"Choosing trust over doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened." -Victoria Monfort

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Long gone...

I lost yet another laptop, and posting via mobile is not as fun since I'm a pretty sucky texter. I would have already purchased a replacement but it turns out being maid of honor in your bff's upcoming wedding takes all of your extra cash! I refuse to break into my "house savings"..tempting as it may be!

I got another medal, via my second warrior dash! I signed up.last year and almost did not run it because I had no one to run with. Turns out runners are awesome and I got help out of the muddy pits, and claimed my medal anyway!

My new cats are awesome, and I'm so happy I rescued them

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Saying Goodbye and..Hello!!

I had a pretty awful year and a half when it comes to pets!! I lost all four of my beloved senior cats, that I had since birth!

Most recently, I said goodbye to my sweet Fozzie girl, after her battle with lymphoma! She really gave it a good fight! It may sound stupid for some, but once I told her to let me know when she was ready to say goodbye...she did. She no longer came around me. She didn't eat for 4 days, and wouldn't even lay next to me, she would turn her back on me. Cats know more than most people think they do!

Like I did for all of my pets..when the time came, we went to the hospital for our final goodbye. I petted her, and whispered into her ear how much I loved her, and what a good cat she is...until her little soul left her sick body.

I have a really hard time with euthanasia. I understand that it is humane...but in the back of my mind I still feel like it is should not be my decision.

She was the last of my kitty family. I had these cats when I was married...we met at a completely different time in my life, and they have been through so many moves, and break ups. They have heard all of my heartaches, and you can't just "get another cat" to replace such long term companions. I cried until I thought my eyes would explode!

That being said...it felt like cheating, but once I knew Fozzie's diagnosis, I began looking for two new cats. I wouldn't adopt until we had said goodbye, but I had a tricky wish list, and I wanted to get my feelers out.

The cats had to be bonded, and adults! I don't have the patience for kittens, as cut as they are!  I was accustomed to adult snuggley cats!

I prefer persians...but wanted long hair cats, because believe it or not...(having had both) long hair cats shed less than short hairs.

In short, after putting my feelers out with several rescues, I was lucky enough to adopt a bonded male and female from my favorite rescue!

I adopted Garret and Aurora. (named after Jack Nicholson and Shirley McClain's characters in Terms of Endearment) 

They were from a hoarding situation, so they were loved, but had to be given up.  I hope their former owner knows that these two hit the jackpot coming to live with me! 

Life goes on. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"C" is for Cat...Screw Cancer!...

I've been real busy lately. Mostly, with laying around, not running, and feeling every pound pack on because I fractured a toe slamming it in my back door. After two weeks, I did successfully run 3 mostly non-deathcon level pain miles twice. I can't give in to it, I can't stop eating food. 

When I am old and sick, I hope someone parks me in front of the birds!

In between all of that awesomeness, I've been micro-managing my cat. Analyzing every move she makes...even if she's made it her whole life, for some reason now...I find it to be cause for alarm. Reason 435,679 I don't have kids. 

She's been to the vet weekly since her diagnosis. She had to go back for a weigh in (she gained a POUND!) and a med check. The prednisone is already helping the inflammation in her intestines from the cancer. 

I started her on weekly B12 shots, and kitty vitamin treats

The outcome has been favorable. I trusted the vet on the "b12 and vitamins can only help her at this point" and just did it. She explained how no one tests cats for vitamin deficiency, and while it won't cure her cancer, it can help with her being old, and her intestinal issues. 

I won't say she is a brand new cat, but since starting this she has had more energy. Instead of latching on and climbing up things, she is jumping again. Instead of taking the stairs one at a time, she's jogging. (do cat's jog?) 

She isn't cured, let's face it...it's cancer. But every day I get with her feeling good is a plus for me! It doesn't help the overwhelming guilt that I feel over losing her brother in April for the exact same symptoms. I try to tell myself he didn't respond well to the treatment, and she is just a different cat. 

And...just so you don't think I forgot about my adorable pups, they have been getting out to the parks as well!

After a year (we just celebrated his gotcha day), Bohannon went in the water with Mr. Magoo...

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A "Healthy" Cat That Just Won't Eat, or In My Case, Cancer....

I'm writing this post in hopes that it finds others who have had the same struggle. Your cat has been tested for everything, examined, xrayed, ultrasounded, blood, urine, feces, thyroid.., only to find that it seems perfectly healthy...and it just won't eat anything. You've tried every type of cat food, treat, hard, soft, baby food, pureeing cat food, buying the most expensive fish, putting fish juice on food, ...but they just won't eat.

It starts with last year, I lost one of my cats, Fizzgig. She had kidney disease, which we treated, but ultimately after a couple years, she had heart failure, and I had to say goodbye to her.

Pretty Fizzgig

Fizzgig was the Mom of Fozzie and Pikachu, and they lived their entire lives together. 

Fozzie and Pikachu

A few months after Fizzgig passed, Pikachu started losing weight. He started having diarreah, and he felt really thin

At the vet, his CBC blood tests, perfect. Couldn't believe these were the results of a 14yo cat...nothing suspicious whatsoever!! Sent me home with an anti diarreah medicine. 

Then, he obviously quit eating. I tried everything. Every type of food, dry, canned, treats, baby food...pureed tuna, salmon...you name it. He would get the food in his mouth and spit it out. 

And, it's funny what you do when you have a sick cat, I had food stashed all over the house to "entice" him. I sometimes caught him eating on my night stand. 

Back to the vet for Xray...nothing. Ultrasound, nothing. His teeth, in good condition. They suspected IBS, or a type of bowel cancer/lymphoma (only detected by an endoscopy) the treatment for both was steroids, so I opted for that, and they gave him a shot. 

At this point he had gone in a few short months from 12lbs down to 5. 

The steroids worked for a bit, and he would crunch on hard kitten chow only, but still left remnants of the food, and only ate about 1/3 cup a day for a while, and was still losing weight. 

When he was down to 4lbs, and started to act like he was giving up, he lost his sparkle, and as much as it broke my heart, I had to let him go. The vet had no answers, and I couldn't watch him waste away anymore, He only wanted to be held, and cried as if it hurt him to be held. It was one of the hardest things to do...letting a seemingly healthy cat leave my life

Mother and son reunited in heaven!

Almost as soon as he passed, his sister Fozzie started acting almost the same way. I got her a brand new cat condo since she was the only cat, and placed it right in front of the window where I hung my window bird feeder. She happily spent most of her time there, watching birds, and seemed to feel better. 

But just the same, one day I noticed...she felt thin.  She didn't have diarreah, but something was wrong.

Having just gone through this with Pikachu, I opted for less testing, but the blood and xrays all showed she was a healthy 14yo cat!  The vet felt maybe she was depressed after losing her mother and sibling.

She got appetite stimulants, which made her interested in food, but she acted like it bothered her to eat. And then she gave up. She's acting normal. Still active...she just wont EAT!

There is a video of her doing this here, she takes food in, and moves her head around as if it bothers her to eat.

Back to the vet, to have a closer look at her mouth/throat thinking maybe something was preventing her from eating. She had lost another pound in just a week. Now, this once 14lb cat was 5lbs. and she can't lose more weight, yet, Nope. No answers. I left with prednisone tablets, and a referral to an internal specialist. 

Prednisone, he said would help if she were experiencing any pain we couldn't see, or if there were a psychological issue with her not eating. 

Two days after the prednisone (4 doses) she actually ate a half a tiny can of wet cat food. (still acting like it irked her to eat) Then, that same night, she ate the other half!!!!

The next morning, (5 doses) she woke me up crying for food. I had a small plate of kitten chow by the bed, maybe a tablespoon, that she had eaten during the night. She ate another half a tiny can of cat food. And, has been an eating machine ever since. 

Today, we saw the internal specialist. And, what an amazing vet! 30 years as a specialist, plus all her time as a vet, was well worth the $160 foot in the door/exam fee. She spent an hour with me, explaining all the test results she'd already had done at my vet.

She said in fact, her teeth were in poor condition, and she needs a dental and a tooth pulled but that had to wait until she put on weight.

An interesting fact she shared, my cat has eaten hard food for 14 years. Eating it hurt, so when she ate the canned food, and acted like it was weird, it is because cats are highly sensetive to texture. She thinks food should crunch, and it is just feels weird for her to eat different food.

She did an extensive exam. I've had many vets, but she just had a way with animals. Most vets are very clinical, and you could tell she was compassionate about her job. She answered a billion questions, and explained everything she told me in real people terms!

She's an active cat. She is seemingly healthy.

Diagnosis.....she has lymphoma. Intestinal cancer. It could be IBS, only way to tell was an endoscopy, but in all her years practicing 99% of cats over 12 it was cancer vs. IBS. She said it doesn't show on tests, and she could tell by her exam of her intestines, they were hardening.

It's not all sad news, because unlike my last cat, she is already responding to the medication they use to treat lymphoma. And she'd put on almost a pound in 5 days.

We have to monitor her, blood pressure, and kidney levels on the meds, but the goal is for her to live out the rest of her fabulous life, for as long as she is willing!

In the end, I feel a bit better about knowing what is wrong with her. And knowing that, we tried the same thing with Pikachu, but he didn't respond to treatment. (I felt a lot of guilt about that!)

Fozzie watching the birds on her "cat TV".

My advice for anyone going through this, which I would have known...is if there seems to be nothing medically wrong with your pet, seek out an internal specialist. Most vets are general practicioners, and you can save a lot of time, and MONEY, by going straight to the experts!

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Worst Half Marathon Ever...

I have never been one to set out on any race to beat a previous time. I'm not that kind of runner. I run to finish. I listen to my body. But I have always had my usual finish time in the back of my mind when doing any race.

My worst half marathon time was 2:55 and my best was 2:20.

My first half marathon of the season...I finished at 3:05. Worst. Time. Ever!!!

I went into the race knowing it was going to be super hot, and humid, but the course was really hilly, and I have never trained on hills because I hate them. There were so many "ups" and only a few "downs".

When the 2:20 pace team passed I felt good, because I had expected to finish around 2:40. But my foot pain was so severe, that I started walking/jogging around mile 6.  My feet were on fire.

Have you ever walked 7 miles? It's tedious! When you run 7, you think, well in a little over an hour I'll be done...but walking? It takes an eternity!

Once the  3:00 pace team passed, I had already resolved that this was not my race. I tried to run off and on, but had to walk. The bike team kept circling me, and I knew at that point, I must be at the back of the line.

I got to experience the other side of the race, the people in the back are so great, not so serious, and offer such encouragement!

In the end, of course, I did it...on my own two feet. Many of my running friends said it was a challenging course, which made me feel better. And I had a calf muscle spasm as soon as I stopped at the finish, that still pains me to get moving around after 3 days.

There is always next time!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Race Training, Another Sick Cat, and Happy Dogs...

I have been trying to focus on training for my next half marathon that is coming up in just TWO days! Add a dash of work stress, and another sick feline, and a girl who is a total stress eater, (and ok, drinker!!) , has bad feet when training long distances, an 80+degree temperature day...and you wind up with someone who is not 100% sure about the outcome of her next half!

Yes, I will finish. I never expect a time, I just want to finish the race, get my medal, drink my beer, and lounge on the couch with netflix for the rest of the day!! It's all anyone can ask for, really!

I had a bit of a stressful situation at work this week, and in the middle of the ordeal, I was in our parking lot, where I witnessed a giant crow attacking a small bird. At first I thought it was a carcass, but the other little birds trying to attack the crow drew my attention. The little bird it had pinned down was trying to break free.

I'm a sucker for animals. I got emotional, plugged my ears, and closed my eyes. After a few seconds I had to try to save that bird, so I ran toward the crow yelling, and stomping! The little bird was free!

It hopped three times, went airborne...and it flew full speed... right into our office window...and promptly fell to the ground. It broke my heart.

I know it's nature and all, but I felt awful for that little birds demise. Totally ruined my day!

I've also been having the same issues with my last and only cat, who can't eat. She's back to the vet tomorrow to undergo anesthesia to look at her mouth, since just like my last cat, all of her tests revealed NOTHING is wrong, but she just can't seem to eat food, despite her interest in it! Stay tuned for this story.

Last year I had 4 cats, now I have just Fozzie girl. 

In happy news, the doggie pool is open, and these two have been enjoying it!

And these two participated in our bark for life event, to benefit the american cancer society. They are wearing their bandanas proud!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Being a Runner...

I love all of my bibs and medals!!

I've only been running for about 3 years now. I started at the urging of one of my best friends, who caught the bug. I did my first race, which was a relay where I earned a medal for a mere 3.2 mile run.

I was hooked! Running for a medal felt fantastic! I've since run countless races from 5k to 15k, and I have 5 half marathons under my belt (soon to be 6!!)

I don't consider myself fast at all. I run a half anywhere from a 10.9 to a 12.3. Sometimes on a half, I need to walk for a bit. I have issues with my feet, or I get overheated. For some reason, this - mixed with the fact that I have a slow pace makes me think I am not a "real" runner.

I recently offered to run a 5k with a coworker, who had never even walked a mile. She wanted to sign up for a half marathon and I encouraged her to start small. Sometimes you can have big dreams when you don't first take the small steps.  I told her I would run with her at her pace, no pressure.

Before we hit the one mile mark, she asked if we had run a mile. I said no...so we had to walk. I coached her through trying to control her breathing, because she felt like she was too out of breath. I encouraged her to get out of her head because I knew her mind was telling her to quit, because I'd been there.

In the end she did her first 5k at 44 minutes, and there were about 40 people who finished after us.

She was so thankful that I encouraged her, and helped her be the best that she could be. It felt amazing.

And...she wants to do another race!

We have already found our next one, an 8k (just under 5 miles) and this one...has a MEDAL! She is going to actually train for this one!

I read an article recently that stated "there are no slow runners". I guess I am beginning to believe this. Just because I don't blow past everyone on a race doesn't mean I am still not doing my best. And I am the only one I am competing with in the end!

If you ever felt the urge to run a race, do it! No one cares how fast you run. And you just migh be amazed at all of the support you get along the way from fellow runners...from the ones you pass, to the ones that pass you! It's a really neat community to be involved in. You shouldn't be intimidated, because in the end we are all out there for our own personal reasons!

Most of all...because we kind of like it!!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Hiking With Little Dogs...

I am very lucky to live near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I guess I had taken this for granted until I got into running. I have discovered so many beautiful places along the trails over the past few years.

Today I decided to take the dogs on a hike to see blue hen falls, which is a short marked path from the trailhead,  and buttermilk falls..which is a bit further, and an unmarked trail that required about 5 water crossings, and a leap of faith that you would find it.

These two rescues made my heart smile with how happy they were today just being loved dogs! Magoo is so timid, but he followed Bohannon over big logs, and climbed steep riverbed walls!

Mr. Magoo and Mr. Bohannon surveying the land! Brothers!

The boys had to cross a lot of water and other obstacles to get to the falls, but they loved it!

Blue hen Falls

buttermilk falls

There were a few rock stacks, so I left one in memory of my 5 pets I have lost over the years. 

Mr. Bohannon never sits still...he actually sat and looked out over the water today!

I have also recently found success with the thundershirt for Magoo, my puppy mill rescue that has extreme noise anxiety. I was skeptical, watched the videos, read the feedback...but I still didn't believe it.

I took a quick video of Magoo who hates medical shows for the equipment beeping..laying back down after hearing the beeps with his shirt on...and a shot of him without it on, running scared. 

And not to leave my lone survivor cat out, I recently bought her a new cat tree to watch the birds at the window feeder. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

When You Know, You Know...Losing Another Cat...

Nothing knocks the wind out of your sails quite like losing 3 of your 4 beloved cats in just a little over a years time. Of course I knew that they would all leave me one day, but having them leave so close in succession .........was a real ass kicker!


Pikachu was doing better.. until he wasn't. That's the best way I can sum up the decision to let him go.

He'd been tested for everything under the sun. Almost a grand in vet bills trying to find out what was wrong with this guy in the last two months, but nothing came to light. 

Last Saturday morning, he kept crying, and wanting held...he had been really needy for over a week..he hadn't left my side...when I was immobile, there he was. 

I could still feelt his bones thru his fluffy fur when I pet him, once a big stocky cat well over 10 lbs,  he was reduced to an under 5lb bag of bones and fur...and then,  he couldn't seem to get comfortable.

I put him on the electric blanket and I watched him sleep...his eyes not fully closed,  and his breathing slowed to a stop for longer than I felt comfortable with, a few times.

And then..something snapped in me. I had been through this before, and I didn't want him to suffer any longer. I felt like he was telling me he was ready to go. 

I reluctantly said goodbye to that handsome guy last weekend. While the decision to say goodbye never gets any easier, the decision to not let them suffer any more becomes a bit easier. 

Pikachu's Mom was my own cat. I watched him come out of the womb. I loved him from the moment he was born, and 15 years  later, I was still not ready to let him go!!

I have one remaining cat. I went from 4..to one. This girl lost her brother and her mom, and after a bout of sadness....seems to be ready to get on with her life...