removed a 1.5 x 1cm tumor from the back of his right nostril growing into his sinuses and 3 smaller tumors that were growing in his right nostril. We waited for weeks for the pathology … and literally, the very day I said I was just getting back on my feet after the nervous breakdown I was having after nearly 2 years of events like this happening one after another without more than a few days between them, the day I was leaving my parents’ house after SP had recovered and I decided it was time to go “home,” the surgeon called and told us all 4 masses were malignant.
There is a lot more to the story than that … but the problem I am up against is that he must undergo a CT scan to determine exactly where the radiation should be targeted … and he must be anesthetized for this test. Now, when my baby boy had the aforementioned rhinoscopy, they kept him for about 6 hours because he wouldn’t get warm or come to … I drove him home for an hour, blasting the heat in 90F degree weather and trying to pet him with the carrier lid open while driving … and when I got him home, it took us about 4 hours to get him warm and alert … so it was between 10-11 hours AFTER the procedure (which included a half-reversal of the anaesthetic) for us to basically lure him back to life; we spent 3.5 hours taking turns throwing towels and blankets in the dryer to keep him warm, while the other (that is, my mom and myself) held him and tried to let him know we were there. The procedure before this was also done under full anaesthesia and although he was not this bad, he also took a very long time to wake up and warm up … and so, the pattern is that the more general anesthesia he is under, the more adversely he reacts to it.
The CT must be performed under anesthetic. Further, whatever treatment approach we decide to go with will require him to be anestetized EVERY TIME he gets radiation treatments. And I have spend the last week basically sobbing because I feel like I have no “good” options; I want him to be around as long as possible and he deserves to be happy and healthy but at the same time, if he were to die from anaesthesia waiting to get a CT or trying to wake up from it, I don’t think I would be able to live with myself … which is hard enough as it is right now.
I know this is not your choice, for anyone who is reading this. But regardless of that, I would really love to hear what you would do in this kind of situation. Also, just as another factor, the time it takes to get to the closest hospital that does this is 2.5 hours … so the round trip, without REALLY bad traffic, is about 5 hours. And my poor little guy has started to hate going to the vet so much that he literally goes out of his mind for a few days … the first time, it took him about a month to come back to being himself and I was honestly terrified that whole time that I would never get the CAT inside the cat back. There are just so many factors to consider and I have no idea what to do and that makes me feel like I am completely failing him … when I have promised I would never leave him (he knows what that means, he is VERY smart) and the pain I see in his eyes when I have to hand him over just about kills me anyway … and it’s not even me that I’m worried about.
So any input here would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for reading this and I will link the sites I have made to fundraise for his treatment below – just the CT and chest x-rays is a combined total of $2,000.
I don’t really even know how to end this because my heart has been broken for so long now that this just makes me feel like … I won’t survive myself.