Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saving Tyrion Lannister - We have a MATCH!

I know that the updates have been a little less frequent this week, but I almost look at that as a GOOD thing.  In our world these days, no news is good news.  When the daily phone calls are shorter, it means Tyrion's day was better.

So, on with the latest turn of events!

We got some great news on Wednesday.
While we were somewhat worried that Tyrion wouldn't match an available kidney donor due to the number of blood transfusions he’d had until this point, he not only matched one donor, but TWO!
To say this was a huge relief would be an understatement.  He is no where close to being home free, but he surpassed another big hurdle.
His primary veterinarian, Dr. Cleroux, emailed me Thursday morning and said that the last time they did dialysis, the waste in his blood was 99% removed.  They did the same today. He is feeling pretty dang good after those treatments.   Well enough that he is starting to “pose” for pictures again!

He did have a very, very short seizure today during dialysis.  Apparently this isn't unusual, but isn't typically the norm this far into dialysis treatment - it usually happens in early, initial treatments and is most likely due to the quick removal of waste from his blood (the goal of dialysis).  He responded well to the treatment they gave him for the seizure and don't seem overly concerned about it in general. 
He naps a lot during his long treatments.  The little "cup" on his tiny face is oxygen; common during dialysis.
Dr. Cleroux suggested we stretch the treatments out to every three days instead of every two, just so we don’t have to give him more blood than is needed; mostly in order to keep him as a “match” for his donor, meaning only potentially two more dialysis sessions until transplant.  
She also mentioned that his hematocrit (the red cells in the blood) was 26!  That is over double what it was when we started this whole ordeal. He is no longer loosing blood anywhere, which is a win, and his bone marrow is obviously triggering the creation of new red cells.  He gets a weekly injection of an agent similar to what humans get to stimulate red cell production as well.  It takes a few weeks to start working, so I have a feeling it is finally starting to work! 
Look how pink that little nose is!!  It was almost white the night we took him to the ER.
He was moved out of the ICU on Monday.
Here he is in his new “room” with his baby.

If everything goes as planned (and we still have to talk with the transplant team), Tyrion will likely receive his new kidney  Wednesday or Friday of next week.  The donor that has been chosen at this point is a large, (three times Tyrion’s size!) jet black cat.  In fact, Ryan is pretty sure he saw him when he took Tyrion to U Penn initially.
As always, we are so thankful for all of the prayers that have been said for our little Tyrion.  Looking back, I was initially very unsettled about putting Tyrion through all of this, especially with all of the risks involved.  No one wants to see their pet suffer.  It is so difficult because you can’t really explain to them why you are doing this or why they have to go through it, but now I am so happy we made the choice to give him the best chance.  I am thankful there was a “fix” of sorts for what was wrong with him.  Thankful that it wasn’t something terminal, such as cancer or leukemia, which is quite common in cats.
I also wanted to add this article I found while perusing around on the U Penn Vet website.  It is not only heartwarming, but it really addresses the real reason people take drastic measures to save their pets.  Dr. Aronson is the amazing surgeon who will be transplanting the kidney for Tyrion and Lynn (the cat rescuer) is the nurse who we will be working closely with during and after the process as Tyrion will be on immunosuppresants, which will need to be monitored, for the rest of his life. In fact, they began immunosupressing him today (just another step in the transplant process).
The article also speaks to the donor process, something I have been asked about by several people.  The donors are taken from a nearby animal shelter.  While these cats may not necessarily be able to  “consent”  to the process , they are loved and cared for at Penn Vet, and most likely saved from being euthanized.  Almost like a new lease on life for them as well.  The donor has a pretty easy recovery in comparison as well.  They are typically feeling very good the day after the procedure.  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, Tyrion’s donor will return home with us. In fact, he already has a name, which we will reveal later. 
Please continue to keep Tyrion in your thoughts and your prayers.  I feel like God is listening (doesn't he always?)!  I lift both Tyrion and the phenomenal doctors caring for him, up daily.   I feel in my heart that Tyrion will be coming home soon (maybe even within the next two weeks) and pray for a smooth recovery and transition for him and his new sidekick.  Life will be drastically different for us, but I am incredibly thankful for this huge responsibility.

If you'd like to help us in Tyrion's journey, feel free to visit our fundraising page:


  1. Good news! One step closer to bringing home your furbabies home forever! Can't wait to hear the new kitty's name. Hope you guys have a relaxing Memorial Day weekend and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.