Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reeling


The Proper Bostonian is reeling because her favorite cat, Bunny, received a diagnosis of lymphoma two hours ago. Here she is, in better days, when she was sort of fat; she's thinner now, but not terribly so.

I promised at the beginning of my blogging not to bore readers with cat stories, but that's just tough. I suspect I'll have more cat-related things I'll need to say in the coming weeks and months — and, I hope, years in the case of Bunny. 

The type of lymphoma she has is known to respond well to chemo, meaning it can go into remission for a while, potentially for years. So we're going to take it one day at a time. Or more precisely, every other day at a time. She's going to need to swallow a large chemo pill every other day. She is impossible about taking pills. I have been giving cats all kinds of pills since I was 9. I'm an old hand, I'm brave and tough, and I know all the tricks. But Bunny will not swallow a pill. Bunny can spit out a pill you thought you'd given her two days earlier. But if she's going to live, we've got to make her swallow big pills. I'll keep you posted on how we ultimately resolve this one. There is a liquid version of the chemo medicine, but if she should spit or spray it at us, we can get seriously ill; it suppresses the immune system. She's a spitter. So that's out.

In addition the chemo, she needs shots of a liquid steroid twice a day. I'll be doing this for the first time in two hours. My stomach is already in knots. My vet says we'll both get used to it, and soon I won't think twice about sticking in the needle, which should indeed be far easier and faster than giving pills. "It'll feel like you just did a drive-by," said the vet.

Bunny also needs a vitamin B injection once a week. If I can handle the steroid shots, the only problem with the vitamin shot will be remembering when to give it. I think we'll post a schedule on a wall calendar. Now, to find a wall calendar in July....

A few years ago, I realized that we were going to be in big trouble some day, because our three dearly beloved cats are very close in age. They are all about 16 now, and their health problems began this year. We are very lucky that our tortoiseshell Persian, Snicky, is doing well on her medications for inflammatory bowel syndrome; she was very sick last fall and winter. We should be so lucky with Bunny.

We know we've been blessed with the gift of many happy years with each of our extraordinarily personable, sweet, and entertaining furry friends. We plan to do our very best for them as they age. Their well-being will always come first, not our selfish, maudlin, sentimental feelings. There will be no prolonged or unnecessary suffering for them — all that will be strictly on our side. We will be brave for their sakes. I just hope we'll be able to squeak in a few more good years with all of them, and that we'll still have a lot of fun times to off-set the pill hostilities, syringes, and bad news. We'll see.

PS: We each gave Bunny a shot a few minutes ago, and it really wasn't bad at all, for her or for us. She ate through it, in fact. It was, nevertheless, nothing like a "drive-by." If the chemo drug were injectable, we'd be home-free... and who knows, maybe it is...

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