The Two of us

Some of you already know that this has been a hard week. I didn’t post last week because Diavolo had been in the cat hospital. He stopped eating a week ago Sunday, went to the doctor on that Monday and was diagnosed with asthma. Yes, cats get asthma. He was treated for that but when he still wasn’t eating (just sleeping and using his litter box) Dr. Jon had me bring him in for overnight observation. On Friday he called saying he was stymied and wanting me to take him to Blue Pearl Specialty Animal Hospital in Renton. Friday is always my worst day after chemo and there was no way I could drive. I called Keith and he came and got me and we took Diavolo to Blue Pearl where they examined him, did some tests and kept him, suggesting an ultrasound to see if he had some kind of blockage that did not show on the chest x-ray. On Saturday around noon I spoke with the doctor there. She had given him an appetite stimulant and he was eating well and chatting up a storm with the other cats in the hospital. At that time she didn’t see a need to proceed with ultrasound.  We agreed that he would stay until she got the results of his radiological exam as she thought his spleen seemed enlarged.

Such a sweet boy

Such a sweet boy

Saturday evening she called and the report was in. It showed both his liver and spleen were enlarged and it was most likely that he has cancer…possibly lymphosarcoma. Dead silence on my end of the phone. Of course they all know my health conditions and are concerned about that. I tried to take in what this would mean to us. She said they could only make a positive diagnosis through an ultrasound guided needle biopsy to collect cells but that would be a needless expense if I was not going to proceed with chemo therapy for him. We left it for me to think about and call her the next day. 

First I cried a lot. Then I called a friend and we both cried. Then I Googled lymphosarcoma in cats and the chemo regimen. It would be four to six months of weekly chemo which would require trips to Blue Pearl as my local vet does not do chemo. Then more tests and then more chemo and it might extend his life a year. If my doctor had said I would only have a year I would not have done chemo and would have lived that year to the fullest… the song says….live each day like you are dying. So my decision was to bring him home and make him as comfortable as possible for whatever time we have. Keith and I went over on Sunday and got him and brought him home. He is being his normal self, eating, going outside but for not as long as he would before and he’s sleeping a lot more. Note, the expense was not a determining factor…I just want him to live out his life in comfort at home.


Last summer he was the perfect host and allowed his friends Buster and Sunshine to have the chairs.

On Thursday we went for a follow up appointment with Dr. Jon who had read all the reports. He said it was still possible that Diavolo does not have cancer and since I don’t want any invasive testing that we will just watch him, his food intake and his weight (weight loss would be an indication of cancer) and treat him for his asthma with a long acting steroid (oh, joy, both of us on steroids) where he only has to get a shot once a month. We will see how it goes.

Diavolo patrolling the perimeter

Diavolo patrolling the perimeter

As for me…my white blood cell count remains good with what my doctor calls my “green tea diet”. I have developed some peripheral neuropathy. My only symptoms of this are numbness of my toes and finger tips. It is the toe numbness that is causing my balance issues so I am using a cane for walking and I walk very slowly. It feels strange to type but at least I’m not dropping things which could happen. This may stop when chemo ends but there is a chance it could be permanent. I hope not. There are lots of things I wish I could do but I can’t and they will just have to wait till this is over….the end of July. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward so much to the month of August. 

I’ll leave you this week with some photos I took on a trip to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico (the less famous place near Cabo San Lucas)….where it was me and a book on the beach for a week at an all inclusive place frequented not by party hardy college students but by serious fisher folk. And nearly every morning gave me a purple sunrise.

Ah, the glorious sunrise...perfect location for that

Ah, the glorious sunrise…perfect location for that

On the beach again

On the beach again

Another beautiful sunrise

Another beautiful sunrise




About mvaden1948

I love to travel to Venice (and probably other parts of Italy and beyond) and my camera leads me where she wants without any consideration as to whatever plans I may have. I enjoy photographing nature, my cat and anything that strikes my fancy. I have a "thing" for interesting doors and architectural details.
This entry was posted in Cancer, Cats, Chemo, Diavolo, fotografia, me, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The Two of us

  1. foguth says:

    Beautiful photos, but Diavolo’s situation is heart-rending – I’m praying for miracles for both of you.
    FYI, an acquaintance successfully combatted cancer with vitamin B17 – as with most drugs, it’s a poison, but can be a cure if used in moderation.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Thank you. I’m already taking a host of vitamins and supplements (or did you mean for Diavolo) with my doctor’s approval. My count is good and my prognosis is also good. That’s why I’m looking forward to the end. At the end of chemo I likely have five weeks of five days a week of radiation.

  2. gooddayrome says:

    Oh, Michelle,I am so sorry to hear about Diavolo! Nothing is harder than seeing our sweet pets in discomfort! You have made a wise decision to let him live out his time in what comfort you can give him. Imagine trying to explain to him several months of chemo! Take good care of yourself and your boy. Sending positive thoughts!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Thank you, Laurel. I am taking the best possible care of both of us. He is spending a lot more time on my lap. That’s good therapy for both of us.
      Maybe you can consider a little visit to Venice in March and a meet up for a cappuccino (you could have a spritz)…probably closer from Rome that from Portland to Seattle. I’ll let you know when my plans are finalized.

  3. Scooby had the same symptoms and enlarged organs and suspected diagnosis, but it was caused by a severe diabetes attack. Previously he had breathing problems and got a steroid shot, which they tell me uncovered the diabetes. After insulin treatments, his organs went rapidly back to normal. He eventually went into diabetes remission and is looking good today. He has no asthma. I assume they did blood work for diabetes for your cat? And yes I would keep him at home also.

  4. Sue says:

    Am thinking of you and Diavolo and wish you both well.

    We have moved from our town home in Collegeville and moved to The Peter Becker Community here in Harleysville, PA. we are settling in nicely.


  6. Susie L says:

    Oh Michelle, I cried reading about Diavolo. I’m hoping he doesn’t have cancer and that the steroids help him. I think you made a good decision for both you and sweet Diavolo. How stressful it would be for him to have those tests and chemo, only to extend his life by a year. He really is a charming host, and he is so lucky to have you for his mom.

    Marco has had peripheral neuropathy as well, and since it can be permanent, we have been worried. He has been taking the supplement L Glutamine all along, and his symptoms have remained stable. Then we began to incorporate acupuncture and we also apply menthol oil to his feet and fingers, and I am happy to report he has seen quite a bit of improvement! I’m very happy to hear about your white blood cell count, brava!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Thank you, Susie. The book I have mentions L Glutamine…for mouth sores. But I’ll talk to my doctor about it. I have no pain with the neuropathy so consider myself lucky.
      Diavolo is doing really well right now.

  7. lizbethraab says:

    Ciao, Michelle,

    what can I say? I do think Diavvolo “found” you because he knew where the best possible care would taken of him in your neighbourhood. I do hope he continues to be very comfy and that he remains stable. My favourite photo on this week’s update has to be of Diavolo’s mates on the patio …

    My goodness, what a week it has been for you. So nice that Diavolo is spending more time on your lap, even though you said he’s pretty heavy.
    Am keeping fingers crossed that things continue well for him. Also hoping the numbness is only temporary and that all other progress continues well.

    Thinking of you both

  8. Herman says:

    You are both in my thoughts and prayers, my dear friend. Wishing you all the best.

  9. Bella, I’m so glad dear Diavolo is content and doing well at the moment, comfortable and home with you where you can both love each other up. 🙂 Those skies are utterly gorgeous. Have a beautiful weekend ~ love and hugs from Ella and me. x0x0x

  10. Jo says:

    Best wishes to you and Diavolo – strength + courage

  11. Luca Marchiori says:

    What a strange world we live in, indeed. I am so sorry to hear about Diavolo–what a beautiful cat by the way–and hope the diagnosis was wrong. I can’t believe it’s June already; August comes ever closer. Hang in there brave lady. And thank you for sharing the beautiful sunrises.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie, Luca. I am looking forward to August because my chemo will be over. Diavolo is being his normal self…just sleeping more and being even more affectionate.
      I’m also looking forward to my trip to Venice in March.

      • Luca Marchiori says:

        I hope you manage to get a good rest after that. Good that he’s behaving as normal … fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to your trip to Venice so I can meet up with you!

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