Then a little voice in my head piped in and told me that I should go to the concert, because maybe I would learn something there that could help Sputty. Somehow my brain was conjuring up images of being introduced to some veterinary research fellow who had devised a cutting edge laser treatment for cats with bladder tumors or something.
No sooner did I have the thought than I dismissed it as being utterly and totally ridiculous. I mean, I was going to hang out with a bunch of western swing musicians for heaven's sake... it was much more likely that I'd meet someone doing cutting edge research on Bob Wills or yodeling, than feline urinary tract disorders!
And besides, my friend was battling for her life here - this night was about her... nobody was gonna want to hear sob stories about my cat and his bladder tumor. So I decided that I'd go to the concert and try to refrain from dragging the whole world through my sick kitty tale of woe.
So CatMan and I went to the show. We got there a few minutes late, as is typical for us, and were very surprised to be greeted at the door by a very old friend who we hadn't seen in years. We weren't expecting to see her there since we know her in a totally different context. Turns out that she's now working as a therapist with an ovarian cancer support group, and was there handing out informational brochures.
Since the concert had already started, and the auditorium was pretty much full, we just stood outside and chatted with our friend. I admit that I was only paying half attention to the conversation because I was distracted by the adorable little 7 year old on stage doing an amazing rendition of this old Fats Waller chestnut.
Wait... what? Shrinking tumors? Curcumin? Suddenly my attention was snapped back into the conversation as I heard CatMan say "Gee, I wonder if it works on cats..."
OK, cue the Twilight Zone theme song....
Anyhow, I did some research, and it turns out that curcumin is a natural compound that comes from the spice turmeric, which is the ingredient that gives curry its bright yellow color.
There is some promising research showing its effectiveness as a cox 2 inhibitor (reducing inflammation in the same way that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen do) but without the cox 1 inhibition which cause so many of the side effects of NSAIDs. It's also metabolized through the liver rather than the kidneys, which makes it a much better option for cats, who can't tolerate most NSAIDs.
This is all very interesting news, because one of the primary treatments for dogs with bladder tumors is an NSAID called piroxicam, but it can't be used in cats because their kidneys can't tolerate it. Furthermore, while curcumin generally isn't absorbed well in either dogs or humans, because of the way it's metabolized in their livers, cats' livers work differently and allow at least some of the curcumin to pass through without metabolizing out the effectiveness.
And... as if that isn't enough, curcumin has also been shown to promote apoptosis, or the process of programmed cell death which seems to be turned off in both benign and malignant tumors, causing them to keep growing instead of dying off. In other words, curcumin tells tumor cells to die.
So I called my vet to see what he thought, and he did a bit of research and responded with a resounding "yes, try it!"
Soooo... Sputnik has been on a curcumin supplement for about a month now. We started him on a very small dose to be sure he was gonna tolerate it OK, and have worked up to a dose of 150mg/day. I've also been giving him an Omega3 fish oil supplement which is supposed to both help the absorption of the curcumin and is an anti-inflammatory in its own right.
At this point it's a bit hard to say if it's having much effect or not. If it actually is encouraging tumor cell die-off, then you'd expect him to be shedding more tumor cells, which would probably increase the irritation in his bladder, at least temporarily, and cause more frequent urination. So there hasn't been a marked change in his frequency of urination, but his symptoms certainly aren't getting any worse, which is a victory in and of itself.
One thing I have noticed is that the arthritis limp he's had in his left shoulder for over a year now has almost completely disappeared, which would seem to be evidence that he's getting at least some anti-inflammatory response.
So while I'm not yet ready to proclaim it a miracle cure...
I am feeling encouraged.
So how about you? What do you think about natural remedies? And do you think this was all pure coincidence, or do you believe in things like premonitions?