Tuesday, June 30, 2009

06.30.09 [daily photo]

Love that fluffy tail!

Monday, June 29, 2009

06.29.09 [daily photo]

What this photo does not show is that Kaesea was kneading those front paws contentedly the whole time I was shooting. I should have taken a video.

I love my happy kitty.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

06.28.09 [daily photo]

Change of scenery for Kaesea -- this photo was taken in the living room. Since he has been sick, we have kept the pets separated. For the past week, we have been letting them co-mingle in the living room in the evenings. Kaesea likes to park it here on Bill's hockey quilt.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

06.26.09 [daily photo]

The fur on his front paws and neck has started to grow back in, but that skinny chicken leg is sticking around. Wish that fur would grow back.

And then a not-so-good day

After I got so excited about his recent appetite increase, Kaesea did not eat very much today. I tried giving him a shot of pain meds and that just seemed to knock him out. Not quite sure what's going on with him, although we do experience ups and downs frequently, so perhaps today was just a down day.

He did vomit a small amount this morning. Not the "giant lake" of vomit -- more like a hairball-sized about (or even less). These used to be fairly common for Kaesea and we thought nothing of them then. Now hearing him barfing in the morning sets us right on edge. The worry that it's going to be a Big One is strong and ever-present here. Wish we could fix those. That's how we started this whole mess, though, so I guess it's not up to us.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be an "up" day. Everyone is happier when we have those.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

06.25.09 [daily photo]

I went outside to take some photos on the deck this evening and when I turned around, I saw this face at the door:

This one makes me laugh so hard. The caption for this look is: "Hey! Whatcha doin' out there? Hey! Come inside! Hey! Hey!"

More good news

We went to the vet today and Kaesea is doing really well -- his eating has improved dramatically over the past few days and he has been behaving normally with no pain medications. He did not gain any weight (bummer!) but he also did not lose any. So he is holding steady right now at 9.5lbs.

They printed me out a chart of Kaesea's weight over the past two months. I don't know if I wanted to see this:

(Click to see it larger, if you would like to read the data.)

At the end of April, he weighed 11.81lbs. Now he is down to 9.5. Sigh.

But! The appetite is good! Also, we have taken him off of every medication he was on except for the Pepcid, which is great! He will have another weight checkup next week. The following week, we will do blood tests again to see if what evidence shows us is true: the pancreatitis is gone.

It's difficult to say right now what we will do about the cancer. We want Kaesea to put on more weight before we go back to that treatment and that will take some time.

Oh, and Bill reminded me today that Kaesea is now in the "Low normal" range for blood oxygen levels, as his last test was 33. Yay! That was such a struggle for so many weeks (months, even) (wow, this has been going on for awhile), so this is a huge relief. His level was 45 before the surgery, so I am still hoping that that will go up, but 33 is great, too. Waaay better than 9.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

06.24.09 [daily photo]

When Kaesea was a kitten, he got hooked on drinking from the bathroom tap and only from the tap. Since I could not get him to drink from a dish, I left it on all the time for him.

As I became more concerned about wasting water, I worked long and hard at breaking him from the "Tap Habit." He hasn't had a tap drink in years.

Of course, once he got sick, well...

We don't leave it on all the time -- just when we are in there with him. He also drinks frequently from his other dishes, but when he started begging for fresh tap water, we couldn't resist.

What? You got a problem with me drinking from the tap? This is my tap, buddy. MINE.

Monday, June 22, 2009

06.22.09 [daily photo]

Big yawn + biiiiig stretch.

Small bits of good news

Our fluffy darling is still chugging along. I was away for a week and during that time, we got some good news: Kaesea's pancreas levels are finally on the decline. As of his last visit (June 17), the levels were down from 7.4 to 4.2. Anything under 3.5 is good, so he's heading in the right direction. Yay!

He has also been slowly, slowly eating more and gained a slight bit of weight last week. At that weigh-in, he was 9.56. Barely a blip, but it's still better than losing weight. He is due for another checkup on Wednesday of this week and we have our fingers crossed that his weight will have gone up a bit more. He still has ups and downs with eating (he barely ate anything yesterday, but then he chowed down a half a bowl of kibble this morning) but he is, generally, eating a bit better.

His attitude has been overall good, although I have been messing around with his pain med dosage lately and that gets him down from time to time. I would like to reduce the amount we are giving him, but he is clearly in need of a continuous dosage, so we will keep on doing that until the pancreas is under control.

Yesterday, he played with a feather toy for two solid 10 minutes sessions. It was so great! He was diving under blankets and jumping up on his back legs while batting at the toy. Very kitten-ish. At times like these, it is hard for me to think about how very sick he has been (and, really, still is).

After work today, he curled up with me, purring and making biscuits with his paws. Overall, he seems to be a happy kitty, which is just what we want.

So what next? Well, once we get the pancreatitis under control, we are planning to keep him off of all medications and try to get his weight up before we try again to fight the cancer. He is obviously not ready to deal with the cancer medications right now. He will need to gain at least a couple of pounds and retain normal levels in other regards before we re-investigate treatment.

Unfortunately, we have never really figured out a definitive answer to the initial question: What caused the lakes of vomit? The only thing that we know has been consistently "wrong" with Kaesea this entire time is the cancer. So as long as that is allowed to go unchecked, we assume the periodic vomiting will continue, resulting in continued trips to the vet for fluids and re-checks. Sigh. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, fingers and paws crossed for an increased appetite, weight gain, and normal pancreas levels.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

06.21.09 [daily photo]

Happy Father's Day.

Bill would kill me if I posted a full shot of him sleeping on the internet, so you'll have to settle for this cropped one and fill in the cuteness in your mind. This is Kaesea and Bill taking a very sweet nap together on Father's Day. Awwww.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

06.20.09 [daily photo]

Sometimes, Kaesea likes it when we "shoot" rings at him (by flicking them with our fingers) and he will hop around and chase them.

Sometimes, he just lies there and lets the rings pile up around (and, of course, on top of) him.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

06.17.09 [daily photo]

The brown lump on the right is my suitcase. I think Kaesea's face makes it clear how he felt about me leaving.

Not. Pleased.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We're still here

I know things have been quiet here on The Kaesea Report. Life=busy.

This week, wedged between my two trips, our hot water heater sprung a leak and had to be replaced. Bill is a superhero -- I discovered the leak at 12:30am, he had the old water heater removed by 1:30am, bought a new one at 6am, and we had hot water at 11am. Wow. Want to know the only way I know how to replace a hot water heater? With the phone.

But that's the non-Kaesea stuff. You're here for the Kaesea stuff, right? Not too much has changed there, unfortunately. We re-tested on Wednesday for the pancreatitis and it looks like it is just as inflamed, based on the ultrasound. Ugh. They also did bloodwork, which comes back today, but I have a feeling it will show the same thing. There is no "cure" for pancreatitis, so we continue to treat it supportively: fluids for dehydration and medicine for the pain.

On one hand, it's good to have something we can point to that is causing Kaesea's lack of appetite. On the other, it's been 2 weeks Saturday since he was initially diagnosed with pancreatitis and I am feeling defeated about the lack of progress we have made since then.

We have removed Kaesea from almost every drug that he was taking, which is good. He is down to his baby doses of Pepcid, a pain killer, and fluids every other day. Now we are just playing a waiting game to see if his pancreas will heal itself.

He has been pretty much maintaining his weight this week, which is better than losing it. He had a bit of a spike last week (9.75 -- everyone was happy) but he has been sitting at about 9.44-9.5 since then. Although maintaining is better than losing, he really needs to gain weight to get better. We continue to attempt to feed him during every spare moment. Your hungry thoughts are appreciated.

I do have daily photos of Kaesea, but am leaving very soon on my next trip, so they will have to wait for my return. Crazy busy travel schedule lately. Ugh. Who could have known that all of this would happen when I made these plans? I guess you never really know.

So instead I will tell you an "Aw" story: When I came home this past Sunday from my last trip, I went right into the bedroom to see Kaesea where he was hanging out in his cat tower. He usually just waits for me to come up to him in the cat tower to greet him. This time, he was so excited to see me that he jumped down two tiers and trotted over quickly to give me a big head butt. What a heart breaker.

As I write this, it is 6am on Friday morning. I am leaving very soon, which fills me with nervousness about how Kaesea will do in my absence. But I know that I cannot keep him here through the force of sheer will -- either he is staying or he is not and that's up to him and his body. My hope is that I have good news to report when I return. Please think good thoughts for Bill and Kaesea while I am gone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

06.03.09 [daily photo]

Kind of more of the same

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I wish my cat would eat.

He did better today than yesterday, I must admit -- Bill fed him a good amount of Ahi tuna (that spoiled brat enjoys his hand-made "sushi") and he also took a few bites of his mushy food from time to time. He ate some kibble on and off, as well. So, it's something. Not much, but something.

After talking to his doctor today, we are keeping him on the low dose of pain meds, since he did eat successfully after taking it last night. One side effect of the pain meds is constipation and he's been struggling with that for a couple of days, but we've been giving him a stool softener and he had great success with that today, so yay! (Sorry -- sick pet talk always leads back to poop and vomit, doesn't it?)

I was hoping a big poop would instantly cause him to start eating, but no such luck. His spirit was really good today, though -- trotting around, purring, perky, etc. I always love the happy cat Kaesea, so it's a good day when we have that.

I am leaving tomorrow for a few days, so poor Bill has to tend to Kaesea alone. Please send good thoughts out for my two favorite guys, as I know that it will be a long weekend for them.

Kaesea has a vet appointment on Friday and I am interested to find out if he has maintained or lost weight this week (I am betting he did not gain any -- he has not eaten enough). Also, they will decide when we are going to look again to see how the pancreatitis is responding, so I am anxiously awaiting that news. I'll try to post here again on Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Give your loved ones a big hug and a kiss. Make it two if they're furry!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

06.02.09 [daily photo]

Kaesea's favorite thing in the whole wide world is to have his cheeks brushed. This has helped on many occasions while he has been sick, as the vet techs use it to distract him when doing procedures on him. Everyone at the clinic calls it "Kaesea's drug." He does get a blissed out look on his face.

It's hard to get a good photo of it when I am the one doing the brushing -- I snapped this today in an attempt, but it does not capture the full reason why my parents call Kaesea the "Brush Slut."

I gotta stop jinxing us

I try to do my best to report what's going on here -- both bad and good. But I feel like every time I write something good and start to get our hopes up at all, then the bad stuff just comes back. I really do not just want to write about the bad stuff, though. Hrm.

So... today's Bad Stuff: Kaesea is not eating. Again. He ate some kibble during the night last night, and actually took a few licks of food before his medication dose this morning, but that's pretty much all he ate all day. It's notable that he ate before his meds this morning, because two of his meds are an appetite stimulant and the pain killer. He doesn't usually eat before he's had them.

I talked to his doctor this afternoon and we discussed Kaesea's pharmacy of drugs and that some of the side effects of some of these drugs is, of course, inappetence! So she suggested we pull the pain med, one of his anti-nausea drugs, and the appetite stimulant tonight and tomorrow morning and see if Kaesea eats without those drugs with the known side effect.

Tonight's medication time was a tad more pleasant with three less drugs to give. But Kaesea still wasn't interested in eating. And after a few hours had passed, we also noticed him getting increasingly more uncomfortable. We cannot stand to see him in pain, so we decided to give him the pain medication and see what that did for him.

About 30 minutes after the dose, he got up and went right over to the kibble bowl and started eating. After that, he got up on his bed on the sewing table, rested for a bit, and then started eating some of his mushy food. He had been pointedly turning away from it all day and evening -- this was the first time there was interest at all.

So, although he has not eaten a whole lot tonight, he's eaten more than he ate all day, so it's something. We are all for getting him off more of the drugs, but not to a point where it causes discomfort.

Per usual, our mantra is: Eat, Kaesea, Eat!

I wish cats could talk.

Monday, June 1, 2009

06.01.09 [daily photo]

Perhaps a tiny ray?

Today was like yesterday, but in reverse. Yesterday, I started the day thinking things were going pretty well and planning to write a happy report, but then had a not-so-happy report to write by the end of the day.

This morning, I thought things were really terrible and that I was going to have to write a terrible, sad report today. But then we went to Kaesea’s vet and she had a lot of positive things to say. So now I’m feeling pretty good and writing a slightly-more-happy report.

I’ve been feeling for the past couple of days like Kaesea is a dam with leaks in it and every time we put our finger in one hole, another one springs. How can we keep filling all of these holes? This feeling has really been getting me down.

Kaesea’s doctor sees it differently. She thinks that maybe he has had the pancreatitis all along, but to a lesser degree that we could not see. Now that we know he has it, it explains the more difficult issues we have been having -- particularly, the inappetence and resulting weight loss. Now that we have a name for it, we can treat it. If we can treat it, perhaps Kaesea’s appetite will come back and he will eat and gain weight. Once he is stronger, then we can re-visit the issue of fighting his cancer.

Another point that she made is one that I knew, but maybe needed reminding of: Kaesea is a fighter. People think that I have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Kaesea on this earth, but here is the other part of the equation: Kaesea has also gone to great lengths to stay. With that in mind, if I can continue to help him help himself, I will.

Part of my despair this morning was because, although I said yesterday that what really matters is that Kaesea is not in pain, there’s more to it than that. “Quality of life” does not just mean being pain free. Not when “pain free” = “zombie.” But his doctor suggested a lesser dose -- pain killers in cats take a great deal of tweaking to get just the right amount, so we are working on that. Nothing is simple, of course.

I made it clear to Kaesea's doctor today that I want to know if she ever thinks it is time to give up on him. And she made it clear to me that she would! But she said she honestly did not think it was time yet and that Kaesea should be given an opportunity to beat this new problem. So we're going to give him that.

Perhaps the best news to come out of Kaesea’s visit today was this: He gained weight! This is the first time that has happened in weeks. He weighed 9.44 last Wednesday, then down to 9.21 on Saturday [he was very dehydrated post-vomit] and today? Today he weighed 9.75 pounds! Wow!