Kodie’s Day

Today, Kodie goes to surgery. It is going to be a long and difficult surgery both for her and the vets. She is in her cage right now and clearly unhappy with this break in her routine. She is used to playing with the cats about this time of morning and saying good morning to us. She hasn’t eaten since early yesterday and has been in the cage most of the time. I couldn’t take a chance that she would dive into a tray of cat food if I let her out. She will stay overnight and God willing, we can pick her up tomorrow afternoon.

It’s hot here and I am not talking the sun

Both Panic and Shimmer are in heat. Normally, this wouldn’t happen here. I would have spayed these two long before they entered their first estrus. But with the “virus of undetermined origin” and the flare-ups of the calicivirus in the kittens, I couldn’t keep the spay appointments that were made.

The girls are up in seclusion and not very happy about it. The boys are lined up at the door, prompted by the “come hither” scent both girls are producing. Even though there isn’t a tomcat in my bunch, there is still a potential for the girls to be injured during a faux mating process. I have already pulled off Oliver, Chappy, and Charlie from Shimmer several times.

I’ll go later and get some Feliway replacements and start burning those to tone down the hormone levels here.

Mike is going to see the pulmonologist today. Maybe we will finally find out why he has been coughing and wheezing over three years now? I sure hope so. He is making noises like he doesn’t want to do any kind of treatment for this cancer. I know him well enough to understand he’s scared, as well as disgusted with the lack of caring and concern shown by the medical community here. I told him last night, I will support any decision he makes even if I don’t understand it or agree with it. I promised myself to him almost 21 years ago (Weds is our anniversary) and in the promise, I said “for better or for worse.” I meant those vows, come what may.

Kodie’s surgery is in a few days. I took her in to get it drained and it filled up almost immediately. Poor girl. I know it is bothering her, she has nightmares now (never used to before) and she is constantly shaking her head and pawing at her neck. She will have to stay overnight at the vets, and I know she is going to think we have abandoned her. They suspect a second gland might also be ruptured, but will wait until she is out before exploring to see if that is the case.

Here she is after the draining appointment.

The flip-side

It is amazing to me how the word “cancer” possesses the ability to completely flip your world around. Especially, when it applies to someone you truly cherish. Things that used to matter to me now fall by the wayside. People, I used to take for granted, now come front and center as I try to let them know that they do matter. Old friends are reconnected with and it was a joy to talk to Marci who long ago used to be my best friend and still is, although I let the friendship become second-place as Life moved me forward. We talked the other day and it was as if time never came between us. We were back in her room, sitting on her bed and sharing about her first crush (Joe) who is now her husband of 32 years. But it was as if we had never drifted apart. The emails then flew between us and oh the memories they brought up on their way.

I don’t want any day to pass without letting Mike know, he is the best thing to ever happen to me. Hugs and kisses take priority over cleaning the house, and the cats too, seem to know that something is off kilter. They gather at our side at night, to give us their version of unconditional love. He is feeling quite vulnerable right now, overwhelmed by the mass of information now flooding our mailbox. He still won’t talk about how he is feeling. He is still trying to sort things out in his head-processing if you will.

Catching up

We had a late appointment with the urologist last night. I will say that I like this doctor. He appears to really care about all of Mike’s health issues and isn’t just focused on one aspect right now. He is going to refer Mike to a pulmonologist next week to try and pin down why Mike is wheezing and coughing (which has been going on for two years now.)

On the cancer front- it is a good news, bad news type of scenario. They use a Gleason Scale to rate prostate cancer. 1 being a docile cancer 5 being aggressive. Mike is a 4. Non-treatment isn’t an option because apparently when prostate cancer spreads it goes one place to the bone.

Surgery isn’t an option either. The cancer cells are clustered in one area and that sits low. It would be quite invasive to have surgery according to the doctor, doing more damage than good.

Freezing is out as is what they call seeding. In freezing they go in and shoot a freezing liquid on the cells causing them to wither and die. But, the side effects to this treatment aren’t good, therefore not the best option.

In seeding, they implant these radioactive pellets in the gland. But again, there are post-complication problems that come up that will only be corrected by surgery. The seeds stay in the gland forever and therefore more complications can happen at a later date.

Looks like the only option is radiation. 5 days a week for 8 weeks. The drive is the biggest factor. The only place that can do this therapy is over an hour from our home. That’s a lot of driving for him and a lot of gas consumption. he can take my car which will use less gas, but he figured out it will also put over 2,300 miles on my car in a very short time frame.

On the Kodie front- we received an unpleasant surprise last night. The estimate for this surgery (which I figured would be about $300.00) was way over my estimation. Because it is such an unusual surgery, the cost right now (without any complications figured is $580.00!) I hate to be stuck on costs right now, but this is really going to hurt us during a time when we can’t actually afford it. I’m so bummed and I will go in today and talk to the office manager and see what I can arrange. We have been told without this surgery, bad things will happen to Kodie over time. We do not want that at all.

I am cat thankful today

The “C” word is a scary word no matter how it is used, and no matter who it is used on. Mike is in shut-down mode right now. Not that I blame him. I remember years back when Don and I were newly married. I had just undergone a routine doctor exam only to be called later at home and a doctor telling me that there were abnormal cells found on the slide. I went back immediately, and what followed was a total nightmare of the word cancer being bandied about like a tennis ball during an intense game.
The end result for me was a total hysterectomy and the end to my attempts to being a natural mom. I remember calling my mother and crying with her about the whole experience and feeling like a leper as all my friends were married and having wonderfully healthy babies.

So for Mike, his shut-down and inability to talk it over with me, I do understand. But it has left me with very little resources to talk this over with someone. Enter the kitties, who sensing the change in the air, the tension and the worry; they have been migrating over to our laps. Panic, in her special way has already adopted Mike as her favorite and last night she ran into the living room, leaped up on his chest and grabbed his beard while giving him a kitty hug.

Matuse, our alpha has been making a royal pest of himself. He seeks me out almost constantly, and when he isn’t snuggled by my side, or lying on my lap, I find him watching me from his vantage points in the room. It is as if he is saying “Mom? Are you okay?”

I know that I don’t have children of my own, although my step kids are wonderful and I love them all. My step-grandchildren are equally delightful. I am not delusional enough to believe my cats are my children. I don’t dress them up in clothes, push them in strollers and I really try not to name them people names. But they are still endowed with a special ability of understanding when something is off-kilter here. Their purrs are comfort; the soft paws on my face chasing tears are gentle. I am very blessed to have all of them in my life and I just hope they feel equally blessed. There are times when I find myself wishing I didn’t have so many, but today isn’t that day. I need all the purrs I can get.

Kodie is still a changed dog. She goes for her surgeries next week. Last night, Mike asked her to lie down and she was more intent on being next to him instead. He pointed his finger at his cage, changed the tone in his voice and told her “Lie down!” She actually cowered and whimpered, as if she were expecting him to stomp her! Seeing her like that broke my heart and last night I entertained fantasies of visiting that “perfect” home with a baseball bat and cheerfully smashing every Jesus statue in the house! I really want to break some kneecaps, but would settle for the smashing of religious figures. Some people have religion, others have relationships with God. Some people hide behind the rhetoric, while beating their children behind closed doors.

Really, the only things I want to beat right now are the nasty cancer cells growing inside my husband.

Answers at last!

We just learned that Mike does have health issues. The symptoms that have been flaring up in the last three years weren’t “phantom pains” or caused by “stress.” We just learned that Mike has prostate cancer. :( Took the doctors long enough to find out what was causing his body to go haywire. We go in tomorrow to find out his options.

Pins and Needles

We are still waiting for the results of Mike’s biopsies. I guess we will have to wait an extra day because tomorrow is President’s Day and probably the lab is closed. Mike spends the majority of the day just sleeping on the couch in a sitting position. If he lies down, he finds he can’t breathe right and starts wheezing like a 90 year old smoker. It is all very frustrating. We have been chasing what is wrong with his health now for two years. I just hope the biopsy report is favorable. I really don’t know what we are going to do if it isn’t.

I was talking to a dear friend today and she was saying God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle, and what doesn’t kill us just makes us stronger. Ok God, you have me on notice. I don’t want to get any stronger!

It was a gorgeous day today. Nice to see the sun even if it was a tad cold. I walked Kodie back to the creek and it was sad to see her try to run but she isn’t able to manage it. The vet thinks her hip might be out of alignment, but we won’t know for sure until she goes in for surgery.

The good news is I have new assignments on my desk to tackle. That should help keep my mind busy.

Vet Visit

Overnight, Kodie’s left lymph node began to swell. She appears to have no problem swallowing, or drinking or eating. She is now favoring her other leg so I am waiting for the vet to open so I can take her in…sigh…

Poor Kodie, we thought we were improving her life, not putting her into a bad place.

11:40 a.m.-Kodie has soft tissue damage to her rear leg, her front leg and her neck. She has to have surgery, she has an injury to her salivary gland and the fluid will eventually poison her system. They have to remove the gland. :( I am so angry right now, I can’t even see straight. We can’t afford surgery right now, but there is no other option.

Kodie’s ordeal

Kodiak is back with us and it is clear that something happened to her in the “perfect” home we thought we had found. Either she was beaten or something, but she isn’t the same dog we dropped off a few days ago.

The story we got is that one evening the kids were sitting with her hugging her and messing with her paws. She barked once (or so we would told) We have never heard her bark in the 4 months she has been with us. They kept messing with her paws and she snapped at the little one. She bit her but didn’t tear the skin (thank God) or they probably would have rushed over to have her put to sleep!

Mike went to pick her up and she is very subdued, very quiet, her spirit is not broken but certainly bent. :( I had her on the floor this evening and was rubbing her tummy and messing with her paws (just to see her reaction) she yelped, she did not bark. I put her on the down stay and went and got the flashlight and did some pad exploring. She had a thorn stuck in the middle of her footpad. I took it out and she seems fine now.

Regardless, we are not going to find her another home. She has one, and at this one- she is safe-

Dobby

I think this cat has Siamese somewhere in his blood. He is an almost non-stop talker. Mike had him on his lap for a little while petting him. When he put Dobby down, Dobby started protesting. At first it was just small protests, but the more Mike ignored him, the louder Dobby became. Then he started moaning, a really strange meow almost like a tomcat mating ritual meow. I come flying up the stairs to see who is torturing the cats and Dobby is staring at Mike intently (while Mike is trying to finish our taxes) and moaning.

When Dobby sees me, he runs over to greet me. I get headbumped, so I pick him up and he is quiet. I put him down, and he cries. He follows me around the room crying. What a brat! LOL He reminds me of how Kahuna used to be when we didn’t give him enough attention. Time for some tough love for Dobby I think.