awfulhorrid: (Pyrite)
I've been holding off writing an eulogy to Pyrite at least partially because it's been painful to even try. This entry isn't to announce his death, but rather to talk about his life and what he meant to me. Before I do that, I need to thank everyone that sent us condolences, both here and elsewhere. Your words and actions mean a lot to both [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and me.

Cut for length )
awfulhorrid: (Pyrite)
Some of you already know, but we got a final test result from the vet late last night. The spleen aspirate was inconclussive, but the masses on his lung and spleen are probably malignant tumors. His thoraxic cavity is filling with fluid to the point where they drained 200+ mL on Monday and additional fluid on Tuesday. They rate his condition as bad ... meaning he's very unlikely to survive surgery even if they though it would help. [livejournal.com profile] clark_parker and [livejournal.com profile] merseine0613 came up early this morning and went with us to pick him up from the AECT and will be taking us to Wolf-Merrick hospital this afternoon.

He's obviously not feeling his usual self, but he's comfortable as we can make him. He's spent most of the day so far under the futon in the library with [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and I nearby, but he's snuggled down between us for a few minutes. He's purring and knows he's loved. Right now, he's actually out from under the futon and is up on top with [livejournal.com profile] clark_parker. That's my beautiful boy ... a charmer to the end.

Thank you all for the kind words you've sent. Our family of choice has really helped us out with this. As much as this is tearing [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and me up, I think it would be ten times worse if you all weren't there for us.
awfulhorrid: (Big Kitty Yawn)
Thank you all for the well wishes and healing thoughts. I wish I had better news. I really can't tell you how much I wish I had better news.

We got a call back from Dr. Fox at the AETC yesterday. He'd gotten the results of the blood work back and it showed signs of kidney and liver problems in conjunction with (or perhaps because of) everything else that's happening. He recommended an IV treatment be added to the other procedures he was getting today unless we wanted to bring him in last night in which case they could start it earlier. Since earlier is better and likely to be more effective, we packed him up last night and took him to the AETC around 22:30. It hurt to leave him there, of course, but I knew they could look after him better there if something went wrong than we could at home.

Our call this morning ... well, the good news is that he's comfortable, purring loudly and being affectionate to everyone who comes near him. Yep, that's my beautiful charming Pyrite kitty alright. The bad news is that he's already accumulating more fluid on the lungs and the ultrasound shows the mass on the spleen is pretty large. They took the aspirate of the spleen, but have to wait for the lab results which should be sometime this afternoon at the earliest. They may not be able to determine if it's definitely cancer or not, but if it's indeterminate the next step would be a biopsy ... which would involved putting him under and he's not really in good enough shape for that. (The words "he's in bad shape" were used at least twice in a fairly short conversation.) I know some other phrases were used to describe problems with his lymphatic system and indication in his spleen of internal bleeding in the past few weeks, but I was a bit numb by that point and really crying entirely too much to absorb it all.

At this point, I guess it's just a matter of time. He's still at the AETC right now. We're going to wait for the final test results to come in and talk to the doctor again, but I'm really out of hope at this point.

For those that want to see, I've put his pictures on Flickr into a single set. The caption on the first is "Pyrite Loves Everyone" and I think that's about as good a summary of him as I could ever give.

Pyrite

Jan. 4th, 2009 12:45 am
awfulhorrid: (Pyrite)
A few weeks ago I took Pyrite to the vet to have several teeth extracted. About a week later he started acting a little lethargic and not quite his usual self. He was scratching at his chin a lot to the point where he started drawing blood. My lovely [livejournal.com profile] isolde_deely was visiting at the time and went with me to take him to the vet. This seemed to go over well with him since he could stay on my lap and "hide" under the cape-like drape she was wearing. We came home with some cream for his chin and for the next ten days [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and I medicated him twice a day. He didn't like this too much and we though his diminishing appetite was due to the smell or taste of the cream.

He got the last of the medication on Thursday morning so we expected he'd be eating normally by the next day. He turned down almost all of his food on Friday, although I convinced him to eat two bites of ham, something he normally devours with relish. (He could have had more, but walked away from it.) This was an obvious bad sign and we decided that we should take him into the vet this morning (Saturday.)

The vet at Wolf-Merrick took an X-ray and ... well, the words on the report are "Pleural effusion." In other words, fluid on the lungs. They lacked the equipment for the recommended follow up lab work and ultrasound, and recommened we go to Animal Emergency & Treatment Center in Grayslake, IL. We stopped by the house to grab my insulin, called [livejournal.com profile] merseine0613 to let her know what was going on so she could pass along the details to our friends at a wedding reception we were supposed to attend.

I won't detail the waiting and the ups and downs, but there was a lot of crying and a lot of anticipation. They placed him in an oxygen cage, gave him a mild sedative and drained a total of 340mls of fluid from around his lungs. The vet identified nothing in the pleural fluid at the time, but sent a sample off to the lab, along with a blood sample. The ultrasound shows a small mass on one of his lungs and a larger mass on his spleen. There's a good chance it's a form of cancer. He was able to come home tonight, although we're keeping an eye on him as he comes off of the sedative and decides he can leap for the top of the cat tree. I'm taking him back on Monday morning and leaving him there for a few hours so they can perform a splenic aspirate.

Surgery has been mentioned as an option, although we'll know more after the aspirate. At this point we're mostly trying to find out how much to do that might prolong his life without degrading his quality of life. I'm not going to keep him alive just to keep him alive, nor am I willing to put him through lots of surgery if he's only going to gain a few months. Right now, we're keeping him comfortable and making sure he knows we're here and that we love him.

I still cried when I felt him purr against my fingers as we coming home.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] isolde_deely for calling me and to [livejournal.com profile] clark_parker, [livejournal.com profile] merseine0613 and [livejournal.com profile] rileybear67 for visiting us. You all really helped me and [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm. Also thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm for being there with me today and helping me in particular when I was getting information overload.

I love you all.
awfulhorrid: (Big Kitty Yawn)
OK, not quite. I took Bella and Pyrite to the vet a few weeks ago for their annual checkups. They both needed dental work -- or extractions as they're called when you're dealing with cats. (Irony of ironies, I find this out the same day as I was going to the dentist to get fitted for a crown.)

I decided to spread the misery out a bit, so I took Bella in last week. She was listed for two extractions and came away with three. After a week, she's mostly forgiven me the trip in the car and the abandonment at the vet -- she's fine and dandy and is getting the last of her clavamax tomorrow morning.

I took Pyrite in today for his one tooth extraction. With his pale blue eyes and quiet 'mew,' he's actually better at inducing guilt than Bella. I know I'm doing the right thing when I drop them off at the vet for the day, but it still makes me feel guilty when I leave them there alone. About 13:00, I got a call from the vet: Pyrite was all done and he was doing fine, but they had to pull five teeth in total and he might be a little sore for the next few days. Five??? Poor kitty.

The vet is telling me that while this sort of tooth decay is fairly common in cats, it's not very well understood. It could be genetics or it could be something dietary that they're missing. Not something that we aren't feeding them, mind you, but something that cats in general are missing. It's likely that Pyrite is going to lose more teeth in the coming years. I guess it's a good thing he likes gooshy food.

Tomorrow, like last Friday, I'm working from home so I can be here with the patient. He's already been cuddling up to me and seeking comfort. I just wish he'd wait until the anaesthesia wears off completely before he starts climbing around on the things on which he's allowed to climb!

February 2013

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