Wednesday, October 12, 2005

the growth

i have an appointment with dr. kalt friday at 11:50 to take leland in for a new cardiac ultrasound at noah's animal hospital (by 56th & emerson). it's a little hard to believe that he got his last (first) one way back in november! the docs originally recommended getting a follow-up ultrasound 6 months after the first one... i knew that, because of procrastination mixed with my busy schedule, it had been well over 6 months. but i didn't think it had been almost a year. oops! sorry li'l buddy.

fortunately i'm not too concerned about the ultrasound results, as last time the doc told me that his symptoms were so mild that "some purists" wouldn't even diagnose it as actual hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so after 11 months of medication, leland's cardiomyopathy should be better or no worse than it was at that time. should be.

what i'm a little more concerned about is "the growth". for as long as i can remember, leland has had a little growth just below his bottom lip. he probably wasn't born with it, but it's been there so long that i can't remember when i first noticed it. it always seemed like a harmless little white bump and it never seemed to bother him, so i didn't think about it much. in fact, i totally forgot about it when last i took him to the vet—it was just something i accepted without much thought.

but in the past couple months, the growth has changed in appearance. it's a little bigger than it used to be, and a little darker. once it was off-white, but very briefly it turned red and now it's a dark gray. like it got broken open and scabbed over. i've done some google research but haven't turned up anything that looks like a proper diagnosis; the closest i've come was some site that mentioned (almost offhand) that a similar growth might be a symptom of feline leukemia (which he has).

growths that change appearance are bad—they can be a sign of infection or even cancer. one of my fears is that i have no idea how difficult it would be to actually remove a growth that's so close to a cat's mouth.... i can't think of a way to prevent him from licking the wound, for example. putting one of this big cones around his neck wouldn't do the trick. if it turned out to be really bad—like malignant—what could they even do about it?

so i've known for a while that i needed to get him into the vet to check out the bump, which i've been hoping is harmless. but i also knew the vet would want to follow up on the cardiomyopathy, which meant getting another ultrasound. and they don't do ultrasounds at the paw patch, which meant at least two appointments at two different vets. i figured the smartest thing to do would be to get the ultrasound first, so that it's out of the way, and when i go in to the paw patch for leland's "normal" vet appointment (on 2:30 monday), dr. simpson (leland's "GP", i guess) can focus more on doing a biopsy on the bump. if i didn't get the ultrasound first, i'd need to go to paw patch, then go to noah's for the ultrasound, then call dr simpson back about the ultrasound... not to mention any extra steps that might be necessary to take care of the growth, if it's more than just an overgrown zit or a harmless cyst. ugh.

so that's my blog entry. and fortunately, i can even post it! around 3pm we had a weird power surge here at the office; a bunch of lights went out and a bunch of computers went down. miraculously, i was relatively unaffected: my computer never rebooted, and while i can't access the network servers, i can at least access the internet right now (though i couldn't for 30 minutes or so, and puzzled over how to keep this blog entry so that i could post it from home, though thankfully i won't have to). it looks like everything should be fixed by morning, though, so i won't get a day off work out of it tomorrow.

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