Zoe Update

Well, today I gave Zoe her first does of chemotherapy. It turns out that, based on the biopsies taken from her stomach and small intenstines, she has small-cell lymphoma, which is a low-grade (as opposed to high-grade) lymphoma. Zoe’s oncologist is really nice – he’s located at the California Veterinary Specialst Oncology Center located really close to where I work. I started her on prednisone pills a couple of days ago, and then picked up her Leukeran from Costco today. Fortunately, these medications will only cost me about $60 a month; unfortunately, they are both pills which Zoe must swallow – the prednisone every day, and the Leukeran three times a week. I’m going to think seriously about investing in a full-body suit of armor.

Actually though, the last few days, Zoe’s appetite has been very good and I think she’s put on a little weight in the last week (I’ve been spoiling her with some veeeeery good cat food – I think Jesse has been packing on the pounds as well). Dr. Proulx said that if a cat had to choose a cancer to have, most smart cats would choose small-cell lymphoma. The rate of cell-growth is very slow, and most cats, given treatment, just continue to live with the disease. Zoe is average age for getting this disease, and apparently, if treatment goes well, she still should have several good years left in her. About 90% of cats taking this chemo treatment do very well – no vomiting or diarrhea or anything. But, I’ll need to keep a close eye on her the next couple of months. Zoe has a follow-up visit with Dr. Proulx in two weeks, at which time she’ll have a blood count done and a check up to make sure she’s doing ok.

So, it’s a relief to know what is going on with Zoe, but I’m not too excited about the diagnosis. But, as each of Zoe’s three doctors have said, it could have been a lot worse. All the vets have been very nice and caring – my regular vet even called me after she found out what the diagnosis was, just to see how we were doing. Anyway, wish us luck –

Yeah, I’ve been busy (and tired)

I know, it has been a long time since I’ve updated my blog. But really, it was pretty much just pictures from Jes’ wedding and my trip to San Francisco that I wanted to post. Work has been very busy the last couple of months now that David is back as my supervisor, and when I get home I pretty much just want to chill. But there’s still a couple things going on – the first thing would be my cat, Zoe. She’s 13, and people tell me that’s old for a cat, but I disagree that it’s old for Zoe. But, over the past year I’ve been noticing that she’s been losing some weight – getting very bony and skinny. So last weekend I brought her to the vet – she lost 2 lbs over the past year (which is a lot, considering how tiny she is), so they took some blood to run a full panel, and also took some urine for a urinalysis. Zoe was not happy about it, and enjoyed even less the vet force-feeding her a deworming pill (it took 2 vets about 10 minutes of fighting to get a 6.9 lb cat to eat one pill). The urinalysis showed some blood in her urine, so I have to give her antibiotics twice a day for about two weeks (ask me how much Zoe likes that). The blood could just be an infection, but it could also indicate other problems with the kidneys or bladder. But, her blood panel turned out good, except for her thyroid, which looked borderline high. So, they sent for another test – negative for hyperthyroid. So, last weekend cost me about $350. I went back yesterday with Zoe – they took x-rays and didn’t see anything wrong, except that she has no body fat, which makes her organs difficult to see. But no kidney or bladder stones, or major tumors were evident. The vet suggested another specialized blood test to check for pancreatic function and malabsorption – I’ll get the results back on that this week. It was still too soon to see if she still has blood in her urine because she’s only been on the antibiotics for a week. The bottom line is that I’ve spent almost $600 and I still don’t know what’s wrong with my kitty. She’s acting normal and everything – she may just be getting old. I don’t know, but she’s my buddy and I’m not quite ready to accept that she’s at the age where stuff starts to go wrong.

Speaking of going wrong, oh, Teddy Bear. He really is getting old. A couple of times in the past month, as we’ve been out walking, he’s pulled himself so hard on his leash that he starts choking, falls over, and then has a hard time using his back legs. I don’t know if it’s a seizure or what, but he’s still his normal annoying self, so it’s hard to say. Today I noticed that one of his yucky back teeth is loose – I hope it falls out so that I don’t have to take *him* to the vet again! Last time we went it was also very expensive.

And speaking of expensive, let’s talk about my car. Last Friday I was on my way to work and I decided to stop and grab a sandwich for later. I was gone two minutes, came back to my car, and it wouldn’t start! I called AAA, who came out to tow me to my mechanic, and the car started right up. What’s up with that??? So, I drove it to my mechanic – turns out some dumb sensor in the starter was broken. That set me back about $150, but I guess it could’ve been worse.

Man, at the rate things are going, I’ll never have enough cash for a vacation!

Good things though – I finished the wrap top that I started sewing a few months ago, and made good progress on a skirt. So far, it’s awesome. I’ll probably finish it next year some time. Also, I’m getting back into my digital scrapbooking – I’m a little overwhelmed with Photoshop Elements, but I purchased an instructional CD that focuses on scrapbooking with Elements. It should be very helpful.

That’s it for now – I hope that’s enough. I’ll be in touch!

Cuteness

I recently purchased Photoshop Elements 5.0 so that I could start digitally scrapbooking. I’m kind of behind in my scrapbooking and part of the problem is that I’m so perfectionistic and making pages using paper and adhesives and cutting stuff out and all that takes so long to do – I haven’t started any pages recently because it’s just too much of an undertaking. So I decided to go digital and have my pages professionally printed – it’s actually quite cost effective, and is fast and easy to do. Plus, since I’ve been using my digital camera exclusively, I don’t have to print photos out and cut them up – one more step I can skip.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about. I purchased Elements and have been trying to learn how to use it. And the best pictures to start practicing on, I’ve found, have been pet pictures! So here are pictures of Zoe, Jesse, and Teddy – I’ve lightened and warmed them up, increased the contrast, and used a glow filter. Cute, huh?

My Dog Is From Outer Space!!!

Yes, my dog is wearing a cone. He feels humiliated, shamed, less than canine. The tragedy of it all! It started a few days ago when I took Teddy to the groomer. He’s an older pup – 13 1/2 years old – so he has a few lumps and bumps and assorted nuggets as older dogs tend to have. I highlighted these for the groomer (literally, in bright blue) so that she could avoid them when she shaved him, but alas – I think she nicked the cantankerous growth that has existed like a second head on Teddy’s ear. Last night it was all pussed up and a complete mess – yuck! So, today I took him to the vet (he loved it, oh yes, loved the muzzle they put on him – what fun!) who said that the angry nugget should be removed – in surgery – tomorrow! Boo hoo! So, like a car going in for a tune-up, Teddy will be going in for surgery to get the growth removed and his teeth cleaned (let us not forget the deworming medication for his tapeworm infestation, too). All for a pretty penny, which I will be charging, of course. The good thing is that I get to make fun of him for having to wear a cone for the next two weeks. The cats are kind of scared of it, and Teddy is having a hard time not banging in to things when he’s wearing it. Anyway, here are some pictures for you to enjoy!



Ho ho ho (hey – are you talking about me???)

‘Twas a quiet Christmas this year: the warm glow of a muted TV, the happy hymns of James Brown’s Funky Christmas playing softly in the background, the smell of apple cider and cinnamon air freshener wafting through the air…and oh yeah…our mayhem-otic zoo of animals trying to destroy each and every present as we tried to unwrap them!!! Chaos reined in our living room, the cats shredding anything with ribbon on it, spacing out on catnip, the dogs trying to see if each package had a squeaky in it. Teddy Bear whining for more dog treats, Michael squawking to get out of the cage, and Leo…lurking in the back room just daring anyone to disturb him while he plotted…plotted for destruction.

Actually though, it was good – Mom and I got lots of great gifts; I think my favorite was an Indo Board that kind of simulates surfing or skateboarding – you have to balance on this roller thing and try not to kill yourself or damage the walls in the house when you fall off and the board goes careening out from under you. I’ll be posting pictures of me with broken limbs shortly…But I also got some PJ’s (thanks for supporting my lounging habit, all), and a watch jewelry box (woohoo! A nice organized home for my Swatch collection!), and various other fun things. After opening all the presents, Mom and I went up to Uncle Danbo’s house where he had bought and prepared a fabulous feast for us – turkey, green beans, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and cornbread. Yum! It was in fact the easiest holiday ever – no cooking, no cleaning up. Merry Christmas to us!

Anyway, we went to see “Memoirs of a Geisha” on Christmas Eve – excellent flick, you should go see it. It’s a little long and the book was better, but still outstanding if you like that sorta thing. And just so you can get a picture of how my weekend went, here’s a photo montage of Zoe during her reign of terror as we opened presents (yes, her eyes naturally have an evil glow about them that the camera captures quite nicely; this, my friends, is the horror I live with daily):

Mom’s in the doghouse because…

She’s got a new dog! Yesterday, Mom went to Petco to buy her cat some stuff and came home with a new dog (which indeed is not the “cat stuff” she originally intended to buy). His name used to be Poncho, but Mom is renaming him Bailey. He’s two years old, some sort of border collie mix (I think maybe with Australian sheep dog or something), and seems to be fairly well trained and obedient. A bit goofy, too.

Of course, Leo (Mom’s cat) can’t stand him, and Michael (Mom’s parrot) has already crafted a handful of plans resulting in Bailey’s demise (which mostly involve a lot of pecking and biting). I introduced Teddy Bear to Bailey in neutral territory – the grass island on Fairway Park – and things seemed to go pretty well – Teddy growled, they sniffed each others’ butts, and then ignored each other. However, when Mom brought Bailey into my place, Teddy went ballistic and ran out from under the bed, barking, and charged Bailey. Zoe, my cat, puffed out immensely. Ok, so we have some territory issues, but that’s ok. Things will work out well between the two of them, I think!

Mom seems to be very excited with her new companion, and I hope it works for her. Her house is now officially a menagerie of animals (all of whom hate each other), and if Teddy and I ever stay with her again it’s going to result in some real chaos. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we have to!

In Escondido, cats do grow on trees

Last week I finally purchased a cat tree for Zoe and Jesse. It took them a little while to get used to it, but they now consider it to be the center of their universe. While Jesse (the declawed one, of course) has figured out the “scratching pole” aspect of the tower, Zoe still prefers to claw on cardboard scratchers. Both of them have figured out that they can jump up to the top perch, where they like to spend the greater portion of their day. Zoe prefers to nest in the tube part, while Jesse likes to sit on top (although the pictures I took today are exactly opposite of that). Aren’t they cute???