I am so sorry that you and your kitty are dealing with breast cancer. I know how rough it is wondering if you're doing the right thing. I would have done the same thing and opted for the mastectomy, as well if my vet told me that the tumor was small.
If, after getting an x-ray lung screen and the lungs were clear of cancer, then your vet was absolutely right in suggesting the surgery to give your kitty the best chance of survival. There was no way of knowing whether the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes without doing surgery.
Talk to your vet about chemo. There are some wonderful success stories on our site. There are a few kitties that went through chemo for breast cancer that had little(if any) side effects and extended their lives for more than a year.
I wish you the best. Please, know that we're here for you!
After reading Opus' Post I am crying with you both. Opus has put my thoughts out there beautifully. I cannot add one thing to her feelings. We all must face this day with our babies---For me in this situation I would make sure my baby was pain free with meds and spend every minute with her. All she needs now is your Love and when the time comes she will let you know she needs to leave this world. Watch for the signs and keep posting through this very sad time. We are here to support you and get you through this.
Praying for you both.
See my answer below, this crazy screen somehow jumped and left a blank space....somethg not working right...but my comments are here somewhere
How heartbreaking, I am so very sorry to read abt yr baby this just makes me cry every single time! It's good your researching and asking for opinions, not just jumping at a doctors own opinion. Tell me is this Vet an Oncologist surgeon? Really needs to be with such extensive/invasive surgery.
You'll get many views as you look and talk with others. Normally I would tell you yes, we've had a kitty with real good results following, but hers hadn't spread like your girls. Honey IMO keep yr baby comfortable, don't let her last days be filled with hospitals and pain, this surgery at best would not be a cure, it may buy some time....but when it's already in her blood the time wouldn't be long. Sorry but I can't give you false hope, she needs you now to love her, spoil her and get a Vet who would work with you to monitor her pain and keep that well controlled....learn the signs, for cats can mask them well, don't hold her here too long just for your own sake, be prepared to let her go when it's time.
Again I am so very sorry.....keep posting, we will listen and cry with you xoxox