Phaedrus's Case Study
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Story: My cat Phaedrus, who I've had for 11 years (but is at least 13-14 yrs old), was diagnosed with nasal lymphoma in November 2005. He had been sneezing for 2 months and we had chalked it up to seasonal allergies until he sneezed blood and showed swelling in his little black nose. An x-ray and biopsy showed the tumor in his nasal cavity pretty clearly.
I am not going to say it was an easy road. Reading some of your pages reminded me of the horror and grief I went through during the 2005 holidays over my beloved cat. My vet referred me to Angell Memorial Hospital for oncology, but after learning more and doing some serious soul searching I decided not to put Phaedrus through the rigorous and painful chemotherapy and radiation courses that were recommended. With a 4-6 week prognosis, I resigned myself to giving him the happiest and most pain-free end of life I could..but in the meanwhile kept my eyes and heart open to other options.
This is what I found - Essiac - a holistic treatment that is safe for humans and pets suffering from cancer. It can be brewed as a tea and is taken orally. It is a blood cleanser and is very safe and effective. I can't recommend it enough. I get mine from http://www.bulkessiac.com out of Massachusetts. The quality is good and it is very easy to brew at home.
So in late November 2005, I started Phaedrus on a palliative course of Prednisone, and administered as much essiac as I could get him to take (!) Within 3 months, all evidence of his nasal tumor was gone. I also found a wonderful House Call vet - who came and administered acupuncture (making Phaedrus look like a wonderful Indian Princess, wearing all sorts of colorful needles!) Truth: I felt a little crazy for taking this approach - but the results were so great and Phaedrus couldn't have been happier, but for the essiac which wasn't super tasty but we managed. His appetite came back, he looked healthy, he played and was his same social sassy self. It was the most satisfying experience to see him go from death's door to his full self in a matter of months, and all without painful, invasive treatments!
I'm proud to say, Phaedrus was symptom free from March 2006 - mid December 2006. In December he presented with some kidney failure symptoms - lots of drinking, weight loss, dehydration...things looked bad. An ultrasound on 1/31/07 showed evidence of lymphoma in the kidneys and liver. No evidence how long they have been present.
To combat the kidney sypmtoms and dehydration, I've been treating him with fluids (Lactated Ringers, 150-200 ML with B12 vitamins added, administered daily, subcutaneously) since December. This is helping tremendously, although it is not easy to self-administer this treatment (needles!) He is requiring a lot of care but responds so well to it...my vet(s) say he has lived 7 or 8 of his nine lives, but just loves humans so much he seems to want to stick around. Today I started him on Zentonil for the liver function. We'll see how that goes.
Phaedrus is a special cat - very affectionate and communicative with humans. He is the most social and cuddly cat I have ever met. He has more fans than most musicians I know and his vet has commented that he is very "Human". He is also very adorable, if I do say so myself. Point is, even with all of the medicines and treatments - Phaedrus responds very well to care if it is given and administered humanely. I really think a lot of his success has to do with the way we've approached his care (i.e. house call vet instead of traumatising hospital visits, sticking to non-invasive procedures, emphasis on holistic treatments where possible).
Don't give up hope! I'm happy to tell Phaedrus' story to anyone - I have been through so (!) much coping with and treating him over the last 15 months...and have learned so much as well about being a caregiver. I think the question of compassion and really thinking through the course of treatment appropriate for a pet is an important topic. As a lifelong pet owner, I am hoping Phaedrus' story can help others who may be going through the same struggles.
Outcome: Updated March 2007 - I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer sun. I have just returned from Italy, and have some news for all of you.
After a long and happy life, Phaedrus the cat went to sleep peacefully for the last time on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 13th. He closed his eyes listening to gentle breezes and birds chirping, on the back of my parents' sofa in Needham, next to the window that he liked the most.
As most of you know, Phaedrus was diagnosed with feline lymphoma back in November of 2005. He achieved remission from March 2006-December 2006 and had a bonus extra year and a half of life, with the help of many caring friends and family. I am not as sad as I thought I would be, because I know that Phaedrus stuck around for as long as he was able to enjoy the things he liked the most: tuna, gentle breezes, the company of friends, catnip, his toys...His overall decline these last 6 months was slow and gentle, but in the week before I left for Italy I could tell that he was starting to let go. I think that he waited for me to leave on purpose, to tell you the truth, because he knew that I loved him so much.
In honor of Phaedrus, please take a moment to be kind to an animal that you know. It could be your own beloved pet, a stray you see in your neighborhood, or even a squirrel in the park. I'm sure you will get some joy out of it as well.
Also, I am going to participate in the MSPCA Walk for Animals on September 9th, 2007. If you would like to join me for the walk, let me know as it would be a healing and positive gesture to get a team together to raise money for the MSPCA-Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Phaedrus' memory.
Gentle breezes to you...
Outcome: Outlived initial prognosis by over a year! Quality of life A+ until December 2006...but is still happy. Is currently suffering from impaired kidney/liver function, but we are treating with Prednizone, Essiac, Zentonil, and Lactated Ringers with B12 administered subcutaneously.
- By Meredith Phaedrus's Mom -
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Chemo Protocol Used
Holistic Remedies Used