Thursday, November 19, 2009
I write this post with my cat and best friend Buzz sitting right next to me by my keyboard. He is actually waiting for me to vacate his favorite chair. A month ago Buzz was diagnosed with abdominal cancer; he was very sick, and I thought he was a goner. I have never been closer to another animal, so I took him to the cancer clinic in Tustin. There our luck began to change. I think in large part due to we drew Dr. Rosenberg the head of the clinic. I was heartbroken. When she walked into the room where I was waiting with Buzz, I was already crying. Four days prior I had to rush Buzz to the vet because he had thrown up so much he was low on electrolytes and needed to be placed on an IV. Dr. Rosenberg was with an intern, and she asked the young girl to fetch some Kleenix for me. I gave her Buzz's history. Talking to her calmed me. I immediately knew this woman knew her stuff. She is big league. She physically examined him and felt the tumor verifying the ultrasound Buzz had two days before. She kept him for a couple of hours to do another ultrasound and attempt to take a needle into the tumor to aspirate a biopsy. I can't say why, but I remember leaving the clinic to grab some lunch feeling better. I wouldn't say Dr. Rosenberg gave me hope, yet her manner and knowledge comforted me. I sensed that Buzz could not be in better hands. The ride home was long, but Buzz who normally bitches the entire ride, having been drugged for the tests, was calm. My boy sat in my lap the entire ride home. The next day I spoke with Dr. Rosenberg and she told me that the aspiration didn't tell her anything, and that she believed the tumor was not lymphoma, but worse a sarcoma. She told me to bring Buzz to the clinic the next day, and overnight she would meditate and come up with a strategy. By then, I was beginning to accept the fact that Buzz was no going to be around much longer. I hadn't given up hope, however I was preparing myself for the worst. Because Buzz was weak and not a young cat Dr. Rosenberg decided against doing anything evasive to assay the tumor. Rather she decided to go on her experience and gut to treat Buzz. The next day I brought him in, and she gave him his first chemo treatment. She advised me that he could suffer nausea the first 72 hours, or 7-10 days after the treatment. I did not notice anything different except Buzz's appetite had increased. He wanted to eat all the time, and he wasn't throwing up. The 7 to 10 period passed without incident, and Buzz kept on eating. Two weeks after his treatment I came home from shooting and noticed there was throw-up on the drive way, and I thought oh, the nausea is getting to him. So I got some of the medication that Dr. Rosenberg had given me and coaked it down Buzz's throat. On the bed where he was laying I noticed drops of blood. Then he shook his head, and a spray of blood flew off him. My first thought was Oh No, he is so bad he's coughing up blood. Then I saw a nasty gash on his ear. I tried to examine it, but he resisted. He was wounded, and then I realized he must have gotten into a fight with another cat. It freaked me out, because chemo takes its toll on the white blood cells and I was terrified he was going to get an infection. I examined for any other wounds and to his aggravation I cleaned out the gash with peroxide and Neosporin. He seemed to be OK....... My neighbor Peggy saw the fight, and she couldn't believe Buzz was involved. She had seen him the week before when he was sick and weak. Peggy told me the other cat was the aggressor, but that Buzz held his own. This was weird. My sick cat had the strength to battle. It was true, other than the wounded ear, Buzz was looking much happy and healthier. The stuff was working. What gave me the most satisfaction was watching Buzz sleep. I saw him sprawled out when he napped. He no longer looked uncomfortable. My God, my dear boy was not in pain. That made me so happy, but also sad knowing he had suffered so long without my knowledge. I was looking forward to bring Buzz back to Dr. Rosenberg to share my observations. My Buzz was back.