Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bad News for Stella

Last Monday I got a call from the vet with Stella’s biopsy results. She has malignant mammary gland cancer which has very bad survival odds - 90% metastasizing rate. I was half stunned and half upset. The vet said she would call me later for treatment options. Stella has been doing amazingly well after her biopsy. Her spirits are great; she is eating as usual, and is active. I am convinced that she is the 10% with no cancer spread.

Tuesday I got the follow-up call from my vet. It was even worse news. The surgeon had cut really deep and had taken out a mammary gland in the biopsy procedure. He recommended complete removal of all the mammary glands on Stella’s right side - a procedure which will be extremely painful, will need days in the hospital, and will cost $3.300.00. That is the recommended treatment. Since the cancer is so aggressive and pervasive, cutting out as much tissue is the way to go to increase survival odds. Of course, I cannot afford that surgery and that’s when I started crying on the phone. The second option is full blood work, chest and stomach scans which will cost $1,000.00. Which I can’t afford either but is reasonably attainable. Lots of crying, feeling like I am the worst cat mom ever, and anger at the goddamn job market which has shut me out for years. I decided to research my options.

I found out that yes this cancer can be pretty deadly but there is a glimmer of hope that depends on the size of the removed tumor. If it’s under 3 cm in diameter, survival rates are much better. From what I saw, it looks like Stella ‘s tumor was 2 or 2.5 cm! Also, there are a couple grants out there that can give money for cancer treatment. I’m also promoting my fundraiser like no one’s business.

The final decision is that I’m going to wait. Stella has excellent quality of life now. I’d rather her and I enjoy that now rather than choosing to hobble her with an extensive painful procedure. If I get the grant money or fundraising help, I’ll opt for the blood work and scans. I got a bunch of great support and advice from family and friends.  Thanks! 

It’s like she knows something is up lately. She has been extra cute and snuggly. Plus, the playing with Rasputin has reached epic proportions! Both of them hopped in the empty tub one morning and basically had Feline Thunder Dome. Stella has this thing now when she’s chasing Ras, she tries to swipe his back legs out from under him. Or she runs right up to him and does nothing and lets him freak out.

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