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Samba The Brave: Our Kitty's Injection Site Sarcoma Story

cat goes through leg amputation after cancer

Samba The Brave: Our Kitty's Injection Site Sarcoma Story

Option to add doxorubicin chemotherapy for feline injection site sarcoma

August 16th, 2018 · 15 Comments · Uncategorized

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Today I had a phone call with Samba’s oncologist. He reviewed the pathology from her amputation in which the most narrow clear margin was 5 mm. This is really not all that good of a margin, and he admitted that it worries him some. He recommends we consider chemotherapy with doxorubicin to improve her chances of the cancer remaining gone, both locally and systemically. This medicine causes no side effects in 95 % of cats, but a few will experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. She would need five infusions three weeks apart at about $500 each. So, this is a decision my husband I will need to focus on soon. They do not begin it until 2 weeks after surgery, which would be next week. Have any of your pets taken doxorubicin?

Here are some nude photos of Samba 😉 ! She is healing well at the incision site!

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First bit of fresh air, one week after amputation!

August 15th, 2018 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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Here are some one week post-amputation highlights! I got good advice from Kerren and Holly on the Tripawds group to try to relieve Samba’s boredom and give her a change of scenery. It was refreshing for me, and hopefully for her, that we were able to go outside for a little bit this afternoon in the fresh, rain-washed air. I carried her in a soft white blanket and held her in my lap in the front porch rocking chair, and also walked around the driveway with her while my kids rode their bikes through puddles. She was alert and looking around at times, but also felt comfort in hiding her head under the blanket when she got overwhelmed by the sunlight and the ambient noise.

Yesterday I received the news about her histopathology result from the amputation. They found residual cancer in the specimen surrounding her initial excision site from July, but the new amputation margins were clear. They were clear by only 5 millimeters in one area, however. This was okay, but not as victorious of a result as I was hoping for. I should be having a phone call tomorrow with the oncologist to hear their opinion. I pray that there is no single speck or cell of cancer left! I know miracles are possible!

Our latest struggle has been incontinence, with small stool droppings appearing in Samba’s resting spots. She had a little of this chronically pre-surgery due to an old pelvic nerve injury from a possible car collision which resulted in multiple fractures and temporary paralysis (long since healed other than occasional, dry “poop nuggets” we find in the house). However, the rate of droppings has picked up significantly in her convalescence. I think it may be that her bowels are so full that there is a bit too much overflow and her damaged pelvic nerves aren’t holding it all in. So, we are resuming the Miralax and hoping it brings on some more productive stools that end up in the litter box! Sorry if TMI!

Samba continues to be loving and calm. I am still staying with her in the guest room and loving this extra time with her, especially since she had grown distant after we acquired a kitten last Christmas. Renovation construction on our flood-damaged master bed/bathroom downstairs should wrap up soon, which will get the whole family back in order more. I plan to put a sensor-operated kitty door on the master suite entrance so that only Samba, and not the kitten, can get in. Samba is getting older and will need some continued personal space, even once surgery and recovery is far behind her!

Question: When did y’all feel that your cat actually seemed and looked proficient at walking again? What do you think helped the most with him or her improving in that area?

Thank you for all the love you share! We feel it daily! No new pics (I wanted to document our porch excursion but would’ve had to disturb my little furry bundle to go get the camera) so here is an older pic of Samba.


Can’t keep this girl down! 5 days post amputation.

August 13th, 2018 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

Thank you to all of you who have reached out in support of us. Samba had her left front leg amputation surgery for injection site sarcoma 5 days ago and everything is still very stable. We have had no problems whatsoever with the incision, or with med intake thanks to the irresistible morsels pictured below. Our days are fairly homogenous. I spend a lot of my time here in the guest room with her, reading and resting on a mattress on the floor. Samba rotates her naps among the mattress, which she can already climb up on, her little orthopedic pet bed, or the quilts on the ground. She will become alert for a little while for petting or for food. She is not falling quite as pitifully or drastically as before when she walks. She is happy to go back to sleep after a few minutes and purrs as I pat her head and ears. Her digestion process is fully intact after a few small sprinkles of Miralax. We have had almost no complaining from this girl! She fussed at me one time when I changed her shirt, but otherwise is all purrs. She seems even sweeter and more content than before her amputation, as she had gotten to be a bit of a grump. Now, she is back to her sweet self. I am loving all the time with her.
We have run out of buprenorphine and Onsior, but have gabapentin remaining. I hope it is okay to be on monotherapy now for pain control.

Coming up this week:
Will call surgeon on Tuesday as instructed, one week post-op, to see if pathology result is known. Will make suture removal appointment for Friday.

Word of caution:
Not all cats can tolerate kitten replacement milk! I offered this as a treat and it didn’t stay down in her stomach long! I woke to the tell-tale sound of hurling! We will stick to kitty bisque and canned food!

Just smush one of these yummy morsels around kitty’s pill, and she will swallow it whole!

My family and I went across the street to a pool party after I tucked Samba in for a spell. I have to say I was a little nervous to leave for those few hours, but she did fine (This was just yesterday).

While I was blogging, Samba decided to hide! I was halfway into a panic, waving my flashlight around looking for her, when I discovered that she was just trying out the space behind her bed.


Home with us for a full 24 hours!

August 11th, 2018 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

We are so thankful to have Samba home in one piece, albeit a smaller piece than before! She has been just the best patient ever and I am so proud of her. I love her more than ever, although it is heartbreaking to see her reduced to 3 pitiful legs and unsure how to use them. Her appetite is very good, and she is even able to get from her comfy bed to the litter box. At first she definitely flopped to the point of her chest hitting the ground with each step, but after just one day of practice, she is already improved to a hobble. She isn’t able to bury her litter box mess and seems a little puzzled about this, but hasn’t had any accidents. Mostly she sleeps and rests, and purrs for attention and scratches on her head. We have been spoiling her with delicious lickable meals and broths. We found the most perfect chewy cat treats which we squish like play-doh around her pills to help her take them. Currently her medicines are: Onsior daily (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory); Gabapentin every 8-12 hours (nerve pain); Buprenorphine every 8-12 hours (narcotic pain). I have moved a mattress into her room to sleep with her in there, and that rascal even woke me up in the middle of the night trying to rip open her bag of treats! My children check on her regularly and snuggle her, too. They had a day off from school today and watched a movie in there with her. We are trying to keep her company as much as possible.
I am thankful for so many things: that her pain is well-controlled, she still seems to love me (I was worried), she is eating, she is mobilizing, her surgery was a success and there are no complications so far, and we have more time with her and a hopeful cure.
I really couldn’t have done this without you all! Enjoy pictures of the brave new Samba!


Waiting for my fur baby to come home!

August 9th, 2018 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

My husband and I worked hard this evening to set up Samba’s recovery room for when she comes home tomorrow. We blocked off the guest bed with the mattresses standing upright, and made her a little cave to rest in. We lined part of the room with a tarp under a runner rug to serve as a mess-proof pathway to her modified litter box. I elevated her bowls, finished off her onesies, and set out a basin of lickable foods I hope she likes. I still need to go grab some frozen peas to use as her ice pack, and maybe some broth. Did any of your kitties drink broth? Also, I need to bring in a mattress for myself to sleep on. I know I will want to be very near to her.
It is almost as if I’m nesting for a newborn baby, and some of you have endorsed this as a similar type of adjustment period!

Sister cat, Sassy the Aggressor, approves.