Monday, November 18, 2013

Moving And Not Feeling Good, Better Now Though!

The past several weeks have been a little hectic for me and my family. In October we moved back to Birmingham from Pensacola Beach for a couple of weeks to get our house ready to put on the market and to pack up everything that was left there.

During that time I had to go to Auburn University Small Animal hospital for the big four month checkup. I had been on Palladia for my cancer since July and Atenolol and Lasix for my heart since April.

They shaved my stomach for the ultrasound, took blood and poked and prodded at me while mom killed time at Dunkin Donuts. I didn't get an echo cardiogram during this exam because I'm not due for one until December.

The news wasn't good.

My tumors had grown and spread to more of my liver and my calcium levels were starting to go up again after being normal for almost three months.

The Palladia was not working anymore.

The vets suggested IV chemo, but that wasn't an option at that point because we were moving 8 or 9 hours away to the Tampa area so this was probably going to be my last visit to Auburn. The other alternative was a new chemo drug called Chlorambucil and an appetite stimulant/serotonin depressant called Cyproheptadine.

I took these two pills every day for almost two weeks. My appetite improved and I pigged out even on the grain free food that none of us cats really like very well. I started feeling better briefly.

We moved during that time to the Tampa/St Pete area and drove several hours. I did pretty good on the trip.

A few days later I became very sick. After 2 weeks on the new meds, I was sleeping more, not eating much again and feeling lethargic so mom stopped giving me the pills and called Auburn. They told her not to give me any more of the pills until I had my two week blood work. We had to find a new vet in Tampa. Auburn suggested BluePearl. They have an Oncology specialist there so mom made the appointment.

 Last Monday we went to BluePearl for my check up. I was already feeling better after being off the chemo for a few days.

At BluePearl they did bloodwork, a checkup, another ultrasound and also went ahead and did the echo cardiogram on my heart so we won't have to do it next month and they could get a baseline of where I am at right now. They were very nice and we felt very comfortable knowing they were referred by Auburn Veterinary hospital and the vet was an Auburn grad herself. It was a long day of testing and waiting for me and mom but...

Good mews!

The chemo was working. My calcium levels had gone back down to normal again. My tumors were the same - no bigger and no signs of spread, no heart murmur, but the walls of my heart are a little thick and therefore the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy diagnosis still stands, but I have no signs of heart failure.

Also, all my blood work was normal and liver levels normal, no signs of liver failure from drugs.

The vets suggestion was to continue the Chlorambucil, but every other day instead of every day and continue the Atenolol, but slowly wean off the Lasix.

Mom also started giving me the krill oil, herbal anti inflammatory and a little celloquent every day although I don't like it and always try to run. I do better with pills that syringes of liquids. Mom had stopped giving it to me every day when I started on the new chemo drug. She does think it makes me feel better though and is still looking for a holistic vet to help combine the holistic with the traditional.

So far she hasn't been able to find one. The one she thought she found never sent the herbal meds that were promised. We are not sure what happened, but don't want to go back there either because we would rather find a vet that combines both types of approaches since I am on chemo and have a very aggressive type of cancer.

I am doing much better right now taking chemo every other day and eating grain free food for the most part and doing the immune protocol along with milk thistle and a few drops of life gold cancer drops in my food.

Now mom is looking for another, yes ANOTHER, local vet to do bloodwork and regular exams. BluePearl is just a specialty vet and we need to find a regular vet to do bloodwork, get prescriptions, etc. We found out I had cancer right before we moved to Pensacola Beach and now we have moved again to St. Petersburg, FL. I have gone to my normal vet in Birmingham, AL, a vet in Pensacola Beach, FL, Auburn University Animal hospital, BluePearl, a holistic vet and now another vet in St. Pete.

This has been a long, tiring, scary, not to mention expensive process. Please pray for me to keep getting better and stronger and make this cancer go away forever.

Purrrs and headbonks to all my furrylicious blog readers.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some Kitties Have Been Pigging Out At The All You Can Eat Kitty Buffet

It has been a while since I've blogged because I have been very busy doing important things. Napping and sunning myself is tough work. And every other day I get the Palladia pills for my cancer. I sleep most of those days away.

We just got back from a trip to Birmingham and listed the house with a Realtor so I guess we won't have people coming by on Sunday just to see me anymore. I'll miss some of those little girls that liked to pet me. There were two particularly LOUD ones that I will NOT miss!

I've been eating pretty good, but I don't really like the soft food from Life Abundance. I only like the hard food. I won't eat much of it even without the Nu Pet Granular sprinkled in it so mom knows it's not the Nu Pet Granular I don't like. I use to eat that all the time when it was sprinkled on the non-organic food we use to eat.

Mom got a book called "Raising Cats Naturally". It's about how we eat out in the wild and how cat owners can feed and take care of their pet cats that same way. It's a great resource if you want healthy happy kitties who are not already use to processed cat food. I'm not really sure how I feel about raw meat at this point in my life and I'm pretty sure mom won't be touching or feeding us any of that or any mice either so I'm pretty safe.

She might go all organic cat food on us, but I'm pretty sure she's not going raw. She doesn't even like cooking raw meat or touching it or even looking at it. She should have started us off with this when we were kittens. Maybe I wouldn't have cancer now.

Sometimes I do like a good crunchy dragon fly. Mostly, I just like torturing them, not eating them. Maybe she'll buy some mice for us to chase. That would be GREAT!!

I really love this catnip plant, but it lasted about a minute around here with all three of us cats rolling around on it and nipping at it.

 The wheat grass is growing, but still has a day or two before it's tall enough to eat. Wheat grass is much heartier and lasts longer around us pawing and chewing on it. It also has cancer fighting properties so mom likes for me to eat it every day.

 A strange thing has been happening around here while I have lost weight due to the cancer.

We noticed when we got back from Birmingham that Cadence and Ed were getting very fat and fluffy. Ed's face is so fat that his cheeks are bulging out and Cadence's head finally got fat enough for his ears and they've both got little fat bellies now.

With the emphasis on FAT!

How much were they eating out of the self feeders while we were gone?Does the Blue Buffalo food for sensitive stomaches have more calories than the Life Abundance food?That's the food they had because we still had some left and mom's trying to use it up. I get the Life Abundance food.

Mom's thinking it's time they went on a diet. There may be some diet cat food in their future.

They are both big chunks now. I better start eating better so I'll get my muscles back.

There can only be one Alpha cat around here and that would be ME!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

It Has Been A While Cause I've Been On Vacay!

I haven't written a post in a while because it's been busy around here and also because mom hogs the computer most of the time. The past couple of weeks we've been in Birmingham, AL trying to sell our house there and then back home to Pensacola Beach and then to St. Pete Beach. I have to be taken with mom and dad because of all the medication and holistic stuff I'm on for my heart disease and liver cancer. Mom doesn't want to leave me, not even with a sitter.

The St. Pete trip wasn't really a vacation. Dad had a job interview and while we were there, mom took me to see a local holistic vet. Lucky for me, there was no time for acupuncture, although the vet said it would help me. She did give me a general check up and said my temperature (I won't even mention how this was taken!) was normal and my heart sounded good - no murmurs. She did some realignment down my spine to help open me up. I growled a warning to her especially when she got down to my tail.

Mom bought a new backpack carrier and halter for me so she could transport me better and take me outside with her. I didn't like the harness that much, but I tolerated it so I could go outside. Also, I really loved being an "only" cat because those other two furry imbeciles I live with didn't get to go with us. They wouldn't handle traveling as well as I do anyway. Dad always plays my favorite jazz for me on the road.  It took us 7 hours to get from Pensacola down to St. Pete. That's a lot of jazz!!

My new backpack carrier

Our view at lunch

This crate has gotten ALOT of use lately!

The view from our room. Mom even brought my cat bed for me to sleep in.

We are back home now. I started eating good again right before we left for St. Pete and not throwing up, so I'm back on Palladia. The holistic vet looked over everything I was taking and approved the krill oil stuff and the venus fly trap anti-inflammatory stuff. She like the milk thistle drops, but said I wasn't taking a strong enough version. I need 80% or up. She wasn't familiar with some of things in the Celloquent, but like the Co Q 10 and blue green algae and the wheat grass that was in the nu pet granular, although she said I didn't really need the nu pet granular, just the wheat grass.

She approved the Palladia and said we should follow through with the course until we go back to Auburn to see how the tumor in my liver is responding to it. I did start doing better after going on it in July.

She said to boil the ES-clear to get the alcohol out before I take it. She is also sending us some other medicinal herbs that will help me.

Tuesday I managed to spit one of the Palladia pills out because I hid it in my mouth and mom didn't see it. She got the blue pill down me, but Dad found the yellow/orange pill the next day out on the balcony where I had spit it out. Today she made sure I swallowed both pills because I've been sleeping more the past two days and she's worried the cancer is spreading.

I go back to Auburn University in October for a full round of tests to see what the cancer is doing and how my heart is doing and get blood work. For now I have good days and bad days. I am still eating a little, but not as good as I use to.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Visit From My Boy

Saturday I wasn't feeling well. I laid around all day and didn't eat much. Mom was worried about me, but that all changed when my boy showed up. Cadence ran off scared when he saw the boy, but I recognized him immediately even though I don't get to see him much anymore. I felt better right away and may have even purred a little.

My boy is in his third year of college now and has Asperger's syndrome. So do I. It was something else we had in common. Other things we have in common are the boy use to follow mom around meowing loudly and pawing at her too. She didn't like this, especially when the boy was in high school  Mom bought a book once that said all cats have Asperger's. We read it every night after the boy was diagnosed.

The boy has his own apartment. Last summer he came home for a few weeks, but not this year. He hardly comes home at all anymore because he has a part time job now. I miss him!

He's been my boy for over eight years now. While he was here he slept in my room and I jumped on the bed and slept with him.  Just like old times. I didn't even mind him picking me up and holding me. I usually don't like to be held, but I made an exception for my boy.

I've got another big red krill oil stain on the side of my face. Mom is using a dropper now instead of a syringe. It works better until I turn my head suddenly, then it ends up all over me and all over the floor. I don't mind licking it off the floor. I don't like the dropper or the syringe. Mom's afraid to put it in my food because then I may not get the entire dose.

This is what I get every day because of the cancer.

1. In the morning I get organic soft food with Nu Pet Granular and a few drops of milk thistle sprinkled over it. Then I get 4 drops of Herbal anti-Inflammatory from Vitality Science mixed in cat milk.

2. Then every other day I get the Palladia pills. Mom doesn't like giving me these, but she's afraid not too. My calcium levels have gone down since taking them. Sometimes she skips and goes two days instead of every other day. On the days she doesn't give me the Palladia she gives me a few drops of Life Gold Cancer Drops from Pet Wellbeing.

3. In the afternoon I get Atenolol and Lasix for my heart. I had developed a heart murmur when all of this started so mom took me to a cardiologist who said I had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. My heart was enlarged and shaped like a valentine heart. Not good. When they finally took me to Auburn, I didn't have a murmur anymore and my heart wasn't enlarged after three months on the meds. I am still on the meds though.

4. In the evening I have another can of organic soft food (one can divided among three cats same as in the morning) sprinkled with Nu Pet Granular and a few drops of milk thistle.

5. Right before bed I get the krill oil and something called Celloquent both from Vitality Science. These are shot right in my mouth with a dropper because the syringe didn't work at all and I don't like either of these things in my soft food. Sometimes I have a little cat milk with a few drops of NHV ES Clear in it.

6. I have bowls of filtered or distilled water and Life's Abundance organic hard food set out for me at all times. I usually eat the hard food around 4 or 5 am. 

Friday I go back to the vet for the blood chemo panel. They will fax the results to Auburn. I hope my calcium is still normal. I am doing much better now than I was in June before I started the holistic meds and the Palladia.

Mom hopes the cancer goes away forever. So do I.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cat Whisperer Fail!

Since Dad was out of town taking care of his dad last week while his brother and family went on vacation, mom was determined to become some sort of "cat whisperer" and somehow figure out a way to make me bond with Ed before dad came home. Mom couldn't go with dad because she had to stay home and give me my chemo and heart medications and the holistic drops and stuff. I'm high maintenance these days.

Dad would be surprised and pleased when he came home and found all of us getting along, mom thought. Ed was dad's cat before he married mom and Ed is old and declawed and dad doesn't like me going after him and trying to attack him. Cadence and I still have our claws and even though mom clips them, they are still sharp and Ed yelps loudly when I swat him on the butt with them. Dad says mom has the "bad" cats while he has the "good" cat.

She was determined to changed all of that.

First mom got one those diffusers that puts cat pheromones in the air, which is suppose to make us calmer. She hoped that "calmer" meant "getting along".

That didn't work.

Then whenever I would give Ed "the look" are back him in a corner she would rub us both with the same towel trying to get our smells all over each other so we would think we were family.

That didn't work.

Then because I'm always stalking Ed when he tries to go to his litter box (even though I have my own litter box in my room), she got another litter box just for Ed and put it in the bathroom off of his room where he sleeps and hangs out. Opposite of my room and I'm not suppose to ever go in his room.

Didn't work.

All this new litter box did was cause me to have three litter boxes to monitor instead of just two. More work! And now I'm sneaking into Ed's room every chance I get. I just can't help myself.

Last week was a dismal failure for mom.

Ed got whacked in the butt by my paw more times than ever and mom finally gave up and resorted back to dad's punishment of choice for me - the dreaded squirt bottle. By the end of the week, Ed was cowering under his bed, I was hiding under mine soaking wet, and Cadence was a confused mess.

Ed peeping out from the under bed where I chased him
the dreaded water bottle

Cadence even bit mom on the back of the leg when she picked me up to get me out of the bath tub where she put Ed's new litter box. I refused to get out and she didn't have the water bottle nearby. The next time I did that, which wasn't long after the other times, she went for the faucet. I got out fast that time!

I have Cadence brainwashed to do whatever I tell him to do

Then last night the syringe with the krill oil stinky stuff got stuck again, but this time when she forced the liquid out it splattered all over the bed skirt and her hair and face instead of on my pretty fur. My tuxedo was spared. That was one good thing!

All in all it was a very exhausting week! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


My name is Phantom. I am an 8 year old tuxedo cat originally from Alabama, but now living in Florida.    When I was a kitten, I was adopted by a single mom and her son, who was 12 years old at the time. He immediately became my boy and I will refer to him as the Boy on this blog.

The Boy has a condition called Asperger's Syndrome that is an Autism Spectrum disorder. Now there is a lot known about it and many kids are diagnosed with it, but back then nobody knew about it much and the Boy wasn't even diagnosed with it until he was 13 years old. His mom, who is my mom too now, only knew that something was wrong. He struggled in school and with making friends.

That's where I came in.

She thought that by adopting me it would help the Boy become more social, help with his anxiety and give him something to help take care of.

A friend.

But I did more than that. I made them feel like a family again. Mom was afraid that I was lonely when they were at work and school so she decided to adopt a second kitten to keep me company.

She named him Cadence.

I didn't like Cadence one bit at first. Even now I only tolerate him because he is my brother and he loves me. He's not so bad, but he's still a cry baby. When she first brought Cadence home I attacked him and chased him trying to show him who was boss. Mom was afraid I was going to hurt him so she tried to return him to the humane society, but they wouldn't take him back even though she still had her receipt. They gave her web sites to go to so she could learn how to socialize cats to make us like each other.

We were stuck with Cadence.

Mom got on the web sites and learned how to socialize us a little better and I backed off once Cadence knew who was boss around the house. He really liked me and wanted to snuggle all the time. I allowed it when he was a kitten, but as he got bigger- enough was enough. I can't have that snuggling crap.

Things went along great and then when the Boy was a senior in high school, mom got engaged to the Murph. We sold our house and moved into his house which was fine except he had two cats of his own, Ed and Boo.

They were old cats. Boo could barely see or hear and he liked to play with dolls. I liked him okay and was sad when he passed away last year suddenly. We think he may have had a heart attack. He was fine one minute and the next he was gasping for air. He was gone before mom and the Murph could get him to the emergency vet.

It was very, very sad!

Ed, on the other hand, is a challenge. I don't really like him. I've tried, but I guess since he was the dominate male before I came along and he's a pretty boy, sassy sort, it has just been really hard. I go after him, I get squirted with water, I get put in time out, but I can't stop.

Last April we moved to Florida - Mom, the Murph, me, Cadence and Ed. The Boy is in college now, so I don't get to see him much. That really sucks. I miss him very much. He misses me too!

Things were still going along good despite the Boy not being around and having to deal with Ed until last December.  I started to not feel well. Mom didn't notice it much at first. I threw up some, but all cats do. I always nibble on the Christmas trees and I throw up. She thought this was why I was throwing up, but I continued even in February when no trees were around. Then she noticed I had lost a lot of weight and one day I threw up and then went to lay on the bed for the rest of the day. She knew then that something was wrong. I never do that. I usually feel better and get okay after throwing up.

Something was wrong.

She took me to the vet and they heard a heart murmur that wasn't there 7 months before when I had to go to the vet because I had fleas. My calcium levels were also elevated. The vet put me on lasix to get the fluid out of my lungs and special easy to digest food to help keep me from throwing up. He told mom to take me to a cardiologist. We got an appointment a few weeks later and found out I had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlarged valentine shape heart with thickened walls.

I was put on Atenolol as well as lasix.

Mom thought that was it. She thought the reason I was sick was because of my heart and now that I was on medication I would get better or at the very least not get worse. The vet said we still needed to keep an eye on my calcium levels. I was put on a different food so he thought that may be why it continued to be elevated, but he said it could be thyroid related or even cancer.

We waited a couple of weeks and then took my blood again and was going to send it the Michigan University for testing to see if my thyroid was the problem. They have a more sensitive test at the university that would be able to tell.  I also had another physical and x-rays.

Unfortunately, during the second round of x-rays a tumor was found in my abdomen. Cancer. The worst possible thing!

The tumor had been there before, but the vet thought it was just food going through my intestines. Then they did an ultrasound and saw that the tumor was in and near my liver. No blood was sent to Michigan that day. The vet told my mom that she should just take me home and enjoy our last days together at that point and deal with any new problems as the arose.

She took me home and cried for two whole days! I didn't really understand why. It was very upsetting. I was feeling so sick that I slept most of the time and hid under the bed whenever I could.

Then mom decided I was too young to just let die without trying to save me. She got a referral from my vet in Birmingham, AL and we went to Auburn University Small Animal Hospital. We had to leave really early to get to our appointment on time and the appointment took all day. A cardiologist did an electrocardiogram and said my heart was no longer enlarged. I guess the atenolol had helped. They shaved my neck to take blood, my stomach to do a biopsy of my liver and my leg so they could put in an IV.

They gave me some drug that made me all groggy so I don't remember much of that day. Mom said I was out of it and was purring and stumbling around like a drunk Irishman. ( I won't even say what she calls the Murph after he's had a few beers!)

The news was not good. I have a neuroendocrine tumor in my abdomen and it is difused (or something) in 90% of my liver. They said my prognosis was poor, but they suggested one chemo type drug called Palladia. Surgery and radiation were not an option. This was my only hope.

Mom decided to do the Palladia. Now I get one orange pill and one blue pill every other day. She has to wear plastic gloves whenever she gives it to me. She also decided to give me some holistic stuff to help build my immune system and clear out toxins. She's also called on an energy healer who told her to put me on only organic food and filtered water. No chemicals.

We've been doing this for over a month and now and after 5 weeks. my blood levels are all normal. I no longer have a heart murmur and I am eating and doing generally good.  I have to get my blood checked every 2 - 4 weeks to make sure the Palladia is not doing any bad stuff to my blood and I go back to Auburn in October for the whole round of blood, ultrasounds and xray's, etc. to see how my liver and heart are doing.

This blog is about my day to day life battling this disease, what works, what doesn't and hopefully will be helpful to any other kitties out there who find themselves with cancer and stumble across my blog. I will try to do regular updates as long as mom lets me borrow her computer.