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

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!