Somehow I thought that knowing what it was would make it all better, or at least give me something to hold onto, but since we got the lymphoma diagnosis for Bub on Tuesday I've been a wreck. We ended up being at the vet for hours on Tuesday - they had to squeeze him in at the clinic next door to get another ultrasound and get a sample of the tumor so they'd know what to do to treat it, which was good to do, it just meant the poor guy was cooped up in his little carrier for hours in a waiting room occasionally full of barking dogs. He was terrified, and I wasn't much better off.
We made it through all that, although I was absolutely shattered by the end of Tuesday - I cried on and off all day long, almost as much out of frustration and the inability to make Bub understand what was going on than anything else. I've always had a harder time dealing with animals suffering that people suffering, just because you can't explain anything to them - they're just scared, or hurting, or whatever, and you can't tell them things are going to be okay. It really sucks.
At any rate, the diagnosis of lymphoma is what I expected it to be, and now the little guy is on chemo. He got his first IV injection at the vet's office on Tuesday, and he could be on chemo for up to a year. We'll know more after four weeks of weekly chemo appointments whether he's responding to the treatment, and then we'll know better what to do next. For this first month he's also on a cat version of the steroid Prednisone, which is supposed to help suppress his immune system (since lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system). I thought my big, easygoing boy would be easy to pill, but he's anything but. If he's as much of a fighter against the cancer as he is against the pills, the cancer doesn't stand a chance.
We got a pill in him on Tuesday night and then couldn't do it Wednesday morning. Chris found Pill Pockets online and found a store nearby that sold them, so he got some and went home at lunch to feed Bub his pill disguised as a kitty treat. He actually gulped it right down, so we were optimistic. He took his pill (encased in its treat) again last night, but this morning didn't want anything to do with it. Worse, he didn't really eat anything last night and wouldn't touch his food this morning or any of the various treats he usually loves. I'm the first to admit that I'm panicked about that - he's already so thin, he can't afford to lose any more weight. And yet it makes sense that the chemo would make him feel cruddy and like he doesn't feel like eating. He still seems hydrated, so that's good, and the vet assistant said the steroids should help him regain his appetite - so I'm going to hope he'll eat something tonight.
I'm still ready to cry at the drop of a hat. I feel so badly that he feels badly. Before he was diagnosed, but already clearly suffering from some of the effects of the cancer, he was "fine" - he was his usual active and playful self, happy as a clam. Now he's logey and has no appetite, and I can't help but think that if his four-week checkup doesn't show that he's responding well to the treatment that we've done a horrible thing to him. I don't want to think that way, but I almost can't help it. I know I'm being paranoid, I know I'm being overprotective, I know I'm worrying too much - and I don't know what else to do. The thing that's doing me in right now is the same hyper-sensitivity that caught the weight loss in the first place. It's the only way I know how to be. I want to force him to eat, but clearly can't do that. And yet every time he walks away from food I get more and more stressed and worried and anxious.
The vet says she's not worried that he didn't eat this morning, and that I'm supposed to call her back tomorrow if he's still not eating. Chris took Bub to our local vet this morning to get a demonstration in pilling, so he got his Prednisone today and Chris now knows how to get it in him reliably whether he'll eat that Pill Pocket thing or not. So at least there's that. And yet all I feel is a pit in my stomach about my poor sweet boy who now, as a result of us trying to fix him, feels like crap and has no idea why. I really hate this.