So for the past few weeks, Julius has had a bit of a limp going on with his back left leg. At first diagnosis from the vet, it was believed to be a strained/torn muscle. It didn't hamper him one bit, he was still the sweet, lovable cat he's always been.
However, today turned out to make things quite different indeed.
His limping had become worse over the past month. He was slated to go in today anyway for a second check on his thyroid levels, as they had been off, evident by his loss of at least five pounds.
So the vet examined the left rear quarter today -- and found out that the cause of the limp was not a torn muscle, but a soft tissue tumor that, in the past month, had grown so quickly and, until now, pretty much undetected, that it's already eating into the bones of his hip.
In other words, not much we can really do about it apart from some pretty radical treatment that would break the bank.
Julius is twelve years old, and is still the utter sweetheart.
He's been given roughly a month to live before his condition worsens.
The thing of it is, this isn't something that will outright kill him, but will make his quality of life less than comfortable, as he will very likely fracture the bones in and around his hip, causing him extreme pain, and it's not something that can really be mended due to the tumor. As it is, his lifestyle has to change now, as he will become more dependent upon others for him to get up onto our bed. When we're in Virginia this Christmas (he's cleared to go, travel will not cause him any further problems), we'll have to use a toddler gate at the stairs in Colleen's parents' house, as we don't want him tackling the stairs in his condition.
However, there is the grim possibility that a turn of events away from home may cause us to lay him to his rest, to allow his passage to the Summerlands when we're away. We're prepared for it in any case.
Now I've known Julius since February 2000, and he's been nothing but the sweetest of cats to me. He's been my nap buddy, my companion, the Great Fuzzy Hunter... None of that has, for now at least, changed any.
For those who are interested, I'll keep posting thoughts and updates on his situation as warranted.
For those who have gone through situations like this before, you'll understand.
Words of hope, words of sympathy, words of prayers to whatever $deity you prefer (in our case, the Bright Lady and Bast have been called upon) are appreciated and welcome.
But for now, he's just resting comfortably on his pillow that rests above my head on the bed... his pillow...
And he knows he's loved.