Well, lucky us, it turns out that small-cell lymphoma (if it doesn’t turn into one of its nastier forms, like large-cell lymphoma or leukemia) can mostly be treated like a chronic illness! Admittedly, one which slowly progresses and must be treated with stronger and stronger meds until quality of life cannot be maintained, but still. For right now, it’s adding three new meds (a pain killer, an antacid, and a chemical used to treat neoplastic diseases) to Zephyr’s existing regimen of three meds. Not too bad. One of them is a low-dose chemotherapy drug, though, and so I have to handle it with gloves and clean his litterbox constantly to make sure any drug he excretes doesn’t get spread to any of the other cats. Creepy.
Our oncologist, who is kind and very experienced, says her patients live an average of 18 months, with good quality of life — about what they have with controlled IBD. Once we get this flareup under control, he should be basically back to normal, just with more meds to keep him that way.
At least I have experience dealing with sick cats already, so nursing him through this isn’t that big a change or requiring me to learn a ton of new stuff. I’m relieved that we get more time with him, that he’ll go back to “normal” for at least a little while. I’ve never expected he’d live past 15 or so, and hearing that he won’t isn’t a surprise. Just kind of sad.