We started Martini’s chemo treatment on Monday evening. It feels like we opened a kitty pharmacy really. We went from feeding one low allergen prescription food to having to dose the poor little girl with all this: chlorambucil (a chemo drug used to treat lymphoma), prednisolone (a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation from chemo, relieve nausea, and boost her appetite), metoclopramide (to relieve nausea) and carafate (an antacid used to treat ulcers, but also used to coat the GI tract and prevent nausea). In addition, Martini is getting subcutaneous fluids, every other day at least, to help with her hydration levels. Cats can very easily get life-threateningly dehydrated, and they don’t like to drink when they feel crummy.
Tini’s chemo drug is a pill. 3.5 pills, actually. She gets 3.5 pills every other week. Her other 3 meds are every day. So Monday night, I put on my latex gloves (it is dangerous to touch the pills), and Jon helped hold her while I shoved pill after pill down her throat. She was not pleased… And I learned there is a special kind of misery when you feel like you are poisoning your baby. Afterwards, I cried. Martini was mad at me for awhile. Especially because two hours after the chemo drug, I had to hold her down again and give her the prednisolone (doc wanted them given a couple hours apart in case one caused immediate nausea), and then hold her down yet again one hour after that to give her the carafate (you have to give it an hour after all other meds, because it prevents the GI tract from absorbing the meds for a couple hours afterwards). Finally, after all that, she hid under the bed for several hours. I felt terrible when I went to bed and she wouldn’t sleep with me.
And then, we waited. I didn’t know what to expect – would she start vomiting? Would she be really tired or achy? Would she lose her hair? The interwebs says some cats lose their whiskers but they don’t really lose their hair. Well it has been 6 days now and here’s our experience.
Tini vomited once the night of the chemo, and once since then. 2 times in a week, that’s not bad, all things considered. And at least she had the decency to not puke under the bed again! We have a Tempur-pedic mattress so moving it off the bed to get under there to clean it up is a two person workout. She was tired the first couple of nights, certainly, putting herself to bed about 7. She hasn’t seemed more achy than usual, and is still jumping up where she wants to be – counters, beds, etc. And after a few days, just like the vet said, her appetite started to improve! We are giving her wet food whenever she wants it, which she is eating well, but she is eating some kibble too! That makes me hopeful.
And while I wouldn’t say she likes her meds, she is tolerating them pretty well. She doesn’t hide at med-time. She doesn’t glare at me or hide after med-time. She doesn’t like the prednisolone, because it makes her drool – but that’s just for a few minutes afterwards… Last night she was protesting her subcutaneous fluids, but purring at the same time! Jon says she bit him, but not hard. How’s that for passive aggressive!? Here Daddy, let me purr while I bite you!
So, one week into cancer treatment, I’d say things are going well. We have a long road still ahead, but at least so far, it could be worse.