Twiggy came to us in mid-December, a rail-thin waif found “trying to lick food off the pavement of a parking lot” and struggling with some sort of respiratory issue. She was aptly named—you could close your thumb and forefinger around her waist and feel every bone in her body—and her plaintiff eyes and flop in your lap personality sold us on a trip to the vet for a closer look. Her bloodwork was perfect and all tests negative, but her X-rays showed a mean-looking mass in her chest. Both vets concurred that it was likely some sort of tumor overtaking her lungs. Ugh.

Back home for hospice, Mama Su ordered that if Twiggy’s life was going to be brief, she might as well enjoy it—she could have the run of the place and eat when and what she wanted. After a month of flirting with the crew and picking at food, Twiggy had gained a little weight but still had a respiratory rate 3x normal. But those eyes, come on now!—we asked our vet for a referral to an internist for another look. It was a longshot, but Brady ran the table to the Super Bowl on the road and was now tossing the Lombardi around Tampa in a drunken stupor…anything’s possible.

Voila! After a pre-dawn run to San Jose, the specialist was confident the “tumor” was in fact Twig’s organs crammed into her lung cavity, likely due to a ruptured diaphragm, but he couldn’t tell the extent of the damage until he opened her up. It would be tedious and delicate work but assuming her organs were intact and not abnormal or adhered, her innards could be re-aligned and she’d have an 80% shot at a normal life. “Go for it,” we responded. “And fix that little hussy while you’re at it.”

Eight hours later, the surgeons judged Twig’s surgery a success—the damage was congenital, not the result of trauma, all of her organs save her spleen were functional and reorganized to their proper place and “you could see her lungs reinflate once we relieved the pressure”. Twiggy was by all reports “a perfect patient”, “super-cooperative”, “standing and eating on her own” and could likely return home the following day. Oh, and “she’s going to get a lot bigger now that her stomach can fill out.”

The good news is that despite a scar running the length of her belly, Twiggy can now breathe, eat and purr normally and her figure is now more show cat than misshapen wretch. The bad news is that her makeover didn’t come cheap. Multiple trips to San Jose and $6,000 of vet bills didn’t stop us from taking in two burn victims, a leukemia case and other charity cases yesterday, but it’s getting harder to let our heart veto math and logic. If you can find it in your budget, we could use some help defraying some of the costs—there’s dozens more counting on us to keep sucking at quitting. Twiggy.


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