Willy might have cancer / high-grade lymphoma Treatment thread

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cmshap

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The following has links to important aspects of Willy's treatment and has obviously been added later.
To read the initial post, scroll down.


Willy has large-cell lymphoma (LCL), also called high-grade lymphoma. When I started this thread, I hadn't received a diagnosis yet, hence the title.

This thread details his diagnosis and ongoing treatment, which is a monthly lomustine and steroid protocol, over a 5-6 month period.

Here are links to milestones in the story, to make navigating this thread easier. They will not take you to the actual post, but to the page:

*
Biopsy surgery: Post #42
* Diagnosis: Post #66
* Oncology consultation & treatment plan: Post #88
* First chemotherapy appointment: Post #116
* Second chemotherapy appointment: Post #489
* Third chemotherapy appointment: Post #536
* Fourth chemotherapy appointment: Post #575
* Decision to stop treatment: Post #726

***************************

Original first post:
I haven't been on TCS for very long, but I've posted a lot about my cat, Willy. He is my first cat ever, the most affectionate pet I've ever had, my best friend, and a hell of an individual personality. As Margot Lane Margot Lane said in one of my posts, "WHAT a character." There is no better description of him than that, and I love him so much.

Unfortunately, he might have cancer. I'm going to describe everything I know about his case in this thread, and provide updated information as I acquire it. I am really worried about this, and don't know what to expect. I would appreciate any and all ideas, suggestions, feedback, etc. This thread will be long, so thank you in advance to anyone who reads and/or responds to it.

i will also be linking previous threads on Willy's health that may be relevant. I may be missing some, and will post later. Basically, I want this thread to be a central hub of information relative to his case. I may remember more I want to post later.

Background

Willy was a stray before the age of one year old in 2013, who randomly showed up at my mom's house while I was staying with her temporarily. He was the sweetest cat from day one. We took him in and got him evaluated by a vet.

He had a respiratory infection, ear mites, and fleas. Everything was cleared up, but the respiratory infection at such a young age did permanent damage to his mucosa, so he's had chronic symptoms ever since -- sneezing and snotty discharge, primarily. I've treated these symptoms with zeniquin several times throughout his life. After a 10-day course, it usually helps the symptoms a lot, but then they come back slowly over subsequent months.

All in all, this issue has never seemed to bother him in the least, and has never been considered too serious by my vet. It's bothered me more, because of the snotty discharge, but otherwise I've never taken as a serious health problem.

Recent History

Other than the ongoing respiratory issue, he's also had two additional issues over the years:

Food sensitivity. He always vomited a lot, especially after eating. And most especially after eating dry food, as he eats very fast. He was mostly raised on dry food, after my mom and I took him in, and then gradually changed to mostly wet. But even on wet food, I've had to change it several times. My vet has informally described this as "sensitive stomach" which some cats just have vs. others. While an annoying problem, it's never been anything that hasn't been solved by a dietary change. But just another background health issue.

Potential arthritis. This is just suspected by me, and not yet confirmed by my vet. My vet said that he doesn't have signs of severe arthritis (no obvious joint swelling), but based on the behavior I've described, might be developing it. She can't tell without x-raying him, but since it doesn't seem serious, she recommended what I have already done, which was to start him on a joint supplement. I've been giving him Cosequin chews for several days.

Current Problem

A month ago, I noticed what looked like dirty ears. I started a thread on it. Advice I received was that it looked like a yeast infection.

Willy had a wellness checkup coming in a few weeks, so I opted to wait for the appointment (especially because cancelling/changing appointments with my vet -- a cat specialist in my area -- is difficult). A couple of weeks prior to when the appointment was supposed to happen, his ear started bleeding a little. Then I noticed a lump under the skin under/behind his left ear.

I called my vet and they squeezed him in a couple of weeks early. My vet examined him and not only identified the mass under his ear, but another smaller one on his chest. And a very small mass on one of the folds of skin in his ear, which is what has been bleeding. She prescribed antibiotic drops for his ears, because he has yeast and bacterial infections in that ear.

She said it there are some types of cancer that it could be, but there's no way she can tell for sure without a biopsy.

Treatment Plan

I have a biopsy surgery scheduled in mid-October, during which my vet is going to fully remove the chest mass, and take a sample of the ear mass to biopsy (because she says she can't remove that one herself, as it's more complicated and would require a specialist). The treatment plan has three steps:

(1) Blood work. To first determine if he was healthy enough for anesthesia and surgery, which he is. Also, he was screened for general health as part of his wellness exam. His kidneys, liver, thyroid, white cells, etc. and everything else are all within normal range. The only unexpected result was a minor bladder infection. My vet prescribed another course of zeniquin for both the respiratory symptoms and bladder infection, and said that it should treat both.

(2) Biopsy. This is scheduled for a couple.of weeks from now, which was the soonest I could get in. My vet is going to fully.remove the chest mass, and take a sample of the ear mass for evaluation.

(3) Surgery. He may eventually need a specialist to surgically remove the mass under his ear. This is what I am most worried about, because it seems complicated. The mass is large and has been grown fast. And it's going to be the type of surgery that is likely completely unaffordable.

Current Status

The best news is that Willy seems to be in no pain or discomfort. He is acting exactly the same as always. But the mass under his ear has grown to a noticeable degree within just 5 days. I can easily see it in his profile now while he is looking at me -- there is a bulge on the side of his head beneath his left ear.

I am beyond terrified about this. My vet saw him on Tuesday this last week, and now, just days later, the mass is larger. I am going to call the vet on Monday morning and ask if I should try getting him in somewhere else sooner, because I don't know what to expect about this.

The tissue in the mass is hard, it feels like bone. And it doesn't bother him at all when I touch it, so I can feel it. It feels like a bony protrusion behind/below his left ear, that has been growing.

Other Details

My vet also found a bladder infection in his general wellness exam, but said that the zeniquin I am giving him for respiratory symptoms should also treat that. So after the 10 days, we can evaluate his urine again. But he hasn't changed litter box habits (so likely has no pain associated with it), and this is likely completely unrelated to everything above.

How You Can Help

Please ask me questions to clarify anything or for any information missing here... or just comment with your opinions. I've had a dog with cancer many years ago, but otherwise don't know what to expect now. I am beyond worried about all of this. Thank you, everyone.
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cmshap

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I don't know what to ask, I have zero knowledge of these things. I can only send Willy and you all my very best wishes in this horrible situation!
Thank you! I mostly posted "ask me questions" in case there is anything I am missing, and that other more experienced cat people may want to know if there is anything I am overlooking.

But just giving me well-wishes is also very much appreciated. Thank you!
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. I would do whatever you can to get him to the specialist ASAP to have the mass under his ear removed. The more it grows, the more complicated and unaffordable it will become.
The only thing I can think of that wouldn’t be bad would be an abscess. I am sure your vet would have known if it was that. But, honestly, whatever it is, it has to be removed.

Do you have a specialty hospital with an ER department?

Even if the other growths cannot be removed you should still have the one that’s growing fast removed.

I am sorry you and your cat are going through.
 
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cmshap

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I do not see a lump in that picture. Am I missing something?
That was just a general picture of Willy (same one as my avatar) to show who Willy is, for anyone unfamiliar. I will take some pics of what he currently looks like for this thread.
 
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cmshap

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Hi. I would do whatever you can to get him to the specialist ASAP to have the mass under his ear removed. The more it grows, the more complicated and unaffordable it will become.
I wish I could. I can afford a couple thousand $$$ which is what the biopsy surgery that is scheduled will cost. But beyond that I will not be able to do much more.

The growth of the mass seems to have plateaued, so I am going to wait until Monday morning to call my vet (that is 28 hours from right now). I really like this vet, because she is very thorough. I will ask her about whether or not I should pursue immediate treatment elsewhere.
 

silent meowlook

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I understand about the money. Sometimes you can have a surgery done to remove a growth and have them save it to send in later. I can save $200+ but of course that’s not all that much. With as fast as that is growing, maybe your regular vet will reconsider removing it herself.
 

Kwik

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Willie is in my prayers-the biopsy has not been done yet so let's HOPE it's not malignant---I think your Vet has a good plan in place and it seems you are comfortable and confident with her,I'd stick with that if I were in your place tbh.....

I'm so sorry you are going through this ,it's just horrible to see that our little babies have something wrong going on..... I'm glad Willie is not having pain or discomfort so that's a Blessing in itself....I do hope and pray to hear good news,healing and recovery for lil Willie 🙏❤
 
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cmshap

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Willie is in my prayers
Thank you! I am personally atheist, but I love and respect when anyone prays for me or my loved ones (I had my own major medical scare that threatened my life in the past, and I was prayed for a lot). I do believe that prayer puts positive energy out into the world and that is good for everybody, so I honestly appreciate it.

the biopsy I think your Vet has a good plan in place and it seems you are comfortable and confident with her,I'd stick with that if I were in your place tbh.....
This is actually a new vet, but she took over the practice from the vet that I went to previously for years. It's a cat specialist clinic.

I have only met this new vet once, but I really like her. She is thorough and explains everything very well. And she seems experienced.

I'm glad Willie is not having pain or discomfort so that's a Blessing in itself
I completely agree. I just played with him and he is acting like nothing at all is wrong. I am very happy about that, and I hope it continues.
 

Kwik

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You're most welcome and I will continue to pray-most certainly putting out " good " into the atmosphere...for Willie and for you with love in my heart

I'm glad you like this Vet and feel good about her,I think it's important to have someone that will take the time to communicate with you and answer all your questions,sounds like she's the right one for the task at hand!I got a good feeling about her just from the plan she laid out for you👍

I'm not sure what you do have Faith in but you can believe that I do and have Faith thst I'll be here for you and cheering Willie on!!!!❤
 

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Hi. Have you asked the vet about a fine needle aspiration (vs. surgical biopsy) on these lumps? It would likely be less expensive, may be able to be done quicker with less recovery time, and save Willy from surgery until/if the results would indicate it is necessary.

The results, if needed, can be shared with an internal med vet, preferably one who is part of a specialty group that has other specialists on staff, e.g.; oncology, ENT, dermatology, etc., that they would be able to confer with. This type of consultation will cost, but again, you would have a lot more information to go on before putting Willy through any surgery. Your vet should have some specialists in mind.

I don't know if this is possible, but it sure couldn't hurt to ask about it.
 
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cmshap

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Hi. Have you asked the vet about a fine needle aspiration (vs. surgical biopsy) on these lumps?
I have not asked about this, but when I call my vet Monday morning, I will.

To be honest, I never considered an option like this. My vet's current plan with the biopsy is to fully remove the chest lump (the less serious one) and send the whole thing in for biopsy, along with a piece of the ear lump.

I will ask about the option you suggest. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

silent meowlook

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Thank you! I am personally atheist, but I love and respect when anyone prays for me or my loved ones (I had my own major medical scare that threatened my life in the past, and I was prayed for a lot). I do believe that prayer puts positive energy out into the world and that is good for everybody, so I honestly appreciate it.



This is actually a new vet, but she took over the practice from the vet that I went to previously for years. It's a cat specialist clinic.

I have only met this new vet once, but I really like her. She is thorough and explains everything very well. And she seems experienced.



I completely agree. I just played with him and he is acting like nothing at all is wrong. I am very happy about that, and I hope it continues.
On a side note, I worked for a vet once that told me her pasture told her that when an atheist enter a room the air goes cold. I asked her if she needed a sweater. She didn’t like me after that.
I am sure you and your vet will do whatever is best for your cat.
 
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cmshap

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I'm not sure what you do have Faith in but you can believe that I do and have Faith thst I'll be here for you and cheering Willie on!!!!❤
Thank you. I have faith in people, animals, and the love they have for each other. Willy has been with me through a lot of struggles, and I absolutely believe that he helped me to get through them. Even if he had no idea... he was simply existing as he knows how to, and loved me however a cat can love someone, as a cat.

We all have different definitions of love, whether people or animals, but love is love.
 
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cmshap

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On a side note, I worked for a vet once that told me her pasture told her that when an atheist enter a room the air goes cold. I asked her if she needed a sweater. She didn’t like me after that.
I don't mean to turn this thread into a discussion of something else, but I feel like atheism often takes on this cold reputation. But like I said in my previous post, I believe in love between people, animals, and each other. That's real to me, because I can feel it and see it.
 

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I don't mean to turn this thread into a discussion of something else, but I feel like atheism often takes on this cold reputation. But like I said in my previous post, I believe in love between people, animals, and each other. That's real to me, because I can feel it and see it.
Love knows no bounds. We are all here to help cats. Positive energy does make a difference.
 

Kwik

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On a side note, I worked for a vet once that told me her pasture told her that when an atheist enter a room the air goes cold. I asked her if she needed a sweater. She didn’t like me after that.
I am sure you and your vet will do whatever is best for your cat.
What an unkind thing to say,good response....I'm so sorry that people often give Christians a really bad look- such an ignorant remark and goes against EVERYTHING we are supposed to Represent-Love,Peace,Kindness and HOPE......so mean
 
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