Feline health update

Aremid and I are in a holding pattern. My wonderful vet, and I’m not being facetious, my awesome vet Dr. Simpson of Morrisville Cat Hospital (who I hope will not be alarmed to find her name on this ridiculous blog) suggested that we get one more reading of Aremid’s thyroid levels, since his was borderline high last time, but not high enough to cause a deviation from our treatment plan. It’s a small chance that his hypothyroidism has relapsed, but a chance worth taking when there is an expensive procedure coming up that can possibly be avoided. So, I’ll take him in Saturday for that. And we’ll go from there.

I can’t find the battery charger for my new camera. I’m sure it’ll turn up, but, in the mean time, I will post classic photos of my sweet, skinny cow cat, who, years ago, could leap atop a door…

On top of the laundry closet door
May 2000

Feline health update

Aremid in a Diet Coke box
(October 2003)

My vet said there was “good news and bad news.” The good news is that the aspirate analysis did not show any lymphoma. The bad news is that this doesn’t mean there isn’t lymphoma. Aremid isn’t getting any better, and the ultrasound had clearly shown significant organ damage.

One guess on what could be afflicting Aremid is inflammatory bowel disease. This could be treated with prednisone.

The only way to know for sure what’s going on is to get a biopsy of his intestinal tract. This can be done via surgery or endoscopy. Either one is pricey. Surgery is dangerous for an old, frail cat, so I think I have ruled out that option. Unfortunately, for a reason I didn’t quite catch, a biopsy would not be helpful if Aremid were to have already started prednisone. I guess it would change the cells in such a way as to make lymphoma difficult to detect?

So, the options are to either start him on prednisone, which is not a costly therapy, and hope that whatever ails him is helped. (I think prednisone might be a treatment for lymphoma, too).

Hmm…this link is pretty informative, but has some upsetting information:

Cats with intestinal lymphoma treated with prednisone alone have a life expectancy of 45 to 60 days

It is very difficult to distinguish inflammatory bowel disease from lymphoma without a full-thickness biopsy (a full-thickness piece of intestine) obtained via exploratory surgery. A less invasive method of obtaining a sample is via endoscopy, usually adequate for diagnosis but full thickness biopsy samples cannot be obtained this way.

Damn…the studies on lymphoma treatments are not very promising, referring to positive responses to treatments in terms of weeks, not years.

If I were recovering from a kidney transplant right now, I’d be away from home for a month, and I’m not sure how I would be able to deal with this, logistically or emotionally. (So there’s a silver lining from this past week’s transplant debacle.)


Saturday night shaved cat blogging

Aremid Shaved 3 2011.03.12

Aremid Shaved 2 2011.03.12

Aremid’s Ninth Life

Aremid post-ultrasoundA small fortune was spent today to get Aremid an abdominal ultrasound. A couple of aspirations were performed, and it’s unlikely that any good news will come of the test results, which I won’t find out about for another week or two. His spleen is enlarged, and his liver and kidneys look abnormal. The vets think he almost certainly has some variety of lymphoma. And, from there, the prognosis ranges from very bad to “reasonable” (being able to keep him comfortable for awhile). I’m not sure what that really means. I gather from the internet that you try chemotherapy, and you can tell within a couple of weeks if it’s going to work or not. I realize that everyone with a 15-year-old cat has to deal with the inevitable. I am not ready to concede that he’s has a long, happy life, and that I should be grateful for the time I had with him.

Feline Health Update

Aremid New Perch (3) 2011.03.03Aremid’s hyperthyroidism may be under control, but his weight continues to drop. Today, he weighed in at the vet at a scary new low of 7 pounds, 3 ounces. He has a healthy appetite, but everything seems to pass through him too quickly. Today, he was just in for a blood pressure check. He’ll be back in next Thursday for an ultrasound. Who knows what we’ll find…and I don’t know what’s next if we don’t find anything. It’s been 15 years, but I’m need him to stick around for another few years.

Aremid Couch 2011.03.03
Yes, he’s very skinny now.

Aremid stretched out in bed
Aremid, circa 2001

Cat litter and surgery recovery and cat pics

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch 08Aremid’s weight is “stable” at 7 pounds and 6 ounces, and since his T levels are stable, the vet has no further treatment course right now. I hate to pay for more blood tests, but I’ve got to figure something out. Even Aremid is doing relatively ok, I can’t deal with his urine output.

A 14-lb box of cat litter used to last me two weeks for two cats, many years ago. Now, a 25-lb box lasts five or six days.

This has been a problem for a long time, but it’s been a huge problem over the last couple of weeks. I’ve needed help with the ridiculous matter of procuring, scooping, and dumping cat litter, and I haven’t been asking for it. For every 25-lb box, there’s buying it, bringing it inside, pouring it, scooping it, and throwing a garbage bag full of it into the trash.

I was given very little in the way of instructions for recovering from my surgery. One clear instruction was to avoid lifting heavy objects, mainly anything over 14 pounds. I’ve now lifted “heavy objects” at least a half-dozen times in the past week or two. This may have something to do with lingering abdominal pain I’m having that isn’t responsive to my pain meds and makes me feel as if my old kidney is still there.

I know the obvious response is that I should’ve asked for help with X or Y. It’s seemed ridiculous, though. Come all the way over here to my house because I need help getting the trash bag into the trash bin. Come to Petsmart to help me buy cat litter. (Oh, there was Herman’s 30-pound bag of food, too).

I’m doing a really lousy job of recovering from this surgery. I keep putting off emailing my manager just to confirm that I’ll be back on Monday, because, I’m wondering if I can really make that commitment.

I never really got the kind of rest I needed.

And now…some recent photos of my excessive-urine-producing cat…resting on me as I attempt to rest…

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch 02

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch bw 1

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch bw 2

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch 09

2011.02.13 Aremid on me on couch Herman in bg 04

Cats in the bedroom

Here’s some more photographic evidence of how hard it will be to evict the pets from the bedroom. Well, I’m posting them more for the novelty of the similar themes of the photos taken 13½ years part.

Kitten. Must. Die.
October 1997

Z and A in bed 2011.02.12
February 2011

Peritoneal Dialysis: The hurdle

In order to go peritoneal dialysis AND not introduce a considerable risk of infection, I need to close off the bedroom from the pets. They wouldn’t just have to be out overnight while I did my transfers with the machine. The bedroom would be off-limits 24/7. And I’d need to be entombed in my bedroom for 9 hours a night. See, the door is never closed to my bedroom. Close that door, and I feel cut off.

I’ve got some time to mull this over. I’ll see if I can make the bedroom-access restriction gradual for the pets.

Last night, they were banished from around 11pm until 5am.

My one model for implementing something similar was when, back in 2002 or so, I stopped letting the cats go outside, cold turkey. This seems like a horrible restriction for cats, mostly Aremid, who loved the outdoors. But they adjusted. I read that cats adjust to however the scope of their domain changes. Even if their domain radically shrinks, they compensate by focusing on whatever domain is available to them.

Mostly, it’s having Aremid right next to me for THOUSANDS of nights that is so difficult to get past.

Aremid as Healer

(February 2008)
Healer II
(March 2008)

Healer 4
(April 2008)
Healer V
(October 2008)
(January 2009)

Aremid, Healer, yet again
(January 2011)

Aremid 15.0

2011.02.05 Aremid 13

I’m always forgetting my pets’ birthdays, which doesn’t really matter since they’re only estimates, and I don’t think that they, cats especially, would appreciate birthday celebrations. (Maybe Herman will get one this year.)

2011.02.05 Aremid 14So, Aremid is now officially past 15-years-old.

I would’ve taken and posted these pics anyway. I’ve got the new camera, and I’ve captured Aremid as I’ve never captured him before!

2011.02.05 Aremid 11Anyway, does anyone know how long before I should be worried about Aremid’s cold, wet scabby nose? I think he’s been like this for a couple of weeks, but he seems fine besides the nose (and the lack of weight gain, see below).

2011.02.05 Aremid 10It’s worth mentioning* some trivia that many who know Aremid already know, and it’s relevant now since one highlight of my current recovery has been catching up on Days Of Our Lives. Aremid was named after the mysterious fictional town of Aremid that was the locale for a storyline on Days back in 1995 and 1996. (I would link to a related webpage, but that would hurt my cat’s Google search rank).

As the Days writers were also incredibly clever (this was shortly before the Marlena-possession storyline, after all), Aremid is “DiMera” backwards. DiMera is the surname of Days supervillain Stefano DiMera. (Geez, this Wikipedia article is in need of some serious edits; I guess I’ve found an activity for the next few days.)

2011.02.05 Aremid 06*Perhaps this was not worth mentioning. Anyway, as for Aremid the cat, his inability to gain any weight is an ongoing concern. His last thyroid-marker reading was good, which would mean his hyperthyroidism is under control. But his weight, as of a few weeks ago, has merely stabilized at 7 ½ pounds. Aremid was once a 10-to-11-pound cat (and was still a skinny cat). It would be nice if he could put on a pound or two.

2011.02.05 Aremid 03
Flickr photo set of Aremid from Saturday

Early morning pet pics

Aremid and Herman were on the couch with me as a I rambled on about housekeeping.

Aremid 2011.01.17.earlyAMHerman 2011.01.17.earlyAM

It’s 2AM. I should get to sleep.