August 21

Aug. 21st, 2009 11:28 am
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
On August 21, 1999 I lost a cat who was very important to me. On August 21, 2009, another cat who is very important to me was declared free and clear of cancer.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I feel that no matter what happens in the future, something that was very, very broken has been fixed.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
So, Sithreal gave me a bit of a scare last night. I was sitting at my computer table Sithreal's tummy-petting station, and he was being unusually compliant about letting me pet his tummy. That was when I noticed that one of his nipples seemed discolored. I was relieved when it turned out to be just dead skin and some hair stuck to the nipple, which all came off leaving healthy pink skin underneath. I advanced up the chain of kitty titties, and arrived at the next one. This one had an even bigger thing on it. It looked similar to the last one, but it wasn't coming off. I became alarmed. Some may remember this episode in February 2009 -- this is why I got scared (and also why I was thus examining him).

This morning, we took him to the vet for his exam. He was due for one anyway, and if it recurred I wanted to get it while it was still microscopic. The vet looked at him, did the physical, took him in back, and brought him back out - it was just a scab with waxy/hair buildup, just like the other one, but was stuck a little worse. She easily got it off by scraping it gently. She had an assistant who helped her -- Sithreal wasn't allowing that much nipple-scraping last night. Last night was kind of a rough night when I thought it might have been a cancer recurrence, but this morning was worth it.

We're at the six-month mark, and it has not recurred. We're not home free by any means - it's watch and wait for the rest of his life. Another instance may occur elsewhere. I hope it doesn't, but I will watch very carefully. The thing that makes me happy is, we made it for the first six months. That means that the instance of cancer that we did get ... it's gone.

helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
This was fabulous...

Mindaugas Piecaitis of Lithuania directed an entire concerto built around a cat playing with piano keys. Somehow, it worked. It's a very enjoyable concerto!

Edit - corrected link.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Nutro cat food products are being voluntarily recalled for incorrect potassium and zinc levels. Here's the breakdown of what is and isn't affected:

"...resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier."

I'm really glad I'm not in the position where something like that depends on me (creating and/or executing prepackaging formulae of any sort whatsoever -- pharmaceutical, pet food, people food, etc.). One decimal point and millions get sick. It must take a very special kind of attention span to be able to do that without error for one's entire career.
helen99: Pants (Pants)
Kitten is Angry, by lemon-demon

lyrics )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
The last of the scabs has fallen off, and the scar is smoothing out rapidly. The sensitivity has gone down to the point where he lets me rub his tummy lightly (before he wouldn't let me get near it). As his fur grows back in and it smooths out even more and the skin on the side of the incision relaxes a bit, the sensitivity will decrease. We've taken the collar off now (even at night), and he's free to roam the house. He got used to having that room to himself, though, so sometimes he asks to be let in. I've decided that it might improve his health if he has his own territory where he can get stress-free chill time away from the others if he needs it, so we let him in there whenever he wants and to feed him. Thus falls the last cat-free bastion in the house.


Mar. 3rd, 2009 08:01 am
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Learned a new word today:

Moggy or moggie (plural moggies) is a British affectionate term for a domestic cat. I have six moggies, lol.

Edit: I also just learned that today is Square Root Day.

Now off to work...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
So... For most of yesterday evening, [ profile] rialian was reading Horrors Beyond, a compilation of stories set within or similar to the Lovecraftian mythos, and finished it toward midnight. At that point he went to keep Sithreal company for a half hour or so.

Continuing Cat Foo and the Mouth of Sauron )

So that was the evening and the morning of the eleventy leventh day.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Sithreal had the stitches taken out today. I expected the vet to be there to tell me what I was supposed to do next, but he wasn't there. It was kind of surreal. I'd been dreading what the vet might say to me or try to convince me to do. I was at the point where I was going to send Sithreal to the vet's office with [ profile] rialian and not go myself.

Then I decided to face the situation and go after all, only to find out that the vet wasn't even there. I forgot to ask whether or not Sithreal is supposed to return for a followup checkup any time soon, and the girl at the front desk didn't offer to set up an appointment, so that never got done.

The veterinary technician took Sithreal to the back room, and I waited for a few minutes while I had my complimentary hazlenut coffee. Then she brought Sithreal back out minus the stitches, and I took him home.

That was it. It was as if nothing had ever happened.

This doesn't mean we're off the hook yet, though. This just puts it off for a few days. The vet will probably call me if I don't call him.

I still don't know if they think he needs further treatment, and if they do, what that would consist of and for how long. I'm in kind of a weird state where I want to call the vet to be sure I've done everything right, but at the same time I don't want to talk to him at all (even though he's pretty cute).
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
The pathology results for Sithreal were all clear. No sign of cancer anywhere, lymph nodes clear. Yay.

Cautious, though, because the vet still wants us to consult with the oncologist to see if there should be chemotherapy. My answer to them is no, considering what I just read in that link. Major points:

1. He's all clear, so if he got chemo, there's nothing there to kill except healthy cells (already killed a number of those with surgery).

2. The course of treatment is usually 12 to 15 weeks. The specific length varies but that's the average. Maybe for cases like this it's shorter, but even, say, 7 weeks is WAY too long. Two weeks would be the maximum acceptable length I'd be willing to put him through, if even that.

If he had an inoperable tumor somewhere or if it had spread to the lymph nodes, then maybe. But he has no sign of it anywhere now. 12-15? Forget it.

3. Side effects: Nausea, toxic to bone marrow.

So. For 15 weeks they want to give my cat something that is toxic to BONE MARROW??? Good bye all his white blood cells, hello thrombocytopenia, which is what Ookie died of. He could die of secondary infections due to lack of immunity faster than a recurrence would kill him. In the immortal words of someone I used to know, "Home girl don't think so."

4. Cost

According to this link, the cost is expensive, since they use the same drugs as for humans and the same types of specialists. I get the feeling I'd be paying them to weaken/kill him. I think he'll be fine without it.

If I truly thought it would help him, I'd do it, but I do not think it will help him or increase his chances of a good life at all.

5. Quoted directly from the website: "Finally, it is important for the owners of dogs and cats receiving chemotherapy to realize that cancers we treat are rarely cured. Almost all of our patients ultimately have recurrence of their cancers."

So I'm supposed to give him something that is going to fail anyway...

Something that will kill the natural immune system so badly that my cat will be unable to fight off anything whatsoever, let alone cancer.

helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Sithreal's surgery is now. Then once he gets home, there will be confinement to a room, elizabethan collar, pain medications, and oral antibiotics for as long as he has the stitches. Initially there will be a pain patch as well. I'm sorry, big kitty. Your life belongs to the goddess Porcelaina Conveniencea for two weeks, in hopes that it can be a long and healthy one thereafter. Best of luck.

update )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
sithreal, medical )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Sithreal is staying in the smaller downstairs bedroom until everything is healed up from whatever treatment he has to get. It gets a bit lonely in there for a cat who's used to being with his people whenever they're home. So last night, Rialian stayed with him in that room and gave him much-needed snuggles and company. The catch is, there are about 5 cushions on the floor where I've jury-rigged a bed for Sithreal. There isn't a mattress in there or anywhere for a person to sleep. Further, nobody had straightened Sithreal's blankets for the past couple of days, so they were kind of wadded up to make an ideal cat nest (but not a person nest). In other words, Rialian slept partially on some cushions and wadded up blankets and partially on the floor, so he could keep Sithreal company and give him snuggles.

Thank yooo!
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
This Link says that if the tumor is under 2cm, then the survival rate increases to "over 3 years". There's no upper limit on that, so it's looking better than it was with the last article. If there is no sign of spreading to the lymph nodes and he doesn't need chemo (or only needs a little), that would increase his survival chances even more. So that's what I'm hoping for now.

For some reason, I am reminded of one of the better post-apop 80s movies - Bladerunner. In this movie, there was an underclass of manufactured people called Replicants. Normally, Replicants were scheduled to die at a certain time - they'd last for, say, 15 years, and then their functions would automatically cease.

Then there was a breakthrough, and a new line of Replicants had been produced that were for all intents and purposes entirely human, and had no idea when their death would occur. It could be in 20 minutes or in 20 years. Nobody knew. One such Replicant has managed to pass for a human. She is working with the main character (a Bladerunner, i.e., Replicant exterminator) to catch a band of rogue Replicants who were trying to find their maker and force him to extend their lives.

The Bladerunner had no clue what she was until the end of the movie. When he finds out, he makes the decision to retire from his particular form of service to be with her. At least that's how my mind is remembering a movie I saw 30 years ago or so. So now we have,

Sithreal: Post-apocalyptic replicant bladerunner.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
sithreal, medical )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
This weekend I didn't leave town because I wanted to stick around with Sithreal, give him his meds, keep him company etc. It turns out that it was a good thing I was here, because around noon my younger brother called, and was locked out of his house. It was very lucky that he called this weekend, because I haven't been in Maryland on weekends in months... until now.

After this happened, I realized that he did not have my cell number. Until recently, it had been enough for him to have my land line, because he hardly ever called, and I was in Rockville often enough to handle emergencies on weekends. This is no longer true. Also, ever since my mom died, nobody has a key to his house except him and me, so in an emergency or if he gets locked out, I'm it.

We had a good visit and I gave him my our cell numbers so he can reach us if we're out of town. It's only a couple of hours away, so I would be able to drive back. I'm still amazed at how lucky he was that I happened to be home.

In other news, the results from Sithreal's tests are not back yet - should be back sometime next week (the vet will call). He's doing ok, and is getting anxious to get out of the room. Only one more dose of pain meds. It was only supposed to be given for a few days - not a week like I had originally thought. That's a relief, since I didn't think that would be good. The incision is healing well and no sign of infection. He doesn't seem to be aware that it's there at all.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Sithreal is back home now. The surgery went well. He has stitches, so he'll have to be quarantined for a week to prevent the other cats from harassing him, and will be on pain medication for around the same amount of time. I set up one of the rooms for him with two large cushions and a pillow covered with cat blankets that I crocheted (he's a big cat). He has his food, water, and a litter box all to himself, and a heater nearby set on low to provide ambient warmth (when the gas furnace shuts off that room gets a bit chilly). I think he might like it - he's never much liked the other cats, and he hasn't tried to escape yet. When I showed him his new bed, he hopped onto it immediately and started kneading and purring. So far so good...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Sithreal is in the hospital. He had a suspicious swelling on one of his front nipples. I thought it was the result of him getting scratched by one of my other cats, but then it burst and turned into a lesion. It scabbed over so I waited a few days to see if it the scab would come off and reveal healthy skin underneath. It didn't. The scab persisted and what areas of skin did show looked infected, and appeared as an irregular red blotch. I feared it might be the beginnings of a tumor so I took him in to get it lopped off.

So now he has 5 kitty titties and is minus whatever that was. They're sending it to pathology to determine if it was malignant, but meanwhile I opted to treat it as if it was. Surgery went well, they got all of whatever-it-was, and he's resting comfortably for the night.

They want to check on him tomorrow morning so he's staying overnight. Hopefully he won't be too stressed by all of this (of course he will). We're picking him up before 9 am tomorrow. I was instructed to put him on a diet. He is supposed to weigh 14 pounds, and he weighs 20.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
At least this time the dream was not about losing Spooky. Instead, it was about Ossana.

In the dream, we were at home and Ossana was in heat. Although she has never actually done this, in the dream she ran out when I opened the door. It was night and she was able to disappear quickly into the shadows. I followed and called to her but she didn't wait for me. About a half a block away, I heard the yowling of tomcats. I thought I also heard Ossana's calling from the same direction, so I followed the noise. I eventually found her in the front yard looking way, way too calm for a cat in heat. Pregnant.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)

This is getting weird. I had the same dream for the third time. I was in a building with many floors. It was a large government/university-ish kind of building/complex. I knew that my cats Spooky and Sithreal were somewhere in the building, but I couldn't find them. Whatever this building is, it's not pretty - just functional and lifeless. The corridors and floors of the building seem to shift at times, making it harder to find anything. It's some kind of transition place - there's something temporary about it. There were elevators but they didn't take me to the right floor.


In happier news, Steven Chu has been named the next Secretary of Energy. A Nobel prizewinner. Sounds good so far.


In even happier news, according to [ profile] sir_alf, this is squirrel appreciation day.

April 2010



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags