A new eruption

Maggie still gets frantic when I fall asleep. I’ve noticed that, in addition to meowing in my face, pacing the bed, and climbing all over me, she also lightly but quickly taps my shoulder. It’d actually be really cute, if she wasn’t doing it because she was upset.

She’s had another small eruption on her face, just above the corner of her lip on the right side of her face. It bled a little bit this morning. I think this is just something we’re going to have to accept and manage. It doesn’t appear to cause her pain or distress.

A new eruption
The new eruption just above the corner of her lip.

Last night, she swallowed another piece of tube. We’re no longer using the tubing on the syringe. We’re just sucking it up and trying to get the food in with the nozzle as it is.

She was OK this morning being fed, but she still gets quite feisty. We periodically give her a break, and she settles down by the window and looks forlorn. Whenever I feed her and Mum helps rather than Dad, I get her to hold Maggie afterwards so I can give her face a real thorough clean. I think I did a pretty good job this morning, and she almost went to sleep with me gently wiping the left side of her face with a warm face cloth.

bty
“Oh, woe is me…”

I’m always really proud when I’ve cleaned her face well, especially when she’s been calm about it (which is most of the time). Dad doesn’t really do it thoroughly enough for my liking; I’m not quite a germophobe, but I feel soooo much comfier when her face is super clean, including her eye and nose. It’s very satisfying for me, but it must also be more comfortable for her.

A clean little bubbie cuddling with Mummy
A clean little bubbie cuddling with Mummy

We’re going to try and get her in to both the normal vet, and VSG early next week. I have a list of things we need to bring up:

  • The new eruption on her face. We were told that treating it with the antiseptic ointment would do no good since it wouldn’t permeate past the surface, but I want to know if it would help to stop bugs getting in in the first place (rather than kill the tumour). Dad also wants to confirm that these lesions aren’t causing her much, if any, pain.
  • This new behaviour of panicking when I fall asleep at night. I don’t know what has caused it. If we have some possible reasons to it, we might be able to manage or fix it to limit her distress. Nothing bad has ever happened while I’ve been asleep at night.
  • An X-Ray or ultrasound to check where the two pieces of tube are. I don’t know, but this also may help to check how full her bowel is.
  • Her protruding anus. I want to make sure this is OK and not indicative of constipation or obstipation (which would be a medical emergency). She may need a stool softener, which I want to ask about.
  • I also want to see if there’s a topical pain relief we can be given to put on her lesions and nose. The nose in particular must get sore, as we’re forever fiddling with it and cleaning it. You know what it’s like when you have a persistently runny nose and have to blow your nose several times a day and the tissues start to feel like sandpaper.
  • We need to have her weighed and general condition assessed.

I can’t think of anything else right now that I’d like to find out, but if I do, I’ll write it down.

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Weird day

My parents took Maggie to the vet last night about her face. I wasn’t there, and the information my parents have fed me is vague and incomplete, but it sounds like the vet thinks the wound on her face is actually the cancer breaking through and spreading to her skin. It seems to have calmed down but she’s lost a bit of fur there and if she scratches it again it’ll open. Dad seemed to think the vet thought something would happen over the weekend because he made sure to remind us that VSG is open over the weekend. He also wants us to call him on Monday to let him know how Maggie is.

We’ve had a weird day today. Maggie has decided that she occasionally wants to sleep next to me with her bum on my shoulder… Well, OK then.

bty
Why you do dis???

She’s also been outside today. It’s probably been around 9 degrees Celsius today. She went out on the back deck, and I was like, “oooooh no you don’t…” and went inside and got my onesie. She cuddled up inside it on the deck for a short time, but then she got out, walked over to where I was sitting, looked at me, then walked back to the onesie. She was telling me to bring the onesie closer to me. I did what she asked and she happily curled up inside it with her face out. She stayed there like that for about half an hour. I noticed she started shivering (surprise, surprise) so I brought her inside into my room where the heater had been on. She didn’t enjoy that one bit.

She’s also been sleeping in weird places like next to her water bowl, in the hall, and behind the TV. She hasn’t really been hiding, but she’s been almost seeking out places that are cool and have a wall for her to press he face against. She’s not been that interested in staying on my bed… Probably because I get my room nice and warm for her. The vet has said her temperature is fine, but I’m sure something isn’t right with it. She’s currently being restless. It’s 11:15PM now, I’ve not long gone to bed, and she’s already been up and down twice. I’m not sure what that’s about. She’s had one day where she was agitated like this but by the evening she was OK.

I’ll update if there are any changes.

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Slowly downhill

I went home with Dad at lunch time to feed Maggie today, and she wasn’t very good with it. Mum used to help Dad to feed Maggie, but one day Mum had a family meeting and we discovered that Maggie tolerates me a little more, so now that’s my job. We gave her three tubes of food, but I think she probably only swallowed about two tubes. She spat the rest of it out.

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Grouchy! Feeding time before I got involved.

In general, she seems cold and uncomfortable, except when she’s cuddled up with me on my bed. I make sure that she’s with me all the time that I’m home. Because of that, she’s happy and comfy a majority of the time. I’m not complaining; I get to stay in bed in the warm.

Excuse all the snotty, dribbly patches on the sheets and walls… I’ve decided not to worry about it. Maggie can’t help it, and most of those marks are made when she’s at her comfiest.

I’ve discovered a patch on her right cheek (the bad side) where the fur has been matted together with blood or some other secretion. I’m not sure what the stuff is, or what’s happening on the skin beneath the fur, and it’s a bit hard for me to see. I showed it to Dad last night and he brushed it off, but I showed it to him again at feeding time today and now he wants to have the vet take a look at it. I’m not sure when that will be.

Both Maggie and D’arcy have been more sociable. D’arcy, in particular, has been very sooky. He waits on the arm of the couch every day for Mum to come home. He licks her and purrs and cuddles right up to her. This is not entirely usual for him. She takes a photo of him almost every night. This gallery shows the sheer number of nights Mum has sent me a photo of D’arcy cuddled up to her on the couch.

Rosie has also been a bit more cuddly. She’s cuddled up next to Mum on the couch, and enjoys cuddling up near D’arcy on Mum’s bed. She usually keeps to herself and is quite a loner, but since Maggie has taken a turn for the worse, she’s needed more affection and support.

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More chemo

Maggie went to the vet last week, and she’d gained 110g since the time she was there before that. She had another dose of chemo at VSG on Thursday. Poor thing. It’s a six hour day out for her when she has it.

edf
“I don’t wanna…”

After our chat with the vet specialist, Maggie was taken to have her bloods done to make sure she was still a good candidate for chemo. After about 20 minutes, a nurse came out and asked if we would mind if they sedated her because she was being a bit ‘ferocious’ (actual words LOL). Poor little bubbie. Luckily, she’d have to be sedated for her chemo so we decided it was OK.

Around half an hour after that, the vet specialist came out and told us her blood results were pretty good, and that her kidney function hadn’t deteriorated since the previous time she had her chemo. Maggie was given her chemo at that point.

We had left it a bit later than the three weeks we were meant to give her her chemo because the first time took a lot out of her. She was extremely subdued and quiet and we weren’t sure if it was a good idea to do it again. We brought that up in our consultation, and she’s been given a slightly smaller dosage this time in the hopes it won’t knock her so hard.

Once she got home, she was still under the effects of the anaesthetic, and was a bit wobbly on her feet. She was also a bit tired. I brought my blanket off my bed down and put it on the floor for her so she could cuddle up on it if she wanted to. We had to separate her from the other two for two days, so she couldn’t go up to my room like she usually does during that time.

We left for work for a couple of hours (at that point, it was around 3:30pm). When we came home, she was still a little bit wobbly on her feet, but boy, was she vocal! She was prowling around and meowing, almost monotonously. She would go out into the hallway and yowl when she couldn’t see us anymore. She’d follow us around too. She followed Dad up to the toilet and yelled at him the whole way.


Eventually, she tired herself out and started falling asleep on her feet. She had a quick nap on my blanket, then bullied Dad off his seat. She looked quite peaceful, although her breathing was a bit laboured and noisy.

She’s still pretty knackered. She’s integrated with the other two again and is able to sleep up with me at night. She tends to toggle between wanting under the covers and wanting to be up at the head of the bed. She’s generally very quiet at night when she gets settled.

We’re still syringe-feeding her. She’s still refusing to eat. We’ve been given an anti-nausea pill that we give to her once or twice a day, and she’s still taking her anti-inflammatory. A few days before her chemo, she had a long acting antibiotic administered to her to thin the discharge from her nose in the hopes that it would make breathing a little easier.

In talking to the vet specialist, she said that Maggie looked pretty happy and comfortable (albeit stressed because she was at the vet). She didn’t think Mags was in any pain, although she thought that she might have been frustrated with her nose being blocked, which is fair. I have a cold at the moment, and I can tell you I get super pissed off when my nose is blocked. Maggie still has a lot of strength in her, and although the nurse called her ‘ferocious’, we take that as being quite a positive thing.

I’ve had all three cats on my bed this morning. I don’t know where I’m expected to sleep…

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Going downhill again

We’re on the downward slide again. Maggie has stopped eating again even with the anti-nausea pill, so we’re going to start syringe-feeding her. She’s snorting again and her lymph nodes are quite inflamed. Either that, or she’s growing another tumour in her neck. This seems to be making mouth-breathing slightly difficult and she’s also finding it hard to get comfy to sleep. She gets a lot of discharge out of her nose and Dad has to clean it several times a day. I brought her up to sleep in with me the other night (little shit decided the middle of my single bed was the perfect spot for her) and she did relax and stop snorting after a while. We’re going to take her to the vet tomorrow, and then to VSG for her chemo. Hopefully things perk up a little bit a few days after her next chemo.

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Weeks or Days Left :(

Sorry for the lapse in posts. I’ve been super busy with work, family stuff, and of course, taking care of Maggie.

Here’s what you’ve missed.

And of course, several vet visits and weigh-ins.

Maggie has started snuffling. We noticed it around the end of March, and it’s gotten progressively worse. We were scared a fistula might have formed somewhere. We took her to one of her usually scheduled vet appointments and asked for their advice, which was to take her over to VSG. We managed to make her an appointment to go over on the 4th, and were told that it was unlikely a fistula had formed, as she didn’t meet the criteria for it. Things to look out for are:

  1. Loss of appetite; at that stage, she was eating less, but not much less
  2. A high temperature; Maggie’s temperature was within the healthy range
  3. Foul-smelling discharge from the nose; although Maggie did have a lot of nasal discharge, it was her breath that smelt fouler

We went away happy that it was likely not a fistula causing the issue, but also none the wiser as to what was causing the issue. We ended up taking her back to VSG a few days later. We couldn’t see our usual vets so we saw another one. We left her at VSG so she could have a CT scan and some blood work done.

We had to leave her overnight as it wasn’t until after 4pm that she could get in to have the scan done. We went to collect her the following morning. At the appointment, the vet showed us the scan. The tumour has been resistant to the Palladia with Maggie, has come back, and has invaded her nasal cavity, and part of the left side of her face (the good side). She’s currently breathing through a tube around 5% of what she should be breathing through. That’s why she’s been snorting. It’s also why she’s stopped eating; when Mum puts food out every morning, she runs into the kitchen, takes a sniff of the food, and walks away. She can’t smell. We’ve been syringe feeding her. When we take her to her vet appointments now, they’ve also been syringe feeding her. She has cancer cachexia, so regardless of how much she was eating prior to this, she’s lost a lot of weight. As of today, she’s 3.31kg which is 70g above her lowest.

weight

She’s also been put on a different chemo drug. We’ve been told that this is pretty much the last option for her. The particular drug is harsh on her kidneys and attacks both cancer and white blood cells, so VSG has to administer it once every 3 weeks to allow time for the white blood cells to regenerate. Maggie has kidney failure, so it really is a last ditch effort. There is another drug that could have been tried, but if this one doesn’t work, the earliest she could safely be given it is 10 days after the dose of the one she’s currently on. It’s excreted in urine and faeces, so we have to segregate her from the other two cats for the first two days after it’s administered with a separate dirtbox. None of the cats have enjoyed that. D’arcy cries during the night, and Rosie has been incredibly worried whenever we have to feed her, as Maggie doesn’t tolerate it well.

Mum has been sleeping on the floor with her in the lounge at night, and Dad lies on the floor in the kitchen trying to coax her to eat on her own.

The most heartbreaking thing about it is that, although she’s struggling and is incredibly uncomfortable, she still seems happy. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word… perhaps ‘loyal’ would be more apt. She still purrs as loud (and snuffly) as ever. She loves brushies and face scratchies. When Dad sits down, she runs to him to give him loves. She gives us so much affection. I was home from work yesterday and I set myself up on the lounge floor with my duvet and laptop, and I put the TV on for us, and she spent the day sitting with me on the floor. She cried whenever I left her to go down the hallway to get something. She knows we’re upset and I feel like she’s trying to be extra affectionate to try and comfort us. She doesn’t like us being upset as much as we don’t like her being uncomfortable.

The vet said that if the drug is going to work, we should see very quickly. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing those changes. I’m afraid she has weeks or even days left.

Read more "Weeks or Days Left :("

Weight Chart

I’ve made Maggie a little weight chart. It shows her pre-cancer weight of 4.30kg (she used to be a little fattie), the weight she was when VSG weighed her before she came home, of 3.31kg (a 990g loss), VSG’s goal weight for her of around 3.65kg (they wanted around a 300-400g increase), and her most recent weigh-in at Bucklands Beach Vets of 3.24kg.

maggie-graph
Maggie’s Weight Chart

I’ve also made some templates. You can use them for your own cat. One is a plain graph with gaps for you to fill in details, and the other one includes a shaded guide so you can see the healthy weight ranges for different types of cats.

Click here to download my templates. (PDF, 2.43MB)

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