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Maceo Cat's Cancer Journey

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Sep 21

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Last night, Maceo came up from the foot of the bed to the head of the bed to snuggle with us at around 1 am, the way he likes to do.

He cuddled into the crook of my right arm and plopped down to sleep.

As he began snoring (he is a big snorer), his upper body started trembling and twitching. It was especially on the side of his amputation, where his left arm used to be.

The tremors were so strong that it actually kept me awake for some time. But, it didn’t seem to wake Maceo up at all! Nor did he seem to be in pain.

Later, I researched this and found that post-amputation tremors is a thing, and it’s maybe even a common after effect of the trauma.

I was surprised that the doctors and surgeon hadn’t mentioned it! But I guess it’s not a big deal if he clearly isn’t in pain.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with post-amputation tremors, twitching, or trembling?

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Jul 19

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Wednesday 7/19/17

Today was Maceo’s big First Day of Radiation! Jose and I got up extra early to go to yoga at 5, back by 7:30 am, for an 8:30 departure for UC Davis.

Maceo did even better than usual in the car (maybe he knew it was his Big Day?), and set a shining example for poor kitten Charlie, who threw up viciously after getting car sick at the very beginning of the ride.

It’s only an hour and 20 minutes by car, but that can seem like forever to a little kitty!

When we arrived at Davis, we waited for a couple of hours before they took him in.

This was fine by us, as the waiting is always pretty peaceful there and they have good wifi (plus I broke the rules and gave Maceo a small snack at 4 am — they’re supposed to fast from midnight on. Long story short, it was fine.). As in previous visits, I was able to be very productive while there and even had a good team video call and sent an important email campaign!

Charlie had to wait with us too, and he seemed more traumatized than Maceo. I sure hope he never gets cancer, because he would make a terrible patient.

In the waiting area, we chatted with another kitty parent who was bringing her cat for her 11th radiation treatment (also out of 20, also for a fibrosarcoma). That kitty looked tired to the bone, and yet it was comforting to hear from another person going through a similar situation. Her kitty had totally clean scans, though, whereas Maceo has not just one by two little nodules in his lungs. Call us crazy, but we aren’t condemning him yet for those two nodules. No one knows for sure what they are, and many animals (and humans!) have all sorts of random growths inside them.

At 12:30, the radiation oncologist took him away to get started. At 2:30, a mere two hours later, we got the call that he did great and was ready to be picked up. Fast! We were told he could be there all day on his first day, so we were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t even get to have lunch before it was time to go get him again.

When we picked him up, he was one mad cat. The nurse told us that he was pretty angry at them, for whatever reason, but they had been able to give him about half of his food that I packed for his “wakeup” moments (apparently, they are hungry right after anesthesia because the drugs whet their appetite).

He has a wrapped catheter in his right wrist so that they don’t have to poke him every day (they can just unwrap his catheter to administer anesthetic drugs), and he has to wear an e-collar to prevent him from fiddling with the catheter. It’s so interesting that animals have to go to so much trouble for something like radiation treatment — which doesn’t hurt at all — simply because they don’t understand what’s happening and they can’t / won’t sit still enough for the treatment. Anyway, anesthesia, catheter, e-collar… it’s all just to get him to stay still!

During the 10 minute car ride back to our hotel, he wasn’t quite as calm as during our morning ride in to Davis. This time, he meowed angrily the whole way. Pretty stressful, and made the 10 minutes feel like half an hour.

Once we arrived in the hotel room, though, he became a different cat. His tail perked up, and he immediately went about investigating the entire room — every nook, cranny, and door. This was a complete 180 from the kitten Charlie’s reaction; upon entering the room, Charlie immediately ran under the bed and stayed there, so upset was he.

Maceo explored the room thoroughly, and then decided he wanted to explore the rest of the hotel. He told me this by standing by the door (which he knew led to something more) and looking at me expectantly. So we harnessed up, and took him on a brisk leash walk up and down the hallway of the hotel, and even outside by the walkway to the pool.

When he came back in, he was ready to eat! He ate well today, and it was a full supplement bonanza. Much better mood and appetite than at home.

We kept remarking that he seems much more cheerful, alert and engaged when he’s in these strange new situations — even clinical ones! This is completely opposite of what most cats are “supposed” to act like in new situations. At first, I thought it was maybe his way of showing stress. But… he does not seem stressed. He simply seems bossy, interested, and very curious. Good for him.

In the evening, he got lots of special treats, including a fresh catnip plant that he promptly proceeded to gobble down, a catnip worm, and some new baby food (for his daily supplement fest).

It’s almost 9 pm and he’s still not sleeping! If this were a regular day at home, he’d be pretty disengaged by now. But here, he is still poking around the room, eyes big and bright.

Well, that was Day 1 of 20… we are staying positive, but realistic that not all days will be this easy. Still, we’re hoping for the best and doing all we can to keep him strong.

With that, here’s his intake for the day.

Total supplement intake:

  • 2000/2000 mg Turkey Tail mushroom, 4 total pills
  • 2/2 pills Stamets 7 mushroom blend
  • 0/600 mg IP6 with Inositol (0 total pills) — didn’t bring this with us
  • 2/2.5 scoops Transfer Factor Feline
  • 1 pill (200 mg) Transfer Factor for humans
  • 0/2 tea pills of Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan (bupleurum)
  • 7 drops of CBD oil

Total food intake:

  • 1/2 blocks of Primal Chicken & Salmon (46 cals per block) — 46 cal
  • .5 blocks of Primal Venison (40 cals per block) — 20 cal
  • 0 cup Origen kibble — 0 cal
  • 0 cup homemade chicken bone broth — 0 cal
  • 0 tablespoon of raw pureed chicken liver — 0 cal
  • 1 jar Gerber turkey baby food — 80 cal
  • 3/4 can Wellness grain free cat food in turkey and salmon flavor (166 cal per 5.5 oz can) — 125 cal
  • Some treats

Total Calories: 271