Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oscar Update

It's been nine days now since my chemo and I feel very good. On the third and fourth days after the chemo, I started feeling a bit out of sorts and ate less kibble than I usually do; and on Saturday morning I got Daddy a little worried because I woke him up in the middle of the night and three times I jumped into the tub next to the faucet and each time Daddy let the water drip but I just sat there and stared at it and didn't drink anything. And after coaxing me for over half an hour Daddy finally got me to eat some wet kibble; and then I climbed into my cat tree and sat there and stared at Daddy:

but I never had any diarrhea or any vomiting, and after a couple days I got my full appetite back, and for the last few days I've been very energetic and even playing with some ribbon:

And I've been eating kibble and drinking water from my fountain:

Then I had another visit to the Carlton Vet on Wednesday afternoon, and Dr Miller took a measurement of the lump on my leg and it hasn't grown any further, which is good, and he took my weight, and I had lost quite a bit of weight, since I'm now only 5.92 kg (which is about 13 pounds), which means I've lost almost a whole pound since my biopsy all those weeks ago, but the doctor wasn't terribly surprised since most animals do lose some weight after chemo because we lose our appetites. And then the doctor wanted to take a blood sample from me, and he took those electric clippers and shaved my neck AGAIN, just when I had almost finished growing my fur back there! And I was so tired of having doctors poke at me that I threw a proper fit when Dr Miller tried to take my blood, and I hissed and I yowled like my brother Gerald used to, so the nurse had to put me in that burlap bag again, and I wriggled my head out of the hole in the bag since I didn't want them to get me, but I couldn't escape them, and they got my blood in the end. But Uncle Kevin congratulated me for showing that I had some gumption, and he would have been more worried if I had been docile for the doctor, and I'm sure the doctor would have preferred me docile, but I'm feeling well enough these days to make everyone know that I am sick of vets!

And the vet called Daddy today to say that my blood test came back OK and there were no adverse reactions to the chemo, so my next chemo session will be on Tuesday June 1, which is a little less than two weeks away. Meanwhile Daddy is spoiling me with chicken treat and fishy treat and long snuggles and kibble on demand...

And I still have my whiskers!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My First Day After Chemo

Yesterday was my big day at the Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre because I went there to have my first chemotherapy treatment. And Daddy had to starve me after the midnight before because I wasn't supposed to eat anything in case they had to anesthetize me, so I was meowing all morning begging for food. And Daddy came home early from work and at 3:00 he picked me up and put me in my cat carrier and I yowled because I knew something was up, and I remembered that the last time I was in the carrier was exactly a week ago when I spent the whole night at the Glen Waverly clinic. But this time I only had to go to the clinic at Essendon airport, and at 3:30 the nurse took me into the consulting room (and here's a picture from the Centre's website):

and some people came in, but I didn't recognize them because they had gloves and masks on (like these pictures, also from the Centre's website):

but I think one of them was doctor Peter, and the other might have been that nice nurse Naarah; and they put a tube (a catheter) into my front left paw, and I hated it so much that I bit it and pulled it out! And they decided I needed a sedative to calm me down, so they gave me a shot of something that made me feel all wonky, and then they put a new catheter in my front right paw, and I sat still for twenty minutes while a strong-smelling chemical called Doxorubicin went into my paw. But they sat with me the whole time and petted me and I felt nice and relaxed. And at about 4:30 they brought me back into the waiting room where Daddy and Uncle Kevin were sitting and waiting for me, and I swear they reminded me of pink elephants, 'cause that sedative was still making me feel weird. Then Daddy's friend Andrew picked us up in his car, and when we got home, I climbed out of my carrier and walked around, but my back legs kept stumbling because I was feeling really really wonky, but even so, I made my way to my food dish and tried to eat some hard kibble (I hadn't eaten all day!), but I couldn't remember how my tongue works so I kept dropping the kibble out of my mouth! So Uncle Kevin got me some soft kibble, and I managed to eat that up very slowly, and for the next five hours I didn't feel like doing anything except sitting next to my food dish with my chin on top of my hard kibble. And Daddy sat with me for a long time and watched over me while my sedative wore off. But I never threw up and I never passed out or anything. And by about midnight I was more alert, and made a little poo, and I felt like sitting downstairs in the living room and making sure nothing had changed in my domain.

And this morning I sat in my basket in the living room next to the heater (it got really cold last night! It got down to 6° Celsius outside; that's only about 43° F. That's cold!) and slept a little bit; and I drank some water out of the tub, and then I sat in the sun, too, like this:

And Daddy came home early again, around 12:00, to watch me this afternoon while Uncle Kevin worked downtown. And I sat in Daddy's lap for a while and purred, like this:

but you can see from the video that I was kinda staring into space, since I didn't feel too terrific. And Daddy was making sure that I wasn't throwing up, and that I wasn't going off my food, and that I was drinking plenty of water. And I didn't really like the taste of my wet kibble, but I ate dry kibble a few times this evening and drank water from the tub three times, 'cause I wanted to show Daddy that I was being a good kitty, and he got take-away chicken for dinner and gave me some chicken yummy as my reward!

And doctor Peter said that the first 24 hours after chemo are the critical time, and I've done very well; but he also said that the third day after chemo could be another time when I might start to feel sick (he said something about my cells regenerating at that point), so Daddy and Uncle Kevin will be watching me closely from now on. And doctor Peter said that my whiskers will fall out because of the chemo, but my fur will be OK. And I'll miss my whiskers! After all, we kitties use our whiskers to find our way through strange places in the dark, or to sense vibrations from people and rodents and vehicles passing by. So I'm not looking forward to losing them. But it hasn't happened yet, so for now, I should try to get a good night's sleep and hopefully I'll feel less wired tomorrow.

And thank you to everyone who read my blog and sent me good wishes (especially you, Huffle!); it made me and my Daddy very happy to hear from so many animals and pet-people in cyberspace.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oscar Update

It's Friday here in Australia and it's been just over 48 hours since I came home from the oncologist, and since then I've been slowly getting back to my routine. Daddy talked to the oncologist yesterday and scheduled my first chemotherapy treatment for Tuesday afternoon, and even though he could have scheduled it right away for today, Daddy wanted me to have a few days to rest at home and enjoy my routine a little more before going back to that hospital AGAIN, and I'm glad he did 'cause it's taken me this long to feel like my normal self again.

On the night that I came home I was really wide awake after all that anesthesia and I caused my Daddy some anxiety when I woke him up at 5.00 a.m. and made him follow me around the house, 'cause first I led him to food dish with the hard kibble, and he gave me some fresh food, but I wouldn't eat it, and then I hopped into the bathtub next to the faucet and he let some water drip for me, but I sat there for three minutes and wouldn't drink, so then Daddy led me downstairs and gave me a wet kibble snack, but I looked at it and wouldn't eat it, and then finally I walked into the living room and showed Daddy the big spot on the floor where I had thrown up and the little spot where I threw up only a little, and Daddy wiped it all up, but he still didn't know what I wanted, so he led me upstairs again, and I hopped into the bathtub, and Daddy let the water drip, but I still wouldn't drink, and he sat there and watched me for five whole minutes while I refused to drink, and finally Daddy led me downstairs again and opened a fresh new can of kibble and I did eat a little bit of that because it was nice and fresh. But Daddy was worried about me because I still hadn't pooed in my litter box even after being home for several hours and having a big dinner; and even after eating this fresh food, I didn't poo. And after a little while I came upstairs and hopped onto Daddy's bed and Daddy gave me a body rub all over and eventually he went back to sleep and I slept at his side for a little while, and when he woke up he found me in the front room in my kitty tree curled up on top, like this:

And Daddy and Uncle Kevin had to leave really early for work, and I ate a little more wet food as they were stepping out the door, but Daddy got worried about me again so he came back to check on me, but I was fine, and he watched me sleep in my kitty tree for another half hour. And I woke up when Uncle Kevin came home after midday and we kept each other company during the afternoon. And when Daddy came home in the evening I ate some more, but I still hadn't pooed. So I spent the evening on my green pillow in the living room and spent some time on the Kevin pillow and tried to get my groove back with my routine.

And this morning I woke up for breakfast then took a morning nap in my basket by the window where the birdies feed while Uncle Kevin worked at his computer, and it felt good:

But I still didn't poo, and it wasn't until 2:30 today--almost 48 hours after I had anesthesia in the hospital--that I finally made a big poo in my litter box, and Uncle Kevin was so happy! And then Daddy came home from work early to see how I was, and he gave me some early dinner, and when I had finished licking my lips I jumped into Kevin's office chair and sat like this:

And Uncle Kevin didn't want to disturb me so he brought Daddy's office chair down from upstairs and sat on that, so he wouldn't have to move me. And Daddy joked that I was re-establishing my dominance over the household, and I said, "What do you mean 're-establishing'? I never lost my dominance over this household! I have always been and always will be the master of this home." And Daddy admitted that I was right.

And I want to thank SO MUCH all the animals and friends from all over the world who sent comments to my blog, so my heartfelt thanks go to Keiko, Kenji & Pricilla (in Adelaide); kittens Fui, Suey and Lishy (in Sydney); Julie and Poppy Q (across the Tasman in New Zealand); Kim with Annie, Nicki, Derry, and "angel" Chumley (Canada); Felix, Kona Kitty, Tiny Johnson, The Baby, Maui, Rupert, Sweet Pea, May Ling, Grayce, Scouty, CC, Salem, and their Mom from the Katnip Lounge (USA); the puppy Suja (also in the USA); Whicky Wuudler and his mates, and Ginger Jasper (all in the U.K.); KC, Missy Blue Eyes, Faith Boomerang, Sol, Smokey, BJ, and their Mom ML (Texas); Rusty, Cyndi, Crystal, Cameron, Cotton, Percy, Merci, Buddy & Samaritan (at Jan’s Funny Farm in Georgia); Junior and Orion (Utah); The Island Cats (Michigan); Zippy, Sadie and Speedy (Wisconsin); puppies Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara (Kansas); Artemisia, Fenris, Socks & Scylla; Cat Mandu; Sparkle the Designer Cat; 'Kaika and the Yosemite cats; and The Cats of Wildcat Woods; and thanks to everyone else I might have missed; and a very special meow of thanks to Huffle Mawson here in Melbourne, who told readers of her blog to visit mine, and who suggested that I ask for ham. The thoughts and purrs of all of you are very helpful and encouraging (especially for my humans) during this time. All of us in my household appreciate it very much.

As I'm writing this, Daddy is cooking a potato-cheese bake in the oven and the smell is driving me crazy! So I might ask for cheese instead of ham.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back from the oncologist

I'm back from the Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre after over a day away from home and unfortunately the news is not good, because a chest scan and an MRI showed that the tumor on my back leg is not the only tumor inside me, because I have what they call a "nodule" in my lung and another in my abdomen, and the big tumor on my leg is so big that it's close to my spine so it would be very difficult to remove it without amputating my pelvis and my leg, and Daddy doesn't want to put me through that, so I'll be going back to the specialist vet again next week to talk about chemotherapy treatment or other care for my cancer.

I'm home now and I'm happy to be home and I'm feeling sprightly and active after all the tests I got put through. And it all started on Tuesday morning at 9.00 when Daddy and Uncle Kevin took me to the Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre at Essendon Airport, and a nice nurse named Naarah took my vitals (including my heartbeat, my breathing rate, and of course that thermometer up my kitty bum!) and it was all normal and she said I was a handsome cat (which I am, of course!), and then a nice doctor named Peter the oncologist came in and felt me all over, especially the tumor on my leg, and I didn't fuss hardly at all, and then he asked Daddy some questions about me. And doctor Peter explained that the tumor I had (what he called a "sarcoma") was likely to be one of two types: either what he called "spontaneous", which older cats like me get sometimes, and no one knows how they begin; or what he called an "injection-site sarcoma," which is common in American cats like me who used to receive rabies injections, and even though I haven't had a rabies shot in nine years, sometimes kitty bodies will react to something in the vaccine many many years after they had the shot. And doctor Peter wasn't sure which type of tumor I had, but injection-site sarcomas are bad and more aggressive; and he said he would get in touch with the pathologist who analysed my biopsy last week and get an opinion on what kind of sarcoma it was, because it might influence the choice of treatment. But meanwhile I should have some tests to see if there were any other signs of cancer inside my body, since a big tumor on the outside of my leg could mean smaller tumors on the inside.

So Daddy authorized the doctors to do a chest scan and then an MRI, which had to be done at the Referral Centre's facility in Glen Waverly (many miles away!), but nurse Naarah said that the Referral Centre staff could transport me; so Daddy left me with the nurses in the Essendon centre around 11.00 and later in the day I was transported to Glen Waverly in their "ambulance" and then they gave me some anesthetic and shaved my belly (so that I look like this):

and they did a chest scan and discovered the lump in my lung, and that changed my prognosis, since having a lump in my lung means that surgery on my leg wouldn't cure all my disease. Then I woke up a bit, and doctor Peter phoned my Daddy and asked if he still wanted an MRI done on me, and Daddy said yes, so they gave me anesthesia again and when I woke up it was too late in the evening to go back to Essendon, so I spent the night at the Glen Waverly centre with a tube in my paw to make sure I had fluids; but I was wide awake and charmed the nurses and meowed every time they walked by me (they had 24-hour nurse care at the Centre). Meanwhile Dr Peter phoned Daddy a couple times about the initial results of the MRI, which showed the condition of my abdomen, and how my leg tumor was so close to my spine; and Daddy made an appointment for 3.30 pm on Wednesday (that was today!) to meet with the surgeon to get the full explanation of my scans. And I spent the morning at Glen Waverly and the ambulance transported me back to Essendon in the early afternoon and I was so excited because I knew I'd get to see my Daddy again! And the nurse who brought me on the ambulance paid me such a complement when she told Naarah, "I want this cat!" because she said I was so well-behaved and friendly, and she loved the color of my eyes. And the nurses put me and my cat carrier inside a big cage, and sometimes I sat in my carrier, and sometimes I curled up in the litter pan they had in the cage (I mean, the pan was just the right size to curl up in!), and I always meowed when someone walked by because I love the attention.

And at 3.30 that nice nurse Naarah brought me into the consulting room, and Daddy and Uncle Kevin were there, and when they opened my carrier I leapt out and wanted to explore the whole room, and a nice doctor named Simon the surgeon came in and explained to Daddy what my scans meant while I ran around and played with Uncle Kevin. And basically Simon the surgeon recommended that Daddy not make me have surgery on my leg tumor, since it would be too aggressive and unlikely to be curative, since I have these two other nodules in my body, and maybe even other things they couldn't detect; and he also said that these results were consistent with the "injection-site sarcoma" that doctor Peter the oncologist had mentioned; so the best course of action would be to go back to doctor Peter and discuss treatments like chemotherapy.

And Daddy and Uncle Kevin brought me home, and the first thing I did is run up the stairs and make a pee in my litter box. And then I asked Daddy to give me some wet kibble, and then I got him to give me hard kibble; and at dinnertime he spoiled me with a fishy treat:

And then Daddy hugged me and confessed that he and Uncle Kevin had spent a lot of time last night crying, and they said they love me and want to make my routine as normal as possible, so I hopped right to it and planted myself on my green pillow:

And while I was there, Daddy gave me a yogurt treat:

And then I sat on my Kevin pillow for a long time:

And I was wide awake most of the evening, just like I was on the night after my biopsy, but now I'm getting sleepy after such an exhausting day. I don't know what the future will bring and I don't know when (or if) I'll start feeling sick, but for now I'm so glad to be back in my home after over 30 hours away in a hospital having tests, and tomorrow when I wake up I'm going to sleep in my basket in the window and watch the birdies gather at birdfeeder. And I want to thank all my furry friends who read my blog and have sent me such kind messages and good wishes; it means a lot to me and especially to my Daddy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Results from the Vet

I went to the vet again on Friday because it looked like my stitches were coming apart, but it turns out they weren't; but the results of my biopsy came back and it wasn't the greatest news, because the nurse said that I do have a cancerous tumor which is of the "intermediate" kind, which means that it needs to be removed and that surgery could cure it if the surgeons are able to remove the whole thing; but since they can't do that kind of operation at the vet, Daddy had to make an appointment with a specialist "oncologist" veterinarian (that's a tumor-doctor) for Tuesday morning. And the oncologist has a consulting office in the "Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre" at Essendon Airport, and they use the same facilities as the Emergency Animal Hospital where my brother Gerald spent his last days all those years ago. So I hope it doesn't bring back bad memories for my Daddy; it shouldn't, since Daddy didn't cry when he went there more recently with Pussy Galore that time that her tail got stepped on.

And I'm trying to convince my Daddy and Uncle Kevin not to worry about me, since there's nothing they can do until I meet with the oncologist; and as for me, I still feel happy and energetic, and I insist on maintaining my daily routine, which includes sitting in the sun on the stairwell:

and eating a yummy treat in the sun:

and watching the birdies:

and sitting on my Kevin pillow in the evening:

So on Tuesday the doctor will have some recommendations about what to do to me next (if anything); and until then, I'm going to enjoy the sunshine: