Coming off such a great weekend, and some wonderful moments spent with Nala (and Kayla), family, and friends, this morning was met with a thud.

First?

I woke up to about a zillion bug bites on my legs from Saturday evening’s festivities (okay, not a zillion, but uh, 29 – yes 29 – on one leg alone! I feel like a leper!) and needless to say, super duper itchy and downright painful. I debated pants to cover them up, but the heat here (upper 90s) and the itchiness of pants led me to a dress, even though I felt ridiculous walking around the office all day. But, I digress.

Second?

I woke up with a whammy of a cold. I think it’s a cold this time. Last week, I thought it was strep, then the 5-day sore throat went away during my San Jose trip. Then I got a weird cough thing. And that sort of went away. But now? I feel like my face could explode. It’s the end of June, people, colds should be outlawed. Just sayin.

Third?

I talked to the vet first thing this morning, and that’s when the thud truly hit me (the first two were apparently just “warm ups”). He told me we should try the extensive blood work next, which I was prepared for, but then he started talking in terms like “shortened life” and “symtomatic therapy” until she’s no longer comfortable, and I felt hopeless all over again. After a weekend where I felt hopeful, that perhaps something was helping her, I felt defeated all over again. It was a rough start to the day, a day that only got worse as that was all I could concentrate on, until my appointment this evening. I feel like I have this huge weight on my shoulders, my heart feels heavy, and I just feel overwhelmingly sad. It’s as if I am waiting to exhale, yet I don’t know when or how that will be possible…especially without sadness and pain as part of that ‘exhale.'”

Fast forward to my vet appointment. I was greeted at the door by Nala, hungry and “normal” so I fed her before taking her to the vet, which almost made me feel worse for taking her, since she seemed so much herself. But I took her in, and she was whisked away for the blood work (I HATE when they take her from me, she looks at me through the carrier, like, ‘mom, why are they taking me and why aren’t you coming?!” and it kills me every time). She was brought back 10 minutes later – 10 very long minutes – and she wasn’t a happy camper anymore. She had blood taken, urine taken, and was given more fluids.

The vet came back in and said he’d have the results tomorrow, and they’d be looking for things that could be affecting her digestion, her kidneys, and viruses like toxoplasmosis. The first two things he mentioned were “new” to me, as he had spoken to the lab and that was one of their suggestions. So, suddenly, I felt more encouraged because those things sound more in line with her symptoms…but time will tell.

What got me most encouraged was when he said “she’s still 6.9 pounds, so she’s steady.”

Um, no.

She’s gained a POUND since we started steroids 1 1/2 weeks ago. She was between 5.5 – 5.8 pounds at the beginning, so she’s gained a pound! To me, that was huge. And he seemed surprised and encouraged (his computer wasn’t on, so he didn’t realize it was under 6 at that moment), but guarded, since he couldn’t necessarily say why that had happened yet, without more of a diagnosis. But to me – that gave me some encouragement and I exhaled slightly. She ate a bunch of treats at the vet (the same treats she turned up last week), and ate like a horse tonight (in addition to snagging some of my grilled chicken) so I am encouraged…I’m still waiting to exhale, and I’m not sure when that will be, but for now, I’m encouraged, and that’s as much as I can hope for or expect right now.

~~

And, a word from Joel Osteen that fits well today:

Father God, today I choose to trust in You. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I release all of my cares and concerns to You knowing that You have a greater plan in store for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Happy quote Friday everyone. I’m feel drained today after a rough 24 hours, so my quote today is still a positive, hopeful one, but it speaks to underlying feelings I went through yesterday.

And yes, it’s about my sweet Nala.

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’”

As many of you know, Nala has been steady the past week, on her new round of treatment and it’s given me great joy and hope. But Wednesday night, after I got home from dinner with Pete and the following morning, Nala started getting progressively worse. She was lethargic, she became listless and she just looked sick. She looked like she just didn’t want to try anymore, as if she was giving up, as if she was miserable. She wasn’t eating much, she didn’t really want to be around me (she tolerated it, but you could see in her face the look of “leave me alone, please.”) and my heart was breaking.

I went to work on Thursday with knots in my stomach…not wanting to go, but knowing I had to, and worrying steadily that she wasn’t doing well. My mom stopped by during lunch and called me to give me an update, and she didn’t have much better news. She didn’t come down to greet her at the door (as she always does), she didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to be touched, really, and she was just not herself. At all.

I called the vet, and made an appointment for the earliest they had (5:30, effectively meaning I was going to miss the 5K, which was okay with me, obviously, at that point!), and left work early to bring her in. On the drive home, I prayed, and prayed, and prayed harder. I didn’t pray for God to save her, so much as to pray for God to help me make the right decision…if this was “it” I wanted and needed the strength to do what I needed to do. I thought she was giving up, and I wanted to do right by her. I cried all the way home. Jess was with me, and we both cried together. I walked in the door and found Nala by the stairs and pulled her into my lap and she just curled into my arms and laid there, letting me hold her. I cried more and just wanted her to be okay. Kayla was roaming around, with a worried look on her face, saying “mom, what’s wrong?” and that too, broke my heart.

We took her to the vet, and I cried again. I was scared, and I was afraid that she was giving up and this was it. After much talking, and Nala being looked over by my vet, we decided that we would give her more fluids, a B12 vitamin shot, a 24 hour antibiotic, and a new round of antibiotics (this round was what she was on two years ago with a similar problem, so I know this medicine works well for her). The vet agreed that she is sick, and that she may have some kind of virus that may be untreatable, but that there are still things we can – and should – investigate. I’m to call him tomorrow to discuss next steps (he wanted her to have the medicine for a couple of days first, to see how she reacts), but it will likely be extensive blood work to investigate potential viruses, including toxoplasmosis, and go from there.

What I took away from the conversation was, bottom line, whatever is ailing her may be untreatable…as in, treat her as long as she responds, but that she won’t be cured, and that “it” will (see how I can’t even write it?) be the end, at some point. I’m scared and saddened immensely at that thought, but in a way, it is allowing me to have a sense of peace, knowing that we are trying, we are going to help her feel better, and that’s really all you can do, and just try.

Why this quote is so meaningful today is two-fold…I was convinced she was giving up, and I was coping with the fact that I might have to do something that I never imagined I’d have to do with my cuddly, loving 6 year old kitty, but then, throughout the night…she slowly improved. She didn’t eat before bed, but I placed her next to me in bed, she laid there, and slept, and I half-slept, and woke up around midnight, eyes puffy from crying, but wanting to try…

I went downstairs and put food down, and she ate it. Ravenously! And then she woke me up with her famous “face bat” with her paw to my face at 2:30 in the morning, wanting more food. The one time I’ve been thrilled to be awoken that way, and I fed her more, and she ate it all, to the last drop.

And this morning? I woke to her sleeping next to my face on the pillow next to me. A moment. She was “meatloafing” next to my face, and she looked good. She bounded down the stairs past me and she ate a full can and then another half of a can before I went to work. She had energy, she had her spunk, and she was Nala. My Nala.

She was saying, I’m trying…one (maybe more) more time…I want to live, I want to be here, and I’m hungry, so feed me.

As I sit here in tears, more out of happiness that she is “her” again, for now, I am feeling Hope whispering…keep trying, and just take it one day at a time. So, I am, and I am going to drink in the “kitty love” all weekend and just enjoy. Because she’s here, she’s happy, and both of my furbabies are content. So, as they are content, I am content.

But I am tested.

I’m really tested right now…to choose trust and faith and stay in trust and faith…that God is working “behind the scenes” to answer my prayers. My prayers for Nala.

I had to take her back to the vet today, as last night, she started to get very lethargic last night, and very much not herself, the kitty that got her personality back in the last week from the medication she was on. The medication ran out last night and it was clearly why she wasn’t herself, but I became very anxious, scared, and worried in an instant, and suddenly my faith and trust had completely vanished.

As Pete actually told me today, I need to control my anxiety and worry, because I can’t control this, I can just support her, help her and make her feel better as best I can.

And I know that.

But I just want to solve it. And I can’t. And that kills me. Breaks my heart. I love my cats fiercely. We’ve been through so much together, and it’s just totally jarring.

But I know I need to keep my faith and trust strong, continue my prayers and stay calm and just do what I can do to help her and love her. She’s on another round of medication, for a possible upper respiratory infection, or virus (she’s got a bit of the sniffles and runny nose), or any other infection she may have, plus a steroid that should also help, and an amino acid that can help counteract viruses and illness as well.

Being on my own, it’s going to be tough to give her the pills and make sure she’s getting what she needs because I am 1) not good at giving her pills and 2) without an extra set of hands, that becomes increasingly difficult. But, I have my mom and sister to help me, thankfully, and Pete has offered as well, so I am going to be as strong as I can, and trust that God has a plan. I may be tested, but I need to keep my faith strong.

Easier said than done…but I know I need to.

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Today, shake off the temptation to get discouraged during the waiting process. Shake off offense, shake off discouragement. Remember, all it takes is one touch of God’s favor to take you years ahead. Keep standing, keep believing, keep hoping because the answer is on its way the moment we pray!

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Heavenly Father, thank You for hearing me the moment I pray. Today I choose to trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf no matter what I see in the natural. I will praise You today and always because You are faithful. I love You and bless You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

It’s been a tough week emotionally for me. I’ve felt so drained since Monday’s incident with Nala, and I’ve been struggling with keeping my faith strong and just hoping for the best possible outcome, instead of just assuming the worst. So, this quote, which I tucked away from Life by the Day is absolutely perfect for today:

“You can’t analyze the unseen. Sometimes, you just have to have faith and believe.”

This is put so simply, yet it is incredibly hard to do. And, by nature, I’m a worrier. I’m an overthinker (no news flash there!).  So, trying to release my fears and worries about Nala’s health and just keep my faith strong has been so difficult for me this week. As I mentioned earlier this week, I haven’t felt this down since my divorce, as if my world is crumbling, and it scared me to think how quickly I could go from happiness and positivity to absolute misery, pain and sadness. But what was encouraging was how I’ve been able to be stronger, realize that whatever she has may indeed be treatable, and rely on my support system in my family, friends (IRL and blog!), and…Pete. And while I know the coming weeks will be stressful as we determine what is wrong with her, I am absolutely focused on keeping my faith strong and believing that God has a plan.

I know it will be hard, but worrying, stressing and sadness won’t cure whatever ails her, nor will it do my psyche (or Nala’s!) any good in the process. Right?

So, on that note, I’m going to do my best to move forward, be optimistic and pray…and enjoy the weekend ahead of me, filled with some fun sister plans (seeing both this weekend will be a treat!) and plans with one of my friends I’ve known longest (5th grade!).

Enjoy your weekends, and thank you everyone who has commented here or offered their support and prayers IRL as well. You are my rocks.

I choose today to trust in You, knowing that You are good, and You always lead me into victory.

These are the words my sister forwarded to me this morning, from Joel Osteen’s daily word. And I truly need to dig deep and have faith that He has a plan for Nala, and that will give me peace.

Yesterday was one of the most difficult, low, sad and trying days since the day Pete told me he wanted a divorce. And writing yesterday’s post was truly echoing what was going on in my mind and my heart, and all of the outpouring of thoughts, prayers and support from everyone that commented (and everyone IRL that offered their words of support, including Pete, who has been there for me, as well) has been amazing. And while I may have cried reading many of those comments (and my sister Jen’s blog post here), they got me through last night and today.

And after waiting all day for the vet to return my call, he finally did this afternoon. The early findings from the bloodwork?

Almost exactly identical to the results almost two years ago when Nala went through a similar “mystery” illness.

Come again?! Seriously?

Yep. Inconclusive for the most part, a little bit high on the white cells, but probably only indicative of an infection of some kind (and she’s now on antibiotics for the next 7 days), and nothing else really out of the ordinary. No fever. No vomiting. No lack of appetite (quite the opposite! She eats like a horse). Nothing really out of the ordinary except for oh, losing almost two pounds in 6 months.

It’s agonizing not knowing what it is, but at the same time, I am a bit relieved that it isn’t anything bad at the outset, but it also means that we probably have a winding path to determine just what it is. For now? She’ll stay on antibiotics for a week, and we may start steroids at that point, to see if those help spur things along as well. And then, if that doesn’t work…we’ll determine the next step.

What that next step is? I don’t know.

What I do know is this – I need to dig deep, trust that God has a plan and take it day by day.

Father God, thank You for ordering and directing my steps. Thank You for working behind the scenes on my behalf. I choose today to trust in You, knowing that You are good, and You always lead me into victory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.