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Archive for the ‘feline lymphoma’ Category

Your support over the past two months has been amazing. Now, I’m asking for your support one more time.

Help fund research into better, more effective treatments for feline lymphoma. Besides being the miserable disease that took sweet Petey, feline lymphoma is one of the most commonly occurring cancer in cats. In fact, lymphoma is more prevalent in cats than in humans or dogs. Learn more about the disease here or here.

Sadly, most of the treatments available are extrapolated from research studies into lymphoma in dogs. And cats are not dogs.

Take the Petey challenge — Make a donation to:

  • Winn Feline Foundation — Winn is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies about cat health. Projects funded by Winn have provided information that is used every day in veterinary medicine to treat cat diseases.
  • The CSU Animal Cancer Center — The mission of the Robert H. and Mary G. Flint Animal Cancer Center is to improve prevention and treatment of cancer in animals and humans. The Center focuses on the thoughtful, innovative, caring, and careful study of the causes and treatment of the disease in animals.

Be among the first 20 people to donate $5 or more to one of these worthwhile organizations, and you’ll be the first on your block to receive a limited edition  cobalt blue “WWPD” bracelet. After you’ve made a donation, email me at alfagee1@gmail.com. I’ll let you know if you’re among the select few, and ask for your snail mail info.

Remember to ask yourself every day: What Would Petey Do?

(Hint: The answer will usually involve napping, sunshine, mayhem or bacon)

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cytology on the fluids drawn from Petey’s chest last week confirms what we suspected — the lymphoma is back.

But, we’re not giving up yet. Regulan is helping with Petey’s nausea, so he’s eating a little better and has a little bit more of a spark in his eye. Of course, getting the liquid Regulan into him is no treat; I’m wearing almost as much as he’s ingested 🙂

Drs. Petey and Gil consulted with a couple of oncologists, and have come up with another protocol that might work. So, we’re going to try a lomustine (CCNU) protocol. One treatment every 3 weeks for 4 cycles, to start.

It’s a rescue drug with all the rotten side effects you’d expect, but it’s worth trying.  At this point, we’re happy to still be in the fight.

Keep a good thought for my boy.  He’d do the same for you, if he wasn’t a cat!

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Petey is having an OK kind of day. His breathing is good and regular. He’s tired and weak still, but eating on his own (some dry food he only likes when he’s super nauseated, like now) and enjoying frequent snacks of Hillshire Honey Roast Turkey.

So, allow me this moment to be contemplative.

Our journey took a major detour this week, one I wasn’t sure we could recover from. But you all rallied around me and my silly little boy. And that’s what kept me fighting, even when Petey couldn’t seem to fight for himself.

Almost 400 of you came to this blog to support us on Thursday, when we were at our lowest point. Another 100 or so offered support on a message board having nothing to do with cats. And then there were the fine folks from the Feline Lymphoma email group, and the dedicated staff at Dr. Gil’s office who were all pulling for us. And praying for us.

We’ve been purred and head-bonked by cats, like Rascal and Stormie, both of whom are also battling lymphoma; and an assortment of Meezers, Bengals, tabbies, and moggies. We’ve been rallied around by the Cat Blogosphere. And prayed for by a host of humans — many of whom I know only through email lists and message boards; some of whom aren’t even “cat people.”

You’ve come from near (Petey’s Aunt Peg, who lives just around the corner) and far (the lovely Poppy Q from New Zealand), and everywhere in-between.

For the love and prayers you’ve shared, I give you a little Petey in return. This boy belongs to all of us now. I’ll think of you all as I stuff tiny bits of turkey into the most loved cat you’ve never met.  That he lives to fight another day is testament to all of you.

I remain humbled and grateful.

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Petey made it through the night and is home, doing Petey things again.

The e-vet pulled a pretty good quantity of fluid out of his chest, and he rebounded pretty quickly. So, we picked Petey up this morning and sat in Dr. Gil’s parking lot until the office opened.

Dr. Gil did a thorough exam, took some Xrays, and couldn’t find anything other than a slightly enlarged mediastinum. Since that’s where Petey’s cancer originates, it’s obviously a cause for concern.

For now, we’re watching and waiting. We won’t know for sure if the cancer is out of remission until we get lab results on the chest fluid. We have no way of knowing if or when fluid might build up in Petey’s chest again.

So, we’re just cuddling, napping, and eating chicken.

 Thank you all for the kind words, warm thoughts, purrs, and prayers. They’re soothing to me, and I know Petey feels them too.

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With the administration of the last dose of doxorubicin he’ll ever have to receive, Petey has reached his first significant chemo milestone. He’s done with weekly treatments. 🙂

Feel free to stand and applaud.

It’s been a long six weeks, and at the same time, it passed in the blink of an eye. Time sure flies when you’re sitting on the kitchen floor, coaxing a reluctant cat to eat something. Anything.

Petey’s weight is holding steady at 10.5 lbs, which is at least 1 lb under where I’d like him to be. But, he’s happy. He’s peppy. He’s bursting with love. And trouble. There’s always trouble when Petey’s in the house.

Chemo continues, of course. But now Little Lord Fussbudget gets a full 13 days to recover from one treatment, before going in for the next. This should give him lots of time to eat and torment the Lilikoi.

It will also give him time to get stronger and feistier — something I’m not so sure the lovely, talented, and compassionate vet techs will really appreciate. They let me know that Petey was an easier patient when he was sick. Now he screams and yanks his paw away when they try to insert the catheter for his IV. Not that I can blame him for that one.

Still, I know they’ll keep a towel handy to drop over Petey’s head when they load him into his cage. Because in Petey-world, if you’re under a towel, no one can see you.  

 I wonder if that trick would fool my boss…

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Get your mind out of the gutter! There will be no nudity on this blog (unless Drs. Gil and Petey shave more of my boy’s pretty fur).

I’m suggesting a Petey Q&A. Many of you have asked questions about feline lymphoma, Petey and his many moods. Of course, he can’t actually answer any of these questions because a) he’s a cat; and b) he’s not a very smart cat. So, I’ll do my best to satisfy your curiousity.

If your question isn’t answered here, post it in the Comments section or email it to me at alfagee1@gmail.com. I’ll do my best to answer all questions in an update.

Q: You said Petey has mediastinal lymphoma, but what exactly is a mediastinal?
A:
The mediastinum is the central compartment of the thoracic cavity. The heart, the esophagus, a bunch of lymph nodes, and some other important stuff are all jammed in there. Petey’s variety of lymphoma affects the lymph nodes of the mediastinum.

Q:  What are Petey’s chances of recovery?
A: 
From everything I’ve read, and everything Drs. Gil and Petey have told me, lymphoma isn’t something that’s really cured. But, it can go into remission for a good long time. Most of the literature says that median survival time is 5-7 months, with a 30% chance of surviving one year. Anecdotal evidence points to much longer survival times with aggressive treatment. And believe me, treatment doesn’t really get any more aggressive than what Petey’s getting.

Q: How long will Petey be getting chemo?
A:
Short answer: At least a year. The protocol he’s on runs about 26 weeks. Petey’s got one more weekly treatment, then he’ll drop to every other week treatments for another 6 or so treatments. After that, he goes to once every 3 weeks for another 3 or 4 treatments. Then he’ll have another 6 months to a year of maintenance treatments. Of course, this all assumes that the stubborn little beast will start eating better so he’s strong enough to tolerate all these funky meds.

Q: What’s with all the bacon references?
A: Prior to getting sick, bacon was Petey’s favorite food. Like chew off your leg to get to it favorite food. These days, his favorite food changes on almost an hourly basis. Earlier today, it was Pounce chicken and cheese treats (something pre-lymphoma he’d rather bury in the litterpan than eat). Right now, he’s all for Thanksgiving Day Dinner, from Merrick Pet Foods.  It’s a pleasant departure from the past week’s stinky fish fiesta.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Keep those questions coming! Petey is always happy to oblige his fans.

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Now, for some questions from Petey’s fans:

Becca asks: What is Petey’s favorite song?
A:
Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love. Whenever I’m massacring this song on Guitar Hero III, Petey runs over to sing along and try to touch the notes on the tv screen. Either he really, really loves this song, or he’s trying to put it out of its misery.

Meet the Mets, Eat the MetsBecca asks: How does Petey feel about the Mets chances this season?
A: Optimistic. The addition of Johan Santana is bound to help that shaky starting rotation, but he’s still concerned about the bridge to Billy Wagner and the abysmal hotdogs at Shea.

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This week’s treatment was Vincristine, again. Petey first had it in Week 1, as part of the killer cocktail that made him queasy, barfy, and miserable. We all assumed it was the Elspar in that cocktail that did the bulk of the damage. Turns out we were wrong.

Petey’s been a low energy all week (I know, it’s hard to believe, what with the chicken thieving episode) and particularly fussy about eating. It’s not so much that he has no appetite. It’s that he wants only very specific things, served up to his Lordship in very specific ways.

For example, on Monday, Petey, Lord of the Fussbudgets, demanded chicken — either stolen off the counter or cut into delectable little morsels and served on a 1/2 sheet of paper towel placed carefully on the heart-shaped rug in front of the sink. And that chicken had to be white meat, with all the skin removed.

Tuesday morning, chicken was only OK — not a fan favorite. And he wanted it served over by the regular food bowls. But, he deigned to eat some of the super-high protein, mucho dinero dry food from a paper plate. But not from its regular bowl.

Tuesday afternoon, chicken was off the menu. Nope. Not even worthy of a lick. Now, his Lordship wanted stinky fishy stuff — the more stomach churning for me, the better. Back to the Weruva we went. This time, we hit pay-dirt with the first can, Mack and Jack. It’s a sumptuous blend of tuna, mackerel and skip jack that Petey finds irresistible — if served on a paper plate. Unfortunately, so does his sister, Pudgy the Wailer. If Pudgy (whose proper name is Lilikoi) approaches the bowl, his Lordship will walk away and never return.

I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time sitting on the kitchen floor this week, holding his Lordship’s paper plate in place (he hates having dirty paws, so he won’t hold it himself) and fending off the advances of the marauding Wailer. We repeat this process at least 4 times a day, since Petey, Lord of the Fussbudgets, will not eat more than 1/4 can of food at a time.

That boy is lucky I love him.

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