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

Friday, September 01, 2006

Update

I'm pleased to have some positive news -- Leo has been eating close to a normal amount the last couple days and actually doesn't feel skeletal at this point. Boney, yes. Skeletal, no.

He's been eating only Hills Prescription a/d food. Amazingly, he's not tired of it yet. I tried Fancy Feast yesterday, but he only gave it a half-hearted try.

The pain medication (Torbutrol) that he started Wednesday seems to get him a little high -- even at the low dosage of 1 mg twice a day. It's prompted him to push his nose into the food while eating, and kinda rest his face in the food from time to time....and he has seemed just the tiniest bit wobbly on his feet (a bit of sashaying while he walks) when the med first takes effect.

But he's jumping on and off things and going up and down stairs without any problems, so he's not too whacked.

Although he still doesn't seem to be sleeping his normal amount, he has returned to spending time alertly looking out the window. He hadn't done that for weeks -- which I didn't really notice until he went back to it again.

Anyway, for informational and amusement purposes (okay, just the first one is mildly amusing) here are some recent photos. Skip the last three if you're not interested in the inside of a cancer cat's mouth.

SATURDAY: HOPING TO START A NEW INTERIOR DESIGN TREND

We've got one nice piece of seating in the house. True, it's a hand-me-down, but a gently-used hand-me-down. Leo showed no interest in it since its arrival about 9 months ago, so the seating surface was unprotected.

THEN, about a week ago, I found drool evidence on both the seat and the throw pillows that suddenly he was liking the loveseat.

So, I covered it in junk (theoretically temporarily) to break him of the habit...evidently, even newspaper couldn't discourage our determined friend.



WEDNESDAY: WINDOWS ARE MORE FUN WHEN YOU'RE STONED

From this angle, he looks just like his old self...



ALSO WEDNESDAY: NOT LIKE HIS OLD SELF


This photo is included to show how Leo's tongue is pushed up and over on his right (your left) side of mouth by the tumor.


OKAY, HERE COME THE GROSS PHOTOS (WITH HELPFUL ARROWS, CIRCLES AND OTHER MARKINGS). AT LEAST THERE'S NOT MUCH BLOODY DROOL IN THESE:


TUESDAY


WEDNESDAY

I've included these simply because I've found very little in the way of pictures when searching for info on feline oral or jaw tumors.

Since I haven't had Leo biopsied, I suppose these are not as helpful as they would be if I knew if he had Osteosarcoma, Fibrosarcoma (vet thought it was one or the other) or whatever...

The only oral tumor that we can pretty much rule out is SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) because everything I've read on that indicates that Leo would have been a goner by now. He's survived seven-plus months with this thing, and SCC seems to claim its victims in two to three months.

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