From Four Legs to Three

A part of me is writing this because I need to – writing is how I process things.

Another part of me is writing this because I want to share our experience with other kitty-parents looking for leg amputation information.

But truly, I’m writing this because I miss my Lexikins tonight and need to be strong for her tomorrow.

Since my last post:

  • Vince took Lexi to Kirkman Road Veterinary Clinic where our good friend Lauren works.
  • For less than we spent at Advanced Veterinary Specialists (AVS in Maitland), we got two biopsies of her tumor, chest x-rays, her ears completely flushed and cleaned, and the mass that was in her ear pulled out.
  • Turns out the thing in her ear was just bacteria.
  • Lexi’s mood improved ten-fold. We think her ears were really bothering her. We just thought she was a bitch. ;)
  • X-Rays confirmed she had no cancer anywhere else.
  • The biopsy came back and confirmed that she had fibrosarcoma – aka cancer.

This is what we expected and what everyone prepared us for. And in the long run, fibrosarcoma is a good cancer to have – it only has a 15 to 20% chance of spreading elsewhere.

But because of its location on her foot, our only real option was to amputate.  And today, Lexi’s entire back left leg was amputated at the hip.

Now, I did as much research as possible before the surgery and saw lots of photos of kitties who had leg amputations. And my god were the photos horrific. I fully expected to have my heart broken today when we picked her up. I expected Vince to be destroyed.

But I am happy to report that the surgeon at Kirkman Road Veterinary Clinic did an *amazing* job. Her wound is clean, tight, and sleek. It’s almost like there was never a leg there at all.

Lexi an hour after surgery

Lexi an hour after surgery

We went back to see her about an hour after surgery and heard a howling ‘meeeoww’ as they brought her to us, wrapped in a towel.

And when they sat her down on the table, Vince and I both started to choke up.

While her wound isn’t horrific, it is severe. It is shocking. It’s final and permanent. Where there was a leg, there isn’t anymore. And there’s a long line of sutures and shaved skin where it used to be.

Lexi cat sitting after hind leg removal

View from her left side while she sits, assisted by Vince to keep from leaning and falling over.

The good thing is that she is trying to walk already – that’s what we want and quite frankly, it is completely her MO to try to leave a situation she dislikes.

The reality, however, is that she was on some MAJOR drugs – both the hangover from anesthesia and the pain meds she was given.

Plus, she still had her little port in her front leg for an IV drip, and blue tape bound it to her front paw, preventing her from making a solid step with her front left leg.

And finally, her balance is way off from a whole section of her small little body now MIA.

So when she tried to stand or walk, she stumbled and fell.

It broke our hearts to watch her look so panicked and frustrated. She meowed and growled and was so unhappy. It crushed us. We absolutely hate that we had to do this to her but our only other choice – to do nothing – would have been a death sentence.

Close up of where her back left leg used to be

Honestly, this is not gruesome or gross at all. So clean, tidy, and well done.

We had to leave her there overnight for observation – hence me getting this out tonight so I can be fresh and clear headed tomorrow.

After she comes home she will spend the next two weeks in our guest room, with limited time around the rest of the house depending on how she feels.

She has to wear a lampshade collar unless we are with her because she absolutely cannot pick at her wound.

And we have to monitor what goes in and comes out of her to make sure she’s adjusting well. Apparently depression is a real risk, but we think our brave little Lexikins will make it through okay.

I will continue to blog about her recovery as she achieves new milestones. Hell I might throw a fucking party when she makes her first successful three-legged jump onto our bed so go champagne shopping now, bitches!

To our friends and family: I have to say “thank you,” and “I love you.” The outpouring of love and support we’ve received over the last three weeks has been unprecedented. We know our cats are our kids, and now we see that you know it too – have probably known all along.

You guys have been amazing and your support, interest, questions, concerns, and cheering has helped us make an incredibly difficult decision and will continue to help us be strong parents for our sweet little Lexikins. Thank you for never saying ‘it’s just a cat,’ or ‘she’s got three other legs.’ She is our kid and we love her to pieces. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Comments

  1. says

    OMG. I teared up at this. So sad and hopeful. I thought of you when I saw your check in on Foursquare and gave Lexi good thoughts. <3 <3

    • Ali says

      Hey lady – thank you for reading and for commenting on these posts. I can’t even describe how much it helps to have support. I thought of your Pants yesterday (whoa how weird did that sound? lol!!!), and how she has one ear. It just makes her even more adorable and I have every faith that Lexi will be that way soon too. The next couple of weeks are just gunna be haaaaaard.

      But hey – here’s to adorable pets who are missing parts. ;)

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