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Whiskers no more

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Hey all,

DID YOU KNOW… that whiskers can continue to fall out for several weeks post-chemo?  Haha.. this is my most recent lesson.  My kiddo had his last chemo session on August 19, and for a while he was sporting three whiskers, one on the right, two on the left.  The right whisker has bit the dust though, so he’s just walking around with two whiskers now and a bunch of little tiny ones.

That faaace!

That faaace!

He’s been missing the bed when he tries to jump lately, so I think he’s getting a little gun shy, but I would still say he makes it 80% of the time.  Someone said I should get him some stairs, but I don’t really want to enable him to quit trying.  His back leg must be getting pretty buff.  🙂

This is random, and not at all scientifically-based, but I switched both cats to Blue Buffalo with the thought that maybe better quality food would make for healthier cats.  I don’t think Blue Buffalo prevents cancer or anything, but anything I can do to give them a better life, I will try.  With that said, I did the whole slow transition thing to the new food, but they took to it SO QUICKLY.  Within a week I was able to give them 100% Blue Buffalo, and their appetites are normal.  I was noticing that Fredo wasn’t throwing up as much, but then yesterday morning he tossed his breakfast.. but it is still less frequent.  Pretty happy about that!

Overall, life is a little bit easier now that we’re not traveling to chemo every three weeks.  That November appointment is coming up quick though.. that should be just swell.

Anyway, Happy Friday to you all!


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Fredo’s chemo graduation!

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Hey all,

So when I thought of chemo graduation, I was like, maybe I can get a tiny graduation hat, or a party hat… or something.. would you believe those aren’t marketed more?  Anyway, I nixed the idea because it truly screams “cat lady.”  Just kidding, it’s because I couldn’t find a tiny graduation hat on Amazon without having to buy seven others.

Let me back up.  I begrudgingly brought the kiddo to his “last” appointment.  I use quotes because it’s obviously not his last appointment, but whatever.  I just feel so BAD.  Is this prepping me for parenthood?  Because ugh.  I know cats are resilient, but still.  He’s gotta be SO OVER this.

They did the last doxorubicin infusion and also scanned his lungs, did x-rays, ultrasound, etc etc.  I don’t really know; I just went with the flow and paid the very expensive bill at the end.  Our Care Credit is officially maxed (despite making continuous payments).  Ah, life.  But I digress.

He peed on his towel.  I don’t really know what life is like during these appointments, since I dropped him off and came back when they called.   So I really don’t know if he was nervous or upset or didn’t have an access to a litter box?  Who knows.  But it’s over!

Oh, most importantly: all of the tests came back clear and the vet is comfortable saying that he is completely healthy at this point.  HOWEVER, we will return in three months for another terribly expensive appointment.  LOL.  Can you tell I’m a little overwhelmed by the cost of this?  At least it’s becoming less frequent.  He’ll have appointments every three months for the first year, then we’ll scale back.  So for now, a little peace in Fredo’s world.

20150819_162118

 

So, back to that hat thing.  It’s good I didn’t get it because he wouldn’t even get near this bandana.  What a party pooper!!

Then I thought I’d do like the cute things where people make signs and up them next to their pets and everyone is all cooperative..

20150819_163307 20150819_163209

NOT MY CAT.  He finally let me get this close to him, I had to prop up the little signs a few feet away and he occasionally offered a glance in my basic direction but basically just ignored me while I was laying on the floor.  Whatever, man.  (Side note: look how great his terrible amputation haircut has grown back in!)

So yeah he wasn’t super fond of me yesterday, as usual.  And the office shaved his belly.  We’re all pretty excited that he has no new funky haircuts coming his way.

LAST PICTURE.  I did a whisker-loss comparison for good time’s sake, and also because I was very curious how this side effect would be for him.  The doc said initially they might fall out, they might not, they could grow back normally, they could grow back weird… etc.  The regrowth remains to be seen, but here’s after 5 chemo sessions compared to before his first session:

IMG_20150803_220012

Look at that face!  <3  So the whiskers are pretty sparse, but it could be worse of course.

Until next time.. thanks for reading this crazily disorganized chemo update.

Fredo’s high on life

Happy Friday woooorld!

This guy went nutso yesterday; he spent about 10 minutes rubbing his face on my shoes and then another five minutes doing this:

Pretty entertaining.

He’s still scratching himself with his invisible leg.. it’s been over four months but I suppose after eight years of using the leg, it’s still an adjustment for him.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Hello (or go away) from Fredo!

Hi Tripawds world…

Life in Fredo’s three-legged world is pretty mellow these days; we’ve definitely adjusted to his new little existence, and it’s really not all that different from before.  People told me that when I first found out he’d need the surgery, but you know how we all tend to believe it once we see it for ourselves.  🙂   He gets up the stairs just as fast, is able to jump on the bed, still prefers to sleep on the back of the couch.. etc.  Our guest bed is a bit higher, so he can’t get up there (where his sister spends most of her time), but that’s the only hindrance I can think of, and he never really went on that bed anyway.  It is fairly amusing to watch him jump on our bed.. he jumps and then swings his little behind over to the left (turning his body parallel to the edge of the bed).  Although when he’s really excited, he’ll sprint into the bedroom and jump on the bed without really any thought, and there is no behind-swinging.  Pretty cute.

One small inconvenience of course is the ongoing chemotherapy for the little guy.  It is increasingly terrible, mostly because of my guilt.  They said last week that he got a little upset with them, and I believe it because he sounded more angry than usual.  Once we brought him home, he avoided me like the plague (the picture below of him eating felt like daggers should be coming from his eyes–go away lady, let me eat in peace).  But now we’re friends again, until the next (AND FINAL!) visit.

So, yes, Fredo completes chemo on August 19th, and I am pretty thrilled.  They said they’ll do a chest x-ray and ultrasound along with his infusion, which will hopefully show a completely clear little cat, and then we can get on a six-month plan instead of the three-week plan.  Those three weeks go fast!!

Chemo in general has been okay, aside from the physical act of bringing him there.  He does have nausea for a week or so after.  The other day he ate only treats, threw them up once, kept them down later… On days like that, I’m just happy to get something in his stomach.  I would say he’s eating normally about 75% of the time.  His appetite hasn’t really suffered.

Ah, another thing I wondered about was weight gain or loss during this time.  A weight gain could result from a lack of activity since he does have less mobility, technically.. or, not technically, because he really does do most of the same things, and I don’t think he’s any more lazy than the average cat.  A weight loss could result from the resulting nausea.. BUT.. none of these have really occurred.  The only obvious change in his weight came from the loss of his leg, bringing him from just under 11 pounds to just under 10, where he has stayed steady throughout all of his chemo.  Yeah buddy!

And one other side effect that was mentioned–whisker loss.  He has lost whiskers (in fact, after I post this I think I’m going to go back and compare some of his earlier pictures), but not all of them, and I’m hopeful they all come back in normally.  Fingers crossed!

I’ve said this probably 100 times, but life does not really change after a life-saving amputation.  If you have the means, you get that surgery for your kiddo.  Care Credit made it possible for us, and we’re paying off this endeavor with no interest.  Now, if Fredo became sick again, I truly don’t know what we would do.  Financially, this will be a challenge, but worth it.  But could we do it twice?  Not sure.  So with that in mind… HAPPY THOUGHTS for the kiddo.  Let’s hope the chemo wiped out any residual tiny cancer left in his body and that his scans come up clean for many years to come.  🙂

The second pic is where his incision site is, by the way.  Where the dark hair meets the light belly hair, there’s an incision under the fur which has almost entirely grown back.. woohoo!

Happy Monday all!

Shoo, woman.

Shoo, woman.

Post-chemo crash

Post-chemo crash

 

Two cats, chemo, and the phantom limb

Hiiii all,

I was remembering how I used to post several times a day in my distress because this tripawd situation was so new and weird and horrible for me.  I credit this blog and community with helping me stay sane through all of this.  I can only hope that eventually someone finds some level of comfort from my experiences.

Kiddo goes back tomorrow for round three.. already almost halfway!  This has gone pretty quick.  I just hope that once the six rounds are completed, we’re done and the cancer will be a thing of the past!

I saw a post on the Tripawds Facebook page inquiring about how cats recover from surgery when there are other cats in the house.  As I’ve shown, we have two kiddos, and they have always had a physical play relationship.  Additionally, we have stairs.  My second question to the vet was, “how do they do with stairs?”  and he said, “just fine!”  Seriously all the optimism in the early stages of this process was enough to make me skeptical.  Go figure.  But, they were all correct.

My advice for IMMEDIATELY after surgery: stick your kiddo in a large crate with all necessary amenities (food, litter, bed).  Limit their movement til the stitches are out.  THEN… their kitty siblings will help them get back to a more comfortable level of activity.  Alfredo is basically the exact same as he was before.

Now–regarding chemo.  After round two, he threw up daily for a week.  Then my husband and I went out of town (scheduled months ago), and my aunt said she’d stop in to see them while we were gone.  I was concerned because I don’t think anyone else should have to clean up our cat’s puke, ha.  LUCKILY he only had one puking incident while we were gone, and since then it’s been only twice, so I feel this is okay.  As I’ve said many times–he’s always been a puker.  I chalk it up to his nervous personality.

OKAY–PHANTOM LIMB TIME.  OMG.  I saw this cat four hours after surgery when he smelled like pee and medication and vet office and had a yucky bloody incision, and he hobbled over to me, and this was sad but encouraging.  I mean, if you have an aversion to stitches (which I sometimes do), it could have been a terrible experience.

Do you know what’s worse?  When your cat, two and a half months after surgery, sits down and begins to scratch behind his right ear with his missing right leg, and you can see the little nub of muscle wiggling back and forth, and it LOOKS LIKE HE’S ACTUALLY FEELING SOMETHING.  Like, as this is happening, he appears to be content, like he actually thought he was scratching his head.  I don’t know why this was so traumatizing to me hahaha.  In any event, we always try to give extra attention to his right side that he can’t scratch.  This is the first and only time I’ve seen him “scratch” himself, but man.  Again, I was more affected by this than he was, go figure.

Some pictures ahead!  Can I just say–this cat historically avoids anything except Purina chicken and rice.. Only recently we got him to start eating Greenies.  So imagine my surprise as I am eating my birthday cake and he climbs right on up to see what it is.  I let him try out of curiosity, I didn’t think he actually would.  A couple days later I was eating a granola bar, and he got up in my face until I gave him a piece of that.  But cooked chicken?  No way man.

Hates wet food, loves frosting.

Hates wet food, loves frosting.

So, so unamused by me

So, so unamused by me

Very, very comfortable

Very, very comfortable

Chemo round 2!

Been a while!  There just has not been much to report.  He did well after the first round of the chemo.  There was some random puke in our house, but to be honest, we can’t say for sure it was him.  And he’s always had a bit of a nervous stomach and sometimes eats too fast, so who knows the cause of that.  But his appetite remained the same.  He does randomly have like.. meowing fits in the middle of the night downstairs by himself.  It’s pretty weird but also not totally new.  Before he was mine and belonged to my roommate, he had some of the most annoying mannerisms ever.. of course now I love him differently so I deal with the weirdness.  Crazy guy.

ANYWAAAAY.. so round 2.  This one was the doxyrubicin, which they say is the harsher of the two medications and may have more side effects.  The infusion itself went smoothly; I left him there for a few hours and now we’re back.  All uneventful.  So now we’ll see what the aftermath is like.

In case there are any inquiring minds, the cost of today’s treatment was around $375.  This included blood work to make sure his white blood cell count isn’t too high, which of course it wasn’t since he still got the treatment.  He has four more to go!!  Our wallets and our sanity can’t wait.. that guy hates the car, let me tell you.  I don’t think it’ll get better, I think we’ll just have to suffer through and hope he doesn’t hold grudges against his loving owners.

He hasn’t really calmed down since we got home, and he doesn’t really want to hang out with me much.  But I did get a picture before he was like, see ya lady.  Go.

Have a lovely Wednesday!  I’ll be back after the next one (June 17).  🙂

Rough stuff

Rough stuff

Avoid all eye contact

Avoid all eye contact

Fredo goes to the oncologist

Today was Fredo’s oncology consult… man, what a sad place.  There were some healthy cats in a little glass room playing around, that helped.  But the animals waiting just seemed to be sick, and I overheard some other conversations between the vet and the owner of an animal that didn’t have a good prognosis.  I feel so bad for them.  I only hope that we have a better outcome with our kiddo.

The doctor (who I really liked) discussed his cancer a little bit, saying that he had the sarcomas in the beginning and the last biopsy showed carcinoma, so she wasn’t sure if maybe the first biopsy was inconclusive, etc.  She predicted there was cancer in the sweat glands which isn’t very common and some vets think isn’t very aggressive (but she disagrees).  There were a lot of words being thrown at me.. lol.  I kept up the best I could.  At first, when I got there, I swear the vet tech thought I was nuts for bringing him in without knowing that cancer had spread or even still existed in his body… I’m like, whatever lady, I came on the referral from my vet.  I am no cancer expert.  LUCKILY the actual oncologist was like, oh yeah this makes sense, we do it all the time, better safe than sorry.

So, she gave us two options.  One was IV treatment, six rounds, alternating between two drugs.  One is carboplatin and I cannot remember the other for the life of me (a Google search suggests paclitaxel??  that sounds right.  Although now I just read Erica/Jill’s site and she had Doxorubicin which might also be right–HAHA)… the other was a medication (Palladia) administered orally at home, every other day for six months.  Now, we didn’t have the best luck with Fredo and oral medications.. we just did the best we could with the liquid meds after his surgery.  He does like the Onsior (I always say Onfior in person and then feel like an idiot) pills but I feel like we won’t be that lucky for six months.  So, I opted to go for the IV treatment.

She said there would be six rounds at about $400 each (full disclosure for any future inquiring minds who may need a ballpark amount!), but I’ll get the exact estimate later.  Becaaaause.. she asked me if I was ready to start today, or if I needed to chat about it at home, but we’ve already generally discussed that we’re going to do this, so I just made the call to get him started.  Car rides with Fredo are NOT A FUN TIME.  So, one less visit is a-okay with me.  He’s there now, and I sadly had to leave him again at the vet for them to poke and prod him.  Man I feel guilty.  I know that long-term, he will not hold a grudge against me.  I mean, if we can spring back from them taking his LEG OFF then I think we’ll spring back from this.  But in that moment, it is very sad.

In the future, these visits will be 2-4 hours, as they evaluate blood work each time to monitor his white blood cell count.   She said typically these visits will be every three weeks, unless his count is low.  Today, since they don’t need to monitor the effects of medication on his body yet, he’ll be there for about an hour and then I can go get him.

We got a Care Credit card to help us with these expenses.  If anyone is coming up against some surprise expenses, as we did, I recommend this!  There is typically a no-interest period which we are taking advantage of.

I sure hope that this is the last big step for our little guy.  Every time it gets harder to load him up into his carrier and take him.  I attached some pictures.  He is in the front seat, which I’m sure some people may disagree with, but in my head, it makes him less stressed if he can see me LOL.  Probably not true.

Probably more updates later…

You disappoint me, lady.  LOL

You disappoint me, lady. LOL

No fun for either of us.

No fun for either of us.

Doctor's car?  Haha maybe

Doctor’s car? Haha maybe

Fredo and the stairs

Happy Friday everyone,

Fredo is as close to pre-amputation Fredo as he can be, I think.  He is going back to so many of his old behaviors, it’s really great to see.  He was even playing and running around with Daphne yesterday and keeping up with her really well.  Of course, he has a big naked behind still, but that’s growing in slooowly.

I got a video of him on the stairs, finally.  It isn’t great and he wasn’t super cooperative (shocker) but I still think it’s cute.  Enjoy!

Why is my cat sneezing?!

Happy Saturday all,

Fredo has been sneezing the last two days.. well, day and a half.  I haven’t heard it in a few hours, but it still freaks me out.  I don’t know what this could have come from, since he’s an inside cat, Daphne is an inside cat, and his only exposure to the world lately was his vet visit Wednesday which, as I said, was 10 minutes long.  There were also no other animals there when we were there, and we’ve never had an issue before.

Note to self and others:  Don’t google this.  Feline leukemia comes up.  COOL.  But I’m just monitoring for now.  It’s just so bizarre.  Any ideas?

On another note, look at this adooorable picture.  He’s always had a little snaggle tooth, gives him some character.  You see it more in this picture than normal because he was sleeping in a roly poly ball.  And covering his head.. something he missed during the collar days.  So basically I’m obsessed with how cute he is.

 

 

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No stitches! No collar!

Exciting day in Fredo’s world…

First, let me explain the last few days.  We’ve been occasionally taking the collar off the kiddo if he comes to hang out on our laps, since we’re able to monitor his licking behavior… he has been LOVING the opportunity to clean himself up and basically just grooms for like hours.  It’s excessive.  But also very cat-like.. haha.  So most of the time when he’s been doing this, he’s laying on the incision side, no biggie, but then he’ll go just sit and chill.  And then he would go for the stitches, and we would say noooo… and this would happen 12 times.  Then he would stop and be like, oh I get it.  BUT he’d wait for us to lower our guard a bit and then turn and YANK on the stitches.  This would happen in the span of about .3 seconds.  FAST little bugger.  Of course, the collar goes immediately back on when this happens, and then he’d sit there and avoid all eye contact or not give any sign that he was acknowledging our existence.  Stubborn..

Last night when this happened, I jumped up, he jumped up and RAN out of the bedroom and down the stairs.  And I got to him on the stairs, and he RAN back up.. so, he is very capable, is my point.

Anyway this is all sort of an irrelevant story these days because he is out of the collar and out of the cone as of this morning.  We had a 10-minute visit to the vet (which I wish I could have explained to him because he meowed in great distress both on the way there and the way home–chill, little dude) and the stitches were removed, and the doc said the incision is healed and looks great.  He also said, “He is a normal kitty again.”  Aww.  So, no more weird litter, he can go wherever he wants, lick wherever he wants.. etc.  Wooo!

To celebrate, a video and a couple pictures.

The good life.

The good life.

Stitch-less incision.. a little dirty but I imagine he'll fix that.

Stitch-less incision.. a little dirty but I imagine he’ll fix that.