Recently in Family/Friends Category

Today Ben and I said good-bye to our cuddly, face-rub loving, "give me attention NOW" kitty, Squeak. She was 22 years old.  As you can imagine it was an incredibly difficult decision to make.  We lovingly called Squeak the energizer kitty because even though she had gone through several potentially life ending diseases over the years, she just kept living strong.

8.5 years ago she was having chronic diarrhea.  The vet said it was either IBS or intestinal cancer.  At the time Squeak was 13 and I wasn't going to put her through chemo-therapy, so the vet suggested a treatment of Prednisone and a special food.  Best prognosis, she had 6 months to live.  Squeak reacted very well to the treatment.  Since then we've gone through a poisoning scare in 2003.  Then hyperthyroidism, which meant having half of it removed in 2006 and eventually radioactive iodine in 2007 to kill the tumor. Unfortunately they zapped too much, so we needed to give her a Synthroid pill. In the Spring of 2009 Squeak started having difficulty walking and in June 2009 we discovered she had diabetes. She needed an insulin shot twice a day.  Again she responded well to the treatment and continued to have a pretty good quality of life.

About a month ago we noticed her walking was getting worse.  Thinking it was the diabetes not being maintained well, we tried a new vet,  Dr. Wendy Simpson at Morrisville Cat Hospital, for a second opinion.  Dr. Wendy is very progressive and recognized several things about Squeak's condition we had not be told about previously.  When we got the blood tests back, Dr. Wendy's report started out with "Here's the things I'm most concerned about..."  followed by a list of 9 things.  None of them were particularly dire on it's own, but the combination of them all were troubling.  One positive from the report was the diabetes was very well maintained.  We decided to try probiotics for the diarrhea and potassium for the weak hind legs.  

So now poor Squeak was on 2 pills, 2 powders mixed in her food and 2 insulin shots a day plus eye ointment twice a day.  Through all these, she still seemed to have a decent quality of life.  When we walked into the room she would get up, walk over to us and beg to be held.  She loved having her face rubbed and would purr so hard you could hear it across the room.  Sadly, the reality was, she was not going to get better.  The potassium and probiotics had not really helped, so there was something more going on.  At her age, even if we had put her through the ultrasound, MRI, biopsies, etc to find out what else was happening, we wouldn't have treated it.  We had a regular check up scheduled for her today, but during the 45 minute drive to the vet, I made the decision it was time to help Squeak be at ease.  I think the folks at the vet must have read it on our faces as we walked in because they escorted us to a room immediately.  Perhaps it was the red eyes and sniffing noses.  Dr. Wendy supported our decision.  She suspects Squeak had lymphoma in her spinal cord.  Squeak probably could have kept on going for many more weeks or months, but to what point?  Just so she would suffer more?  It's so hard when you're emotionally tied to some one to let them go.  And I just hadn't been ready to let go.  Today the logic voice spoke a little bit louder than the emotions voice and I was able to recognize it's time.

There's no question Squeak had a wonderful, LONG life.  Not to mention she was SPOILED beyond reason.  Heating pad, ice cubes in her water, well trained humans to provide for her every desire.  She was dominated by her sister, Boo who passed away 3 years ago.  We're glad Squeak got a chance to enjoy being alpha cat for a few years.  We've had several folks say they would hope to be reincarnated as one of our pets.  It gives me a little comfort knowing I did all that I could to give Squeak a good, no, great life.  And part of that was knowing when to let her go while she still had some dignity.

Good-bye Squeakers
October 12, 2009


What Friends Are For...

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On January 17 we made an impromptu trip to Bloomington and Canton Illinois to support one of Ben's friends, Chuck.  Chuck's mom, Linda, passed away after a long and courageous fight against cancer.  I did not have to pleasure of meeting Linda, but hearing the stories and accolades from those that did, she was an incredible lady that will be greatly missed by family, friends and the community.

Although the initial reason for the trip was not ideal, we were able to visit with Ben's mom and other friends that he had not seen in IL for a while.  We went to a Bloomington PrairieThunder game with Matt.  They are an IHL hockey team.  It wasn't quite like going to a Carolina Hurricanes game, but the players were determined and played with everything they had. (unlike some Hurricanes games, heh)  The game ended in exciting fashion with Bloomington winning a 9 round shootout.  We thought the goalies were going to have to shoot against each other.   Matt works at the Johnston's Hockey Pro Shop and is a little bit popular with the hockey crowd.  Walking around the US Cellular Center we were stopped time to time with folks wanting to chat with him.  After the game we hung out at a pub with Matt's buddies and waited for the PrairieThunder players, but we left before they got there.  We stopped by the hockey shop to check out all the gear.  Matt fitted Ben with hockey skates...some nice the kind Eric Staal wears.

On Sunday we browsed the antique furniture Ben's mom has up for grabs.  We tagged a few pieces we liked, now the challenge will be getting them to Raleigh.  After a nice lunch with mom, we headed to Canton, IL with Matt to attend the viewing.  It was good to see Chuck and Karmen and give them a hug in person.  I might be a little sentimental, but it was heart-warming to see Chuck, Matt and Ben together.  Chuck and Matt were groomsmen in our wedding.  Since they live in 3 different states, spanning the country, they don't get to see each other in person that often.  Something we talk about being better about, we just need to do it!  They were like three peas in a pod reunited.  We spent the evening with Chuck, his dad and Karmen. 

Monday was the funeral service and a luncheon at the church fellowship hall.  We did what we could to support Chuck.  I can't imagine what he's going through, but hopefully we made it easier for a bit.  For me at least, this is what friends are for.

Chuck, Matt, Ben


Last Thursday (July 20) my cat Boo jumped up on my office desk, something she does many times a day, sometimes TOO MANY times a day. She looked a little weak and acted like she had a hairball. I placed her on the floor so she wouldn't spew on my keyboard and nothing happened. I went downstairs to fix lunch and offered her some food, she didn't take it and again acted like she was choking. I took her back upstairs with me so I could keep an eye on her, and again she coughed and gagged. I realized she was breathing hard. I called my vet and she told me to immediately take her to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas in Cary. On the way she was having more and more trouble breathing, and had mucous falling from her mouth. My fiance' Ben was already at the hospital, relaying second by second updates on Boo's condition and our ETA. We were greeted at the door by a nurse, Boo was taken to the back and we were shown the waiting area.

After what seemed like forever a vet came to speak with us. He said Boo had fluid covering 90% of her lungs and was essentially "blue" when she arrived. He tapped her chest and removed 300 mL of fluid. The fluid would be tested and they wanted to keep her overnight to run more tests. He warned us that it could be heart disease or associated with the thyroid, but unfortunately in most cases with cats the cause remains unknown.

Friday morning Ben stopped by the hospital on the way to work. The facility is run pretty much like a human hospital with visiting hours only allowing "immediate family". Ben noticed a BIG difference in Boo's behavior. He said she was much more cuddly and purring up a storm. Ben went back that afternoon to pick Boo up to bring home. As feared the diagnosis was "Chylothorax or thoracic lymphangiectasia" Basically, Chyle is a lymphatic fluid that arises from the intestine to the pleural space (thorax). There were no signs of heart disease, so the results of the tests were inconclusive as to the cause of the fluid build-up. The hospital suggested a special low fat/low protein diet and Rutin supplement.

Friday night and Saturday Boo was doing well, wanting to be held and such, but would not eat. I finally started spoon-feeding her babyfood. She was loving this. Sunday night into Monday I noticed Boo's breathing was becoming more labored. She was eating more on her own, but I still spoon-fed her. She was hiding under the guest bed more and more. I called my regular vet to talk to her about the diagnosis from the vet hospital. She was very honest and said in her 30 year career, she had never seen a cat pull through this, and at best we had a couple of weeks.

Now the hard part, Ben is in Portland, OR this week at OSCON. He has adopted Boo as his own and knew the situation when he left. I know he really wanted to see Boo through to the end. After talking with my vet and seeing Boo's condition go downhill, Ben and I came to the conclusion that it was time to help ease Boo out of her pain. It was obvious the fluid on her lungs was building back up and she was uncomfortable. She was never going to get better and only get worse.

So today at 1:15 pm I took Boo to the vet and gave her peace. It's never easy to see a loved one die. Boo was a very special cat. She was, as my friend Jeff dubbed her, the Attention Whore. Boo could never get enough petting. She didn't wait for you to pet her, she walked right up and rubbed her head on your hand, arm, leg, etc. Or give you one of her famous head-butts. She had the softest of soft fur. She loved to sleep under the covers and always found a way to weasel herself into just the spot she wanted. She was 17 years old, she had a glorious (SPOILED) life and will be greatly missed!

Big Sigh of Relief


Today I felt like a huge burden was removed from my back, something that had been stressing me out beyond my usual stressed out point. I confirmed and booked the ceremony and reception sites for our wedding. Whew!

A few weeks ago we started the search only to find out our #1 choice, The Barclay Villa, is booked indefinitely. We had a few more places to check out. It was starting to look grim until we visited the Long View Center last Friday. I was ready to book it on the spot but the guide suggested we think on it. She was right, we had to find a reception site. We liked The Matthews House but they didn't have any dates that matched when the Long View Center was available. We considered several locations downtown, hotels, country clubs, but none were really working out. I called The Matthews House today just to double-check, and to my great surprise, it wasn't booked on our date, just on hold. There was still hope! They called me back a few hours later, it was available and I booked it!


I know there's much, much more to orangize, book, arrange, do for the wedding, but this was the major hurdle. I know we've picked a great day. I checked the NCSU football schedule and there's no game that Saturday. I won't have to miss it.

So far, the wedding fates like us.