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Thursday, December 02, 1999 It's December, the last month of 1999. Boy, this year has gone by quickly. We rescued four kitties (Ciara, Blackie, Jackie and Peter), lost two (Blackie and Bobby). We got our house paid off, as well as all of the credit card debt. Brian finally got all of the windows installed and the patio roof has been torn down, the sliding doors installed. They had been sitting at his shop for almost three years. Next Thursday, the roofers will be coming to tear off the old roof and put on the new one. The outside of our house will almost be done. The only thing left will be to put the new patio roof up, and he's going to be making that of polycarbonate, the same thing he used in Phoenix, earlier this year. My mom had surgery for breast cancer and is now cancer free. It isn't over for her, yet, though, the doctor's visits. She has another one next Wednesday and I will be in that one. She's still telling me things that the doctor told her last week. As she told the doctor, her mind stopped working and taking in what he was saying when he mention the possibility of more surgery.

Tuesday, after my shower, I started looking for something to wear. I decided to try on a pair of the jeans I got at CostCo, before our October trip to Disneyland. I guess I hadn't mentioned those, but I got a big size. The biggest we could find, a size up from the ones that I have. Got four pairs. Got home, couldn't get them on. What gets me is they were called "slim fit". How on earth they can call clothes in the high teen sizes "slim fit" is beyond me. Anyway, I was able to barely get one of the pants on. Brian was getting really tired of the leggings, and wanted me to wear something different at Disneyland. Fortunately, I didn't need to use them. It would have been very, very uncomfortable. So, Tuesday, I grab a pair. They fit!! Yay!! I guess not eating sugar and exercising regularly is helping. Great news. It's slow going, but, it's going. And it didn't get on me all at once, either.

Monday afternoon I was outside playing with the dogs and the cats. Making the barking dog bark. He walked away from me and I noticed that his left side, almost at his back leg, didn't look like his right side. I went over to him and asked "Bud, what's this?" and I felt the lump. It was huge. It was soft, not at all hard. It felt like one of the fat lumps the cats have. Or maybe an abscess, but it was just so big, four inches in diameter. It didn't seem to bother him, but I was so scared. I came into the house and called the vet's immediately. I can't bring him in by myself, because I can't pick him up. I needed to make a late appointment and the first one was last night. He was acting fine, eating, pooping, peeing as he always does. He was running and barking and playing. But I was still scared. We got him in and the doctor did a pretty thorough examination. He aspirated the lump and got a little fluid out of it. He said it looked like fat, "See how greasy it is?", and he examined the cells under a microscope. The diagnosis? A lipoma (lie-poe'-ma). A lump made of fat. The same thing the cats have. He remarked on Buddy's weight and Brian told him we had cut Buddy's food intake in half (we only put food in the bowl once a day, instead of keeping it full). He said not to reduce it again. It's been his experience that the less you feed a heeler, the slower his metabolism gets. That once heelers get weight on them, it doesn't come off. He did say that Bud is in good shape. Brian also asked about what the doc does about lipomas. Well, as long as they don't interfere with the dog's movement, he just leaves them alone. If it became difficult for Buddy to move because if it, he would take it off. Whew. I was really worried.

Southern California weather, under normal conditions, isn't conducive to the Christmas spirit. It's even worse this year. We have had very little rain since July. I hope this changes.

Last week, we got some beef jerky at CostCo. I got a piece stuck between a couple of my molars. I flossed, but it seems that it only pushed the jerky deeper. My teeth are very close together and the jerky started to bother me. A lot. I picked at it and finally was able to get it out. It hurt for a couple of days. It was on the opposite side of my mouth from the root canal and I started chewing on that side. It's been a while since I've used that side. I hadn't even realized it, but the tooth with the root canal started to hurt. It was pretty bad yesterday, but it feels better now than it has since before I had the infection and the root canal. That tooth has bothered me ever since the dentist worked on it. I guess chewing over there pushed it down or something. Weird.

I've been having problems with loading up lvdesigns. It's worse in the daytime and I just checked it and it's not working again. I have to call the company who's responsible for that part of the relay. *sigh*

My mom mentioned the other day that one of the women who she used to visit with had just had breast cancer surgery. She heard this from Betty, her neighbor. Betty had asked mom if she wanted the woman's phone number, to talk about it. Mom said no. I told her yesterday, if it was me, I *would* want to talk with her, to compare notes. To find out how similar her experiences were to mine, even if she did have different doctors. So, mom called her. This morning, mom told me that her friend does have Kaiser and she had to do the same thing that mom has to do next week. She explained what the visit is about and what they will be telling mom. This woman didn't have a mastectomy, but they did take her lymph nodes and the cancer has spread. She's in radiation therapy longer than mom is supposed to be. The doctors will be tatooing mom's breast so that the therapists know where to aim the radiation. Mom felt much better after talking with her friend. I'm so glad she did. Even though we don't always see eye to eye, I love my mom dearly and I don't like to see her worrying herself sick. I want her around for a long time.

Welp, Brian just picked up the check. He's going to the bank to get a cashier's check for the escrow company. Now, we're going to owe again. I don't like this feeling. But one good thing. He's busy again. He said he can be as busy as he wants, but I asked "for how long?"

Peter is becoming so darn lovable. He will climb up into one of our laps (nice thing about this little guy, he doesn't have a favorite human), and just fall over, purr and go to sleep. Jackie is becoming more, gosh, I want to say friendly, but that's not the right word. He's not running when we walking in his direction. When he does run, it's with his tail fully upright. He even kind of bounces when he runs, like he's playing. I guess he's not as frightened of us. And before, when I would try to pet him and he didn't like it, he would run off. Now, he will sit there and start to move, but if I get him on the top of his head, doing small gentle circles, he settles back down. If I do it long enough, he will begin to purr. And then there are times when he doesn't mind being petted. It's hard to read how he is going to accept attention. We've been doing our best to talk to him when we see him, carry on one sided conversations. He watches and listens intently. I hope this is breaking down his resistance.

We haven't seen Cleo in a couple of days. Big Opie has been waiting by the door each night this week for food. I bet if I held the door open for him, he would walk right in. I haven't seen little Opie in weeks. It's possible that the other cats come later. It's also possible that they are no longer around.

I'm excited about getting a new roof. It's going to be blue asphalt. For so long, Brian fought against asphalt, but has come to the realization that we just can't afford what he wants. Not and have it installed, too. Having somebody else do it, they have to worry about cleanup. It isn't going to be a lot of fun with the cats, though. Next Thursday, they'll be taking all of the shingles off and putting down plastic. They are supposed to be here by 7:30. I'll have to keep the cats in the house. And that doesn't include the garage. When they take off the garage shingles, they'll be looking into the garage. I'll have to trick Lonee into the house before they get here. The other guys won't be so tough, like Kirby. There are plenty of hiding places in the house. Behind sofas, under the bed, in the hole of the kitty entertainment center, on dining room chairs, or here in the office. I find it hard to believe they can have it done in two days. But it sure will be nice. This wood shingle roof makes me real nervous at times, because of the fire hazard it poses. Besides, the blue shingles will go nicely with the house.

The holiday cards are up.


Sunday, December 05, 1999 Well, it's been a pretty uneventful three days since my last entry. My ISP never got back with me about the slowness of the connection, which doesn't please me, but the connection has been working better. But I don't know if that's because it's the weekend. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Thursday night, Brian grabbed the checkbook for the home equity loan. His brother was out waiting for him. "I'm going to go buy a tractor," he said on his way out the door. What? Yeah, it's $6,000. It'll take us about an hour to get up there and an hour back. "Bring dinner home" I shout out after him. He got home around 7:30 and his brother has a friend who has a dumptruck and they are supposed to go get it today sometime. Brian went back up there yesterday morning because the guy selling it wanted cash, not a check. Brian got the check back and gave him cash. He also got the manual for it.

More news from the Brian spending money front. This just amazes me, how when I wanted to get a heat press for less than $600, he was squawking. I guess it just depends on who's spending the money. Brian was out front yesterday, washing my truck. His little friend Chucky was out there with him. Now, Chuck is one of those guys who is always talking about selling all of his vehicles and buying something new. He does this every couple of months. He has a supercab Ford truck like Brian's work truck, but it hasn't been driven nearly as much as Brian's. And it's white. Anyway, Chuck was saying something and Brian blurts out "I'm buying Chuck's truck." I thought he was joking. "For how much?" Chuck is just standing there, listening. "Thirteen thousand." I about choke. I don't want to make a big scene in front of Chuck. "And what are you going to do? It's the wrong color. I suppose one of the first things you'll do is spend thousands of dollars getting it painted." You know, sometimes I like being wrong. This wasn't to be one of those times. He's going to buy the truck and he's going to have it painted. *sigh* Chuck's wife is very strict with spending money and she came over. I told her at least Brian told me he's going to buy Chuck's truck. He didn't do that when he got his. The first I knew that he had (and he had custom ordered it) was when it was time to go pick it up. "A year or so later," I told her, "the phone rang and I answered it. It was a salesman from a RV place, looking to talk to Brian about the vehicle he had looked at earlier in the week." I told him I would give Brian the message and I surely did. I laughed when I told Sheri about this, but I wasn't amused at the time. I did some finger wagging in Brian's face, told him to stay the hell away from those places. Some people just can't window shop. Brian is no lookie loo. He sees, he likes, he buys. Yesterday, he tried to joke his way out of it, saying that I've spent as much money as he has. WHAT??!?! "Yeah, how much do you spend a month on the computer and the internet?" he asks, "about a thousand?" Oh, yeah, right. More like a couple of hundred. Figure the property is $130,000, it would take me over ten years at a thousand a month to spend as much as he did. I've only been online a little over three years, since July 1996. And I didn't have a website until November. And that was a free one. So, I hadn't really spent much on the internet until the middle of 97. Oh, and let's not forget the commission and taxes and escrow on the purchase of the property. So far, we spent $136,000 on the property. Then we have to add the equipment. He bought this tractor for $6,000. I'm going to have to keep a list of this somewhere. Anyway, Sheri did think this was funny, most likely because it wasn't happening to her. She said she would have kicked Chuck out if he did anything like that. I think Chuck's jealous. *grins* Oh, well, it's only money and we don't have anybody to leave it to. It was nice being debt free, though.

So, of course, when I found out how much getting the shopping cart designed and set up for lisaviolet designs was going to cost, I didn't bat an eye when I told hubby. (I did choke when I got the estimate, but I figure paying somebody else do the hard stuff, if it doesn't work, they have to fix it, they'll have the headaches, not me, well, that's worth it.) Honey, I just got the estimate. It's more than I thought, but I will get a 10% discount for being a previous customer. It was $1,050 minus $105. So, it's costing $945.00. *gulp* Brian didn't say a word. I mean, what could he say? *snicker*

I have to go get some kitten food this morning. Jackie never did like it, but I think Peter may. I hope he does. Right now, he's a regular little pest when we give Georgie is prescription food. Little pumpkin Peter has his little nose right there, nudging Georgie away from the bowl. I've taken to getting a small handful of the kibble and tossing it into the room, letting Pete eat that and giving Georgie a chance to eat in peace. Friday night, I decided that it would be a good time to introduce Pete to the word "no" and the squirt bottle. I set it for a fine mist and everytime he got near Georgie's food, I said "no" in a firm voice with a little squirt from the bottle. Well, it worked so well that Pete wouldn't let me near him yesterday. Poor little guy. It took hours of playing with him and cajoling him before he wouldn't run off when I was near. He woke us up this morning, climbing onto the bed with his loud purr. Time for me to get up and give him chicken. He's okay with me today. *whew* But I figure if he has his own special food, he'll leave Georgie alone.

Friday, I opened the screen door and left it open while I sat outside. Peter came out and was all over in no time at all. The dogs watched him with some interest. Hmm...... He was in the rosebushes, climbing up the big cattree in the yard, checking out the bank.... He liked it. Jackie stepped out and looked around, sniffing a little here, a little there, but always keeping close to the door. When the dogs came up, he ran back into the house and lay down in a sunbeam on the carpet. Not so Peter. This guy is going to be a handful, just like Ciara. We still haven't been letting Ciara out for long on her own. We just can't trust her and it's too bad because she likes it so much out there.

Well, Brian just came in from talking with his little friend Chucky. Seems that Chuck and his wife went looking for vehicles last night and couldn't find one they liked. The ones within the amount of money they were willing to spend weren't what they wanted. The fully loaded ones where too small (they have two growing kids, both in school) and if they got one big enough, it didn't have any extras, was a stripped down model. So, why buy something you don't want when there's no problem with the one you have? Brian told Chuck not to worry about selling his truck to Brian, because Brian really doesn't want to spend the money (no, Brian wants to buy a trailer to live in when he starts working on the property, I just bet you and if he gets this truck, he *can't* buy a trailer), for Chuck not to feel obligated to sell the truck to Brian. When Brian told me about this I read to him what I had written and he chuckled.

My mom called yesterday and she's been giving Felix the antibiotics I brought to her last week. I think Felix used to have owners, then they just left him or dumped him. Mom has taken to feeding him and he will let her pet him. Last week, something happened to one of his paws and he wasn't walking on it and he had stopped coming by. Mom was really worried about him. So, I took some amoxi over to her with instructions on giving it to him. She had said he was putting no pressure at all on it, even when he sat there eating, and this worried me. When she called yesterday, it was to say he was limping, but walking on it. This is good news. But I'm glad he's taking the pills.

I think Opie wants to come in. When I open the door at night to feed the cats, he's right there. When I feed them, he waits impatiently for me to dish up the food and I noticed that he has a little breathing problem. I wouldn't doubt if this is why he wasn't around for that week. Recuperating from an injury. Poor guy.

Okay, one last thing. I know that there have to be a couple of webmasters or wannabe webmasters who read this diary. At least one or two. Come on, get your creative juices flowing and send a submission for BDTV. The more, the better. They don't have to be fancy and complicated, just entertaining. You know you want to do it, so go ahead and try. What do you have to lose? And you just might have lots of fun doing it, find something that you really enjoy. That's how I got sucked into internet life. *grins*
BDTV Submission information


Tuesday, December 07, 1999 Ever have a day that started out sucky? That was my day yesterday. Peter woke us up, jumping on the bed and purring (I guess we'll just have to get used to it). It's nicer than DeeJay whining, that's for sure. I got up, let some of the cats out, went into the kitchen to give the others their chicken. Once the breast was gone, I poured some catsip into a bowl then I went into the garage and removed the barriers to the cat door and opened the blinds. Walking past my bathroom on the way to the office, I see that one of the cats had puked. Standing on the toilet seat, the puke made a nice splat on the floor, little pieces of chicken in it. Great. I went into the bathroom and set the faucet on slow drip, went back to the office and turned on the light over the catcam chair, and turned on the computer, waited for it to boot up. Went online and started the camera. I thought. Once I realized it wasn't on, I tried starting the program again. Still nothing. Damn. There was no response from the camera.

So, the day started out sucky. I checked all of the connections and nothing had come lose. I didn't have a clue what was wrong. I figured I should reinstall the software. I removed the program, then tried to find the CD that has the program. I have two of these. I couldn't find either of them. I told Brian that I wouldn't be exercising. I was so frustrated. I was over by the filing cabinet and happened to look down. One of the cats had stepped on the button on the power strip, turning it off. I turned it on. Power's back to the camera. Whew. I was able to exercise.

So, the morning bike ride out of the way, I come back on. I'm able to access lvdesigns until about mid morning. Then, the trouble started. I still hadn't heard back from my ISP. I call them, no answer. Frustrated, I call the billing department, to see what kind of a refund I would get if I cancelled service right now. Nobody answered. I had to leave a message. I call again and click 0 for the operator. No answer. The phone rang at least fifteen times. I hang up. I go through my last bills from the credit card company, looking for the last one where I added another year of service. I find it, call the company. Sorry, it's over sixty days old (it was September), can't give me a credit. But they can put it in dispute. *sigh* I write that off. I went into the garage and dug through the old newspapers, looking for the computer link section. I find it, find a new ISP. Call them, set it up on a month by month basis. I send more email to my current ISP. I send another fax regarding cancelling service. Do you know that I've still not had any response? Anyway, I got everything set up with the new ISP. At least I can connect to lisaviolet designs, but the cathouse takes longer. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

Over at the cat fights board, somebody posted a link for an IQ test. I took it. I'm not sharing my score, but I was in the top 98% of people who have taken it. It didn't help with Maggie meowing in the background to get out, it's hard to concentrate and I lost time. Anyway, other people started posting links and I told them before I signed off last night to post them over at the fun links page. There are a bunch of new ones there this morning. So, the day went on and in the afternoon, I call access1 again. Somebody answered the phone this time, transferred me to tech support. I don't want tech support. I hang up and call back. I tell her that I'm going to cancel service. I want to know how much I'll get back if I cancel service ($198.00). She asks if I want to talk to someone. I told her that I would love to talk to someone, but I don't want to have to leave another message. I've left messages, sent email and faxed since last Thursday and nobody had gotten back with me. She said the man she was transferring me to was more than "tech support". He was higher up than that. I sigh, say okay. I left a message on his voice mail. Of course, they always ask for a short message. I left a basic outline of my efforts to contact them and the fact that if the problem isn't resolved, I'll go to the other ISP. "As a matter of fact, I'm online with them as I leave this message." Within a half hour, the phone rings. It was him. He could understand my frustration. He gave me his extension, should I have problems like this again. He was really, really nice. He did a traceroute and found out where the problem was, sent them an email immediately and sent me a bcc (for those of you unfamiliar with this function, when you send email to multiple people, putting their addresses in the BCC line will hide all of their addresses from all of the recipients; I'm sure you've all gotten email with about a hundred names in the to: spot? Well, using BCC keeps that from happening) of the email. Hopefully, it will get taken care of today. I'll keep this other ISP for the month, since I paid for it. It was only ten dollars, anyway. But I'll be keeping their information handy.

Last night, Brian asked me how Peter's vet appointment went. I didn't take him, his visit is tomorrow I told him. So, I called this morning. Yep, the appointment is today. So, I have to get ready for that. No big deal.

This morning when I gave the cats their chicken, Jackie flopped over on the floor for me to pet him. Another baby step?

We haven't had any rain to speak of this year and guess what they're calling for a chance of starting tomorrow night? Yep. Rain. The roofers are supposed to be here Thursday morning. Fun.


Wednesday, December 08, 1999 I afraid for DeeJay. I was bad. He didn't like taking his medication, he fought it like the devil. So after four days, I quit giving it to him. Well, he's sick again. He seems really sore, too. I started him back in on medication yesterday morning (I talked to the vet about it). He has more of an appetite this morning, but he just seems so sore. Remember before that from the way he was squatting it looked as if he was constipated. It didn't look like he was trying to pee, you know the way they kind of hold themselves up a little and when they poop they stand up higher? Well, he was standing up higher. I think he was straining so hard he pulled some muscles or something. Because, when he walks, he's walking like it hurts. I told Brian to make sure I give DeeJay his medicine for the full week. Even if I say "yes", like "quit bugging me". It's really important to finish this course of meds. I feel like such a bad meowmie for not having done so before. I could have prevented this. If he's not feeling better tomorrow, I'll take him in. He is eating a little. I got a can Hill's senior soft food at the vet's yesterday and I added a little Fancy Feast to it. I added water and made it into a gruel. He ate about half of what I gave him this morning.

Peter's vaccination affected him yesterday. He's worn out. When we came home, he ran out of the carrier, boy, he hates that carrier. He cried and carried on when I put him in it. At the vet's, when I took him out, the newest vet tech, Becky, came in and put the scale down and weighed him. He's gained over two pounds in less than a month. He's growing like a weed. She held him and he started to purr. She liked that. The vet came in, took Pete from her and Pete purred for him. The vet told me again what a great kitten Pete is and did a little exam, and little Peter got his shots. And once home, the carrier door was opened, he was out like a shot. But he didn't hold it against me for very long, not like the water. Last night, I watched "You've Got Mail" (boy, Meg Ryan is outgrowing *cute*, that's for sure; both she and Tom Hanks looked worn out, not fresh anymore; makes me feel kind of good because I haven't looked fresh for a decade, at least) and had one of the crocheted blankets over me. Peter curled up against me after Rusty got annoyed and left in a huff. We watched the movie together. And this morning, and this is a first, Peter is here in the office, sleeping in one of the chairs. He wants to be near me, I guess.

I'm making progress with Jackie. He let me pet him last night when I fed them for dinner. And he's been letting me pet him more without starting to bite me. He isn't fighting, it's more overstimulation. Last night, he had my hand in a death grip and I gently blew in his face. That startled him, he jumped back and hissed at me. But he let me go. *grin* And I was able to begin petting him again. This is good.

It's really cold this morning. Brr...

I'm taking my mom to the doctor for her appointment this morning.


Thursday, December 09, 1999 The roofers are here. They're on the roof. I can only find eight cats. I got up this morning before six and was able to get most of them in the house. I called Lonee a bunch of times and she came in from the garage to the house. Brian shut the garage door, so there would be no cats out there. I let Rusty out to pee, got him in, let Georgie out for awhile, got him in and then Boney wanted out. I went looking for him and I couldn't see him. He had gone into the garage and was crying to come in the house. This was before the workmen were here. Now, nobody wants out. Gosh, ten men on the roof, pulling up old wood shake, sure is noisy. Before they arrived, Brian said "is your bathroom halfways clean?" knowing damn well that it wasn't. So, before seven this morning I was cleaning my bathroom. Cleaned the mirror, wiped down the counter and sink and washed the floor and cupboard doors. I put down a clean throwrug. "They might need to come in and use the toilet," was what Brian had said. Brian put the dogs up in the shop and he said Junior is really scared. Good thing we have someplace to put them.

I'm tired and worn out. My day yesterday. I mentioned that I was still concerned about DeeJay. I decided that if he was still acting sick when I got home from my mom's visit to the hospital, I would do my best to get DeeJay into the vet yesterday. I left to pick up my mom at a quarter til eleven. We got to the hospital at a quarter after eleven and it took us a couple of minutes to get from the parking structure to the waiting room. Mom started acting like she was in pain on the way in, because we were walking fast. When I asked her, she said she was okay, but I thought she was going to pass out. We slowed down. She seemed to be doing okay once we weren't going so fast. Once in the waiting room, they gave her this long list of questions to fill out. She handed it to me. It was about her family history. I had only gotten a few answered when we were called in. They took her height and her weight (she's gained six pounds since the surgery) and took us into another room to wait for the oncologist. We were still working on the form. Mom has a tendency to get frustrated with what she considers form redundancy. After answering some of the questions, I'm beginning to think this is just something to do so the wait time goes by more quickly. I have mom laughing, this is good. Still in the process of filling out the form, the doctor comes in. He took the questionaire from me and started asking mom about her history. Then he began to tell us his recommendation for treatment. It's a good thing I was there. First off, he wanted her to take a medication that is an "anti-estrogen". It seems that the cancer did have estrogen in it. He pointedly asked me if I was getting mammograms. The two tumors were fairly large, but he said there was a good chance that they were from the same cancer because they were found so close together. She would take this medication for five years. He discussed the side effects. Increase of hot flashes, an increased risk of uterine cancer. And a vaginal discharge. If at anytime the discharge becomes bloody, immediately come in to be tested. He said that uterine cancer is pretty easily managed by a hysterectomy. And that this medication also has a tendency to clot the blood so it's good that she's stopped smoking. Because that does the same thing. Then, he brought the conversation to his next recommendation, which didn't go over well with mom. And this is where it was good that I'm there. Chemotherapy. He said the word and mom said "no". He said, "well, you may not want to hear about this, but I'm going to tell you anyway." He said that even though her lymph nodes were clear, there was still a chance that she may have cancer elsewhere in her body. The chemotherapy would be for that. My mom is a proud woman, who has always had a nice thick head of hair, and she said "I don't want to lose my hair." This doctor, this oncologist, this balding man said "it will grow back." Mom looked like she was ready to cry. He told us how it would work. There would be four treatments, one every three weeks. So, it would take nine weeks. The treatment takes an hour, they have an IV drip going into the system. The way the patient reacts depends on the patient. He said it's been his experience that people who are more active have a better reaction to it. They don't have the nausea and they aren't as tired. Mom still was in her denial mode. She started saying something about how she didn't want people going through her stuff when she died. She told the doctor about how people have yard sales when their old relatives die. I didn't understand what she was saying, what point she was trying to make. What did this have to do with prolonging her life? This is what I mean when I say mom doesn't think logically. I questioned him about the timing of all of this. How does this work? At the same time as the radiation therapy or what? He said that the chemo treatments are done first, then they go on to the radiation therapy. So, we would be talking about fifteen weeks of treatments.

The chemo information passed on, he began to talk about the radiation therapy. Kaiser contracts this out and I think it's at the same place I had my mammogram. He said that a radiation therapist will be calling her. He told her the chances of this all working and he said that she's in the twenty percent range. Twenty percent that it won't work. Which also means that there's an eighty percent chance that she'll be cancer free for many, many years, possibly the rest of her life. Then he wanted to check her out and she mentioned the pain in her leg (I had told her she should). Concerned, he wanted to look at it and he did an exam. He reminded us of what he had said about cancer being elsewhere in her body. After the exam, he told us to go wait in the waiting room. We did. We sat there, not knowing what we were waiting for. I asked the woman behind the counter. We were waiting for mom's card. Finally a nurse came out with paperwork and mom's card. Mom was to have the x-ray and the blood test before we left the building. The first thing we did was go to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled. We waited for a while, then mom asked them if it would be okay if she went and had this other stuff done. We went to x-ray, they took her right in. Finished there, we went back to get the prescription. Then down to the basement for the blood test. Once that was finished, we were on our way back home.

On the drive, I tried to explain to mom my understanding of the reason behind the chemotherapy. She was stuck on the fact that her surgeon told her she was cancer free. Why would she need chemotherapy? I tried to explain to her that the oncologist, the cancer specialist, told us what he felt would be the best course of treatment and tried to figure out a way to explain to mom, without sounding like I was talking down to her, so that she would better understand it.

"Okay, say a little, itty, bitty cancer cell got free from your breast and is traveling through your body. It's so small that it can't be seen with the naked eye, but only with a microscope. And it's too small to be detected from the lymph node test, because it hasn't started growing yet. But once it gets a chance, it will. The reason for the chemotherapy is to kill off any of those little floaters."

She digests this on the way home. She talks about her friend Betty having mentioned getting a wig. I reminded mom that her hair grows really fast. She's so afraid. She's fixing on her hair now. I tell her it's only a matter of months and this will all be over. And hopefully, it will give her many more years of life. She waffles. She's thinking about the chemotherapy. She says "if Betty's home, will you talk to her about it? I want a second opinion." Sure, I'll talk to Betty. When we get to mom's house, she calls Betty and Betty comes over. I tell Betty all that happened. Betty also thinks mom should go for the chemotherapy. Mom says she'll sleep on it. My job done for the day, I come home.

DeeJay still wasn't acting right, so I call the vet. "DeeJay is just not feeling right, is there anyway possible you can get me in today?" It was after three, I called shortly after I got home from mom's. I was put on hold, the Charlene came on the line. "How about 5:30?" she asked. "I'll be there." In the meantime, I caught up on what was happening online. It wasn't much. The phone rings. It was my mom. "I've decided to go with the chemo. I'm going to call them tomorrow." Good, I tell her. Brian comes home, brought the shop fax machine with him. The newer one we bought for here at home never worked correctly. He wanted to set it up right now, but Peter was under my feet and I didn't want to bother him. "We'll do it later," he says, "but it has to be done tonight." Okay. Hey, can we go out to dinner? When I get back from the vet? I asked him. I had makeup on, had curled my hair, it was a shame to let it go to waste. Sure. He would take a shower while I was at the vet and be ready when I got home. Then Brian left to go look at the paperwork his mom had gotten from the people who were going to install a new garage door for her. I asked Brian who was paying for the door and he said "she is". *whew* Brian's really good at footing the bill for stuff around her home. I think that's probably ended. Be home before I go, I tell him.

So, he leaves, comes home. His mom wants me to look for a toy online. Brian remarks that "I thought she wasn't buying anything for anyone this year." Oh, come on, Brian, it's for Joe, he's her grandchild, just a kid. But I know what Brian meant. She made such a big deal when she came over here on my birthday "I'm not doing this anymore, for Christmas or birthdays, it's just too much money for me, with all of the grandkids and all." I look at the clock, spit, I have to get going. I grab the carrier, grab the cat and off I go. I was the last appointment of the day. At about ten to six, the doc comes in to look at DeeJay. DeeJay is full of crap. Constipated. It could be a couple of things, the vet suggests an x-ray to be certain. Sure. DeeJay has lost two pounds since his last appointment, the one a month ago to the day. I mentioned the fact that DeeJay had been doing the same thing the last time I brought him in, the squatting that looked like he was trying to poop. He said "yeah, I remember you had a hard time trying to figure out what he was doing." He took DeeJay to the back and they took the x-rays. DeeJay got an enema (he didn't like that one little bit and shouted out his anger) and they put him in a cage in the back, with a litterbox. He came back and explained that they had given Deej a stool softener to loosen him up. We waited for the x-rays to develop. *sigh* The news isn't great. DeeJay is really backed up. The vet asks me if I'm sure this has never happened before. "If it had, I would have brought him in," I tell him. The vet diagnoses idiopathic megacolon. He said this means that only idiots can diagnose it. *weak grin* He shows me on the film where the colon has stretched out and the wall is very, very thin. He points out all of the fecal material still inside of DeeJay. His swollen colon is full of it. I'm feeling lightheaded. He gives me the options and his preferred course of action. First, we have to get DeeJay's colon cleared out, then we have to make sure that he's going as he should. He will be on Propulsid and vetasyl. I had purchased Propulsid for Bart, April last year. I had to get it at the people pharmacy and it was very, very expensive. Once his system is working properly, the vet wants to operate. To remove the bad section of the colon and reattach the remainder to the rectum. The way he talked, it seems to be a pretty common procedure for him. He said that we could attempt to manage it with medications, but that it would always be there. He said that it would be best to have it removed. So, I guess that's what we'll do. He wants to do bloodwork, which really has me nervous. I'm afraid of what they'll find. Because the last time they did bloodwork, DeeJay was in the beginning stages of kidney disease. And DeeJay will not eat the prescription food. He hates it. I'm supposed to call this morning around ten (in about a half an hour) to find out how DeeJay did overnight.

When I got home, Brian was all nice and clean, ready to go out. I wasn't. I asked him did he mind, I just wanted to stay home. I was exhausted. I did a quick search on the internet and found this about megacolon (constipation and your cat):

Poor DeeJay. At least he doesn't have to be bothered by the roofers. Of course, I can't find the Propulsid. The only thing I can figure is that it had expired and I dumped it into the garbage disposal. *sigh*


Friday, December 10, 1999 Remember how I said Tuesday started off sucky? Well, it's still sucky. The roofers? Remember they came yesterday? Well, they got the old roof off and the plywood and black paper down. Then after they left, the tiles were delivered and plonked down onto the roof. One of the cats that was missing yesterday was Bart. I found him in the tube in the backyard. I think he snuck out with Brian when Brian put the dogs up, because I know I didn't let him out. Bart had been there all day, he was terrified. And remember that I mentioned the possibility of rain? The rain that has been nonexistant this season (season begins in July)? It showed up last night. Just a drizzle, not bad enough I guess for the guys to work in. So, this morning, we let a few of the cats out. Get them in before the roofers get her. Brian put the dogs up, bringing in a bag of catfood from the shop. One of the dogs had climbed a bunch of wood to get to the food and the opened bag was hanging down onto the floor. Cat food all over. I was scared about Buddy because he had pancreatitis years ago and I didn't want this to bring it on again. He wasn't acting right, his tail between his legs. I watched him last night and he seemed okay, ate treats without a problem. I notice this morning he's limping. Now I know which dog went after the catfood. *sigh* Buddy. Anyway, the cats in, the roofers are on the roof. I look out back, I see Georgie. I told Brian and he went back to get George and George ran into the tube. He wouldn't come out. The roofers had been here about an hour and the rain started pouring down. They left at 8:30. Georgie is still in the tube. And the rain is still pouring down.

I called yesterday about DeeJay around ten. They were still working on him, he hadn't pooped at all. A while later, the doc called. They gave DeeJay a mild sedative and the vet gave him a high enema (that's the one with the bag and I guess the stuff streams into him). Then the vet had to manually work all of the feces out of DeeJay. DeeJay was pretty sore afterwards. He will be for a while, I guess. Right now, surgery isn't an option because the vet is concerned about DeeJay's rectum. I called a couple of times yesterday and they said how grouchy DeeJay is. Yup, that's my DeeJay. He hadn't eaten anything, either. Poor guy. I'm supposed to call around 9:30 to see how he's doing. I hope he can come home today, then we'll start on his medication and doing our best to get him well enough for surgery.

My mom. Oh, my. She called yesterday to let the oncologist know that she had decided to go with the chemo. He told her that in looking over her history (and at this point, it looks like the family history list was for more than taking time, because quite a few of mom's family died from heart disease) he's concerned about her heart. A few years ago, mom had to have tests run because of a skip in her heartbeat. At least, that's why she thinks they ran the tests. They had done one set of tests and the results were inconclusive. So, they ran another, still nothing about the results. At this time, they also found that mom had a problem in her esophagus, the acid reflux type thing and that's what they determined her "heart" problem to be. Anyway, the oncologist saw something in her history that he didn't like. So, she's not on any medication yet, he wants another set of tests run on her heart before beginning any other treatments. This is understandable. They don't want the treatment to kill her. She called this morning, early, saying she would be leaving early. I didn't realize that her appointment was for today. I'm glad they're getting her in quickly. Both of us would like this entire thing over and done with. And the sooner they can get on with treatments, the sooner it will be over with. But I'm really glad they are taking such good care of her and being so thorough. She's going to call me when she gets home.

Well, it looks like the rain is letting up. It's almost time to call on DeeJay. And Georgie is sticking his head out of the tube. Guess I'll go see if he'll come in.


Monday, December 13, 1999 Well, DeeJay is home. He's getting vetasyl once a day in his food and propulsid at least twice a day, preferably three times. He's been very good at taking his pills. But he's not very good at letting me see him poop. If he doesn't poop at least every other day, I'm supposed to take him back to the vet right away. He ate like he was starving to death when he first got home. And he ate quite a bit Saturday. But I never saw him poop. After all the work they did on him, his little heinie was all nice and clean. Sunday morning, when I got up, it was dirty again, so I know he went. And there was a fair sized stool in the litterbox, very, very fragrant. I opened a can of pumpkin and added that to some moist food and put a little milk in it. So, he's getting that additional fiber. Some of the other cats like it, too. Saturday night, Georgie was in the garage and he pooped, but one was stuck to him. I hope it was grass that was holding it on. Sunday it was gone, so whatever it was wasn't bad. I've never paid much attention to the cats pooping habits, but I guess that's something I'll be doing from here on out.

It looks like mom's heart test went okay. She starts chemotherapy tomorrow. This morning, I had what Hayley Mills referred to as "a scathingly brilliant idea". I called our local cable company and set mom up for five months of the movie channels. I figured it would be a good thing for her to have while she's recuperating from the treatments. Her schedule may be all out of whack and I kind of thought that maybe she would enjoy it when she can't sleep in the middle of the night. Anyway, they needed her social security number to set it up, so I had to tell her. They'll be there Friday to install it and I'm going to be over there and give them a check for $75.00, the cost of the box and the premium service for five months. I'll mark down on my calendar when to call and cancel it.

The roofers got here this morning. Brian hadn't put the dogs up and Junior went nuts. I ended up putting them in the garage. Benny was hiding in the tube and I got him to come out far enough for me to get him. He ripped up one of my favorite cat shirts bringing him inside. *sigh* I also wanted to listen to some CDs and I picked out about 15 or 20 and loaded up the CD player. It wouldn't start. No power. I pull it out from the shelf and who should be hiding behind it, but Kirby. He had knocked the plug out of the back of the CD player. I'll be glad when all of this stuff is finished. Lonee is still freaked out from the new smells in the garage. At night, she wants out. She goes from door to door, crying. I know she's not sick because she's eating and drinking okay, it's just that she's confused about what's happening in her home and she doesn't like it. Nothing has changed for her outside. Poor little girl.

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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