Lola's fight with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (I'm going to say goodbye to my cat)

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Mia6

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Antonio.

Sounds like she had a good day,,sweet Lola.

Hugs,

Mia
 

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Ha Ha... Puffy bites the water too, and aside from dental surgery she had done because of bad teeth, there is nothing wrong with her mouth, she just likes to do it!.  Or course she drinks from a fountain so I am sure that has something to do with it.  Sounds like Lola had a great day... Each day is a gift, these situations remind us of that.  Doesn't it just make the work worth it though, when she is still so connected to you and interested in things despite all that she goes through?  Definitely inspirational!

Here's hoping for another good day, and then another.. and so on and so forth.
 
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Antonio65

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Bad day today!

She wasn't willing to eat, though she somewhat told me she was hungry. I think this syringe feeding is to her more a torture than a sustaining mean. When I sit her on the chair to start the feeding procedure she often squats in a defensive position. This morning she didn't want to swallow the food I was pushing into her mouth, I was sad and desperate, I lost my temper and shouted at her.

Her tongue is disappearing down her throat. After she had half of her tongue removed she was still able to eat and swallow her food with the syringe, but in the last days her tongue has become shorter and shorter and gives her no more aid in the swallowing process.

Furthemore she has developed a rather unquenchable thirst. I give her water with a syringe several times a day. During a meal I give her at least 30 ml of water, then during a day I shot some water into her mouth as often as I can. But she goes to the water bowl anyway and tries to get some water by biting it.

Could this be one side effect of the life-long therapy with Metacam?

Having a blood test done is the last thing I would like to do to her. She's been tortured enough in these last months.

Then she has started doing pee and poop outside her litter tray. At first I had found some excuses for her, but in the last few days it happened in moments when she was more than able to reach her tray. This morning she stepped into the tray then she walked out and pooped two metres further.

Are these signals of something wrong?
 

Mia6

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Antonio,

I think her system is shutting down. She has fought the good fight but I think she is telling you to let her go.

I know how hard this is for you. Perhaps she will perk up but I doubt it. If you feel she is suffering badly

maybe it is time.

Hugs for Lola and your family,

Mia
 

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I'm sorry Lola is having a rough go of it.  I am not a Vet so this is just random thoughts.  Pooping outside the litter tray could indicate constipation, or pain when pooping... and I think that could be attributed to pain meds. I think maybe increased thirst could be too.  Not sure about the peeing outside the box when she was able to make it... poor Alex cried to be taken to the box to pee even when she couldn't stand anymore... So anyway, I also am not sure about how heavy duty the pain meds Lola is on are, and if they are strong narcotic, she could be really high.  You will have to decide for yourself if feeding her is a benefit or a punishment.  And I think Lola will let you know.  As hospice care for her giving her fluids when she wants them is kind.. having a dry mouth sucks, but if the food is just prolonging the suffering and you feel okay with stopping it, you will know bests when it is that time.  Alex would look up and sniff her favorites when we put them in front of her, but then she would look away and not eat them.  She just decided she was done.  And of course by that time, she was already weak from her illness and from not being able to eat as well in the months leading up to that point, so it went pretty quick, but each hour was excruciating... We struggled with are we doing the right thing... but in our hearts we knew there was nothing else we could do.  Will be thinking of and praying for you and Lola today. 
 

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I am so sorry it's come to this. I have to agree with the earlier post. Maybe she's trying to tell you something. Do you have sub fluids to keep her hydrated? I am so sorry it has come to this. Sending you prayers and hugs and flinging my arms at the universe in fury.
 

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God bless you for doing the best you can for precious Lola.I lost my kitty Omelette to cancer on Jan 27.In her last days she ate a very little after seeing the vet,and stopped altogether.I fed her by hand until the last day.She drank a lot of water herself from the meds she was on to limit the fluid in her lungs.I know how frustrating and heartbreaking taking care of a very sick kitty can be.Lola is a real fighter.She knows how very much you love her.She will let you know when she has had enough.On Omelette's last day she would not take her meds.She didn't even have the strength to go to her water dish. I gave her water.Later that day she died in my arms. Only you can decide what you will want to do.I could not put her down. I had no strength to do it.I let nature take it's course.You will know what to do when the time comes.Hear what the vet has to say before you decide. I have you in my thoughts and prayers. Hug Lola all you can.Sending hugs out to you and her.
 

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Bad day today!
She wasn't willing to eat, though she somewhat told me she was hungry. I think this syringe feeding is to her more a torture than a sustaining mean. When I sit her on the chair to start the feeding procedure she often squats in a defensive position. This morning she didn't want to swallow the food I was pushing into her mouth, I was sad and desperate, I lost my temper and shouted at her.
Her tongue is disappearing down her throat. After she had half of her tongue removed she was still able to eat and swallow her food with the syringe, but in the last days her tongue has become shorter and shorter and gives her no more aid in the swallowing process.
Furthemore she has developed a rather unquenchable thirst. I give her water with a syringe several times a day. During a meal I give her at least 30 ml of water, then during a day I shot some water into her mouth as often as I can. But she goes to the water bowl anyway and tries to get some water by biting it.
Could this be one side effect of the life-long therapy with Metacam?
Having a blood test done is the last thing I would like to do to her. She's been tortured enough in these last months.
Then she has started doing pee and poop outside her litter tray. At first I had found some excuses for her, but in the last few days it happened in moments when she was more than able to reach her tray. This morning she stepped into the tray then she walked out and pooped two metres further.
Are these signals of something wrong?
Is your intent to have her die at home - that is, are you essentially doing palliative "hospice care"? If so, I think you might recognize that her system is shutting down. Not wanting to eat and drink, and losing control over where she pees and losing control over her bowels are additional signs. Have you checked her heart rate, has her body temperature lowered under 100 degrees F.? (If her paws are cool to the touch, it could be a sign of her slowing heart, too, the lowering of body temperature.) She will have a harder and harder time ridding her body of toxins, too, and the smell from her cancer in her mouth could be stronger. She will not want to eat. I hope she is not in pain. Please try not to be sad or shout at her, she is a valiant fighter! I understand your loss, believe me, and how much of a struggle this is. I know your heart is breaking. Hug her and love her and please see that she is not in pain at the end.
:vibes: :vibes:
 

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I'm so sorry sweet Lola isn't doing as well as she was over the weekend


This is an aggressive cancer as you know.  With my boy Simon, he had moments at the beginning of diagnosis and throughout the 4 months I gave him "hospice" care, but it was one Sunday afternoon he took a turn.  He just finished eating what became his favorite food, Fancy Fish Whitefish flakes, which I blended with the RX recovery high protein food along with baby food.  He downed almost 3 cans, and then overnight his tongue was pushed out from the tumor.  But as his tumor pushed the tongue up and out, I believe it closed his throat making it hard to eat.

His last week was a rough road.  I made bone broth which I used to water down baby food, but I fear looking back, he didn't get as much food as I thought OR the cancer was just eating up his calories.

The last 3 days, he lost a lot of weight and had a tough time walking.
 

Again I say, I kept him home to pass, because I know he wasn't in pain, with the pain meds.  But I fear he was sad that he couldn't even drink his own water without help making him frustrated.  I struggle with that thought everyday.  Did he end up resenting me in the end,   I guess I'll never know.  I need to believe in my heart he knew I did everything that was best for him and loved him with all my heart.

I don't know if I would do that again in the future, as he was my special boy, we were peas in a pod so it was an unusual moment for us.  If I were to relive my time with Simon and do it all again would I do it the same way, yeah, I probably would, but with slight changes at the beginning of diagnosis.  I would have fattened him up right from the start.

I know Lola knows all you are doing for her is out of love.  And I have no doubt that Lola loves you unconditionally and in no way resents anything you have done for her. 

It's a difficult time for you, it's never easy letting go.  Lola will let you know when the time is near and you will know in your heart.  Your brain might be telling you other wise,  but your heart will ache as never before, and you'll know you need to brace yourself as you make your final goodbyes.  

The only advice I can give you at this point is, cherish every moment, be strong, look into her eyes - talk to her and tell her how much you love her and how much you've enjoyed her company - keep her close, let her find peace and comfort in your arms.

Be strong my friend, we are all here for you. Lola has touched us all - please know you are not alone 


Warmest regards to you and your family as you approach this next stage in your journey.  Your friend, Hope
 

artiemom

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Antonia, You have not posted for a bit.. I am not having good thoughts about that.. 

Please know you are loved, Lola is loved.. we are all here for you...

You have done and are doing the best you can....

((((((hugs))))))
 
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Antonio65

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Antonio,

I think her system is shutting down. She has fought the good fight but I think she is telling you to let her go.

I know how hard this is for you. Perhaps she will perk up but I doubt it. If you feel she is suffering badly

maybe it is time.

Hugs for Lola and your family,

Mia
Mia, apart from what I wrote, all other functions are still working. I think I should see other signals in this case.
 
I'm sorry Lola is having a rough go of it.  I am not a Vet so this is just random thoughts.  Pooping outside the litter tray could indicate constipation, or pain when pooping... and I think that could be attributed to pain meds. I think maybe increased thirst could be too.  Not sure about the peeing outside the box when she was able to make it... poor Alex cried to be taken to the box to pee even when she couldn't stand anymore... So anyway, I also am not sure about how heavy duty the pain meds Lola is on are, and if they are strong narcotic, she could be really high.  You will have to decide for yourself if feeding her is a benefit or a punishment.  And I think Lola will let you know.  As hospice care for her giving her fluids when she wants them is kind.. having a dry mouth sucks, but if the food is just prolonging the suffering and you feel okay with stopping it, you will know bests when it is that time.  Alex would look up and sniff her favorites when we put them in front of her, but then she would look away and not eat them.  She just decided she was done.  And of course by that time, she was already weak from her illness and from not being able to eat as well in the months leading up to that point, so it went pretty quick, but each hour was excruciating... We struggled with are we doing the right thing... but in our hearts we knew there was nothing else we could do.  Will be thinking of and praying for you and Lola today. 
MollyBlue,

She is not in pain when pooping, she goes naturally. Only that when she feels like, she does her things in the wrong spot.

Yesterday she used her tray no problems. Later in the evening I took her tray out to clean it and she heard the sound of the litter being cleaned and she came out in the courtyard and used the litter while I was cleaning it, then, once she was done with it, she walked inside again


The med she is on is Metacam, a few drops every second day.

I give her a sub-Q once a week, but I have noticed that it's doing her more bad than good. She's always down on the following day. It never happened before.

I'm very sorry for your Alex, I can understand you!
 
I am so sorry it's come to this. I have to agree with the earlier post. Maybe she's trying to tell you something. Do you have sub fluids to keep her hydrated? I am so sorry it has come to this. Sending you prayers and hugs and flinging my arms at the universe in fury.
Yes, I give her some fluids once a week, but they were very useful in the past, now it seems that they give some problems in the hours that folllow.

Thanks for your support
 

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I wonder if she needs a smaller amount more frequently? My heart kitty angel Floey got 75ml every day instead of 150 every other day. Some cats get 50ml at a time. I noticed in my girl she got hungry after fluids but I don't remember if she got slower.

I think someone else noticed this with her cat. If your cat isn't drinking water on her own she will need more fluids. generally it's 150 ml a day is around the daily fluids required to keep everything going. Wet food can be included in this since wet is what 75% water? I hope you guys can find a happy medium.
 
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Antonio65

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God bless you for doing the best you can for precious Lola.I lost my kitty Omelette to cancer on Jan 27.In her last days she ate a very little after seeing the vet,and stopped altogether.

...

Only you can decide what you will want to do.I could not put her down. I had no strength to do it.I let nature take it's course.You will know what to do when the time comes.Hear what the vet has to say before you decide. I have you in my thoughts and prayers. Hug Lola all you can.Sending hugs out to you and her.
I'm so sad for your Omelette, so sad.

I will discuss with the vet on Lola's last symptoms.

The vet that performed the radiation therapy ordered me not to take any initiative that I could repent. He said, Lola is a special cat, she deserves a special care till the end.
Is your intent to have her die at home - that is, are you essentially doing palliative "hospice care"? If so, I think you might recognize that her system is shutting down. Not wanting to eat and drink, and losing control over where she pees and losing control over her bowels are additional signs. Have you checked her heart rate, has her body temperature lowered under 100 degrees F.? (If her paws are cool to the touch, it could be a sign of her slowing heart, too, the lowering of body temperature.) She will have a harder and harder time ridding her body of toxins, too, and the smell from her cancer in her mouth could be stronger. She will not want to eat. I hope she is not in pain. Please try not to be sad or shout at her, she is a valiant fighter! I understand your loss, believe me, and how much of a struggle this is. I know your heart is breaking. Hug her and love her and please see that she is not in pain at the end.
PushPurrCatPaws,

Lola's paws are almost always cold, but they were cold last year too. The vets told me she might have a blood circulation problem due to her age.

She would like to eat, but she can't and doesn't like the syringe. She enjoyes the smells from our kitchen and table, so I think she is still attracted by the good food. She still wants to drink. I give her water with a syringe, but she also drinks from the bowl, she bites the water, so she has the right instict.

It's very hard to tell if she is going to let herself go.
 
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Antonio65

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I wonder if she needs a smaller amount more frequently? My heart kitty angel Floey got 75ml every day instead of 150 every other day. Some cats get 50ml at a time. I noticed in my girl she got hungry after fluids but I don't remember if she got slower.

I think someone else noticed this with her cat. If your cat isn't drinking water on her own she will need more fluids. generally it's 150 ml a day is around the daily fluids required to keep everything going. Wet food can be included in this since wet is what 75% water? I hope you guys can find a happy medium.
I give her around 100 ml of water each day with a syringe. A she gets some water from the wet food.

Like you say, Lola was much more active a couple of hours after the fluids, she was hungry and bright.

Lately she shows a strange reaction. It happened three times after the last three sub-Qs so I think it's not a coincidence.
 
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Antonio65

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 I know Lola knows all you are doing for her is out of love.  And I have no doubt that Lola loves you unconditionally and in no way resents anything you have done for her. 
It's a difficult time for you, it's never easy letting go.  Lola will let you know when the time is near and you will know in your heart.  Your brain might be telling you other wise,  but your heart will ache as never before, and you'll know you need to brace yourself as you make your final goodbyes.  

The only advice I can give you at this point is, cherish every moment, be strong, look into her eyes - talk to her and tell her how much you love her and how much you've enjoyed her company - keep her close, let her find peace and comfort in your arms.

Be strong my friend, we are all here for you. Lola has touched us all - please know you are not alone 


Warmest regards to you and your family as you approach this next stage in your journey.  Your friend, Hope
At this tage I don't think she is ready to go, she's too present and interactive, she follows me around, greets me at the door when I come back from work. She asks me to get outside, enjoys my cuddles and purrs me back.

I don't think it's time yet.
 
Antonio,

How is sweet Lola today?

Hugs,

Mia
Lola is doing rather fine, she's eating slower lately, but I presume this si due to the fact that her tongue has almost disappeared and she has trouble swallowing.

All the rest is great, though. She is still very happy to see me.
 
Antonia, You have not posted for a bit.. I am not having good thoughts about that.. 

Please know you are loved, Lola is loved.. we are all here for you...

You have done and are doing the best you can....

((((((hugs))))))
Artiemom,

don't worry, I was only a bit busy writing something that might interest you.

Thanks for being so close to us in these hard moments, I would like to hug you all!
 
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Antonio65

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INTRODUCTION
This post and the following two ones are to give readers as much background information as possible on my cat Lola.
She has had a troubled life since her birth and I think she used up all her nine lives now. She's a sweet and affectionate kitty, she has deserved the best treatments I could give her. I would have given her the best I could do even if she wasn't that lovely and sweet, but her quiet and happy attitude has helped a lot in this task. She has always allowed me to do everything for her, she has always deeply trusted me.
Now we're fighting against something that can't be won. Because this fight is hard and demanding and I know that others might be finding themselves in a similar situation, I want to share with you all my experiences hoping that they might be helpful, just like others' experiences on this forum and other websites have been helpful to me.
This background information spans from her birth to today, then I'll try to update the thread as often as possible, and I hope it'll be for a very long time.

THE BEGINNING
Lola was found along with his brother Romeo inside a cardboard box in a half hidden corner of the yard at my workplace on May 29, 2000. It was 8 am. They were tiny, blind and helpless. I guess that their mother refused them a few days after birth and that someone had found and put them into that box a few minutes before. I picked them up and found a warm and sheltered place where I could feed them during the working day. When I went home I took them with me, I bought all the necessary items to rear them, milk and bottle were the most necessary. I had no experience or notions at all on how to rear abandoned kittens, so I had to improvise a lot. I gathered some pieces of information from the shop owner and from workmates.
On the following day I took them to the vet who told me they were a girl (tortieshell) and a boy (white and ginger) and were not older than 15 days. I decided that their birthdate was May 15. I had to bottle fed them several times a day, but with the lack of advice and info I didn't know that they needed to be kept warm or that I had to rub their bellies after meal or other basic things like those.
Nonetheless they survived to my clumsiness, opened their eyes and in a few days they started walking.
The plan was that after weaning them I would have rehomed them, so I spread the voice. After three months a lady came over to ask for the boy, she fell in love with him. In that very moment I realized that I was in love with them too and couldn't part from them. I had reared them and taken care of them, they were like family. I decided to keep them both.
They had no names yet, they were simply the ginger one and the black one.
Then, on an evening in October my wife said that it was time to give them proper names, the boy was named Romeo, the girl was named Lola.
They grew fine, they did everything together, she was a bit dozier than her brother so she needed him next to her all the time. She would follow him everywhere for the fear to be left alone.
They would sleep outside at that time. It was April 23, 2001, when around midnight Romeo decided to take a long walk around. Luckily Lola was sleeping and didn't realize that he had gone on patrol. A few minutes later a phone call arrived. A kind woman had found a cat on the road, the tag on his collar had my phone number. I rushed to the site where she had found him. He was dead, killed by a car! I nearly passed off. The woman helped me to take Romeo back home, we wept all together.
We buried him in our garden on the following day. The vet told us not to allow his sister to attend the ceremony because she could have been traumatized. She kept looking for him for nearly a month, the same length of time I kept crying for his death.

Eventually she coped with her loneliness. But the bad luck wasn't over yet. In July 2001 Lola was hit by a car early in the morning. Thanks God she had no serious injuries, only some small bruises. A few days rest and she was back to her activities. So we decide that she would be let out only in daylight, but only one month later she came back home with a deep wound in her hind leg. The vet told us it was a dog bite. Our neighbor had a big dog, probably Lola had invaded his territory. She was ill and feverish for nearly two weeks, it was a long recovery. The new rule was that she would be let out only when supervised. That wasn't enough. One year later, in June 2002, she was hit by a car for the second time. Only bruises again. This was the last time she was allowed out. From that day on she never went out again unless on leash.

After her brother's loss she developed a special, deep, strong bond with me. She would never let me go anywhere in the house without following me. She would cry behind the bathroom door when I was in, she would stay sitten or curled up on my lap whenever I was at the kitchen table. She has always felt lost without a physical contact with me and this has never changed in the years.

In January 2002 we had adopted another cat, 8 months old according to the vet, found on a very freezing morning. The plan was to save her from the cold and find her a new home. The latter never happened and she stayed with us since. She never went along with Lola. She was named Pallina, a very common name for a cat in Italy. It means "little ball".

THE ADULT AGE
Fast forward to July 2006. I caught Lola drinking often. At first I thought it was caused by the heat and she was thirsty, but we went through a cold week in July and she was still drinking a lot. I called the vet, she visited her and said it was CRF. Lola was diagnosed with CRF at a young age! I knew it is a fatal disease and started worrying that she would have left me too young. Her diet changed to Renal, she had to take a pill everyday and had to receive sub-Qs of Ringer Lactate every other day.
It seemed to me that the world was collapsing on me, but after a few weeks it got a routine and I could manage it all without a hassle. I mastered the sub-Qs to a level that Lola wouldn't even relaize what I was doing to her.

Fast forward to July 2011. Lola was sneezing, two, three, four times a day. It was a cool July. The vet told me that the low temperatures of that unusual summer could have given Lola a cold. She gave her some antibiotic for ten days. Nothing changed. We let some days go by then the vet gave me a different antibiotic, to no avail again. Some weeks later we tried a different antibiotic. Same thing!
Time was passing by. We were in October, Lola was still sneezing too often to be normal and in some occasions a little blood was sprayed out of her nose.
The vet said it was time to have a rhinoscopy done. So Lola was sent to a clinic where they have the right equipment to do that. She was scoped and they found out a small mass inside her left nostril, up in the nostril, not visible from the outside. Their hope, and mine, was that it might be a polyp, they made a biopsy and sent the sample for a histology. A week later we knew it was carcinoma. Very rarely a cat gets a carcinoma inside their nostrils. The prognosis was 6 months without any treatment, 12 months with the radiation therapy. I decided to try the best we could do, so I got in touch with the only clinic in the country who does this therapy and a week later we were there, 220 miles from home, for a preliminary visit and a CT scan. The scan was to determine the exact position and size of the mass so to calibrate the linear accelerator for the radiation therapy.
These first three steps (rhinoscopy, preliminary visit and CT scan) cost me 1,400 euro already!

The treatment began one week later and lasted four weeks. Lola had to remain at the clinic for four weeks, it was too far away to go back and forth everyday. I went visit with her twice in those weeks, during the weekends. She was fine, only she felt lonely and had lost weight.
She could eat only once a day during those four weeks, at late evening, because the radiation therapy on pets requires that they are sedated for the treatment. So Lola should fast 12 hours before each session and wasn't allowed to eat for following 6 hours. Those daily sedations were a huge burden on her poor kidneys. The doctors at the clinic were very concerned about this physical condition and had to take it into account.
We began the therapy in November 21, 2011. Lola came back home on December 16. The cost for the therapy was huge, in excess of 4,500 euro, something that I wasn't prepared to, but I had to do it.
The doctors at the clinic warned me that the improvement would have been of short time and in a few months Lola would have had a new mass in her nostril. We had to have her CT scanned every three months for the rest of her life. Every scan told us that tha the mass was still there, but kind of frozen, not moving, not changing, not growing.
Lola surprised us all, because three years and 8 scans later she was still with us, so the doctors told me that no further scans were necessary.
Another miracle that the radiation therapy made was that the CRF had disappeared. All the blood works that Lola had from the end of 2011 on told us that all the parameters were back into their ranges. A miracle that no doctor has ever been able to explain.
We didn't give up the renal diet, the pills and the sub-Qs, though. Just in case.

One of the downsides of this therapy was the loss of hair on her nose which later grew back grey, though, I'd say this added an elegant touch to her beauty.
The other downside was that Lola developed a chronic rhinitis due to the burnings of the inner sides of her nostrils. The result of this has been a constantly runny nose with dense mucus build-up and the necessity of frequent cleanings of her nose also with the aid of a nebulizer. Lola has been nebulized nearly every day of her life since we came back from the radiation.
She got also weaker, the radiation therapy had been a heavy shock on her tiny body. She wasn't able to jump on the window sill or on the table any longer, and she never recovered again.

Nothing changed in her condition for years, the vets were amazed by how she reacted to the therapy and how she had defied the odds. They also said that Lola was the proof that in medicine nothing is taken for granted.

But the fate had set aside more for us...
 
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Antonio65

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THE SENIOR AGE AND THE RARE DISEASE

On a morning of mid-October 2015 she woke up weak and down, so I rushed to the vet who took some blood. The report was alright but the vet told me that probably the renal failure was worsening. An ultra-sound scan revealed that one of her adrenal glands was a little bigger than the other one, but the doctor showed no excessive concern about it. No meds were given in that occasion, I kept an eye on her for a week or so, she slowly recovered and that was the end of it... or at least I thought so.
In hindsight this was the prelude of what we were going to fight later in the following year.

On February 19, 2016 Lola woke up and was blind, totally blind! Her pupils were wide open and dark. She would walk into anything in the house and was a little scared. I called a clinic where I know an eye doctor is always present and they told me to rush to them as soon as possible. Thirty minutes later we were there. The diagnosis was of a total detachment of both retinas due to high blood pressure. Lola was given a pill to lower her pressure, one hour later she was seeing again! She had to take those pills twice a day for all her life. A follow-up visit two weeks later gave us peace of mind. Her retinas were back in their places, a very rare case of healing from blindness, they said. I was very happy.

At the end of March things went down dramatically. On the Easter Saturday she was so weak she couldn't stand and slept all day long. The same thing on Easter Sunday when I took her to a clinic which is 30-minute drive away where with an X-ray they found dry stools in her bowels. They made an enema and in few minutes Lola was free of those solid objects. The doctors told me that from that moment on things should have quickly improved. On the following day, though. she was even worse, so I ran to this clinic again and apart from visiting her and giving her some IV fluids, they didn't know what else to do. Lola went up and down for a week or so, I had her visited by three other clinics amd several vets, but none of them was able to tell me what my poor Lola had.
she was weaker and weaker everyday. She got so weak that it was impossible for to get up and go to her litter tray, so she started peeing on herself. Bathing her was out of discussion, she wouldn't have stood such a stress. The only way to clean her was using the wet wipes for pet. We used tons of them, she had to be wiped several times a day, everyday, for weeks. The bad smell wouldn't come off her fur, it was added to the scent of those wipes, giving back a sickening result!
She started having cold feet. Unless she was next to a warmth source, her feet were always cold.

On April 10 Lola was blind again. I changed doctor and went to a different eye doctor who said that her retinas were alright, but that for some unknown reason she couldn't see. An ultra-sound scan was made to her chest and abdomen and nothing wrong was found, apart from that adrenal gland slightly larger than the other one. On the same day Lola went further down so quick that I was sure I was losing her. I took her to the same clinic as Easter, she was hospitalized and admistered IV fluids. A complete blood work said she had very low potassium and other parameters out of range, but still they didn't know what it was. Two days later they eventually had the name for the disease, it was hyperaldosteronism, an extremely rare disease, very few cats have been diagnosed with it in the whole world in the last three decades.
This was the cause of her illness in the past months and of her blindness as well.
The only treatment possible was the surgery to remove one of the adrenal glands, tha gland that was found bigger than the other one in October of the previous year. Unfortunately only one veterinary hospital was equipped for such a surgery. Luckily enough it was only 1 hour and a half drive from home.
I took Lola to this hi-end hospital where she was taken in care. The plan was to have a CT scan made so to understand how to operate. Lola had to stay there for at least a week. Unfortunately when she was hospitalized she was in such terrible physical conditions that the anesthesia for the CT scan was impossible. They gave her massive IV fluids to make her recover, but after a week of attempts they told me that she was not responding and that the only thing we could do was to take her home and either let her go at home or try to treat her in a closer to home clinic were the fees were lower. For a useless week in this hi-end hospital I paid 1,700 euro.
The only useful thing they did was a blood test that confirmed the diagnosis made at the first clinic. The other two shocking surprises revealed during that week was that Lola was FIV+. Lola had been tested before, when she was very young, and she was found negative. I thought about this for days and the only answer I came up with was that it hadn't been a big dog to bite her in August 2001, it should have been a cat, a big FIV+ cat. Lola was also diagnosed with HCM, another consequence of her hyperaldosteronism. We had to be careful, any stress could have killed her. Probably this heart failure could be at the base of her cold feet problem.

Meanwhile Lola's eyesight was back, she was able to see fine.

I thought it was much better for her to being followed by those who had found the disease. She spent another week in this clinic with poor results, then she was sent back home with new meds and a potassium supplement, a paste that had a terrible taste. On her first day home Lola had her first seizure, we were scared, but a visit told us it was an isolated event, probably induced by the prolonged stress.
Lola would fight everytime she had to take the paste of potassium supplement and for the first time in her life she throwed up! A blood test two weeks later revealed that it didn't work at all, her blood potassium was still very low. It had been an pointless torture.
I decided that it was time to manage this thing personally, so I searched the web and found a potassium supplement in tablets for human. I bought it at the local pharmacy and started the treatment right away. After only three days Lola was feeling much better and a blood test each week for the following two months confirmed that I had made the right thing.
We restored the old habit to take long walks on the street with her leash.

It was early July 2016, I called the hi-end hospital and sent them all the blood reports of the last weeks, they agreed to have the surgery done as soon as possible. So when called we went there again, Lola was hospitalized again, had a CT scan on the following day, Monday, and was operated on Tuesday. They told me that it was a highly invasive and risky surgery and that the success rate was 75%. The surgery lasted nearly two hours, then the doctor came to me and told me that all went well. Lola had to be put under observation for 48 hours. I stayed at a hotel nearby for the night.
On the following day, Wednesday, I was able to see her. She was weak but alert and happy to see me. If things would go as usual she could have come home on Friday. I went back home on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday morning they called me and told me that Lola was still fine, but later in the afternoon they called me back and the news was that Lola was going down, was losing consciousness and her body temperature was going lower and lower, but everything was totally under control. Three hours later they called me again, Lola was in a coma, she was going to die. If I wanted to see her alive one more time I had to rush to the hospital. And so I did. I arrived there at night, they received me and warned me that the situation was extremely serious. They warned me that Lola was unconscious and would have not felt my presence. When I arrived at her cage she was lying on her side, with a IR lamp to keep her warm, IV's in her legs. I said "Lola, I'm here for you!", and in that moment she woke up from her coma, stood on her two front legs and meowed loudly. She also drank from a small saucer she had in her cage. The doctors couldn't believe their eyes and they allowed me to stay there for nearly one hour.
I decided to stay at the same hotel for the night. On the following day, early in the morning, they told me she was feeling much better. Lola was discharged on the following Monday, August 1. The hospital fee was nearly 5,000 euro.

We were home, at last, and I felt like I had fought the whole world bare handed and had won. I felt myself the happiest man on Earth, I felt almighty and proud. We would have had a follow-up visit on August 23. Meanwhile I noticed that Lola had more and more difficulties at eating her dry food. She would bite it, but then she would let it go on the floor. She was also drooling a little.
She started scratching her chin on objects. I thought she was so happy to be back home and in good health that she was just marking her territory again. She also starting having a bad breath as she had in April. In April, though, the vet told me that the bad breath was due to a poor physical condition.

On August 23 we went to the follow-up visit, five doctors at the hi-end hospital attended the visit. I told them of the massive improvements but also of the difficulties at eating. One of the doctors was a dentist and after checking Lola's mouth said it was a gingivitis and adviced me to use a tooth paste for cats. According to the dentist this was also the cause of her bad breath. And I did as adviced, I also bought a tiny toothbrush that Lola let me use on her without problems. But the drooling and the lost dry food went on.
She got blind again at the end of August but regained her eyesight three days later.

On a morning in September I found some blood in the water bowl. I thought that Lola had lost a tooth of hers overnight, but when I opened her mouth to check her gums and teeth I saw a lump under her tongue. I threw her in her carrier and rushed to the clinic where she was first diagnosed. I was in total panic!
The two doctors told me that it certainly wasn't what I was fearing, it was only an inflammation of the lower part of the mouth and two weeks of antibiotics would have fixed the problem. I hoped it was like they said, but in my heart I knew it wasn't true.
I also hoped it was related to the fact that a few days before Lola had fallen from the table while I was brushing her coat. After a long brushing session I was going to remove the hair ball from the brush, she moved forward, she was in a blind phase of her life, she didn't realized of the table edge and fell on the floor. She stood up and walked normally, she was feeling no pain, so I didn't concern about it.
Unfortunately it wasn't an inflammation or an injury. We faced the harsh reality at the beginning of October when the lump was still there and they made a biopsy. The report said it was an oral squamous cell carcinoma.

This was the beginning of my hardest and worst nightmare!
 
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Antonio65

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THE BEGINNING OF THE END
The first step was seeing an oncologist who said that the only possible treatment was a combination of chemo and radiation therapy. I asked her if it was possible that the carcinoma was already present in July when we made the total body CT scan for the surgery and she answered that this kind of tumors grows rapidly and that surely it wasn't there six weeks before. She phoned the clinic for the radiation therapy and I waited for them to call me back.
Meanwhile I called the hi-end hospital to ask them to review their CT scan of July and tell me whether the cancer was already visible. They checked the scan and confessed that the tumor was already visible in July but that they had missed it. They were so sorry.
The oncologist asked me whether there were smokers in the house. Of course not, nobody has ever smoked in our home.

I searched the web for possible causes for an oral cancer and many sites agreed that among the most common causes there are the cigarette smoke, the flea collars and the canned tuna food for cat.
Nobody has ever smoked in our house or around my cats, I have never used flea collars and we stopped feeding tuna food since the diagnosis of renal failure in 2006. So any of these most common causes was wrong.
The only chemicals that Lola could have been in contact with were those in the wipes. I had used lots of them on Lola's fur a few months before and though she was too weak to walk to the litter tray, she was still able to groom herself. Those chemicals that I had laid on her fur could have poisoned her and given her the cancer. So it could be my fault!

I asked many vets if my concerns had some grounds and most of them answered that though those wipes are considered and sold as pet safe, there were no reasons not to say that they are not safe at all. Considered what had happened to Lola, the vet said that the use of those wipes should be as limited as possible.

At last the clinic for the radiation called me back. They remembered me from the last time we met five years before. We made an appointment for a preliminary visit on October 12, 2016. I would have never thought to drive down there again, it was like redreaming a forgotten nightmare!
After the visit Lola was scheduled for the following weeks. I asked them what could have changed if the cancer was found out three months earlier, when the CT scan was made, they told me that it would have made a great difference because at that time it was 7 times smaller and it could have been easily removed with the surgery. I won't ever be able to forgive the doctors at the hi-end hospital for their mistake!

The treatment consisted of two radiations each day for five days in a row. They told me that the chances that Lola could die during the treatment were very high, 50%. I felt I had no other choices.
On October 24, Monday Lola began her treatment. Two anesthesias each day, for five days in a row. They could have killed a healthy and young horse, let alone an elder and sick cat. Halfway through the treatment, on Wednesday evening, they called me. Lola was not going well, the sixth radiation had left her nearly unconscious and they feared that she would have died overnight. They asked what they were allowed to do and I told them to go ahead.
In the early morning of Thursday I began my drive to this clinic where I arrived at 9:30 am. When I walked into the clinic they told me that Lola bounced to full life a few minutes before. They were sure that she was sensing my arrival. I stayed there for the following two days and spent the night at a nearby hotel. The last four radiations went fine and on Friday evening we were let go back home. The radiation clinic fee was 2,500 euro.
At this point my finances were totally drained.

At home Lola was happy and bright, but she soon started with an unstoppable diarrhea which went on for eight days with up to 5 discharges a day. None of the meds prescribed by the vets seemed to work until I tried some probiotics for human and everything went back to normal.
she was put on Metacam, 0.3 ml every second day after a meal.
Lola had been equipped with a PEG, a tube inserted straight into her stomach. This was the only way for her to eat because the radiations had burned the inner sides of her mouth. The tube was secured to her belly with a rubber tag glued to her skin and she was wrapped in bandages from front to hind legs. The other end of this tube has a screw cap to make sure nothing can get in or out that tube when not in use. Feeding her via this PEG was a little unnatural at first, but in a couple of days I could do it without problems. The tube had to be washed before and after each meal with 10 ml of water pushed in it with a syringe.

Lola also started using her bed as a litter tray, she would pee in it several times a day. We had to protect it with training pads. But she also would sleep on the wet pad. Cleaning her and changing her bandages everyday was compulsory.

The hair on her cheeks and under her chin fell off. Just as it happened five years before on her nose. One of the many effects of the radiations.

Lola lost her eyesight again in mid November, and this time for good. She got blind and never regained her eyesight since.

One evening at the end of November I came back from work and found that the PEG had got loose from the stomach side, it had come off. The bandage was still in place but the tube was loose both ends. I was in panic, I searched the apartment for blood or food dripped from her stomach. Fortunately it was all fine. I rushed to a veterinary ER at the veterinary university to have the PEG replaced or reinsterted, but no doctor was able to do that and they adviced me to try to let her eat naturally.
It worked, Lola was able to eat on her own, though she had some difficulties because her tongue was rather useless and couldn't help her to grab her food from the dish.
She would do a mess every time she was eating, part of the wet food was swallowed and part of it was spread all over.
 
This went on until a few days past the Christmas when one evening she emitted a loud meow, dropped some blood from her mouth and stopped eating. This was the beginning of a new strategy. I had to syringe feed her. I hoped it was a temporary phase, but she never recovered.

At the end of the year she started going down and was more and more weak and tired. I was sure she was going to leave me soon. I also alerted the vets to be ready to come home for the last step. But a few days later she recovered to a full energy.

I started keeping a log of how much food she was eating daily and what meds she was taking. I also logged every new behaviour, how many pads I had to change in her bed, when she was pooping and her weight.

Her mouth, though, was in a bad condition, and was worsening as days went by. The smell out if it was terrible, she was drooling everywhere, and wherever she was resting or sleeping would get wet from her smelly saliva. She was also bleeding from her mouth and everyday the amount of blood was higher. Very soon all the house was having the same foul odour. I pretended not to smell it, probably my wife was doing the same, I never asked her in order to prevent any harsh action or reaction.
We had a follow-up visit every week. The vet that was following her wanted to try the acupuncture to stop the drooling and the bleeding. This treatment worked fine, but during one of her visit at the beginning of February she asked me if I was smelling that terrible odour out of Lola's mouth. I had hoped the vet didn't smell it, but she did. She said that the situation was beyond the limit and that Lola was at the end of her journey, she asked me to think about euthanasia within a couple of days. I felt like an army tank was driving over me!
 
On the morning of February 13 I noticed that Lola's tongue was in a horrific condition, it had changed its color and was thin, so I rushed to the clinic where the doctor told me that the tongue had died and was necrotic, the dead part had to be removed. So the front half of her tongue was removed easily and without sedation. At this point feeding her was even worse than before because she had very little aid in swallowing her food.
She was given a shot of Convenia to cover any infection and we've been doing a new shot every two weeks since then.
The foul smell that was coming out of her mouth and stinking the house out had disappeared.

The terrible thing is that the remaining stump of tongue has been eroding a little day by day and if in February she had half tongue in her mouth, now she has an almost invisible piece of tongue down her throat and this makes close to impossible for her to swallow anything without a huge effort.
Feeding her in this condition is a hard task, I can't deny it, and Lola feels in difficulties, her mouth is filled with food that she can't easily swallow and during this process she shakes her head around like a dog to get rid of the excess food on her lips. These drops of food and drool land everywhere around her. Walls, floor and myself are mess after a meal.

Despite all her bad luck, she has never lost her positive mood and her sweet pesonality. She still loves basking in the sun, curling up on my lap, scratching her post with energy, taking a walk in the backyard and doing all the things that make her happy. She is still purring at me when she's with me and receives her beloved cuddles.
She still has cold feet.

Currently my days begins at 6:00 am when I get up from bed and I dread what I will be going to find, wet pads, blood from her mouth. Then the thought of the fight for the syringe. I get myself sorted and prepare her syringe that I put into some warm water before giving it to her. Meanwhile I clean her up with the usual wet wipes. They might be toxic and dangerous, but now she can't groom herself anymore.
Her food is made of Royal Canin Recovery blended with Nutriplus Gel. This is a paste with a very high calories content. The food that I make this way has 1.5 kcal per gram. Lola needs about 150-160 kcal each day, so I have to feed her 100 grams per day. At the moment she is taking 110-120 grams per day and it seems they're not enough because her weight is slowly decreasing.
The first meal is at 7 am. It takes me not less than 30 minutes to give her a whole syringe. I also give her much water. I have no time left for my breakfast.
The second meal is during my luch break at work. I have a 60 minutes lunch break. It takes me 10 minutes to drive home and 10 minutes to drive back to work. This leaves me 40 minutes to give her the midday meal. I have to skip my lunch.
The third meal is around 7 pm. I have dinner in the evening, this is the only meal I have for myself during the whole day.

I'm buying her food 5 cans per week, I fear that buying more could bring me some jinx!

In the evening, after my dinner, I sit on the couch, Lola curls up on my lap, purrs at me for a few minutes, then she falls asleep.
I go to bed shortly before midnight, then the cycle starts over.

I don't sleep much, usually 4 or 5 hours each night, I can't fall asleep easily because of the bad thoughts, I wake up around 5:00 am and start thinking what kind of disgrace has fallen on us, how I will manage the whole thing, what my life will be without Lola, what I have done to help her, but mainly what I haven't done, what I have done wrong, what I have overlooked. These thoughts are with me every minute of the day.
When I wake up at 5 am sometimes it seems to me that I have just had a bad dream and that everything is fine. Then, with a burst of adrenaline that shocks me head to toes, I understand that unfortunately it's all true.
 
I have forsaken most of my life to devote myself to my two cats. In the last twelve months I haven't been able to do anything else apart from taking care of them, and I have spent nearly all my savings and income on their needs.
This isn't the kind of happy ending I had thought of.
 
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