halloween 2018

November 2, 2018 | Comments Off

It looks like the last time I linked to any Halloween photo albums was back in 2014. Even though I wasn’t writing here, we still celebrated the holiday!

That being said, here are the links to those albums:

Halloween 2015
Halloween 2016
Halloween 2017

Since Oliver just had major surgery, we obviously decided against wrangling him into a costume, so we got these super cute bat & jewel collar type things instead!

Sam, Lulu, Oliver

And click here to see the rest of this year’s pictures!

a tale as old as time

October 29, 2018 | Comments Off

We’ve certainly had our fair share of major life events happening around here recently, but a bunch of other little stuff has gone on too.

Let’s see.

My right pinky toe has been beyond painful for the past four or five weeks now. I am convinced it is/was broken. I couldn’t put any pressure on it at all for a bit. Last week it only was painful in the mornings, and now it’s hardly bothering me at all. I was all set to go to the doctor when it started improving. I sure hope it stays that way because now is not the time to have to deal with something else for me. I also caught a cold off of Mark. At least I didn’t catch the cancer. At least not yet.

The tenant at our last house has fucking finally gotten all caught up with the back rent and current rent. It’s a miracle! I hope this bitch stays on track.

Sam was having another allergy issue like he did about this time last year. Zyrtec didn’t help, so we tried him on some prednisolone. That really was what worked, but he’s now off of it entirely. I have noticed just a couple spells since he tapered off of it, but they haven’t been as intense, thankfully. The vet wants us to try Yucca Intensive, so I’ll get some online when I order Lulu more azodyl for her tiny kidneys.

I’m not sure I ever mentioned Oliver has times where herpes comes out to play, and it affects his poor little eyes. It was lying dormant for his first year and was triggered last year by his anemia. We have tried so many different things in many different strengths, but nothing is knocking it out for good. Sometimes they’re leaky, sometimes they’re crusty, and sometimes it looks like he has two black eyes! It now comes and goes, just in varying degrees of intensity. He definitely doesn’t like when I say that mama is going to get his eye boogies. Also, he gets his stitches out this week and has his first physical therapy session with the vet then too (he has three sessions outside of the house with them, along with the daily exercises he does around here)! We’ve been giving him regular “field trips” around the house; he carefully walks around and makes sure it all looks the same as it did before his accident. He’s sort of wobbly, of course, and I find it incredibly cute to watch his naked legs walking around.

I’ve mentioned before that Mark wants to eventually get another beagle. We recently had a local hoarding story hit the news, and it pulled at both of our heartstrings, for sure. He donated, but I know he would like to adopt like fifteen of them. In a perfect world, I would too.

Nabi, the neighbor kitty, lost her collar again. That one had a solid run, and we can’t help but wonder where all her missing collars end up. Anyway, we saw it was gone, and Mark went right out the same night to get a new one for her (well, the same exact one). He put it on her the next afternoon by himself; last time it was a group effort. So whew! She’s also getting very, very fat. He is trying to play with her some to get her moving around more, but she isn’t interested in wand toys and such. I mean, why would she be when she chases the real deal on a regular basis?

I have a cute Lulu story! When Lulu, Sam, and I nap together in the afternoon (not happening all that much right now because I currently sleep in the sunroom with Ollie), she likes to give Sam a hard time. She knows she can be brazen without fear of retribution because I’m by her side; he won’t be mean to her if I’m right there. She just gives him cranky meows and smacks at him, and I know she’s only getting back at him for all the times he chases and tackles her when I’m not around. I get it, girl. Anyway, this time she just walked up to him to smack him, and I told her she was being a bad little girl because he wasn’t bothering her. It’s our routine. Now, I also have been trying to get her to kiss me. Sam will occasionally put his lips to mine if I make a kissy face, while Lulu has smacked at and bit at my lips. Anyway, after this particular incident, she walks up to me and kisses my lips! She knew just what to do so I wouldn’t be “mad” at her anymore. Hahaha. What a cute, smart girl!

Anyway, I’ve been trying to set up a link to my amazon associates program because I’m so sure you’re all dying to see what fucking eye cream and shit I use and recommend. But my desire to finish it up has waned considerably. I also have some additional stat stuff I’d like to get up and running, but I honestly just don’t know when that’ll all get done either. Motivation can be a real bitch.

So, yes, my house is a mess, and it’s fucking up my anxiety. We had to empty out the sunroom, so I have big pieces of furniture now all over my house. I have a cat tower and two pieces of furniture in my kitchen. Other pieces are in the living room. Also, there are two spots that need touch-up paint, but that is unfortunately going to wait until we put the house back together. Not to mention we have one broken shelf, and now all the memory boxes are sitting on our dining room table. It’s super annoying and frustrating. I think we have another three months where things need to stay like this, and that’s a huge omg for me. I am a big believer in that every little thing belongs somewhere, and I am so super anti-clutter. Even when I was younger, my friends would move stuff (jewelry boxes, hairbrush, etc…) slightly around in my bedroom to fuck with me, and I always instantly saw the move and had to immediately slide it back into its spot. And I was really looking forward to decorating the house with all my Christmas stuff, not just a tree. It’s been a few years since I decked the halls, and I was excited that this year we’d put everything out! But that’s not going to happen now, is it? Even if Oliver is mostly healed so I can put things back, I’m not sure decorating is the way to go. He has never seen all the holiday madness, and I don’t want him trying to investigate things when he should be resting. We did just buy matching family pajamas for all of us, and I think the cats will look super cute in their candy cane jammies! So there’s that.

As for Mark, he broke even with his Steelers season tickets, so I guess that’s something. He made an appointment for this week with a urologist who specializes in tumor removal. His ultrasound report states, “1.2 cm solid enhancing left renal lesion which most likely represent renal cell carcinoma,” but he has a really long, solid life line (I did a little foray into palm reading when I was younger). He’s freaking out a bit, of course. Today he told people at work because he has his fingers in tons of various projects. Is that the right analogy? Anyway, I think his mom is going to come here for a few days to help after surgery. This sucks in one sense because the house is messy and I don’t like people, but I will appreciate the help with him and the cats, for sure. And, if shit does hit the fan, I think I’d probably move to a condo back in New Jersey to be closer to my pain management doctor and to my friend who can help me out a bit. But I don’t know if that’s best for me in the long run. Doctors leave. Friends move. I just don’t know. That being said, I’d really miss my raccoons.

Speaking of raccoons, the one who prefers for me to drop food directly into his wide open mouth stopped by the other night. He never uses his teeth (I don’t even see them!) and I think he’s the sweetest little guy in the world. Also, sometimes the timing is such that I will look out the kitchen door to see that there is no food left, just as one or two are passing by to see if we have any. I’ll open the door, tell them to wait a second, and hold up my pointer finger to signify that. And they actually wait! They’re such sweet, smart creatures, and I hate that so many people are misinformed (and, thus, scared) about them!

Okay, now I think I’m basically all caught up with the randomness. I’m going to forget the details of our anniversary trip (thanks, drugs!) if I don’t write about it soon…

gorgeous gams

October 25, 2018 | Comments Off

We are obsessed with Oliver’s naked leggies!

This pose is actually one of the latest things we have to do for his physical therapy. We hold him like this so his little legs dangle and stretch, and we think he looks so adorable!

gorgeous gams

more fraying

October 24, 2018 | Comments Off

Mark had his second ultrasound, this one with contrast, yesterday. The radiologist told him that due to its shape and such that it was a small, solid, malignant mass. So he has renal cancer. His doctor wants him to see a urologist to see it’s going to be monitored (?) or removed, so he’s working on scheduling that.

Well, isn’t this some fucked-up bullshit? And because I’m a selfish monster, I’m worried about how I’m going to hold down the fort here while he recovers from surgery. His mom was here to help after his back surgery, but I have no clue if we will have any kind of assistance this time around. Part of me doesn’t even want anyone here because the house is a huge mess after we had to empty out the sunroom. There’s a broken shelf, and things need painted. It is chaotic for me and heightens my anxiety because I’m a big believer that every little thing has its own spot where it belongs. Anyway, I already have a cat with two broken hips who needs therapy. My back pain is worse than ever, of course. I can’t even imagine the amount of work that’s about to be dumped on my shoulders. IIRC, this type of cancer has an 81% survival rate, so I’ll put off looking for a condo for the time being.

hips don’t lie

October 23, 2018 | Comments Off

Oliver has had yet another medical issue, and this is like his sixth one this year. My baby boy has sure had one hell of a time. He needs to be bubble wrapped.

The latest (and hopefully the last)? My poor kitten broke his hip a little over a week ago. When they did the X-rays, it showed that he had broken his other hip not long ago, and it wasn’t healing how they thought it should. Recently, and I think I wrote about this, he had been limping a little. I think our vet said his back was tweaked, and he did seem to be walking better – until he started limping yet again. Even though that X-ray didn’t show anything, we were all set to have him looked at one more time when he fell and broke the other side. See, we have shelves up that our memory boxes sit on. He likes to jump up there to have a little nap. Mark had just told him he needed to get down and walked out of the room. Then, there was a crash. I thought he had knocked a box over. Turns out that the whole shelf gave out. When I had them mounted, I asked specifically if they’d be able to handle a big cat’s weight. He put in extra anchors, more than had come with them in the package in the first place. We didn’t factor in whether or not those shelves could handle both weight and movement because we just didn’t know we had to do such a thing. After his fall, Oliver ran under the bed in the master bedroom. We weren’t sure if he had been injured or if he was just scared and startled. When he got up to move, he couldn’t get his leg lifted up over one of the planks (or whatever they’re called) that is under the bed supporting it. He also was growling periodically. This happened at 11pm, and Mark took him right to the emergency room and wasn’t back until 5am. Actually, he had to be transferred after the formal diagnosis, so yeah. We never dreamed they were going to tell us any of this.

Now, we’ve been told that this was a condition he was predisposed to. In other words, it was just a matter of time until he broke his hips. And it could have been from a simple jump off the counter or bedside table. The first thing we were told by one specialist was that he was predisposed to this due to a growth plate problem. We were also told that there is a syndrome in big cats where their femur heads fall off. So I’m thinking we got two different scenarios: one involving the femur and the other involving the ball of the socket which connects via a growth plate, if my notes are accurate and even make any sense. My vet was going to look at their X-rays and reports and tell me which it definitively was, but she’s away for two or so weeks. I don’t know how similar or different those two things even are, but I don’t think it matters anymore really. It was agreed upon that it was going to happen at some point, it happened, and it now shouldn’t happen again. Also, he had just started taking dasaquin to fend off any issues with arthritis that his future hip dysplasia could cause, but now he’s not going to have that issue anymore!

Initially there was talk of bringing him home the next day, but that didn’t happen. He ended up having to stay there for a total of four nights, with him there for three nights longer than anticipated. They couldn’t get a handle on his pain management, and that is the last thing this mama wanted to hear, for sure. If I could take on any/all of their pain, discomfort, and sadness so that they were free of any of that kind of stuff, I would do it an instant. While waiting for him to come back home, we emptied out the sunroom of all furniture and filled it with blankets and various cat beds. We put the guest room’s mattress on the floor in there; Mark sleeps in there overnight with him, and I spend all day in there with him. There is supposed to be absolutely no running, jumping, pouncing, or playing for three months minimum! He’s been home for one week now, and he’s getting better and stronger each day. When he was at the emergency vet, he’d lay there and pee himself because he couldn’t/wouldn’t stand yet. He also wasn’t eating all that much either. When we brought him home, he immediately started to move by dragging around his lower half. He used the litter box right away, and he ate like a little piggy! Two days later he actually stood up to poo. That’s the only time he stood up that day, but each day after he has been up more and more. Now he walks around the sunroom somewhat and also sits on his haunches. We had two things to do for him for his first week home: massage his hip, leg, and bum area and put ice on him. In this new week, we are to stretch his legs and hold him so his back legs hang down. A website recommends getting a harness and walking him up and down stairs, so we will eventually do that in the basement. He also has three physical therapy sessions outside of the house to attend, the first one happening right after he gets his stitches out! He’s already getting bored in the empty sunroom, so I honestly cannot even imagine what is going to happen when we are a month into this. Haha. OMG. Yesterday Sam went in to visit him, and they were about to wrestle before Mark intervened. Poor Oliver! He really wanted to play. When he first started attempting to walk, he’d topple right over. It was like watching a baby deer try to take its first steps – very cute but a little heartbreaking that he has to stumble. The one weird thing is that his adorable pink nose and lips aren’t so pink anymore! I was told that they’ll return to their original shade as soon as he gets more active. I finally did see that happen with my own eyes the other day. I forget exactly what had happened, but something did and I saw the pretty, pretty pink I had been missing! Maybe it was when he was batting around an empty treat bag? Hmmm.

Poor Oliver has had such a rough year. He’s had such a tough start to life, and I feel so sad for him. No animal should ever have to feel pain or suffer, let alone so much of it at such a young age. He’s already aloof, and I wonder how this will affect his future personality. Physically he is supposed to rebound 100%, but what about his little spirit? If he were a human child, dyfs would have taken him away from us by now. All his bad luck this past year – anemia, 2 blood transfusions, needing blood drawn every 2-4 weeks for months, 2 surgeries, 2 broken hips, herpes emergence, hairball issues revealed, swollen and injured foot – just sounds too crazy to all be bad luck, bad timing, and shit like that. I hope that he continues to heal well, that he eventually forgets that this ever happened, that he eventually forgets this entire year from hell, and that he eventually can truly enjoy his sweet little life!

So, lastly, here are some photos of Oliver in his recovery room:

Oliver in his recovery room
Oliver in his recovery room
Oliver in his recovery room
Oliver in his recovery room
Oliver in his recovery room

the cancer text

October 19, 2018 | Comments Off

It’s been a crazy fucking time.

Well, Oliver broke both of his hips due to a predisposed condition. He is slowly getting better, thankfully. So that’s a huge post that’s forthcoming. I also have a random update to do, not to mention the one about our anniversary trip!

But this post is about the text I got today from Mark:

the cancer text

Remember when he recently had viral meningitis? Well, they saw something off with his kidneys, and they wanted him to get an ultrasound, which he did on Wednesday. Now they want him to go back and get another one taken, this time with contrast. The doctor said it looks like it could be cancer. Mark tried to make that appointment, but the system kicked his doctor out as he was entering in his request. Even after waiting and re-entering the information, it still didn’t show up where it needed to. He was told to call back on Monday to schedule. So, yeah, he’s pretty scared, and I’m indulging in my medical marijuana a lot.

the never-ending construction

October 9, 2018 | Comments Off

The house building behind us is still going on! it started right about this week (or next week?) last year, and it seems fucking endless. Almost every single day for a solid year has been annoyingly noisy, and I have no idea when it’s going to stop. I’ll probably end up liking the nonstop construction better if some animal-hating, loud, rude assholes end up moving in, so I better be careful what I wish for. Anyway, last night my little Lulu was mesmerized by what she could see out her window:

nosy neighbor

October 8, 2018 | Comments Off

Mark was bringing groceries inside when our neighbor kitty decided to see if he got anything for her:

trip aftermath

October 8, 2018 | Comments Off

I’m completely annoyed and frustrated with Mark – yet again.

Okay, so this latest round started when it was time to go on our trip. My antisocial side already didn’t want to go, but my mind and body took it to a whole other extreme. The anxiety I’m showing in my skin picking and teeth grinding (my new dentist pointed it out; I had a feeling he was going to say something because I felt myself doing it about six months prior) weren’t the only ways my body was dealing with anxiety. As the trip got closer, I was throwing up, getting the antsy feeling in my arms, feeling unsettled and nervous, crying – and I had three panic attacks. Fantastic! The only reason I persevered and went on this trip is because I thought it’d change his mindset and make him happy for awhile. And I’d be wrong. The trip itself was mostly fine (more coming in an upcoming post), but I was exhausted when we came back home. My back was a nightmare, and I was emotionally done.

Unfortunately, we had tickets that were something like $200 to see Kathy Griffin on Saturday, a week after the trip, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It had been a long spell between vacations, so I didn’t know the full situation of what I was going to experience and how I would feel. I’ve already said that he has no empathy whatsoever. With regards to my back, he says that I’m lazy, I don’t try hard enough, and I make excuses, which is particularly insulting because he had a successful fusion surgery not all that long ago. I’ve pointed out before that he was able to have it done but that my situation is far worse than his and I’m unable to even have that surgery. And now with my anxiety, he’s feeling like he just has another thing that he has to deal with. I get that. I understand that. I do. But this isn’t intentional on my part. I’m not setting out to ruin his life, for fuck’s sake. He had a sneak preview of the pain I go through daily. He needs to remember how it felt and realize that constant pain makes me anxious, depressed, forgetful, and miserable. As for the tickets, that only reinforced his belief that I like wasting his time and money. I was hoping he’d be compassionate and say, “It is only money. It’s okay, and it’ll be fine. Your health is more important. Take some time to decompress from the trip, and we can try again another time.” But nope. It’s all “me me me” in his head and all about how it affects him. I never hear words of encouragement. He’s never emotionally supportive, compassionate, or understanding. As I said, it was a long time between getaways, and I had no idea how hard it would hit me. My teeth grinding is relatively new and my skin picking is worse, so maybe I should have pieced it together, rather than just thinking that my usual hesitation is because I’m antisocial and just wanna stay home with my babies. And I don’t say much of this to him because he twists it. Oh, okay, sometimes I say something passive aggressive that’s not the best, but he just rants, raves, and screams while I sit there. Before my back pain, I’d drag his ass for talking to me like that. Actually, he never really did talk down to me when I was healthy. But I don’t stick up for myself anymore because stress and yelling increases my back pain. I had a therapist I saw for my chronic pain when I was first struggling with it. She said to pretend that I’m wearing a suit of armor and that whatever he slings at me will fall right off of me and hit the ground. And I don’t think he reads here, so he never really gets my perspective. Or, if he does, he just doesn’t really care about it. This isn’t something I’ve planned to negatively impact his life. It negatively impacts my life, too. Obviously. Jesus! And it’s frustrating to have him get upset without even seeing my side. He needs an outlet, to talk to someone instead of dumping on me all the time. Maybe he needs to make a friend, see a therapist, or journal somewhere. I don’t know. And it’s all rather self-defeating because his yelling increases my anxiety and pain, the very two things he is impacted by. I know he does a lot for me. He does. But if he could just do those things without complaining in general or belittling me in the process. It’s just gotten so repetitive and mundane.

He really does do a lot for me. I don’t write about him bringing me ice cream in bed every night, though he initially always tells me to just go get it myself. He makes sure the bills are paid, though I hear him complain about how much we spend at the vet at least once a week. And I do try to make things easier for him. Just last week I complained to my pain management doctor about not being able to fill a NJ scrip in PA, and she said it actually was possible. Mark told me it wasn’t. He’s been bitching about having to drive to NJ to fill it for the second month (I get a prescription for two months each time I go; one month gets filled while I’m there and the second month requires a second trip) for two years now. But now I’ve found a local pharmacy we are going to try out this month, so that’s maybe one less thing off his plate. Sometimes I feel like like I am living with a ticking time bomb. What will set him off? In his perfect world, I’d have a new back, not spend any money, and want to travel. In my perfect world, he’d accept me for who I currently am. So what do I plan on doing about my anxiety? The obvious first thing is medical marijuana. And I’m wondering if I start going out more for little things (dinner, mall, whatever) if that’d make a difference and eventually desensitize myself. I don’t think it probably works like that though, huh? Of course, going out at all depends on the state of my back pain and skin picking successes or failures. Oh fuck. I am a mess.

cat chatter

October 5, 2018 | Comments Off

I had a couple of panic attacks before and during our trip to Vermont (more on that in the post about the trip itself), and I got even more panicked and really worried when we didn’t see Nabi, the neighbor kitty, for two full days before we left. On the morning we were set to leave, Mark went next door to see if he could get any intel on her whereabouts and to make sure she was okay. I had knocked on their door the day before, but nobody answered. He went over to ask about her after he saw someone in the yard. Of course, he blamed me and me alone for the reason he went over there: “My wife is worried about your cat.” He was just as freaked out and worried about her as I was, but he wasn’t about to admit that to them. Haha. Anyway, they were discussing her, and she lifted her head up when they were talking about her. And after our neighbor left for work a few minutes later, she trotted right up our driveway like she hadn’t just been missing for two days. So, yeah, that was one thing off my mind at least. The neighbor also said she goes to their other neighbor’s house a lot and she “double dips” when she does that. So I guess she triple dips with us? Haha. While we were away, we asked our friend/cleaner/pet sitter to feed her too. We watched our security cameras for the first time they came in contact with each other. Nabi scurried a few steps away at the unfamiliar person, but she didn’t go far and kept her tail straight up once she saw the plate of food. Haha. As for us, she now recognizes Mark’s car and starts running for our driveway as soon as she sees it pull onto the street.

Anyway, here are some photos that she took while she was watching my babies. The first one shows Oliver cutely watching tv from his pet bed, and this isn’t something he’s ever done with us; he is in that bed all the time, but he always faces the other way. In the second, Sam cuddles with her right by her face, and this isn’t something he’s ever done with us; he usually cuddles on our stomachs. The third photo is of Lulu hanging out on top of her while they watch tv together. Though she does that with us, namely with me, I was a little annoyed that she was so free with her affection. Sure, sleep next to her or whatever, but right on her? All my cats are traitors! The last photo is of Oliver, and it shows his love for my unpacked clothes.

Oliver watches tv when Eve pet sits him
Sam snuggling with Eve
Lulu watches tv while laying on Eve
Oliver likes my unpacked clothes

That being said, they aren’t an easy crew to manage. They all have medicine or stuff to take, Lulu gets two extra meals a day, and so on. I was so sad the whole time I was gone because I really just wanted to be with them. I wanted to be the one taking care of them. I knew they were in good hands, but, as a mama, I still worried. So yeah. And I cried happy tears when we got back from our trip because my babies were so well taken care of! That meant everything to me.

Before we left, we had a vet visit scheduled. Lulu and Sam needed their blood pressure checked. Mark held her at first when they did it, and it was high. They were talking about seeing what her blood and urine showed first before maybe needing to adjust her dosage. I suggested that I hold her and pet her while they checked it again. Well, her blood pressure came down to the range it was supposed to be in! Haha! She loves her mama best! But when her other results came back, it showed that her kidney values got a bit worse. She’s being retested in a couple of weeks to see what the numbers are and to then figure out how to proceed. Sigh. Sam’s results came back fine, so that was good news. But he still had inflammation in his back, and one of his back legs was tight. I’m guessing the pet chiropractor we saw in the next town over must suck. We’ve used two others in the past, both by our old house. One came to our house, and we saw him a lot (like every two weeks or so) because Pacey kept having issues. He won’t travel to our new house, and I even offered to double his rate. Ugh. The other chiropractor is our vet’s husband, and that’s who we took Sam and Lulu to this past week. We took her too just to make sure she was okay because her last two sessions were with that guy in the next town here. She’s always getting tackled by her brothers, so a fresh visit wasn’t going to hurt her either, right? Also, Sam has been very itchy, to the point where he is chewing and making slurping noises on himself. Last year at this exact time of year, we had an allergy test done after he was doing the same stuff as he is now. It showed he was only allergic to fleas, but we never saw any on him. I put him on advantage, though, and the issue did seem to resolve itself. This year the vet suggested we try Zyrtec, so he got his first dose of that today. I hate that he’s so uncomfortable like this, but I know we will get him feeling better soon. And Oliver, thankfully, seems to be doing just fine! He’s taking dasaquin now because a recent X-ray showed that he has early signs of hip dysplasia. We want to stay on top of that and do everything we can to help him with that as he ages, of course. So the next vet visit will be where they get more blood and urine from Lulu to check those pesky kidneys and where they examine Sam for mobility improvements, hopefully.

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