Monday night was one of those nights where I slept (or attempted to) by the phone with intense dread. Surrendering the fear and focusing on intentional deep, nourishing breathing did help reduce the anxiety. I did wake a bunch of times in the night to check the phone to see if the vet called to report dire news. Such a call never came. In the morning, I was too terrified to call the vet to get the status report, thankfully, Laura had the courage needed to place that call.
The report was very positive. Willow had been up, walking a bit, eating and drinking - "a vast improvement over yesterday!" Prayers answered!!! Go Willow!! I am sooooooo grateful for this. I had so much dread going to the vet appointment, I feared if she didn't rally then we would be faced with the hard choice to ease her suffering.
We visited with Willow while waiting to meet with the neurologist. Willow was like Willow again! She's got spunk and life in her once more!
I love seeing how alert and perky she is once again.
And her personality is still intact! After seeing her so lifeless, I feared I would never get another moment of the true Willow. She's still very much Willow!
As we talked with the neurologist, Willow walked around the room. She had a difficult time walking in a straight line, stumbling quite a bit. The vet says that's because the pressure on her brain from the tumor and inflammation is causing the vestibular part of the brain to be wonky. The steroid is suppose to reduce the inflammation and thus reduce some of the nasty effects of the tumor pressing against her brain. Of course the tumor is continuing to slowly grow, so that will only work for a short time, hopefully long enough for us to do a more substantial treatment.
My precious little girl.
We discussed treatment options for her tumor, which are palliative care, surgery, or radiation. We are still considering the possible benefits vs. risks, but are leaning toward the surgery. The vet said the radiation is nice in that it's focused and non-invasive and works to shrink back the tumor. Problem is, the tumor just grows right back. She indicated it would basically give her another 6-months beyond what the palliative option provided. Surgery is obviously more invasive and is seen as a "curative" for these types of tumors in cats. Apparently with cats, these tumors are fairly easy to remove, however, with Willow, her tumor is partly growing down into her nasal cavity, so they might not be able to get 100% of it. She noted, if they get 98% of it, the missed little bits will eventually grow back, but with it being slow growing, that could take years. So, in short, the surgery option has more risk associated with it but potentially could provide quite a bit more time. I was surprised to learn that the radiation and surgery are about the same cost.
And speaking of cost, this whole endeavor has made me so incredibly grateful to have cat insurance. All of our cats are insured, and thank God they are! There is no way we could afford all these diagnostics and treatments if it were not for the insurance. All this work on Willow will probably come to about $15,000, of which insurance will cover 90%. A few months back we talked about discontinuing the cat insurance to save some money because we are both unemployed right now, and money is tight. Thank God we didn't choose to do that. Wow. This would have been a completely different situation if it weren't for the financial freedom and ability to explore these options.
The vet suggested they keep her another night to make sure she continues to improve. As much as I want her back home, I want her to be safe and on the mend, so I'm glad to have her stay another night there to be sure she's really improving. The vet's evening report said she's still doing quite well - she's even showing off to the vet staff just how sweet and lovey she is! And apparently they are noticing improvement in her balance too. Much to be grateful for. Hopefully we can bring her home on Wednesday and schedule her treatment for sometime soon.
Thanks again for accompanying us on this emotional journey! It helps a ton to not be alone with all of this.