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Kender's Tripawd Journey

I wish I had…

July 29th, 2014 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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This seems to be my mantra lately.  They say hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve sure been shown that a lot this past month.

I wish I had….

…waited for an appointment with my usual vet and/or listened to my gut and pushed for a more definitive diagnosis when it was telling me this was not an abscess.

…not put Kender through the pain of lancing and draining an abscess that didn’t exist.

…skipped the biopsy and instead opted to have the whole leg tested post-amputation, rather than putting Kender through even more pain of a biopsy that yielded very little useful information.

I know holding onto all of this and stressing about it does nothing productive at all.  But I’ve always had a hard time letting go of the past and moving on.  Plus, seeing my poor track record so far makes me scared that the next decision I make will be another wrong one.

The oncologist suspects it’s likely histiocytic sarcoma or tarsal lymphoma.  I can find next to no literature on feline tarsal lymphoma, but the oncologist said it is something they are seeing more of recently.  The oncologist said each of these should be treated with chemotherapy in addition to amputation.  The research I’ve done shows a disparity in whether chemo is necessary for histiocytic sarcoma or not, but I’m no expert.  Of course, to do chemo we would need a definitive diagnosis to determine which drugs to use.

The vet recommends sending in the amputated leg for two reason.  One is to be certain we have clean margins.  The other is that they may be able to get a definitive diagnosis from another area.  But if they can’t, then they would have to do immunohistochemical staining to get a diagnosis.

I wish money didn’t have to play a role in all of this, but it does.  The credit cards can only take so much.  We’ve essentially “wasted” $700ish so far on antibiotics, abscess draining and the biopsy.  So I’m also faced with the decision of what to do post-amp.  Chemo or no?  If we are going to do chemo, do we test the leg for margins (how much will this matter if we are doing chemo anyway) and hope they can also get a definitive diagnosis?  Or just jump straight to the staining, which costs about $100 more than histology of the leg?

Of course, this all may be moot if the pre-op x-rays show the cancer has already spread throughout her body, which is a very real possibility with how long it’s been.

I wish I had…a crystal ball to tell the future with.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • elizabeth

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. We have all had so many “I wish I had’s”. There are no magic answers, no “right” decisions. Cancer is such a crap shoot. Can you talk to your vet about what procedures offer the most bang for your buck? I know there are some things on the website about this sort of stuff, but I’m not quite sure where to find them. I hope Jerry chimes in. In the meantime, there is one thing that you can do that will never bring on any “i wish I had’s”. Make the most of your time together, no one ever regrets that.

  • jerry

    Oh boy do I know what you mean, but the best thing for all of you is to move forward and focus on the now…nobody can change the past, you can’t predict the future, so all you have is the power to change how you react to what’s in front of you. I know it’s so hard.

    When it comes down to it, no amount of money would give you the perfect situation. So do what is in your heart and what makes you and Kender happy. If being in debt over chemo will stress you out, that’s not good for all of you. So do what will cause the least amount of worry and stress, that’s the best way to go.

    Good luck this week, keep us posted OK?

  • rica55

    Oh gosh I so now how you feel and I’ve SO been there…unfortunately this stupid journey can put you in that “I wish I had” position.
    Jill’s tumor was on her toe, so first her toe was amputated and we got “good margins”. There were lots of differing opinions from different vets and pathologists about what to do, but ultimately, we decided to just leave her alone at that point – the margins were good and osteosarcoma typically doesn’t spread in cats.
    Well NOT SO with Jill. Six months later, it spread in her leg. I remember sitting in the waiting room while they x-rayed her lungs to make sure they could proceed with her leg amputation just beating myself up. If that cancer spread, I had let it fester in her for six months. “I wish I had” amputated her leg….but I didnt. And where was “wishing I had” going to get me at that point?
    I’m so sorry you are going through this. IT SUCKS! Cancer sucks. What you need to tell yourself is that NOW you are doing the right thing for kender, don’t look back. Just look forward, arm yourself with the best information and make the best decision for you, your family and your kitty.
    Keep us posted!
    Erica & Jill

  • Melinda P

    Thank you for your perspective, Erica! I think we beat ourselves up too much sometimes. I keep telling myself “Why didn’t I…” but never while I was reading Jill’s story, did I think “Why didn’t she…” I need to practice being more forgiving with myself 😉

    And the reminder of Jill’s story has helped give me some clarity, I think. It reminded me that even with clean margins, there is still a chance of recurrence. And regardless of clean margins, the vet is still recommending chemo. Not to mention, it’s not like we could realistically remove even more if we didn’t get clean margins. There’s also still the chance they won’t be able to diagnose from the leg. I’m going to discuss it more with my vet, but I think at this point I am leaning towards skipping the histology on the leg and just going straight to doing the immunohistochemical staining.

    Thanks for helping me push aside my emotions for a moment to think rationally!

  • benny55

    Just a test first…wrote a long response last night only to not have it go through…..

  • benny55

    Okay…it went through!

    But now, with all the other responses, I can only say DITTO…my sentiments exactly!

    Sounds like you are getting some clarity now and proceeding with a plan. That brings some comfort and relief in a strange way.

    Kender has a lot of spunk and a wonderful advocate backing her up!
    Any decision out of love is the right decision.

    We are all right here with you, okay? If you feel like you’re going over the edge…no worries…we’ve got you and will pull you back every time!

    Hugs to all!

    Sally and Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle

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