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Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: For Bob

Tomorrow Bob has his 8th chemotherapy treatment and I'm scared. I'm scared to find out what Dr. I. has to say about Bob's current condition. I'm scared we may be running out of options, too, depending on what he says.

Bob looks like Hell. He has about 1/2 of his fur left. Every day a lot more falls away. I feel alarmed when I see how much more fur he's lost from day to doy. I've complained about it to both Vets and taken him to see Dr. Larry. No one can really say if this is ringworm gone wild or if the new chemo is causing it. At first we thought it was only ringwrom, but not it just doesn't look like it. I need someone to take a stand, not push it off onto another Vet and deal with this. I don't see lesions on Bob. I don't see the crusty look of ringworm. I just see smooth skin.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and Gracie share a place in the sun.

We've given Bob two baths with Malaseb, but it hasn't retarded the fur loss. I've given him conofite lotion, but that doesn't do anything, either. I really think, rare or not, this IS a reaction to the chemo and the oncologist needs to stop stepping back from it and either adjust the chemo or change it.

I know what you might be thinking. So what? Bog has no fur, but he's ALIVE. Yes, that's a great point, but WHY is the fur falling out? It's NOT SUPPOSED TO. Bob is COLD. He spends his day and night on our bed. We have a space heater and an electric blanket on 24/7 to keep him warm. He never used to even go upstairs, but he makes the journey in slow old-man steps. Somehow he can still jump on the bed. I want Bob to have his dignity. I want Bob to be warm! He was so beautiful. It kills me to see him like this.

Bob's appetite was poor last week. I gave him an appetite stimulant just for one day. A week later, Bob is still eating well. I feed him often, about 4-5 times a day. The lymphoma makes it tough to absorb nutrition, so I'm hoping Bob has not lost more weight. He hovers around 13 pounds, but he looks thinner to me. I'm scared to find out he's lost a lot of weight since he had chemo 3 weeks ago. It would be a sign that the chemo isn't working.

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©2011 Robin A.F Olson. The Orange Cat Club has it's daily meeting with Blitzen (front right) and Bob (left of Blitz), MacGruber (far left) and Nora (far right)

I'm trying to convince myself that if you ignored the fur loss and just looked at how Bob is living his life, you'd say he was doing all right, not great, but okay. Every time we go for the chemo, they ask us to rate Bob's health on a scale from 1-10. Usually we rate him around 8-9, but I asked Sam last night and he feels it's down to a 7, maybe 7.5. It's so tough to not judge Bob on how he looks when determining a rating.

Bob eats, he washes his face, he purrs, he goes to the litter pan by himself, he drinks water. He comes downstairs to eat breakfast and dinner, but he moves slowly. He seems to be more tired, but many of the cats spend the day in bed with him, so really maybe he's not doing that badly?

With all the challenges facing Bob, there is one positive change I've noticed. Blitzen has started to groom Bob's head from time to time. He will also sit near Bob, a bit protectively, perhaps. MacGruber, who was very bratty with Bob, has now backed off. Generally speaking, I think the cats are aware of Bob's illness and are giving him both space and respect and companionship. Bob didn't used to hang out with the others. Very often he kept to himself or napped with Nora. There's been a lot of chaos and fighting between the cats over the past few months, but it's quieted down. Maybe they've decided to get along for now? For Bob.

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You love Bob whether or not he has fur and it is hard to omit how he looks from your evaluation of how he's doing. But we hope Bob is doing better than he looks and his fur will grow back. Hang in there. We know this is tough for you.

Your feline family is beautiful. Sending positive thoughts for Bob tomorrow.

It hurts to see what Bob and you are going through. I'm glad he is doing better. Have you thought of giving him Resveratrol? Open a capsule and mix a little into his food. It might help and couldn't hurt. We have a good sized group of 4 legged kids here and I worry about all of them.

It's not surprising Bob is losing his fur, and is tired, etc... He's going through chemo. I wouldn't expect him to be doing cartwheels, or anything. Compare notes with the Vet to gauge how well Bob is truly doing. Don't give up hope. Where there's life, there's hope. :)

I wouldn't worry too much about the hair Robin; if he's eating (albeit a little less) and moving around, especially by braving the stairs, I would chalk up the hair loss to just a bad side effect of all that his body has gone through, including chemo. Just keep him warm (or get him a coat haha). My Annie - who could be Blitzen's twin sister - has had two strokes in the last 6 months, and she wobbles around slowly but eats, purrs, grooms herself and demands holding time, so the vet agrees that her quality of life is fine. Bob's hair will grow back once this is all behind him, and if not, he's still beautiful inside. Keep up the good work!!


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