12 September 2012

Bad News for Little Red

Well, just got back from the vet.  Bad news. Red has a systemic cancer and needs to be put to sleep.  His right kidney is very small, but the left kidney is four times its normal size, is misshapen, and lumpy.  That is, it is riddled with cancer.

The vet, the Amazing Dr. Reimer at Adler's VCA in the Valley, got a second opinion by Craig Adler, DVM who shares the practice.

It appears my instincts were right five weeks ago to begin treating Little Red for cancer assuming it was the same kind that Lakshmi had.  But unlike Lakshmi's G.I. lymphoma, Red's cancer is systemic and certainly has metasticized already, and is causing multiple organ failure to begin.  He is in pain, but not exceptional pain at this point.

There is really nothing that can be done. Reimer said we bought Red an extra five weeks by beginning the chemotherapy on August 4, but systemic cancers usually get around chemotherapy in short order.

The options were to do a bone marrow aspiration, followed by an ultrasound of the kidney, then an aspiration of the kidney to stage and type the cancer, and choose alternative chemotherapies.  But he said he doubted that woud even buy Red an extra two months.

So, he gave Red a big (4mg) shot of Dexamethasone, a steroid used to fight cancer, and give him a little time before we have him put to sleep.  I did not do it today, because Red is one of Kerima's favorite cats and she was at work.  She would want to be present at his death as we both have been with all of our cats.  Wish him well dear friends.


  1. I wish all three of you well. I know this is not easy.

  2. Ed,

    You probably won't remember, but this is what I wrote in my first mail to you:

    > First, maybe I should explain what brought me to this practice. From
    > when I was very little, I always had a strong and sad feeling about
    > death. Most times when I was together with another being I liked or
    > loved, or even when I did something enjoyable, I always had to think
    > about its end, losing the other person or being again, or losing a pleasant feeling.

    What you describe as the feeling that you failed somebody you loved when they die... I can definitely relate to that.

    Probably my most devastating experience of the death of a loved one was actually a cat. He lived with us for five years (he was 13-18, I was maybe 7-12 years old) and was put down because he wasn't able to eat anymore after a surgery (trying to fix jawbone which was broken when he fell off a tree or something). I was powerless to do anything, of course. My parents had to take him to the vet to put him down while I was distracted.
    The memory is hazy, but I remember crying often for a long time afterwards and sleeping with a plush Garfield doll even though I must have been older than 12.

    No one I really really loved has died recently.
    But even the thought that everybody I care about will surely die, no matter what I do...
    It has caused me episodes of depression all my life and at times makes me feel life is utterly pointless.

    The only good thing (even though this can be quite painful as well) that came with it is an urge to develop a larger-than-life love (a love powerful enough to conquer death?) in myself, the only ray of hope in this valley of sorrow.
    It must be crushing indeed to see this love fail at saving one's beloved...

    I can't imagine others never have to deal with stuff like this, but most people seem to push it away somehow. I have rarely felt understood in this matter.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings on this.

    Making these medical decisions must be really tough - that's why I now shy away from having pets myself besides insects, for which I don't develop a lot of affection. Maybe one day I'll have more courage than now.

    All the best to little Red! I'm sure you'll give him so much love while he's still with you.

    I am so sorry,

  3. We too are with you. It sounds as if you did all you could have done.

  4. Best wishes for you, Kerima and Little Red, Edji.
    We are all with you.

  5. Best wishes for you, Kerima and Little Red, Edji.
    We are all with you.

  6. I'm with you too .
    Maybe a new trip for Little Red with lot of things to discover and play with , in an another dream land .
    Cats don't care very much about "souvenirs" , I guess .
    Ed , give him Love and Happyness as you do with us !

  7. You may never know how much your loving has done for the 'being' you know as Little Red.

    It is your willingness to feel death and the impermanence of this place, fully, that allows Love to come alive so deeply; it makes your human vulnerability and 'gifts' to all of us so beautiful.

    Thank you...and Little Red.