Wow, 4 months already?

What can I say? I should have updated sooner, and thanks for all the questions about how Diesel’s doing.

First of all, he’s doing GREAT – although the fur hasn’t all quite regrown yet. He can now jump everywhere he could jump before, cat towers, sofas, laps, even the beanbag sofa isn’t phasing him (and before he avoided soft and squishy surfaces because his balance is a bit off). He’s generally a much happier cat, he grooms Larky and they play together now, when previously they had a much less happy coexistence. It’s obviously to do with the removal of pain, rather than the removal of his leg, but we were commenting last week about how he’s just a much happier cat all round.

He pleads to go outside, so he gets to toddle around our back yard every day with his little minion, he dashes downstairs for food and he comes for cuddles about as regularly as he used to. Of course, the worst thing about the whole incident is that he’s now FAR more used to being spoiled than he was, and we have a few ‘brat’ moments where he cries to be carried down from the cat tree, or to his food… I do this for him about once a week, the rest of the time he has to work for it.

On reflection, one of the hardest things about the whole situation was making sure Larky didn’t feel left out, but lavishing Diesel with attention and whatever help he needed. I don’t think we’re the world’s best cat owners, but I like to feel we did a good job by them, and I make sure she gets lots of cuddles now and is never locked out the bedroom again.

It took Diesel the LONGEST time to go back into our bedroom, and that broke my heart for a while (the bedroom was where his post-op care was and he left it the moment we let him). He goes back in there now, and even jumps onto the bed – but that’s kind of rare. Also, his vaccinations are due, so next week I get the interesting trip to the vets, for the first real time not associated with the foot/leg. We’ll see how much he likes the cat carrier.

Of course, I still have panic moments. He cried when I touched him tummy twice in the last few weeks and started to swipe at me. Immediately I started the ‘pain’ check of touching him to see if I could get the reaction again. But each time, the next day, there was no such reaction. We still keep an eye out, we’re painfully aware of how he acts when in pain now, and what it might mean if such pain returns.

But I have never regretted our non-decision once (I say non-decision as the vet pretty much told me they were amputating, not that I would have argued with them anyway!). I love having Diesel back so much, and I love that he can now appreciate the companion we originally got for him but who has now become a firm fixture in the house!

I’ll do some more thoughtful updates about how it feels this many months on soon. I am well aware we’re approaching the 5 month mark, and that’s when I originally read cats return to ‘normal’ so we’ve always given him 5 months to be totally himself again.

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6 Responses to “Wow, 4 months already?”

  1. My 11-yo cat “Hootie” must have his front leg amputated due to cancer in his little paw. The surgery is scheduled for this Friday I’m so sad…
    Am I doing the right thing? How will he clean himself….
    I so sad over this…..

  2. Arbitrary Says:

    Aww, good luck Hootie (and you). All I can say is that I don’t regret Diesel’s surgery for one second. He cleans himself fine, and he’s a thoroughly happy and pain-free cat now, and is soo much happier than when his paw was sore. It’s just amazing how they manage.

    But don’t get me wrong. Directly after the surgery things will be tough for you both and you’ll doubt yourself a fair bit as he stumbles and even falls. But he loves you and you love him and you’ll get through this.

    Feel free to ask any questions or we can talk more in email/twitter/facebook – whatever suits.

  3. On Saturday I found out the lump they removed from my cat’s, Sylvester, right hind leg is cancer and I had to see a specialist about my options. I was told it was a type of spindle cell tumour called “vaccine/injection site associated sarcoma” and it would be best to amputate the leg. They have to do a CT scan first to see where it all might be located and to make sure the amputation will get it all. I don’t really have any support in the idea to amputate. Most of my family & friends don’t think you should spend that kind of money just to add a few more years to the cat’s life. I believe if you can save a life do it so I started looking on the internet for info and it made me feel much better to have found your sight. Your cat’s story makes me feel better about my decision to amputate. I am going to tell others to read your cat’s story and hopefully when I get the info that Sylvester is able to have the surgery, my family & friend will be more understanding. I hope your cat is still doing well and I look forward to reading your next update. I wanted to ask if you had to follow up with radiation or chemotherapy after Diesel had his surgery?

    • Nope, we had no follow-up except a check up the next week to make sure it was all healing ok. They specifically gave us stitches that dissolve because he was so freaked out by cages and the vets.

      We were kind of lucky about that cost-wise, the fact they wanted to send him home straight after the op saved us hundreds in overnight vet care bills, but gave us some hellish nights at home.

      It’s funny, it’s 11 months tomorrow since Diesel had his amputation and honestly, it’s one of the best decisions we ever made and went through with. They said a year max is how long he’d have been able to survive otherwise, so of course I’m thinking about it a lot right now. In fact I was planning a big update when we get to the 1 year mark on 11th January.

      Diesel is only 6 now, so for us it’s more than a few more years, but still, he is SO much happier now, he’s returned to being the cat he was at 4 years old (before he had any signs of pain). But with a bit of diva brattishness cos he really does get his own way with everything now.

      Have you found TripodBella’s site? I think I’ve linked to it and that tells a similar tale but about a hind leg amputation, so the recovery details will probably be more valid for you there. Also, lovely site owner who gave me a lot of hand-holding and email support through it all!

      When it comes to family and friends, I think often they are thinking of you and your wallet, but no-one other than you knows what a cat can mean to you personally. I always said I’d go with a vet recommendation – if they thought there was hope, I’d take it because I couldn’t be happy otherwise, regardless of cost. But we all have different ways of seeing these things, and to be honest, there’s no absolute right or wrong – just what is right for you at the moment.

      If you do want to email or twitter about it, I can give you my details. But no, we had no further radiation or chemotherapy with Diesel, just sme antibiotics, and a painkiller injection and lots and lots of tins of tuna and some anti-inflammatory medicine.

  4. Thank you for replying to my comment. My cat Sylvester had the CT scan on Tuesday, Dec 14 and they do believe that they can get all the cancer with an amputation. So I am taking him in tomorrow morning at 8 am. They are removing his leg and the right side of his hip. This is the toughest decision I have ever had to make. So I reread your story and it has helped me feel more hopeful. I pray that they get it all and that there are no complications. Another site you could add to your list is catwiththreelegs.wordpress.com they did comment on your site as well and their cat had vaccine-related fibrosarcoma which is what my Sylvester has.
    Thank you again for this site and your comments. It has helped me and I know it will help a lot more people.

    • Have added the other blog to the links! Thanks for the heads-up. Time for me to take some year-on pics of Diesel I think!

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