Lousy Tidings

I have been putting off this blog post out of a vague hope that it won’t ever matter, but I have to do it sooner or later.

Benjamin T. Cat, bane of ninjas, isn’t doing well.

It’s his mouth again. Getting his teeth pulled, which works in 99.9% of cases, which the vet had never seen NOT work…didn’t work. (He always had to be difficult…) Or it worked, but not permanently. It lasted about six months–and christ, I’m grateful for having gotten those six months!–and now he’s having the flare-ups again–the bare gums, and the hinge of the jaw are affected–and we’re treating with steroids again, which he needs every two months, no other treatment’s made so much as a dent in the problem, and the safe dose is one a YEAR–and the nasty side-effects are kicking in…he’s developing injection site sarcomas, and it’s only a matter of time before the kidneys start to go.

There are no other viable treatment options past this point. The vet could cook his immune system, which stops it from attacking his own tissues, but that would involve the rapid growth of said sarcomas, which would have to be treated with chemo, which would involve putting Ben through hell for a 10% success rate–and as she said, "Even if I loved a cat more than life, I wouldn’t put him through that." There’s an experimental procedure that the vet had only read about, never seen, where they fry the gums with lasers, turning the whole mouth into scar tissue, which presumably cannot become inflamed–this sounds utterly horrific to me, and since it’s in the hinge of the jaw as well, there’s no real way to laser THAT out.

And–and the vet was as kind and delicate as humanly possible about this–when the inflammations are this close together, he’s probably getting only two or three weeks every two months that are pain free. The rest of the time, he’s got to be in agony. His mouth, when it gets inflamed, is the worst she’s ever seen on a cat.

The phrase "quality of life" has been uttered, and that’s…well, pretty much where I, as responsible pet owner, have to step in and say "Then enough is enough."

To say that I love Ben is a laughable understatement. I would cheerfully bankrupt myself for Ben, I would run up credit cards to the skies, I would give him blood…but there’s nothing left TO do. We’ve hit the end of what veterinary medicine can offer. This is pretty much the end of the road.

He’s fine right now. Well, he looks fine, it’s impossible to tell when cats are so damn stoic all the time. He climbs on my chest and cuddles, he greets me when I get home with cat-hugs and he escorts me to the bathroom and back in the middle of the night. And if he made it six months or so without an injection–hell, even four–I’d roll the dice and see if the attacks were tapering off. But this every-two-months-thing is just…not a life worth living.

We’re around the six-week mark on the injection, and I’m dreading that he’ll start yowling at his food soon, and when that happens…well, you all know what happens after that point.

This really sucks. That’s all.

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