Sunday, March 27, 2011

Goodbye Socrates - (by Susan)

Boy, last week was a kick in the head.  George did really well with his 6 days of 18 chemo treatments.  No kidding - he was on the bike trainer today and yesterday, and must have walked about 6 miles over the weekend. .  He is eating pretty well in spite of the trauma to his digestive track that the chemo produces.   He has enough nausea and mouth discomfort at this point where he does not want any spicy or acidic foods, or other foods that he just thinks are icky.  So, I have brought out my Mom training and am cooking for him like he's an elementary school kid, if that kid were vegan (lots of mashed potatoes, white rice, soups, pasta, etc.)   This seems to be going pretty well.    However, the chemo has started to hit and he is feeling pretty tired.  I think that this tiredness will progress until it hits a low point about 5-7 days post transplant.

The really sad news is that in the midst of all this our cat, Socrates, died last week at the animal hospital.  Kyle brought him to the vet on Monday because we had noticed that he had lost weight, he was very thirsty, and his appetite was off.   He was also acting sluggish and he was walking as if his legs were in pain.   The vet thought it was feline diabetes, so she gave him some special food and they gave him IV hydration, which often works.  When that didn't do the trick, they gave him insulin, but that still didn't work.  We talked to her and decided to keep him in the hospital with the insulin shots until he improved and we could take him home.  We were expecting to get him back this weekend, so we were surprised on Friday morning to get the call that he had not made it through the night.  The vet had the theory that it wasn't diabetes, it was pancreatic cancer, and the insulin treatments didn't work because his poor little pancreas was just shot.  George and I are both pretty emotionally fragile right now with everything that is going on, so we both lost it when we heard the news.  There were plenty of tears and I started understanding how people can "go postal", because I just had such rage that I felt like shooting people.  Don't worry - nothing happened because I have no guns, and I have calmed down now, so I am safe to be around.

Socrates was 16 years old, and he has been with us through thick and thin, so his passing has left an empty place in our house and in our lives.  He will be cremated and we are going to have a memorial service for him next week when we get the ashes.  Ugh - all I can say is I am ready for something good to happen.

This weekend we did get a little relief from George's treatments.  The session on Saturday was only two hours, and they gave us Sunday off because George is doing so well.  Kyle came over to "babysit" George on Saturday, and I was able to get out on a bike ride, which felt wonderful   He came over again this morning so I could go to yoga class.  This was very therapeutic for me - I have become very stiff from sitting so much at the hospital, and I think also from the stress of what we are going through, so the yoga class helped quite a bit.

Tomorrow is Day Zero - George's new "birthday" when he gets his stem cells back.   It will take 2 six-hour days to give him back all the stem cells, so we will be back hanging out at our little room at the blood center.    We have to get there by 7:30, so I guess I'd better stop blogging and get to sleep.


  1. I'm not sure "Happy Birthday" sounds quite right as no one really says that when someone is born (or reborn for that matter), but it's a big milestone on an epic journey, so, "Happy Birthday!!" I'm looking forward to getting the announcemment, though I do hope any of the classic newlyreborn pictures that often accompany announcements will have the leg strategically placed to maintain this blog's PG rating.

    Good luck today. We're sending out good karma, warm wishes, prayers, and crossed fingers to you both. Thanks too for being a great inspiration to Kari and I, and helping us to hang in there on the tough days and reminding us to soar when afforded the chance.

    And so sorry to hear about Socrates.

  2. E - thx for the support! We think about you guys a lot and hope you're hanging in there. As our junior partners in this cancer journey we are counting on you guys to have a successfull lymphatic system relaunch of your own this spring. And hey, if you decide to get some radiation as part of your treatment, I know a reactor in Japan that's got a bit extra you can borrow. No guarantees on the PG-ness of the pictures this morning so exercise whatever parental controls you deem appropriate!