Rainbow Bridge

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Raz crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge on Friday, May 24, just 39 days after her diagnosis of an aggressive fibrosarcoma. In her last few days, she was showing more signs of pain, and the tumor was growing back quickly. I was hoping I could wait until Monday, take the weekend with her. But with the exponential speed that it was growing and the increased pain signs, I knew I couldn’t wait three more days.

I know other people have their animals for 10, 15, even 20 years, and Raz was only 4. But Raz was my first pet I had on my own, and she was the sweetest girl. I miss her so much. Her last meal was chip dip and MANY treats that the vet had. She LOVED those treats! It incited a little guilt that she was still eating and obviously enjoyed eating, she was still pooping until the end, and she even did a trick, moments before she passed! But she was having so much pain, and the tumor was growing so quickly. It was time.

Six days before we returned for the final visit, we saw the vet who has been most helpful throughout this whole process. When I first asked a few weeks ago, she had been hesitant to say that the cancer had been brought on by vaccines. But on that second-to-last visit, she told me she had looked at Raz’s kitten records and has changed her mind. Apparently she received too many vaccines all at once.

I adopted her from Lake Haven Shelter in West Michigan, and I’m trying to get in touch with them about her vaccine records there, if she received any. I do have her vaccine records from the vet clinic I brought her and Kho to in their first year, in Mississippi. I have a hard time understanding the records, and I’m not convinced they were written accurately (twice they have listed that she received her “second” ___ vax). I’m still digging. And to be clear, I am definitely all about vaccinating your kids and your pets! But there are guidelines and recommendations for safer vaccines, and for the schedule of them. I know cancer can choose anyone for any reason, but if its preventable and shouldn’t happen based on “new” (20 year old) recommendations, it’s absolutely unacceptable.

Raz’s body was donated to the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary. I hope that the students can learn from her, and perhaps she will provide important information in solidifying answers for other kitties.

I spoke with one of the doctors at the vet office in Mississippi where she got the vaccinations that allegedly triggered this cancer. He was surprisingly receptive to my concerns and asked for the contact information for my vet here in Massachusetts. I have reached out to one of the oncology doctors at the Cummings School in the hopes that I’ll receive confirmation that she will be studied. Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I want to know that she will make a difference.


Kho has been immensely comforting these last couple of days. He has made many biscuits for me (on me…), and has snuggled right up against my face a few times. Friday night we had our neighbor and her puppy over for a visit. It was Kho’s second interaction with a dog…the first one who visited a couple years ago was loud and annoying. This one was just SO ENERGETIC. It was therapeutic for me and my roommates, and Kho was very curious. He did bop the poor puppy on the nose once, but it was harmless. He stared at the puppy the entire time she was over, and watched her slobber and chew on all his toys. It was great!

 

Anyways, I’ll keep you all informed if I learn anything on the vaccines and if I hear back from the Cummings Vet School. Thank you for all your support during our brief journey with our sweet tripawd, Raz.

Cassie (meowther)

Kho (still a monkeybutt)

Raz (totally whole now, an angel at the Bridge)

Elephant butt?


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I Wish…

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I wish things were going a different direction. I wish Raz were still the curious, pain-free tripawd she was a couple weeks ago. I wish cancer didn’t exist. But unfortunately, I don’t have a fairy godmother or a genie in a bottle.

This has been quite the whirlwind (and expensive) week. Last Tuesday, Raz had a particularly long painful episode. When she is trying to snuggle, but can’t find a comfortable position, she growls and hollers out of frustration and pain. This one lasted about 10 minutes. I called my regular vet, and they recommended I bring her into ER. The location of her tumor is near her spine, so they wanted someone to look at her and make sure she was okay. The ER vet we got was young and curt with us, simply telling us we should just increase the pain meds. It made me feel like I was paranoid and crazy for bringing my cat in.

Yessss! Poke me with your acupuncture needles!

Two days later I brought her to her second acupuncture session. She was hotter to the touch than usual, and as soon as the doctor was finished with the acupuncture, her body felt MUCH cooler. Incredible! They did take her temp after the session and it was 103.5. I wish we would have checked it before to see if it made a difference in her internal temp as well. Raz is already on a small Wei Qi tea pill, and this time I picked up some “Body Sore” powder which is supposed to help with pain and inflamation. It’s very stinky…I got some empty pill caps that I put the chinese herbs and her pain medicine into so we limit the number of medications she needs to take.

Raz didn’t have much of an appetite last week, since Tuesday at least. I’m not 100% sure who eats what in the morning since I feed them and leave. But at night, she wasn’t eating a lot. I started mixing her food with bone broth to get her some nutrients. I guess if they have a fever, their appetite is significantly lower.

Between the fever and lack of appetite, our regular vet wanted to see us on Saturday. Her temp was 104.5 this time. The doctor believes that the little bumps we thought were stitches beneath the surface are little tumors growing back. They’re still perplexed by this fever, but they gave her a long-lasting antibiotic and sent me home with Oncior, an anti-inflamatory. We are upping the gabapentin to 75mg, and I’ll be picking up the buprenorphine tomorrow to start on that again.

Raz’s spark has been slowly going out since last week through all of this. She isn’t interested in playing like she was in the few weeks after surgery, she is hiding more instead of snuggling, and she stares off into the distance at times. I’m prepping myself and my roommate to say goodbye soon, unless something miraculous happens this week.

I wish things were different.

With love,

Cassie (meowther)

Raz (tripawd princess)

Kho (monkeybutt prince)

Escape, Acupuncture, and Cuddles

Things are still going pretty well with Raz, Kho, and their hoomans. Raz is continuing to find her new normal. She even escaped to the forbidden basement last weekend! Every once in a blue moon I let them down to the shared basement we have with our two upstairs neighboring apartments. There is a TON of junk down there, and it’s a dusty place. BUT apparently we have a slight mouse problem, so if I let them go down there, maybe getting the cat scent will help to scare them off. That’s my theory, anyways…one of our upstairs neighbors is terrified of cats (…-_-…), so I don’t let them go down unless I’m absolutely positive she won’t be around. But last Saturday, Raz found the door to be slightly ajar, and she had a BALL! It was her first time using stairs, and she did just fine.

In the few days that followed, she was a little more painful than she had been before, but I believe it was because she overdid it a bit in her basement adventure.

 

Last Thursday was our first visit to a holistic vet. I didn’t know what to expect! But the staff and doctor were so sweet, and I could tell Raz felt comfortable there (though she usually does fine at the vet anyways). The doctor spent an hour and a half with us, getting to know Raz and her story. She then proceeded with acupuncture. It was my first experience with the practice, and I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive. But Raz responded really well and was relaxed the entire time! She started on my lap, and there was one point where she jumped off, but thankfully the needles stayed put and she didn’t move around anymore during the process. The TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) doctor explained that the acupuncture will help cool the body down (she tends to run warm, especially where the incision/cancer was), and it will help get the “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) moving normally, which will help regulate normal cell division. We also went home with Wei Qi Booster tea pills, which will act similarly to encourage normal cell division, and hopefully build her immune system up so it can fight off any bad cancer cells.

It’s all a little strange to me, but I’m willing to try it if it will increase Raz’s chances! 

To update Raz and Kho’s relationship, it’s better than ever! The two of them snuggled together with me TWICE in the last week. It has been so special to see the two of them getting along as if they were kittens again.

 

Don’t mind my roommate’s legs…he’s wearing shorts.

This Thursday we are celebrating one month! My roommates and I will celebrate Raz’s first statistic buster (she was given 1-2 months). Here’s to a continued recovery and remission!

 

 

Cassie (meowther)

Raz (tripawd sister)

Kho (monkeybutt brother)

She Jumps!!!

So, really quick. Raz has already surpassed my expectation…last night we were practicing sitting, shaking, and jumping, and she did it! Several times! With a couple assists and after watching her brother a few times, Raz finally got the confidence to jump up on her one leg! Yay!!!

The Good Times

We are two weeks since surgery.

At the vet, right before she removed the stitches

Raz is doing so well! She is playing, eating (like a pig), and just loving every moment. You would never know that she lost a leg two weeks ago. Meowther (me) has been much more of a wreck than she has! I’ve let her stay out of the kennel at night the last couple nights, and today is her first day of freedom all day. She got her stitches out yesterday, and the incision looks really good, except that it had already started to heal over the sutures.

Raz was thrilled to be able to clean the incision! 

I’ve been spoiling Raz and Kho more than ever with little treats…I’ve always been very sparing with them, rarely opening the treat bag. Now they each get at least 5 per day! I trained them to sit, shake, and jump for treats when they were little. One thing I’ve read on here is the “physical therapy” for the three legged critters, and strengthening their cores. Raz has been sitting for the treats, and she is shaking her paw most of the time as well! Still trying to figure out the balance with that. I’m most excited to see her starting to jump! For that trick, they jump on their hind legs and grab onto my hand to retrieve the treat. I have Kho do the trick nearby so Raz can see him, and she has started to try! I predict that within a week, she’ll be hopping up and fully extending her one back leg to get that treat. 😉

I made it! …now what?

Raz has pretty much been doing her own exercises since I’ve given her more freedom: creating her own obstacle courses, and doing what hopping and jumping she feels appropriate. She finally made it up to her favorite spot in the cat tree last week. I had blocked it off in the few weeks before surgery, back when we still didn’t know what was going on. She wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t like the idea of her staying up there for hours and hours. So now that it’s an option for her again, she has been enjoying her favorite spot.

AND the monkeybutt Kho is getting along so much better with Raz! I think the Maryland surgery smell is pretty much gone and he realizes that she is indeed the sister he has always known. Sometimes he gets a little too curious with her now-more-revealed bum-hole, so she gives him a warning. But they give each other little boops and sniffs of affection, and it’s awesome to see!

They really do love each other, I love their little bits of affection. <3

I am so grateful for this site, it’s been such a comfort. I have pretty much come to a peace about letting things take a natural course from this point, going the hospice route when we get there. I am currently waiting for a local oncologist to consult with my vet as a last ditch effort. The doctor we saw at our vet office offered a similar poor prognosis yesterday. I just want to know from a cancer specialist that there really is nothing that can be done. So far from what I understand, chemo might add only a couple months, and radiation is a painful, expensive, and time-consuming treatment that might only add a year. I’ll wait and see what the oncologist says, and we’ll go from there.

Raz was always slower to cuddle, making sure the human was fully settled before hopping up. Now she takes allllll the cuddles she can get!

In the meantime, Raz is teaching me that every single moment counts, and to live each one filled with joy, good food, and snuggles. Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments, blog posts, and forums. What a wonderful community this is!

Cassie (meowther)

Raz (tripawd sister)

Kho (monkeybutt brother)