Soft Tissue Sarcoma- what it looked like and how it changes
This is how we started this journey and I would like people to see what this Soft Tissue Sarcoma looks like and how it changes this is how Purrkins became a tripawd.
One day Purrkins came and laid his paw out, he put it on my hand! It was if he said hey Mom look something Is not right here!
Paw is bent this is at its largest size
I saw this lump and my heart sank what is that??? Where did that come from? I felt it, he was not bothered by prodding it. We called the vet immediately and got a appointment for the next day.
February 23rd the next day it looks like nothing ?? The day we go see the vet and see what this is.
The vet said wow how did you even see this with all his fur, he had never seen anything like this on a cat in this location. Is he limping at all ? NO
We did a needle biopsy and some bloodwork.
Biopsy comes back as below. Inconclusive as it has different considerations.
When the vet called me with the results he said its not cancer its a form of bursa.
Ok great I was so relieved! I asked could you please send me the results so I can have a copy.
( ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO GET A COPY)
With the results above and now the lump seems to be going away.
The Vet said we could do a wait and see approach , or try steroids and wait and see.
We have been prescribed steroids in our other animals a couple times and prefer not to use them, unless we have to. We chose the wait and see only approach.
I took pictures of this thing everyday for months!
This lump changed depending on Purrkins activity level.
2nd lump has appeared its hard to see but its there, above the round lump
Back to the vet we go!
He rechecks it and confirms yes another lump, but he still was thinking it could be related to the first one. ( Bursa ,Injury ,swelling now effecting the above.)
I asked them to do a X-ray to see if we could see anything more.
X-ray showed nothing ,most importantly there was no bone involvement.
He then said he would like to do a surgical biopsy . I panicked over the surgical biopsy, little did I know what was to come!
We were afraid if it was in fact a bursa ,we could do more damage with the surgical biopsy.
We were not comfortable so we set out to get more information we got two more opinions. One from our Holistic vet ,one from another local surgeon .
I did a online vet opinion total of 4 opinions , all say do the surgical biopsy and find out what this is.
Hopefully you can get the lump off when its small before it goes further.
Ok we have a plan and we scheduled the surgical biopsy with the local surgeon rather then his local vet.
We took Purrkins in for his surgical biopsy. June 14th,2016
We took him in the morning and picked him up late afternoon.
The Surgeon (Dr.Zarka) plan was to go in and take all or as much of the main lump as possible and biopsy the second, when she got into the surgery she was not prepared to see what she saw! It was entangeld, and cottage cheese like.
She took a good wedge sample and closed it back up!
WHAT WE LEARNED ON A NEEDLE BIOPSY- PLEASE HEAR ME!
IF SOMETHING IS INCONCLUSIVE GO FURTHER AND FIND OUT WHAT YOUR DEALING WITH!
If we could go back , we would of skipped the needle biopsy and have done the surgical biopsy. It was a delay in the diagnosis and time for cancer to be growing. It was a waste of time and money. I totally understand the less invasive procedure !
I do not believe we would chose that route again!
Purrkins did great thru the surgery he was given a time release pain med & a long lasting antibiotic, he came home dopey but wired!
He stayed up 2 days! Which meant we were up for 2 days 😉
He did not need a cone , we were sent home with a soft fabric cone just in case.
He was the purrfect patient never once bothered his incision.
We limited his activity . It went way better then I could of imagined it too.
Surgical biopsy pictures
The Vet called Mark and told him the results are back, she was very sorry she had bad news. Its CANCER a soft tissue sarcoma!
Mark and were just sick! I cried my heart out .
We took Purrkins back to get his stitches removed.
The vet mentioned amputation immediately and then proceeded to tell us how well cats can adjust on 3 legs.
My eyes about popped out of my head. What ? This bump and your want to cut off his entire leg?
Im just absorbing the cancer diagnosis and now we are talking about amputation of his entire front leg?
He is only 6 and healthy how can this be? Mark and I always have described Purrkins as the most loving, sweetest ,gentlest soul! He is my velcro man!
Why why why! Of course with any cancer or disease we get angry and sad and then have a million questions!
She referred us to Michigan State Veterinary Clinic Oncology.
July/05/16 That appointment seemed to take FUREVER to come and on the other hand I didn’t really want it to come. I was scared to death!
Appointment day came with oncology at MSU – They explain the soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis and that they want to do a ultrasound, chest X-ray , bloodwork and urinalysis.
Before we even talk about any options.
They want to make sure the cancer has not spread.
Soft Tissue sarcoma if it had the chance to spread ,would go to the lungs.
They want to rule that out first.
We leave Purrkins for the day. That was a HORRIFIC ,LONG , STRESSFUL DAY!
MSU called Purrkins is done and we can come get him and discuss all the results .
The chest xray, ultrasound and bloodwork all results came back with no apparent spread. Although it was mentioned it still could of spread and its too early for it to be showing up. (microscopic cells)
Our options going forward are surgery to remove as much of the 2 masses as possible.
Followed by radiation 16-20 treatments that would be every day Monday thru Friday weekends off. Purrkins would have to be sedated daily. With a guarantee of 2 years of keeping it under control. The cost of surgery would be $1400 cost of radiation would be between $7,000 – $9,000.
If the cancer returns we could then amputate $2,000-2500
Our other option was to amputate now.
We wanted the best quality of life possible for Purrkins and the first option did not sit well. Purrkins having another surgery and then 16-20 daily treatments!
The toll it would take on him, surgery, going every day ,being sedated daily for a
2 year guarantee ?
Then we still would have a option to amputate later if the cancer returns.
Put 7-9,000 dollars into a leg we could then cut off later? What ? The role of money and this world is what it is. Everything has a cost ! Thats the worst when we are looking at health issues for our animals or our family members!
We looked at this at every angle there was and without the cost playing a role into our decision, yes it had to be considered this is the real world but we wanted what was best for our Purrkins and for him to have the best quality of life he could! We would borrow money to make this happen!
We googled and googled , and googled some more, we talked to our Holistic Vet,
He felt the best approach would be to get rid of the source of cancer (arm) and to continue using Supplements and diet to increase his immune system.
Are other options were-
We could try a Neoplasene
This would need to be monitored closely with our Holistic Vet and Traditional Vet working together .
We could try Chinese medicine.
We asked our family there opinions, we gathered as much information as we could on Soft Tissue sarcomas in cats.
I’ll never forget Mark saying there is a entire website dedicated to 3 legged animals! Tripawds
We joined asked the scary questions in the forum, read all of the wonderful advice and input from others, we read and researched some more .
Our forum post
We decided the best shot at beating this cancer and Purrkins having a full life was to amputate his arm and get rid of the source (cancer)!
This was obviously a sickening discussion. It was the hardest, scariest, decision we ever had to make!
We were told by our vets and holistic Cats adjust very well with 3 legs. I literally read every cat blog on Tripawds , I watched the 3 legged cat videos, to see that yes this can be done and Purrkins can still have a quality life.
Tripawds and All the Kitty Bloggers helped with our decision!
We wouldn’t have made this decision without all the wealth of knowledge we got from Tripawds.
Thank you to all of you! We are furever greateful!
We called the oncologist at MSU and told him our decision, that they we would proceed with amputation.
Purrkins appointment was scheduled for July 26th. He would go in July 26 the and spend the night ,surgery would be in the morning July 27 th,2016.