Aby-a-Day – 8 April: “Cancer is a fight to the death. Either you kill it, or it will kill you. Get ready to brawl.” (Medical Monday)

Cutting to the chase, the vets think Jacoby has Lymphoma.

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On Friday, Jake and I repeated the trip we took back in August when we went to Djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to find out what was the matter with him.

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They have the best cubbies for cat carriers in the cat waiting room.

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When they called us back, they put us in a really nice, sunny room. Anicura puts birdfeeders outside the windows of the cat exam rooms. Birds came to the window whilst we were there…but not when I could take a photo of any of them.

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The first thing they did was weigh him. As you can see, 4.35kg (9.6lbs). On 3 March, he was up to 4.9kg (10.8lbs). When I weighed him on the 31st, just under a month later, this is what he weighed. I called the vet the next day.

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After the nurse took some blood samples, he went back to the sunny windowsill.

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The vet felt something when she palpated his abdomen, so she ordered an another ultrasound, which they managed to squeeze in that same afternoon. They sent me off for a couple of hours, and when I came back…the news was not great.

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They suspected Lymphoma, and scheduled another exploratory surgery for this morning. I was meant to bring him back on Sunday afternoon.

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It was a pretty long day, and Jake was exhausted. He didn’t even get out of his carrier on the train ride back.

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On Saturday, Jake was worse than ever. He spiraled in the 24 hours after our visit the day before.

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He wasn’t eating or drinking, just lying on the kitchen floor. I tried putting him in comfortable places, but he kept going back to the floor. I knew he needed to go back to Jönköping, but I wasn’t sure that the train would get me there fast enough. Björn got home from work at 5, and I asked him if we could borrow one of our neighbours’ cars. He did, and we drove to Jönköping.

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We saw a majestik møøse on the way to the vet!

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When we got there, we were put into the same exam room we’d been in on Friday.

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You can see how much worse he looked than the last time we were in that room.

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Despite having no appetite, Jake was still interested in the treat jar.

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When the nurse came in, she gave him a few…and he ate them!

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Then there was some paperwork to fill out…

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…farewells to be said…

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…and then he needed to go into the hospital transport cage.

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At first, he didn’t want to lie down so she could close the carrier.

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Finally, he cooperated, and they rolled him away.

One of my favourite things about Anicura is that they send good morning texts with a photo of your cat. This was this morning’s text, after being on fluids for a day, before his surgery.

They called me after his surgery was finished and he’d woken up. He was doing well, and the samples from the biopsy were sent to the lab but from what they observed when they had him open was that they were fairly certain that Jake does have Lymphoma, and they are going to start the chemotherapy as soon as they can without waiting for the results.

Cats respond differently to the treatment, and can live for three or four months to three or four years. We just don’t know how he will respond. According to this article I found, “Feline lymphoma cases currently appear to fall into three groups from a prognostic point of view. There are some that fail to show a good response to any chemotherapy offered. For these patients, their lymphoma is unfortunately fairly rapidly progressive. Patients in the middle group tend to show a degree of response to the treatment but never achieve complete normality and for these patients there is an average life expectancy of approximately 4 months. The third group achieve complete remission from their lymphoma and their life expectancy is measured in years.” We just need to wait and see which group Jake falls into.

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I wish I knew what else to say. I mean, his 10th birthday is next Sunday. I can’t imagine not having him with me.

Aby-a-Day – 13 August: Exploratory surgery (Medical Monday)

Today I had to do the second hardest thing a cat parent has to do. Today I took Jacoby to Jönköping…and left him at the djursjukhuset there.

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I think he knew something was going on. When I woke up, he was lying on top of me. His biopsies are tomorrow morning, but because of the train schedules, it was easier to bring him in this afternoon.

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After breakfast, he stayed close to me on the sofa. I’m sure he knew something was up…even though I tried to remain calm.

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But the truth is, Jake is having surgery tomorrow. He is having different areas of his digestive tract biopsied so we can finally know what has been bothering him since February or March. And while it’s a routine procedure and everything should be fine…it’s still surgery.

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And that’s a hard thing to think about when it’s your best friend, your feline soulmate of nine years.

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And while most of your brain knows it’s just surgery and he’ll come through it with no problems…there’s always this evil little bit in the back of cerebellum that can’t stop thinking that this train ride, this time in the waiting room, this moment where he’s in the transfer cage and going back into the depths of the hospital you almost never get to see…this might be the last time I pet that head, hear that purr, tell him I love him. The odds of that happening are low, to be sure…but we’ve all heard stories of routine surgeries going wrong. You don’t want to think that way, but you do.

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I took a couple of awkward selfies of us on the train…

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…until I remembered about Incredibooth. Selfies are much better when they look like photobooth strips.

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On our journey to Anicura, I of course let him out of his carrier whilst we were on the train.

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Jake was his usual Strollercat self, riding the rails the way he has a thousand times before.

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Before we left, I packed one of his favourite spring toys along with his beloved catnip Jackson Pollock fish. This is one of his all-time favourite toys and he was even licking it in his carrier. I hope it gives him some comfort tomorrow when he wakes up from his operation.

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I let him walk from the bus stop to the hospital.

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He’s actually starting to recognise where he’s going when we come her, which is a sign we’ve come here too many times. But there was no way he would make that trip in his carrier, and who was I not to indulge him?

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We had a bit of a wait before a nurse came to collect him, so we sat in the special cats-only waiting room.

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There are shelves on the wall for people to set the cat carriers…

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…and they have two Feliway plug-ins installed!

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There were other people in the cat waiting room when we first got there, so I kept Jake in his carrier. Once they left, however, I let him out to walk around. He seemed to like the waiting room, but of course he’s never been afraid of going to the vet.

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He was very affectionate while we waited.

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In fact, he felt so happy and comfortable in the waiting room, he flopped down and started grooming himself.

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It kind of made me sad, because I could see how much his hair had grown back from the ultrasound he’d had a month ago…and that’s going to get shaved off again tomorrow morning.

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Finally we we called back to an exam room. He was weighed (4.02 kg, better than the 3.9 kg he was on 6 August, the last time I got his weight), and we talked a little about the procedure to come and what will happen after the operation.

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I had to take off his collar, which made me a little sad, but they let him have his toys, so when he wakes up in his hospital cage he’ll have something from home to help make him feel better.

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Finally, they wheeled him off to his hospital cage, and I went along home with my empty cat carrier.

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I had an hour to kill before my train home came, so I went to O’Leary’s (a favourite quasi-Boston hangout) and played a little of my favourite slot machine game, Wild Pride, and I won 845kr (about $92 USD)! That surely must be a good omen, right?

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, waiting for the phone to ring. I will go back to pick Jake up either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how quickly he recovers.