Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Dreaded Diagnosis

I took Max in to the vet today. He hasn't been eating very much the past couple of weeks and has lost weight, just hasn't been his usual self lately.  Unfortunately, his regular vet is away on vacation for the next week so one of her partners did the examination and he could feel a solid mass in Max's upper intestinal area.  Something that hasn't been there before, or at least, not big enough to be felt.  He's pretty sure it's cancer.  They took some x-rays, which show the mass, and did some blood tests, for which we'll have the results on Monday.  I couldn't help thinking that "mass" and "anemia" and "blood in his stool" and "stomach cancer" all sound just as frightening when it's your pet they're talking about.  The test results won't change anything, it will still be cancer and untreatable but I feel the need to know, for sure.

This diagnosis isn't a surprise, since we've been thinking this might be in the cards for my little guy for some time now but previously, there wasn't any evidence to be found without doing one of 2 types of biopsies, one of which involved surgery. I chose not to have the biopsies done, partly because $4,000 was too much money to spend for a couple of tests that wouldn't solve anything and also because I just didn't want to put him through the pain and discomfort of healing from a large incision like that, knowing that if it was cancer, there wouldn't be anything they could do about it anyway.  So we've been managing his condition with medication for some time now, waiting to see how things would develop, and now that we know more definitely what we're dealing with, we will continue to do so, only now it's palliative, just to keep him comfortable. 

For today, he's had some fluids and pain medication as well as an appetite stimulant and they've given me pain meds to administer at home.  We're going to see how he does over the weekend.  The clock is definitely ticking down for my little furbaby, it depends how comfortable he is and whether he stays that way.  I certainly don't want to prolong it any more than necessary, as much as I dread where this road is leading, but I'm hoping he'll last at least another week until his regular vet returns because she was so wonderful when it was Carly's turn last year and has been treating Max since all this started. 

Not that they're not all good at this clinic, they are so supportive and understanding.  What a difficult job it must be, to have to deal with this situation on a continuous basis with patients, be they human or animal.  As the receptionist told me, you develop a relationship with both the person and their pet and it's hard when it's bad news.

For now, he's comfortable and seems happy enough to be curled up in his current favourite spot, in a laundry basket on my couch on top of some of last week's clean laundry that he claimed for his own while it was still warm from the dryer, purring very loudly whenever I come by for a kiss.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Oh Cynthia. I'm so sorry to hear this. Sending lots of prayers your way. Sharon