Saturday, March 18, 2017

Caturday Art: Chloe

Hello everyone!  We are very sorry that we haven't posted in a long while.  Things are very busy around here.  March is Nutrition Month, and as our mom is a registered dietitian, she is even busier than normal this month!

Today, for Caturday Art with Athena, we have a digital scrapbooking page of our new baby sister.

Credits:
Kit - Aimee Harrison - Forever Friends (kit + messy edges) 
http://store.gingerscraps.net/Forever-Friends-Page-Kit.html http://store.gingerscraps.net/Forever-Friends-Messy-Edges.html 
Template - Tinci Designs - Your Story 8 http://store.gingerscraps.net/Your-story-8..html

As you can see, Chloe is adorable.  She and Dragonheart have become best friends.  They were allowed to meet after Dragonheart's congestion finally cleared, and they now get along wonderfully!  Chloe is actually very good for Dragonheart - she has him playing like he hasn't played in months!  So she has been a very positive addition to the clowder, as far as Dragonheart is concerned.

Chloe and Merlin get along just fine, although Merlin just mostly ignores her.  Sadly Merlin is starting to slow down, and isn't interested in playing, even with his favourite toys anymore.  He is still a happy guy, always purring and wanting to be with our dad, but he just doesn't have the energy he used to.  He still seems to be enjoying life, however, and doesn't seem to be in any pain.

Unfortunately, Chloe and Devi do not get along.  Devi has attacked Chloe a couple of times, scratching her before one of our humans could intervene (they are always supervising Chloe-Devi interactions).  Poor Chloe then hisses at her, understandably, and starts growling.  Hopefully they will eventually learn to get along.  Our humans are getting tired of sleeping in separate rooms (our mom with Dragonheart and Chloe in the master bedroom, and our dad with Merlin and Devi in the spare bedroom).  We've tried spraying Feliway, to help Devi stay calm, but she just doesn't seem to like having a kitten in the house at all.  We've done all of the "right" things they say to do for introductions - playing paws under the door to start, rubbing the kitten with a towel and then letting Devi have her scent, introducing them with playtime and treats for each, etc.  They may never be friends, but hopefully they'll be able to co-exist peacefully!

We hope all our friends are doing well.  We miss visiting you and hope we'll have to time to do so again soon!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

13 Months with Cancer!

Hello everyone!  Merlin here!  It has now been 13 months since I was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma of the GI tract and spleen, and giving 1 to 3 months to live.  It has now been 13 months, and while I'm starting to slow down, I'm still doing well!

Of course, we are celebrating with a digital scrapbook page, and joining Athena's Caturday Art Blog Hop.

Made with The Bright Side of Life by Little Feet Digital Designs and Dagi's Temp-tations

It was on February 4th, 2016, that we received the news that I had large cell lymphoma, the more aggressive form of lymphoma.  At the time, we never imagined that I would still be here, 13 months later, enjoying life and meeting my new baby sister.

I'm still doing well.  I'm starting to slow down a bit, whether from the cancer, the steroids, or the weight gain due to the steroids, but the steroids are keeping me alive, so we aren't about to stop them at this point.  I'm back to having some mucus or blood in my stool a couple of times a week, but that's all. It doesn't seem to bug me, although my dad gets a bit annoyed when I wipe my bum on the floor.

Thank you all for your purrs, prayers, positive thoughts, and kindness.  Your support means so much to me.  However much longer I have, I am just treasuring every moment with my family.

Thank you.

Friday, March 03, 2017

We are still here!

Hello everyone!  Merlin here!  Sorry that we haven't been posting or visiting our friends, but things have been incredibly busy around here, and there has been lots of chaos.

First of all, there is our new baby sister, Chloe.  We haven't had the opportunity to spend any time with her, for the reasons that follow:

Poor Dragonheart is still experiencing some congestion.  The vet recently started him on steroids, and that, along with a new antibiotic, and a continued antiviral, seems to be helping.  That said, he is making the trip to Guelph to visit the Health Science Centre Companion Animal Clinic at the Ontario Veterinary College on Tuesday, with our dad, to have a CT scan and an echocardiogram.  The x-rays that the vet took to rule out pneumonia or other problems showed that his heart is enlarged, so he needs the echocardiogram to see if his equivocal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has progressed.  The CT scan will be to see if his congestion is caused by polyps (hopefully, as they would be benign), or cancer (hopefully not, and not usual in a cat his age of ten).  It will also rule out any underlying reasons for the gum hyperplasia he kept having in the summer and fall of 2016.  So that's Dragonheart.

Devi had her eosinophilic granuloma skin lesions return.  We think she managed to snag some of Chloe's kitten food that got knocked out of the master bedroom, which has become the kitten nursery.  Chloe is a typical kitten, going crazy and knocking her dry food everywhere.  We are pretty sure some of it flew out to where Devi ate some of it.  So poor Devi is back on steroids and antihistamines to clear up her skin.  Fortunately those are working, and her skin is looking much better.



As for me, I'm, ironically, the healthiest of the older Sphynx.  I'm starting to slow down a bit, either for the steroids, the cancer, or both, and I'm back to having some blood and/or mucus in my stool a couple of times a week.  But otherwise I'm doing great!

Chloe is the healthiest of us all, being a growing kitten, full of energy and spunk!  She loves bunnykicking the 'nip banana we received from our Secret Paws.



So that's the update on us.  Be sure to check in tomorrow for a special celebration!  We miss you guys and hope we'll have more time to post and visit soon!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Introducing Chloe!

Hello friends!  Once again, we are sorry we haven't been posting or visiting.  Our mom is very busy with work, us, and her hobbies (like running and digital scrapbooking).  Of course, now she has something that is going to take up even more of her time - our new baby sister, Chloe!







Chloe is a 13-week old tortoiseshell Sphynx.  Although she might be a tortoiseshell and white because she has a large white (well pink on us Sphynx) patch under her chin, and one of her hind legs is white (pink).  But her exact colour doesn't really matter.  She's been spayed.  She has beautiful green eyes that have a ring of blue - it will be interesting to see if the blue disappears as she continues to mature.

None of us have met her yet, as she is currently in the "kitten nursery" - the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom - with our mom.  She has her vet check today, after which, if all is well, Merlin will be the first to meet her.  Merlin is the friendliest guy out there, so he seems like the best choice for the first introduction.

Unfortunately Dragonheart is still congested and sneezing.  He is currently on anti-virals.  But it means he won't be meeting Chloe until he is 100% better.

Chloe is from Beeblebrox Sphynx.  Our angel sister Arwen was from Beeblebrox, but we sadly lost her to FIP in January 2015.  Arwen came with a 5 year health guarantee, and so, when we were ready, Beeblebrox honoured that guarantee with Chloe.

Chloe is incredibly friendly and is constantly purring.  She was a bit scared her first night, and spent it under the bed (when she wasn't playing, eating, drinking, or using the litterbox).  The next day, though, after a very good play session, she curled up in our mom's lap and started to purr.  She spent all of that day on our mom, when she wasn't playing, and slept curled up next to our mom the entire night (again, with breaks for food, water, or litterbox).

We are fairly certain that Merlin will love her, and Dragonheart will be indifferent.  Devi is the unknown here.  She may take little Chloe under her wing, or she may whack her in the face.  We'll have to wait and see.

Chloe is incredibly tiny at this point, but she is full of purrs and energy.  We are happy to have another Sphynx as part of our clowder!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

One Year!

Merlin here!  Today is a very special day.  A day we never thought would happen.  One year ago today, on February 4, 2016, I was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma of the GI tract and spleen.  I was given one to three months to live.  Here I am a year later, defying all the odds and still going strong!



Just over a year ago (February 3rd), I was at the vet, being evaluated by the internal medicine service at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Small Animal Clinic.  I had been having loose stools and some blood and mucus in my stool, and occasionally vomiting some bile, so our primary care vet thought I had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  I was at OVC in order to confirm this diagnosis so I could be properly treated.

Merlin in the waiting room at the OVC Small Animal Clinic
They started with an abdominal ultrasound.  It showed that there was something wrong with my spleen, and that my lymph nodes throughout my abdomen were enlarged.  They tested my coagulation (since the spleen is important in blood coagulation), and then I was booked in for biopsies of the spleen and lymph nodes, to (or so we thought at the time), rule out cancer.  We all expected that I would be back at OVC the next day to have an endoscopy to confirm IBD.  I was in great physical shape, and other than the problems with my stool, that seemed to flare up when I was under stress, I was in perfect health!

Merlin after the biopsy - his skin is scabbed from the rubbing of the anaesthesia mask

They were able to get very good biopsies of both my lymph nodes and my spleen.  They sent the samples out to pathology to be tested.  The samples were good, they were clear, they were easily tested, and the results were very clear.  The pathology report was unequivocal.

So later that day on February 4th, 2016, we received the devastating news that I had an aggressive form of cancer:  large cell lymphoma of the spleen and GI tract.  I was given 1-3 months to live.  Chemo would only extend that by maybe a month.  Needless to say, we were all incredibly devastated.   My dad, who is my human, was overseas at the time, and we were very glad that he was going to be coming home for a couple of weeks leave very soon, before heading back overseas.  We thought that we were going to be saying goodbye.

Now here I am a year later, and I am still doing great!  Even my stool issues have cleared right up.  I only vomit if I eat too much cat grass.  While we certainly don't want to jinx it, it looks like I am currently in remission, something that is very common with small cell lymphoma, but is quite rare with large cell lymphoma.  I am very glad to be uncommon!  I am currently on prednisolone, but no other chemo.  I am still a solid Sphynx, with lots of muscle.  I still love to eat, I love to play, and I am enjoying life to the fullest.  We don't know how much longer I have, but we are enjoying every day.



Thank you all for your support, for your purrs, prayers, positive thoughts, and friendship.  It means so much to all of us that we have so many people caring about me.  Thank you my friends.

I honour of this very special anniversary, we are holding a comment-a-thon.  Every comment this post receives between now and 6 am on Monday February 6th, will lead to a donation of 50 cents to the OVC Pet Trust, which is working to find better therapies for pets and people!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Caturday Art: Winter

Hello friends!  We are sorry we haven't been posting this week or visiting our friends.  If you follow Merlin's Facebook page, you will know that our mom started her new job this week.  Since she is still adjusting to her schedule, she hasn't had time to help us on the computer.  Hopefully as she settles in to the job and figures out her schedule, she'll have more time to help us again.

This week for Caturday Art with Athena we have another digital scrapbooking page.  The photo is from our visit with our mom's family over Christmas.

Made with Freezing from Ooh La La Scraps
In other news, Dragonheart could use some purrs today.  He goes to the vet today for some x-rays.  He is still congested and sneezing, and occasionally coughing, even after a ten-day course of antibiotics.  Since he has a heart murmur and mild/equivocal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, they want to figure out what is going on before trying any other medications.  So he is going in for x-rays this morning.  We will update when we are back from the vet, and when we have some news on what they think is going on.  Thank you for any purrs, prayers, and positive thoughts.

Update: 1109 EST - We are back from the vet.  Dragonheart fortunately did not need to be sedated.  He took his "happy pill" - Gabapentin - and that was enough to keep him still for the x-rays.  The good news is that it does not look like he has pneumonia.  The bad news is that because he is still congested and having nasal discharge, he needs to take a different antibiotic for the next 14 days.  Hopefully this will clear things up.  Thanks again for all your purrs and prayers.

Update 2: 1446 EST - So we have the radiology report back.  Basically we are going to see how Dragonheart does on the new antibiotic, and if there's no improvement, we will add an antiviral on Tuesday.  Some highlights from the radiology report (note that Dragonheart is due for his heart scan in the spring, which is a good thing given some of the cardiac issues noted on the x-rays):
FINDINGS: There is pericardial fat accumulation best observed on the right lateral view.  Cardiac silhouette is moderately enlarged...  There is a mild bronchointerstitial pattern consistent with the previous diagnosis of feline asthma.  There is no evidence of cardiogenic pulmonary edema or bronchopneumonia.  CONCLUSIONS: –The mild bronchointerstitial pattern present within the lungs is consistent with the previous diagnosis of feline asthma.  There is no evidence of cardiogenic pulmonary edema or bronchopneumonia.  The upper airway pathology is likely the source of the patient's current clinical signs. –Compensated cardiomegaly most likely due to previously diagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. 
So while it's not great news, it's not horrible news either.  Thanks again for your purrs and prayers.