So we went to the vet's yesterday. The man we normally see was doing a surgery, so we saw someone else. He'd read the notes, and his assistant was the same woman who'd been there last Friday, so it didn't take long to get him up to speed.
He felt around for a bit, looked her over, and then said that perhaps before they do a biopsy or an X-ray they should aspirate the gland and try to get some cells from the growth on her mouth. There's definitely a tumor there. I saw it for the first time yesterday. I guess I missed it because her lip's been covering it. Unlike dogs, cat's won't let you play around with their mouths. He started to tell me how much pathology would cost, and I cut him off.
"I don't care what it costs..." and then I burst into tears.
So they took her away to get some samples. When he brought her back, the vet told me it looks like there are two things going on: infected lymph gland and mouth tumor. I suggested the rotten tooth was caused by the tumor trapping food up there, and that's what infected the lymph gland, and he said that sounded logical.
They can remove the gland. She has plenty of others, she can live without this one. Problem is, we don't know whether the tumor is cancerous or benign. And even if it's benign, knocking her out to get rid of all that's wrong could wind up killing her anyway. She's 18 and a half ("she'd definitely be one of the oldest cats we've tried this with..."), with iffy kidneys and now a very slight heart murmur--he heard that when he was checking her over.
"But," he said, "that could have been fear."
The slides went out yesterday. I heard him in the back telling someone to send them "priority." He thinks we'll have results by Tuesday.
I don't know what to do. Even if the diagnosis comes back as not cancer, how much damage will surgery do? Am I considering keeping her alive out of sheer selfishness, just because I'm not ready to say goodbye?
I'm still giving her the antibiotics, for whatever good they're doing. The lump looks bigger now, and I'm wondering if just imagined that it was shrinking.
I'll know more Tuesday. All I can do until then is fuss over her and pamper her, which she takes as her due, bless 'er.