Thursday, April 30, 2009

04.30.09 [daily photo]

PCV goes down to 24

Sigh. The PCV level is now down to 24. As everyone keeps saying, "Well, it's better than 9." While that is true, I really want the level to even out. The good news is that there has not been additional vomiting (he is only getting pills now -- no nasty tasting liquids).

We have decided to go forward with the cancer treatment sooner, rather than later. We meet with the oncologist tomorrow (and Kaesea also gets his stomach staples out -- yay!) (Side note: Holy crap -- it's been 2 weeks since surgery already? Where has the time gone?) and discuss treatment. With the lack of any other explanation for the downward spiraling PCV levels, we are now clinging to the idea that, perhaps, the cancer has taken hold during his terrible time over the past few weeks and maybe treating that will help the rest of him?

It's grasping at straws, I realize. But what else do we have? He will be taking Prednizone as part of his treatment and the thought is that the steroid and appetite enhancement from that drug will both be good for him. I worry about the chemo (it's a pill you give every other day -- nuts, eh?) but then... I worry about all of this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

04.29.09 [daily photo]

One of our favorite vet techs gave Kaesea this little pillow on his last day of incarceration. It has a little insert that we can heat up for him in the microwave. He loooves it and we are so touched by how kind and loving Kim has been to us and to Kaesea.

27: A new high. Also, some lows.

The good news: Kaesea's PCV (that's his blood oxygen levels) have hit a brand-new high since his surgery -- whopping 27. This is so amazing. I know that it doesn't mean much if it continues to drop after this, but it's difficult not to cling to any little piece of good news that comes our way.

The bad news: Kaesea vomited last night. The [potentially] good news is that it was immediately following me giving him some particularly nasty tasting (if his face is any indicator) liquid medication. So perhaps he has just decided that he will no longer accept liquid meds. The other option is that Big Vomit has returned, and I just do not want to believe that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

04.28.09 [daily photo]

We gave Kaesea some of his favorite things on his first night home: his "heat lamp," fleece-y bed, and, of course, a quilt made by his mom.

It was all in a cage, which was not too much fun, but we needed to keep him contained. He was so curious when he first came back home. He is, after all, a cat.

Kaesea's first night home

Having Kaesea home has been wonderful and nerve-wracking at the same time. I fret so much about him and what he is doing/how he is feeling, but... it's so good to see him taking 2-3 hour uninterrupted naps. It's amazing how much better one can sleep without getting poked in the butt every hour or having to deal with constantly whining dogs.

He seems much happier to be home and I, for one, am much happier to sleep in our bed, rather than with part of my body in a cage at a clinic. (Yes, I did this.) (No, there were no photos taken.)

I hope that being at home allows him to get the healing energy he clearly was not getting at the vet. Of course, we will continue to make regular and frequent return visits, but the term "outpatient" sounds like such a blessing right now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

04.27.09 [daily photo]

Oh, the littlest things are such a joy: After not grooming himself for well over a week, he started to yesterday. This makes my heart sing -- to see my cat acting like a cat again.

Kaesea comes home (mostly)

After spending another day and night at the veterinary clinic, Kaesea's doctor and I decided that perhaps Kaesea could use a night at home, resting comfortably (without someone poking and prodding him every hour or so).

We decided to take his blood oxygen level (called PCV) at 1am. We said, "If it's 17 or higher, Kaesea can go home for the night." After much nail-biting... it came back at 16. Damn.

At this point, we were also concerned about the number 16. It hasn't been that far from 16 to 9 in the previous days. So we called in another kitty -- in fact, a kitty named Kitty, owned by one of the other vets there. They took two units of Kitty's blood and pumped Kaesea full of one of them.

Immediately after the transfusion, his level was 21, so I took him home to monitor him there.

The reason I say Kaesea comes home "(mostly)" is that, technically, he is not really doing that much better. But since I have been spending day and night (quite literally) with him at the hospital, I am going to take him home and watch over him there. If he takes a turn, I will rush him back. I think that being home is going to do him a world of good. Obviously the time spent in the hospital is not fixing him. Fingers crossed.

The rotten cherry on top

In the midst of all of this panic about Kaesea's falling blood oxygen levels (PCV), while he was fighting for every breath in an oxygen cage, we got a bad blow: The biopsy that was done during surgery came back and Kaesea has intestinal cancer. Small cell lymphoma, to be exact. The good news is that this is very "treatable" in cats. The bad news is that "treatable" means "You could get another 24 months with him."

Of course, perspective is everything. If someone had told me 3 weeks ago that I would only have 2 more years with Kaesea, I probably would have kicked them where it hurt and then really freaked out.

But the day we got this news, I wasn't sure if we were even going to have Kaesea for a few more hours. Honestly, 2 years sounds wonderful at this point. If he can get through this, I would gladly take two more years with my darling kitty.

I also realize that there is no guarantee that we will get the full two years -- but Kaesea has proven himself to be quite the fighter so far, so I am hoping he will decide to fight through that too. We are debating about if and when to begin treatment, depending on how he pulls through these other issues.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

04.26.09 [daily photo]

This photo was taken on a "field trip" while Kaesea was at the hospital. Basically, he got to move briefly to the counter area across from his cage so he could have a look around.

For the most part, he really seemed to enjoy being out and about. Until he noticed that there was a cat in the cage that was next to his and a dog below it. I could see him sizing up the cages -- he would look at their cages, then his own, then back at them. "I have been living right next to these jerks? Oh my god."

What happened to Kaesea?

Sigh. This question is long and complex, so I will keep as short as possible right now and perhaps fill in gaps later as I go along.

Shortest answer: He has been suffering from post-surgery complications. He is having trouble producing red blood cells, even after several blood transfusions.

The reason that he had surgery is because, beginning in January, Kaesea started having bouts of vomiting (sorry -- this is kind of graphic) at intervals of 3-4 weeks. This was not any kind of normal cat vomit -- we're talking "lakes" of vomit (approx 2x2 feet in size -- a LOT.) After seeing his regular doctor the first few times it happened, we ended up going to see a specialist. And then things got nuts.

04/15 (Wednesday): Kaesea goes in for an ultrasound and endoscopy to take stomach and lower intestine biopsies. At that time, we find ulcers in his stomach and an enormous hairball. He goes home that night.

04/16 (Thursday): Over the course of the day, Kaesea looks worse and worse and is not eating. That evening, we take him to the vet and his temperature is 106 (normal for a cat is 100.5-1002.5). The concern is that one of his organs got perforated during the endoscopy, but ultrasound and x-rays prove that this is not the case. Kaesea stays overnight for fluids and meds to get his temperature down.

04/17 (Friday): Kaesea's temperature comes down and, over the course of the day, he looks slightly better. After careful evaluation, one of the vets speculates that the giant hairball found the day before may be causing his reoccurring issues -- perhaps it is floating in the stomach and occasionally becoming an obstruction, resulting in the large quantities of vomit. The plan is to do surgery to remove the hairball. On that day, I was reluctant because I wanted to take him home and get him healthier before proceeding with another anesthesia situation.

04/18 (Saturday): That morning, Kaesea looked really good. I talked it over with his surgeon and we agreed that we should go ahead with the surgery to remove the hairball. The plan was that he would be at home the next day, on the mend. Ha.

04/19 (Sunday): I got a terrible phone call that morning when I was about to check and see if I could pick him up. Not only could I not come pick him up, but his blood oxygen levels were at 9% (normal = 35% and his were 44% before surgery) and he needed a blood transfusion. We sat with him through his transfusion, which lasted for several hours. After the transfusion, his levels were 16%. Not great, but better than 9.

04/20 (Monday): Over the course of one day, his levels were back down to 9% and he had another blood transfusion. After the transfusion, he was up to 13. Then down to 11. Then 9. Again. At this point, he also had a couple of vasovagal episodes. (Basically, he fainted. But because his oxygen levels were so low, he also stopped breathing for a beat. In a nutshell: totally frightening freakout time.)

04/21 (Tuesday): Another transfusion in the morning. Same cycle all over again during that day. Bonus news: Kaesea the Vampire Kitty has used up all of the blood in the hospital. That evening, one of the vet techs brought in her own cat from home to be a donor. That cat's name is Boo -- we say that Kaesea got a transBoosion that night and boy did it ever go well: after getting some "Boo juice," Kaesea's levels were at 23%! Unfortunately, this day was also the 1 week mark since Kaesea had last eaten, which was getting to be a larger concern. On this day, we syringe fed him and he swallowed it all. So he got good blood and he ate. One of the best days of my life.

04/22 (Wednesday): Miraculous news -- Kaesea's levels went up to 25%. Wonderful, wonderful.

04/23 (Thursday): Levels back down to 23%. Still pretty great. Okay with 23.

04/24 (Friday): Levels down to 21%. Two tests done that day, eight hours apart. Both were 21%. Perhaps 21 is our sticking point?

04/25 (Saturday): Mid-day test comes in at 19%. Dammit. 1am test (after which I am now typing this) is also 19%, so it has held for two tests. Again. Another test tomorrow will show...?

[I will now commence daily posts, updating Kaesea's progress. If you've stayed with me this long, keep reading tomorrow for more...]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

04.25.09 [daily photo]

I will try my best to take a post a photo of Kaesea and post it here every day...

This was one of the first days after Kaesea started eating again. He is a little weirdo kitty and loves cantaloupe. Here he is, with his face buried in the container that I brought for him.

What a nut.

My original post about Kaesea

On April 19, I made the following post on my joint craft blog, Trans-craft-inental, regarding Kaesea's condition:


Dear Shayne,

As best as possible, I have tried to keep the content of my posts here to crafts, without delving too much into the daily drama of life and living it and all that that entails.


I read a lot of blogs and I know that I, personally, always send very strong positive thoughts out to anyone who posts about something tragic going on in their lives. Especially when it has to do with their pets.

So I am calling out to you and to all of our readers -- people I both do and do not know -- to take a moment right now to send positive thoughts/prayers/vibes (whatever you feel comfortable with) to our darling Kaesea.

Without getting into the boring (and sometimes disgusting) details, Kaesea has been struggling for the past several months with mysterious symptoms. This week, we went to a specialist to try and figure out what is going on. He has been through a lot over the past five days (surgeries, overnight stays, blood transfusions, x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.) and right now he is in critical care.

He has had ups and downs all day today and the good news is that he is, at the moment I type this, "up" (comparatively). Our goal is for him to stay there and get on the road to full recovery as soon as possible.

I trust his vets and believe that they are doing everything in their power to get him through this, but maybe an extra push of Happy Thoughts from the blogosphere could help him out. It certainly could not hurt.

So if everyone reading these words right now could think good thoughts for our beloved Kaesea, I would certainly appreciate it. Thank you.



As time has dragged on, I decided to move that post to this blog over here, where I could keep anyone interested up-to-date on Kaesea's current condition.

I appreciate all of the incredibly warm well wishes. I truly believe that the positive thoughts that we all sent Kaesea's way were a huge part of what helped him through those rocky first days.