July 31, 2006

There are no words

I was just reading on Zach Braff’s blog about a recent episode of Dateline and I gotta speak. A 29-year old mother of 5 announced she had cancer, with only 9 months to live. Her friends and family rallied around her, supporting her financially by raising money to help pay her outrageous medical bills. They offered emotional support, standing by her, crying with her, and praying while she went through the ordeal. She posted regular updates at online support sites, describing her horrible chemo treatments and how sick she was. She also wrote that she was weakened by the illness, unable to eat, in terrible pain, vomiting blood, and experiencing other cancer-related atrocities. But that’s not the worst thing about this story.

keep reading There are no words

July 27, 2006

If I’m working my ass off, why is it still there?

Yes, I’m not up to my usual blogging schedule and haven’t been for quite awhile. It’s this new job. I have never worked harder for more hours…ever. My previous job was very slow. Dull. Depressing. Seriously. I woke up at 8, left the house at 9:15, and made an appearance at my office at 9:30 or so, depending on whether I stopped at Jamba Juice on the way. With nothing to do, most of my day was spent catching up on all my personal business, and maybe attending to the one or two emails or quick jobs that came my way. At 11:30 it was time to leave for lunch, which ended around 1 pm, or so, depending on whether or not I hit DSW for some shoe shopping. I left at 5 on the dot, excited to escape the boredom that was my office and fight the 2 miles of traffic home. Sure I was getting a paycheck for doing nearly nothing, but trust me. It’s not as great as it sounds. I felt useless and unneccessary. What was the point of even showing up?

Now, with my new job, I leave the house at 7:30 in the morning to get to work by 8. Sometimes I get out to have lunch, but usually I grab something company-provided by the cafeteria to bring back to my desk. Five o’clock comes much too soon, so I ignore it and work until 6 or so. And then sometimes I even bring work home to do the stuff I didn’t get around to doing that day in the office.

Sounds pretty crappy, doesn’t it?

I LOVE my job.

I do. I thrive on being busy. I enjoy taking some of the stress off people and allowing them to focus on the important things, like keeping the company in business. One boss keeps me busy enough to fill my every day, but I have 2. Despite how horrific the job sounds, there are moments that make it all worthwhile. Like a visit from this guy, who assumed the role of CEO for a few minutes today.

SJ Sharkie
(Photo courtesy of Krissy.)

July 20, 2006

Stuff Portrait Fridays: Takin’ Names and Makin’ Wishes

I missed last week. I’m sorry about that. But I skipped because my new job is keeping me so freaking busy I forget what day it is sometimes. Plus, I’m on the computer ALL DAY, mostly answering and sending e-mail messages, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is play with my laptop. I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. I’ve even taken up doing Sudoku in a book with a pencil, rather than playing online IronSudoku.

But this week, I was sure to set aside time for SPF. So, what did Kristine want to see this week?

Stuff Unnoticed
Your Wish
Stuff Under Your Sink

My stuff unnoticed is my/our CD collection. Not that I don’t listen to music. I do. But in the form of mp3s on my iPod. So it’s the physical CDs that go unnoticed…once I import them into iTunes.

Life is too short sometimes, so I wish for more time…more time to spend with my friend Julie. Six years ago, at age 34, she lost her battle with cancer. I am missing her more than usual these days.

The stuff under my sink…well, from the looks of it, it goes unnoticed as well. The garbage is ready to go out, but how exciting would an empty garbage can be? So I messed up the entire under-the-sink area to add more interest to the photo. Usually it’s utterly spotless. Really.
Under my sink

Did you play? Let me know in the comments, and go tell Kristine too!

July 17, 2006

Jasper update

The vet and I haven’t been able to connect. But he did leave a message on Saturday. He doesn’t usually leave test results in a message, but because we’d been playing phone tag for so long, he thought it best to leave the news on my voice mail.

The news is…there’s not really any news.

Usually, with a fine needle aspirate, the results show cancer or no cancer. But Jasper’s results were not 100% in either direction. The official result is that the cells are “highly suspicious for cancer.” So, we still don’t know.

In his message, the doctor offered the option to do a biopsy on Jasper’s mass to find out more. But that involves being put under anesthetic, and I don’t want to put him under for that (with a heart murmur, there is added risk).

Since I’ve decided to let Jasper live his happy life with no invasive medical treatment, I am able to enjoy his company without bawling my eyes out. He’s returned to his normal pampered state, sans cat hospital visits. Now, my only plan for him is to beef him up. I’m going to a Giants game tomorrow night so maybe Mr. Bonds will share some of his juice with the little man. Can’t hurt to ask. But seriously, I’m going to ask the vet about maybe feeding Jasper kitten food, or go the raw food route, like Mere is doing for her kitties. Lower litter box output would be an added bonus.

Thank you all for your kind words and support, once again. Sorry for the lack of update, but if anything earth-shattering arises, I will post it here. And if he gains a pound, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂


July 16, 2006

Question you should never ask

“Are you pregnant?”

A co-worker of mine asked me that the other day. A female co-worker. You’d think she would know not to utter those three words, being a woman herself. But I was snacking at my desk, and apparently pregnant women eat, so I can see her confusion.

I assured her I’m not with child. And was too stunned to say much else, like, “that’s a rude question!” or “why would you ask me that?”

Now I’m self-conscious about eating so I will have to resort to wearing control-top chonies, and taking my snacks into the bathroom stall to eat. Next, co-workers will accuse me of being bulemic.

July 11, 2006

The six million…er…hundred dollar ManCat

Thank you all for the well wishes for Jasper. It’s so amazing that people I haven’t even met can comfort and support me and my little feline buddy. And I feel the love from those I do know, as well. XOXO.

Today was a stressful day for Jasper. He got dropped off at the vet at 7 a.m. to wait for the mobile ultrasound unit to arrive and take pictures of his little body. And wait he did. Until nearly 3 p.m. I wish he could have stayed home and just showed up at the office when the ultrasound folks did, but once the ultrasound people got there, they were very quick, and even called me during it to say he’d be ready to pick up in a bit.

They completed 2 ultrasounds: one of his chest cavity and one of the abdominal cavity. There is (of course) good news and bad news. The vet told us the good news first. Jasper does not have heart disease. His murmur is a little worse than it used to be but we just need to keep an eye on it with future ultrasounds.

The abdominal scan did not have good results, as I feared after Saturday’s visit. Jasper has a mass on his left kidney, about the same size as his actual kidney. They did a fine needle aspiration so they could examine some cells from the growth and I’ll get the results Wednesday. If it is cancer, this test should show it. If it isn’t cancer, it won’t be so easy to diagnose what else it could be. But I’ll know more in a day or so.

I listened to the options: surgery to remove his kidney, chemotherapy (if it’s cancer), or surgery to remove the mass. I just can’t make my little man endure any of that. He’s 14 years old. Kidney removal is a big surgery. He’s gotten so thin, and frail-looking I don’t know that he could recover well. And I’ve always said I wouldn’t give him chemo. It’s not about money. If I could pay $5,000 to make him better without causing him pain, suffering, or risk, I would do it. But Jasper is too special to me and has been such a wonderful companion, I can’t force something like that on him. He deserves better and I want to keep him happy. (As I type this, he’s purring on my lap, making it hard to maneuver my way around the keyboard, but I don’t care. I welcome it. But if there are any typos, it wasn’t me.)

Thank you again for your kind words and good vibes. I won’t turn this blog into a daily cat diary, don’t worry. Just for now, it’s therapeutic to share my thoughts.

July 8, 2006

Cat patient

The little manToday I took the little man (aka Jasper) to the vet. He eats and eats and eats and doesn’t gain weight, but looks skinnier and skinnier. He’s lost 10 more ounces since October, and my once 11-lb. kitty now weighs a scrawny 8.4 pounds. The vet said he’s not just skinny. He’s bony. And older cats tend to gain weight more than they lose it (Jasper’s 14 years old). I thought for sure he had a hyperactive thyroid. I wish that was the problem. He’s got a couple of other issues instead.

For one, his heart murmur is worse. His breathing is irregular, and the vet fears he may have cardiomyopathy. This could possibly be treated with meds, but we’ll need to do an ultrasound to find out more of the story. This makes me sad. And scared.

But the possible cardiac disease is not why he’s so skinny. There’s something else wrong. One of his kidneys is huge. So we’re doing an ultrasound on that too, along with some other lab tests. Depending on what they find, it may be treatable with meds. That is my hope. I will force pills down Jasper’s throat for the rest of his life if I have to. I don’t care. I would daily hand-feed him caviar from a sterling silver spoon from Tiffany’s, if that would help. We are talking about my little man here. He was my family when I was homesick in Kentucky and breaking up with my boyfriend, and Jasper made the flight back to CA in his carrier at my feet. He’s seen me through ups and downs of the last 12 years, and he has me wrapped around his little paw, getting me up at 6:30 every morning to feed him smelly canned cat food.

While we waited in the room for them to bring him out after preliminary x-rays, I didn’t want to discuss Jasper’s health with Matte. Instead, we “awwed” at the 2 kitten sisters across from us, Gina and Sophia (named after Lolabrigida and Loren). It wasn’t until I got into the comfort of our home and set Jasper free from his carrier that I broke down and cried. The uncertainty and helplessness is what’s getting me. I don’t want to think the worst, and I know I should wait until the results of Monday’s ultrasound, but I can’t help it. Just knowing something serious is wrong with my little man breaks my heart.

So for those of you who have kitties, or doggies, or rabbits, or any pets, give them some extra attention today.

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