Coping With My Loss

12 Sep

It’s been sometime for me to build up the strength and write another post. I want to start by thanking everyone that has commented with such kind words. I wish that I can say time heals the when a loved one is lost. I agree with the statement, but I wouldn’t quite use the word heal.

After his passing, I couldn’t speak to anyone about it. My sister or friends would bring him up, and I just remained quiet. Some days I speak about him, and other days I can’t. When I look at his photos, my heart sinks into my chest and I can’t talk.

I was fortunate to have a lot of amazing events happen not too long after his passing. This helped me keep my mind busy. I graduated college, and I had my 30th birthday. One of my biggest fears was that I would lose him on my birthday. That obviously didn’t happen.

Now that all the major events are over, and I am back to reality, I can’t stop thinking about him. I have a lot free time without studying and working one job. I keep thinking how I’d give anything to have him sitting next me to again. When I whispered that I love you, he’d purr so hard.

If you were ask me today, would you have done anything different? My answer would still be no. If it wasn’t for my vet, and his kind heart, Oliver would have left us in February or March. I had my chance to kiss him and tell him that I loved him more than anything for a few extra months.

I love you Oliver, and I miss you so much.

RIP Oliver Marks 04/01/2001 – 07/02/2011

3 Jul

Yesterday morning I called the vet hysterically crying that he wasn’t doing well.  He wouldn’t eat, he could barely walk, he was having trouble breathing and he was hiding under the bed.  When I found him under the bed, I thought he was gone for a moment the way he was laying.  The vet said let’s give him three days, and we will make the decision.  I said okay.

The day went on and he was getting worse.  He tried to move around, then every few steps he laid down and fell asleep.  I made him a cat bad, and put him in it.  He ended up wetting himself, and then went under the bed again.  Around 6pm, I called the vet again and said I was coming. I put myself together, and let my sister say her goodbyes in case we both didn’t come home.  At 7 pm, Oliver and I headed over to the doctor’s office.

We sat with the vet for almost an hour and a half going through options.  He said he’s seen this before, and those cats lasted about a week.  He told me that if we were to drain the fluids again, give him a blood transfusion and give him a strong antibiotic.  He said this doesn’t mean he is going to get better.  He may just feel better for a little bit, but it’s time.

I hugged Oliver so hard and kissed him so much.  I repeated to him how much I loved him, and that I never gave up on him for minute.  Then I handed him over to the vet, and he reached back for me.  His nail caught onto my shirt.  Then vet was like okay.  I said just one second.  I grabbed Oliver’s head and said I love you so much while I kissed him again.

At the end, Oliver got a cold and his lymphoma started to flare up.  His immune system wasn’t strong enough to fight back anymore.  I don’t have much in me to write anymore.

The Feline Lymphoma Battles

30 Jun

Oliver is still not doing very well.  He is doing better than he did last week until now, but it’s still not the same.  His energy has picked up a little bit.  I went and bought the smelliest cat food I could find yesterday.  He doesn’t want to eat the kitten food that I started feeding him anymore.

This week, I think he is starting to develop an upper respiratory infection.  He has been sneezing all week.  The sneezing slowed down, but his right eye and nostril is now leaking fluids.  He also is breathing so loud you can hear it.  I tried to call the vet yesterday and today, but I haven’t heard back from him yet.

Oliver is still very weak and having trouble walking around.  He takes a few steps and then lies down. It takes him some time to get around the apartment.  It’s been a little tough getting him to eat today.  I got him to eat about a teaspoon full of some salmon wet food.

All I can say his energy picked up a little this week.  Not very much, and not enough to bring me hope.  I am scared that this is it with him.  He is not scheduled to see the vet again until Saturday.  I am waiting for him to just say it’s time.

I don’t want to say that I am giving up because that’s not what is happening.  I am going to continue to try and give him food and water as much as possible.  I just don’t want to make him live a life where he can barely walk and looks sad.  My heart hurts so badly when I see him like this.

I wish more than anything that I could do something to fix this.  I wouldn’t take a moment back trying to make it work with the chemotherapy.  We got some really good moments with him again.  I just wish everything would go back to the way they used to be.

Cat Chemotherapy is on Hold

28 Jun

I called the vet on Saturday morning because Oliver was weaker than before we started treatments.  I told him about how Oliver is barely walking, and I am really concerned.  I brought him to the vet that day to check him out.  The tech escorted me into the room while we waited for the vet.  She put him on the scale, and he now weighs about nine and half pounds.

I asked her to weigh him again.  She did and said yeah he that’s his weight.  One of our biggest problems while on chemotherapy has been getting his weight back up.   Before the lymphoma started taking a toll on his cute little body, he weighed about 16lbs.  He was a really big boy.

I am not expecting him to get back to that weight, but we have been maintaining about 11lbs for the majority of the time.  By researching about feline chemotherapy, I remember one blog where someone said their cat was back to their normal weight after a month.  That gave me a lot of hope for Oliver.

Okay, so back to where I was saying about waiting in the vet’s office.  Oliver was walking around and talking.  This was a lot of energy on his part that he doesn’t have at home.  His adrenalin was probably pumping.  Finally, the vet comes in the room to check on Oliver.

The vet sits on the floor, and just watches Oliver walk around.  He said he can see the hind legs are weak.  I mentioned how I researched all the reasons this could happen.  We talked about diabetes, hip dysplasia etc.   We both agreed those two illnesses were not the reason for weakness.

He said one reason this could happen is weakness of the heart.   He took Oliver’s file and laid out all his blood from beginning until that day.  Oliver’s red blood count started around 30-ish, and it’s now at 18.  He told me if it drops to 12 that he would need a blood transfusion.  He explained how the oxygen level in his blood is low because of the count.

The low red blood count is most likely the reason for the weakness, and losing so much weight didn’t help.  The low count is a known side effect from chemotherapy that I learned about when researching it.  He told me that there isn’t much we can do right now about this. I have to make sure he is eating, so his body can reproduce these cells.  The vet gave him a shot of vitamins, iron and prednisone.

For a few days, Oliver has been eating much better.  Well, I’ve been bringing him food every 30 minutes, and he’s been eating a little bit each time.  I have been feeding him Lucy’s food because he has not wanted to eat his food again.   We put an extra liter box in the living room near where he is.  He apparently got a belly ache, but he did use the liter box.

I have kitty pepto in liquid form, so I gave him some when I got home from work and some before I went to bed.  I hope it helps his little belly.  Yesterday, I noticed he has started to slow down on the eating.  I went grocery shopping, and I bought him new treats and food.  Basically, the vet told me if he is going to bounce back from this, he needs to eat.

I know from when I did all the animal rescues, this one vet told me it’s good to feed a pregnant cat kitten food.  Since it’s full of so many nutrients, it helps their body during the pregnancy.  I bought him some cheap kitten food that I know he would be more attracted to.  At this point, I want him to eat and try to build up his body.  If someone has feedback that I am doing the wrong thing, please tell.

So at this point, Oliver isn’t really doing much but lying on the couch.  He is eating the majority of the time I put food in front of him.  I feel stressed out, and I am not sure if he is going to get past this.  I am not going to give up on him at this point.  We have to just make it until Saturday his next vet appointment.

One of the difficult things about this is my sister questioning me repeatedly asking if I am doing the right thing keeping him alive.  I told her I had a talk with the vet about this.  I asked him to tell me at some point if I am being selfish keeping him around.  I mean he was up to almost two cans a day of food and energy through the roof.  I am just so sad, and her questioning everything I am doing is making it worse.

I don’t want to let him go.  The vet told me that he is not in any type of pain.  That is my biggest concern.  I would never make him continue a life in pain and suffering.  Am I making the right decision?  Am I being selfish?  I am going to try and feed him more and then lay down.

Does anyone know how long it takes for a cat to rebuild their red blood cells?

Cat Chemotherapy Side Effects

24 Jun

Oliver has been on such an up until recently.  Last Thursday he decided he did not want to eat anymore.  I could not get him to look at any food.  I tried everything.  I did not force anything on him because he was due for his next chemotherapy session the following day.  I dropped him off at the vet’s office before work, and picked him up during my lunch hour.

The ride home was quiet.  He did not cry or do anything.  He still was not feeling well, but I was hoping by the next morning he would be back to his happy self again.  By Tuesday night, he took a real downward spiral.  I could not get him to eat or give him the prednisone.  He did not want to be near anyone.

I honestly thought this was it.  I called the vet and went in that night.  We were there until about 9:30pm.  The vet went through his blood work, and said it is showing great.  He did a physical exam and checked his gums.  He said we could give him a vitamin and prednisone injection to make him feel better.  We also ended up force-feeding him some food.

I took Oliver home, and he stayed in his carrier most the night.  At some point, he came out and threw up the food we gave him at the doctor’s office.  That following night Oliver was very lethargic and not eating much.  I had to hand feed him, and he would take a few bites.  I also switched treats where I was hiding the pills to him. Since I started using another soft treat with the pills, he is taking his meds again.  I slipped in there some mirtazapine to stimulate his appetite.  He still at this point did not have much of an appetite.  I brought out Lucy’s food again to see if he would eat this.  He ate a small amount of it.  I felt better to see him eat something.

As of last night and this morning, his appetite seems to be increasing again.  Something has been weird though.  I think something is happening with his hind legs.  They seem to be weak, and he seems to be off-balance some.  I have been looking online to see what this could be.

The only thing that I have come up with is diabetes.  That is not it though.  All the blood work and exams would have shown this by now.  One thing I saw was a lack of potassium could cause this.  That would make sense because he barely ate anything for days.

This morning he was walking around some.  More than he has for days now.  I hope when I get home in the next hour is back to his normal happy-self.  Now the weekend is here, I can monitor and make sure he is eating a lot.  Ugh, I want to go home now. I miss him so much.

Feline Chemotherapy Update

12 Jun

Since we had the last chemotherapy session, he’s being doing amazing. I am very glad about this. I didn’t specify that the Vet and I decided not to take him off. His cancer has not come back, so we are still fighting it strong. The only change this week is that his hair does seem to feel a little thinner, and his balance seems to be off a little. His whiskers have not fallen out–one of the common side effects. That would be the only reason his balance might be a unsteady. I mean it’s not like he is walking into walls or anything. Maybe I am just over reacting. I tend to do that a lot with him.

This week and weekend his energy has been amazing. He tries to eat everything I am eating. When he sees a bag of chips, he goes crazy. He took his paws trying to grab it. It was adorable.

I bought a new camera, and now I can post pictures of him. I’ll get some videos too.

 

Cat Chemotherapy June 2011

9 Jun

I am starting to lose track of the weeks that Oliver has been on chemotherapy. My last post I wrote about possibly taking Oliver off chemo because it may have not been working. We got the blood work back, and his blood is showing just fine. Like I had said before we have our ups and downs. That moment was down. Since his last chemo session, he’s been doing great. I get so stressed out because it’s such an unknown situation. You just never know how he is feeling everyday. His energy at the moment is great. Lately, he has not wanted to eat his dry food much. I’ve been stuffing him with wet food. It looks like he gained some weight this week too. I am happy about that. His weight is one of my biggest concerns. He’s still very skinny. At this moment, I am not going to complain about anything. He’s feeling great and eating. That is the only thing that matters.

I would post more pictures, but I left my camera charger in GA a few weeks ago. Once I am able to take some pics and post videos, I’ll have them up to show how my beautiful baby boy looks now.

Cat Chemotherapy – Session 11

31 May

I haven’t written much about Oliver’s update because he’s been doing great. There just hasn’t been much to say until now.

A few days ago, my sister picked up Oliver and put him back down. We noticed his breathing was very rapid. Before starting the chemo, he was breathing similar to this. It was from the fluids in his lungs due to the tumor. I called the vet and told him about Oliver’s breathing. We were due for the next session the following day. He told me that he would check him out when I dropped him off in the morning. The vet also said how great it is that I notice these things. It really helps because we are able to catch anything immediately.

Okay so now it’s early Friday, and I drop Oliver off. I said my goodbyes and headed to work. After work, I go to pick him up. They had me in one of the examination rooms, and brought Oliver in there. I was waiting for the vet to come in. Oliver was in his cage purring. My little boy was so happy I was there. The vet came in, and I was like he’s purring. The vet told me that he purrs every time he or the techs handle him. Now onto the more serious talk, he told me the fluids in his lungs came back. Also, that he recommends Oliver start weekly sessions again.

My biggest questions to the vet were, “Did spreading the sessions two weeks apart allowed the cancer to come back?” “What will happen in three months when we finish the chemo?” “Does this mean he won’t stay in remission?”
He wasn’t sure how to answer the questions. He said the first step is to get the blood work back. He did a more thorough blood test where he had to send it out. He wants to make sure there is nothing else going on that he doesn’t know about. Then the vet told me he’s going to speak with a specialist about my questions because they are good questions that need to be answered.

The vet and I talked about taking Oliver off the chemo because if the cancer is coming back while on the sessions, I am not going to make him go through this. We said that when the blood work comes back we are going to talk about the next step.

That day, Oliver had the fluids drained, another session of the chemo and a few vitamin injections. The vitamin injections were because I said my concern with him not gaining weight. He said the vitamins will help with digesting the food differently. I am not sure exactly what he said, but he said it will help.

Now Saturday comes, and Oliver spent most the day on the chair in my sister’s room. He didn’t really want to be around anyone. I was really upset. I cried so much because I was like this is it. He’s sick again, and the chemo isn’t working. Towards the end of the night, he started to come back out and walk around.

Sunday morning came, and Oliver had so much energy. He started running around the apartment. All he wanted to do was play. The same thing continued on Monday and through today. I started feeding him extra wet food. He begs for more food every a couple hours. I don’t think he wants to eat his dry food as much now. I am okay with this as long as his appetite stays up. I am going to fatten him up anyway I can.

Now that Oliver is feeling a million times better, I can’t pull him off the chemo. I am going to continue. This was just another bump in the road. I still haven’t heard back from the vet about the blood work. Either it wasn’t that serious and he is leaving me to call back last or I don’t know. I just hope it’s nothing major. I can’t stand anymore heart aches.

A Change of Pace

21 May

I decided to head in a different direction for this blog tonight.  I’ll start with touching up on Oliver’s status.  His chemo has been going amazing.  He is a healthy cat with an unlimited amount of energy.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.

So about me today..

This morning I went to FAU to meet with an adviser.  I signed and turned in my graduation application.  It’s official!  August 9th is my big day to walk the stage! I can’t even explain what an amazing mood I was in (and still am).  About a week ago my sister moved in with me.  She started taking over my laptop.  I decided to buy a new one as a graduation present to myself.  I came home with my new laptop, and its so much faster than my old one.  I also haven’t loaded everything in here yet.

Tonight, I was reading an article from Mashable about online resumes.  Part of the article was about Flavors.me.  It talked about this girl that made a profile, and a company was following her streams for a few weeks.  They liked what they saw, then they contacted and hired her.  I thought it was great.  I decided to make a profile, and I tweeted the girl that was written about in the article.  I told her that I was inspired and made a profile.  She tweeted me back.  I first made my profile, and I included my whole resume.  Then I deleted the resume, and just kept it simple (as recommended from the girl).  Plus, I am not looking for a new job or anything.  I found this amazing job on Craigslist doing exactly what I want, and what I went to school for.  I just figured creating more social media profiles will allow me to network with more people within the industry.

Well, that was my day.  Not too exciting, but certainly a good day.

Cat Chemotherapy – Week Nine

24 Apr

Its just a little over 9 weeks that Oliver has been on kitty chemo.  He is now going every two weeks.  His energy is absolutely amazing.  He is playing with everything.  I have not seen this type of energy from him since probably around January time.  I couldn’t be happier with the results so far.

To sum up what has happened since I last wrote.  He had a few blood tests, and his blood is now of a healthy cat.  The mass in his stomach is completely gone.   On the 7th session, he did show his white count a little high.  We put him on antibiotics, and everything went back to normal by his next week session.  The vet said session 8 was a very strong dose.  He was concerned how Oliver would handle it, and if he may get a stomach ache.  We did the session on a Friday, and by Monday, he had a little stomach ache.  I gave him some of the Liquapect (kitty pepto), and he was fine by the end of the day.  The vet said with the dose he received on his 8th session, his whiskers could possibly come out.  Well, he never lost his whiskers (keeping fingers crossed), but his fur texture did change some.  It feels maybe a little thinner and lighter.  He isn’t balding or anything by any means.  Even the hair on his stomach, that was shaved from the ultra sound, is starting to get fuzzy now.

This coming Friday will be his 9th session.  I am not sure if he will go back in two weeks or three weeks after this.  I’ll keep you updated though.  It’s getting late.  Time for me to sleep, and Oliver to wrestle his brother.  Good night :-)

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