Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ross's Surgery

In August 2005, Ross had surgery to remove a lump. I was absolutely a wreck about the whole thing, completely worried and not sleeping in the days up to the surgery. I was so distraught that I didn't know what to do except write. The notes below are from the week of his surgery and are emails I sent to my friends and family to keep them updated. Again, these are from August 2005 and aside from a little anxiety, Ross is perfectly healthy - although fat. I'm sorry, I mean stocky. He has a football player's build. My mistake. PLEASE don't tell Ross I called him fat and don't tell him I published these emails, especially the one he wrote to Diana, and the pictures.

My Cat Ross - Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 9:25am

Good Morning!

I am writing you this morning because I need a favor.

You probably know my two cats - Betsey & Ross, who I adopted 9 years ago when they were mere kittens. I was living in Washington DC at the time and the best we could estimate, they were born on the 4th of July - hence their names. :) My friends Karen & Kelly went with me to look at them (it was Karen's idea, as I recall). At the time, I had no idea I would ever grow so attached to them because I didn't have pets growing up and never understood how people thought of their pets as part of the family. Boy was I in for a shock!

If you know Betsey & Ross, you know how much they absolutely love each other (and me) and how much I have fallen in love with them. Despite their age - 9 years - they both still race around my house like they were kittens, fly through the air for their feather toys, and the unconditional love Ross gives to everyone. Betsey, on the other hand, is a bit more suspicious of everyone other than me. But when she warms up to you, her love is unconditional too.

About a month ago, I discovered a lump on Ross's left hip. Because I've been traveling so much since then and my vet was out of town, the surgery to remove it is today. They don't know yet if it's cancer or if it's just fatty tissue, but in cats, lumps are of much greater concern and more likely to be cancerous then lumps in dogs. I dropped him off last night and to say I'm a nervous wreck is an understatement. And since I walked back in without him, Betsey has been searching high and low for him - sitting in all his favorite spots and "talking" up a storm questioning his whereabouts.

The good news is that Ross's bloodwork is normal, his disposition has not changed and his eating, etc. habits are all normal. Given the speed at which he was racing around yesterday afternoon and since I've gotten home from Michigan, he has no idea that he's even got this lump and is not in any pain from it.

As I said, I'm a nervous wreck and so I'm turning to my friends for help. His surgery is between 12 and 2 (Chicago time) today and I'm supposed to be able to bring him home this evening. The biopsy results won't be returned for a week (hopefully sooner). If you could just say a little prayer around noon today that he's ok and that it really is just a lump of fatty tissue, I would greatly appreciate it.

I will email you later with the results. Thank you very much.

Jessica & Betsey & Ross

Your Prayers Worked, Thank You! - Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 2:41pm

Ross Update:

Dr. Kinnavy called me at 12:50 to say she was getting ready to start Ross's surgery and that all last evening and this morning, he was very social and talkative to all the staff and wanting to play. That sounds just like him! She explained that it would probably be about an hour or so before she called me back.

At 1:25, as I was standing in Costco, she called back. I was a little nervous becuase it was so early. But my fears were only temporary when she said she was done and that it had been the easiest procedure she'd ever done on a cat.

She opened him up and found a very small lump - about the size of a raisin encased in a layer of fat under another layer of fat. It turns out that what I was feeling on him was the fat casing around the lump. She also said that this explained why the lump was so difficult to isolate and could not be aspirated and most people would never have felt a lump as small as Ross's. The best news for me was that the lump itself came out very easily and there was no blood with it, which leads her to believe that it's probably just a fatty cyst. In any event, she's sending it out for a biopsy and I'll have those results in about a week.

Ya know, sometimes it feels so good to know I'm a good mom to my cats and will be a good mom to children someday.

All in all, Ross was very well behaved and I can pick him up today at 5. Oh, he's coming home in a full little kitty gauze body suit and Elizabethan collar so he won't lick or scratch the wound. I'll send pictures because it's certain to be a sight!

Thank you so much for your prayers and your warm wishes.

Jessica, Betsey & Ross

Ross - Wednesday, August 24, 2005, 7:15am

Ross came home at 5:00 yesterday afternoon. When the vet tech brought him to me, he was calmly curled up in his carrier under his favorite towel and wearing a bright yellow gauze body suit. To appreciate how silly this looked, Ross definitely thinks of himself as a man's man. He reminds me of the men of the Old West. Likes to be loved, but not in public. He's rough and tough and would never be caught wearing clothes like you see Paris Hilton dressing her little freaky dog in, Tinkerbell. To see him wearing this bright yellow body suit made me laugh outloud!

The tech told me that Ross was still very groggy and would probably just spend the night in his carrier. No matter what, I needed to keep him from running and jumping and doing all the things he loves. And I was not to feed him until this morning. I just looked at the tech and said "Have you met my cat Ross? It's easier to nail down wind than to keep him still." She then explained that cats typically self-regulate their behavior after surgery. I took him out of the carrier and gave him a big hug and let him know how handsome he looked - not sissy-ish at all. He would be the envy of all the cats in the neighborhood.

Upon our arrival at home, our welcoming committee, Betsey, walked right up to the carrier, stuck her nose in the grating and gave him a kiss. I only wish I'd had my camera. No sooner had I opened the door to the carrier than he was off and running - without the body suit that must have taken Houdini-like efforts to remove. 15 minutes later, I had caught him and put the suit back on. He continued to race around the house in what I can only assume was an effort to ensure that all was still safe and no one had breached the security of the house. He jumped and flew around reminding me how I almost named him Air Jordan (after Michael).

It turns out his groggy behavior at the vet was all an act for which he deserves an Oscar.
He will be quiet today because he's confined to my bedroom without his sister. When I left this morning (at 6:00), he was wearing the body suit, but I don't expect it to still be on when I return. Tonight, I'm adding the Elizabethian collar to his outfit. He'll just LOVE that!

Pictures will follow as soon as I figure out how to download them from my camera.

Jessica, Betsey & Ross

When I arrived home from work late Wednesday night, Ross had not eaten, drank any water, peed or pooped all day. In fact, he hadn't even moved off my bed. This continued into Thursday, so I called the vet who told me to bring him in right away. Because I was at work, I called Diana who told me she'd cover for me for a couple of hours so I could tend to Ross's health. To say the least, it was not a good sign that he was so lethargic. Ross insisted on personally writing Diana the following thank you note Friday morning. It seems that he had developed a bit of a crush on her (because she called him cute once), which much to his dismay was an unrequited love because Diana is allergic to cats.

Thank You - Friday, August 26, 2005, 11:08am

Dear Diana,

I've asked my mom to write you this thank you email because you would not be able to read my kitty scratch and I don't know where my mom keeps the stamps.

I truly appreciate that you are such a good friend to my mom and that you were able to help her out last night.

You have no idea how badly I had to poop, but all the drugs they gave me on Tuesday made it too difficult and it hurt. I feel very bad that I worried my mom so much, but I didn't know how to tell her I couldn't poop. So I just pretended to be sick so she'd get Dr. March to help me.

I didn't even mind having to sit quietly at Slender Lady while you helped mom clean the fans.

When we got home, I ran and played all night and even pooped on my own (in the litter box so mom wouldn't be mad). I slept well and am back to my normal studly-self.
I know my mom is a bit irritated that I made her get me kitty liposuction, but as you could see, I'm quite a sexy cat and despite all the exercise I get and the very healthy diet mom has me on, I just could not get rid of the lovehandles. Now they're gone and I know I am much more attractive to the babes. The only thing I didn't anticipate was that Betsey - my main squeeze - would be so jealous. All she does is hiss at me!

Oh, I think you're very cute too. :) Maybe once I get these stitches out and my hair grows back we could get a drink - if you know any bars that allow very handsome and charming cats.

Thank you again for helping me out last night. I don't know what my mom would do without you!

Ross (as dictated to Jessica)

The Ross Chronicles - Conclusion & Statement from Ross - Monday, August 29, 2005, 11:11pm

Dear Friends,

All was going well with Ross, until I realized he hadn't eaten, been drinking any water, peed or pooped for almost 3 days. Oh, he was quite lethargic as well. According to the post-surgery information I was given, these are all bad signs.

I called the vet and rushed Ross back in to determine the source of these new problems. After a few moments of private consultation with Ross, Dr. March walked back in and informed me that all of his vital signs were good, but that he was dehydrated and constipated and she was certain he really needed to relieve himself and she could make him. Trust me, you don't want to know how they make cats poop.

After about 15 minutes of blood-curdling screams by Ross (all while I was in another room - I'm still squeamish about some things and believe we all deserve privacy during some moments), Dr. March brought him back to me and announced that he had now pooped and would be fine.

We walk out to the front desk and am told that Ross's poop just cost me $75. As I wrote the check, I just looked down at my poor baby, who was in a bit of discomfort from being forced to poop, and told him that I must love him an awful lot to pay $75 for him to poop! As I was standing there just shaking my head, Dr. March says "Oh, your toxicology report just arrived. It was a benign fatty lump."


Betsey, Ross and I thank you very much for your support and prayers last week.


Statement from Ross:

Thank you very much for your prayers over the last week as I had a small medical procedure. I feel grateful knowing that you all care about my mom and me so much.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to clear up a few rumors:

1. Despite what my mom says, I was not having "kitty liposuction." I had a legitimate procedure that will help ensure my health for years to come. I'm a very sexy cat who must look good for the ladies (both Diana and Shannon have commented on how handsome I am since my procedure last week), and I must deny these rumors that I had cosmetic surgery. I am 9 years old now (I don't know what that is in People Years), and that isn't young anymore. At some point, the clock starts ticking for all of us and we must make decisions about our health. I feel that I was being proactive and luckily my health insurance (Jessica) covers preventative medicine.

2. I must also firmly deny the rumor that I was rushed back to the vet because I would not poop. My reasons for seeing Dr. March on Thursday evening are personal and it is unfair (and possibly illegal) to have my private medical records made public without my consent. I'm having my people look into this.

3. Finally, it seems that some paparazzi took some unauthorized photos of me wearing a yellow onesie in some compromising positions. This was a necessary medical device and I resent that anyone tried to take advantage of me in my time of vulnerability. Any postings of these photos on the web or anywhere else are entirely without my consent and I will offer a reward for the identification of the paparazzi and the return of these photos.

Once again, I thank you for your support. Trust me, my mom wouldn't know what to do without all of you. :)

Ross Gardner

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