Yesterday Luna completed her fourth and final chemotherapy treatment. As with the previous treatments, it went quite well. The oncology department at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists posted this sign in the reception room celebrating her achievement.
We now go into a phase of periodic monitoring every 2-3 months with X-rays and physical exams to check for any resurgence in the cancer. But for now things look good. She has been home and resting comfortably.
We at CatSynth are made from strong stuff. Luna has made it through her treatments better than originally expected; and at the same time it seems I have recovered far better than expected with the problem in my eye that happened at the same time. We are looking forward to more happy and healthy time together as a result. At the end of this month, we will be celebrating Luna’s birthday, a possibility that was very much in question after her diagnosis back in July. And now we can start to be hopeful about celebrations beyond.
Thank you all for your continued thoughts, vibes and purrs for Luna through this time and beyond!
❤️ Amanda and Luna
Luna went for her third chemotherapy treatment this past Thursday, and it went well. In addition to the treatment itself, a new chest X-ray and physical exam by the oncologist showed no visible-sized cancer, which is a very good sign. Microscopic cancer cells remain a concern, but that is what the chemotherapy is for. We have one more treatment in a few weeks, then go into monitoring. Hopefully things continue to go in the right direction.
Meanwhile, our life at CatSynth HQ is slowly edging back to normal, at least with our health. As you can see from the photo above, Luna’s fur has mostly grown back from the surgery. And it’s now safe for her to go out and play on the patio in our beautiful fall weather in San Francisco.
As I need to remind myself, there isn’t a state of being “cured”, this is something Luna will be dealing with for the rest of her life. But now we can hopefully look forward to a longer and happier life. Thank you again for all the thoughts and purrs, and please keep them coming.
Luna had her first chemotherapy treatment yesterday. It went well and she is now back home.
She has been eating well, and is affectionate and at her normal activity level, all of which are good signs amidst an otherwise difficult situation. Also a good sign was that the chest X-rays before the treatment were clean showing no visible cancer in the lungs – spreading to the lungs is the main danger for her type of cancer – but that does not preclude microscopic cells or clusters like those found in her lymph node after the surgery. So the chemo is the prudent and necessary step.
The technicians also went out of their way to mention both to me and in the official report what a sweet cat Luna is, she is very affectionate and quite mild-mannered. It’s a reminder of what a special companion she is and why we have undertaken this care to continue to give her a good life. And we have been spending quite a bit of time together lately, as I take care of my health and pull back from some activities.
Luna continues to improve after her surgery. She has had her stitches removed and she was clear to be cone-free. Her energy level, appetite, and affection have all returned to normal. And we have been enjoying quite a bit of time together.
This is all good news, though her overall prognosis remains challenging. We will be going forward with her first chemo treatment in a couple of weeks, the first of up to four, depending on its effectiveness and how she handles it. The most important step was the surgery, but this will hopefully reduce the cancer a bit more and give her a longer and better quality of life. It still remains difficult to reconcile the dire diagnosis with the lively and affectionate cat that I still see every day. We will just have to take things as they come.
In the midst of Luna’s health crisis, I suddenly find myself facing one as well. Two Wednesdays ago, I suddenly started having distorted vision in my left eye and localized headaches in the vicinity of the same eye. I quickly went for an eye exam, and it deemed serious enough to warrant a visit to a retina specialist as soon as possible. That visit happened, and while I will spare the details in this article, it was pretty serious. (Those who are really interested can Google “central vein occlusion” and “retinal hemorrhaging”.) It’s not as dire as Luna’s diagnosis, but it remains physically problematic and has been quite disruptive – I have already canceled a few music gigs – and it reverberates though other aspects of my health. I’ll probably have a better sense of things in the next few days. Meanwhile, I have a few upcoming shows in the next two weeks that I plan to still play, but beyond that I am keeping things pretty low-key for September and October, focused on solitary creative projects (e.g., resuming work on the solo album), and on healing. Indeed, Luna and I are now healing each other together.
August 8th is World Cat Day. As described on the Cat Blogosphere, it’s an “annual event to simply recognize the beauty,
majesty, humor and fun of cats”. And we at CatSynth love all cats! But this year is tinged with mixed feelings on this day as we continue to worry about the cat we love most.
Luna continues to recover from her surgery and rest comfortably. She is eating well and communicative, but a bit lethargic and depressed. That is not uncommon after major surgery, for cats or humans. But the cone is particular source of misery. So we’re giving her a bit more cone-free time under supervision.
When liberated from the cone, she perks right up and even displayers her “happy tail.”
We haven’t heard any lab results yet, so that is leaving us still quite anxious about what comes next.
Luna has come home after her surgery. Basically, she had a full mastectomy and removal of a lymph node that was a likely target for spreading. She recovered well during her overnight stay at the hospital, and indeed was quite energetic and charmed the staff with her sweet and affectionate nature. She will have to wear the cone of shame for a while, but somehow she manages to still look good with it.
She’s going to need quite a bit of care and support over the next few days as she heals, including pain medication and comfort. And we are anxiously waiting for the oncology report from the removed lymph node later this week. This will determine our next steps, and right now we’re holding onto hope for a good result. So far she has been quite resilient through this ordeal, and hoping that will be a good sign.
As always, thank you all for your purrs and thoughts, and please keep them coming!
-Luna and Amanda
I want to share an update on Luna’s condition with everyone.
On Wednesday, Luna and I visited the oncologist to discuss her situation and the next steps. He pretty much confirmed what we already knew from the diagnosis: that this is a very aggressive mammary cancer and that one of the tumors had compromised a blood vessel. The latter is particularly concerning because it may indicate spreading. It is a pretty dire prognosis, but not one without steps to take. A “cure” is unfortunately very unlikely at this point, but there are things we can do give her a longer life and better quality of life than letting the disease run its course, which would be fatal.
It’s particularly hard to comprehend for me, as Luna is still young, and so full of life. Since we were cleared to remove the cone she is back to her normal self, with normal “senior kitty” energy but her exceptional affection. Indeed, she continues to be the one who comforts me with purrs and love as I process what has been an emotionally crushing experience.
Right now, the best thing I can do is focus on the next steps and not look beyond that. The next step, and indeed most important one for treating her, is surgery. In all likelihood, that will happen this Saturday as the sooner we do this the better. Then it’s some time to heal, and then evaluation on the next steps, most likely two rounds of chemo. From there, the path is uncertain, and it’s best for me not to dwell on it (no small task). In this instance, I do envy the ability of cats like Luna to live in the moment and focus on the love and happiness they are feeling in that moment. For my end, all I can do is promise to get her the best care and give her the best quality of life I can for as long as we can have.
Thank you to everyone who has provided purrs, healing vibes, prayers and good wishes! It means a great deal to us.
More pictures of cats and synthesizers coming in to support Luna. This one is from @KIPKUBIN on Twitter.
@catsynth I hope Luna feels better soon. Take care of yourself as well. Meow.
Meow indeed. And thank you!