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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.



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:


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.

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Hello (or go away) from Fredo!

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

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

Phase 2

YES hi!  Me again.

So after I complained about the big ole impersonal surgeon office not calling me….. they called me.  I should have actually remembered that this particular surgeon works Monday-Thursday.. ha.

The pathology came back on his little leg, and he said “complex adenocarcinoma.”  And then a lot of unhappy sounding words about how prognosis isn’t always great, and we can only monitor because surgically we’ve sort of reached our limit, so we should talk to an oncologist to come up with the next plan.

Google searches for adenocarcinoma are not entirely helpful.  Like this:
Adenocarcinomas, on the other hand, affect glands and organs and are systemically aggressive.


Oh and this,
The prognosis for most with organ-based adenocarcinoma isn’t favorable because these fast-growing malignant tumors metastasize. If treated for organ-based adenocarcinoma, your cat might experience a good quality of life for a year or more. If a mammary adenocarcinoma is found early, before it is has spread, your cat can live for years after surgical removal of the tumor.

So, at this point, I have no idea.  I don’t know how early we found it.  The vet said the visible tumors were cleanly removed, so it could be fine.  But making a jump from sarcoma to adenocarcinoma seems very bad.  So, chemo it is??