Google Something Clever 2.0: The Oncology Consultation

Apr 8, 2013

The Oncology Consultation

Warning, this post will not be well-written, or even edited. I just wanted to update those who are curious on what's going on with Molly. If you don't know the back story, that's available here.

We're very lucky to live near a veterinary school/animal hospital. Today we had our consult with the oncology department.

Molly (and therefore Chevelle by default) had to fast from midnight on. They didn't like that. At 11:45, I finally took off with Molly, and Chev finally got to eat. I packed the Innotab, the laptop, a coloring book, a workbook and about 50 snacks to keep the boy occupied, because they said the appointment could take up to five hours.

Molly being super brave

First, a fourth-year veterinary student took us to the exam room and examined Molly. We mapped out all her tumors- I thought there were five or six and we found eight. Great. Then, the student conferred with the vet, and they both came back to talk to me, along with another student. She needed blood work (lots of blood work), and they also wanted to do an ultrasound and a needle-stick for her spleen.

They need to figure out if there's a tumor in her spleen. Sometimes, that's what's going on, and the spleen tumor is basically shooting tumors out all over the place. If that's the case, they need to remove her spleen (which, as in humans, is useless). If we do that, it will cost more than my car's trade-in value. It may or may not work. If it does, they wouldn't even have to remove her tumors; they'd go away on their own.

They also need to see if it's in her blood and lymph nodes. If it is, or if the spleenectomy (I'm getting a red squiggle there) didn't work, they could do chemotherapy. Chemo in a cat or dog is not like it is in humans. It's a much lower dose, so the side effects are minimal. It's also not intended to cure the cancer; it merely keeps it at bay and gives them a better quality of life. There are different chemo drugs available, and the one this doctor was talking about trying first is a pill that she would take every 4-6 weeks. While she's taking it, she would need regular blood work, starting as frequently as one a week, and then tapering off. Sometimes, a particular chemo drug doesn't work, and they need to try others.

So I guess we're hoping it's in the spleen. While they were telling me all of this, I found another tumor on her chest and the vet noticed two more just below her eye. So that's eleven, if you lost count. All but one are about the size of... You know those pins with a colored ball on the head, instead of the flat metal head? Those balls. And the one that's not like that, is about half the size of a thumb. Well, a ladies' thumb, anyway.

So, they took her away to get her blood. They came back and said she was really strong. As in, it took four people holding her down to get the needle in there, they had to stick her four times because she kept struggling, and she ended up blowing out a vein. They really couldn't get over how strong she was. They had to put bandages on her legs and warned me that I would see a lot of dried blood when I removed them.

Finally, some cookies! Can you see the bandage?

Tomorrow, we'll get the results from the blood test back, and then probably schedule the ultrasound and spleen stick. Which is not cheap.

The good news is that I only cried a little, and the boy didn't notice because he was super into playing Angry Birds the whole time we were there (and yakking nonstop to student #2 about Angry Birds). All three of the vets kept going on about how sweet she was, and I mentioned that she had actually changed some dog-people's minds about cats. Student #1 told me, "Actually, to be honest, I've never really liked cats that much, but she's just so sweet!" And the other student nodded. Molly is magic.

Sorry if this makes no sense; it barely makes sense to me. The vet is going to email me everything she told me so I can wrap my head around it and my husband can hear it from a non-hysterical source, so I might have more info for you once I get that...

Thanks for caring. Go hug (and examine) your furry loved ones now, please.