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The Elf Himself

Living beyond a feline hemangiosarcoma diagnosis.

The Elf Himself

An update from our family, a few years down the road.

July 8th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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Hi all, I have no idea who remembers our journey as it’s been a while.  I wanted to make a post on the second anniversary of Elvis’ passing but time likes to move in strange ways (more on that later).  Lately it’s been going by too quickly.

The year he died was tough.  I thought losing him would be the bottom of the barrel, but it turns out I had some personal issues to overcome as well.  I got pretty sick, ended up having my gallbladder taken out, lost a lot of weight and dealt with several random medical events over the course of the year.  During and after Elvis’ illness my husband and I had started trying for a second baby, and as it turned out that was one of many things that just did not go according to plan.  So by the end of 2015, I was a wreck in all ways.  That holiday season, I did my best to “give it to God” and work on healing myself so I could move forward with other life plans.

Then in March of last year, sometime around Elvis’ birthday, I got a positive pregnancy test.  The pregnancy went well, and we welcomed a baby girl on November 10th.  Her name is Loire (yes, like the Loire River in France) and she is thriving.

But before that, for my son Cadoc’s 7th birthday and when I was about 27 weeks along, we opened our hearts to a new furry family member.  We adopted a 12-week-old puppy from our local shelter, christened him “Flash”, and he’s been with our family almost a year now!   He isn’t a tripawd, but he is a lowrider and he’s full of bouncing puppy energy.  Seeing that we’re a novice dog family, he’s been a joy even in spite of his stubborn streak.

Last but not least, Vesuvius and Bella (Elvis’ sister) are doing well.  We have finally gotten Bella to lose a pretty significant amount of weight on a wet food only diet.  She was veering dangerously close to diabetes territory as an overweight senior cat, but she looks fantastic now.  V is now 14 years old and is a beautiful/wonderful guy in his golden years.  I love him dearly and I’m trying not to let our newest additions steal all of his thunder.  If our experiences with Elf in particular taught me, time is fleeting.  All of these critters deserve all the love they get and more.  I still have not shelved the desire to rescue a differently-abled animal one day, but right now, I’m soaking in the relative bliss of three healthy ones.

Soon after we got his cremains back, I sent some off to be infused in glass and the resulting pieces were mounted in bracelets.  I wear mine often, and think of him just as much.  His sweet “honk” of a meow, his unique eyes, his funny Roman nose… yeah, I miss him dearly.  I’m grateful he is/was a part of our lives, and for second chances and new beginnings.

 

Wishing you all the best life has to offer,

Jo

(I put in some pictures below the cut, hope you enjoy.)

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Elvis’ Story and Pictures

April 18th, 2015 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

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Some background: Elvis came home to us not long after I lost my childhood cat, Twix.  Twix was 16 years old and had been living with chronic renal failure for a year.  I had/have a lot of unresolved guilt over his passing because it was violent and sudden.  Twix was such a sweetheart, always was.  I didn’t have the time or courage to give him the passing he deserved.  That was in June of 2007.

We adopted Bella from my best friend’s mom who could no longer keep her in July, and I believe I took Vesuvius in for a routine visit in August when my vet said, “I have someone to show you.”  She took me in the back room where they had a horde of kittens at the time, dug through a box like she was trying to find a toy, and produced this amazing orange kitten and shoved him in my arms.  “This is Elvis.  Don’t you love him?”  We looked each other in the eyes, and he started purring, and it was over.  I didn’t want a cat right then, I’m pretty sure I said “but, but, but” as she lead me back.  My heart had other plans.

Much like Twix, Elvis was a lover.  Much like Twix, he had a host of medical issues starting fairly young.  He was always anxious, had issues with anxiety and overgrooming starting as at around two years old.  Two years ago he had to have a PU surgery.  Last year he was diagnosed with the thankfully benign vestibular syndrome… interestingly enough, another condition far more common in canines.  I’m not thinking rationally now, but there’s a pessimist in me saying his body was breaking down slowly, and if there’s anything greater than us in this world, it wanted him back.

The bright side of all this is over the past several months, I have come to realize something important.  He was his own cat, no doubt about it, but he was also life’s way of giving me eight more years with my childhood best friend.  And I was Elvis’ second chance, because he’d already been given back once before.  We made promises to each other.  I couldn’t keep the promise that cancer wouldn’t take him.  That was out of my hands.  But we never gave up on each other, and I was able to give him the end days that I couldn’t manage for Twix.

Starting with the halcyon days of kittenhood…

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This is why we call him “Elf”… as you can see, he has big, pointy ears.

 

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There was a little consternation (lol) on first meeting, but they’ve been best friends since then.

 

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I think Bella is going to miss him as much as I do.

 

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With his boy.

 

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I don’t like to put pictures of myself on the internet, but this is one that had all of them so close together.

 

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Some things never change.

 

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His final picture, taken a few weeks ago.  He wanted to be made into the bed.  He always loved being under the blankets with us.

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It wasn’t enough time, but I’m thankful for what we had.

April 18th, 2015 · 16 Comments · Uncategorized

I’m so sorry that I’ve not been able to write before all this. I kept meaning to sit down and write more, but you know how time escapes. This isn’t the update I wanted to give. I wanted this blog to be much longer.  I was hoping for years and got only a few months.

We had to let go of Elvis today, at about 6:15 PM. After struggling with recovery for a good six weeks post-op, he was doing so well. We got him to the point where he was playing with laser pointers, jumping on the cat condo, snuggling with his sister and loving his boy again. I’d been noticing some periodic heavy breathing, but it would resolve and his activity level would go back to normal. Early this week, for old time’s sake, he even ran at my legs and took them out from under me–he gets a little overly excited by dry food. Elvis was probably more a dog than a cat in many ways.

We had opted not to do chemo. Actually it wasn’t even really presented as a viable option in January, and I guess in retrospect they may have given us a few more months if we had gone that route. I can only assume he had micro mets in his chest that those early scans missed. The ultrasounds this afternoon showed significant pleurisy around his lungs, and given the fact that his vitals besides that were relatively normal, the doctor suggested cancer as a culprit. She said we could try tapping it, but even if it was heart failure, tapping would be a repeat process and probably not increase his life by much.

We’ve been buying his life with quarters in a jukebox, one song at a time, for the past six months. He’s been worth every single cent. At a point it wasn’t about money, but about quality. We couldn’t accept the idea of tapping him over and over, with more medication, more unpredictable wheezing and misery.

We chose to end it on a good note. Besides not eating much and a stressful afternoon, we had an upbeat day. He even tried to play with me earlier today. The blanket gopher (my hand under the sheets) was out to get his belly and he responded in full form, just as long as he didn’t have to actually get up and move. My husband and I were planning a much belated anniversary getaway, but we noticed Elvis wasn’t walking well and wasn’t responding to food or treats. He had a stress bowel movement after being startled and we noticed wheezing as he pushed, and that’s when we decided to take him in, prepared for the worst.

I’ve never been present at a euthanasia. I’m a little bewildered in how it was so difficult and so easy all at once. The process was very kind. They gave us plenty of time with him before and after. We held him for a long while.

I’m going to miss him so much. There will be more songs. I hope he’s somewhere close, listening.

Elvis, thank you for being a part of our lives.

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Slow but steady… the light at the end of the tunnel?

March 3rd, 2015 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Hello all, Jo here.  I’m Elvis’ mom, sorry it’s taken me a little bit to get around to this.  I meant to post his back story first, but that will have to wait because we’ve had a wonderful day.

We’re coming up on 7 weeks post surgery now.  Up until today, he spent virtually all his time hiding under the bed, only coming out for food, toilet, and brief snuggles.  I think I figured out that it was a cumulative issue, because it’s been a pretty cold winter for those of us on the Eastern seaboard.  He’s been sleeping on the vent under our bed!  Poor guy has a chapped nose and goopy eyes from all the dry heat.

Anyway… he surprised me today by coming out mid-afternoon and socializing with all of us, including our young son (who he has been skittish around since the surgery). Not only that, but it was such a nice day I decided to open up the windows, and Elf climbed into one all by himself! Well, he had some help from a step stool, but he got up, thoroughly enjoyed window time for around an hour, and got down without help too. He’s been very chirpy today and slept out in the open on my computer tower later in the evening.

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I couldn’t be happier with his progress.  It sounds silly, but I feel like he’s forgiven me.

 

 

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