(posted by Meowmie L)
Today has been a proper rollercoaster, which i have ridden before with Stormie. i have questioned people with experience of FOSCC, myself, my vet, the oncologist...i just wish i could question the most important one of all...Timmy.
Despite the huge odds against Timmy, the oncologist called this morning and her first words were "Well I have some good news!" It seems the tumour has not affected the bone yet, so the surgery required would be minimal and affect soft-tissue only. This would be followed by 4 doses of radiation over a four week period. It seems Timmy has been given a rare chance.
I have had numerous conversations with my vet and oncologist today , and due to the fact that Timmy is in excellent health, we have caught things early, the cancer is not invading the bone and it has not spread anywhere else, recovery from surgery should be pretty quick...apparently it is not much more invasive than when he had his biopsy, which he recovered from within a day or two. My vet also called the oncologist and after the conversation reassured me that if Timmy was her cat that she would proceed with the treatment too, given all the circumstances (if it had involved removing any jaw bone she said that she would probably not go ahead with anything).
The radiation may irritate his mouth a little, but it is a short 4 week course and only one dose a week - not an intensive protocol - involving just a 2 hour stay at the vets each time. any side effects will be 'local' to the cancer site i.e. no nausea etc. the tumour is not big so the hole won't be huge. Tim will not be disfigured in any way at all and will not have future problems with eating, drinking, washing etc (should all go well). this was one of my major concerns.
The biggest concern is that the wound will irritate Timmy and put him off eating, but the oncologist is pretty confident that the wound will cause no more irritation than the biopsy. If however it does irritate him and he won't eat, they can pop a feeding tube in for a few days until he is healed, at least getting nutrition in to him - sounds hideous i know, but a very easy and common procedure. And then of course there is also the concern that the cancer could come back....there are no guarantees. If this happened then nature would take it's course, i would only try for a cure the once.
Unexpectedly the odds are in Tim's favour, he has been given a slim and rare chance according to both my vet and oncologist - they rarely get to see cats where the tumour has not yet affected other parts of the face/body or started impacting on their health, these tumours do not show up usually until it is too late - in Timmy's case the location and size of the tumour make treatment worth a go.
i have beaten myself up over this today, sought advice from all sorts of quarters, asked a hundred questions on feline cancer forums and we are going to give Tim the chance. I really was accepting of the fact that i was going to let him go this morning...yesterday i had chatted things over with my vet and Meowmie J and we discussed the options and we all kind of agreed that the ONLY way surgery would become an option is if by a miracle the oncologist called up with really positive news and said Timmy had a good chance of surviving...which she did this morning...Timmy has been given an 80% chance of long-term survival if the treatment is successful. We think it is worth trying...of course we all remain totally aware that this is a nasty cancer with low success rates...
Timmy's quality of life will still remain paramount to us and ANY indication that the surgery or radiation has failed and he is in pain then we will do what is necessary for him. we can easily stop the process if we feel it is not working for Timmy.
Timmy is scheduled to have his surgery tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd).
Thank you all for your support and friendship