Thursday, April 24, 2008

Updates on "Sweet Pea" and "Punky"

Well, one more radiation treatment after today for "Sweet Pea." Poor little thing...she's not very happy this week. Tomorrow will be treatment #19, her final one. Her skin is getting quite sore, and she's been giving them a hard time this week. The oncologist started her on prednisone last week and pain medication every 8 hours this week. The pain med has lessened her pain considerably, as she has calmed down quite a bit, so she has been behaving much better the last couple of days. So with the 2 meds and then the flushing of her IV catheter every 6 hours, my daughter has had her hands full. Plus, "Sweet Pea" has been hiding under a bed every morning as she knows she will be placed in her carrier and has to go back to "that place." Our hearts just ache for her! Then in a week or so, they will do another CT scan on her to see if the radiation has helped her. My son called from Florida and said "Punky's" tumor in her mouth is still shrinking! So the treatments have certainly helped her, at least temporarily. This has been a very stressing 4 weeks, not just for the kitties but also for all of us. Tomorrow we meet with the oncologist and are anxious to see what she has to say! These little girls hold a special place in our hearts, and it has been a very emotional time for us all. If only they knew that we are trying to help them....

Monday, April 21, 2008


Today is my birthday (age ??), but my daughter had a birthday get-together for me yesterday. It was a fun day although my son was missing, as he had to go back to Florida this past week. He was here and spent the day with me on Wednesday, though.
My daughter fixed one of my favorite meals...meatloaf and au gratin potatoes, plus all the extras! It was so-ooo good!!! The cake was chocolate with whipped icing and just melted in our mouths! The ice cream was pretty tasty, too! As always, I enjoyed my day yesterday and also today! Seems like yesterday that I was just 16 and anxious to get my driver's license! Where have the years gone? LOL

Friday, April 18, 2008

Punky has returned home

Well, Punky is back home with her "Pops" now! She was one happy little girl when she saw him Wednesday, after being here with me for 16 days. She completed her radiation treatments and had good results! The tumor in her mouth and jaw has shrunk considerably! She seems to be happy and has a good appetite, too. This may have bought her a little more time, at least that is what we are hoping for.

She and I finally bonded again. Normally, she doesn't like me as I had always been the one who cleaned and scraped her teeth, but I do believe that she knew I was trying to help her this time. You will notice in this kitten photo of her that her left eye was sore, as she was one sick little kitty when we got her from our local shelter almost 17 years ago.

She is quite the seasoned little traveler and loves to ride in the car. She will be heading back to Florida later this afternoon where she is Vice President of my son's company. The business would fold without her help! LOL I just hope she knows how much her Grammy loves her.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nothing could be finer than a day in Carolina....

My daughter was here yesterday morning, and this is what she saw clinging to a shrub by my front porch. The rain the day before must have brought the little lizards to life! You know it's warm weather in the South when these little guys appear. They are harmless, but I certainly wouldn't want one to run up my pant leg! They are just so fast, but this little fella just sat there, watching us observe him. There is nothing as beautiful as nature and nature's creatures.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Big Dog

I couldn't believe my eyes last Monday when this little lady walked in with this huge dog! This is the biggest dog I have seen at Upstate Veterinary Specialists. What a charmer! He is just 6 years old and suffering from colon cancer. Such a wonderful dog! The lady seemed sad, as is everyone I have met there. This was Kyle's first trip there. He was just so-oooo soft and cuddly feeling! He was white as driven snow and just as clean, too! The gentleman in the background was waiting for his dog to come out of treatment. I have certainly met some wonderful people in that waiting room, all with sad stories of their own beloved pets.
What a big boy! Looks more like a polar bear than a dog! I just had to share these pics. Forgive me for so many posts about animals, but I have been involved in animal rescue for close to 8 years now. I have saved a lot of them from certain death at the shelter, as most all of them were ferals and would have been put down immediately. My ex-husband and I worked the Cat Show at our auditorium downtown one year, and got several cats adopted out. There were so many gorgeous cats from all over the U.S. there for judging, and there we were with the little shelter kitties, beautiful in our eyes, who so desperately needed homes. We got them all adopted and then were sending people to our shelter to adopt. It really warms my heart to find a good home for an unwanted animal. At times, I wish I lived on a farm where I could have as many as I wanted!
When we were kids growing up, we could keep whatever we brought home, so we had quite a menagerie of pets, from chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, pigs, cats, dogs, and even a pony over the years. My dad was an animal lover, as was my grandmother, and guess I have passed it on now to my own children. And I am glad that I have!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

1 Week Down, 3 To Go

Well, one week down! I am so glad that the catheters are out for the weekend! Poor little "Sweet Pea" doesn't have to wear the collar until Monday now. She loosened her catheter the very first night as we had a smaller (and more comfortable) collar on her, and she got to her catheter! These photos were taken in the the exam room yesterday. She and "Punky" have been absolute little troopers through it all. I would love to get some better photos of "Punky," but I would just upset her. It's bad enough upsetting her when she has to receive her medicine every 8 hours and then feeding her and cleaning her litterbox, etc. She would rather I just stay away from her. She is missing her Pops, but he will be up to see her middle of next week and maybe take her home with him for a few days! She doesn't have to be back to the hospital for a check-up until the following Monday. Below is a photo of "Sweet Pea" in her outfit!

Below is the rear view of "Sweet Pea." Is this not pitiful? Bless her little heart. But the oncologist said yesterday that they have an excellent chance of getting all of her cancer and curing her. So we have to keep trudging forward with the treatments! Just 15 more to go for her and only 1 more for "Punky." They can only do so many on the delicate area of "Punky's" face, and they recommended just 5.

Below is "Sweet Pea's" little back with the radiation markings drawn on it. This entire area will become scaly, then sunburned, and then about raw, I was told. This won't happen until weeks 3 and 4 of the treatments. Eventually, it will scab over and heal, but it will be a long process. So you can see the need for the little shirts she is wearing. Besides, she likes to lick her incision area yet, the lower part where she can get to it.

This is what greeted me the other day when I brought "Sweet Pea" back to her home. My daughter had hand washed her little shirts and was afraid they would shrink in the dryer, so she hung them up to dry. It caught me so off guard that I had to laugh when I saw them.

I met a woman at the animal hospital yesterday morning whose dog has cancer of the sinus cavity and was receiving radiation treatments. She was a beautiful dog, a fluffy corkie. This lady was just heartbroken. I have met such nice people there. You know me, I like to talk to everbody! I have heard some sad stories. It all goes with being a pet owner, sooner or later. After all those fun-filled kitten/puppy days, it eventually does comes to a sad end. After I had one of my cats put to sleep several years ago, I received a card in the mail from my vet. In it, he had written: "You have given Duffy one last gift....his release from suffering." His words have stuck in my mind every time I have had to have another pet put to sleep. That made me see euthanasia in a totally different light. When it gets near the end, we have to do what's best for our beloved little friends, not ourselves.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Radiation Day 3

Well, Day 3 is underway! The radiation was started on Tuesday for both cats. We had to leave them there all day that first day, as we were told it would be an all day thing, getting them set up and all that. It wasn't long after I got home that they called to tell me that "Sweet Pea" had developed a heart murmur just since the day before, and they needed permission to do an EKG on her before putting her under anesthesia. So it was done (another $360!!), things looked okay, so they started her first treatment that day. I was told that the heart murmur possibly was caused by the anesthesia she was given on Monday for her second CT scan. Also, the radiation, I was told, would be $6,100 instead of the original quote of $6,000. Plus, there will be "incidental" charges in addition to the actual radiation cost. Below is a photo of my son's cat, "Punky," who is receiving radiation for a jawbone tumor. Her precious little face is all marked up with a blue marker for the treatments. She is so content in her little bed, which is like a security blanket to her. She just loves her little bed! But, as you can see, she's not too happy with me invading her privacy to snap this photo. (She was growling at me, so I was shaking when I took it!) But in time, she may come around like she has in the past, especially when I feed her some cooked chicken or ham. For a 17-year old cat, she looks really good. She has the longest hair....we measured a hair from her tail one time, and it was actually 8 inches long! She really is a very beautiful cat, when she's not around me. If I have her with me very long, I think she will adjust to me as she has in the past. Her next step after radiation is chemo, which will be done intravenously every 2 weeks. They usually give them a resting time of 1-2 weeks after radiation before starting the chemo. They know now what they're in for every morning, as both of them hovered down in their carriers this morning when we got in the exam room. Just pitiful! They don't know we're trying to help them. It is so hard to put them through this every day....but we have to keep our hopes up that this will put their cancers in remission. The radiation is supposed to stop "Punky's" tumor from growing and also stop any pain she may be having. She is on pain medication every 8 hours, just in case she is hurting, and we were told that she must be feeling some discomfort from the tumor. Now that's another story getting that medication in her! I have to cover my arm and hand with a heavy towel to even get close to her. Then I hold her by the scruff of the neck to keep her from biting me, and then I can squirt the medicine into the back of her mouth. (I get a little rush of adrenaline every time!) Hope to post her darling kitten photo next time. She was pitiful back then, too, with an infected eye when we got her from our local shelter, but she was a cute little kitty! She's been in our family almost 17 years now, and it's so hard not to try anything that could possibly help her and "Sweet Pea." We are praying for 2 miracles......

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kitty Updates

Well, today, Monday, was to have been Sweet Pea's first radiation treatment, didn't happen. The radiologist from NC State University decided that the area originally determined to be treated was too large, which is actually a good thing, meaning that she doesn't have tendrils spreading out as far as they thought! So another CT scan was done today and radiation will start tomorrow, Tuesday. She is so pitiful....they shaved more fur off her back and also her belly. She had her little lime green shirt on and a cloth collar to keep her from tearing out her IV catheter in her back leg. So at 10pm I had to go to my daughter's home to flush her IV line and then again in the morning before we head to Greenville with her. This will be a daily thing from now on for the next 4 weeks. On Fridays, the catheter will be removed and a new one inserted on Mondays, but it will have to be flushed with heparinated saline every 6-8 hours to keep it from clotting off.

Also, my son's father brought his cat, Punky, up from Columbia to me as she is starting her radiation tomorrow, also. She has osteosarcoma, cancer of the jawbone. The radiation, we were told, would stop the tumor from growing and relieve any pain or discomfort she may have. Hers will be a different type of radiation treatment and will only consist of 5 treatments followed by chemotherapy. She, too, is pitiful. I don't know how I will ever be able to flush her line or give her the pain medicine, as she literally hates me. I have always been the one to clean and scrape her teeth all these 17 years of her life. I bought the dental tools through my vet years ago, and he taught me how to scrape the tartar off a cat's teeth and under the gumline. So Punky has never cared much for me, which really makes me feel bad. She will bite me! So the next few weeks are going to be busy for us with these precious little creatures that we love so much! She loves only one person, and that is my son. I have her secluded in my guest bathroom so she wouldn't be so upset with all my cats, as they would all have to gather around and check her out. She is scared enough as it is being here without her daddy. Poor, poor little animals. A lady friend of mine told me one day that animals and old people are at the mercy of others. How true!

Well, 4 A.M. rolls around pretty fast, and it is now 1:46 A.M. I hope to have some new photos of both kitties to post within the next couple of days.