It’s Mickey Albers-Brooks. I wanted to share with everyone a very special day. It’s my chemotherapy anniversary! I know that doesn’t sound like something to be happy about, but I really didn’t realize I had cancer until Mommy let it slip last week when she was opening my new bottle of Chorambucil. Since then Harry and William have had a lot of questions for me about cancer and chemotherapy so I thought I would share my experiences with everyone.
First, I have a kind of cancer called gastrointestinal lymphoma. Mommy and Daddy say it is by far the most common kind of cancer they see in cats. Last year my stomach started to hurt a little bit so I wasn’t eating my food quite as fast as I used to. I just didn’t feel as energetic either. I thought maybe I was just getting older (I’m fourteen and a half now) and that’s why I was sleeping a lot. Also, for my whole life, Mommy’s been weighing me a couple of times a week by weighing herself then weighing both of us and doing something called math. She said that for the first time ever, I lost about six ounces without trying. She got really worried about that.
Mommy had Daddy did a bunch of tests on me (I needed Mommy to hold my hand while we did the tests because I have a biting impulse control disorder). My first tests showed I had pancreatitis so I changed my food and took some medications. I felt better on my new food but I still wasn’t eating well. Mommy and Daddy continued to worry about me and one day they snuck up on me and took me into the office. I don’t remember much of what happened next, I think I feel asleep. What I do remember is waking up and someone had shaved all of the hair off of my tummy! Mommy said they had to take something called a biopsy from my intestines and that is why they brought me to work. People are so weird.
A few weeks later Mommy and Daddy started acting very upset. They also started giving me two pills every other Sunday and a half of a pill every night. Mommy gives me a special dry food for treats (I LOVE dry food) when she gives me my pills so I don’t mind it too much. I guess those pills are my chemotherapy. I also have to get regular blood tests. I don’t enjoy getting blood tests.
Harry asked me why my hair didn’t fall out? Mommy said that since animals don’t wash their hands and since they lick themselves everywhere, the dose of chemotherapy they give me is much lower than what they would give a human and that’s why my hair never fell out. She said that they can’t cure cancer in animals; they just try to control it.
William wanted to know if my life was terrible on chemotherapy? I told him I actually regained all of my weight and then some. I also sleep a little bit less and play a little bit more. I do have some days when I am not feeling well and then Mommy and Daddy have to give me additional medications to help my stomach feel better and to help me stay hydrated. They said that they think I am having a pancreatitis flare up when I’m not feeling well.
Harry wanted to know if taking that many pills was terrible? I really like the special food Mommy gives me as a reward for getting my pills so some days, when she forgets to give me my pills in the evening, I pester her and remind her that I am supposed to get my treats now!
William and Harry didn’t have any other questions and I didn’t really realize I had cancer until last week anyway so that’s all I have to say about it for now!
Thanks for reading! Angela Albers, DVM
For more information about cancer in pets please visit the Morris Animal Foundation at: