Sooty Home from the Hospital 28th May

29 May, 2009

UPDATE - Thursday 28 May 2009

Sooty is eating better now and has had her first chemo tablet.

For those who follow these things in more detail her medication is as follows :- Prednisone 10mg once a day and Chlorambucil (Leukeran) 1 tablet by mouth for four days repeated every three weeks with a blood test ! week after finishing to check for bone marrow suppression.

We are instructed to monitor her food intake and mood. The prognosis is guarded - and I know from my online reading that we can hope for remission of an undetermined length of time.

But, for now she is back, eating and has put on a tiny bit of weight. I can relax a tiny bit and post about my new articles coming up on handmadenews.org .


A brief post as we are both worn out having done the drive to the Massey Veterinary Hospital twice this week - a four hour round trip which is long for someone who does not drive regularly. Paul has a cold too so this was a big ask for him and he came through.

Sooty is now on steroids (Prednisone) and starts her chemo programme on Leukeran tomorrow. She is sparky and alert and making up time by eating quite a bit.

I don't know how long or how successful the treatment will be but, for now, things are looking a lot better than they were over the week-end.


Hospital Update on Sooty - Results

26 May, 2009


So, the phone call from the hospital has come, and the news is bad. Sooty has lymphoma. It may be in several places (large/small intestine).

Options are steroids and chemo. Will discuss face to face with vet on Wednesday - we don't wand Sooty to suffer. Maybe by then I will have stopped shaking and crying.


We have left Sooty as the Massey Veterinary Hospital for tests, an ultrasound and possible biopsy.

Sooty was sparkier than ever this a.m. when we got up. Demanding more of the mince she had munched down the previous evening after her prawn, but on a nil by mouth instruction we had to take some mince along to give her 'when we came out'.

We had an examination with a final year student first off, then the Consultant. Both ladies I was thrilled to see. I had been worried we would have a gruff chap (not that they are unfeeling but the state I'm in anything could set me off...). They said there were several options possible depending on what the tumour in Sooty is (e.g. chemo, possible operation) and we will find out when they ring this evening.

We left the mince with the hospital (in their fridge) and have driven home. We were both were exhausted when we got home so slept for 1.5 hours now are up for an evening meal awaiting the telephone call. I will update this message when I know more.

It hit me like a hammer on the way home that without the suggestion of SelenaK in particular (who works in veterinary medicine), my friend Pam Beirne, and others experienced at this kind of thing (Tx @winecountrydog), I would not be doing this and fighting Sooty's corner as I would not have realised I had the option. I am SO grateful for the support.


A Brief Sooty Update

24 May, 2009


We are going to take Sooty to the Massey University Veterinary Hospital 10 Am Monday (New Zealand time) have asked for a referral from the Vet who is happy to do so. I have taken the step and feel happier. I will be honest, I don't know if Sooty will make it through even to Monday she is not eating and is so thin, but I want to do the best I can for her.


Thanks to a link from SelenaK who has the lovliest amigurumi kitty shop, I checked out the Veterinary Hospital in Wellington. I am so rattled I never thought to look so I am very grateful to her.

Our vet is happy to do a referral. He said, however that they might just confirm what he says, and it might have spread. Also if there was an operation there is no guarantee her quality of life would improve for very long.

So we have to think now. I think I would like to have her checked by the hospital people, but it depends on how long it takes to get an appointment. She may not last very long as she is now trying to run away out into the cold (it's autumn/winter here and 9C).

Finally, can I just thank everyone who has offered their encouragement and support - it means a lot to me, knowing Paul and I have people wishing us well in so many far away places.


My Question to Ask E-vet

20 May, 2009

I am determined to find out as much as I can about what might be Sooty's
problem. People have asked is it a growth, or is it cancer - or what.
Get a second opinion, would a biopsy help. I then remembered that my
longest standing group of cat friends are on Yahoo FrankTheCat and
several times someone has posted a question on AskE-Vet
This is a yahoo group formed more than a decade ago and has been of
considerable help on previous occasions. I have joined and posted that
I think covers Sooty's case - I set out my post below, it might be of
help to others in a similar situation.

AskE-Vet Post

I need some help clarifying things around our recent vet visits and our
cat Sooty who is approx. 13 years of age a black cat. I respect and
trust our vet but would like to clear some things in my mind so I can
ask the right questions if I need to call - I have been a little upset
so having a focus with a goal is helpful.

Sooty - story so far

Sooty started losing weight a about 6 weeks ago. She has always been slender
so it may have taken a little while to become noticable. Concerned, I
took her to our vet who did a thorough examination and prescribed a
short course of antibiotics, gave her a steroid injection to boost her

She continued to loose weight so a short while later I took her back for a
blood test - the results came back with nothing untoward being
indicated - no thyroid trouble which had been a thought.

We took her back for the third time on Monday and, suddenly the vet found
a growth in her abdominal area, he felt around her hips etc., as vets
usually do. He said it would be risky to operate as she is 13 and as
they would have to join the bowel together again the recovery might
kill her.

We have brought her home and I am determined to explore every avenue I can
to make sure I have as much knowledge as I can to understand what is
happening. Sooty is eating very small amounts of real meat (and I am
going to get some fish), drinking regularly, still cleaning herself, is
quiet but can be sprightly and when I spoke to my friend in the UK by
telephone she spoke to Sooty (I held the phone for her) and Sooty
turned on her purr like a light switch.

My questions and comments - these might seem silly but as a layman I would appreciate being enlightened.

1)How can the vet be sure that it is not a large but benign growth or a
blockage that can be sorted out with medication or minor surgery?

2) Would x-rays help - should I ask for him to do a biopsy. Would they help?

3)How come this didn't show up in the blood test. If it is cancer (and
this has come on within the last three weeks so had happened Very
Quickly) would it have done?

4)An animal communicator colleague said Sooty told her she was feeling
severe nausea. Sure fine, if you don't believe in that kind of thing,
she was there, online, so I asked OK. Would this nausea tell a vet
anything I don't know already.

5)Would a second opinion be of use. If Sooty is seriously ill, I am
prepared to acknowledge this, but I would like to understand as much as
I can about her condition, the options, what it might be (a benign
growth/cancer/blockage) and how to deal with it.

I feel a bit in the dark and am happy to ring my vet with questions or go
back if I need to. I would appreciate some guidance on doing the best
for Sooty - that is my first and foremost concern - her well being and
future care are my first concerns.



19 May, 2009

This is my beautiful beautiful girl - Sooty.

Our beloved Sooty is very ill. A month ago she had blood tests that did not show any prblems but rapid weight loss led us to return to the vet. He said Sooty has cancer and, as she is not a young cat, that it would be very risky to operate and she might die sooner. She is only 13.

I am just too upset for words.

Sooty has blossomed since we came to New Zealand, and loves it here, she has come out of her shell, become an even more fun and loving cat, loving the sunshine and enjoying the garden. But she is getting thinner and thinner and doesn’t look well.

I am going to cut back on blog posts for a while, I will let everyone know when my Handmade News articles go up (I can cry all over my keyboard in the privacy of my own home) and put up a message or two on Twitter from time to time but beyond that I just don’t feel it is appropriate to bounce around like a lunatic while she is ill.

I love her very much - please say prayers or healing rituals or whatver you do.