February 5th 2012 11:11 am
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Thank catness! I began eating a bit last night and Mom left kibble out for me and Samsara and it was gone this morning. I even came to the bathroom to ask Mom to put out food this morning and I ate most of it.
In the meantime, Mom decided to give me my IBD meds. I usually get kibble after those too, but I didn’t want to eat it. Mom decided she would give me another dose of Cerenia, as my ‘insurance policy’. I’m still not quite back to my ‘old self’, but I’m getting there.
We’ll keep effurybody posted.
Headbonks (and yes, I’ve been giving out lots of those today)…
February 4th 2012 8:59 pm
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Thursday night I started not feeling well so I didn’t eat much.
Yesterday morning I was so nauseous I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to eat, but I just couldn’t. Mom gave me my (IBD) meds anyway, and I was almost crying. By noon she was on the phone with Dr. L. since I had just thrown up all the water I had. Dr. L. says I’m ahead of schedule for the nausea. Oh great!
He gave me a prescription for Cerenia. That helped. I ate a little bit of kibble yesterday, but not much. I still couldn’t eat today. I felt bad because I could see how nervous I was making Mom, but I just couldn’t. I’ve been giving her lots of headbonks and I’ve been cuddling with her. Does that help?
Mom called the clinic today and she went over to pick up the Mirtazapine that Dr. L. prescribed (appetite stimulant) around 6:00 this evening. They say it takes about 12 hours to kick in. In the meantime, Mom ground up some of my wet food and she gave it to me in a syringe. That was okay. I even started to lap a bit from the cup she had it in.
She just put the food out again a few minutes ago and I took a bit by myself. Gee, I hope I feel better by tomorrow.
January 29th 2012 12:26 am
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Mom got back from the gig not too long ago. What a great show!
It was in a small place called Ella’s on the Lower East Side. You should have seen how many patients went! Everybody kept saying what a good doctor he is.
Mom had a really nice time. He really does have that beautiful voice you heard on his web site! She especially enjoyed the songs dedicated to Dr. L’s cat, Stitch, and his dog, Poochi (we’re not sure how to spell that) who is a cancer survivor!
In the meantime, Mom practiced too much this afternoon. She says she has to watch it—she feels like she strained her voice.
We’re also still purraying up a storm for Blizzard. Blizz, we love you. Get well soon.
January 27th 2012 11:05 pm
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Thanks everyone for your good wishes for my DDP and for your wishing me well for my cancer treatments.
And thank you for your gifts:
Doggy Sasha – for the POTP
Doggy Sasha – for the Heart Star
Family of Kaci Sunshine and Miss Mittens – for the Pink Ribbon
Buddie – for the Blue Ribbon
Family of Sleeper, Samhain and Fearless – for the Heart
Family of Pinkie, Biggles and Nonny for the Pink Ribbon
Family of Mea-Angel , Mikki, Miko and Milo for the Heart
Ginger and Dad, Mike – for the Red Ribbon
Also, please pray furry hard for our friend, Blizzard. He's in the hospital tonight and his daddy is very scared. We're praying like crazy over here too. Get well soon, Blizzard. We love you.
Funny, Mom has had such a hard time catching up lately. A while ago I think it was me who was talking about what a great movie the Disney movie, “The Princess and The Frog” is. At the same time we told you that Mom had met Keith David, the actor/singer who did the voice over for the character, Doctor Facilier, “The Shadow Man”. We meant to tell you, you know who she saw last week? He came back to the place where Mom sings, and she got to congratulate him for the wonderful job he did with the character. He kissed her hand to tell her thank you! (She’s not so silly as to swear she’ll never wash her hand again, but she says the thought made her laugh.)
How appropriate and funny life is, Mom thinks. I am not only surrounded by love, but I’m also surrounded by music.
Believe it or not: Did you know that my Oncologist, Dr. L. for short , Dr. Lachowicz (for long) is also known as Joshua Louis, the pop singer? I’m not kidding.
Dr. L. is establishing his own foundation to help people pay for their pet’s cancer treatments—he is going to be using the proceeds from his music to help raise the money. He has a gig in Manhattan tomorrow night and Mom is going to go see him sing and play the piano.
Here’s the link to his web site. We think you’ll enjoy his music. Mom does.
January 25th 2012 12:13 am
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The trip to the V-hospital: They have bigger vampires over there than they do at v-lady. They took my blood again. That was all.
Last week and the week before my CBC’s were good. I was supposed to have my second chemo treatment today and it didn’t happen. Dr. L. called Mom to come and get me. (No, it wasn’t anything I said or did. Our vet tech, Stacy Ann, says my ‘bark’ is worse than my bite. She doesn’t take guff from me. She’s a lot bigger than Mom so she lets me complain up a storm ‘cause she already knows I won’t bite or scratch her.) No… my white blood cell count was low today, so Dr. L. thought it would be better to wait until next week. He says he’s seen this pattern in kitties a lot. Chemo is known to compromise the immune system, so, since my WBC was already low he didn’t want to risk making it even lower. He’s moved me to a once every four week chemo cycle.
Now, why is Mom crazy? You know what she just tried to do a little while ago? Shove a horse pill down me! Well, maybe not a horse pill, but it was a people pill.
She got tired and she’s preoccupied with doggy lady’s doggy, Misty. Misty went to the vet today for a lump that felt like mine which is right off to the side of her nipple. Her v-lady wants to do surgery too, but her x-rays found an enlarged heart.
Anyway, the people pill: an acidophilus capsule. Mom keeps the acidophilus (for me and Samsara) in the fridge, right next to the yogurt she puts on my Tylan pills. Great, they’re both white capsules and they look almost exactly like each other. The Tylan bottle is on top of our microwave oven.
The acidophilus, which is twice the size of the Tylan—and I’m not exaggerating—got covered in yogurt and made it all the way into my mouth. Mom realized the difference when my eyes started to bulge. I suppose if I didn’t choke first, it couldn’t have done any harm. (Of course, substituting acidophilus for my second dose of Tylan couldn’t have done any good either.) Mom usually opens the capsules and mixes the acidophilus powder into our food. I spit it out and I got an apology out of her.
Then she put the acidophilus into the wet paper towel she uses to wipe my mouth, forgot about it, and wiped my mouth. By the time she went to look for the pill it disappeared. I wasn’t wearing it and it wasn’t anywhere near where we were. She says the kitchen swallowed it. (What doesn’t that kitchen swallow!) I got to watch her, on all fours, crawling all over the kitchen floor again. We never found the pill. Do you know how many times she checked my towel and my coat and her clothes?
Thanks for your good wishes for my DDP. Mom was off updating my case study over the weekend and we didn’t see it till really, really late last night. And, thanks effurybody for your gifts. We would be lying if we said we had a moment to look at them. We will tomorrow.
January 17th 2012 12:51 pm
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I guess we didn’t want to jinx this by saying anything too early. Both CBCs, (last week’s and this week’s), have been really good and I’m set to go for my second chemo treatment next Tuesday. Yay!
My poops have been good and my energy level has been improving. Mom is happy to see me racing over to her again when she walks in the door and then racing off too, like I used to do. I’m doing more zoomies around the apartment too.
Mom was kind of concerned about me hipper-dippering around with my wet food at night. I just don’t like wet food all that much, so sometimes I leave it. See—I’ve got this routine down pat. Leave the food, have Mom put it away, and then beg like crazy—nyeh, nyeh….I’m starving. Feed me kibble! Giggles. She does.
It doesn’t hurt that Samsara forgets she’s eaten and squawks every time Mom walks into the kitchen. I just ride her coat-tails. If Samsara says we haven’t eaten, we haven’t eaten. Right? The only part I don’t get is why Samsara keeps nuzzling me under the neck. I keep telling her I’m not the head of the fodder department. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her I need to beg too. (But I do appreciate it when she leaves some of hers for me.)
And, you know what I did Sunday? Mom was baking again and since she was making cookies and muffins, she didn’t have enough space to put the muffin pan where I couldn’t reach it. Dang!! Those double-corn jalapeño muffins smelled great, and they looked so nice rolling all over the floor. Too bad she got them before I could. :(
January 8th 2012 12:59 am
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Mom got pawsome news late yesterday afternoon. Frankie’s Friends, Zeus Varis Trust has accepted me. We’ll be getting help paying for my chemotherapy. The treatments are going to be covered, the CBC’s are going to be covered and, if I need more surgery… Yay! They are the best! We are so grateful!
We still have to pay a $75 co-pay for each visit, there is a ceiling on how much they will pay out, and they are also paying for only the chemo-related stuff, but Mom is so relieved. It’s going to take such a load off her mind.
Other news, Tuesday will be a week since my first chemo. So far, so good. No more barfing. Mom isn’t sure it was me anymore either. She says she saw Samsara do it this morning. Mom also says that my poops look better than they have in a long time. She’s guessing the Amoxi Drops they sent me home with after my surgery are doing more than just handle post-trauma. She says my IBD has always responded well to antibiotics.
I ate my wet food supper slowly tonight, but I ate it and didn’t leave very much for Samsara. And, good news for me. Every time Mom goes into the kitchen Samsara starts squawking for food. I’ve been riding on Samsara’s coat-tails. Tee hee. I get extra too.
Our camera went on the fritz again—just inside the warranty extension the company gave her. They agreed to replace it this time. She heard that one before. We’ll see. We’re wondering if it’s going to take another couple of weeks before we receive the call tag for the return. Last time, back in August, we had to wait a whole month to get the camera back.
Mom is still ‘sdeezing’, as she puts it. She just went to make a cup of lungwort tea. This is something a lady who was into holistic treatments taught her years ago. The stuff was hard to find where we live. She finally got some (about 20 years ago—and has been using it very sparingly ever since). She says it’s the best. It tastes a bit like chamomile (pleasant, Mom thinks) and it dries out the nasal passages so you can breathe. Several years ago, Mom says you could only get it online in tincture form. She just checked—the herb form is now readily available. $25 buys you a pound. That’s a lot of tea. Not bad. We thought we’d mention it ‘cause it really is cold-season now.
Anyway, I’m not writing a book tonight. I just wanted to let you know about Frankie’s Friends. There really is such a thing as a guardian angel!
January 6th 2012 2:06 am
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It’s been a rough three weeks around here. Mom keeps dragging me to the v-lady. I think you all know about that by now. They found out I had breast cancer.
It all started with Mom poking around at my belly while she was giving me my meds. She says I don’t cooperate when she brushes me. She wants to know where to start combing, so she feels around looking for mats. That’s when she found it.
I had my operation on December 20th. Boy, I came home feeling kind of funny. I was so hungry and I couldn’t get to the bowl because of the lamp shade they made me wear on my head. I have an oval-shaped bowl; how was I supposed to get a round lamp shade over it? Is it any wonder the kibble went flying all over the kitchen? Mom decided to give me a break and took off the lamp shade while I was eating. She says most of the time I was a really good girl about letting her put it back on me after I ate.
The first two days after the surgery are a bit of a blur so I don’t mind Mom having called me her ‘loopy kitty’. Mom says I made her giggle and clutch her nose going ‘ouch’ the day after. I head-bonked her and the lamp shade hit her nose.
She stopped giving me pain killer two days after the operation. She overslept and boy was I hungry. I was bouncing around complaining like I usually do. She decided at that point I didn’t need the medicine any more. Too bad she didn’t take the lamp shade off me too. They made me wear it until this Monday night.
Mom really giggled when Samsara and I tried to join her in the bathroom. Samsara insists we walk shoulder-to-shoulder. Samsara walked into the bathroom easily, but because of the lamp shade I got stuck on the door-jamb. That’s not funny! It also wasn’t funny when she stayed home on Christmas with me. She thought it would make us both feel better if she tied some pretty ribbon around the base. I didn’t mind until Samsara tried to eat it off my neck. Mom took a couple of pictures, but I don’t think we’re posting them. I look pretty pathetic.
We went for my oncology consultation last Thursday and Mom decided over the weekend that we were going to move forward with the chemotherapy. The oncology doctor said he would have preferred to have put me under and taken out the whole lymph system, if my heart could have taken it. He says I might need more surgery somewhere down the line.
New Year’s Eve
Mom left the house for a few hours in the late afternoon on New Year’s Eve. She went to Manhattan to try to get some photos in the Times Square area. She was already home by 7:00. The police wouldn’t let her go farther than 49th Street and Seventh Avenue, but she could still see the building from which the ball drops. There were kazillions of people out, and people were being really nice. And, even though the police wouldn’t let her go where she wanted, they were also really nice about it. She posted the pictures on FaceBook.
Mom had doggy lady and Misty over for a short while and then she went next door with doggy lady to watch the ball drop on T.V. Samsara spent most of the time locked in the bedroom. It serves her right; she shouldn’t have stalked Misty. Before we even realized what was happening Misty disappeared under the sofa with Samsara in hot pursuit! Silly dog! She doesn’t realize all she had to have done was bark at Samsara—it would have scared her off.
First Chemo Treatment
By the time I had my chemo appointment this Tuesday morning you can bet I was fed up with going to doctors. I know, at this point, when I see Mom get up early and start rushing around she’s about to ruin my day. I go into hiding when she comes out of the shower. I goofed on Tuesday, though. I was under the sofa but I forgot to pull in my butt. Geeze, when Mom is determined…
The oncologist says I’m healing well and he took the sutures out. Then I got the first of the six chemo treatments he wants to do. It went okay. They administered via injection in my hind leg and sent me home with a bandage. Mom was supposed to take it off when we got home. I paid her back—I gave her a hard time. She thought she needed to cut it off and no way was I going to let her. She went over to doggy lady to ask for help—she thought doggy lady was going to have to hold my head and paws under a towel while she cut the bandage. As a last ditch effort, she tried holding on to it and I kept going. It worked! I walked out of it. Yay!
Mom is supposed to watch me for: decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhea and sneezing. So far almost none of that has happened. I also have to go back for CBC’s next week and the week after. They want to check my white blood cell count to make sure that the chemo isn’t compromising my immune system. They told Mom they can adjust what I’m getting if that starts to happen.
I was really hungry when I got home, and then really sleepy. I almost missed Mom preparing my next kibble. (Her next meds, that is. They need to be administered with food.) When Mom came into the bedroom looking for me she found me sitting up, asking myself if I just heard what I thought I heard. Then, after my supper, I got hungry again, so I bothered Mom until she gave me some more.
I was really hungry yesterday morning too. I wolfed my kibs down too fast and I barfed. That happens every time I eat too fast but it earned me another pill (Tagament). My wet food supper didn’t look so good yesterday evening and tonight and I only ate half. Mom gave me kibble after my last meds for the day and those tasted really good. This morning, no Tagament and no barf. Tee hee, Samsara took care of making the mess this morning.
And you know what? Mom has been trying to brush me. How many times have I told her not to brush me?!! She’s finding mats since I haven’t been able to clean myself. I’m giving her a hard time, but I’m also giving her lots of extra purrs and headbonks.
By the way, maybe they should be watching Mom for sneezing. She’s been sneezing an awful lot since she got home from getting me my meds yesterday. It was in the low 20’s and, giggles, she didn’t get car service. She had to wait for the bus.
December 30th 2011 11:44 pm
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Thank you so much everyone for your outpouring of love. I’m overwhelmed.
To put this into perspective: Colette is doing very well at the moment. She’s healing rapidly and seems to have a bit more energy than before her surgery. She’s affectionate, underfoot, begging for food, and trying to get away with cleaning herself the moment she’s finished eating and I haven’t yet caught up to the fact and gotten the e-collar back on her. And, for the reason that she’s so hell-bent on trying to groom herself, poor thing, she’s still in that lamp shade until this coming Tuesday at best. Her poops are returning to ‘normal’ and she gave me my first bathtub down-the-drain pee/zoomie yesterday.
Now on to the oncology consultation: Our vet said she got the tumor with a clean ‘margin’. Even though her x-rays show no sign of metastasis, that doesn’t mean the cancer hasn’t ‘spread’. I’ll explain, and, believe me, I’m learning as I go along. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of breast cancer in cats. It is a very aggressive form of cancer that works its way through the lymph system. Because of the involvement of the lymph system, even if an excision was clean, it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t time for free radicals to make their way throughout the body. Right now, those cancer cells wouldn’t yet show up—not until they have the time to form more masses. And therein lies the rub.
Untreated, the oncologist places the chance for a new tumor showing up at greater than 50%. Untreated, Colette’s prognosis is 6 months left to live. With chemotherapy, the oncologist extends her life-span to between one and two years. The time could be further out than that, but, since I adopted her, there’s a huge question mark with regard to how long it was (how many estrus cycles) between her first heat and the time she was spayed. That plays a big role. I got her as a four-year-old. We have no idea if she was a breeding queen before, or if not, how long she went between her first estrus cycle and the time she was spayed. Our oncologist is taking that question mark into account in his prognosis.
Ideally, the oncologist would recommend a radical resection, putting Colette under general anesthesia to remove (as I understand it) all of the mammary ducts. More likely than not, this won’t be done. Colette has a heart murmur and was only put under local anesthesia for this lumpectomy because of the risk that general anesthesia presents for her. He didn’t rule out though, the possibility of additional surgery for her at a future date.
Colette will be getting four to six chemo treatments. Each treatment is administered once every three weeks.
When I questioned the oncologist with regard to whether or not the cancer was related to Colette’s IBD, he told me that it was not--so much for jumping to conclusions. I’m mentioning this because I was speculating in the last diary entry that it might be related.
The doctor thinks Colette might be a good candidate to get help with funding her chemotherapy. He has recommended that I approach Frankie’s Fund—a group that helps, and I put a phone call in to the group today—answering machine. They say they generally call back within one business day.
I spent some time on the phone with Natalie the NatCat’s Mom last night. Natalie’s Mom told me that she’s very pleased with how Natalie’s chemo treatments went and how well Natalie is doing. Comforting to know, we live very near each other and use the same ER/hospital. And, as it turns out, we’re both assigned to the same oncologist.
I’ve pretty much made up my mind to move forward with the chemotherapy. If Colette is willing to fight this, so am I. But I make one promise to my little girl: I am not going to let her suffer. When the time comes that she’s having more bad days than good days …
I keep saying we’re going to thank everyone, and somehow this hasn’t happened yet. Gee, I wonder why. :-) It’s already late again, so I haven’t had time to attend to p-mails or anything. Bear with me, please.
In the meantime, I (we—Colette and Samsara too) wish everyone and every fur a very happy and healthy New Year.
Hugs, headbonks and purrs…
Carol, Colette and Samsara
December 28th 2011 7:18 pm
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This is Mom Carol. I’m hijacking the diary again. This is not our year. Biopsy results for Colette's mass: "This small multilobulated mass from the left side of the ventral abdomen consists of a malignant neoplasm derived from the epithelial cells of the gland i.e. an adenocarcinoma...." In English, the mass was cancerous. Even though our vet believes she removed the mass cleanly, this was an aggressive form of cancer and there is a high probability that cells have migrated. I have an oncology consultation scheduled for tomorrow at 11:00 AM.
The lab results say that there are areas where the tumor cells have “invaded or occluded lymphatics or venules,” which makes migratory activity highly possible. They go on to say that “feline mammary adenocarcinomas are generally aggressive malignancies that are invasive and frequently metastasize in regional lymph nodes and distant sites. These tumors frequently recur when incompletely excised.” They also say that Siamese cats tend to have a higher incidence of adenocarcinomas compared to other breeds…”
I think I covered the crux of the matter. Our vet believes that she was able to remove the mass cleanly, but because of the lymphatic and venule activity, it’s highly probable that cancer cells have traveled outside the mass. If I heard her correctly (and you can imagine by this time I wasn’t hearing everything clearly) she says that if it has spread, untreated, Colette would have somewhere between three months and a year left. She is strongly recommending chemotherapy.
Honestly, I wish I could say this was a complete surprise. It wasn’t. Colette was diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis two years ago and the lab results at the time suggested that sarcoma might be involved. In the past two years our vet has suggested doing an expensive, extremely invasive exploratory intestinal biopsy more than once. Since Colette was responding fairly well to her treatment regimen, we put this on the back burner. After all, I’ve already shouldered enormous vet expenses for both her and Marrakech. And three years down the line, I’m still not working.
This doesn’t mean I’m blaming myself for not doing whatever I could for Colette—far from it. I have been doing everything that I can reasonably do. (And given my circumstances, many people have told me I have already gone far beyond what is reasonable.)
The fact of the matter is that Colette is a kitty that has IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disorder) and it is thought that IBD stems from inappropriate immune system response. I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that this cancer is just the newest development thrown at us by the IBD. (One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is the transport of the immune cells to to the lymph nodes.) I haven’t been saying this here, but, as early as last year, I told our vet I was thinking this would be the kitty that was going to break my heart early.
My guess was if it wasn’t one thing it would be another. For my own sake, I’m going to list here what we already knew before this newest cancer and what else just showed up in her bloods/x-rays. She had: Lymphocytic Colitis and Plasmatic Enteritis—or IBD, Heart Murmur, Feline Rhinotracheitis, and Hyperthyroidism. Her x-rays/bloods just picked up onset Chronic Renal Failure and onset Asthma.
I’m also fairly certain that even if I had pet insurance for her (I don’t) the insurance company would have connected the dots and not covered any of this. I’m afraid I’m going to have to make a decision in the next few days over whether or not to pursue this aggressively with chemotherapy. The decision will need to be based both on the doctors’ assessments of her quality of life and life expectancy given everything that’s already going on, and on my finances.
Whatever I decide, my love for her comes first. And that love may have to take the form of letting this run its course without intervention.
For those of you interested in reading more about lymph function and lymph metastasis, below is a link to the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory at Harvard University.
Lymph Function and Lymph Metastasis
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