Friday, September 12, 2008

MaddyWatch: Lymphosarcoma; good for Scrabble, but not good in kitties

The biopsy results came back that Maddy has abdominal lymphosarcoma. It's in her abdominal lymph nodes and her intestine but not her liver. Yet, anyway. I talked to the regular vet again today, who says that even though lymphosarcoma is described as "small cell lymphoma", which usually responds well to chemo, that fact that it's in her lymph nodes may not bode so well.

We have an appointment with the vet oncologist on Monday, but I can't say that I'm terribly optimistic. The main thing is that we'll need to discuss what chemo would do for Maddy, if anything, and if it would even be worth it. According to the vets we've talked to so far, chemo in pets isn't what it is in people. Vet chemo is more about quality of life, not stomping the crap out of the cancer like it does in humans.

So, Maddy has cancer. My sweet 10-yr-old kitten has cancer. I've rather been expecting it ever since the emergency vet told us what she saw in the abdominal ultrasound back over Labor Day Weekend. I'm disappointed but not surprised. What annoys me lately is how many people keep telling me not to unnecessarily prolong Maddy's life because I may not be ready to let her go, don't put her through pain, and so on. The constant yammer of "do what's best for Maddy" has me going Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-Igotit. Like anyone who would have her cat's teeth cleaned wouldn't do what's right for the poor creature. The best advice I've gotten so far was from Ethel, who had a similar experience with her own cat. She said to look at your pet, really look at her: she'll tell you when she's ready.

And so far, Maddy doesn't seem ready. She's slower than before, for sure. But in terrible pain and ready to die? Not so much. Though the balance of power has shifted in the house and Hazel pushes her out of the way now and then--and that's hard to watch--she's still not done. And again, I have to be able to look Maddy in the eye when she's in pain and tell her I've done all I can do. If chemo's not gonna help either give her some more quality time or make her comfortable, then we're not doing it. Yes, I know if she was in the wild, she'd likely be dead by now, probably because the rest of her pack would have left her or kicked her out. But I'm her pack right now. Me. And I'm not kicking her out until it's clear that she's ready to go. So there.

I've had a bunch of meetings and stuff to do all week, and I have to help Dame Judith with some stuff tomorrow morning. After that, I can finally sit down for a while. Maddy and I spent some quality time reading Southern Living while curled up on the chaise together tonight, and there will be more of that this weekend once my chores are done. And we'll just enjoy each other's company, purring and chatting, snoozing and reading. We can enjoy whatever time we have left the same way we've enjoyed all the time we've had for the past ten-plus years: together.


Miss Kitty said...

True. Squadeleine will tell you when it's time. You're a great kitteh mama.

[sniffling again]

Suz said...

I'm sorry about the news. I agree that you and Maddy will figure this out as you go along, and you will continue to know what to do, and when.

Nancy said...

Many hugs to you. I went through this last summer with my 10 yr old cat and I opted for no treatment other than sub-q fluids at the time. This spring she was rapidly fading and I made the horrible but right decision for her.

I am hoping you and she will have many more years together.

ms. kitty said...

I know you'll do the right thing, Pixie. She'll let you know when it's time to act, whatever that action might be. Thinking about you and your sweet kitsy.

BaxtersMum said...

yeah, you'll know.

fucking sucks.

buckpony said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry to hear about your kitty. Heartbreaking. But what a lucky kitty to have someone like you who cares so much and to have loved her so much through those short years together.

Wilderness Gina said...

Maddy's momma ended up at the back-water abandoned shortly after you adopted Maddy. I KNOW she has had a better life than she would have had if she'd stayed at the Thrower's house. I hate those people... did I say people? Not so much, how bout 'creatures'?
White light to you and my Grankitty.

Xtine said...


I love how pets are able to convey their feelings and some of their thoughts so clearly. It sounds batshit crazy to anyone who has never had a pet 'talk' to them that way, but dammit, they do.

I'm so sorry for Maddy.

The Wandering Author said...

I'm so sorry. I've been busy, and haven't read many blogs lately, so I just read about Maddy. Your friend Ethel is right; you know your cat, and you will know when she's ready to go. I had a beautiful cat who was diagnosed with kidney disease, and we treated him for a year and a half. Towards the end, even the vet was hinting it was time - but he only saw him in his bad moments. He was still enjoying life, and he wanted to live. Then one day, things got too much for him, and I knew, and hard as it was, I did what he needed. You love your cat, and you will too. So ignore all the people who don't understand. Enjoy Maddy while you can, spend time with her, make her happy, and let her decide.

I'm so sorry, for her and for you. I hope and pray the chemo will at least buy her some happy time. For what it's worth, the vet estimated my cat would die - at the latest - near the end of one summer. Yet the next spring, he was not only alive, he was chasing leaves blowing in the wind like a kitten. (He was 16.) So it is possible for things to go far better than it seems they will, and I and all my cats (four, including another one who is dying of kidney disease but still very full of life) wish that for you and Maddy.