Re: [FH] Bailey update - not good. I apologize in advance for this super long post
- This is a beautiful tribute to your little boy. I cried all the way through it. Each of us can see our own soulmate-kitty in what you wrote. Please keep us informed -- we are all praying for you and him. I am also positive that we will be with our little ones again someday. It just wouldn't be heaven without them.
take care -- Michelle & Tigger Too in Toronto
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:15 AM
Subject: [FH] Bailey update - not good. I apologize in advance for this super long post
Hello all. I have not posted for many months, perhaps even over a year although, on occasion, I have replied directly to a poster. Please know that I have cried with you and celebrated small victories as well as prayed for you and your kitties as I have either been where you are, feared that I may be where you are, or know that I, too, will eventually write the final chapter.
For those of you who don't know Bailey, I will share his story. Bailey is a male Tonkinese cat. He was my first ever pure bred cat and became my soul mate, not for his breed or beauty but his beautiful spirit and personality. Bailey is so much more than a cat. He is my son, my soulmate, the love of my lifetimes and my best friend. He saved me, as corny as it sounds, as he came into my life at a time where I prayed for death. He showed me that despite how it looks that there is a higher power out there that loves me. How could there not be as Bailey is proof of that.
Bailey runs to me when I come inside whether it be from work, walking the neighbors dog, vacation (though not in several years), or running errands. He lays on my lap and studies with me, watches tv with me, and holds vigil when I am sick. He never leaves my side at night and is the last face I see (as he sleeps right next to my face) and the first I see when I wake. And like a dog he loves to kiss my face.
Bailey reminds me of what peace and being in the moment is through his enjoyment of laying in the sun as it streams in the window or as he chases a piece of string or his favorite toy. He reminds me to stop and breath as he will pace between me and my laptop or book and then sits on my arms so I cannot type. He also tells me when it is time that we both retire for the night.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly which is why I write such a long post, he teaches me that life is short and precious to live without regret. To have courage to face the inevitable and to love without judgement.
Bailey was born with HCM but it was not until he was five that it was diagnosed via an annual exam at his regular vet. They detected a slight murmur so we went to a cardiologist and she verified it was HCM. I thought I would not breathe again. We began treatment with a small Atenolol (Beta blocker) to help support his heart. That remained his only treatment and little advancing if any for several years. Then about year 4 (age 9) we added a 1/4 plavix (blood thinner) to the mix. That went on well until 2011 when we added a 1/4 lasix twice a day and a 1/4 reglan (for motility issues non-heart related) once a day. Come 2012, for my the Mayan's were right -- It felt like the end of the world. In Sept, we added another dosage (3x/day) of Lasix and added a daily injection .03ml of a blood thinner named Fragmin -- despite the Plavix there was some sticky blood detected on the echo. The cardiologist indicated (in Sept 2012) the boy had around 3 months realistically and 1 2 months optimistically.
I had a recheck in February and his left side stopped advancing but sadly, his right side began to enlarge. This put pressure on his lungs and I was told would likely lead to Congestive Heart Failure. Well, at his 4-month echo my worst fears were confirmed. He has developed pulmonary efflusion (water and CHF). He has a mild to mild-moderate and no benefit to a chest tap at this time. We added a 1/2 of an enalapril (spelling error possible), an ACE inhibitor to hopefully fight this from advancing and we will do x-rays each month to see if it is helping. If it is we will have no more than six months and if doesn't it could be less than 3 and dependent on the fast the fluid progresses.
I will not do a chest tap for him. I owe him his dignity and the recognition that a chest tap is painful and risky and would buy us a mere few weeks. I do not judge those who choose it as had they told me yesterday it was his time but offered this to buy me time to accept it, I would have indeed risked it; however, I have had years to prepare and while nothing can prepare you for when this horrible day comes, I was given notice now.
I write this long story despite its sadness to show new folks and to remind long-timers like me that there is hope. Bailey defied the odds many times and while he had HCM he never (thankfully) developed any additional conditions that many cats with HCM face. His renal and liver values have always been perfect, his electrolytes and blood also perfect, and his teeth have never needed the risk of dental. (We managed his teeth with that sealent (orajet?) and Orazin liquid to keep the area of concern clean and occasional antibiotics. His constipation was treated with Laxatone or an occasional glycerin suppository (approved by the vet) and his lack of eating with cans of crappy cat food in gravy. Bailey had a slight case of asthma when the allergies are at their highest but, until recently, I have not had to use the Aerokat that often and he has remained solid. Even today, he is hydrated and eating. His eyes are clear and his exam is good (no murmur) and his coat is well mai ntained and beautiful. To look at him you wouldn't know he is 12 nor realize how sick he is.
NO it is not fair and I remind the universe that daily. But there is hope. Try as I may I do not see an expiration date on him anywhere. And that is perhaps what I want to leave all of you with. Accept and love your kitties while you have them. Do not apologize if you cancel plans to be with them. Record them doing funny things or their voice, take photos, write down things they did and lessons that they and their illness have taught you -- both the good and the painful. Cry and accept yourself and your heartbreak for you have earned it. But bask in the sunlight of their love. Be gentle to yourselves and realize that you are doing what you can do. Do not judge if you cannot afford something. You were given this kitty for a reason - to love, to accept, and to do the best you can for it. You have done your best and that is a damn site better than many would do for their human children let alone their furkids. Have hope but realize the best you can do it give them a good quality of life for as long as you can. You will NOT beat this disease but you can delay it. In that space, however long or short, love fully and without regret.
I feel like I cannot breathe, that I don't want to breathe, like I have a knife in my heart and have been kicked in the stomach. I fear the pending darkness and emptiness that will fill me all too soon, I will do what is right for Bailey as he has always given me his best. My heart is breaking and I type this through the tears that woke me up at 4am (so please forgive any typos). No words of comfort help, I only pray I can get through it.
I lost my other cat last July to lung cancer. My household is non-smoking and I use non-toxic products. He was healthy and it just popped up one day so I know how tragic a loss can be when it is unknown. I am not sure which better. I had no chance to say goodbye as Onyx was in such pain and the 2nd opinion (ER vet later that night) said it was his time. So perhaps the long feared suffering is better as you have time to make memories to keep your warm until you can be with your kitties again.
I will write a much shorter post in mid-July after our first x-ray and after each x-ray until that fateful time my Bailey and I must part. I do believe he will be there to greet me when my time comes. As I write this he has been laying on my lap and has kissed my tears away. I hope Bailey and my story, despite its length, joy and sadness can give comfort and hope to at least one person who reads it.
Best wishes and purrs.
Kimberly and Bailey
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- Kimberly and Bailey -
The lines below are truly the heart and soul of what we need to learn from this journey. We must value our journey as clearly as our cats have valued theirs.
--- In email@example.com, "ishkarah" <irescuerotts@...> wrote:
Accept and love your kitties while you have them. Do not apologize if you cancel plans to be with them. Record them doing funny things or their voice, take photos, write down things they did and lessons that they and their illness have taught you -- both the good and the painful. Cry and accept yourself and your heartbreak for you have earned it. But bask in the sunlight of their love. Be gentle to yourselves and realize that you are doing what you can do. Do not judge if you cannot afford something. You were given this kitty for a reason - to love, to accept, and to do the best you can for it. You have done your best and that is a damn site better than many would do for their human children let alone their furkids. Have hope but realize the best you can do it give them a good quality of life for as long as you can.
In that space, however long or short, love fully and without regret.
- Thank you Kimberly (and Bailey) for such a beautiful post. Your words were
very timely as I wrestle with a hole in my heart. I found some comfort
there. As I want to beat myself up for the "what if I had____". I will
write details soon. Prayers for you Kimberly and Bailey.