My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Monday, February 13, 2006

Day 21

Leo's tumor continues its steady, if somewhat imperceptible, growth. Since it reached across from his left jawbone to the right the growth has been harder to track.

During the past week, I noticed a few hard nodules had developed off the left side of the tumor.

But what scares me is that the jaw tumor seems to be growing backwards, getting closer to his throat.

Which raised a possibility that hadn't crossed my mind before -- that the growth could eventually press on his esophagus to the point that he wouldn't be able to breath.

The prognosis the vet gave me three weeks ago was a somewhat vague description of Leo eventually not being able to eat (and that would be the time he would need to be euthanized.) I imagined that to mean that the tumor would grow upwards into his mouth...or maybe ulcerate to the point he wouldn't want to eat...

My obsessive nature compels me to imagine the various scenarios...although I'm actively trying to banish thoughts of Leo's inevitable demise, the euthanasia of his brother Zeke this past November is far too fresh in my mind and far too haunting to dismiss completely.

BUT -- all this doom and gloom ignores the rather uneventful week that has just past. Leo was very active in the beginning of last week...wanting to play far more than he has in many years (credit the prednisone gel.)

The past few days, he hasn't been quite so active and hasn't been eating as heartily. He's been drooling a bit more during petting...

The biggest trauma inflicted upon Leo all week was my washing of my bed's comforter -- evidently I removed all the "good" scent, thereby forcing Leo to retire to the cat-hair-chair (formerly an upholstered office chair) in the studio.

Overall, the cat's been acting fairly normally. And the human is trying her best to do the same.

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