We’ve been playing a long game of “try this and see” with Alvin’s health for the past eight months. He’s been on and off liver supplements, antibiotics, steroids, Vitamin B12 shots, and so much more since August, when he first started losing weight and acting differently. In January, we even had to take him in for a esophagostomy tube, when he stopped eating entirely and, as a result, became jaundiced. He was able to get it taken out after a week, which is good…but he’s got another one in now, after he stopped eating again over the weekend.
Eight months, three ultrasounds, a liver aspiration and an extensive biopsy of the liver, lymph node, and GI tract, and we finally have a definite diagnosis.
It’s a devastating thing to hear confirmed but it’s actually, believe it or not, going to fall under the category of Good News.
Why, you might ask? Because the other potential diagnosis would have been worse. So much worse.
Tuesday morning, when the vet called to tell me Alvin could come home after Monday’s overnight biopsy stay, she broke the news that our poor little guy could be suffering from a disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). That disease is so much more terrifying. There are two forms, “wet” and “dry.” There is no cure, not even a treatment beyond palliative care, and it has a 100% fatality rate. Dry form generally kills within months. A diagnosis of wet form generally means days or weeks to live.
You can imagine my response when I learned of this possible diagnosis. It’s probably the only time someone hopes for a cancer diagnosis.
Don’t get me wrong…small cell lymphoma is still a serious disease that is, technically, just as fatal. The difference is, it is treatable (not curable) and, fingers crossed, we could have two more years with the little goofball. That’s still a lot shorter than any of us were planning, but two years is a lot better than two weeks.
Alvin starts chemotherapy in a few days, as soon as the medicine gets here. He’ll be on it for the rest of his life. I don’t mind giving him pills every day, if it means I get more time with him.