Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

08.30.09 [daily photo]

I am making a quilt for Kaesea.
He helped me select the fabrics.

"Yes, yes... these will do. Proceed."


"All this fabric selection is tiring. I'm going to nap. You make the quilt."

I'm on it, baby.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

08.29.09 [daily photo]


Whew! It's hot here today. This is what we are doing to try to stay cool... sprrraaaawwwl out.

Hard to say how we're doing

I was looking forward to Saturday being the post-chemo "perk up" day like it was last week. But then we were hit with a massive heat wave, so it's difficult to say how Kaesea is actually doing and if it's due to cancer, chemo, or just being hot.

It was about 85F/30C inside of our house today. Blech. We do have a portable A/C unit in the bedroom, so we holed up in there a lot.

Kaesea was extremely vocal all day today whenever I would leave the bedroom. He's clearly saying, "Hey -- come back here and hang out in this cooler room with me!" So, of course, I did. That's what Saturdays are for, right?

All this to say that it's hard to say how he's really doing. There is still some glum-ness going on, I think. But I don't know if it's the meds or the heat. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow, so I should know more then.

This has been a post about nothing. I talked about the weather.
I'm going to blame the heat for this one.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Glum"

Bill was at home earlier with Kaesea and I asked him, "How is Kaesea?" and he said, "Kind of glum." "Glum" is a perfect word to describe Kaesea's attitude right after chemo. So maybe we need to add a Glum Index to the Fluffiness Factor.

Or not.

Basically, he's just kind of glum. We tried giving him some anti-nausea medication this morning, thinking perhaps it would help with the eating. He's eaten pretty well today, so perhaps it has. But I think it is just going to take him a few days to shake off the glum, just like it did last week.

Next week is his 4th week of treatment. It's the final week in the initial 4 week plan, and then we go to every 3 weeks. I'm nervous about next week, as he gets hit with two different kinds of chemo, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Although the days of glum seem long, basically it was Thurs-Sat of last week that we had Glumness. And even through the glum, he still plays with toys, jumps up on furniture, purrs, head butts, and tries to get into the basement. So it's not all glum. Just kind of glum.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A good day

We took Kaesea in today to check in with his doctor regarding his reactions to the chemo so far and her opinions on continuing this form of chemo or moving to another.

Good news: Kaesea has gained a bit of weight this week. He's 9.58 lbs (up from 9.38 last week). That's surprising to me, as he did have a bit of diarrhea last night (poop talk -- can't be helped). We always love it when he gains weight, so yay!

We decided to go ahead with another round of the same chemo tomorrow, but at a slightly reduced dose. We'll watch him this week and see how he handles it. Even though he had a few days of lethargy, reduced fluffitude, and some GI troubles, he's been at Full Fluff for the past two days, so he did recover. And the weight gain is good.

So fingers crossed for tomorrow's treatment and I'll be sure to post updates. Thank you, as always, for tuning in.

08.25.09 [daily photo]

Monday, August 24, 2009

08.24.09 [daily photo]


Today's photo features Kaesea rubbing himself shamelessly upon the kitty favorite (and oh-so-unphotogenic) Cat Spa.

Although it photographs horribly, the Cat Spa (a huge disc with raised brush-like areas for catnip) has the following things going for it:
1. The cats flippin love it.
2. It's fun to sing, "Rock the Cat Spa!"

Little Known Fact about Kaesea: He has a kink at the very end of his tail that he's had since he was a baby. His first vet speculated that it happened when he was coming out of the birth canal.

Result: His tail always has a super cute curl at the end [as shown in this very photo].

I love that kink.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

08.23.09 [daily photo]

Fluffiness Factor is up

As described in my post on Friday, we use Kaesea's Fluffiness Factor as one way of determining how he is feeling. On our self-invented scale of 10, he was up to an 8.5 yesterday (yup, Bill and I discuss it) and even a 9 at some points today. So that's very good.

As for his disposition, he still seems a little down, but he has eaten pretty well today. I doubt he has gained weight this week, so we will probably be looking at a new form of chemo on Wednesday. Of course, sometimes he surprises me, so maybe he has. We'll see then.

Thank you for all of your kind words and thoughts. We truly appreciate it.

Catnip squirrel

Things started sweetly with the catnip squirrel...


But then all hell broke loose.
Heh.

video

Go, Kaesea!

(That song is Funky Boss by the Beastie Boys. In our house, we sing "Fluffy Paws.")

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

08.21.09 [daily photo]


He is, he is, he is SuperCat...
and he can do anything.


(Apologies to the non-REM fans. I always think of that song when Kaesea does this pose.)

Fluffiness Factor

I want to deny it, but I cannot: Kaesea doesn't look fantastic tonight. His breathing is fine and he does not have a temperature, but the Fluffiness Factor tells us more than numbers, and it's a little low. When Kaesea is healthy, his fur is very fluffy. When he is not, it starts to lack.

It's not the worst it has looked right now, but it's certainly not the best. On a Fluffiness Scale of 1-10 (10 being Most Fluffy), I would call this a 7. Hrm. 70% of Max Fluff -- that sounds about right.

He hasn't been eating great, although he hasn't stopped entirely and he made a good dent in the kibble bowl today. He also has not had diarrhea. He's been out and about (not crouching or hiding) and he just played with me for a good long bit.

So, overall, his spirit is good. But his health is obviously not. If things do not improve by Monday, we will have to consider yet another treatment.

Every day, I wonder. I have to wonder. To think about it. To consider...

Am I keeping him here just for me? Would he be better off if this was over? Does he want to go?

I don't know. I just don't know.

He purrs and makes biscuits with his paws when we pet him. He trots eagerly to me when I call his name. He catches toys in his paws. He butts us with his head. He loves to have his cheeks brushed. Tonight, he tried to sneak some milk out of the bottom of a cereal bowl.

These things all indicate he is still having a good life.

I hope we are able to tell when he is not. People say that we will know. I hope that's true. I guess we'll find out when we get there. In the meantime, bring on the catnip.

Here's hoping for a fluffier day tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playful Kaesea

Today was the day after chemo and, like both times last week, Kaesea was verrry sleepy. His doctor called tonight to ask how he was doing. If he doesn't come around tomorrow from the after effects or if he continues to lose weight next week, we will consider a different kind of chemo with "less GI side effects." Of course, it's also less effective against the cancer. Sigh.

I know cancer patients say this all the time, but it's only because it's true: it's hard to say what's worse -- the cancer, or the cancer treatment.

Despite his sleepiness for most of the day, he still had some energy to get his play on this evening. Here he is, catching his favorite toy (rubber discs that belong to a long-gone rubber disc shooter) in two paws:


And here he is, looking a bit surprised: "I caught it in my paws. Here it is... right on my paw!"


I tossed it to him again and he caught it in his teeth:


So even with some down moments today, there was still up time. Also, he ate really well, which is always good. Unfortunately, his stool was a bit loose, so let's hope for a firmer poop on the next round.

Yeah. I post to the internet about my cat's poop.
I am a crazy cat lady, after all.

08.20.09 [daily photo]


I think someone is ready for his close up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chemo: Week 2

Okay, just to get the boring facts out of the way:

Kaesea is now in week 2 of his initial 4 weeks of chemo treatment.

He's getting 2 kinds of chemo. One is an IV and one is a pill.

Week 1 = IV + pill at the vet on Wednesday AND a pill at home on Friday
Week 2 = IV only (no pill) at the vet on Wednesday
Week 3 = same as Week 2
Week 4 = same as Week 1

After that, he will have the Week 1 treatment again every 3 weeks. Pretty much forever.

So today was the Week 2 treatment at the vet. He was very noisy with the meowing all day, but they were still sweet and said what a good kitty he is.

I am bummed because he lost some weight this week, after 2 weeks of increase. He is back down to 9.38lbs (Last week: 9.69. Week before: 9.31) It seemed like he had been eating really well this week, but I guess it was not enough to keep the weight gain going.

As for his reaction to today's treatment, he has been verrry sleepy again tonight. Now that we have seen 3 chemo treatments, this seems to be his reaction to chemo. I don't blame him -- I also prefer to sleep off unpleasantness.

Other than the sleepy, his spirits have been good. Plenty of purring and I even got him to play with a string a few minutes ago. He ate a ton when he got home, so that always makes us happy.

Also, I think he wants us to kiss his ring:


When I see him so sleepy, I worry that maybe this is too much for him. Maybe he does not want this. But then I pet him and he head butts me and purrs and I hope that it's worth it for him. That is my hope: that he thinks it's worth it.

08.19.09 [daily photo]


Yes, Kaeaea's fascination with the basement door and all of the potential wonders beyond is still going strong. Here he is, trying to pop the latch with the sheer force of his mental will.

When that fails, he turns to me as if to say, "Hey -- you with the camera. Why don't you put that thing down and make better use of those opposable thumbs?"

"You know you want to..."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chemo update

I don't want to jinx it, but Kaesea seems to be holding up pretty well under chemo so far. He had his second dose (a pill at home) on Friday and he seemed tired all day Saturday. Maybe it was the chemo, maybe just a lazy "Caturday."

Since then, he is sometimes grouchy but mostly perky. The Fluffiness Factor has been very high (a good sign, since he stops grooming when he is feeling bad) and he loves to tear into a catnip ball. Hilarious. Tonight, he was full of energy and playing with a feather toy.

He's also been eating well (for him) although sometimes still he turns up his nose at food he has been loving. Of course.

He goes in for in-office chemo treatment again tomorrow. I hate to leave him there. Hate. It. But they really do care about him (and us) at our vet.

In fact, check out the final line item on our last bill:


He's in good hands there.

08.18.09 [daily photo]


Another one taken of Kaesea, looking at me through the door while I'm standing outside.

Not quite as funny as the "Hey!" photo, but I still enjoy this demanding look on his face: "What the heck are you doing out there?"

Monday, August 17, 2009

08.17.09 [daily photo]

Chicken leg update

As you may recall, when Kaesea came home in April, he was shaved in several places (front paws, belly, neck, back leg) and we were calling that back leg his "chicken leg." You can see it in this post here on May 14.

Even on June 26, it was still pretty chicken-y.

But I am happy to report that the chicken leg is finally looking normal! Check it out:


Meanwhile, that belly is still pretty fur-free. Poor thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

08.15.09 [daily photo]


I took this photo in the bathroom mirror -- Kaesea was peaking over the bottom ledge of it. Bill calls this move "The Periscope." Heh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day after chemo

Ack. I read all of the potential side effects of chemo and now it's got me on edge. He had some loose stools tonight and I'm all worried it's the chemo, but then it could just be "normal" for Kaesea these days. Hard to tell.

His appetite has been great today, which is good. I'm not pleased with the diarrhea, but we'll monitor him and hope that it's just a rough patch. We give him an at-home dose of the chemo (pill form) tomorrow night, so we're hoping he keeps it together through that.

He was playing with a catnip ball tonight like a maniac. Sometimes, it's so difficult to believe that he is falling apart inside. When I look at him, I still see the kitten he once was, even though I know he's not a kitten anymore. But he's still got it inside of him.

This kitten:

(Yes, that's Kaesea. This photo was taken when he was about 10 weeks old. What a little cutie.)

08.13.09 [daily photo]


Another playing-with-the-catnip-ball shot. It's just too funny -- I cannot resist. I did take some video this time. I'll try to post it this weekend.

My favorite part of this shot is difficult to see in that photo; you have to click to see it bigger. It's worth it -- you need to check out that wrinkled nose. He's really into biting that thing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

08.12.09 [daily photo]

Chemo

I am so happy: Kaesea has continued to gain weight! Today, he weighed 9.69 -- up a quarter of a pound from last week. Yay!

Today was his first chemo treatment. We had to leave him at the vet, which we did not expect (and I hate to do), but everything seems to have gone well. He is doing fine this evening, if perhaps a bit tired.

Of course, they warned us about side effects that include "loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea." Grrreeat. Those are things we already deal with with him. He goes back once a week for the next three weeks, then we go to an every-three-week treatment. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

08.11.09 [daily photo]


Whoops. Looks like I missed a day of photo taking.

This is Kaesea playing with his catnip ball. It's difficult to get a non-blurry photo of this activity because he really goes nuts with it. I love it when he holds it in his front paws. Heh.

I think we need a new video -- I'll work on that.

A very good dad

While I went away this weekend to "Knitting Camp," Bill stayed home with Kaesea. It's exhausting to take care of Kaesea when we are both home, so I know that doing it alone is even more draining. We are always worrying about him -- when he is sleeping, we often have the "Is he breathing?!" experience. It's bad.

But the feeding situation is the real struggle -- he is so finicky. At random, he rejects food that he has been eating regularly for a month or two. Then we have to find something else that might interest him -- when we put it down, we stand there and think, "Eat. Please, please eat this." And then he'll eat just a little bit of it. And this goes on All. The. Time. It is always time to try to feed Kaesea in our house. Always.

When both of us are home, at least there is someone to lean on and share the constant feeding burden with, but Bill did it alone for four long days and I am very grateful. What a great dad. And husband!

Despite the struggles eating, Kaesea did gain weight this week. Yay! When we got home from our honeymoon, he weighed 9.13 lbs. At his appointment this week, he was up to 9.41. Fantastic!

As for his spirit, he is still playing with toys and purring and loving the catnip, but he is also in some pain (which we control with pain killers) and sometimes seems a little [and I feel goofy saying this, but] depressed. It's hard to explain, but he is just "down" sometimes.

As we have observed this behavior, we have made the decision to go ahead and try chemotherapy. It's difficult to know what is best for him -- if he was a human, he could tell us whether or not he wanted treatment. But he's a cat, so we cannot know exactly what he wants. So we try to make the decisions we feel are best for him.

And, in a way, for us. Because we'd like him to stay around. It's difficult to resist the ray of hope that chemo offers us -- the feeling that maybe this will fix him. Of course, there's no guaranteed "fix" for this, but we can maybe get a couple more years with him, rather than just a couple of weeks or months. We hope.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

08.08.09 [daily photo]


Taken by Bill.

(Superhero Dad not only keeps up with rigorous feeding schedule in my absence, but also my obsessive photo-taking. Nice!
)

Friday, August 7, 2009

08.07.09 [daily photo]


Another shot from Bill -- Kaesea goes nuts with this catnip ball. It's hilarious!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

08.06.09 [daily photo]


Bill took this one while I was away.

Kaesea says: "Food goes here!
"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

A rough patch

I'm not quite sure what's going on with Kaesea right now, but he seems to be going through a rough patch. He's had a couple of loose stools and some hairballs the last couple of days. It's been the sort of thing where he's acting down and then he coughs up a hairball and I think, "Oh, so that's why you've been down!" but then... he's been sort of staying down afterward.

His eating has been decent. Not terrific, but he certainly has not stopped. He's also been interested in toys and in curling up with me, but there's something else going on.

He has an appointment on Wednesday and we will be talking again with his doctor about cancer treatments and if/what we want to do. No decisions have been made yet. My hope is that we have gotten him to gain some weight this week -- I would feel better about the treatment if we could get him a bit more bulked up first. However, I am nervous right now about the intestinal distress he has had the past couple of days. Is it just normal Kitty Stress or is it the cancer?

08.03.09 [daily photo]


It's a blurry one, but I only managed to snap one photo of Kaesea today. So this is the one we get.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

08.02.09 [daily photo]


Kaesea is lying on Ben's bed in this photo. As if to say, "What's his is mine."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

08.01.09 [daily photo]


Bummer about the phone camera quality of this photo, but it's all I had handy. It was hilarious to see Ben studiously looking out the window above Kaesea ("I'm not looking at you... just looking out the window here!") and Kaesea looking relaxed, but with one eye fixed firmly on Ben ("You may be looking out the window, but I'm watching you!")