A Tough Decision

So it looks like our Lexi has cancer on her foot.

The results from her blood work and the tumor aspiration came back, and they said it’s mostly infections and white blood cells.

This, combined with the shape and firmness of the growth, as well as how quickly it appeared and how much it pains her, has led our Internal Medicine specialist to conclude that it is cancer.

But because it was an aspiration and not a biopsy, they aren’t 100% sure.

Here are our options for her leg:

Remove the mass and biopsy it.

  • This will cost about $1300.
  • We will know conclusively whether or not we are dealing with cancer (very, very likely).
  • Because of the location of the mass, they won’t be able to get it all and it will likely grow back, bigger and even more angry, within 1 to 3 months.

Amputate her back left leg.

  • This will also cost about $1300
  • We will find out if it’s cancer, because it will be sent off for biopsy, but we will be suicidal if it wasn’t.
  • She will be a 3 legged cat.
  • While 3 legged cats are awesome, our hearts are breaking over the thought of handicapping our courageous, independent, self-sufficient, Little Miss Attitude Lexi in this way.
  • If this is the only place she has cancer, she can probably live out the rest of her natural life with only 3 little legs… but what will the quality of that life be…? :(

Remove the mass, biopsy it, and try to radiate or use chemo to kill what’s left.

  • This will be upwards of $4,000 to $8,000. We cannot afford that right now.
  • The radiation treatments are very taxing on animals, and with her age it could be more inhumane than simply amputating.
  • It could still grow back.

All this hinges on her being cancer-free elsewhere. If she has cancer in her chest or lungs… we will remove the mass to make her as comfortable as possible… and spoil her even more rotten than she already is…

……What do we do? How do we choose?…..

As for the mass in her ear…

This all started when we took her to the Emergency Vet because her left ear that was bleeding. The ER vet noted that it was her left ear that had a mass in it. But our Internal Medicine specialist found no mass in the left ear. They did, however, find a mass in her *right* ear.

Here’s what our ear-options are:

  • To biopsy the mass will cost $1,500. JUST to biopsy it. No surgery, no solution. Just to look and see.
  • If it is cancer,… there is nothing we can do but make her comfortable.
  • If it is not cancer, then it is likely a polyp that is not nearly as serious or as life-threatening as her leg. It can wait.

We have decided to have our vet look into her ear and verify which one has the mass, and to tell us if the mass looks like a polyp (understanding, of course, that this is not conclusive). But because of the cost and the urgency of her leg, there is nothing we can do.

At the end of the day:

  • We love her so, so, so very much.
  • We have chosen to have cats, not kids, and we will do everything in our power to value and respect their little lives.
  • We don’t want to amputate. We just don’t. I’m slightly more open to it than Vince is,… but I just can’t imagine my proud little Lexikins handicapped in such a way.
  • We are scared. She is irreplaceable to us.
  • We love our family and feel like we have been given a death sentence. It is horrible.

What do we do?


  1. Girlchristian says

    I know it’s not the same, but it is also. Amy has a degenerative disease, 3 doctors say enjoy your time with her and pray it’s slow, we treat the symptoms. The other 3 say as long as we don’t know what this is, we can’t say it’s not treatable and there’s always hope. So 6 weeks ago, Chad – Amy and I went in for testing of our whole genome – 9500 dollar test – it’s our last chance, but with the cerebellar shrinking, Amy won’t be ‘fixed.’ We know that. And the biggest certainty is this is not going to be something that medical science can stop from happening. But as you wrote, this is our child. We need to know what this monster is that’s harming her little life, that’s harming our life. We spend almost every other weekend in Disney World. We make the most of every single second – not moment – second. We had NO idea how we took things and life for granted until this happened to our child. She’s taught us to live. To laugh even in the face of overwhelming sorrow, to not put off. If your Lexie does that and Amy’s done so much more for us, then her purpose in life is well done – and you can let her go with great ease. I look back at you and your sister and the life I’m living now with your baby sister – regret is too mild a world, don’t feel regret, it’ll break your heart forever. I had no clue how fragile life is, how you can lose someone so quickly by a wrong choice. I don’t think anymore Ali about being right in my choices, but instead what is BEST for EVERYONE when I personally make a choice. Because I’ve learned, IF you make a bad choice, you will lose someone you love. There is only one way to live happy, make peace. Do what is best for Lexie. Does she deserve to suffer? So i urge you, whatever choice you make – have peace with it. And as a mother to your cat, go see Brave, that movie might help you – because sometimes love is courage – and we all need to be brave. Ali, making the choice to let that Lexie girl go – you’ll need to be brave. I’m sorry this is happening to you. 

  2. Ali says

    Hey thanks for commenting. This is what we really want to do. We keep getting advised that it’s unnecessary surgery (when we probably already know what it is), additional discomfort for Lexi (she’ll ultimately have two surgeries to heal from), and excess cost.

    But we think we’re going to insist upon it anyway. It will buy her a month or three with her leg and we love her enough to not feel like we’re wasting money to take this option first. Not sayin’ it doesn’t hurt our bank accounts,… but totally worth it.

    So glad to know this option makes sense to someone other than us!

  3. says

    there is nothing I can say to comfort you, but I wish I had a solution….
    But if it were me, and it were Mr. Pen (so you know I’m really trying to connect here):
    – I think you amputate her leg.  It eradicates the possible cancer (but also her leg) and we almost adopted a 3 legged dog and named it Trey.  Her quality of life might change slightly, but cats are agile. If she’s already such a strong lady, then she can manage, as tough as that sounds.

    -for her ear, treat it as if it’s only an infection and wait and watch…maybe when they amputate her leg they can get a better look at her ear?

    But at the end of the day, our animals are worth SO much to us, to our hearts.  Do what feels right, but know that you gave Lexi an amazing, wonderful, beautiful life.  For that she is grateful.

    Purrs. always.

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