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  • A Gwen-sized Setback

    A Gwen-sized Setback

    We've been having a little bit of trouble with Gwen lately. Namely, she started peeing on things she shouldn't. It was pretty okay when it was the bathtub, but when I started waking up to pee by my head, that was less okay. She needed to go in for bloodwork anyway, so I thought I'd bring up the peeing and see if we could get her checked for a UTI.

    Little miss iron bladder utterly refused to give a urine sample (figures, right?) so we made our best guess that it was a uti, and since she was sneezing herself up a uri anyway, antibiotics were prescribed.

    Once the antibiotics kicked in, we could tell that she was starting to feel better, but the peeing wasn't getting better at all.

    We were waiting on her bloodwork, and when that finally came back it showed that her thyroid levels were way too high. Back in January, we had them at the low end of normal, so like, 1 something. They were back up to 10 something, which is not only really really high but about where we started when she was initially diagnosed. It was like we hadn't been medicating her at all.

    We're still not 100% sure that her levels are accurate, but my gut says that this is probably the answer to what's been going on with her. I've noticed that if I forget to give her medicine in the morning for a couple days, she's more prone to pee somewhere. So I imagine, if her thyroid is basically as bad as it was over a year ago, she's feeling pretty darn crappy, in which case, I'd probably just pee on my head too.

    Not only would her thyroid explain the peeing, but it would explain some recent weight loss as well. At barely 6lbs, it's not like she has a lot to lose, so going down about half a pound over the last six months is fairly significant for her. Didn't seem to alarm the doctor much, but I'm not too happy about it.

    So, here's where we're at:

    We're increasing her thyroid meds from .01 and .005 in a day to .01 and .01. She was on this dosage initially when we got her to the ear gel, and at the time, it knocked her thyroid down into the "too low" levels. I'm not sure what kind of results we'll see from this increase, but we should find out when we re-test her in four weeks.

    Depending on what we get back from there, we'll either have to increase her dosage and retest in another four weeks, or we'll probably wait something like either or twelve weeks and retest. Either way, there's a decent bit of poking in Gwen's near future.

    In the meantime, now that she's feeling better, I'm going to see if I can bribe her with some baby food periodically. That's supposed to be pretty good for gaining a bit of weight, and really, anything we can put on her skinny little frame would be a positive.

    I will say, I can tell that she is feeling better, at least with having her cold cleared up, and now two days into a higher dosage. She's a lot more chatty when she's feeling better, not to mention more willing to spend time with us, and KNOCK ON WOOD, she hasn't peed on anything in a couple of days.

    In case you're wondering, I'm not sure what Gwen's long term prognosis looks like at this point. Left untreated/too high, elevated thyroid levels will eventually take their toll on Gwen's other organs, like her heart and kidneys. However, her bloodwork came back really good in those respects, which is great. If we can get her thryoid under control again, we may be able to leave her on the ear gel, though the fact that she jumped from totally fine to bonkers in levels in such a short amount of time is concerning and probably means we can't go more than six months without tests.
    Thyroid removal or radiation are other options, but they're not our first choice. Radiation is a good shot at getting the whole thing taken care of once and for all. However, it's fairly expensive (I'm not sure what it runs around here) not to mention what you're putting her through. That said, we've been spending about $50/month on her thyroid meds. Each thyroid recheck runs about $70 and the increased dosage means we may be spending $100/month on that. SO, radiation might pay for itself pretty quickly. I just don't know yet.

    Part of the dilemma is the fact that we don't actually know how old Gwen is. If she's on the younger end of what we were projected, she's around 9. If she's on the older end, she's 11 or so. But the fact is, she could be even older. We're just not sure. Her great health otherwise, and great muscle tone suggests ... Well, I don't know exactly what it suggests. Just that her thryoid is definitely the problem.
    It's just a matter of deciding how much is humane to put her through in a weird cost/benefit analysis.

    I suspect she might vote for whatever gets her poked less, but I don't know. The frustrating thing about all of this is that we can't ask her. We can't ask her how she's feeling, if things seem to be working, or how she wants us to treat her. If we could, this whole thing might be a whole lot easier.

  • Hamilton Background

    I finally joined the Hamilton bandwagon a few months ago - I know, I know, I'm a few years late. I usually am, for some reason.

    Anyway, I was playing around last night and made a little desktop wallpaper, for those of us (me) who still use something other than mobile devices all the time.

    Feel free to save it and use it if you'd like.

  • These are a couple of my favorite things

    I've been using these for breakfast recipes over the last month or so, and I'm loving them. Not only are they delicious as all get out, but they're PCOS friendly.

    If you're looking for the greens, fiber, or protein powder mentioned, let me know. Arbonne has a fantastic nutrition line that I can't recommend enough.

  • 5 Seconds

    Recently, I read The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins after having heard her speak virtually. I had seen the cover of the book beforehand, and I know I rolled my eyes. It sounded super gimmicky, and maybe it still is, but it's a gimmick that actually makes sense. 

    It's super easy.

    Any time you are on the verge of making a decision, and you know that you're going to find a reason not to do the thing you're supposed to do, just count backwards from 5 and move. What it does is it reboots your brain and takes it from automatic to manual, and then you can make yourself move.

    Let me explain a little better. The way this came about was that Robbins needed help getting out of bed in the morning. Counting backwards from 5 and then getting up before her brain could object helped her take charge of her day, instead of laying in bed, going back to sleep, or putzing on her phone for an hour before getting up at the last minute. 

    You can use this trick when you need a boost of bravery. Need to make that phone call? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and dial. Want to go to the gym? Count down and lace up the shoes before your brain finds excuses not to. (And we know that there are always excuses not to)

    It can also be used to help reroute anxiety. When an anxious thought hits, count backwards and then start thinking of something positive - like your kids, or your pets, or whatever makes you genuinely happy. To be honest, it didn't really work the first time I tried it for this, but I kept practicing, and I have to say, I've been able to cut off a lot of anxious thoughts before they spin out. 

    The neatest thing I've learned from the book is that anxiety and excitement are really the same thing in our brain, just interpreted different ways. So if you can start telling yourself that you are excited about the thing, (like going out to meet people), you can start getting your brain to cooperate. 

    So, as I said - simple stuff, and really neat. I recommend picking up the book, as it's a pretty quick read, and Robbins does a much better job explaining it than I ever could. (Which makes sense, since it's her thing) 

    If you're looking for a boost, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and GO.

  • What the hair

    What the hair

    Long haired cats, they said. They have hair, they said.

    I was still woefully unprepared for this.

  • Impression

    It's funny how something so little can leave an impression. 

    It's been just about a year since Buttercup and Vizzi officially joined the family. But I still think about their brothers - Wes and Prince - often. I have to believe that those quirky little boys are doing as well as our two. Otherwise, I struggle with feeling guilty, and I really don't want to do that. Adopting all four kittens would have been irresponsible. Love will cover a lot, but it doesn't cover the cost of cat food - or litter. 

    That said, I would still like to foster again someday. There will never be a shortage of kittens who need some short term care before they're able to be adopted. But that will have to wait, because we really don't have the space right now, and we can't foster any more with Gwen. It's just too stressful for her. Since we know that stress can trigger her getting sick, it would be mean to intentionally stress her out, and to put immune compromised kittens into this space with her. 

    I had no idea when I moved down here a few years ago, just how full our family would be because of the humane society. While we've adopted three cats, I've met many more cats and dogs over there who are terrific. If you have any inclination to add a four legged member to your family, look into the shelters in your area. You may not find the animal that would be the best fit for your family on the first try - but trust me, you will find one. Go in less with expectations on how the animal will look and focus more on their behavior. The adorable hyper puppy may not be the best fit if you aren't home for 18 hours out of the day. An older cat who wants to bask in the sunshine all day might not get along with your toddlers. 

    You'd be surprised how something so small can leave such an impression. 

  • Strange Windowfellas

    Strange Windowfellas

    Gwen jumped up onto the crate to look out the door, and Cuppie decided to join her. Gwen was like, *SIGH* Fine. 

    It's crazy just how much bigger Cuppie is than Gwen. I knew she was bigger - if you pick them up, Gwen barely registers and Cuppie has got some oomph. But I hadn't seen them together at a good angle to compare. 

    To me, this picture looks so ridiculous - like someone photoshopped Gwen to be too small. Clearly, Cuppie is not THAT big. Except, apparently she is. So weird.

    They can stop growing now. I had to buy new bags for Cuppie and Vizzi because they had outgrown the original ones. Granted, the original ones were meant to fit up to 10lbs, and I'm VERY sure they're both past that now. Plus, they're long and sturdy. There's nothing dainty about those two. It's ridiculous.