Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our sick kitty

We are very, very sad to learn that Knox has cancer. Most of you probably know Knox and Madison as our two very loving kitties. We adopted them from upstate New York when they were about 8 weeks old. They have six front toes for which we nicknamed them our Adirondack Snowshoe Kitties in reference to both their heritage and extra digits. Knox and Madison have been the most wonderful additions to our lives, with the exception of Graeme. We hemmed and hawed about adopting kitties for about a year, and then decided to take a leap of faith that we could manage our allergies and travel schedules with cats in the household. The allergies turned out to be a non-issue, and meeting Diana Funk, owner of Get Out of Town Pet Sitting Service made the travel almost a non-issue, though I still cried every time I left them.

Knox is the friendly kitty who loves attention. Known for sitting in the middle of the room during parties and demanding attention from everyone who walked through the door, he ultimately has favored Steve over anyone else. He follows Steve around the house, sleeps on him through the night, loves to be carried around, and licks Steve's arms to show his affection. Both kitties love to lay on our laps with the arms stretched forward, and they prefer soft fuzzy pants to jeans or bare legs. We often sit with blankets on our laps in the middle of summer so that the kitties have a soft place to lie.

Knox has always been a "barfy kitty." EVERY vet visit I report, "he gets sick a lot." The response: if he's not losing weight then it's probably not anything to worry about. We now believe that he has probably long had this stomach tumor. I've been trying to manage his food for about a year now when the vomiting increased in frequency. The truth of the matter though is that both cats get sick a lot, and so we always believed the problem was an Adirondack Snowshoe Kitty phenomenon.

In early January Knox appeared to be losing weight and was vomiting even more. At the end of January Diana Funk called me in Pennsylvania while we were out of town and said she thought he needed attention. I felt horrible and like a neglectful mother. We took him to her recommended vet that Monday morning, and for the next few weeks tried a series of medications to try to treat what we presumptively (a standard for treatment in veterinary medicine because the diagnostics are so cost-prohibitive) thought was an intestinal infection. Things improved and we weaned Knox off the medications, until the vomiting came back with a vengeance last weekend. We took Knox to a specialist on Friday where an ultrasound revealed a large "gastric mass" (aka, stomach tumor). The doctor said it was likely to be malignant and that they could try to remove it, so we opted for surgery, a decision I now deeply regret. Knox had surgery on Friday afternoon. They were unable to remove the tumor, and found that part of his intestines, cecum, and esophagus did not look good. They biopsied everything and we will know definitive results in 3 to 5 days. Our best case scenario is lymphoma (which is treatable with chemo, but the life expectancy is around 9 months). Our worst case scenario is stomach cancer (which is not treatable).

We visited Knox on Saturday and urged the hospital to allow us to bring him home. They agreed. We have been caring for him here, showering him with lots of love. He is in some pain due to having just had major abdominal surgery, but it seems to be managed well with medication.

We do not want Knox to suffer one moment and are deeply concerned about him. We know the prognosis is not good, and thus are just enjoying these days with him and will make tough decisions when it seems as though we need to. We are sad beyond belief and certainly not ready to say good-bye to our kitty.

Thank you for your love, supportive calls, and well wishes. Keep us in your thoughts, prayers, good karma...however it is you communicate with the universe.

(I don't have this whole blog-thing figured out, so I couldn't get these pictures placed differently. The first one is Knox is his favorite position. The second one is a picture of the cats on Steve in their favorite pants, hence they are both on him!)


Blogger Vaughn said...

You are in my thoughs....I cannot imagine what you must be going through right now.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

So sorry to hear about Knox.

11:46 AM  

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