I've been wobbly since Emperor Nympho's vet appointment on Thursday (and even moreso since the follow-up vet phone call on Saturday, with test results).
The vet was enormously concerned as soon as she saw and felt the lump on his back. Thought it was a tumor, and a deeply embedded one at that. They aspirated it and sent the core sample out to be tested. She wasn't sure what it was attached to and we discussed several options, like surgery and the like, which all depended on the test results. She thought the lump could be attached to one of his kidneys, due to placement, but wasn't ruling out the idea that it was just skin-related. I left the vet's office that evening with a slightly irritated cat who talked to me the entire drive home about how MUCH he was peeved at me for sticking him in a box and bringing him to the Place of Bad Smells and Pointy Things (tm).
The next day, Joanna and I sat outside of work and talked about how awesome it would be if I got the call from the vet and found out that the tests showed either a. the lump was actually a cupcake, b. the lump was full of Brie (my vote), or c. that Nympho was actually immortal. We went on to discuss at great length how wonderful cupcakes and immortal cats are.
Satuday morning, as I was lying in bed and trying to convince myself to get up, get dressed, and go outside to sit on the apartment steps and wait for my copy of the Harry Potter book (deliveries don't always make it to my apartment, so I wanted to be proactive), I received a call on my cell from the doctor with the results.
Suffice to say, things are not good.
She said the lump is indeed a tumor. Sarcoma. Malignant. Cancer
She said that in cases like this, surgery is not recommended.
She said that treatment would be taking him for an MRI or a CT scan to see what it's attached to.
She said that treatment would include radiation therapy.
She said that this is incredibly expensive and must be done by a specialist.
She said that without treatment, he only has a a bare handful of months left to live.
She said that with
treatment, it would probably only tack another couple of months onto the end of that sentence.
I was silent for the majority of this phone call because if I spoke, I would start to cry and the only thing I hate more than crying in front of my friends is crying in front of (basic) strangers. She talked a lot, in a slow and halting voice. The voice of one who knows exactly how badly the news they are breaking is being taken.
I do not have much of a choice in this situation. I can shell out exorbitant amounts of money (even by my standards of pet care, we're talking multiple thousands
of dollars) that I don't actually have and put him through extreme stress and discomfort with zero guarantee that this is actually going to accomplish anything. Or I can watch him slowly decline over the next few months until he dies on his own or it gets so bad that I euthanize him. The end result for both options is exactly the same: my cat is going to die. And a lot sooner than I had always thought.
My cat, my thirteen-year old Russian Blue with the rusty old-man meow and the enormous tail, is going to die. My cat, who I have had for almost his entire thirteen years, is going to die. My cat, who has been with me through the best and worst times of my life, is going to die. My cat, who has lived with me in eight apartments and with twenty-some roommates, is going to die.
In a few months
And I can't do a single thing about it, when it gets down to it. Not a goddamn thing.
This sucks so bad, I can't put it into words.
Since my mother died, there has been one thing I have been absolutely terrified of. One single thing that continually creeps into my brain and keeps me awake at night: the idea of having to once again watch someone I love die slowly as some black and insidious disease eats them away from the inside.
Some people may think I'm overeacting. That I shouldn't be so upset over a pet and shouldn't ever compare it to the death of my mother. If anyone I know believes that, I say this now: you are cordially invited to fuck right off. This is my friend
who is going to die before my eyes.
At this point, I'm at a loss. I feel helpless in the face of this. Despite the fact that I know pursuing treatment isn't the best idea, I still feel guilty over making the decision to not do so. Any other time one of my animals has been sick, I have gone to great lengths and spent a lot of money to make them well again. But, putting him throught treatment is just going to make him miserable for no reason. With no cure outcome on the horizon, there's no sense in doing all that. But, I can't help it. I still feel guilt.
On Tuesday, I'll be calling the vet and letting her know my decision. After that, it'll be a lot of little steps and deep breaths.