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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

33 1/3 Weeks Past Diagnosis

Over the weekend, I noticed a soft spot under Leo's chin. About the size of a marble.

It seems a pretty obvious sign of infection, as his tumor is very hard. He'll let me press on the soft spot, but not for long. I'm pretty sure there was already a growth there, so it's probably just puffiness on top of part of the tumor.

Anyway...he's already on antibiotics and pain med, so I decided to take a wait-and-see approach. And the soft area hasn't progressed in size and Leo's been acting like nothing's wrong (well, other than the ongoing so-very-much-is-wrong stuff, like having a giant lump inside his mouth...)

Lately, I've felt more than a bit defensive about some well-meaning input I've gotten from some certainly caring individuals who have given me advice. This advice has ranged from "let him go" to suggestions of alternative treatments that might cure him.

I find myself pretty skeptical regarding alternatives remedies...since all the stories ultimately end the same sad way. I don't need to stretch this process any longer than the 7 1/2 months it's already been stretched. And my wallet cannot afford a wild goose chase for a cure.

As far as it being the time to let him go...believe me, there is nothing that would make me keep Leo alive a second longer if I thought he was suffering significantly. And I'd like to stress that I am not carrying this on for my benefit...because although Leo is still a purring machine, I'm not getting much out of the relationship at this point.

If anything, caring for him is so hard for me mentally, so time-consuming -- trying to keep him (and the house) relatively clean and dealing with his odor...

But I feel like I owe him for 12+ pre-tumor years of maintenance-free love he gave me.

At this point, the only motivation I have is to not rob him of life when he is still energetic, eating, and purring.

That said, I have decided to not take any extra measures to drag this on. If this soft lump under his chin progresses into something more...well...the white flag will be thrown.


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