More Good Days, Please

Back in October, I noticed Lexington looking a little less brawny, and he didn’t seem his usual lively self.  He was getting older and was in the beginning stage of renal failure, but I sensed something else was brewing and took him to the vet.  

Blood work indicated inflammatory issues, and an ultrasound revealed a mass in his liver.  My vet strongly suspected cancer.  Getting a tissue biopsy would provide a definitive diagnosis, but would be too risky between Lexington’s weakened condition and age—about 16 years. Treatment options were limited.  Steroids would reduce inflammation, but would cause serious, potentially fatal complications. I suggested cannabidiol “CBD” derived from the cannabis herb, known for its anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, pain killing, and appetite stimulant properties.  My vet was not legally permitted to prescribe CBD, but he concurred with my suggested modality, asking to see Lexington for a follow-up visit in two months or sooner if his condition worsened.

I purchase at Coast Pet Supply and can be used on cats as well as dogs.

Within hours of giving Lexington CBD oil, his appetite came back, along with his sweet and playful personality.  The two-month visit resulted in no changes—he was maintaining.  And I maintained hope that what ailed him was something benign.

By mid-May, Lex’s appetite started to wane and he looked even thinner.  He also had a hard time transitioning from standing to reclining. I took him back the vet.  This time the diagnosis was definitive.  A cancerous tumor had developed off of his liver. My vet advised that Lex had a few weeks to a couple of months to live, suspecting the cancer was aggressive. What a blow to my heart.  I hated that my sweet Lexington was suffering. Besides that, he was old, but without this malignancy, Lexington would have been able to advance into his golden years.  Instead, he was facing palliative care. 

When we got home from the vet’s office, I gave Lexington a higher dose of CBD hoping to alleviate the increased discomfort he was experiencing.  His appetite returned.  Over the next few days, I observed that he still gingerly lowered himself to a reclining position, but his walk was more purposeful.  He ventured off the bed and into the living room, and managed to hoist himself onto the sofa.  He was feeling better.  I don’t know how long the CBD will keep him going, but it’s clearly helping.

I had planned on attending a writer’s retreat in Palm Springs, which was scheduled three weeks from the day I learned about the tumor.  I called the facilitator of the retreat to tell her I would not be able to attend. Rather, I took that week off from work and lavished Lexington with extra love.  He got lots of “brushies” (he loves to be brushed), lots of porch time, and lots of time by my side while I wrote, read, listened to podcasts and sipped tea.

It’s been about a month since the diagnosis. Lexington and I will be on a roller coaster ride with the good days and the bad days that will lead to the last day.  But for now, Lexington is doing pretty good.  He just gobbled down his favorite dinner, baked chicken. 

Soon he’ll be sleeping next to me, and I’ll pet him as I fall asleep, and pray that tomorrow he will have another good day.

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Memories on Memorial Day Weekend

Daylight I must wait for the sunrise/I must think of a new life/And I mustn’t give in/
When the dawn comes/Tonight will be a memory too/And a new day will begin…”

Lyrics from “Memory” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the musical Cats

I was just about to embellish my picket fence entry gate with American flags in honor of Memorial Day when the rain started coming down.  I’d thought the rainy weather forecast for today was off since by 5:00 the rain had not come; rather, it just showed up late.  Let’s hope that the weather forecast for tomorrow, Memorial Day, allegedly being party cloudy is spot-on. I must get the flags out, my small contribution for loads of gratitude for all the brave soldiers who’ve fought for our country over many, many years in numerous wars.  I can’t imagine what they’ve gone through, and my heart goes out to all survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress, and to the loved ones of those we’ve lost in combat.

Memorial Day also gravitates my thoughts to a more personal level of loss; to my loved ones, human family members, feline family members, and dear friends who are no longer here on this earth.  My thoughts are with you all, especially this weekend.  

Here’s a little pictorial memorial of my kitty angels:

Topper and Froggie

Miss Bella

Frankie who lived to be 18

I

Punkie who lived to be 20

And my two feline soulmates from The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats…

Smokey, who had a blind left eye from a tussle with a raccoon before he came to live at Blue Bell. I absolutely adored this rugged bad-ass-with-a-big-heart of a cat.

Abbey, “assisting” me with notes from a conference call. One of the most precious and beloved kitties in my life, despite that I only saw her once a week for a couple hours for a couple of years. Connections run deep and strong with animals, just like in humans.

I miss you all dearly and deeply.  Happy Memorial Day!

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The Motherhood of Cats

Over the last few days, as I’ve read and heard “Happy Mother’s Day” sentiments, I think about how I missed that boat. I didn’t even think about wanting kids until I was in my late thirties. At that time, I had a boyfriend who didn’t want kids. Preferring a relationship to procreation, I accepted his no kids policy and never felt like I was missing out. Since the age of twenty-six, I’d been the caretaker or “mother” of cats, which must have satisfied the desire to mother children of the human kind.

Punkie at about nine months

 

Baby Frankie

But, when I was about forty-five, I felt a stronger yearning to have children—talk about being a late bloomer. I even entertained adopting…for about five minutes. That yearning dissipated quickly when I came to the conclusion that I had just enough energy to take care of three cats and myself.

Punkie

Topper and Lex always into mischief together.

I’ve been the mother of two or three cats for the past thirty years. Mothering cats (or dogs, goats, horses…whatever your furbaby) is much like mothering human kids. Not that I know from first-hand experience, but I do know that the same qualities in mothering human children apply to our animal children. We are here to protect, love and nurture these precious sentient beings. I’m a fierce protector of my kitties; I love them deeply, and apply discipline when needed (Boys—MY chair…for just five minutes…pawleeez).

I’ve mothered cats from kittenhood; nurtured their growth into old age and into their moment of passing—a responsibility and duty I take seriously.

Three cat night… From the top: Topper, Lexington and Bobcat.

 

Lexington and Cat Lady

Over the years, many people have expressed amazement when meeting my cats at their friendly and peaceful dispositions. All six cats have (or had) very different personalities and backgrounds. It’s how they’ve been raised, I say.

Miss Bella

Topper

Bobcat

Happy Mother’s Day to All!

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