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.
Don't forget about my Blog Anniversary/Thanksgiving giveway. Details are HERE. You have until 9:00 pm EST on Saturday, November 27 to enter.
Enter to win this lovely tile tray.