Sunday, November 27, 2011

Goodbye to my Mother

Last night at 8 pm my mom, Phyllis McDonnell, told her husband she wanted to die. She had not had any relief from the pneumonia that she was hospitalized for so she could continue her treatment for lung cancer when she "got stronger."
Three weeks in the hospital and only two pounds weight gain to show for it, and after my visit on Sunday, she decided to get out of bed on her own Monday night and broke her hip.
Now, when they asked if she was in pain, she was saying "Yes."
So, because the hairline fracture meant no walking (as if she could) they decided to put her into a rehab hospital on Saturday morning.
It was after that very long and strenuous day that she told Thomas her husband, she was ready to go.
At 11 he got the call that she had gotten her wish.

She always expected the best from me and was never disappointed in anything. Now I will have to come up with my own substance. Never as good as her unflinching approval.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving

To begin, the Dude is so well!!! I almost ignore him.
He is chasing around, occasionally sitting on my chest. Yacking at the in the morning for the food I don't have to give him any more... he is about three or maybe four pounds heavier and back to himself!
That is definitely a reason to be thankful.

And the fact that his health has freed me to help mom and her husband.

Monday night, after my third trip to see her in Yuma since they came home in October the day before, her husband called to say that she had fallen out of bed that night and fractured a hip.

The lung cancer was unchanged after almost a year of devastating chemo. I sort of watched her wind come from her sails when they said "lets get that pneumonia taken care of and we can start a different treatment - NOT chemo, not quite as bad....."

Well she is in her third week in the hospital, and now, when they ask, she gets to tell them she IS in pain. Which means they are moving into morphine.

When I saw her Sunday, I was able to let her husband (he is so much her soulmate and they really love each other) have a little relief time, but she was about 5 minutes of happy to see me. She complains that she HATES people just watching her.

Today they are thinking of moving her into a facility where she is better suited. Home hospice might be too much for him, even though I am willing (and ABLE NOW THAT THE DUDE IS WELL!) to run out and help. Three hours is a breeze for someone you love.

But they figure it is now a matter of days.

So... sniffle, sniffle.... I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciated you watching my boy recover. I was hoping I would announce something similar for my mom, but I have this plan...
I am in the process of making a very large drawing. It is from the last time she had much energy when she stopped into Phoenix a month or so ago.

She had lost a lot of weight but I swear, she was more beautiful than I even remember her. The photos are awful, but the drawing -done in pure silver on canvas - is 60" high by 18 wide. Hard to photograph because it is so shiny, it is about 80% done.

My plan is that when she moves out of this sick and beat up body, she can move into this very precious drawing and look over me forever.

What a gift moms and cats and friends are.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I have not posted anything because as they say, NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS. The only reports are that he is getting HUGE.
The weight is going on and his shoulders are broad again and his attitude is back and he is worry free!

The grateful for the freedom.

My cat was doing fine... fine... just staying alive, probably for a while... but I was tied from love to his medication. Meanwhile, I have a mother who is struggling with lung cancer.

She is in Yuma, a three hour drive, and my cat was keeping me from even short trips. No money for boarding, I missed helping her through hospitals and procedures... it was hard, but in one sense, obsessing on the Dude kept me out of her hair.

Now she really needs me. There are a lot of very hard decisions. There are people who are loving her too much, and we need to sit quietly and support, rather than leap to action as we want. The ability to leave my cat (this sounds horrible to anyone who has not loved a pet) to see my mother who is not doing so well with those simple doses like I was giving my cat, is such a real blessing, I ran over to the Dude, sitting on his table in the window, and GRABBED his face and kissed him, crying, saying thank you.

I am off again this week (pretty much one good trip a week for a while) to visit the oncologist and discuss NOT giving her more chemo. She is so sick from trying to get well, her husband is running up the phone bill calling EVERYWHERE for help, and I can go, hold her hand, listen to the doctors and stay in the middle and on the outside, just as needed.

It SEEMED like it was a cat you saved, but it is my love for my mom that is the real benefit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why Do People Think ALL Cats Eat Mice?

Because I have been traveling a LOT since we started his radiation therapy, I have been sleeping more soundly. . . as has the Dude.

Months ago, I heard a sound in my uptake for the A/C and sprayed some bug killer in it and it went away. I assumed it was a bit of wildlife exploring. The Dude bravely watched - this was when the new proper meds were working, before he got flushed, before the treatment.

So I thought little of it.

On and off, I would come home to open cabinet doors that the Dude had gone exploring in.
About three weeks ago, the vent above my stove was - all I could call it was - making gnawing sounds???? I alerted the landlord, in the middle of renovating another apartment in the four-plex where I live. He (who has a father AND a sister, also fighting cancer, two properties and lives out of town) said he would be right on it.

When I came home from my second visit to mom, not only was he looking at the vent above the stove, but I heard noises from my pantry cabinets! NO, I was not going to open them so I spent the night hitting them with shoes etc.

Immediately I notified the landlord and he said his exterminator would be in touch. 24 hours later, and a very unpleasant cleaning trip, where I found droppings and a few gnawed condiment packages, I wiped anywhere that might have food and put mothballs (a friend suggested) after bleaching them down, this morning I woke to find the clean drawers with a plastic liner and NO condiment items had been GNAWED through a plastic drawer liner and a zip lock where I put my clean silver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!

Apparently the company had mis-written my phone number. They said MONDAY they would be out!!!

I reported to the Landlord, and braced myself for a run to the hardware store for traps! That is all they said they would do....

The landlord called back and the OWNER of the company is on the way.

I packed all my dishes and just KNOCKED the box over, losing two CORELLE saucers, some clear glass fancy plates and a couple of gift movie poster plates a friend had given me.

It is just not a great week. . . but the cat is just fine!

Upshot. A sick cat is a good policeman, but not a great executioner!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Personality

I was warned that there would be some changes in his "voice" which I have not seen, in his energy level etc.

I have been away helping my mom (truly a sick cat was allowing me to obsess in a very benign way until he got well. Now I have a real mother with REAL cancer) as she has results, and doctor appointment and a MOVE from the cold side of the state to the warmer one for the season. The ability to travel is the gift my cat has given me!

Upon returning from two 2-night absences in the past two weeks, all the Dude does is gripe! He has a sort of "YOU know what I want and you are NOT doing it!!" tirade. He also has a separation anxiety sort of siamesy thing that he pulls when the neighbor cat walks out of the yard. I got a serenade when I got home, but no real lovin'.

He LOOKS wide!!! I mean he literally appears to have added a lot of weight. I don't see it on the scales because I have to hold him and subtract the two weights - he jiggles too much! We need to get him in after 30 days post procedure to see what NORMAL looks like, so I will know more.

But for now, I believe I have my old aloof, terminally bored, plotter of my demise back!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bulking Up

I came home from a three day visit with my mother and there he was.
Hard to gauge normal, BUT I got to scratching his shoulders and there right where it should be, was muscle! His very bony sharp edged blades had definite padding now!
Two nights away and it was VISIBLE. His fur is thick and not doing his projectile shedding.

His new personality is a bit evasive. He loves to rub my foot, but not so much be petted. Perhaps it is defending himself from future kidnapping and banishment???
At any rate, Monday will be the last day of nuclear kitty litter.

I was asked to get another test at 30 days. He is looking so good, I may ask my vet if we can go 60.
We have some Christmas Art to do in the mean time!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Already?

Wow, I have found it much easier to be busy with him staying well.

I went to a meeting last evening and tried hard to talk a lot of business. I actually made myself hoarse, but forgot I was gone when today rolled around. I have been locked in the house trying to make a book for a pet rescue group.

This evening, however a really great thing happened!

I was notified that my self portrait won a Second Place prize in the Richeson75 art show in Wisconsin! So, although it is STILL not money, I have a certificate for all the art supplies I should need for SOME TIME!

And the Dude is unimpressed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Normal Doesn't Feel Normal

But it is.

I actually have no idea what to expect from him. Other than looking aloof. One might think he would be a little aware of all of the hubbub going on around him, and at least act a little grateful.

One very cooperative thing he has been doing is isolating himself. I like to keep the back room shut off. It is on the west side of the house and I don't tape it, but I shut the door and the vents so the heat from the sun on that side is not being cooled all day and costing A/C. He sneaks in and seems to like the warm. Or actually, I think the windows have a better view and I am not there wandering around. At least once a day he has run in there for a few hours. Looks up at me all smiley and happy, not hiding in the dark or anything, right there where I would step on him if I didn't look. Just stretches and looks at me.

He used to like to go in there and raid my socks drawers. LOVES my socks.

Normal is just normal.

I am in the middle of art again. It is a lot easier than worry. The thing is, I have a headache now, so the typical thing is come in here and blow my eyeballs on the computer, give them a break from the drawing board!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Called the Hospital

Mostly just to check in. My biggest problem is he has suddenly become very mellow and social. NOT lovey-dovey, but very friendly! An unusual condition indeed!

The results for his outgoing test, five days after treatment had his T4 (the big thyroid indicator - normal range between 4 and .8) at 2. SO PERFECT!!!

His thyroid which has come back from hiding while the wild cells took over his life, is apparently popping back into action. He is mellow, not lethargic - nappy, not sleepy - alert, not wired - and now we add more and more pops onto my lap to say hi... which is regulated to 30 minutes a day. He is getting even in his very personally subversive way!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday, and Not a Thing to Report!!

I have been watching too hard.
He is sleepy. Heading under the sofa, off into the back room, but actually, not very long.
Just naps. Lots of them.

I sort of was hoping the wired hyperT would slowly wear off, but that probably happened in his stainless steel box.

So I inflict 5 minutes of quality time now and then. We are sworn to 1/2 hour of direct contact. I don't count rubbing my shoe. It is hard to gauge that, so these little grab and pet things are inflicted on him. He did jump on my chest a couple of times last night as bed time rolled around, but he was twitchy and not really enjoying it.

Today he was sleeping on the floor by his table and I skerched his ear a little. He got up, grabbed a bite, a sip and came over to the chair and stretched. Then he jumped right up, sat ON MY LAP, not his favorite place to stay as he used to be too big, so he preferred horizontal petting, and stayed a full 8 minutes of HIS OWN ACCORD. Went off to lay in the window and is napping again.

I was told by the online forums that a week of this is normal. He did have actual cells in his body fry and sizzle. No telling what that does to a body!

I am going to go visit the boyfriend and will have no curfew for the first time in I can't even REMEMBER! Usually it is dose early or come back home, then morning skip breakfast for the AM treat and meds. We left for a couple of days while he was flushing, but he was at the early part of the hyperT rebound. This is a sleepy cat that could care less and will be happy to see me gone!


Saturday, September 3, 2011


I picked him up at about 4:30 today. I asked them to put him in his carrier while they had him out, so we could avoid the switch back a couple of times.

They said he did all of his necessary potty stuff while sedated. What guy! So they took blood, gave him a tummy shot, measured and weighed and whatever they needed.

It was a mere 108 today, so I brought a wet chilled towel to drape across the cage, to keep him cool.

It was the nicest thing! He was groggy but not at all ticked off. Just out of it enough not to say anything, but I was so thrilled: he kept sticking his nose out on my side. No complaining, just sniffing me!

When we got home, he was exploding fur and looking wet-down. The last was is to clean up all they can of the fur and I approve of the sedation. I think the blood in his furball yesterday was from his bad attitude! Hissing, growling and making himself a drama queen about it all while the little girl next door was all cuddly and lovey! He was living in stress. The sedatives made it easier on all of us. Him most of all.

By the time he was back home, introduced to new litter, a re-arranged household, and a couple of treats which he chased as usual, although with noticeably less vigor, I only got one or two editorial grumbles from him.

He went under the couch for a while and I talked him into a couple of brief rests on my lap!

There is a far away look in his eye, but he is very much NOT at all the worse for wear.

I feel his shoulder blades which were seriously bony when he left seems a bit meatier! He is walking a bit weak kneed, not sure how to explain it, but his eyes are looking around and well focused, just seriously ignoring me.

This is from less than half an hour home. He looks JUST fine now. Aloof but fine.

The cool part, and I may be hallucinating, is the little lump in his neck, smaller than a dime, that I would rub under his chin and he would occasionally choke a tiny bit when I did . . . I have not rubbed vigorously, but I SWEAR it is gone! Perhaps Mom is wishing it away but I cannot find it and he is breathing just great no matter how I scratch his chin!


Back to watching him.

Saturday Morning.

I called them around 10.

They are busy today so I am going on the "NO NEWS . . ." good news principle.
Rhiannan said he had not taken any water or food overnight (they tend to check at 7 for weigh in and food) but as he had eaten they have no problems. I made sure they would call if there was any stool report. They gave him his first shot and again, no news.

I have decided the white tile and shower of my bathroom make a perfect little hide out for him while he cools down this week.

They won't let us sleep together, which is not how we do it. Contact is more at his "beck and call" than cuddle or "sleep together!" Short and intermittent contact is the norm but at night he sometimes sneaks up on the bed nearby.

I figure there is plenty of room for food, toys and scratching and even a cozy room in the shower for hiding out. Just would rather clean up radioactive barf off a tile floor than hunting it down under beds.

Going to get his disposable litter box and a bit more food for him to have in case he is stubborn and won't eat the usual stuff.

Glad to have his ugly scratcher go! I don't know that he much used it, but I was comforted that he had something to relieve his frustration . . . which he probably did NOT. . . which means we will be getting it at home tonight!!!

Will see you later this evening.!

Friday, September 2, 2011

MOM Is Feeling Better.

I went to bring a can of softer food for him. PERSONALLY (and you know, I don't even play a vet on TV!!) I think the panting, hissing and panic has left him with a raw throat and the panic eating is wearing out his esophagus.

When I went in Katherine was my guide today, as Melanie is off for a longer weekend. (they are open 24 hours a day so they have a lot of staff in and out). This morning we just breezed in through his grump.

This afternoon when we put out the soft food, I pushed it under his nose and he did a healthy munch on it. The Doctor who had called me earlier had a nice chat with me. I really ran out of questions.

Although I was doing everything in my power to manipulate them into letting him come home early, I kept reminding myself that I WAS NOT A VET. They do a good job and are professionals. They pointed out that injecting an antacid quickly while looking him over was fast and painless. I talked them out of anti-nausea meds because he was not actually nauseated if he was throwing a fur ball but something was amiss on the way up.

They will watch his stool tonight to see if it is dark or black and if it is normal, we will probably assume something in the throat. It might just go away and never be heard from again. I did have to authorize new medication (THANK ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE MADE IT EASIER TO SAY YES!!!) They will also inject him again on outgo, while he is groggy.

We had a good discussion about the sedation too.

Some of my great people online are concerned, as am I, about sedating him for baths and medication. Like my girlfriend pointed out, have you ever had a BAD blood pull????? Even if it is just a few pokes, the stress of the table, the isolation, the crowd of strangers, is really taking a toll on him. Kittie valium is a good thing.

And the baths.

I PERSONALLY have no ovaries or any such silliness in the child-producing department that would worry me about the exposure, but I do like that their procedure REQUIRES scrupulous monitoring of his levels and a concern for the lowest reasonable amount of rays to come home with me. I believe that he is licking a lot of his hair out even now! The hyperT coming on when he was flushed (another good thing - it encourages a HEALTHY thyroid GLAND to totally shut off and the nasties to do their worst so the I-131 could zap them all). I wanted him not to be sick again, but if his gland was working AT ALL and the disease was laying low, we would not do the best job we could. His shedding, his immediate oily fur (and I LOVED it that this doctor beat me to the punch!!!) I knew it was his being sick but never quite figured out how! His back would get very nasty. Not really anything. . . sort of like when a dog goes swimming on something he shouldn't on the curb you know?! He started that up at day 5! Full blown sick so all evil doers are gunned down. All that ugly hair won't have to come back home. We can leave it behind.

As I sat and petted him, this time he refused to make eye contact.
I sit on the ground in front of his cage and wear a big gown with cuffs and my lovely purple gloves, I kept trying to get him to say hi! Just the answer to my "Dood!" He scooched into the back wall. This time he didn't even try to get up. Hissing away. Not quite as nasty as this morning.

We opened a can of cheap Friskies pate (ha! Mush is better, but he likes licking it. Won't chomp on the shreads stuff. Just licks it up) And I stuck it under his nose. He ate. Made a good go of it.

I took it away not wanting to have him make himself sick again, but his eyes looked brighter. I can't say how, but although he was seriously ignoring me, he was glancing up and around a little more. His ears even looked pinker.

He flattened down again and with his eyes open he signified he was done with the visit.

I will get my call in the morning and I will spend the day puttering, setting up the new cat pan, prepping for where he will be hanging out when I don't want to hang out and putting out my cowboy boots for the evening's target practice from him.

An Issue.

On the way home they were leaving me a message. The fur ball we pulled out was pinkish and it was not color from kitty treats, it was apparently a bit of blood.

We suspect ulcers. They wanted to inject an anti nausea and some tummy meds. The barfing is about parr for his usual behavior but the blood is not.

Nor is the fur ball. He throws about three a year.

Normally he binges, eats a lot of dry food, tosses it and comes back to it later (if I am not there.) I wonder if it is the actual vomiting or the stress that is causing him to eat then vomit. He was doing it a LOT before we took him in. When the disease kicked back, he was pretty hungry but not really good at telling what he needed. I understand that is a little normal for HyperT - all the systems run in overdrive. Good news it that it is putting on weight.

The question is why blood?

I am going back this afternoon, as I saved up my geiger counted minutes so I have about 20 more. Not at all sure if he is happy to see me or mad that I did this to him. They think he is improving. His attitude is tolerant of them much more that the last few days.

This is trauma. Actually as freaked as I am I really DO believe more for him. What have I gotten myself into!????

I Shall Have HELL to Pay!

I liken him to a drama addict. The kitty next door is just happy to see people. My guy is really a bully. He sees very few people and tends to pretend he is a "cat", friendly prr's and chats and rubbing of legs with visitors.
When they leave, he just sits and "plots my demise".

That was all his pictures EVER looked like. He never would have a clue as to how to take care of himself, but I always knew he waited for that day.... and then he got older and sicker and started realizing I was useful.

When I first started giving him treats like cheese and bits of meat from my own meals he thought that was REALLY COOL and now he literally would pull my hand away from my face to sniff everything I brought into the living room as a snack. He is a bully!

Now in his cage, he is like a grumpy old neighbor, complaining about EVERYTHING! He threatens them when they come to clean up after his recent fur ball, he showed real teeth with me today.

I have found that backing him down works. I grab his head and scratch behind his ears and he is fine. But it is hard to do in a box!!!

I brought extra dry food as he was eating well and they ran out of the bag of goodies. They didn't want to court the runs with the other issues he had!

I stayed briefly and will be back later today to just put my face in. He is the king of his domain and absolutely a mess away from home.

I will be wearing cowboy boots in 100 degree days for the weekend at least! He will not be quick to forgive me!

Other than that, he seems quite fine.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visiting Day

I got a call that he was receiving visitors at 3 and I put a cheese stick and jar of his treats in my purse and headed out.

I got some very bad photos, but there are some informative ones.

They gave me purple gloves and a big gown. I was NOT to let him out on the ground or hug him if possible. . . ha ha ha!

A big bank of rather lavish silver cages with stainless floors and walls. There were two cats side by side on the bottom and smaller cages above.

The still drugged, somewhat damp Dude sat in his cubicle, and greeted me with a very nasty hiss and growl. He is obviously not a happy drunk. Melanie alerted me to avoid punctures and bites, as (like Spiderman and his bug....?) he was still radioactive.

First thing he whacked at me. As usual, no real attempt to scratch, just the usual threat of violence. Can one have a verbally abusive cat? If he was talking he would have been bleeped on tv! He did not want to make contact really but I gave him a treat and instead of eating it, he shoved his head against my hand. When he realized it was food, he had a very hard time locating it. When he realized what it was, his aim was not so good and nearly got a finger. He was definitely a cat under the influence.

Finally I was rubbing his head. Aggressively. He was very fidgety and seemed like he needed a jog around the block. He was happy to have me there, but still more upset for all the activity going on around him. I think he may have just gotten into the big cage from the tiny ones.

I got half an hour visit today. That is all we get - 30 min. Tomorrow I will make it two 15's one early and one later. It was a little upsetting to see him wacked out. I want to see MY cat tomorrow.

Hopefully these work.
This is the treatment table in the isolation ward. There is a little lead lined box where they inject him then move him to one of the 6 small cages for three days.
The isolation ward

This is a bad shot of his new little cell where he will lounge for a couple of days, now that he is out. It is pretty spacious. He can dash around if necessary,

and the shot of his fond farewell as he growled me off into the sunset.

Early Call This Morning

Of course I freaked when the phone rang a little after 8.

All the news was good. He even stinked up his cage so he has eliminated through elimination the stuff he is supposed to.

He also threw up his food. That sounds awful, but he does that a lot. I think it is boredom. He chews on his dry food like I do potato chips. He is smart enough to barf it back. I gain weight and get migraines!

I was telling a friend online how, although my cat is not at all affectionate, occasionally demanding of attention, he has short interactions with me. He and I will check in. I hear him do a little mmmww under his breath and I say hi. He is sleeping in a corner too long and I will call out "Doood!" and he looks up, answers and goes back to sleep. He runs into my foot while I am sitting in a chair and rubs it. He HATES me to pick him up or pet him. It is ALL on his terms.

At night RIGHT about the time I doze off, he will plop himself on my tummy and indulge in quality petting. About five minutes and he is off.

When he first was getting well from the meds, he started falling asleep on me. THAT was so amazing! Living with a cat for 10 years that would LEAP on and leap off my chest (never my lap. That may have been partially due to his former 18 pound weight) for his own reward, actually being peaceful and happy enough to sleep with me, heartbeat to heartbeat. . .

I am going to bring a little cheese stick for him this afternoon. He has been called playful. That means I might wear my long sleeved shirt. We are not actively seeking bites or scratches while he still glows in the dark, but I bet he may want to express a bit of displeasure with his recent incarceration.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The 4ish report was glowing. Biggest news was a furball. yippee.
Not a danged thing they could come up with to call news. I swear, I am pumping her but we agree, tomorrow around 3, we get to look in and have a visit.


Thinking About Rescue and Adoption.

I sort of have said all this in the beginning of the blog but many of my rescue friends have been telling their stories of ill cats and I think a lot of what came to be my experience with how wonderful bringing a pet into your life is why the Dude being sick makes me think about The Kid (his namesake).

My first very own cat, the ORIGINAL Kid, and The Dude were neither officially adopted. The two loves of my life were little unwanted micro life forms that nobody wanted.

No humans that is.

THE Kid was brought into Bel Ray Institute in Denver in a pregnant Siamese mom whose life was ending. The litter was born but the mother was lost. My best girlfriend was studying to be a vet tech at the time. Perhaps I will have to credit (blame???) Barbara for all this rescue work I do. Her obsessive love of animals somehow found me driving across town with a shoebox full of litter and an oozy-eyed egg-sized life form that looked like it had black chicken pluckings glued on it. He was NOT a pretty sight. As we drove, I remember the FIRST amazing Siamese YOWL that nearly drove me off the road! Tiny body, but a full-throated wail that nearly burst my ears!

I was neither mother, nor cat material.

I honestly was saying "No" as it was put in my car as I left her house. On arrival home, the boyfriend was thrilled. His cat Feather, was the first cat I had ever really known to love.

She was a tripod. I also found through her, that indoor cats made less allergies! So in spite of nearly ALWAYS having one reddened nostril from a sniffle, I learned how wonderful living with a cat could be.

FEATHER was not happy. She had been a mother and was not up to any more kids, much less one that oozed!

Kid was amazingly small, but housebroken. His eyes needed a lot of ointment and we watched him carefully. At night we locked him in the bathroom. I am laughing as I type!!! I just remembered that my apartment was a second story in the great Washington Park part of Denver. The floor under the toilet had LITERALLY rotted a bit. There were gaping holes and we stuffed towels in them for fear he would fall through! His isolation at first was trying to be good cat parents. Feather began punishing us from the first. For what seemed like weeks, if he was around, she was missing.

Feather was a three-footed purr machine. She was a graceful and elegant silver tabby with bright green eyes. She was so beautiful, that new guests regularly would GASP outloud hours into the evening when they realized she was missing a back leg - an injury from her wild days in wild lands.

That kitty breath in my face with the kneading on my chest. Wow, the sensation is actually overwhelming now. She was a beautiful spirit.

So....she ignored us and him.... and then one day, in the irrepressible KID-ness of him, he was playing, she was ignoring and he would do his paws up "BIG CAT" thing, and topple to one side and try hard to engage her. She just glowered, then quite suddenly slapped a paw atop his shoulder blades while he was down and began grooming him, as if she had had quite enough of this sloppy little urchin.

So they became fused. She would take on the Border Collie that lived with us a while if he so much as wagged a tail in the Kid's direction. The maternal instinct just took over.

I read online of a real brain damage that I know he had. His twin sister literally had to be put down for her aggressive behavior. All the wicked that ended in her was drained from him. I even remember him purring when we had him put to sleep 18years later. In fear or in love, he would purr.

We knew he was different when after he lived (the name "the Kid" was because we didn't think he had the stamina and he was so ill that we figured if we didn't give him a name, we wouldn't miss him so much if he didn't make it) people commented on his odd walk. He sort of always kicked his back legs behind him as if he had a piece of tape on each foot.
Upon one of my friend's comment on the odd walk, I indignantly replied "He is no funnier than FEATHER!" and realized that she walked pretty funny herself!

Not only the odd gate, but he used to stick to the rug.

When he got over excited, his claws would sort of automatically grab and often he would forget to let go and trip himself on the floor. He used to leap up and run into the other room and miss.... hit the door and try again. He never needed catnip. And oddly I think it never did anything to him.

We got rid of our TV for two years and I honestly never missed it. I watched him approach life every day with excitement and kitty joy!

Once, I was walking around the house coming home from work and heard his howl. When I looked up, there he was. Having just learned to hop into window sills, he apparently thought it might be fun to climb the screen. Up in my window was a very crucified looking Kiddie, stuck - as was his habit, from fear - to the screen. I was laughing so hard when I in the apartment, I believe I may have offended him.

Through a couple more relationships and moves to two other states, I retained the "children" and when Feather finally died of congestive heart failure, I thought her purr would never be replaced. We did get another cat who was much happier outside. Kiddie and I got tighter and tighter.

He woke up my present beau in the night leaping into the tub and missing! He would sleep on my face which made the new relationship a LITTLE tricky, but KID was going to win, and if the boyfriend didn't like it he was gone.

The Kid lived to be 18. I used to say, if he were human, he would have graduated from high school. . . if he had made it through kindergarten! He had small tumors and finally one in his head.

The vet was so wonderful.

When we knew it was terminal, the vet said his quality of life would be fine. I would know when the right time came.

Kiddie began backing up, as if he had a headache about a week before I was due to go out of town. I had a sitter arranged but was torn up over what the definition of "misery" would be. Dr. Saltero said, "Why should he even have to BE miserable?"

I petted him and sat as his loud and fearful purring stopped.

I really love the sense that his WHOLE life was of giving and getting love. Even at the end.

so. . .

THE DUDE was assumed to be his spirit returned. His INDEPENDENCE is a whole other lesson.

Thanks for listening. The vet's office should be calling soon, but I fear the absence of fur in my face is stirring up allergies, because I seem to have runny eyes!!!

$141 Car is Back.

Short update, as I know you are all waiting breathlessly for any news. Well there is none, but I can go over tomorrow afternoon when they sound the all clear and feed him some goodies through the bars. At least I am out of MY cage. Thank heavens for warranties.

Wednesday Morning Report

I am just a potato.
The car is scheduled to be done this morning. . . that nebulous time until like 3 PM.
So I was watching tv and doing email and just waiting.

They outsmarted me today, as both times yesterday I called as Melanie was still in her garb from doing her rounds. She called right about 9. And her assessment was "FANTASTIC."

She said he was still hissing but after talking to me, had a better assessment of his personality. She said he even purred a little when he was examined. His urine is great but the bowel is a little slow. I warned her that he is VERY good at that part when it works!

She explained that the little cages have a litterbox and food and water and that my scratcher is a bit big for it. So she took the mousey off the board and he is cuddling it. AH. . . . He would probably be using the board to take his frustrations out on me but he will have to satisfy himself with a slightly catnipped sisal mousey which he doesn't really give a hoot about.

No weight GAIN, but he is stable, and stuff is going in. His panic attacks are diminished and he is apparently used to the gang. For now.

Tomorrow is bath day, and I won't be able to come see him until after 3.
They sedate him and want to be sure he is not limp when I get a look. Apparently is it 36 hours after treatment and they did him after 1 so they estimate a couple of hours to make him presentable.

I am pretty sure I will be able to take a few more snaps, maybe even of the isolation ward, when I go tomorrow. They have a bank of cages, a little roomier (vet dog size) and we can come scratch noses and feed treats for a couple of days. Then Friday again, then they will allow me to bring him back after the last bath on Saturday.

This all is great. They call it ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) radiation. This is another reason I was thrilled to use VCA instead of Radiocat. I was unhappy to make him sick for an additional 11 days, but Radiocat was fine with four days off meds. They understood I had misgivings, but I also could not see how the BEST effect could be achieved if they didn't maximize the activity of the disease. We had an ongoing miscommunication that was very frustrating.
They also would only keep him for the three days. YES AND NO. I live in a small house and was thrilled to see him back, BUT I like that VCA is monitoring him those two full days more. The days out of isolation and under the care of the staff is going to be good for ME. I am old enough to probably not have to worry about a lot of the issues that a younger woman would have from exposure, but my thyroid is just fine right now. Nice to keep it that way.

AND VCA is authorized to only do a top end of radiation. It should work fine on him, as he has a pretty high number, when he is tested later and his numbers should be fine, he comes up sick, they will RE-treat him at no added charge. This is very comforting, as the fund is all I have. I would NEVER be able to afford this twice!

Tomorrow - pictures!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

4:45...You All Will Soon Get Bored, I KNOW. . .

So the car is going to be fixed (yes the warranty is good) first thing in the 100 degree morning. I have a free trolley that runs by my house and about half a block from the shop so I can get it with ease as long as it is earlyish.

Couldn't wait any longer and called the Vet hospital.

He is now officially a kitty grump. She said he is quite the hisser. Every time she opens the cage to get in or out he has an opinion. But he has not resorted to physical violence! She is unscathed.

He urinated just fine and she will have her wonder poop tonight! He was always good at that!

It seems his cell mate, the little girl, is indeed curious but he wants NOTHING to do with her. (I just bet it would be different if they took her away . . . he seems prone to separation anxiety. LOUD mournful cries when the neighborhood wanders depart, but not so much when they are there.


This is a little like watching paint dry.
Speaking of paint, I suppose there is no excuse not to get a big portrait started now. I have literally nothing else to do!

9:45 AM Day Two

So we got the first overnight report.

He ate well, drank well but had, as of morning, nothing coming out. Well, the guy was ticked off at me YESTERDAY morning when he didn't get his breakfast, so he was probably empty. She said she will look in again in a little while, but that she was not concerned. . .
However, she did say he was a little bit less cooperative than she expected.
She said he hissed and batted at her when she went in to give him more water.

We were not concerned.

I explained that if he bats with his ears back, he means back off. Otherwise we play that way. The hiss? That is his quite clear announcement that he is not a happy camper. The Dude has always taken his stressers out on me. The Hiss is a very clear announcement that all is not right in his world. It really is not an very personal thing. He would run into the room when he was his sickest and just jump on my chest and hiss in my face. Not AT me, TO me. I explained that she should well heed him, but that he was announcing that he was going to write letters to the proprietor of the kitty spa! He rarely follows with a major nip.

And I did warn about the teeth. He is nippy. He boxes and has since he was teeny. His preferred plaything is hands. No fuzzy mousies, no birdies or balls. He likes matching wits with a human. So, I told her to watch those ears. If he bats with his ears plastered down, it is a warning. If they are up and tough, it is a challenge.... Better yet, just let him be grumpy and leave him alone.
Once he was chatting with a new neighbor through the screen. A cute petite female who looked like she might have a tag. I opened the door and she RAN in way before I could catch her. IMMEDIATELY the Dude began screaming! I would have thought he might want to say hi to her, or even joust her, but NOO. . . . . !! She darted right back out and he tore into my ankles and sliced and diced ME! Very obviously a complaint that his world would NOT tolerate intruders! I told the nurse that I tried to trim his front claws, that they looked pretty soft but for their own protection they MIGHT want to avoid them.

Well, that is a start. She did say she would call before she went home today and update the bodily functions report.

Hopefully they are well warned!

(The car is stuck in the shop. I apparently have a $200 plus issue which I should have over half covered by extended warranty. The repair should be easy. . . the bookwork will slow things down. So I sit for most of the day.)

CAR (not CAT) Issues Today.

(SHOOT! I swear I just heard him chatting in the other room. Either my ears or my head need adjusting!)

I am waiting for the first day post-procedure update. And the day BEFORE I took him in, my car started hesitating on start and downright grinding for a while! So, with all required events done, I took it to a nearby shop to see if the repair we did on the EXACT SAME THING earlier this year is a parts issue and warranteed or something new! So today I am required to sit - not the usual finding myself sitting.

I am low on coffee and deep in post walk-back-home endorphins and started thinking about this whole amazing project.

If you read back, you will find that I knew he was sick for a long time. As an artist in a bad economy I went to a seminar on how to raise funds . . . thinking it would be for support between commissioned work. As an off handed remark, the presenter read (from the list of projects on a site) "dog needs surgery" and went back into funding books and high rises.


I am on a very lean cash flow. Knowing that The Dude could be CURED not just managed was always eating in my brain but my cash flow being so negative it kept being pushed down.

After I headed home, I did a LOT of research. I realized I needed to understand ALL of the variables. I needed a real and worthwhile way of presenting my need, of letting people know who we were and why it was worth their time and money!

I am a blogger in the minimum. That means I do have one really respectable blog to expose my pet art called the Dog A Day Art Blog. I did one painting a day for over a year. It included commissions but mostly I sat my easel up in a local off-leash and practiced until I had covered most of the AKC breeds. . . MOST I say. . . Without fail, someone will bring in an intriguing mix that I will guess at and find it is the newest exotic! I will say, my knowledge of canine subjects is amazing since the last dog to live in my house was in the mid 80's!

Looking through the files (I know I have more photos, but they are on FLOPPY DISKS!!!) of the earliest Dude pix, I learned he was a bit younger (and an even better candidate for the procedure!) and really enjoyed skimming the overview of his life.

I can talk!
I can ramble on and on about what goes on in my head so I tended to be concise in my art blog and allow my words to dribble a bit here. After all, this is a love letter to my best friend.
(Sorry, family and boyfriend . . . but the original Kid was when I learned how very important the life form that sleeps at the foot of the bed EVERY night is above and beyond the two legged wandering types!)

I had to cut my first posts in bite sized chunks, just so I could call it a blog and not a novel!

I then searched all of the funding sites to see what suited us.

For others interested in crowd funding, google it! I was so touched by the idea! The very type of rush I get when I donate a portrait to a charity event is not just the reciprocal promotion, but the physical warmth I get knowing I am doing something good and tangible! But asking for help instead of giving it . . . I just didn't feel right.

I recently started picking carefully charities I would donate to because I was literally doing 80% freebies and not paying the bills. I joked that I WOULD BECOME A CHARITY SOON if this kept up. And I found a lot of people were in my boat. That we WANT to be part of the solution. It is not in my nature to shake fists at the dark, I am a candle lighter. But wickless!

The first donation I tried to give back. It was big. I got a scolding from the donor who explained that they felt SO GOOD helping me, that they had watched me online for years and KNEW me as a painter. To help me when I needed help was enriching them.

That completely blew my mind.

I am rambling as usual, but I wanted to reflect on how very amazing it is to be on the other end. Many of us out here (being self employed means I don't qualify for unemployment insurance between commissions, means I pay all of my income taxes, not just the employEE share and don't show up on statistics. At best I am under-employed but for months at a time, it doesn't feel like I am a very good boss.) want to keep the bounty flowing. I know there is a sort of constipation in the economy. It won't grow if it can't flow! I save money but have had to sort of become a hoarder. The emergencies don't announce themselves early. The wee income I do have has not found its way into the flow other than the ABSOLUTE necessities for quite a few years. After the Dude is well, I plan on adding my $5's and $10's to crowd sourcing activities on a regular basis.

I know how much that tiny little will help! I thank all of you who knew it before me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

4:15 and all is well. . .

I just got the call from the office and he is back awake, and they are going to give him some dry food and a bit of his cheap Friskies!
(He is NOT a picky eater, but when he got sick, he didn't eat. I started him on junk food and he loves the pate as a treat when I would give him his meds. So I threw a couple of cans of the usual in a baggie.)
Not much.

She says she will call tomorrow before 10 to see how his appetite is and what the post procedure effects are.

HOLY COW! Theoretically, I have a normal healthy cat after this! I am tearing up trying to remember what NORMAL was!


Here is the cage sitting in the vet's office waiting for them to come and take him away.
He had his little anxiety attack... and his mom is starting to be a mess.

You see, the vet said he has a slightly large heart.
That did freak me.
Feather had congestive heart failure. For a year or more, she just sort of sat in on a chair and watched life go by. The Dude is not in that condition. But . . .
He did his panting thing. Even the Radiology vet looked and wondered why. I explained he was having an anxiety attack. I KNOW he is.
They decided to change his meds from a simple knock out, bring back to feline Valium! PERFECT!

The whole procedure is less than 15 minutes. They do a bit of sedation to allow the injection and for a couple of baths that keep the radiation at the office and not in my living room.

Melanie, the girl who has helped me all the way along, said she will call me later this afternoon when he is done with the procedure and observed to be back to normal. He has a buddy who is coming in at 11 and both of them will get the procedure around 1. Then they sit in their very clean bank of cages with micro filtration banks of air sweepers for three days until they stop glowing.

From here on in, I hold my breath, go see what is wrong with my car (!?!?!?!?!) and hope that the sign over the desk is true:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Two More Days to Watch. . .

It was another very normal day!
I will say he is getting much more pushy. I have a lot of canned food, and treats and whatever I think he will eat. He has been begging cheese and I have been allowing every whim. He does not look as robust as when we took him off the meds, but every day closer, I am so grateful that he is not ill.
He did do one very weird thing...

He likes to lie on my chest while I recline on the sofa. When he wants to go he is obliged to pat my cheek and give me a real kiss. ONE good lick at least. And he knows it.

Some of his love pats have been a little sharp so I grabbed the clippers and thought I would be smart and just take the edges off.

Normally he bites a bit when he is fed up. This time he did a very odd threat (I WILL NEVER get it on camera but it is odd...) like about to hiss but didn't. Then kept his mouth open.

What is that????
Like "I CAN. . . really I can bite your face off so stop. . . Really! . ."
It was disconcerting and I allowed him to leave.

I say it is weird because it was a bit like he just didn't have the energy to follow through. He jumped off just fine, but I sort of wondered if he was maybe even a little dehydrated. Never stared into his wide open mouth that long! And he did it twice!

We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I was watching the Dude, and absolutely thrilled that he was not looking uncomfortable, did not throw up last night and really seems so good, if a little skinnier than I hoped, when tonight I saw the first sign of his heebie jeebies return...

He was kicking his feet, which he was doing a little, but the foot fight was a definite FULL BLOWN symptom... and today he did his little backflip, that starts this older video off...

BUT he is quiet, doesn't yell or hiss at me. He eats his food and his extra wet food.

WE ARE SO CLOSE and I am really happy to see him not getting sick!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yawning Welcome Home...

We had a couple of nights apart and the Dude... well....

Ever the exciting one, was not too impressed.
I did find a little more vomit trails (he had the habit of cleaning up after these things . . . GROSS!) but food was eaten well, water was consumed somewhat normally.

A little loose stool in the cat box and he is starting to be grumpy. He boxes me a bit more and does not want me to pet him - even after the long separation. I do see a little of the heebie jeebies starting.

He fights his feet, but still silently. I used to have him sit on me and purr and suddenly get a little wild eyed, go silent and run to the floor to hiss and chase his tail. I have had a couple of un warranted hisses in the last week. A lot more foot biting, but no real out right crazy spells.

I can see his personality getting a little different. He is more alert. As I mentioned, I figure it may be going off the medication, not having the disease re-appear. The symptoms are that his more lethargic and detatched attitude since he got back to normal, is going. He LIKES to chase the treats. For a while he would sort of watch and decide if he felt like the reward was good enough.

This morning, he is still a lot more away. More talky than lately and a wee bit leaner, or so I think.... four more days home then off to the kitty spa.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I am on the road, but heard yesterday that I had enough money to pay fully for all the tests, meds and treatment for the Dude!

More when I get a computer under my fingers...
We are amazed and grateful.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

FIRST Trip Away in a Year...

Well, nearly.
Tomorrow, with no need to sit and stare at him I am heading out on an overnight!
It is odd, leaving him alone, but honestly, just this week, I have been wondering if I had him a little over medicated. I swear, I can't tell you how happy he was looking this week.

I do notice his back, behind his slightly bony hips is a bit greasy. It used to look like he couldn't groom back there. He would hate for me to pat back that far on his back, but when the meds kicked in, he was much more docile. Off meds he just seems spunky! He has been chasing my heels and talking up a storm! He asks for food, but doesn't seem unusually hungry or thirsty. He has been laying around but less sleepy! It is odd that making him sicker seems to have made him happier. He lolls around on his back, purrs like mad and has a much brighter personality than recently.

I am hoping that the act of being on medication, although it helps his health might actually not making everything so good . . . Like when I was a kid, I had allergies. The meds made me function, as in not sneezing on everyone, but I was seriously dopey! Like that!!

So we shall give a fuller report when I return to see what a couple of days have produced.

Wish us all luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sitting and Watching....

I have been literally sitting and watching him.
I am trying to figure out when he is going to start getting sick.
It is a hard thing, waiting for the old enemy to come in and take over my boy, as I have worked for two years to relieve his discomfort and distress caused by the disease.

First day he kept waiting for me to ambush and medicate him. He was disappointed. He was also lucky, as I was very preoccupied. I have a spec (that is art talk for "nobody has paid me, but if they like it I MIGHT sell it") portrait pending. So far, the client has rejected my first design and I am in the middle of the second. I will post it all when I get approval!

Monday I had to run over to my subject's office to snap a fast session for the portrait because I want to be in a show which has a Friday deadline for submissions. The Dude was unimpressed.
My first version was rejected and I am in the middle of finishing then photographing what I hope will be an approved version.

Yesterday I participated in the Arts and Business Council breakfast awards. I donated a gift certificate and finished a demo of one of the organizers.

I was able to participate in a really fun morning, schmoozing with fellow artists of all ilks! They sat me with the ballet and some children theater folk. Brought me back to my professional puppeteer days!!!

Last evening I probably hallucinated that the Dude was losing weight. He was mellow the first two days and even on day four, I see a couple of his old symptoms showing up.

His Feline Hyperesthesia, which is like hyper sensitivity to everything . . . basically the name for his heebie jeebies referenced earlier in my blog . . . is starting with occasional twitching. His foot, a little, like shaking an ant off three or four times. His back, a couple of ripples. And his old snotty mood when I pet him below the mid back. He used to rip into me when I would rub ANYWHERE near his hips. Now he is just letting me know it is not a good idea.

There is a little more grump today and I bought all the cheap fatty canned food I could. I want to be sure it is only the lack of his meds, not some other issue and I want him as FAT as I can get him when he goes in....


Really it is boring but tense around here. On with art as a distraction!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Bye To the Bottle. Can Your Rescue Use It?

For close to two years these little bottles have been keeping the Dude from crawling the walls, yo-yo-ing his weight up and down and allowing him to find a good life. Tonight will be his last dose if all goes well.

The nifty thing about this process is that it only kills cells that make thyroid hormone. The gland that is supposed to is regulated elsewhere and when the tumor cells start going crazy, spewing out the stuff, the gland is told to shut down. Because it goes dormant, we regulate the amount in his system with this drug. And it works well.

For two weeks ahead, we want the bad cells to do their worst! The radioactive stuff seeks ONLY these kinds of cells and chews them up. Also, just in case ANY of the normal cells are functioning, we try to drive them way underground by the sensors in the pituitary shutting the spigot off hard because of all the yuck from the bad guys. We want ALL of the medicine out of the system so the treatment can do its worst.

After the three hot days, when the cat is actively radioactive, before the half lives start breaking the iodine down, the levels will drop as the treatment clears out. By the time the bad cells are gone, the nuclear missiles are too. When the all clear sounds, the dormant gland will be awakened again and there may be a few odd months of him starting to regulate his own levels.

They tell me not to panic for three months. There is no exact prediction, but way into the 90%'s of the cats come out with perfectly normal thyroids. It is rare that a healthy thyroid is damaged by the process. Apparently if the thyroid comes out underfunctional. (hypo) it was already damaged for some other reason. We x-rayed him to be sure no physical abnormality kept him from having it work.

Fingers crossed I will no longer need this half bottle again!
I am going to send this post to as many local cat rescues as I can. This is a good three or four months of normal for a rescuer who has a sick kitty and can use a little help.

IF any of you know a rescue that needs this, drop me a line and we can meet up when my vet says The Dude is good to go. All the generous people that have helped me needs a bit of passing it forward. THANK YOU ALL.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Spa?

Short note.
I have been posting on the YAHOO GROUP for "Feline HyperT" for more info and support since he was first diagnosed.
I just wanted to comment on the way they talk about the procedure. I like it!
They say he is heading to the kitty SPA.

OH does that suit him!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Change of Venue

Ever get a sort of sinking feeling?

Well, I had talked to the Radiocat people and was starting to get MORE confused than calmed. I had talked to my vet about a conflict wherein her "Instructions to Professionals" indicated a two week "flush" so the meds would no longer mask the active irregular cells, so the Radioactive iodine would find all of the nasty stuff, but she was supposed to send along a one week clean test. LOTS of tests!

I got a paper that said four days before we scheduled, we went off the meds. That is all. My vet (the wonderful Dr. Delac) had left at least two messages with them that they had not replied to. I had also waited for four days at one point to get information.

Every time I talked to Radiocat, I got too much information. The first time I felt like I had a lot of info, but had missed the window of opportunity by a day. The tests would not be done in time and I had to wait for a month until the doctors came to town. Then it was two more weeks. Then it was the tests that we SHOULD have.

I had tried to explain that he had gotten very ill when I had a bad bottle of medication... she kept thinking that his levels were topping out and that there must have been SOME medicine. Radiocat kept reinforcing that they could only do the maximum amount. IF it was not enough, The dude might need to be treated again.

Well, there are a lot of issues but yesterday, when I DID talk to her, I was even more confused. The tests were due back today and the Doc was going to send them over. During my conversation, among the contradictions and odd replies to my questions (such as how come my paperwork said four days, hers said two weeks off meds?) explaining that the process was personalized for EACH cat. And her explanation of my cat (who she assumed was TOPPING out the numbers) would be just fine with a few days off meds... I SUDDENLY realized that early in this quest to repair my dude, I had talked to the ONE other local radio-oncology vet's office in town. The girl was very helpful and I LIKED what she had told me but I was not sure what she was saying.

So, I looked it up again!

EVERYTHING I heard sounded completely understandable, I liked knowing the place was there all the time, not just once a month... or month and a half.

So I took my papers and went over.

I talked to the doctor who would administer the treatment, toured the whole place, liked very much what I saw!

So.... we have moved it back ONE week. Again, I timed it off, but we will have a two week flush and fix him up on August 29...

I just feel better!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tests ARE Done!

It was stressful. It is always stressful, as I have believed since he was small that he may have a little heart condition. When he chased the ball (really he liked my teeny underwear... he would pull my thongs out of the drawers if I left them open and bring them to me..... for a while) his little pink tongue would dart in and out like a puppy, not a cat. Then he wised up and decided that cats do not run....

So I try to keep him cool and calm. He never seems to get sick in the winter. Always about 100+ degrees. I had a nice little box that I got Stinkerbell from the shelter in eons ago. Just shoved him in and hauled him away. But as he got sick, he occasionally wet it and that was the end of the cardboard. I got the cutest little travel carrier! It was red and much like the pop up window shades for the car! Stored small, zipped into a sort of pup-tent. Cozy! But he was still panting and panicking.

So last week I borrowed a big monster from my old roommate. I had to hose it off and get it into shape... but it isn't in shape.

He is in there, sitting straight up with his ugly scratching thing. I decided to test it out, as the instructions from Radiocat asked for a pet carrier. I just don't remember if it has to be put in the nuclear waste dump when we are done....

So we went. Here is the sad and lonely cage, waiting for him during his tests.

It is a nice office with WONDERFUL ART (wink, click, nudge, nudge)
We have xrays, tests awaiting results, a call in to the big office, and we just await the confirmation.

Dude is ok:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Updates! More news to come...

I was pet sitting all week for a friend so I have not been posting much.
I did get a friend to loan me a big pet crate. Radiocat says you need a pet carrier. I have found he gets a little too hot and hyper in his small carrying case, so I borrowed a small cat motel for him!

It is old and odd. As he is much more of a light-weight than he was, I hope he will feel a little more comfortable standing up and moving. The old reliable is nice and cozy and suitable for rushing him off in emergencies, but not really so good for allaying his fears. I figured as he is going to be taking a longer trip for the procedure to the specialty vet, I might as well make it as easy on him as I can.

More to come . . Photos! Updates! Stay Tuned!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Dude Speaks to His Fans...

The paparazzi sneaked up on him and got a comment for his public.

I am getting a trickle of money in the mail! It appears the fund website is very sticky . . . maybe it is an Arizona thing, but lots of people have said it is hard to donate. If you want to, don't let that stop you! I am putting all cash donation acknowledgments on the fund page as well.

I will take donations at
The Dude c/o Jones
PO Box 994
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-0994

Or just keep clicking!
We thank you

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Woke Up and Hit The Ground Running!

My mom used to tell me not to THINK POOR. Something about magnetism. That you attract the things you need, so welcome them in!

Today I am running off to talk to (yet another) charity about participating in a fund raising event.
It is what I can afford for advertising and always does good doing good! After that I am meeting an artist friend who is not so savvy on the internet and wants to give me CASH!!! The thought sort of shivers my toes, as somehow a bank account is easier to track than bills, but it is going INTO the fund!

While drinking my coffee I got a call from another old friend asking if I could help the widow of her mentor arrange a donation site for his memorial expenses. YEAH.... as usual.... it is so easy for me to say yes! Hard to get away and do the nuts and bolts of marketing my art.

I am seriously considering making some mini-workshops for artists who need a little help navigating facebook, twitter, blogging and now crowd-funding. All I need is a place and some way to let everyone SEE what I am doing on my antique laptop!

All that aside.....

I am very bad at watching paint dry (hahahahaha! literally one of my job skills that I lack!!!) or water boil. Staring at my cat and seeing how well he is recovering from his bad medication episode is reminding me how perfect we are for each other. He ignores me. I talk to him.... that is as it should be.

Here he is in my bathroom alerting me that I did not turn off the tap properly!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Weekend

No news is a slow news day.

The dude has had nothing new to report. He is feeling the humidity like his mom, but staying healthy and putting small amounts of weight on.

When I spoke to the Radiocat lady, she was telling me that if they suspect the kidney issue, he may have to go off his meds for TWO weeks, not just the one.

I am hoping that the bout I had with bad meds does not repeat itself while we are prepping for the cure. If you doctor even MENTIONS shake it, SHAKE IT.....I got a new bottle with some particulate in it. I ASSUMED it was some food coloring or flavor, as they make it in all sorts of tasty treats so pets don't want to sit on your face as you sleep and smother you in revenge.... but it turns out it may have been the meds themselves! For a couple of months I was not shaking and apparently under-dosing him until he got very sick. Two weeks off the stuff would seriously make him a mess.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get a little business so I can PAY for what is not covered in the fund.

Anybody want some really fine Art Prints????

Art Prints
Click in to my Fine Art America store. These reproductions are all very affordable.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Got all the Paperwork.

Waiting is the hard part.

I have all the paperwork. The list of things we have to do before the procedure. The stuff they sent to the doctor.

This is going to be very boring from here on in.

I may have to start remembering stories to tell about the dude. NOW that he is back in good health, he is back to his normal, staring, waiting and sleeping. That is pretty much it!

I will try to snap a good race around the living room next time he tries one. He likes to do laps... across the vertical blinds, various chairs and often into the laundry area.... Try to keep the camera handy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Phone Call

While I was trying to take an interesting movie of him (MOSTLY he just stares at me!!) I got a call from Radiocat.

This is all I could come up with:

I have dried my eyes and am sane again.
Learned more than I needed and suddenly got all freaked. IF there is any chance he comes out sicker than he went in (and he is really healthy right now!) I will never forgive myself.

I got it clarified that the kidneys and the thyroid are hooked up. That is why the vet kept asking about his litter box habits . . . which are very GOOD right now! Holy cow, you would think I had a dog! But it turns out that his set back had him at levels that might hint at kidney involvement. After talking me down, she explained that IF there is any possibility that the medication that MASKS kidney issues is doing so, they will suggest NOT doing the procedure.

I guess that is all I can ask.

If they care enough to tell you NOT to do it if it is not going to help, I guess they are the right people.

We need to start the first big round of tests. Xrays, full blood panel and such. They mentioned they may need two T levels that would mean being off his meds for 2 weeks, but I am sort of wary. He gets a bit freaky when he is sick and I don't want him any sicker than he needs to be!

So August 23 at 10! We are on, and starting the ball rolling!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Slow day for the cat but did a good deed.

I stopped by the Animal Hospital this week and nobody has gotten back to the vet. I don't actually know the going rate for the blood work and x-rays needed for the procedure, but that is not as imminent as I wish. The Dude has to go cold turkey on the drugs for a week and we need a full check up BEFORE that.

Aug. 9 or 16 are all we have. BUT it will be at 10!

In the lull, I have been up to my neck in dogs again. I am learning how to use my digital tablet so I can illustrate a children's book for YET ANOTHER charity. I have 3 or four of the 20 or so pictures done. Perfect way to kill time when there is nothing else to do . . . . .

But a bit of good work came my way.

This is a memorial for a friend to give to a great woman who fostered this very ill Toy Fox Terrier through her final days. It is always warming to do any little bit.

If you want to donate to me, you know how to click . . . but if you prefer dogs - as you are very welcome to do - have a click to the group that helped this little lady.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amazing Tales...

I left Colorado in 1980, I am pretty sure. Of course I was all grown up and living my own life. Had traveled as a performing puppetteer and missed my 10th high school reunion, so most of my friends were new. All Denver adults, not my Littleton kid friends.

Flashback via Facebook!

The most amazing thing is happening because of my cat!!!
Just this week one of my best high school pals dropped into my fundraising site to help out and tonight, an even more amazing event! My very best girlfriend from Junior High, as I recall, gave me a donation.

I remember being a very odd little girl, I tended to get along better with friend's parents sometimes. Her mother was a little older than mine and I really remember how cool the old music her mom played in the house was! The old movies I loved were stuff we could talk about, much to the dismay of my friend who was learning how to make curls on rollers!

Wow, how a little event on the internet can make your brain FLY back in time.....

Back to your regularly scheduled story......

The dude was boring today. He acted exactly like a cat!

I tried to take some better movies of him on my new cell phone, but he was very dull. Getting fatter and being healthy for the procedure, but his usual boring, staring, unsettling self.

All is well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sacrifice

When you go to the radiation therapy, you are asked to bring something of comfort of the cat that will be destroyed (because it will be radioactive!)

A bit oxymoron, as how hard it is to bring something beloved and comforting that will never be seen again. But this is a no-brainer.

The Dude has NEVER destroyed a stitch of fabric or furniture from his youth (socks - yes, sofas -no) because a sisal scratch post was all I ever got him. This particular configuration has always been a favorite, in fact this is his fourth one.

IF I find another in a pet store, it will be replaced. It has hung along looking worse and worse because I have NOT seen any. A new post-style has been donated by my boyfriend, but actually what the Dude loves is sprawling across it and scratching it while he reclines . . . What a slacker!

Friday, July 8, 2011

High vs. Low Tech.

I have twice tried to pass out a few cards to friends that have a link to the donation site because of my experiments with high technology:

I admit it! I do not have clue how this thing works on smart phones and devices... but if YOU do, see if this works to bring you over to the donation page.
Still experimenting!

But..... both of my friends took the card and handed me cash toward my cat's repair. Who would have figured the fastest way to low tech cash was a phone app that nobody knows how to use!

Busy day running around so tomorrow will have a few more notes and stories. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hyper Thyroid.

Long time ago, I heard about this disorder when a former roommate had an old girl with the problem. She was a very grumpy bony little old lady.

I had to treat her with the TRANS DERMAL gel. Morning and evening... first you had to catch her.... then rub the TINIEST amount of Vaseline stuff in her ears. I really had no idea what it was.

Then when the Dude got it, I woke up.

I am going to ramble. I would really appreciate anyone who could do it more clearly, jumping in and giving me some corrections, but here goes:

The thyroid is sort of the gas pedal in the body. It tells all the other systems how fast or slow to run. If it is sending out too little hormone, you get fat, bad slow and bad hair.

If it is too much, everything makes you crazy. Much like me on coffee, hyperthyroid can give a cat upset tummy - it is always hungry, but it burns it up too fast too - intolerance to heat which is bad as I am cheap so I keep the house very warm in the summer. It ramps up the heart, the kidneys . . you name it, it can go hyper! Old cats get it a lot.

The gland that does the work gets whacked out and works too hard. Some of the cells get big and sloppy and take over the whole process. Much like the normal guys in social situations, the fat sloppy hyper cells go amok and the sane ones (notified that there is WAY TOO MUCH thyroid in the system by the pituitary gland) hide from sight, laying low, not wanting to be involved. But they are still there but seriously chilling.

Three ways to treat it are:
By meds. It basically negates all the hormones. My cat is really very easy compared to my old friend. He is not HAPPY but hardly protests and even reminds me to get up and NOT to go to bed too early without his treat (an that ugly thing I shove in his mouth too.) They have pills and plungers and rubs and it is all pretty effective really. The symptoms go way back, the weight goes up and they look real good on the outside. BUT they are not cured. The meds put a lot of wear and tear on these organs too.

Surgery. I guess now that they have micro stuff, it might be better, but a cat is a small body and it needs anesthesia and cutting open and recovery. All that and HOPING they got the right stuff. Lots of cats have other issues and it is always risky working on sick cats or even sick people. This is sort of a last resort and I have heard some sad tales.

RADIATION (spooky music please!)
My vet has recommended Radiocat which is a franchise. It has a procedure that is really amazingly simple with a nearly unbelievable success rate.

Remember back in the Japan earthquake they were giving everyone iodine? Thyroids and iodine have a very wonderful relationship. Our salt had iodine in it as a good thing. Keeping everything regular as it were. Apparently thyroids attract the stuff. The idea was to jam tons on NON radioactive iodine in and fill up the places the bad stuff would go - they are just that tight!

It also seems that the Radioactive stuff is a sizzling hot shot. Where it lands it fries. As with all radioactive stuff it moves fast and dies young. SO the idea is:
Shoot a specific amount of the isotope into the system to have it go home to the tissue that makes the thyroid hormone. As the good guys are quietly hibernating keeping out of the damage caused by the screwed up cells, by the time the I131 had burned the intruders out, the healthy tissue comes back to work in a clear clean environment. Both the iodine and the bad cells are gone. The pituitary notices the levels going back down and calls the normal cells get back to work. With a little settling in everything should be up and running fine in a month or so!

ALL (and I have looked real hard for bad stories) of the info I read on it is really good. The potential damage is so small, and the damage itself is much LESS nasty (hypothyroid... the fat cat?) and much more easy to manage.

Feel free to comment and correct. I have a lot of fun trying to make sense of complicated things so I may be having TOO much fun and not really understanding it.

The called me back and I missed the call, so we will probably NOT get a slot until August. Hopefully that make it PAID IN FULL . . . .

A Little Too Excited.

Short but sweet:

I got in touch with Radiocat, which will be its own post next.

They explained the whole procedure, how it works, what is so right about it and why it is the best idea! I talked to my vet and she will start her end as SOON as we have a schedule from the Radiocat. She is fine with waiting on her end.
Another baby picture. He still kisses me, and still runs like heck after!

The Dude is really doing well enough that he is fighting with me again. And purring SO LOUD it is like another cat. Getting his meds right is a big revelation. With a couple more weeks fattening him up before we have to take him off ALL of his meds for a week before he goes, I hope he doesn't crash, but I have this weird sense that I won't know him when he is healthy! (I wouldn't mind if he stayed aroung 14 pounds - 18 was just embarrassing!)

Thank EVERYONE for their donations, I am overwhelmed with the generosity!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What A Diagnosis Means.

When Dr. Delac got all of the tests back, she explained a lot of things, and basically told me that Hyperthyroidism is pretty common in old cats. Their metabolism gets boosted because their gland secretes too much. Apparently there are many causes from goofy thyroids to simple tumors to full blown cancer. She said her parents old cat had it and the radiation procedure was marvelous! It literally cured it. It was non-surgical so it did not stress them out physically in healing or potential infections. The older cat lived many more YEARS and was very happy. I was excited. Until I found out the cost. The number $1800 seems what I recall from the initial phone call to the Radiocat facility. JUST the facility. Not the added tests and scans BEFORE the procedure, nor aftercare.

No matter how good, how safe how easy, it was not possible to budget. As a self-employed artist, I am what they call paycheck to paycheck. Unless I have a stack of commissions (which has not happened since 2009) backed up, there is no budget, just paying the necessities.

But the doc was a good kid! She has supported my art career and we have been able to be sure he would be taking the twice daily medication for as long as he needs.

Until this spring. . . . .

He started really dumping pounds.
By the end of the cool months he was down to just 10 pounds. I would watch him and think of how life would be without him. It was like prepping for the inevitable. . . . . . I just couldn't. . . .
Who would I have to say almost nothing to at any time and spend 5 minutes coaxing a disinterested mew from? What would wake me up in the morning begging for the treats that came with the meds?

From My Cat - The Dude
This is a very seasick movie of a normal chat when I give him the treats he LIKES before and after the little syringe full of fluid that we have down to a piece of cake!

I had to take him back in when for two days in a row he chased his treats, and caught them, but spit them out. He stopped eating all together. FREAKED ME OUT!

Poor old guy tends to pant when upset and with the summer here, I did get a friend to drive so he didn't totally freak, but The Dude was not a happy camper. He was mad at me for a few WEEKS.

AMONG the options for blame, I feel that I was a bad mom because I had FORGOTTEN to shake the bottle thoroughly. (You know how. . . when the vet tells you all the stuff . . . and you nod, you don't actually hear?) I noticed this bottle had some particulates. I figured it was some coloring separating down and totally forgot hearing to shake it . . . so for a couple of months apparently, I had been dosing with less and less and the thyroid went wacky again.

I feel like a terrible mom.

Even since the blog started, he is improving a LOT. I don't feel his shoulder blades and when he sits on my tummy, I do get a tiny bit of air knocked out. Last month, I barely noticed him!

I have a call in today to recap and review and get more numbers so I can see if I am in a fools paradise. Apparently there MAY also be situations that he would need meds, even if the thyroid is fine. I am seriously feeling paranoid. Perhaps I am one of those people who has a hard time believing in good news. It seems impossible so I shouldn't get my hopes up.

My hopes are really high and today is just a plunk.