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Pahavit's Universe

Date: 3-22-2005 10:06 PM
Subject: Patrick's chemo
Security: Public
Tags:cat, chemo, patrick
Patrick's chemo

Patrick has been doing better this past week on prednisone. After some discussion with Dr. S., we decided to try a modified course of chemo (prednisone daily and vincristine weekly for 6 weeks). Patrick has maybe 6 months if the chemo works. He's almost 14 years old, diabetic, asthmatic, overweight and arthiritic, so it's complicated. But he's definitely responding just to the prednisone; he has a better appetite and is acting more like his usual self. So I feel it's worth a shot. My previous cat Mao did not respond significantly to the full-bore chemo treatment when he had lymphoma, but like a zombie I kept on bringing him back for more treatment thinking he'd somehow magically be part of the 40% that got better. (Plus, in retrospect, I feel Mao's vet gave me too much false hope. From that experience I learned that I can deal with any reality, no matter how painful, but false hope will destroy me because it inevitably fails.) Anyway, I will be taking my cues from Patrick as to how to proceed with this. I will not force him through 6 weeks of chemo, modified or otherwise, if it isn't helping him, regardless of the odds.

It isn't just because of what happened with Mao that has shaped my feelings about this. I also lost my sister and a cousin to multiple myeloma (similar to lymphoma). Both of them pursued every possible treatment available (I even got genetically tested to see if I could be a stem cell donor for my sister; we didn't match), and both got sicker and eventually passed away in spite of everything their doctors could do for them. So that plus the experience with Mao have obviously shaped my feelings about Patrick's diagnosis and what the priorities should be. If it comes down to it, I'm prepared to ask for palliative care only. Both Dr. S. and Dr. J. (Patrick's regular vet) have agreed to offer it, so I don't have to worry about getting that arranged if need be.

At least at the moment, that decision seems a ways off, thank goodness.

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