A bittersweet weekend

This weekend was a real mixed bag of highs and lows. I tend to be an eternal optimist with most things, but this weekend proved to challenge me to the hilt to keep that spirit up. Allow me to explain.

The sweet

 As most of you know, I held my garage sale this weekend. It was the coolest thing to have some followers/fellow bloggers come all the way out to my quiet little community to take in the event!

 Attire was a clean farmer’s jacket (yeah baby!) and my Make Mine Beautiful work apron to hold my millions. 🙂 And who’s that cutie pie standing right beside me?

photo from Ocean Soul

 One guest, all the way from Kamloops that happened to be visiting my home town was sweetie pie Karen from Ocean Soul. (Thanks sister Ester for taking the pic!)

What delightful gals! I first met them at another garage sale home. I was walking over there in the pouring rain, with a coat covering my head, when Karen turned around and recognized me instantly. “IT’S DONNA!!!” I felt like an absolute movie star until my coat leaked and I started getting drenched. 🙂 Thanks for my 1 second of fame, Karen. 🙂

Oh my goodness… Karen’s home is so beautiful! And CLEAN. She claims to have an ocean home while living in a desert. You can check it out how she uses white HERE.

 THIS POST had me LOL. 🙂 She’s funny too!

And then Cindy and LeeAnn, both readers, came by to snoop out the junk. Gaaahhhh I wish they faced the camera, they were sooo adorable! Chickens! 🙂 But so darn sweet.

That cute little dude to the right is Kim’s son. 

Kim is also a reader and they came in hopes of snagging the highway I sign they spotted in a blog post. I simply made sure they did. 🙂  Nice score! So glad they came! The sign landed in the most perfect of hands I can see. I’m thrilled this sign gets to land in a very cool bedroom rather than being stored in my garage! Thanks for this awesome shot, Kim!

I also had a few other readers come by but with the pouring rain, they preferred no photos (I so get that!) Honestly, the sale was a success alone in just meeting these wonderful folks and made the day totally sunny despite that darned pouring rain!

So fun! Thanks for the visits, all! I had a blast meeting you! Now just don’t tell a soul how messy my house was when you took the mini peek upstairs, ok? 🙂

Why my house was a mess

 If you follow FJI Facebook, you’ll already know what’s going on in my private world. My sweet little 18 yr old buddy Beethoven fell ill,  so I took him into the vet. I was terrified. I’ve dreamed this visit many times over and I was hoping that was one dream to never come true.

But it did. I was able to bring him back home after the tests but not without issues. Once he got home, he could no longer walk.  I’m so glad this happened on a weekend so I could completely cater to him.

While waiting for the test results, the garage sale continued on. Running up and down stairs to care for my baby vs. selling things outside was challenging but my son came to the rescue when needed.

And then the phonecall came with the test results. My sweet kitten had stage 4 renal failure. (stage 4 is the worst) There’s no cure. His kidneys are failing and there was talk of bringing him in that very day to be put down.

My heart sunk and I booked it in. But as I continued to care for him, I just couldn’t do it that quickly. His sweet face was so bright still even though his body failed him. After another chat, it was determined to ride out the weekend as he was still eating and drinking and contact the vet on Monday.

Sunday terrified me. He was so sick that I made another appoint. to put him down. And then something clicked and his eyes went bright again. He made marked improvement with all the pampering and am happy to report can at least do litter box duty on his own now. Talk about a yo yo of emotions! I decided to hang tough until I could talk to my own vet again on Monday.

These days, my little guy gets rides on this pillow wherever I go. I prop him in all his favorite spots when I’m also there.

My heart is just breaking for the pending outcome of this, however I will do my best to focus on enjoying him today and try not to be too busy dreading tomorrow.

Mother’s Day Fun

My son refused to let Mother’s Day slip by without some recognition. So later in the day once I knew my lil’ guy would sleep for a few, we raced off for a quick Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Latte (YES)  and picked up an unexpected dessert at the meat place.

Clancy’s triple chocolate fudge cake. Oh my word. Locals, you must try this stuff! They had samples out that did me in. And it’s cut in strips so you can freeze it in small sections. Perfect!

And for dinner, my boy insisted he buy with this own garage sale money, so he treated me to my alltime favorite pizza evah… Yarrow Pizza House Special. Decadent! This is no slap happy crap in a pan. This is real food. Ask for extra sauce and extra cheese and you’ll have it made.

I’m glad the weekend held some wonderful times, for they helped keep me sane. Thank you dear friends and son!

As to what’s in store next? Guess we’ll just have to find out together.

Update: Monday AM

Here’s our little traveling setup. Note the cut litter box so he doesn’t have to jump. It’s working! He’s now standing up to drink his own water too! A major key appears to be well fed and hydrated. I’m offering it constantly and he’s taking it and as you can see, it’s all pretty accessible.

I couldn’t be more proud. 🙂

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  1. Good Morning Donna! I so would have loved to have come to your garage sale… and the mini peek/tour! Your son sounds like such a sweetheart, using his garage sale money for your dinner. My 13 year old used her babysitting money to buy me flowers and chocolates, we are lucky moms!
    I hope today is good news for you about your sweet little Beethoven.
    xoxoxoo

  2. Ahhh…Donna, I’ve been lifting y’all up in prayer over your kitty and Mother’s Day. On my way into Seattle today with my mama…to visit her ailing 90 year old mama and my critically ill big brother…I mentioned what you’re dealing with and asked her to pray for you. (To remind her of who you are…I just have to say, “The one who left her stuff in her neighbors’ yards.” : ) My 16 year old feline fur baby is currently curled up on my ankles…I’ll sure be keeping you in my prayers as your new week unfolds!

    God Bless you!

    Julie M.

  3. What a weekend rollercoaster of emotions for you! Glad you got to meet some fellow bloggers – what fun. So sorry to hear about Beethoven. I wish you strength and courage when the time come to say that final goodbye to your sweet old friend.
    I will be thinking of you.

  4. Wow! That was some weekend!! And that pizza has me drooling here..yummers!!
    So sorry about your little furry babe…that is a tough one. Will be thinking about all of you over these next few days.
    Glad the yard sale was a success…and what fun to me some followers!! So cool!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  5. Hi Donna

    Feline CRF Part 1

    There are a couple of things that may be worth consideration as further treatment for renal disease at this stage. In addition, we have become absolutely convinced that a few cats with hyperthyroidism have total T4 values in the low end of normal range and that even more have total T4 levels within the normal range. Consequently, in cases in which hyperthyroidism seems very likely based on the clinical signs we have begun using free T4 analysis as a way of sorting out which cats might have hidden hyperthyroidism. Since kidney failure can cause increases in the free T4 it is necessary to consider using a T3 suppression test if the free T4 is high as further confirmation of the condition in cats with renal failure.It is sometimes more practical just to do the T3 suppression test but it is more involved. I would consider re testing for hyperthyroidism with the history you give for your cat.

    At the present time there are two relatively new recommendations for cats with renal failure.

    Calcitriol (Vit D3) administration appears to help slow the progression of renal disease and its use is advocated by some specialists for virtually all cats affected by renal failure. I do not know how other vets obtain this medication but we have been using a compounding pharmacy to get it.There is some conflicting information on the use of calcitriol and we have not been as aggressive in recommending its use as its advocates. The cases we have used it in do seem to benefit and we are much more likely now to recommend it than in the past.

    Enalapril (Enacard Rx) and amlodipine besylate (Norvasc Rx) have traditionally been advocated for hypertension that results from kidney failure but now veterinarians are starting to use them earlier, hoping to prevent the hypertension and hoping that there will be beneficial effects on the kidneys. I think it is reasonable to do this since many cats will develop hypertension if untreated and there are potential benefits.

    Fluid therapy, usually given subcutaneously, has been the mainstay of treatment for renal disease in cats. It is relatively easy to administer fluids and most cat owners can learn to do it. Not everyone is comfortable about using needles and not every cat is cooperative enough but when it can be done fluid therapy seems to help a lot. I prefer to start it before a crisis has occurred and to use a maintenance routine of fluids several times a week. Not all vets are comfortable allowing clients to administer fluids and some vets feel that fluids are not helpful until the renal disease is advanced. While I disagree arguments can be reasonably made for both approaches.

    There is information on the website on renal disease and a link if you wish to read up on.
    This is not my website but does explain the issue a little easier.

    http://www.felinecrf.org/how_bad_is_it.htm

    Hope this helps

  6. Feline CRF Info Part 3

    It is important not to give up on the treatment of one life-threatening illness due to the presence of another. In this case, the renal failure is important to treat even though there may be a potentially fatal liver mass.There is a lot of information on our site on treating kidney failure.Amore recent recommendation is consider the use of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) such as enalapril(Enacard Rx) to keep hypertension under control and improve circulation in the kidneys. The rest of the recommendations subcutaneousor intravenous fluid therapy as needed, potassium supplementation,phosphate binders if necessary, appetite stimulants if necessary and good supportive care still hold.

    I do not want to give you false hope but there are two or three patients in my practice who I thought would surely die within a few days — more than six months ago. Take this one day at a time, spoil your cat a little and trust your instincts. You almost certainly will know when the time has come.

    Good Luck !

  7. Donna Part 1

    Feline CRF Info

    There are a couple of things that may be worth consideration as further treatment for renal disease at this stage. In addition, we have become absolutely convinced that a few cats with hyperthyroidism have total T4 values in the low end of normal range and that even more have total T4 levels within the normal range. Consequently, in cases in which hyperthyroidism seems very likely based on the clinical signs we have begun using free T4 analysis as a way of sorting out which cats might have hidden hyperthyroidism. Since kidney failure can cause increases in the free T4 itis necessary to consider using a T3 suppression test if the free T4 is high as further confirmation of the condition in cats with renal failure.It is sometimes more practical just to do the T3 suppression test but itis more involved. I would consider retesting for hyperthyroidism with the history you give for your cat.

    At the present time there are two relatively new recommendations for cats with renal failure.

    Calcitriol (Vit D3) administration appears to help slow the progression of renal disease and its use is advocated by some specialists for virtually all cats affected by renal failure. I do not know how other vets obtain this medication but we have been using a compounding pharmacy to get it.There is some conflicting information on the use of calcitriol and we have not been as aggressive in recommending its use as its advocates. The cases we have used it in do seem to benefit and we are much more likely now to recommend it than in the past.

    Enalapril (Enacard Rx) and amlodipine besylate (Norvasc Rx) have traditionally been advocated for hypertension that results from kidney failure but now veterinarians are starting to use them earlier, hoping to prevent the hypertension and hoping that there will be beneficial effectsonthe kidneys. I think it is reasonable to do this since many cats will develop hypertension if untreated and there are potential benefits.

    Fluid therapy, usually given subcutaneously, has been the main stay of treatment for renal disease in cats. It is relatively easy to administer fluids and most cat owners can learn to do it. Not everyone is comfortable about using needles and not every cat is cooperative enough but when it can be done fluid therapy seems to help a lot. I prefer to start it before a crisis has occurred and to use a maintenance routine of fluids several times a week. Not all vets are comfortable allowing clients to administer fluids and some vets feel that fluids are not helpful until the renal disease is advanced. While I disagree arguments can be reasonably made for both approaches.

    Hope this helps

  8. Donna Part 4

    Feline CRF Info

    I have had pretty good luck using cyproheptadine (Periactin Rx) forappetite stimulation and wehave also used diazepam (Valium Rx) when necessary.

    I think it is more important that cats eat well, than to try to control what they eat, when renal failure is present. So I lean towards letting my patients eat what they prefer, if they won’t eat the diets that are better for them. I use Kellogg’s motto on this: “No diet is good for someone until they eat it.”

    I think that it is reasonable to use medications for hypertension, even if a clinic doesn’t have the means to measure blood pressure and possibly even when it doesn’t appearto be present.Enalapril (Enacard Rx) has been shown to help in some renal disorders independently of its blood pressure effects and amlodipine (Norvasc Rx) really seems to help many of our renal failure patients feel better, as well.

    I hope this helps you again !

  9. Donna Part 5

    Feline CRF Info

    Managing a CRF cat will produce a roller-coaster of emotions, as you find yourself over joyed or in despair over the latest BUN and Creatin numbers. Try to remember the old medical adage to “treat the cat, not the numbers. One of the best things you can do for your CRF cat is to try to relax, keep stress for both of you at a minimum, and enjoy your close relationship as you travel this road together.

    Secondly, adding a small tablet to your cat’s routine every day. Cats have been found to do extremely well on a class of drugs known as ACE inhibitors. These drugs are commonly used for blood pressure problems in people. These drugs change the flow of blood through the kidneys, allowing more blood to be filtered per heartbeat. They also increase your cat’s appetite and help with weight gain. Cats do very well on these tablets and they help a lot. Cats with kidney failure will take these tablets for the rest of their lives.

    If your cat is in stage 2-4 kidney failure your vet will give you the option of fluid therapy. A simple infusion of 300 mls of saline under the skin on average about once a week will do wonders for your cat’s kidneys as it corrects the dehydration and also helps to flush out the poisons that build up in the body from kidney failure. Thus your cat feels better, is more lively and eats better. It takes about 10 minutes and your cat goes home with a lump of fluid under it’s skin which is absorbed over 6-8 hours. It’s amazing how much better they feel the next day. Some vets prefer to give an intravenous drip over a day in hospital. This has the same effect on the cat’s body as the fluids under the skin. Cats whose kidneys are worse will come more often than once a week and vice versa

    Some cats develop an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the body. The prescription diets to help a lot to control this imbalance but in some cases it cannot be easily controlled and your vet may decide to put your pet on Calcitriol to aid absorption of calcium from the food he eats. Some cats also develop a potassium deficiency and this may have to be supplemented daily as low potassium in the body may lead to weakness. One out of ten cats with kidney failure unfortunately lose the ability to produce a hormone called Erythropoetin which is responsible for causing the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. These cats become very anaemic. Erythropoetin injections are available and they will help greatly for a few months. Unfortunately most pets develop a resistance to the injections in their bodies and they stop working.

    Kidney transplants are available in some developed countries. Usually a donor matching cat is found at a local shelter, one of it’s kidneys are transplanted across and, the donor cat is adopted by the recipient’s family. This only really extends the lifespan of your cat about six months and your cat has to be on anti rejection medication the whole time. Your cat also has to be in early, for example, stage 1 kidney failure for it to be considered a good candidate for surgery.

    I have included a diet you can try

    1 1/3 cups (2/3 pound) ground chicken, turkey or lean heart

    4 cups cooked white rice

    4 eggs

    2 tablespoons cold-pressed safflower, soy or corn oil

    1,500 milligrams calcium

    1/8 teaspoon iodized salt

    1/8 teaspoon potassium chloride (optional , for a saltier flavor)

    1 teaspoon parsley, finely grated carrot or other vegetable (optional)

    5,000 IU vitamin A

    Taurine and other cat vitamins (about 5 days’ worth)

    50 milligram level B complex (or 10 milligrams per day)

    2,500 milligrams vitamin C (½ teaspoon sodium ascorbate)

    Mix everything together in a large bowl. Serve raw if the cat will accept it. Otherwise, mix all but the vitamins together, bake about 20 minutes in a moderate oven and then wait until it cools to mix in the vitamins. Occasionally, substitute 1 to 3 teaspoons of liver for part of the meat.

    Best of Luck !

  10. Donna,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your baby kitty. I would keep her and nurse her for as long as it takes.

    I’m so glad your sale was a success and that you met some terrific bloggers.

    hugs
    Sissie

  11. What a weekend for you. Highs and lows..
    We lost our 12yr old kitty and then 3 weeks later our 17yr old had enough. Makes your heart break..What ever you do will be right.

  12. Hi, Donna. What a bitter sweet weekend for you. I am glad the sale went well and that you met some blog friends. Poor Beethoven. Hugs for you and prayers for both. Get all the advice you can and then do what is best for him. I know it is hard. I’ve been there. xoxo

  13. I have always considered this pending loss the price we pay for having a pet love us. Beethoven has lived a long life and been loved well. Take comfort in that love to give you the courage to let go if it is time. {{{hugs}}}

  14. Oh Donna, your poor kitty and poor you. I wish there was something I could do, I’ll be thinking of you.
    I’m glad your garage sale went well and you met some lovely people.
    Take care,
    Anne xx

  15. I thought of you yesterday not even realizing what was happening with your fur baby. My Sasha (RIP) also had renal failure and it was a hard 3 weeks until she left us. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers Donna.
    Yeehaw for a successful garage sale and getting to meet some bloggers/readers ~ well that’s just gravy. So glad that your boy spoiled you rotten ~ you deserve it! xo

  16. G-d looks out for our fav little animals and SUPER busy wonder women like you! Hang in there, ok? I would LOVE to sneak off to your neck of the woods…not happy down here on the gulf coast with toxic beaches…grrr! Keepin’ you in my prayers, always!

  17. What a roller coaster ride…sorry about your cat but glad you got to meet some wonderful fellow bloggers! Hope you got rid of most of your ‘junk’.

  18. Oh Donna, i am so sorry about your baby…:( I know how hard that is. I had a kitty who had the same thing…and she went in and out of that brightness you talk about…They seem to snap out of it for awhile. You are such a good cat mama catering to him. He knows what you are doing and loves you even more for it…

  19. Donna, I am glad the sale was a success. I know how hard sick kitty is for us pet lovers. Your son did you proud (good parenting skills). I will hope for more good days ahead.
    Smiles, Alice

  20. I went through those ups and downs last week. My little Lucy (min schnauzer) had been battling for a couple of weeks (heart failure) until we had to make that gut wrenching awful feeling decision to let her pass. Be there for your kitty, he knows you love him! And I hope he can pull through.

  21. oh, donna, i’m so so sorry about your kitty. i can’t even read this without thinking about my own sweet baby and welling up with tears. the roller coaster of emotions is almost unbearable. i hope you all find comfort.

  22. Glad to see your baby is doing better…. woulda smiled if I really thought you”d post it… lol
    Thanks for the fun!
    And your house is beautiful!
    LeeAnn

  23. Thoughts and prayers for Beethoven. I know EXACTLY what you’re going through. They become so important to you and part of your family, this is something one does not wish ever to happen.

    congrats, on the other hand, for the sale success! Lucky people…the treasures they must have gone with! :o)

    have a good day!

  24. HI, Donna, so sorry for your kitty’s health problems. I had to put down my dog 5 years ago & it was heart breaking. I know the feeling. Happy Mother’s Day to you. THanks for stopping by & always for your thoughtful comments. xoxo

  25. So sorry to hear about Beethoven’s prognosis, that isn’t what you wanted to hear. I am just amazed that he is going in the litter box! A rally like that is pretty amazing and testifies to how loved he is. Thanks again for making my weekend that much more special…you are a gem!

  26. Pink, if you read up on the topic, pain isn’t really the right word. Some symptoms from the illness can be uncomfortable, such as an acidy (sp?) stomache. Food is the key for that one.

    I’ll also see into getting some fluids into him on a regular basis (via needle) to entice flushing out the toxins. Water and moisture based food are really really important at this point.

    I’m doing my homework. Count on it! And when the time comes, I’ll do the right thing by him.

    Donna

  27. Oh such sorrow, I feel your pain. 18 years of loyal purring, mouse hunting, companionship and pure love, and now he is seriously ill. Can’t imagine what you must be going through. I would be heartbroken too if it were my baby (little dog of 15 years and all kinds of things wrong with her) that had to be put to sleep.
    I’ll keep Beethoven in my thoughts and wishing you and your son lots of strength.

    Hugs, Renée
    a longtime lurker from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  28. I JUST saw this on facebook today Donna. I am SO sorry. I am praying for you today. I don’t care what anyone says…. the thought of losing a pet is tough. Praying for peace for you and comfort for you kitty. Sending love your way…..Kelli

  29. So sorry to hear about your beautiful fur-baby. I carried my best buddy Jazzpurr around on a pillow, hand fed and gave him water just as you are, until I knew the time was right. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Only you will know when it is time – they have a way of telling us when the time has come for us to let them go.

  30. I am glad you had an enjoyable grage sale despite the weather.
    Sad news about kitty, but you will know what is best to do and when the time comes for whatever. You are right that keeping a cat hydrated is most important in kidney failure. I’ve had some cats go quickly with renal failure and I had 2 “success stories” that lived a few more years and did not seem unhappy or in discomfort. One perked up on her own even though repeated blood tests showed no improvement, and the other (a male) needed almost daily sub-q fluids. Some cats do better with that than others. You know your cat best.
    Sending hugs and wishing you all comfort.

  31. My daughter’s cat went into renal failure when she was at college. I cried more that last week with that cat than I have before or since. Our pets trust us for everything and finally, with their lives. Hope he’s comfortable and happy for as long as possible.

  32. Donna, my heart wrenches for you regarding your kitty crisis. Poor baby (for both of you)! I had to put down my sweet dog of 15 years in August of 2009. About killed me. Sometimes animals show more resolve on living than humans do. He might surprise you and live another year or more! – Karen

  33. Like all the comments before mine–I’m so very sorry to hear about your beloved. Sadly, I’ve been through this 3 times–it never got easier.
    –But to know the love of a “fur-child” has to be one of God’s best gifts! For however long we’re blessed to have it!
    Catherine

  34. Looks like the garage sale was a success. But my heart goes out to you and your sweet kitty. My Mom lost one of her dogs last spring from the same thing. Just old age…everything shutting down. She brought her home and her and the other dogs just waited it out. Her other three dogs slept around her. Her boy dog would not leave little Crissie’s side for three days till she was gone. As long as they are not in pain…it’s the best thing for them to be home with you.

    I still to this day regret that I put my little doxie down years ago. But she was having strokes and she looked me in the eye and cried out like I’ve never heard her cry and I thought she told me to. Still I would have given anything to have had her home with me to die in her bed. She was 17.

    I would do anything to make that possible for all my pets. So cherish this last bit you have with your kitty. It is a gift.

  35. Aw, I’m so sorry about your cat. I know how hard it is when you have to take care of a sick pet and the thought of taking them to put them down. 🙁 You are taking great care of that cat and I’m sure Bethoven has had a wonderful home with you.

  36. You and your kitty are in my prayers. I know what its like to worry and pamper and cater to and worry some more about a cherished pet. Please take comfort in the fact that you have provided a wonderful life for him. What blessings God gives us in our pets!

  37. There’s nothing quite like the love of a furry family member. Wishing lots of home comforts and sweet love for Beethoven–he’s lucky he has a devoted mama to care for him.

  38. I have just found your blog today, and I am so saddened to hear of your cat’s health problems. The pic you posted is so sweet, with his every need taken care of. Some pet owners do not know that many vets will make a house call for that final act of love. We did that for our 18 year old Lhaso Apso. It was so much more peaceful to not have her so upset at being in the car, and then walking into the vet’s office. Please know that it is not a hard process for our fur babies, but only for those of us who love and care for them. My heart goes out to you. Linda S. in NE

  39. I’m so sorry to hear about Beethoven! If you haven’t read about Biologically Appropriate Diets for pets, it sounds like it might be a good idea. It’s a little work, but it pays HUGE dividends in healthy, longer lives for loved furry family members.

    And congrats on your garage sale success. I’m inspired, and am going to join our neighborhood garage sale this month. :o)

  40. I’m so sorry about your precious cat, Beethoven. My cat, Smudge, could be Beethoven’s twin, except Smudge has a black “smudge” on his chin. From your description, they must have been soul mates with their temperament and personality; same thing with snuggling in to sleep. It made me teary reading about Beethoven. I know you will miss him terribly! He was a beautiful cat!

  41. Donna, you INSPIRE me so much! Pets are family and family is the HEARTbeat of the home. Beethoven was so blessed to have yall for family. The love never leaves…….God bless you and your son always hugs~n~hearts!!!