Hello, my fellow passengers on this blue orb.
I apologize for just stopping blogging without an explanation. I did write a follow up post on the hurricane we experienced back in September. But I found with each passing day all I wanted to do was forget the dang storm, so I never posted it.
And I didn't feel like writing about anything else that was happening either. Some of it was private, some of it was depressing, and overall I just felt completely out of energy.
Then December came, and as much as I thought I'd be okay with this, the second year after my husband's death, the memories of the worst of his cancer decline came with it. The weight of those memories crushed me more each day until the anniversary of his death in early January had passed. It felt like I was submerged deep underwater for weeks, only coming up for air now and then, the rest of the time living in a vast roaring silence.
It feels like I am surfacing more often now, and things are getting back to some kind of normal. I'm back to work again, the lonely holidays are behind me, and we in the Northern Hemisphere are that much closer to the end of winter.
Speaking of winter, ours has been very mild so far, with more rain than snow. My mother has had to stay with me only once, and that was for a problem with her power line, not a snowstorm. Those overnight stays are very difficult for me, and I think they are also difficult for her, as much as she enjoys getting out for a bit. A day away from home (for her) and a day of managing dementia behaviors (for me) is too long for both of us.
You might remember that this time last year my Meredith cat was diagnosed as having a cancerous mass in her chest which was pressing on her heart. The vet said she probably had only months left to live. After six months, Meredith's health seemed stable, so I got the vet to run her bloodwork again and do a new X-ray. Her bloodwork again ruled out any obvious medical cause for her water intake or trembling episodes, and the comparison X-ray showed no change at all in the mass.
Now, seven months after that checkup, she is still drinking as much as ever but she's eating well and is as active as ever. The vet and I are wondering if the explanation is in her history. Before we got her, she had been struck by a car and seriously injured. Our vet fixed her up; however, no one ever came to claim her, and she was re-homed with us. The impact may have cracked some bones in her chest and the mass showing on the X-ray is simply the overlay of new bone, and may have been there for years. Also, she has always had some unusual twitching of her face and front paws, perhaps brain damage of some kind. Maybe the obsession with drinking water is caused by further deterioration of the brain. Or maybe she is developing cat dementia as she ages. Anyway, the stone that lived in my stomach for months following her first diagnosis has gone away (for now). If she eats every four to five hours, night and day, it seems to reduce her trembling and the vomiting that often followed. The night feeding coincides perfectly with the time I have to get up to hit the bathroom each night, so that's convenient. Not being able to be away from home for more than five hours is not so convenient, but I manage.
My Lucy cat is doing okay too. Last fall, I took her to the vet because she was limping more than usual with her arthritis, and because she was wheezing more than usual with what had been diagnosed as asthma a number of years ago. The vet felt she should go on some kind of pain medication, but one of the recommended meds would interact with the steroid she was taking for the asthma, and the other pain med came in enormous pills and I could not get Lucy to take them, even disguised in a Pill Pocket or in stinky fishy food or any other way. (Remember, this is the bitey cat, so I didn't even try to give the pills by hand.) I took her back to the vet a couple of months later and explained the problems I was having. It was a different vet this time, and in discussing the need for a steroid she asked me to describe Lucy's wheezing. It turns out that it wasn't wheezing after all, it was something called "reverse sneezing" and cats do it to try to clear irritants from the back of their throat or respiratory passages. So Lucy was able to be weaned off the steroid. At the same time, the vet recommended we try her on a new once-a-month injection of a pain medication called Solensia. It's expensive, but it seems to be helping. There was a chance of a side effect (bothersome itching) but she doesn't appear to have it. The best part of all is that her appetite is less without the steroid driving it up, she has become somewhat more willing to play (she has always been a very serious cat, something I suspect stems from her life before she came to us), and she has lost one whole pound (which is almost 6% of her weight) since dropping the steroid and going on the pain medication. If she can lose another pound, she will qualify for a lower dose shot, which will cost half as much. Yay!
I also have lost weight and I'm very happy about that. It started with the hurricane. I was so stressed out and we had such limited cooler space that I was eating about half of what I usually eat. I was also more active, clearing branches from the yard and fetching for my mother, instead of reading and watching YouTube. The weight fell off, about a pound a day. Not what you'd call healthy, but I really didn't feel like eating. The takeaway for me was that I can indeed lose weight, I just have to ... wait for it ... eat less and move more. Insert slap to the forehead here. I knew the theory, I had just been having trouble putting it into practice. Mind you, I am still having trouble putting it into practice but I now know that it can be done with x calories and x activity and that keeps me going a lot of the time. I feel so much better having lost 7% of my weight so far. Yay again!
I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected under the current circumstances of a continuing pandemic, accelerating climate change, a horrible global economy, and renewed war in Europe.
Uh oh. I can't leave you on that note. Here are some funnies.
You might need to hit Control+ for the first one.
So tell me, how are you all doing? Let me know in the comments.
Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year? It may be too late for fireworks but it's never too late to tell you I hope 2023 treats you well. Do not despair if it has so far only punched you in the face; there are still 346 days to go.
I will leave you with this thought.