Our cat Riley has been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and we’re about to embark on “the new normal” with him. He seems fine but his weight is down since last year and his white blood cell count was high, so our vet Dr Esbenson of Arlington Cat Clinic sent a sample on to the feline oncologist. So in a small scale we’re experiencing some of the fear and uncertainty that anyone with a cancer diagnosis faces.
It’s the chronic form, slow to develop, and depending on how this chemotherapy and steroids regimen works out, he could be happy and relatively healthy for years.
Is the end of cancer conceivable in the future? Is it possible to eradicate this disease from our bodies and our societies for ever? Or should our goals be more modest?
We’ll shoot for modest goals; we “pill” him every other day with a steroid called Prednisolone that’s well tolerated by cats, and he got his first dose Thursday.
Every two weeks he gets a chemotherapy drug called Chlorambucil, starting today. It has to be preceded by a blood test and we have to wear gloves when handling and giving it to him, because it’s nasty stuff that kills white blood cells by altering their DNA apparently. It can’t be crushed and put in his food; it’s coated because it has to get farther into the gut.