Liz Erk (lizerk) wrote,
Liz Erk

"Well, it's not cancer..."

I have been on edge the last couple of days. Jeffrey's slowly sliding downhill by way of edema. In short, he's rapidly losing protein via fluid loss and it's accumulating in his abdomen and starting to show up in his lungs.

The Dr. called me yesterday and said they've ruled out cancer for sure, so that means he has either Amyloidosis or FIP.

"Thank God it's not cancer," I said.

"Well, yes," the doctor answered. "But I kind of wish it was. That way we could at least know how to treat it. With the other two, there's not much we can do."

Mind you, I read a lot of stuff regarding holistic vets treating Amyloidosis and FIP successfully. Here's a great example of an FIP cat. (I can't find the amyloidosis link and it'll take me too long to try and recreate my Google search. I'll update this when I can find it.) So her answer didn't dishearten me.

At 9:30 a.m. yesterday I met with Marie Cargill, the holistic vet I'd mentioned in my last post. She gave me two things for Jeffrey to start with, the first being Rehmannia 8 which increases blood flow and replenishes the kidneys. The second is Marrow Plus to boost Jeffrey's red blood cell production.

I brought them to the hospital and they agreed to give him the dosages Dr. Cargill recommended. After I'd spoken with Jeffrey's doctor about how he didn't have lymphoma, but rather two other untreatable conditions, I called Dr. Cargill back.

"So the doctor said Jeffrey doesn't have cancer," I said. "She said she was hoping he kind of did so they could immediately treat him for it. But instead she said he definitely has Glomerular disease, but it's a matter of whether or not it's Amyloidosis or FIP."

"What?" she exclaimed. "No, cancer's the worst thing. I can treat Jeffrey for Amyloidosis and I've done it quite successfully in other animals before. FIP's trickier, but it can be done. Get him stable enough so he can leave the hospital and then I'll treat him either Friday or Saturday."

I agreed to check back in with her later in the week, but I actually called her and left a message this morning. Yesterday evening Jeffrey's doctor called me and said Jeffrey was still losing proteins through fluid that was escaping into his abdomen. It was also starting to go into his chest, pressing against his lungs. Without question I told her to please drain it and she explained how they would go about doing it, which I was fine with. (it sounded like a fairly simple method) That was also the point where we'd had the conversation regarding FIP or Amyloidosis.

I told her about my conversation with Dr. Cargill and that while it seemed traditional medicine couldn't take Jeffrey much further, I was confident Dr. Cargill could.

"I really would like you guys to please determine which condition Jeffrey has," I said.

"Well, to do that we'd need to do a kidney biopsy," she explained. "And while it would be interesting to know what Jeffrey has, with the holidays we wouldn't be able to get the results until well into next week. I'm concerned we don't have that long to really wait."

"Me too," I agreed. "So what do we do? Who do I talk to? I'm fine with paying extra to speed up the process."

"It's not a matter of cost," she said. "It's that all labs don't turn these things around quickly. We send the tissue out to an independent lab and then we have to wait. With the holidays it's even slower."

"But Jeffrey doesn't have time to wait!" I exclaimed.

"I know," she said. "I even called out to Tufts to see if they could help, but they're in the same position."

I sighed. "Fine, let's do the biopsy anyway."

"Okay," she said. "It won't be performed until tomorrow morning because I want to be present to monitor his clotting ability."

"Okay," I said. "That's fine. Thanks for the update."

We hung up and I started racking my brain for a solution. This was an emergency and I really wanted to be able to give a definitive diagnosis to Dr. Cargill so she can treat Jeffrey appropriately Friday or Saturday.

First I called ssejooz because of the work she's done in labs. She didn't know anyone I could call, but suggested I call another local hospital. They couldn't help me, but referred me to another hospital who couldn't help me either.

I then remembered Sue, one of my best friends from high school was in the medical field, so I thought she might know someone.

"Hmmm," she said. "Well, my sister's fiance works in a lab. Let me call him."

15 minutes later I was on the phone with Peter, Sue's future brother-in-law. "I don't see why we can't do it," he said. "I mean, we don't do veterinary analysis, but I think if we know what we're looking for we can try. And I can probably have it done within an hour of receiving everything."

YES!!!!!!!!!! My hopes rose again.

I spoke with Jeffrey's doctor about an hour ago and she said she'd give Peter a call to discuss sending Jeffrey's tissue over. I'm praying this works.

"I mean, my hands are tied in terms of what I can do for Jeffrey except for what we have going now," she said. "But I have to say, for someone who's kidneys are the way they are, he looks really good. He should be far worse than he is."

"Well, this is why I'm refusing to give up," I said.

"I understand," she said. "And you might also want to consider Jeffrey for a kidney transplant."

This was something I'd thought about. I do have his brother and sister, so I'd likely have a suitable match in one of them. But the problem there is it's about $8000 to start. So I'm hoping the other avenues I'm seeking will come through.

Funny enough as I typed this, Jeffrey's doctor called. She said she called her lab and explained the dire situation and they agreed to review the slides and have the results turned around by Friday, Saturday a.m. at the latest! Go Dr. White! So that's one more positive for the day so far. :-) Plus he did really well with the biopsy procedure and was just waking up as she called me.

I am hoping Dr. Cargill calls me back this morning because I'd done some reading on the whole fluid thing. Jeffrey's doctor mentioned they were using Lasix, a diuretic that reduces the volume of fluid that the heart has to pump and removes fluid from the lungs, making the heart's work easier. But in reading this website, it looks like there's an alternate route: "A better option than Lasix, is the herb Dandelion, Mother Nature's purrfect diuretic. Get the leaf either in tea bags or in loose dried form, and brew tea using the infusion method (for information on this, check this site: Depending on the size of your cat, and severity of the problem, you can give 1 to 4 5-cc syringes (from the baby section of the drug store) per day."

And that's where we're at. My little Jeffrey's hanging in there and I visit him a couple times a day. He's so spirited and he immediately reacts when he sees me. When I hold him he starts kneading and purring.

Jeffrey after his second blood transfusion on Tuesday. His red blood cell count improved to 16% percent on its own yesterday.

On Tuesday they told me Jeffrey wouldn't eat anything for them, so they wanted me to try. I informed them that he's not a wet food fan and to try K/D dry food. Sure enough, he went to town when they brought him some and has been eating well on his own ever since.

This is my favorite part of every visit... just holding him and listening to his purr while he kneads on me. Sometimes he dozes off that way and I wish I could just stay there with him all the time.

So the fight continues. Please continue any prayers and positive thoughts. We've come so far and I just know we're going to get through this!


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  • Passion of the Crisis

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