Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bruddah Iz

Sadly - our Bruddah Iz's life came to a close yesterday morning.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a very large tumor found on Iz, caught us by surprise.  I haven't blogged about it since then, but the lab results DID come back cancerous a day or two later - in fact, the lab actually remarked it was a very aggressive strain, from what they could tell.  I had expected the news, but it's never anything you want to hear regardless.

So, the last couple of weeks we've kept Izzy indoors and have watched him closely.  We knew he didn't have much time left, but no one knew how much time exactly, and there wasn't much we could do about it.  I talked to the vet about "options" - but because his tumor was so large, they felt that surgery likely wouldn't get all of the tumor - which meant we'd either have to treat the rest of the remaining cancer with chemotherapy and/or we'd possibly risk the cancer returning shortly after surgery (which, by the way, would have been amputation, given the tumor had all but taken over his hind leg).

The vets felt that amputation, being as traumatic as it would be for anyone, wasn't the right answer in this case since they couldn't be sure they'd get all of the tumor anyway (this type of cancer is so aggressive, doctors like to cut a VERY wide margin around the tumor to try and ensure that no cancerous cells would be left behind.  In Iz's case, this would have meant cutting into his body wall as well as removing his leg.  It would have been extreme).  :(

It has felt very weird these last two weeks - watching and monitoring his behavior, watching the tumor grow larger and larger day by day, and basically "waiting" for him to die.  It just felt so terrible, awkward and sad.

That said, Iz had actually not shown many signs of being in pain, despite this enormous growth overtaking his entire body.  He still walked and ran (at first) with ease.  He whined at the door to be let outside :)  He ate and drank and pooped and slept.  He acted fairly "normal".

But then, just this last week, his "normal" took a turn for the worse.  He had started limping a few days after our visit with the vet - a slight limp, which worsened as the tumor grew and impeded his movement.  This last week, however, he started really struggling to just walk down the hall.  It was terribly hard for me to watch.  He'd slip and slide - not being able to put a lot of weight on the bad leg or move it at all.  He was still very eager to eat and drink, but couldn't jump up on the bed or couch or window sill as he's done all his life. He started laying around the house - and I noticed he'd choose areas closer and closer to the food, water and litter box, than he has in the past.

I could only assume, though he wasn't "showing" any pain, that the large mass was actually quite painful.  It had swelled up quite large, and knowing how painful a minor swelling in my hip or back could do to me, I could only imagine how much this was hurting him.  The vet said often times, especially with outdoor cats, they don't really show whether they're in pain or not, since that would be a sign of weakness in the wild.  This meant the ultimate decision I had to make was that much harder on me, since I really didn't know how he was doing.  :(

It dawned on me during this period of "waiting," that I've never faced this type of decision when I was younger (I didn't have many pets as a kid and the ones I did have, died without our intervention).  Further, this decision felt, in some ways, more difficult than those that Jon and I have faced before - not because I love Iz the most - I've loved all of our furry kids as much as the others - but because with each of the others, the timing, and therefore the decision, was simpler.

(and let me say I really feel like we've had our fair share of dying pets these last few years! Jeez.)

Zoe (most of you who read this blog probably don't even remember or know about Zoe - but she was Iz's sister - found at the same time, deserted kittens in the woods of Tahoes) had heart failure at an extremely young age, and if we hadn't put her down when we did, she would have likely died on her own that night anyway.

Lola literally went from a joyful bundle of non stop energy to a dying old lady overnight, and she all but told me so with her body language, and mostly, with her sad sad tired eyes.  I still well up with tears when I think about Lola's last morning with me, and our sweet good bye to her, but I knew it was time.

Twyla (who we rescued shortly after Zoe died, to provide a "playmate" for Izzy), tragically, got hit by a car.  The decision was sadly, made for us.

And Sanka, surprising us all with her resilient longevity, also knew it was her time, as everything began shutting down and her old bones finally gave out.

But poor Iz - I think he would have continued on, and tried to fight the big bad Cancer, if he could.  He struggled to make it to the food dish each day, but he still made it.  He'd pee and poop in the litter box.  He wasn't having issues, save for this mass literally taking over his body.

I finally took him back into the vet on Friday afternoon - I was starting to carry him to his food and water because I could tell it was too hard for him to trek across the house.  The vet said it wasn't an easy decision - given he was still interested in eating and drinking (good signs!), yet death certainly was looking for Izzy's door.  The vet could also tell *I* wasn't ready - and he was right, I really wasn't.  I wasn't ready to put him down that afternoon - without having talked to Jon or the boys, or accepting the news myself.  

So, he did as much as he could do to help Iz (and I).  He drained the tumor (per my request, I thought maybe if it were smaller or if the draining reduced some of the pressure, that Izzy could walk a little easier) and he prescribed some pain meds.  And then he said to give him a call whenever we were ready.

I went straight to the boys' school to pick them up after the vet - so I was still a bit red-eyed with dried tears, and had Izzy with me.  I explained to the boys, during the ride home that night, that Izzy was dying, and was in a lot of pain.  I told the boys that we needed to say good bye to our Izzy tonight - because I didn't think he was going to live much longer.

Callum didn't really comprehend the severity of our discussion of course.  But Logan definitely did.

He was very concerned and worried - and asked me A LOT of questions.  He wanted to know why Iz was dying - I explained he had a disease called cancer that was taking over his body - that Izzy has been trying to fight the cancer, but the cancer is very powerful and strong and has been winning (which is why Iz is in so much pain now).

It was interesting to see how he processed the news, and to hear the questions back.

Can we get cancer too?  (yes, we can)  Do only old people get it or do younger people get it too?  (usually, older people get cancer but sometimes younger people get cancer too)  Do we have cancer?  (no, we are lucky and do not)  Can we get it?  (we may get it some day, but hopefully we never will)  Does cancer always kill?  (cancer usually kills, but sometimes if the doctors catch it early enough they can cut it out before it takes over the body - but in Izzy's case, the cancer was much faster than the doctors and the doctors couldn't cut it out in time)  But how do the doctors cut it out?  How do you live after it is cut out?  (if the cancer is slow and small, sometimes the doctor can cut around it and sew you back up before it gets bigger - your body is able to heal after the doctor sews you up and then you are all better and have beaten cancer)  etc.

Those were the main questions I remember, but he peppered me pretty much the entire half hour drive home with a number of variations of the above.

Given how I talked about cutting cancer out, and didn't dive into the details *AND* I even showed him Izzy's tumor when we got home - he now thinks cancer (in general) is a tumor.  For now, I think that's fine.  In the end, he understood what it all meant and told me he felt really said and was going to miss Izzy a lot.  I told him I was going to miss Iz too.

We gave Iz a lot of hugs and pets and kisses that night - and, Logan made me text Jon (he wasn't home yet) to tell Jon to say Goodbye to Iz too (which Jon did via text).

And, before bedtime that night, he pulled up his shirt and told Jon he needed to check for cancer before going to bed.  We thought that was sad, but also a little cute too.

I had been feeling guilty about my decision to keep Iz alive on Friday and take him home - it felt like I was postponing the inevitable and potentially keeping the little guy in pain.  But, amazingly, after the conversation with the boys during that ride home, and the constant questions which allowed me to explain to Logan why Iz wasn't winning his battle, was cathartic in a way - and it somehow brought me closure myself.

I knew, after talking to the boys, that it was time to put Izzy to rest.  But I also knew, that we needed that extra night as a family together to say our goodbyes and process the news in each of our own ways.

I think Izzy must've known too - since, the next morning, his condition continued to degrade.  For the first time since he was diagnosed, he didn't bother struggling the long walk to his food or water, didn't bother to eat, but stayed hidden in a corner of our den out of reach from us all.  It was time to let go.

We love you and already miss you deeply, big guy.


Izzy - the kitten!  :)
Me and my two new little kittens (12 yrs ago!!)

Iz, with his sister Zoe

My handsome (and very young) boyfriend - ha!  ;-)
In our apartment - Twyla joins the family....
Izzy and Twyla - fast friends

Iz was always hiding somewhere - yes, even in the dryer!
He also loved laying on anything.... 
Just moved into our (first) new house!
Hiding in bags
Or hiding in boxes...
And finally - pics from Friday evening....

One of the last pics I took of him, while he and I were waiting for the vet
The boys, saying goodbye to our Bruddah Iz - his last night home.

    Relaxing in the shade

    We're having an intensely hot weekend but it feels nice in the shade. :)

    The boys asked to have a picnic breakfast, which has now turned into
    an intense chess match. ;-)

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    New Zumba shoes!

    Looking forward to trying them out in Zumba class tomorrow night! I
    joined a new gym about a week ago and am trying to get to Zumba class
    3x a week! (I haven't done it yet, but that's my goal). :)

    I knew the quiet was too good to be true...

    What black beans smeared all over your face looks like. 

    Chess master

    Logan's new obsession. He's one of the better players in the yard -
    and I've noticed he'll help teach his friends/opponents where to move
    next too. Pretty cool!

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    Bike practice

    It was like pulling teeth to convince the boys to practice bike riding
    in a nearby church parking lot this morning, but once we got here
    Logan yelled a couple key phrases that made it all worth it.

    "Mommy, I love you!!!!"

    "This is awesome!!!"


    Saturday, June 22, 2013


    Swim lessons began today. First time that Callum's been in without me.
    They both hate getting their heads anywhere near the water, so it's
    still an uphill battle, but they seemed to enjoy being in class
    together, so maybe that'll help them both overcome some of their

    We'll see!

    Oh, and I didn't get any great pics of Callum with his goggles on, but
    he's obsessed with them. ;-)

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Another one bites the dust

    This time, he pulled it out by himself. ;-)

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Happy Father's Day!

    Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

    For those who don't follow on Facebook, I just posted two fun "throwback" pics of my own Dad, in appreciation for all he has done for the entire family over the years.

    This first one is of my Dad, roughly 20 years ago.  He still has those striking blue eyes, and looks the same to me, save for a lot more white in his hair now.  ;-)

    And here's one of my Dad, with his best friend and high school sweetheart!!  ;-)  My parents have the most amazing relationship I'll ever know - and something I'm always striving to model closely after!

    Happy Father's Day, Zabuton!!


    As for the Daddy in our own household - we are continually grateful for Jon's amazing dedication to the family, even amidst everything else he juggles day to day.

    You are the best Daddy we know - simply put, we love you!  Happy Father's Day, Daddy!!  :)

    Callumism of the morning

    "Mommy, can I have another bagel with scream cheese?"

    I don't even know if Callum knows it's not called scream cheese. I've
    corrected him but he keeps calling it scream cheese anyway. :)

    And for those wondering where the reference is from, check out Hotel
    Transylvania. Hollywood influences strike again!

    Big kids

    Often times we forget how much our kids have grown up, since we
    immediately take each milestone for granted, and move on with our
    lives. ;-)

    Having Eric at the house these last couple of weeks has been fun for
    all of us, but what I probably like most are his observations of our
    kids, that I have forgotten about or don't notice as much.

    Like, the fact that they brush their teeth, on their own. :) Eric
    watched our kids for a bit tonight and texted this pic to us while we
    were out. If your kids are younger than ours, then I can see how this
    would be pretty awesome and something to look forward to!

    What was MORE impressive (and shocking) to me, was Eric's report of
    how the night went with the boys. Specifically, that he and Logan sat
    and played a single game of chess, for FORTY-FIVE minutes.

    They sure do grow up fast.

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Father's Day Tie

    Callum got really upset this afternoon during a Father's Day snack
    time event that the school hosted, because neither of us showed up (I
    had totally forgotten about it and forgot to tell Jon about it since
    he was traveling again this week). :(

    I guess he cried for some time, asking for me (since some Mommies
    showed up with the Dads too). :(

    But by the time I picked him up he was his usual self and very proud
    to put this tie on me (which he made for Jon, with a card as well).
    Logan took the picture. ;-)

    Pop Tart Cupcakes!

    A coworker made these - not bad!

    My boss is a big fan of Pop Tarts, and it's her birthday this weekend. Fun! :)

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Callumism of the night

    "Mommy, I'm going to flush my big splat poo-poo."

    (What Callum calls diarrhea or any semi-loose stools!!) :)

    Feline Fibrosarcoma

    I'm still trying to absorb and process the shocking news, but it
    appears our little Izzy may have cancer. :( We'll know more in a
    couple of days after the lab results come back but the Vet is pretty

    Just a few days ago, Jon was petting Iz when he noticed a large lump
    on his back leg. It's unnoticeable to the eye, since he's prone to
    getting matted chunks of fur, it just looks like another mat. And I
    even told Jon it was probably just a mat, but he made me feel it and
    sure enough, it was a massive tumor. We shaved some of the fur back to
    be sure, but there was no mistaking it.

    So, I took him into the Vet's office today to see what we should do.
    They were surprised at how large it was, especially side Iz has shown
    no pain or discomfort or any signs that he's been carrying around a
    growing tumor on his body. :( They shaved all around the area to get a
    good look at the damage and it was even worse than I had expected -
    pretty much having taken over his entire leg. At first, before we
    shaved all his fur off, the Vet was thinking we might need to amputate
    his leg. After seeing how massive it is, he's now not even sure if
    amputation would help or save him. :(

    But, he also didn't want us to get too far ahead of ourselves, and
    said we should run some tests just so we know what we're dealing with


    I can't help feeling guilty about my not noticing it earlier. But our
    Vet also said he thought it was a big clot of fur when he walked in,
    and if Izzy is also not home a couple of days at a time (which is
    common since he's an indoor/outdoor cat), he could see how this could
    be easily missed. Still, it definitely tugs at my heart strings. :(

    And now, as you can see, we have to keep him in this horrible cone
    (since the shave site also has some sores which he immediately
    starting licking)! I thought dogs in cones were bad but this is way
    worse (yet also funny watching him walk backwards around the house).

    Wish us the best....

    Sunday, June 9, 2013

    Flag Football!

    Well darn, I lost everything I had written when I posted this, so let me try again  :)

    Today was the last day for flag football.  At the end of the season, the kids get to play a number of shorter games rather than a single game, so they get a lot more play time in, for their final round.

    The kids definitely had a good time - but I think overall, Logan seems less enthusiastic about football than of soccer, so we'll see whether he wants to sign up again or not, when the fall season begins!

    Below are a few pics I took from the day....

    First, is Logan hiking the ball before a great play!

    Team picture - Logan is on the far left, kneeling.  :)

    And here is Logan with his buddies Robert and Jack.  It definitely made our crazy Sundays much more endurable, knowing we'd be hanging out with these two wonderful families!  :)

    Next up?  Swimming!!  

    More spring cleaning!

    I finally pulled all of my maternity clothes down from storage to sort
    and sell. I have 4 (extremely stuffed) bins!! Phew!! Hoping they'll
    make a preggo mom very happy. ;-)

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Pre-K Graduation

    Whew!  Logan has now "officially" graduated from Pre-K and is ready for Kindergarten.  Where did the time fly?!?

    The school put on a really nice event for the parents and kids last night - it was outside, and pretty dang hot, even under the shade of the trees, but we made it.  :)

    Logan was VERY proud of himself, and has been talking up his graduation for some time, so it filled us with pride as well, watching him walk up to accept his "diploma" and smile his huge smile.  I don't know if he quite understood that it was the last day for many kids (who will move onto summer camps at their upcoming schools) so I tried my best to point it out, where relevant, so he could get some extra hugs and good-byes in with his friends.  With the parents, I made a point to get contact info for a few so that we could try and connect over the summer, and do a few play dates.  :)

    I brought my good camera with me, but didn't take as many pics as I had hoped.  Still, I got a few fun ones to remember the day by....

    All ready to go!
    Excitement is building....

    Parents gathered all around - waiting for the graduates to come out!

    Lovely live music while waiting! :)

    Visiting pre-tot kids, getting some water (it was hot!)

    And here they come!  :)

    Logan, very serious ;-)

    Looking for us in the crowds... 

    He spotted me ;-)

    There's our happy guy!  

    Serious and quiet and (shockingly) well behaved!

    It was hard getting his attention to look my way but he finally did ;-)

    His row rises...

    Our proud graduate!

    All done!

    All lined up, raising their hands, and taking a bow...

    What a surprise - Logan decorated his cap with a King Piggy  ;-)

    Me and my boy!


    Callum was off playing but I DID get one with Logan and us!
    First Jon gives a silly face... 

    And then there's Logan's silly face.

    Logan's awesome teachers!
    L - R: Miss Joanna, Miss Susanna, Miss Grazyl and Mr. David

    We're so proud of you buddy - CONGRATULATIONS!!!