For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I Met a Handsome Man Today

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. 

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. 

~Khalil Gibran

As I headed out into the cold, damp morning for a run,  I just wanted
to hurry up and get it over with.   I usually like to run in the sunshine
or at the end of the day when I can take in the beauty of the sunset.
But there was no hope for sun today.  I just wanted to finish and
go home for a hot shower.

As I rounded a corner,  I saw an animal crossing the street up ahead.
I couldn't tell at first if it was a large cat or a small dog, but as I neared
it became clearer.  Definitely a cat.

It walked up a driveway and sat next to a tree.  Something about the
way it looked at me told me it was friendly.  So I stopped running and
bent down.  I softly called to him and almost immediately he began
walking toward me, unafraid.

Meowing and purring, he began rubbing against my knee, thoroughly 
enjoying the attention.  He was remarkably handsome and sweet!

At one point, as I was fiddling with my iPhone to take a picture,  he
seemed to get impatient because I had stopped petting him and he 
hopped on my back and put his paws on my head!  But I wasn't 
camera-ready yet!

After a few minutes,  I said goodbye and started walking away.  
He meowed and started following me!

I couldn't resist another snuggle and this time I picked him up.

I'm sure he is a well-loved member of some lucky family!

When we finally parted ways and I continued on my run,  
I felt much lighter on my feet and in my heart.  
Even without the sun, 
 the day seemed much brighter.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I'm Radioactive, Radioactive...

Our oldest pet, 13 year Momo, has had quite a month! 

It all began in early October when she went to the vet for her annual checkup. We had noticed lately that we could easily feel her spine and collarbone when we petted her, but she was eating well and didn't act or look sick. So when she weighed in at only 9 lbs (she was 12.5 lbs 3 years ago), our vet, Dr. Prichard at Ellington Center Animal Clinic, told me he suspected she had feline hyperthyroidism.

A blood test confirmed his suspicions and we were given two options for treatment:

     1)  We could treat her with oral medication.  It would not cure her disease 
          and would need to be given daily for the rest of her life.  The medication has
          a high risk of side-effects, including harm to other bodily organs. The cost of
          medication and blood tests to monitor her condition could cost $800 per year. 

     2)  Treat her with Radioactive Iodine.  This is a one-time treatment which is a cure.
          The cost of treatment is $1500.  There are no side-effects.

After researching the disease and treatment methods,  it was clear that the only treatment that made sense was the Radioactive Iodine.  While it was more expensive up front, it would be cheaper in the long run.  More importantly, it was a cure with no side effects. 

On November 1,  I drove Momo to Pieper Memorial Veterinary Center in Middletown, CT which has a Radiocat facility on its premises.

Momo joined 4 other cats who would also be receiving a Radioactive Iodine injection that day.  They would all be staying in a room in the basement of the clinic for four days until the level of radiation in their bodies reached an acceptable level.  Radiation is expelled through eating and drinking, peeing and pooping.

It was hard to leave Momo for so long.  She was very scared.
I brought along her favorite food and cans of Bumble Bee tuna!

This would be her caretaker during her stay.  He was a very nice man
who has 9 cats of his own, and promised to call me every day to let
me know how Momo was doing.

The Radioactive Iodine is absorbed quickly into the cat's bloodstream and the diseased thyroid tissue. Once in the thyroid, it destroys the overactive portions of the thyroid gland.
No anesthesia is required.  It does not destroy healthy tissue.  It does not damage other
tissues or organs.  Thyroid function returns to normal within one month.

When I picked up Momo 4 days later,  she was still somewhat radioactive.
I was given instructions on how to safely care for her over the next 2 weeks 
as she continued to emit radiation.

                 1).  People could only be within 3 feet of her for 20 minutes/day.
                      She could not sleep with us on the bed.  We needed to wash
                      our hands after touching her or any of her bodily fluids.

                 2)  She was supposed to be kept inside and we were instructed 
                      use flushable cat litter for two weeks.  

This seems pretty simple in theory, but not so simple in reality.

Momo's main mission in life is to sit on my lap and get petted.  I couldn't sit on the couch and watch TV at night since she would see it as an invitation to snuggle.  I needed to watch TV from a stool in the kitchen!

Perhaps more troublesome was the change in cat litter.  She boycotted using the litter box because of the strange litter.  After ruining 2 dog beds to radioactive cat urine,
we let her outside to go to the bathroom.  We weren't supposed to do this, but had no choice.

It has been one month since her treatment.  At a follow-up vet visit today,  Momo is now back to a healthy weight.  She has gained 1.1 lbs!

And the nodule on her thyroid is gone.

Here are some pictures of this beautiful girl from this past month:

 Momo waits patiently for some turkey on Thanksgiving.

 Here she is cleaning up after eating her breakfast.

 She spends much of her day on her blanket on the couch.

 Momo enjoys looking out the window.

 When she's cold, she sleeps next to the baseboard heater.

 In the evening,  she snuggles with me on the couch.

If left untreated,  hyperthyroidism would most likely have taken Momo's life with 6 months to a year.  We feel very fortunate to have a healthy, happy cat after a pretty simple treatment.
We hope to have many more years with Momo!