August 25th 2010 12:36 pm
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I’m tired and worn out. I do not feel well or look good. I sleep under mommy’s bed and at other times I pace. When I sit still, I droop and stare at nothing. I get into the meatloaf position very slowly and gingerly. Mommy can see that I feel miserable. Yes, I’m still eating but mostly licking the gravy off the food. Lately, I’m suspicious of mommy and nervous when she’s around me because she’s always giving me pills or taking me to the vet. When I see mommy coming towards me, I cringe and run when she approaches. She’s always doing something to me! When it’s pill time, I hide under the bed and whimper and cry when mommy finds me and holds me to give me my pills. Sometimes I let her pet me and I purr as loud as I can but I can’t tolerate much of it like I used to.
I was supposed to go to the vet for subq fluids at 11:30 this morning. I was there on Monday and the fluids didn’t make me feel better. In anticipation, I hid behind the sofa all morning and would not come out. Mommy couldn’t reach me back there but she could see my face and see the look in my eyes and read my body language. I had a puzzled, anxious, scared and hurt look on my face because I don't understand why I'm being put through all of this. We had a long talk as I hid behind the sofa.
Why, I asked her, are you doing this to me? How can you do this to me? Didn’t you promise me that my last days would be as comfortable and free of stress and as peaceful as possible? I will not tolerate going to the vet for subq fluids! I will not tolerate you giving me the subq fluids either! Even if you give me the subq fluids at home, you'd have to yank me out of hiding each time and hold me down and practically sit on me to get the fluids in me. The subq fluids don’t seem to be helping me or making me feel better. I usually feel worse when I get them. I don't want to go anymore! I don't want any more subq fluids! I won't go! This is my choice, my decision -- please respect it.
Mommy said she heard me. She told me the fluids should help me feel better and able to stay here with her for a little while longer. But she can see how much it's stressing me out. She can tell that the fluids aren't helping me. She knows I don’t want to get them anymore. If there was any hope that I would improve and get better, even for a few months, she’d try anything. But that isn’t the case with me because there’s too many things wrong with me. She said she was still going to give me my usual medications but *no more vet, no more treatments -- I promise!* She knows it’s what I want.
Then mommy called the vet and canceled my appointment. She told them I would not be going for any more treatments. Then mommy sat there and cried and cried. My sister Kaci felt bad for mommy and came downstairs and comforted her. But I couldn't take the chance of going near her.
So I hid behind the sofa for a few more hours until I was sure I was not going to the vet. Then I came out of hiding. The tension is gone for today because I know I’m not going to the vet and am hoping I don't go again. And guess what? I’m acting and looking perkier than I have for over a week because the tension is gone. I feel more trusting of mommy and came up to her and meowed at her and let her pet me. Then I told her I wanted to eat. And guess what? I ate plenty!
Love & hugs,
August 21st 2010 9:50 am
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I haven’t been feeling very good for the last 2 days and didn’t look too good either. However, today I seem much better than I have been but I went for subq fluids this morning, so I’m not sure how well I’ll feel later today.
I was supposed to go for subq fluids yesterday afternoon. Mommy didn’t tell me anything about it, but I knew she was planning on taking me to the vet. Don’t know how I knew, but I did! So even though I was feeling rotten, I hid behind the sofa all afternoon. When it was time to leave for the vet, mommy came and talked to me in a very calm voice and tried to coax me out, but I didn’t budge. This went on for 20 minutes and she had to cancel the appointment.
About 30 minutes later, mommy went into the kitchen for a glass of iced tea and I came out of hiding and followed her. That’s because I knew she’d canceled the appointment. I sat in the kitchen doorway, looking at mommy with an innocent look.
Mommy called me a name! She said, *Mittens, you little stinker!*
I looked up at mommy and slowly blinked my eyes and kept making goo-goo eyes at her. Was I gloating or laughing at her? She couldn’t tell which -- MOL!
Well, she got me back good this morning! It seems that when she called to cancel my appointment, she rescheduled it for 8:30 this morning. For some strange reason, I didn’t know she’d done that and was totally unprepared when she picked me up and put me in the cat carrier. I growled and hissed at her! When I got to the vet, the vet tech said I was very *cranky* today and was growling and hissing at her. I never growl and hiss at anyone and am never cranky. Mommy isn’t sure how much more of this I’m going to put up with. But for today, I got my subq fluids and the vet gave mommy pills to give me if my appetite goes off. My next appointment is for Monday afternoon.
Thank you for all your purrs and love! Wishing you all a Happy Weekend!
Love & hugs,
P.S. Dr. Ian Dribben, one of the veterinarians at my animal hospital, is now famous locally for catching a ball at a Phillies game! The story of his great catch has been written about in our local papers, The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Inquirer story) and the Courier Post (Courier Post article), reported about on all our local news broadcasts and he was even on the Today Show! Congratulations Ian the Quick on a great catch!
August 18th 2010 8:35 pm
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Hi everyone! Just thought I’d stop by and say *hi* and give you all an update.
I’ve been going for subq fluids twice a week and seem to be ok. My appetite is good and I’m eating (although I do lose my appetite after each subq treatment) but am still losing weight and now weigh 9 lbs.
When I went for subq fluids this morning, I had blood tests for my kidney function and red blood cell count. My vet called this afternoon with the results. My hemocrit is up slightly but my kidney values are worse. My creatinine is 7.0. My vet said that normally she’d want me hospitalized and on IV fluids but since we’ve all agreed not to do anything heroic, we’re not going to do that. Instead, I’ll be going for subq fluids 3 times a week as long as I'm able to and will tolerate it. My vet is also giving me an appetite stimulant in case I don’t want to eat the day after treatment.
I follow mommy everywhere these days. I hate it when she goes out and sit by the front door or sit looking out the dining room window waiting for her to come home. Then I don’t let her out of my sight!
I should be feeling rotten and showing symptoms, but I’m not acting like I feel that bad. Everyone is puzzled because I look better than I have in months and am not acting like I feel very sick. I still eat and am up and about and interacting with my family. Perhaps it’s because I take prednisone? Cats with kidney disease don’t take prednisone (it’s bad for the kidneys) so there’s nothing to compare with, but maybe the prednisone is helping me feel better? Or maybe it’s the Levothyroxine? Who knows? It’s a mystery to my vet and everyone else. My vet told mommy that I’m really very sick and that my time is getting very close. She thinks it won't be much longer before I do show symptoms of being very sick.
Perhaps it’s all an act on my part? We kitties are very good at hiding illness and can be very stoic. Perhaps I’m giving an Oscar award-winning performance pretending that I don’t feel as bad as I really do? (mommy says she sincerely hopes I'm not doing that!)
It seems that I’m not quite ready to go anywhere yet!
Hope you are all well and enjoying the summer sunshine!
Love & purrs,
August 3rd 2010 8:44 pm
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My apologies for not coming back sooner to thank everyone for your purrs and keep you updated but mommy hasn’t been feeling well.
Thank you so much for your purrs and outpouring of love! I’m completely overwhelmed by your love and concern, comments and rosettes. I truly appreciate all of the rosettes, but please, it isn't necessary. I've been sick for a long time and I'd rather you give them to other sick kitties and those who have gone to the Bridge. All I want now is your purrs and healing thoughts!
It seems I’d been very thirsty lately and couldn’t drink enough water! There are water bowls in the kitchen and upstairs hallway that mommy washes every day and keeps filled with fresh water. I was drinking the water like I hadn’t had anything to drink for a week! Heck, I would even lie down near my upstairs water bowl so when I’d get thirsty, the water was right there.
My veterinarian is VERY persuasive and managed to talk mommy into letting me get subq fluids twice a week. But mommy isn’t the one doing it because she knows I will not tolerate her doing that to me, so I’m going to the vet twice a week for the fluids. The subq treatments don’t hurt me and will continue until I decide I won’t tolerate going to the vet any more. My vet said I’m in Stage 4 kidney disease and the fluids would help keep me from getting dehydrated, flush the toxins out of my body and might help me feel better. Truthfully, I think the fluids do help me feel better. I don’t get as thirsty and no longer feel the need to hang out next to my water bowl.
My veterinarian and specialist vet have agreed:
NO phosphorus binder after meals. They say it probably wouldn’t help much anyway. That’s good because mommy had decided against it anyway. MOL!
I will continue to take both the Cytoxan and prednisone for my cancer and the Levothyroxine for my thyroid. Mommy will also give me ¼ of a Pepcid pill every day. My specialist vet doesn’t think the chemo drugs are causing my anemia. He thinks it’s caused by my kidney disease. He also doesn’t think the prednisone is hurting my kidneys very much and is afraid that if I stop the prednisone, my cancer will suddenly return with a vengeance.
My anemia is severe and causing my vets a lot of concern. Their concern comes from a combination of my low hemocrit value and the rapidity at which it’s been dropping. A normal cat’s hemocrit value will be in the high 30’s up to the low 40’s. A value under 30 % is considered slightly anemic. Anything under 20 % is considered severely anemic. My hemocrit value is 15 %. I will be having a blood test for my hemocrit value and kidney function in two weeks. Please purr that my hemocrit value stays stable, even at 15!
There are two kinds of anemia: regenerative and non-regenerative. Although I haven’t been tested to see which kind of anemia I have, my vets think it’s non-regenerative anemia, caused by my kidney disease. If it’s regenerative anemia, it’s possible it can and will correct itself.
Just so you know, taking iron supplements or getting B-12 shots will not help non-regenerative anemia. There really isn’t any treatment for severe non-regenerative anemia other than Epogen (Erythropoietin) which would be given subcutaneously every 2-3 days in the beginning and may take more than a few months to work. In addition to the number of times I’d have to go for treatment and the length of time it would take before it works (even assuming I have that much time left), mommy has read about the use of Epogen to treat feline anemia and here’s the big problem from her point of view: Epogen is a human recombinant product. She’s read on one vet website that 20% of cats form antibodies to the drug. Another vet website said 1/4 to 1/3 of cats receiving Epogen will produce antibodies against it in six to eight weeks. Forming antibodies to the drug is fatal. As far as mommy is concerned, those odds are much too high and makes this treatment too risky and scary for her to stomach, esp. considering everything else that is wrong with me. If a human drug used to treat human anemia had that high a risk for them, would it be allowed on the market? Mommy is not going to put me through all of that. My vets are not pushing this treatment either.
My vet told mommy that at this point, she supports mommy 100% in any and all decisions she makes regarding what treatments I will and will not get from now on. She said I’ve been through quite a lot and am a tough little girl and we’ve basically done all we can for me. We’re now concentrating solely on quality of life. My vet said she’s had cats who keep on fighting and somehow pulling through and living longer than she ever expected against all odds and maybe I’ll be one of them.
Mommy realizes that if she tries to keep me alive at all cost, her agenda may not be my agenda. Her concern now is to make me as comfortable as possible and respect what I want and how I feel. Please keep me in your purrs!
Now, an urgent request for purrs for a dear friend of mine! Please PURR HARD for SALLY MARIA, my dear sweet friend and sister in cancer, who is not doing well or feeling well. She and her mommy need all the purrs and support and love you can give them!
Love & hugs,
July 23rd 2010 9:05 pm
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This is an update on Miss Mittens’ health. Since she started taking the Levothyroxine for her hypothyroidism, it seems to me that she looks and acts much better than she did two months ago. She’s still eating.
But her recent blood test results are telling a different story.
The numbers on Mittens’ recent blood tests are not good. For the first time ever, my vet has told me that the end is getting near for Mittens. For the first time ever, she mentioned euthanasia. It won’t be tomorrow or next week but it will be much sooner than I can bear to think about.
Mittens lost 2 lbs. during the past month. Her white blood cell count is low but the most alarming thing is the rapid decrease in her red blood cell count. Her red blood cell count is alarmingly low. She’s anemic and there may not be much we can do for her. Her vet mentioned some type of shots we can try but said it’s a medicine made for humans and Mittens’ body might form antibodies to the hormone in the medication and that would be bad. She doesn’t seem inclined to give Mittens the shots. Mittens’ kidney values – creatinine and UREA -- are much higher than they were two months ago. Her phosphorus level is also high. We can try subq fluids and giving her a phosphorus binder. We could cut down or eliminate the prednisone. The prednisone is a critical part of her chemo treatment and her cancer, which is stable, might suddenly get worse if we do that. Her vet has decided to consult with Mittens’ specialist about things that we might do and then will discuss it with me after she has talked to the specialist.
I’ve decided not to make the last months of Mittens’ life stressful and utterly miserable. Why try to add one or two more months to her life if she’s feeling bad? That means no heroic treatments in a futile effort to keep her alive no matter what. No long car rides to visit specialists. No more tests. No nasty-tasting liquid medicine after every meal to bind her phosphorus. No sticking her with needles for subq treatments. No experimental shots for her anemia and other strange treatments which could make her feel even worse than she feels now.
If you’re reading this, please take a moment to purr for Mittens and for all sick kitties who need purrs.
Miss Mittens’ mommy
June 17th 2010 12:33 pm
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Have you ever played the Cat Breed Photo Game? Mommy admits she’s not very good at it. She’s embarrassed at how often she looks at the same pictures of the same breeds over and over again and still can’t remember which breed it is when she sees the same picture again. No big winning streaks for her! It never occurred to her to ask me for assistance nor have I ever offered my assistance. :))
Pretty VANESSA’s mommy loves playing the Cat Breed Photo game and is pretty darn good at it. She had a streak of 71 correct guesses in a row!
Even so, her mommy was a tad bit discouraged when she had to start over again. Vanessa decided to help her mommy and she ran up a new streak of correct guesses. Vanessa certainly knows her cat breeds and brought her mommy lots of good luck! The streak was so good that Vanessa wrote about it in her diary and asked readers to guess how many her mommy got right in her new winning streak.
Whoever guessed right would receive a gold star and 5 zealies!
It seems I’m the winner!
All I can say about the number of correct guesses in Vanessa’s mommy's new winning streak is: WOWZA!
I’m pawstruck at her mommy’s game playing ability!
Thank you Vanessa for the lovely Gold Star and the zealies!
Hugs & purrs,
June 15th 2010 2:48 pm
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I knew something was up this morning. I knew mommy had plans to take me somewhere I didn’t want to go. I planned my defense. I hid in the living room, snug behind the table and right next to the opening behind the sofa. I stayed there all morning. When I run behind the sofa, there’s no way mommy can get at me back there. So whatever evil she had planned for me, I was ready!
Then it was time. Mommy came into the living room to get me and saw me hiding behind the table. She said, “Oh no, Mittens! Please cooperate!”
But of course I didn’t. All was going well and according to my plan . . . when the Universe turned against me! Bah!
The lawn service people who cut our grass decided to come right at that very minute. The loud noises from their lawn mowers scares me silly! When the men turned on their loud machines, I had no other choice but to leave my hiding space and try to run upstairs.
Mommy and grandma were waiting and between the two of them, they caught me and put me in my cat carrier. I got mommy back good by peeing all over her and she had to change her clothes before we left the house. *evil grin*
So I kept my appointment today and had an echocardiogram and EKG. We were there 2-1/2 hours and I was a very good girl and a very good patient. And I got good news!
Yes, I have a heart murmur (physiologic flow murmur) and Systolic Anterior Mitral Valve Motion (SAM). It could develop into Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) but right now, there’s no sign of heart failure and no need for heart medication. If the heart murmur changes in quality, I would need a re-check. If my breathing changes or I start breathing with my mouth open, that could indicate heart failure.
The prednisone I take very day could be bad for my heart over the long term and could lead to HCM. It could contribute to heart failure but then again, maybe not. Mommy was told that we need to treat the disease I do have and not the disease I could have. So I will continue to treat my cancer as my primary disease and I'll continue to take the medications, including prednisone, I need for my chemo. But at least mommy and my vets know what’s what with my heart and it’s in my records.
Whew! It's so good to be home again!
Hugs & purrs,
June 15th 2010 9:13 am
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In about 15 minutes, mommy and I are supposed to leave the house together. I’m scheduled for an echocardiogram and consultation with a cardiologist at 1:30 today.
If I have my way, we’re not going anywhere!
Mommy is thinking that’s she done nothing different this morning to telegraph her intentions. She got up this morning and got dressed the same time as usual. She fed Kaci and me and gave us our medications the same as usual. She hasn’t even so much as glanced at the cat carrier! She went out and did some errands and came home. Nothing at all unusual!
So she’s wondering . . . why oh why have I been hiding all morning behind the end table in the living room? I never, ever do that! I’ve been there all morning and that’s where I am now and if I have my way, that’s where I’m staying! The end table is right next to the sofa. If mommy comes in and tries to get me, I’ll run behind the sofa. Mommy can’t get to me back there because she can’t move the sofa. That means I’m safe!
Mommy is very puzzled. Do I know that I have the appointment today? How do I know?
She’s heard many, many stories about humans not being able to find their cats when they have to take them to the vet.
Mommy is very curious about this.
Am I psychic?
Are all cats psychic?
Mommy is thinking that if we don’t go today, we’ll never go. She’s thinking that the cardiologist is a specialist and might charge her a fee for the appointment even though she has to cancel it. Mommy is not at all pleased!
In 10 minutes or so, she’ll know for sure whether or not we’re going to make that appointment.
June 5th 2010 2:46 pm
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First, I have more friends to thank for happy birthday wishes and gifties:
Tate for the hamburger
Oreo Wesley Bush for the ice cream cone
Binx, Athena, Zeus & family for the pink cupcake
Pooters for the ladybug
Thank you to all my friends who sent hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream cones and refreshing slices of watermelon! It’s impossible to thank everyone personally but I want you all to know how much I appreciate the food feast and your friendship! I love you all!
What a difference one medication has made in my life! Having such serious diseases like cancer (in remission), kidney insufficiency and possible heart disease, you’d think low thyroid function would be minor issue and not much to worry about. Not so! It isn’t a minor thing at all! What’s scary is how my vet and mommy thought my problem was my cancer getting worse when all the time, it was my thyroid that was to blame and which made me feel so miserable. Now that I’m taking Levothyroxine, it’s truly amazing how much better I feel and look and act!
I am very sad today because of what is happening to my friend Tigger, Cali and Scaredy Cat’s dad. Tigger says he might not be able to come on Catster anymore. That is sad enough but it’s the reason for it that makes mommy cry. Tigger’s dad’s unemployment has run out and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to get an emergency extension. He can’t find a job anywhere. And their dad has to give up their home and even though he thought he found a new place to live, that might not happen now. Tigger, Cali and their dad may soon be homeless. :(( I wish we could help but we are not much better off ourselves. Tigger, tell your dad to pester the unemployment office for an emergency extension and to please go to and utilize every federal, state and local agency he can. Tigger, we will be purring for your dad and for everything to work out!
These times are very hard and a difficult struggle for so many people. Many of mommy’s friends lost their jobs and are having a very hard time of it. Unemployment benefits don’t last forever and jobs are very scarce. Mommy lost her job many, many months ago. She looks for work every day but there aren’t many jobs around. She applies for every job she thinks she might be able to do even if she’s never done it before or it doesn’t pay much or is only part time. Mommy has been collecting unemployment but thinks she has received her final extension and there’s only a few weeks of benefits left. It’s very discouraging and mommy lies awake at nights worrying about something called *the future.*
However, that said, mommy, Kaci and I count our blessings for what we do have and we do have much. Thank cats for my dear grandma who lets us live with her so we are not homeless! And because she has the time, mommy has time to volunteer and give time to others in need. She cares for homeless cats at the shelter. She receives no pay for it but loves doing it and finds it rewarding in a spiritual and intangible way that no amount of money could ever bring her.
Hope you’re all having a most pawsome weekend!
Hugs & purrs,
June 2nd 2010 1:12 pm
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What a wonderful birthday I had! Mommy fed me my favorite cat foods yesterday along with something nice at dinnertime – a small treat of spaghetti noodles with tomato sauce (not too much sauce – we know the danger!) and lots of Parmesan cheese. Yum yum yum! I also got a massage which made me PURRRRRRRRRR in delight!
My Catster friends helped me celebrate and made my birthday extra special and fun. We will be thanking all of you personally over the next few days. We thanked some of my friends in my diary yesterday and today I have more friends to thank:
Mr. Sam – at the Bridge for the lemonade
Piewackit and family for the birthday party hat
Max, Charley & Miss Sable-Kitty for the chocolate cupcake
Spirit for the vanilla cupcake
Sky for the ice cream cone
MILO for the tulips
Kally Kat for the pink ribbon
Kittana for the birthday party hat
Simon and Reuben (an Angel now) for the tulips
Sally Maria for the pink cupcake
Scooter ~ Our Angel for the pink cupcake
Scooter ~ Our Angel for the pink ribbon because she was the 12,000th visitor to my page! (cool!)
Jezebel for the ice cream cone
Bitu for the pink ribbon
Nikolai – Dreamboat #24 for the pink cupcake
Alfie for the princess crown
Alexis Tippy, Abby Sweetpea & Ernie for the princess crown
In Memory of Rebby for the red rose
Beauty, Mitzie and family for the pink cupcake
Tony, Anna and family for the lemonade
I love you all!
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