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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #1 
About a week ago, our sweet tuxedo cat Max, almost 12, had surgery to remove a mass from his sinus/gum area.  The results came back with a myriad of things, most importantly cancer and necrosis of the surrounding area.  The vet said we might have 6 months with him. I've read the timeline is more 1-3 months, and unfortunately I think we're in the 1 month category.  After surgery he was bouncing around and his happy normal self.  Over the weekend his sinus has swelled up again and he's coughing, sneezing, and has a runny nose.  He's still eating but I can tell he's tired.  He still likes to cuddle up under my arm and purr at me, but now I wonder if he's purring out of contentment or because he's in pain.  We've got a follow-up appointment tomorrow for the vet to see how he's healing from last week but I made the mistake of looking in his mouth last night and seeing the tissue a dark/black color.  And I know that means necrosis.  I'm hoping to get some pain medicine for him to help keep him comfortable until we have to help him pass.  The thought of putting him to sleep is breaking my heart.  I know it's the correct thing to do and as his cat-mom it's my responsibility to do what is right for him.  I don't want him to suffer just so I can have him around and seeing him go downhill is also so very difficult.  I'm happy to have found this forum and read so many stories similar to mine.  I felt like no one would understand the grief I am feeling over this but it turns out there are so many people like me out there who have unconditional love for their pets.  I know death is a part of life, and I know he can't live forever, but it doesn't make it any easier knowing he's leaving us soon.  He's the best cat I've ever had and I am going to miss him terribly.  I can't talk about it with anyone right now because I can't help but cry and I don't want to make anyone feel awkward.  

I hope anyone reading this find some solace in knowing you're not alone in your thoughts and feelings.  I hope to feel better in time because right now it's just awful.
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TheJackal300

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Reply with quote  #2 
I am so sorry to hear about your sweet tuxedo cat Max. I know how difficult it is to watch our little furry buddies go downhill with very little hope from the vet. I took my little girl Willow to the vet once on Thursday the 13th and twice on Friday the 14th but there was nothing else to do but watch her suffer so I had to watch her be put to sleep Friday night. It was heartbreaking but she trusted me to do all I could for her and I did. Max knows you will do all you can for him as well. I don't know your pain but we are no strangers to crying here I'm sure. All the people here will try to support you all they can.
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Memories_of_Marmalade

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Reply with quote  #3 

Dear Lilw4,

I am sorry for what your Max and you are going through. My Cat "Marmalade" also had serious mouth issues. And could not eat or drink in the end. He had other health problems too. He was around 13 years old. It seems like many cats have health issues which increase around this age.

You wrote:

"He still likes to cuddle up under my arm and purr at me, but now I wonder if he's purring out of contentment or because he's in pain."

My Marmalade began to purr very, very loudly in the end. Too loudly. At first I thought he was just being sweet, then I did some research. It can absolutely be a sign that they are in distress and trying to cope with pain. It was a small factor that was a consideration, when I chose to put him to sleep, but it was worth considering. I could simply not allow him to continue to deteriorate and become even more of a shadow of his former self. I am sorry for sharing this information with you.

I am glad that Max and your paths crossed when they did and that you gave him such a loving, caring and comforting home for all of these years.




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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #4 
TheJackal300 - I'm sorry your Willow passed so quickly.  I've had this debate internally over and over, wondering to myself if this would be easier if he passed quickly and suddenly?  My husband told me the full story last night of how their family dog passed in two days time when he was 19 years old, and he started crying at the memory as he told it, and I think I've come to realize that it hurts the same no matter which way they go.  Nothing is going to make this any easier.  

Memories_of_Marmalade - Thank you for your insight into Marmalade's purring.  I will be sure to pay close attention to Max for similar signs.  I don't think he's there just yet and the extra purring I had in mind came last week the day after his surgery.  Perhaps his pain meds were wearing off and he was coping?  Maybe he was extra happy to be home from the vet?  Wouldn't it just be so much easier if they could talk to us?!  Perhaps then they could give us permission to let them go and help ease some of the guilt and pain.

Thank you both for your insight and kind words.  My husband and I both talked about Max last night and we're going to continue on our plan of making sure he remains comfortable until the time comes for him to pass.  We also will speak with the vet today at our follow-up appointment and listen to her guidance as for signs as to when it's his time.  He's still hungry and eating, and he still talks to us and wants to be around (all good signs I've read).  Trying to mentally prepare myself for the loss of him, at my decision, is one of the most difficult things I've ever done I think.  

From one cat/animal lover to another, I hope you're both doing better with each day.  I've read time helps, and I know it will, but the waiting is the hardest part.  I will continue to check this forums as I think it might help a bit.  I don't wish this grief on anyone, but it's oddly comforting to know we're not alone in this.
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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #5 
TheJackal300 - I'm sorry your Willow passed so quickly.  I've had this debate internally over and over, wondering to myself if this would be easier if he passed quickly and suddenly?  My husband told me the full story last night of how their family dog passed in two days time when he was 19 years old, and he started crying at the memory as he told it, and I think I've come to realize that it hurts the same no matter which way they go.  Nothing is going to make this any easier.  

Memories_of_Marmalade - Thank you for your insight into Marmalade's purring.  I will be sure to pay close attention to Max for similar signs.  I don't think he's there just yet and the extra purring I had in mind came last week the day after his surgery.  Perhaps his pain meds were wearing off and he was coping?  Maybe he was extra happy to be home from the vet?  Wouldn't it just be so much easier if they could talk to us?!  Perhaps then they could give us permission to let them go and help ease some of the guilt and pain.

Thank you both for your insight and kind words.  My husband and I both talked about Max last night and we're going to continue on our plan of making sure he remains comfortable until the time comes for him to pass.  We also will speak with the vet today at our follow-up appointment and listen to her guidance as for signs as to when it's his time.  He's still hungry and eating, and he still talks to us and wants to be around (all good signs I've read).  Trying to mentally prepare myself for the loss of him, at my decision, is one of the most difficult things I've ever done I think.  

From one cat/animal lover to another, I hope you're both doing better with each day.  I've read time helps, and I know it will, but the waiting is the hardest part.  I will continue to check this forums as I think it might help a bit.  I don't wish this grief on anyone, but it's oddly comforting to know we're not alone in this.
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Memories_of_Marmalade

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Reply with quote  #6 


"He's still hungry and eating, and he still talks to us and wants to be around (all good signs I've read.)"

I think Max still hungry and eating is key. That is good news. Marmalade could no longer eat or drink, and was shrieking at even being approached with food. I hope Max continues to do okay and remains as comfortable as he can.  


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Jcunnane

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi lilw4,

I'm so sorry to about your sweet, Max. Like Memories of Marmalade said, the fact that Max is still hungry and eating is key. Bubby was a big boy as you have seen (15 pounds when he was healthy) and in his final few days he wanted nothing to do with food. He came for treats every so often and I always thought that was a win but I think I was in denial about it all. He LOVED food. He would always eat his sisters food too.

Having to let Bubby go was the most painful and hardest thing I ever had to do. He was my first furbaby (him and his sister) that I had myself. The guilt has been hard but I couldn't put him through daily subq fluids, red blood cell therapy, pain meds and a new diet. He was a warrior and fighter and fought through two major illnesses before but we knew we were on limited time. In 2014, with his first major illness we found out his kidneys weren't so great. One was barely working if at all and the other wasn't normal looking. We were on limited time but I thought we had more time then his almost 10 years of life. In the end, his kidney was in failure. We had to take that brutal pain upon ourselves and let him be at peace. That was the last loving gift we were able to give him here on earth while we held and kissed him and told him that we loved him so much as he crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. He'll always be my fighter, my warrior, my hero, my son, my love, my comfort. He was and is my one in a million. I can't wait to be reunited with him again one day.

Wishing you the best as you comfort Max. It's never easy to watch our little ones in pain and go through illnesses. Cancer SUCKS! We're here for you when you need us. 

Hugs,
Jackie

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AngelsGift

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Reply with quote  #8 
Our Angel, at the time, she was ten years old (cockapoo) got the same diagnoses. A sore was found in her mouth and it was cancer. This was in October, and we were told she would be lucky to make it to Christmas.

The sore was cut out immediately and were told if we wanted to try to prolong her life, we could see a cancer vet. She was administered a shot every six months (immunotherapy) (which costs 500$ a shot), and had to get an x-ray of her lungs every three months.

(This type of cancer travels from the mouth/nose to the lungs very quickly... if it gets in the lungs the dog/cat will die)

Happily, we caught it in time, and she became the poster child for the therapy... living almost to her fifteenth birthday.

Her age caught up with her and we went to the vet for the last time. She died in our arms on March 18th, of last year... with all the surgeries and doctor visits, I’m sure she just thought it was just another one... although with all the attention she got those last few days, she might have thought something was up.

Cancer isn’t a death sentence. If you have the means, you should at least explore what medicine can do.

We were blessed by a phenomenal dog. A once in a lifetime, loving, intelligent, member of our family. We honor her in so many ways today, and always.

Hope and life will always be eternal with her.
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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thank you for the story AngelsGift.  I've not heard about immunotherapy as a treatment option but I will do some research on it now.
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Stephtastic

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Reply with quote  #10 
OP: your post is my exact story I can't believe it. My 12-year-old tux, almost named Max, just got a cancer diagnosis.  About a year ago, he started to sneeze and had a chronic runny/bloody nose.  Vet said could be a tumor, but could have been allergies or something else altogether. Then a few months ago, it just cleared up.  Last week I noticed a tooth was brown and a little of his third eyelid was showing. Took him in, he had lost 2 lbs since Jan and the vet did xrays and saw that the cancer has spread to his lungs, gave us a few months. 

He is sluggish, but doing okay now. Was on a urinary sensitivity diet for years that he hated, and our vet said to feed him anything he wants (with reason, ofc) and to just love him as much as we can.  He will get antibiotic and steroid shots every 3-4 weeks for the time being.

I empathize with you so much, my heart is absolutely crumbling. <3 sending love.
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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #11 
Stephtastic - My heart goes out to you.  It truly does.  I just re-read my original post from almost 4 months ago now and can distinctly remember how I was feeling when I wrote it.  Max was also on a urinary specific diet for about the past 8 years as he had crystals long ago that blocked his urethra and required surgery to fix.  He spent 8 days in a specialist's office but he pulled through it miraculously.  Our Max is still with us.  I don't know what we're doing but he is as ok as he can be.  Since June we've had multiple follow up visits to the vet.  As far as we can tell, cancerous tumors have not started to grow anywhere that we can see.  His tumors came right back in his mouth/gum area after we took the first one out.  Once we took the second one out, I started him on a CBD oil regimen.  It was not advised by my vet but through my own research.  Since things are not federally legal vet's aren't really allowed to prescribe CBD just yet.  I made sure our vet knew I was starting him on CBD and she said she had other clients who had done the same with their animals.  Since June he's had another tumor removal (2 total), he now has glaucoma in his left eye and he's also blind in that eye because his retina has detached (they have no idea why), and he received an antibiotic shot about 3 weeks ago because his lungs were sounding 'rough.'  Two different vets at our local office listened to his lungs and said they didn't exactly sound wet, like he had pneumonia, but just kind of rough, like maybe pneumonia could try to establish itself.  They said a normal cat this would concern them as its immune system should easily fight it off.  But since Max is already fighting cancer, it was not surprising to them to see it.  They said it most likely was an upper respiratory infection that he'd not fully fought off and was trying to take hold in his lungs.  They've taken x-rays of his heart and lungs and his blood pressure has increased a little bit.  So now we're on a blood pressure pill, a glaucoma drop to keep his eye pressure down (which has worked), and his CBD oil.  He loathes taking all of these medicnes twice a day.  But I do truly think it is helping him as he's eating per usual and even gets a little crazy in the evenings as the sun sets.  His meow is not what it used to be and I wonder about that but the vet has said she can't see anything obstructing his throat area.  I am fearful for the day when I have to help him pass.  Every little thing that pops up now I stress myself out about entirely too much and think this is it, this is what's going to be his downfall.  After all, cats (and humans) don't die from cancer.  They die from complications from cancer.  So when they mentioned pneumonia I thought oh, this is what's going to get him. 

I don't have concrete, scientific evidence that the CBD is helping him, but I truly do think it is and has.  CBD oil has wonderful immune boosting properties and it also aids in pain management.  If you're open to it I would consider it.  It is not cheap, no, but I'd pay anything to make sure Max is doing as ok as he can be.

I hope you're doing as ok as you can be too.  Sending hugs and thoughts your way.

   
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Stephtastic

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Reply with quote  #12 
You and your kitty have had such a long, hard journey.  I am glad to read that he is doing okay and still with you and bringing you joy. My Max's tumor started deep in his sinus cavity and the vet said surgery was not an option due to its location.  At the urging of a friend (who is a cat behavior specialist), I am going to push the vet for some pain medicine just to help take off any edge of pain I cannot see.  What brand of CBD are you using? Did you buy it online? I would be very open to buying it.  I just ordered some salmon oil to add to his food, as I heard that can help as well. Stay strong and sending loving vibes from one tux Max to another.




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lilw4

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Reply with quote  #13 
We have had a long journey.  When I think back on all the surgeries and vet visits we've had in the past year, and his life as a whole, I fully understand why he gets so anxious about going in his crate.  He's usually such a chill cat.  But not when he has to go in his crate!  We use this brand: https://beezbeecbd.com/  And I used this calculator to figure out how much to give him starting out: https://cbddosagecalculator.com/  They make chicken and beef flavors for animals though I'm not convinced the flavoring does any good because it still smells like marijuana and I'm sure it doesn't much taste like chicken or beef the way Max reacts to it.  We buy it from a local store in our nearest big city (St. Louis) but I'd imagine you can order it online somewhere.  The company is good about providing the lab results for each product if you request them.  I requested the lab results for the 1200mg Chicken Tincture and it took them about a week but they sent it to me.  That way I could ensure their product had what it claimed to have.  The calculator will let you factor in all of your particular details: weight, animal, specific strength of your product, etc.  Max is now up to 24 drops total of 1200mg CBD oil each day.  I give him 12 in the morning before work, 6 when I get home, and 6 again before bed.  It does make him sleepy and chill but I've found breaking up the two afternoon doses helps him have some of his old fire back.  

I'm sorry to hear the tumor is inoperable.  My fear with Max's new glaucoma diagnosis is that there is a tumor growing in his sinuses or behind his eyes somewhere that we can't see which is in turn putting pressure on his eyes causing the glaucoma.  If this turns out to be true there is nothing we can do but keep him comfortable.  We actually could take out his eye and go after the tumor, but I told the vet I felt that was a bit too much to expect of him and she agreed that it was a very aggressive care approach.  I said I'd not turn him into a guinea pig science experiment and I won't do that to him if my suspicions are true.  I'm just going to continue to feed him all the bad foods he's not been able to have for the past 8 years and snuggle with him as much as I can.  

If you have any other questions please don't hestiate to ask.  I'll do my best to help any way I can.  I know you are reeling and hoping to help your sweet boy as much as you can.  
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nosunshine36

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hello, This is just my opinion but I believe that it has to be more than whether or not our pets still eat. We have to look at their quality of life. If it’s not good why are we keeping them going? Some questions to ponder.
My heart goes out to you and to all who have ill pets. I know it’s so hard and I’m so sorry! The pain when Sonny died was almost more than I could bare but I had to help him leave him go because I couldn’t let him suffer.
I only ask these questions because when your pet is gone, and they all leave us eventually, we only have memories to look back on. Believe me when I say you want those memories to be good ones. It will make the healing so much easier.
The other thing you need to be aware of is that animals will tend to hide their pain. Something I read here about it being an instinct but I believe it’s true.
God bless and help you with your decisions! I know it’s not easy.
Sharon
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Leo_Mommy

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Reply with quote  #15 
I am so sorry about precious Max. My beloved, Leo, battled oral SCC for over eight months, and he went to Heaven last Wednesday. I cannot stop crying and feel like I am dying inside. Cannot focus on work, school, family, etc. It is one of the most horrible cancers ever, and I kept him alive as long as I possibly could with as good of quality as imaginable until God let him pass in my lap with looking up at me on our way home from the hospital. I miss him so much. Would give 20 or more years of my life to have him back or have taken his place. My heart goes out to you, dear friend. Leo was also a gorgeous tuxedo who I cherished for 14 years. I was so blessed to receive he and his brother at 4 wks and bottle fed them. His twin, Pablo, is also in deep grief. The pain is nearly unbearable.
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