Sunday, July 7, 2013

Taking Phantom To Auburn University Veterinary Hospital

Last Tuesday we took Phantom to the veterinary hospital at Auburn University to let an Oncologist look at him in hopes that there is something we can do for him to stop the cancer that is in his liver.  We left early and headed down there knowing it would be a long day. I never realized how long a day it would be or the effect it would have on us the rest of the week. I'm still not totally recovered and back on schedule! I guess I could also blame it on the holiday weekend.

 Five days later and things are still not back to normal routines, including my 70.3 training program. It has been put on hold temporarily and I haven't even been in the pool all week or on my tri bike and my gym workouts have even been short and easy. I just can't seem to get motivated and my mind is focused on this horrible thing that is happening to my cat and what can I do to help him.

Tuesday we arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes before our scheduled appointment and filled out the paperwork.

New Animal Hospital Under Construction

Phantom was calm, but curious and did great the entire day despite being cooped up in the carrier with no food, water or litter box. 

After looking over Phantom's records, the doctor said they would do a biopsy of the liver with an ultrasound and a cardiologist would be brought in to do an echocardiogram of his heart since he has an enlarged heart and heart disease. That would be done first to make sure it was safe to sedate him for the biopsy.

We were in the room waiting for a couple of hours before they took him for the biopsy. I took pictures of all the newspaper articles and pictures of former patients that were hanging on the wall and the Murph wrote "Phantom was here" all over the dry erase board that was on the wall. I took an Instagram picture of it but forgot to take one with the camera. Click Here to view the photos I took on Instagram.

Other Oncology patients

Finally they came to take Phantom for his biopsy. We said our goodbyes to him and left him in the good hands of the vets at the hospital.

To kill time as we waited for Phantom to have his biopsy, the Murph and I had lunch and then went in search of some local attractions. I had never been to Auburn University campus. We typed in "attractions" on the GPS and Pebble Hill came up first and was nearby so that was our first stop.

As I was taking pictures I wondered if later I would see some ghostly apparitions from former house residents somewhere in the photos. I don't know if I was disappointed or relieved when I didn't find any. The picture below was the only "ghostly" one in the bunch due to the sunlight coming through the windows by the door.

A family of cats that look kind of like Phantom were hanging out and probably live at Pebble Hill. I took that as a good sign. I was grasping at any sign that was good at this point.

The back porch of Pebble Hill was very nice. Kind of reminded me of our house in Birmingham.

Then we drove around campus and decided what to do next.

The GPS "attractions" feature showed that there was an art museum nearby so next stop was the Museum of Fine Arts.

I snapped this photo before being told that I wasn't allowed to use flash. Since I don't know how to stop the flash on my camera and the battery was almost dead anyway, this is the only picture I took inside the museum.

The grounds outside were very nice though. It was hard to be stressed out when you are surrounded by this.

The Auburn football stadium where it all happens. War Eagle! (being an alumni from U of A  ((Roll
tide!)) saying, or typing, "war eagle" is a tough one!) It's a southern thing.

We waited until about 4pm and headed back to the hospital. They brought a very drugged up Phantom into the room with us while we waited for all the test results. I've never seen Phantom this happy to see us! I doubt he remembers any of it! It's without a doubt the most loving I've EVER seen Phantom and the most obedient. He was stumbling over his feet to get to me whenever I said his name, which I had to do several times as he tried to get behind this very large desk that had electrical cords running everywhere and didn't look too safe for a drugged cat to be hanging out.

The news was not good. While his heart is no longer enlarged thanks most likely to the atenelol and lasix he's been on these past months, his liver has a large 4 cm carcinoid tumor and more nodules spread in other areas of his liver. It isn't lymphosarcoma like we originally thought, but a more rare neuroendocrine tumor that has taken over much of his liver. His prognosis is poor, but the vet did suggest one drug that is similar to a chemo drug. It is called Palladia and has been used mostly in dogs but may help cats as well. He will stay at home with us and take it every other day and then go back for blood tests in two weeks. He will have to be monitored carefully while on the drug.

We left Auburn around 6pm and got home late and exhausted. Phantom was very happy to be home!

And somebody else was sure glad when we got back home!

Phantom seemed in fairly good spirits the next morning just minus some fur in spots.

The Boy came for a short visit to see Phantom over the 4th. Phantom ran under the bed when he first heard a stranger come in, but the minute he heard the Boy's voice calling for him he ran back out and over to sniff the Boy, who was hardly recognizable since he FINALLY got a haircut. I'm so glad he decided to get one and went on his own to do it since he had an interview last week. Maybe there is hope for him after all!

We started the new cancer drug and Phantom will take it every other day as long as he doesn't get any GI issues. So far he is eating and drinking, but not as much as he normally does. He's taken the pills two days now and is more withdrawn on the days he takes them so I'm guessing he doesn't feel really good on those days. It is really tough to give him pills that I know make him feel sick. I can only hope for good results long term.  This is one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I hope I'm doing the right thing for him.

Cancer sucks!


  1. I hope phantom is okay. At least he's been receiving the best possible care, so hopefully things turn around. Auburn is a beautiful school and your photos are great, but I can't stop thinking about your cat. Pets really are part of the family.

    1. You're right Jim. Pets are a part of the family. And they depend on us to take care of them.

  2. Poor Phantom. He seems to be taking everything pretty well, considering.
    Wish I could see all your Auburn photos but our internet is terrible!

    1. He's doing pretty good and seems to be handling the pills okay too. I hope you get your internet fixed. That can be so frustrating!!

  3. Bless his little Kitty heart! How wonderful of you to take the time to see the vets in Auburn. You are doing everything possible to make him feel comfortable.

    There is also a large Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville GA. You would love it! Great tour of Auburn.

    1. Thanks Hope! I didn't realize there was another Pebble Hill in GA. I love visiting old plantations. There are some really cool ones near Charleston too. I haven't been to any in GA yet.