Unanchored Thoughts

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

Saturday, March 03, 2007


After a nail-biting afternoon we received a call from Knox's Internist, Dr. Kilrain, to discuss the results of his biopsy. Knox has lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. We are just now starting to read about this type of cancer and gathering more questions along the way. Lymphoma is the good news out of a bad situation because it's treatable. Here's what we know now.

Lymphoma is a rapidly growing cancer and he's likely only to have had it for a few weeks or months (which debunks our original theory that he's had a stomach tumor his entire life). One theory is that chronic irritation or inflammation of the digestive system can eventually lead to lymphoma. This seems to fix Knox best.

As for treatment, we have four options:

1. Do nothing - life expectancy of 4-6 weeks
2. Treat with steroids (prednisone) - life expectancy of 2-3 months
3. Treat with steroids and an oral chemotherapy - life expectancy is a bit longer than #2
4. Treat with a full chemotherapy regime - life expectancy of 8-9 months

The steroid treatment has no adverse affect on cats and hence is the "no-brainer" treatment option, per Dr. Kilrain. It works to kill the tumor and should help to make him feel better right away. The oral chemo may have mild side affects and requires a some monitoring of his blood count. The full blown chemo regime involves weekly treatments for 6 weeks, followed by a tapering of treatments over the following 8 to 10 weeks. The treatments are mostly short (~30 minutes), but require blood draws and an IV drip, and can cause side affects such as nausea and vomiting (just the symptoms we are trying to cure - how ironic).

We started Knox on steroids last night. (I'm sure there are some jokes to insert here, but I'm not feeling very funny at the moment.) We were able to fill the prescription at our local Safeway, which felt kind of cool. "Prescription pickup for Knox Maguire, please." We are thinking and discussing what, if any, additional treatments we want to try. Our primary concern is making Knox comfortable and giving him the highest quality of life possible.

For now, Knox definitely seems to be feeling better. He spends more and more time in his kitty hammock and he spent the entire night sleeping on Steve, something he hasn't done in over a week. His appetite is not great and he's probably only getting about half the calories he really needs, but he's not vomiting so we continue to offer very small amounts of food every two hours. He has probably gained a few ounces since his surgery and seems to have a modest amount of energy.

He continues to bring us great joy. We spend as much time as we can petting him and talking to him and he gives us lots of dreamy stares and purrs frequently. Graeme loves to visit Knox in the closet and often will just sit for a minute or two with his hand on Knox's back. Knox has taught Graeme "gentle", for sure. Today, Graeme took a book to Knox and turned a few pages. I'm sure Knox enjoyed it. I cried.

Steve and I are doing OK. This is a very surreal experience and we continue to take each day one at a time.

Thank you, again and again, for all of your love and support.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly and Steve--I'm glad to hear you are dealing with your best case scenario, but so sorry for what you will have to face within the next year. I'm sending all my kitty love to sweet Knox. Hang in there. Kathleen

4:02 PM  

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