Hello! This is my first post with my husband, and we’d like to introduce our fur baby, Munch. She’s a five-year old black exotic shorthair living in Los Angeles, CA. She also has an 11-year old brother named, Monster. He will make appearances on this blog as he is a part of her life and loves her very much. Here’s the beginning of our story:
A dear friend of mine came to visit us, who has been working at a veterinary hospital for the past 20 years. When she picked up Munch she asked whether she was polydactyl, which struck me as strange. Then we discussed the possibility of an infection in her right front paw.
I took Munch to the vet on 11/23/16 and we discussed the possibility of her having an infection. Naturally, we moved forward with steroid and antibiotic injections. I woke up the next morning on Thanksgiving to discover her paw had shrunk 50% in size; it was a relief believing she was heading in the right direction. Munch developed an upper respiratory infection a few days after the visit to the vet and was put on an oral antibiotic. Later in mid-December, I noticed her paw was starting to swell again. My husband and I left for five days around Christmas to see family and made a troubling discovery upon our return. Munch’s paw was now larger than ever before; her paw looked like a boot, and when I touched it she cried out in pain. This was new. I immediately called her vet to schedule an exploratory surgery for the next day.
December 28, 2016: Prior to surgery I authorized the vet to amputate her thumb digit. This was a small concession and would address the swelling right where it was occurring. The surgery was completed, and then we met the wrecking ball: our vet discovered a cancerous tumor originating on the thumb side of the paw, and wrapping around the lower-third of her leg. We did not expect this at all. The vet did all he could to remove the tumor and sent it out for biopsy testing.
Biopsy results revealed soft tissue sarcoma, a form of cancer. If untreated in a feline, the life expectancy can be 2-19 painful months. I was referred to an oncologist and made an appointment with a surgeon. I read literature about this form of cancer being potentially related to vaccine injection sites. Reading further, I learned the difficult truth that amputation of the limb would offer the best chance of survival, and deter the re-growth of the tumor. Prior to our appointment, I had more testing performed to ensure we’d be prepared ahead of time: full body x-rays, full blood panel, urinalysis, and ultrasound which all came back normal.
January 5, 2017: We met our doctors and they were both confident that full leg amputation could be curative. They explained everything thoroughly and were absolutely wonderful; their support assured us that this difficult choice was born out of compassion to give Munch a fighting chance.
Munch was placed on the calendar: surgery for January 9, 2017.