The down low

Spoke to the surgeon. He said operating would be possible, with a possibility of success. If the surgery is successful, she could live another 12 to 18 months. If we don’t do anything, she would probably only live another few weeks or months – 6 months maximum. Most of her right cheek bone is gone and the tumour occupies the place where it was. It’s probably just a little larger than a golf ball.

The surgery is major, and will require almost complete reconstruction of that area of her face. She will need the feline equivalent of a skin graft, which will be taken from the back of her neck. He may have to shorten the right corner of her mouth a wee bit, and it’s possible she may lose her right eye if the tumour has invaded the eye area, or if she needs to lose too much eyelid. She may also have to have the remaining teeth on that side of her jaw removed. The good thing about cats is that, unlike us, their skin is able to stretch a lot more. Instead of having to remove skin from another part of the body like they do with human skin grafts, they basically stretch the skin from the back of the neck over. The worst thing about that is that she may have less than optimum blood supply to the area, which will cause the edges to pull back a bit and cause a scar, which is more cosmetic than anything.
She (eventually, little shit) had blood taken today so they could find out her blood type. One of the possible complications of the surgery is bleeding, as there is an artery the surgeon will need to go through and tie off. Cats can lose a lot of blood from there, and for around 15% of cats that have similar operations, this can be life threatening, so we need to wait until there’s appropriate blood available for her before she has the surgery, just in case she’s one of the 15%.The surgeon will take out as much as he can, and send the specimen to the pathologists to check to see if he’s gotten clean, non-cancerous tissue out around the tumour. If he has, success. If not, it means he’s left some of the outer edge in there, which unfortunately is the more aggressive part of a tumour and would likely regrow in months. She will also possibly need a feeding tube after surgery, until they’re sure she’s eating.It’s looking like we’re going to go through with the surgery, despite the risks. She’s uncomfortable the way she is, and getting fed up and frustrated, and is struggling to eat, which isn’t fair. She’s getting more and more miserable, and having this done may give her a chance of living out the rest of her life comfortably. If the worst happened, at least we will know we really did try our best for her.

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