Welcome to Woodstock's Website

Who is Woodstock? The light of my life. He is a black-smoke and white van Cornish Rex.

He loved road trips until it seemed like they all ended with vets giving him shots and taking his blood. He is an inspiration--my guru--he lives in the present moment, he doesn't worry, he has fun, he plays, he sleeps well, he is patient, he is loving and cuddly, he gets in trouble. I meditate on him.

He is named after Woodstock, VA, where he was born and also after the 1969 Woodstock Festival that Mom wouldn't let me attend!

The Beginning

Tiny dear Woodstock was born in Woodstock, VA, on May 25, 2001. He came to live with us in Ocean View, DE, in August 2001, in a matching white snuggly with black spots that his breeder sent with him. Every time Beth and I would talk on the phone, I could hear Woodstock talking too.

Woodstock quickly became a favorite with family and visitors--oh, but his 2 older sisters don't care for him much! He is outgoing in the extreme, highly vocal, demanding, and very funny.

When Woodstock arrived at my house, he had an eye infection, which the breeder and I had discussed, and she had treated. We thought he was ok, but he was not. So he went to the vet who reported he would probably have problems with the eye forever, because it was most likely a herpes infection. (He still has problems with the runny eye.) To complicate matters, Woodstock had broken out in spots all over his body. The vets could never figure out what it was, even after taking cultures. And, then both of my other cats and I broke out in ringworm lesions--these were different from Woodstock's lesions, but obviously Woodstock brought the ringworm with him. In addition, Woodstock had a very very very short coat, few curls, and certainly would not meet the Cat Fanciers Association standard for a Cornish Rex coat. That condition has worsened, and he has almost no coat at all. I am convinced he has an autoimmune disease that was transferred to him probably genetically. As Martin Goldstein, DVM, says in his book, The Nature of Animal Healing, "...mutant genes do more to cause disease in pets than any" other cause. (p. 41)

He was also so tiny for so long that with the vet's concurrence we waited until he seemed 'mature' enough to be neutered.

The biggest irony is that Woodstock has a HUGH personality; he is strong and brave; he is so outgoing that absolutely everyone falls in love with him. I just feel so bad for HIM that his genetic predisposition to disease seems to have caused him so many problems. But nothing could make me wish that I didn't have Woodstock in my life.

Even with Woodstock's early health setbacks, nothing prepared us for what happened in April 2003.


April 2003

In April 2003, dear little Woodstock was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma (lymphoma) of the kidneys. There were no warning signs--

April 7th - I noticed his left kidney was bulging. The vet said that since he was not showing any signs of pain or urinary problems, he could come in first thing the next morning. Cats under 2 years old do not get lymphoma unless there is a genetic problem or if they have the feline leukemia virus. (Woodstock tested negative for the virus.)

When Woodstock and I arrived at Savannah Animal Hospital the next morning at 7:30 am (we know I was very scared, because I normally can't get up until after 9 am), we found that his temperature was only 95 degrees (normal is 101-102), inadequate to sustain his vital functions. The first step was to warm him up. I was so shocked, I almost fainted (literally). This was so unexpected in my wild, handsome little man.

So I left him for the very first time (I'd stayed in the waiting room during his neutering). A few hours later, Dr. Clark called to say that he was in complete kidney failure and that the only way to possibly save him was to go to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital in Philadelphia, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from home.

I threw a few things in a bag and rushed to pick him up. He was warmed up and hydrated.

At the University of PA he was admitted immediately to the emergency room, where they agreed that he was in kidney failure and that he probably had lymphosarcoma or feline infectious peritonitis. If it were FIP, they wanted to euthanize him immediately.

I spent a terrible night in a hotel, crying, not eating, talking on the phone to friends and family, and only thinking of my wonderful little cat. The next day Woodstock's new internist called to say he was doing well, making friends, talking, eating. She wanted him to stay for a few days for tests and IV fluids. She was very thorough in her explanations and answered all of my anxious questions. I visited with him for awhile before driving back to southern Delaware, not sure that we would ever be together again. He was, indeed, the life of the party on his 'ward.'

That night, his doctor called me at home. She had done a biopsy of his kidneys, and the cytologist diagnosed lymphosarcoma. She recommended chemotherapy--it is done to get cats into remission, to give them a little longer life (2-4 months or up to 2 years with remission), and to improve their quality of life. I readily agreed, and the next day he had his first chemo--Elspar, the wonder drug, by subcutaneous injection.

The day after chemo, I drove back to Philadelphia to pick him up. Thank the Universe that my mother came to be with me. We took a seat in the waiting room, and Woodstock appeared and was happy and loving all of the attention he was getting. (His medical bills for this week were about $2,500. My travel expenses were about $300.) His doctor and intern seemed to really love him. He would need daily pepcid, Alternagel liquid antacid--a phosphate binder, and prednisone.

The following week, Woodstock and I returned to Philadelphia for the next chemo treatment in the COP protocol. This time an IV injection of Vincristine. This chemo protocol involves IV drugs (Vincristine), subcutaneous drugs (Elspar), 2 oral drugs--methotrexate and cyclophosphamide (cytoxin), prednisone and pepcid.

We all agreed that our home vet could handle the chemo from then on, with advice from UPA, as needed. Dr. Clark at Savannah is the only one in the area who does any oncology work and the only one working with chemotherapy. What wild luck for us.

During the first 2 weeks after diagnosis, Woodstock lost weight, going from 7# to 6#. He was so tired--complete kidney failure, chemo, being away from home, long trips. The next week, things started to turn around--he gained the weight back, and he went through 5 more chemo treatments in the COP protocol. One week he appeared to be heading for anemia, so we started iron + B vitamins. I added fish oil, Anitra's Vitamins, supplementary calories, and daily Reiki treatments to his regimen.

April 21st - Dr. Clark reported that all of Woodstock's blood values were normal. He could skip his next week's appointment, since we have the chemo pill for the week here at home. (With cytoxan the pill-giver must take precautions like wearing latex gloves and not inhaling any dust. Cytoxan also can cause urinary tract infections.)

I watch him and follow him around. He is getting more spoiled. I offer him extra water, food, etc. Since Yoga is my spiritual path, I have decided to meditate on Woodstock--he is a role model of joy, non-judgment, present-moment living, generosity.

April 23rd - We are enjoying each day and ignoring gloomy predictions. If you are so inclined, please pray, send blessings or warm thoughts for this remarkable little cat.

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