Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happy Cat, Tired Mother

Actually, better make that "exhausted mother."

Remember how I thought we had everything with Penelope figured out? Turns out we didn't. On Tuesday night my mom came up to feed her and noticed she was acting weird (licking her face and turning her head). Then she saw that there was blood on the plate of food. Wednesday morning I take Penelope to the vet's office (again) and I find out her sinus has ruptured and she is draining blood and pus FROM A HOLE ON HER FACE. Vet thinks she has an abscessed tooth. Surgery scheduled for that afternoon. Two teeth removed. Cat put on a soft food diet for a week. Today, she is purring, eating bunches, and has more energy than she has had in three weeks. Praise. The. Lord.
Chillin' with my kitty.
This whole experience has left me mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially drained. I think I'm entitled to a little lie down...right?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Third Time's a Charm

This morning I had to take Princess Penelope to the internal medicine specialist.
"I hate you."
As you may remember we have been trying to figure out Penelope's mysterious illness for almost a week now. Initially it was thought to be her kidneys. But her kidneys looked good. Then it was thought it was her liver. But her liver levels were fine. Today it was determined that it is likely her pancreas. Side note: She actually has a really gnarly looking cyst on her liver but the doc said it was actually ok.

Penelope had another ultrasound and an x-ray. She also had bloodwork sent off to determine 100% for sure it is the pancreas. The doctor said the pancreas was enlarged and that many of the symptoms (which are also similar to kidney and liver disease) can be caused by pancreatitis.  She thinks that it is a chronic issue that has been giving her fits in the past (and possibly causing her to lose to weight over the past 2 years). We will know by Tuesday for sure. We should also know how bad things are as well. The doctor put her on a daily pill (Lord help us) so the next challenge will be trying to get her to take that. On Tuesday we should know if anything else is needed (fluids, antibiotics, etc.).

Penelope has spent the rest of her day since coming home walking around, eating, and drinking some cat milk.
She's not 100% back to her old self but hopefully she will be feeling better in a few days.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers! Hopefully the worst is behind us and we can focus on managing the pain and other issues for many looooong years.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Up, Down, and All Around

The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster. Unfortunately, no end seems to be in sight. The biggest low has been dealing with my cat. Mostly just trying to figure out what is wrong. We had an ultrasound done on Monday morning and her kidneys look fine. Turns out her liver is not. I've been trying to get her to eat for almost a week now. She seemed better, appetite-wise, on Sunday but Monday was trying. She had another appetite stimulant given today and tonight she has decided she likes raw shrimp and boiled chicken. I'll take it and pray she doesn't stop liking this for awhile. Honestly, I don't care what she eats as long as she is eating and what she's eating has nutrients. We go to a specialist on Friday to try and figure out how bad her liver is and what we need to do as far as treatments (fluids, antibiotics, feeding tubes, etc.).

Before all this started with the cat, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's now started treatment and the whole situation is taxing on the family as we try to stay updated with what's going on. Her situation has been very up and down as well. When she first had the biopsy she was told she didn't have cancer. Then she was told she did. Then she was told it was worse than they initially suspected. Then she was told she would need radiation and hormone therapy. It has not been happy fun times.

Personally, I have on going sleep issues. My sleep study came back and I don't have sleep apnea but my doctor is concerned about chronic fatigue. I'm thinking it's stress induced much like by stomach issues I've developed over the past 3-4 years.

Strangely, there have been up swings in all this.

I found out that the application I submitted (and have been praying over) is moving ahead quickly. The supervisor I really wanted to meet with to help me gain my license was able to work me in to her schedule (and my boss is letting me flex my own schedule to be able to be out of the office two days out of the month for said supervision sessions). And I've been able to get both mine and my cat's doctor visits all scheduled at times when it won't interfere (too much) with my work schedule.

I feel as though someone has flipped the checkerboard and sent the pieces scattering. It's taking me some time to collect all the pieces and get things back in order but with God's help I'll make it through this!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kitty Follow Up

Kitty Update: July 13, 2014
Photo from the patient's file.
Got a call from the vet today. Penelope's kidney levels are slightly elevated. Given her breed, the vet thinks that Penelope might have cysts on her kidneys and one may have ruptured throwing her whole system off. The condition is manageable but we need to pinpoint that this is the issue. Penelope is going back to the vet's early tomorrow morning to have an ultrasound.

I know that a cat seems like a small thing but I believe that God put me in protection of her little life and I intend to do just that. She has been my faithful companion and truest (albeit, most barf prone) friend since she decided to adopt me six years ago. I realize that many people are going through much bigger things and I get that. This blog is about transparency and right now I'm stressed to the max about the one little animal I've been put in charge of on a day to day basis.

So yeah, she's a big deal to me.

I'm praying that tomorrow Penelope will behave for her ultrasound. I'm praying that the vet will clearly be able to see what's wrong and that this will be something that Penelope can bounce back from quickly and we can manage easily for a long, long time. I'm praying that there aren't a whole lot of other cysts and that if one did rupture that it's not too big and nasty as to cause lots of pain for long periods of time.

Again, if you think I'm being ridiculous...I get it. To some people their pets are just that, pets. But I've been raised to care for God's creation in a loving and gentle manner and we've always treated our pets like part of the family. And God has intrusted us with some pretty difficult creatures (we had a dog and a cat with kidney disease and a cat with a heart murmur...this is all familiar territory for us). I fully believe though that He gave us these animals because without us they would have suffered. And no creature deserves to live that way.

Poor Penelope

Dear friends, I'm struggling. My kitty, the Queen of Bougie-ness, my constant companion, my baby, Penelope, is not feeling well.
Penelope in better times.
It started with a few signs that I wrote off: not waking me up in the middle of the night, drinking lots more water than usual, not crying for me at the top the stairs, peeing a lot more, not eating her cat treats...but then it took a turn for the worse. She completely stopped eating and spent two whole days in the back of my closet. By the time I took her to the vet on Saturday she hadn't eaten in almost two days and she was so tired and lethargic that she didn't even hiss or complain while the vet did a head to toe exam.

The good (bad?) news is that nothing is obviously and apparently wrong with her. No sores in her mouth (which she has had before), her heart murmur is not too bad (still low grade), no obstructions, no lumps, the toenail she lost last week is growing back well with no signs of infection, no temperature...the vet took blood work and I should know by Monday the results.

At this point I don't know what to hope and pray for. Do I want the blood work to come back showing nothing (and be happy that she doesn't have something long term and chronic)? Do I want it to come back telling me she has diabetes, kidney disease, or thyroid problems (so at least I can pinpoint what is wrong and start to treat that)? I would take the first option over the second if she would just start eating again. Then I would know that things aren't *too* bad yet. But if she doesn't start eating and the blood work comes back clean then we are at square one and we have to run more tests.
Chill-maxin' at the old apartment.
I know that this is one of those "trust in God" moments. But as a "parent" I want to make things all better. I want to fix the problem. Side note: If this is how I am with a cat imagine how I am with my kids. But I can't. I can't get her to talk to me and tell me what's wrong. I can't force her to eat (well, technically I can but I don't think it would be pretty). I just have to wait and pray.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Great Purge Continues...Plus 30 Days of Brave

I'm trying to keep the momentum going on the purging so I did a few little things. Starting with this:
See that in the back of the trash can? It's the 2009 calendar that I'd been holding on to. I thought I might go through it and pick out pictures I liked and then I remembered...I have better pictures and better memories from the time I actually went to England. I let myself get over it and dumped it. It was liberating. I also went through a magazine from 2010 that had been languishing in a drawer to see if there were any articles worth saving (there weren't) so that is going in the recycle bin. The goal from now until the weekend (when I will hopefully be able to go through the large dresser) is to go through a magazine a night. This doesn't sound like a lot but when you have years of knitting and psychology magazines just stashed around it will at least make a dent in things.

In addition to continuing the Great Purge I joined an invite on Facebook called 30 Days of Brave. Here's the description/directions:

Loved one you are INCREDIBLE, loved by God and capable of much more than you imagine. Would you be brave and see just how amazing you can be?
Let's see what we can overcome in 30 days. Let's be brave. Let's set goals and throw off the chains that hold us back. Let's RUN toward the goal of living life to the fullest. For 30 days I pray we see incredible progress and inspire others as we Brave our way to new heights.

On July 7th we will begin our 30 day experiment in living full. Why July 7th? Well because who doesn't love BBQ and Fourth of July desserts! And I think it's quite fitting to celebrate our hearts out and give thanks for independence and FREEDOM!

Here's how we start:
Identify areas of growth
Set 5 goals. 3 should cover these areas- emotional, spiritual and physical
Work it for 30 days
Along with reaching our goals BE BRAVE - try do something out of your comfort zone everyday.

Hashtag #30daysofbrave or post to the group.

1. Set realistic goals, even seemingly easy goals can get hard by week two.
2. Please refrain from specific weight loss goals. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living, don't diet - change your habits.
3. Being brave - please keep it legal and honoring ;)

What have you got to lose?
Change is hard, being bold is hard but comfortable living is a small life. If life shrinks or expands in proportion to our courage then LET'S LIVE LARGE!
Life is too short and precious to waste it on living less than our best. So why not try?

My 5 goals are:
  1. Walk outside every day for at least 20 minutes. Rationale: Being outside does something good for your soul. I'm not much of an outdoors (wo)man but I need the sunshine. The only downside to this will be if it rains.
  2. Say one positive thing to a co-worker each day. Rationale: I feel like a real grump at work sometimes. If I make an effort to smile and be nice more then maybe it will do my spirit and someone else's some good.
  3. Pray daily for my kids in Romania, my nonprofit, and that an application I submitted will be accepted within the next 30 days. Rationale: I pray for my kids but I want to be intentional about it. I want my nonprofit to grow so that more orphans can be impacted in a positive way. The last one is pretty self explanatory.
  4. Clean up one thing/area a day that I don't normally. Rationale: Goes pretty much hand in hand with the Great Purge.
  5. Do something out of the ordinary each week (go hiking, visit a new restaurant, go to a movie, get a massage, etc.). Rationale: This is really the living brave thing for me. I tend to be a homebody who prefers to sit at home and knit than get out and do. Not that there is anything wrong with sitting at home sometimes. In fact, I need to make time for that as well. But I'm much more likely to write off getting out and experiencing new things than I am staying in., I'm putting this up here so that I can be held accountable for staying on point. Care to join me?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Great Purge of 2014: Day 1

A few days ago I came across a blog entry on Facebook about purging. I read it, loved it, and was immediately called to action. I have a whole bedroom full of clothes, shoes, and knickknacks. I'm slowly taking over the bonus room in my parents' home. The basement has probably 50 boxes of stuff from my last move that never got unloaded.

It's time for the stuff to go.

Part of the prompting is from looking around and being slightly frightened by how quickly the mess gets out of hand. I'm a piler, not a filer which means that things accumulate on surfaces quickly. But I rarely need everything found in every pile. The other part of the prompting is because of some big life changes coming up for me in the next year. I can't get into all the details but basically...I need to par down. Plus, a few Sunday's ago when I was too tired to physically attend church I listened to an old sermon about getting rid of the "stuff" in your life. We let our possessions pile up and cloud our vision of God. We put the big house, the mountain of clothing, and the new boat before our relationship with The Almighty.

Again, it's time for the stuff to go.

I decided to start small (because I'm easily overwhelmed) so I started with my little dresser.
So much junk on such a small space.
I had a lot of paperwork so I went and found my "office paperwork" box from the basement. I had to clean and organize that first.
I made files and sorted all the loose paperwork in the box. I also took out all the stuff that wasn't household paperwork and put that aside.
Amazingly clean and organized box.
Then I was able to tackle everything on the top of the dresser. Since most of it was paperwork it got filed away. I went through my jewelry box and tossed old earrings that no one would wear, put unwanted jewelry in a pile to donate, and neatly put away all the jewelry that I do wear from time to time. I went through the bottom drawer which is a catchall drawer. I found some gift cards and went through those to see which ones still had a balance.
Shamefully all these gift cards have *some* balance left on them. I need to get out more...
The other drawers are workout shorts and sleep clothes. The verdict is still out on exactly how many pairs of Sofee shorts and pajama bottoms I actually need so those all stayed but I made sure that the drawers could actually close and that everything was in there in a semi-neat way. This was the result of the first stage of purging:
Neat clean dresser top.
Now my dresser has just a small pile of things that need my immediate attention (bills, paperwork to be filled out and sent off, etc.), my nook, and some decals for my car (which I'm giving myself a week to do and then they're off to the trash as well).

Looks worse than it is...I promise.
I still have a few things left to tidy up. The binder on the left is for articles that I find interesting. I'll keep filling it and then store it in the bonus room on a bookshelf. Takes up less space than a million magazines. The pile with the orange mask on it is memorabilia that needs to go in my keepsake box (but I will probably need a bigger box so I'm holding off on that). The white thing beside it is a calendar that I need to go through and pull out pictures I like (maybe...or maybe I just need to trash's old). The stack on the right is music that needs to go in a box (again, I need a bigger box than the one I have so I'm waiting). and the small pile with the blue pouch on top is going into the donate box.

Yes, this isn't "technically" a completed project because I need to get some more boxes and pack stuff away. But I feel so much more organized than I did this morning. The key is to keep it from piling up again.

I don't think I will do purging every day but I will keep at this. I need to downsize!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Quick and Random Update

As promised here is a quick update:

1. My 31st birthday came and went without much note. I had just gotten back from Romania the week before and was still trying to adjust. Plus, my birthday fell on a Wednesday so there wasn't really any way to go out and do something in the middle of the week. I didn't plan a big outing like I did last year when I went on a wine tasting tour. We'll probably go out to dinner some time but nothing big.
Birthday balloons from my sister in law and my birthday sign at work.
2. My transition back to the real world went ok. I didn't come back to the huge storm of work that I was afraid of but it still hasn't been easy. My work is very high stress and with no one else in my department there is no way to delegate tasks. Unfortunately, that means that most days I just want to be left alone. My mind is still thousands of miles away and I wish I could be there at camp or at the beach with the kids in Romania.

3. Because I've been so dead tired all the time, my doctor ordered me to take have a sleep study to make sure I don't have sleep apnea. They now do these in home so last week I got a kit mailed to me.
My in home monitoring kit.
It's not as complicated as it looks, thankfully. I did the two night test and I should be getting my results soon.

4. Last weekend I went paddle boarding for my best friend Megan's birthday. Her birthday was at the beginning of May but we hadn't been able to do anything big (it's her 30th so you know we had to do it up. Afterwards, we went to Treehouse for lunch and then to Ri Ra to hear The Geeks play (they're an 80's and 90's cover band). I wish there were pictures of us paddle boarding because it was really enjoyable but, alas, this one from the internet will have to suffice.
This kind of looks like us...ok, it doesn't at all look like me and Megan.
5. Yesterday I ran the Peachtree Road Race. Megan ran too and she pushed me to keep running even when I thought I was going to die so we made good time but today I'm sore. I'm not upset that she pushed me...just that I feel so old sometimes. Today I'm off to "rest" by painting trim at my brother's house.

That's everything for now! I'll try not to let too much more time pass in between posts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where Did The Time Go?!?

Can you believe it is July already? This year is half over! It seems like just yesterday I was stepping off the plane with my mom from our holiday trip to Romania and 2014 had just begun. I'm really beginning to think time speeds up the older you get.

Anyhow...I have some things to update you on like my birthday and paddleboarding and medical tests and how that whole "Transition Back to the 'Real World'" went...but for now I need to get some sleep... I have to clean my portion of the house tomorrow before work and I want to be rested. We're running the Peachtree Road Race on Friday and my uncle and sister-in-law will be here on Thursday. I need to make sure my "domain" is prepared.

Until then: Welcome to July!

Here is a picture of my cat sleeping for you to enjoy...because I don't have any July themed pictures and well, my cat is awesome and doesn't really need any other reason to have her picture on the blog.