Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maggie Marks a Milestone

I first introduced you to Maggie in THIS post from October 2009.  She is my miracle cat, and the miracle keeps getting better and better.

Sweet Maggie, relaxing in a sunshine puddle.

Today is the 7th anniversary of Maggie's first visit to South Paws Referral Clinic, a day she would have died if she hadn't received the specialized care the staff at South Paws gave her.  (My post about South Paws earlier this year, with a look at their comfortable, homey decor, is HERE.)  She was a very sick kitty, requiring two days in intensive care, and 24/7 care at home for days afterward.

Test after test after test was performed on Maggie, and we found that she has Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), which is an autoimmune condition where her body's immune system attacks and destroys her own blood cells.  When we first went to SouthPaws, she had less than 25% of the red cells she should have had ... and was down to 10% of her platelets.  To control this, she has lived on varying doses of steroids and cyclosporine (a human anti-rejection drug) to control her rogue immune system.  Contrary to the expectations set forth by her doctors, she has thrived and is now looking forward to celebrating her 10th birthday.

Over the years, Maggie has spent many an afternoon in this carrier going to and from veterinary appointments.

Last spring, probably as a result of her prolonged use of cyclosporine, Maggie developed Hodgkin's Lymphona (which is very rare in cats).  She had surgery to remove a large cancerous lymph node in her neck, and received 4 rounds of CCNU chemotherapy.  Again, contrary to the expectations of her doctors, Maggie is in remission, and is as healthy as can be.

If I'm sitting still, Maggie is probably in my lap like this.

For the past year during her oncology check-ups, Maggie has had blood tests done to monitor her IMHA.  Each test has come back completely normal ... something that had never happened since she was diagnosed in 2003.  At her last check-up a month ago, her oncologist told me that she theorizes that Maggie's chemotherapy treatments may have destroyed the rogue lymphocytes that were causing her anemia.  She also told me that she wants to wean Maggie off of her medications, and see how she progresses.

"Mom, can you stop taking my picture and let me sit in your lap?"  (Yes, these are Desert Storm-era fatigue pants that I'm wearing.)

This week, I gave Maggie what we hope will be her final dose of cyclosporine.  I will continue to give her steroids twice a week for the next month, when we will do blood tests to make sure everything is still stable.  If her bloodwork is good, we will reduce her steroids and try to get her off of them, too. 

Can you tell that Maggie really wants me to pick her up?

Maggie looks and feels wonderful now.  Her eyes are bright, her fur is soft and puffy, and her attitude couldn't be better.  She is my miracle cat ... the cat who picked me ... and I am thankful every day that we made the decision to treat her when she was so deathly ill seven years ago.  It has been an emotional (and very expensive) ride, and she is worth it.


  1. You are Maggie's angel! What a sweet girl she is. This brought tears to my eyes!

  2. This is my first time by your blog and was so happy to read this about Maggie. My mother's little dachshund has this same immune disease. It came on so suddenly. The vet thinks she got it from a tick bite long ago and that it was dormant in her system. We had never seen a tick on her.

    Anyway...she collapsed and we rushed her - Daisy to the vet where he said that if we'd waited another hour...she would have been gone. Unfortunately this happened when my Mom had the flu and didn't realize Daisy was sick until she'd been sick a couple of days.

    We really thought we were going to lose her...same thing as with Maggie. But the vet pumped her full of steroids and kept her for a week. We kept her on steroids for about 6 months and then weened her off of them...and she goes in for checkups. From what I've read...some animals have it the rest of their lives but some have a complete recovery. We were least so far. It has been two years now.

    I'm so happy to hear that someone else had complete recovery too. She is a beautiful cat. I used to have a long haired calico. Calicos are my favorite.

  3. Wow, you are one sweet momma to take care of her like that. I am so glad it is a good story about a pet instead of a sad one. She is a beautiful cat. I used to have one named Maggie, too.

  4. Look how absolutely gorgeous her coat is! I wish I had hair like that.... on my head of course.


  5. What a beautiful cat! Those eyes!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Connie -

  6. Maggie looks like the very picture of health now! So glad she was in your good hands during her complicated illnesses and recovery....

  7. Connie, Maggie looks very healthy and is a beautiful cat. I am so glad she is doing well.
    xo, Sherry

  8. You had me at the first photo of Maggie......I felt the first tear in my eye. By the end of your post, I could barely see my computer screen. *sniff* What a beautiful story of love and strength and faith - and thankfulness - at the perfect time of year. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. I am so happy that Mags is healthy and happy! You are a good momma! :)

    xoxo laurie

  9. What a heartwarming story. Maggie is one lucky kitty. One with more then nine lives. She was very lucky to have you as an owner. My one cat is 19 and the other is 5. Both were strays that I brought them in from the winter snow.I was lucky neither required the care that your Maggie did.

  10. She is a miracle cat, and looks sweet and beautiful.

  11. What a beautiful Thanksgiving story. Your Maggie is so blessed to have you all these years and she looks at you with such love in her beautiful eyes. They're our precious children and we are their guardians..and oh, the love they hold for us is such a sweet gift.

  12. Maggie is gorgeous
    and I love that she
    wants to be picked up
    and held by you....
    I adore cats that are
    like that. You were
    her angel and she
    knows it!!
    Happy Friday,
    xx Suzanne

  13. What a beautiful kitty Maggie is! You have been her angel mamma. She is gorgeous and looks so healthy and happy. I love that she wants to be held by you...she knows she is safe in your arms.
    This is an exquisite post about pure love. I am so glad that you shared this story.

  14. Maggie is so lucky to have you as her mom! Congratulations sweet Maggie, I hope you continue to defy the odds!!!

    Kat :)

  15. Your story about Maggie is inspiring. We have two stray cats which we adopted, and we love them both.~~Dee

  16. She's a beauty. Southpaws is excellent. We are fortunate to have them in this area.


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