Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bessie: Goodbye Sweet Kitty

So, as probably all of you know, I have an awesome cat named Bessie.

She likes to sleep a lot.

She's an amazing cat with a lot of personality. She's been my constant companion for the better part of 14 years. When I didn't feel well, she was there to curl up next to me until I felt better. When my mom passed away, she let me cuddle with her and cry on her little fuzzy head. Bessie has never been much of a cuddler unless she knew I needed her.

Sometimes she would be creepy...

And sometimes she would be sweet...

But she's always been the best kitten I could ever ask for.

And now, unfortunately, the time has come for me to say goodbye to my little fuzzybutt.

I noticed in late July that Bessie was having trouble chewing on the left side of her mouth. I figured she had hurt a tooth, and I made a vet appointment. She had lost a couple of pounds: down to 8.6 from her usual 10 - 11 pounds. A week later, Bessie was having a cracked tooth extracted and that went very well. Unfortunately, the vet noticed a growth in the back of her mouth that I gave them permission to biopsy and send off for testing. The vet called me on August 18th and told me that it was squamous cell carcinoma, and very aggressive. It's also the most common oral tumor in cats. It can't be removed surgically and chemo or radiation treatment is a crap shoot. The cancer itself isn't what ends up killing the critters but the inability to eat and/or breath after the tumor reaches a certain size.

Bessie had been eating and drinking ok up until the weekend of the 15th of August. I took her back to the vet and they gave her a shot of an anti-inflammatory, some pain meds, and re-hydrated her. I was giving her liquid food and she was eating/drinking it. After that, she was eating more and more energetic. She was even so desperate for some treats that she tried her best to get the door open to the cabinet where I keep them.

By this time I had made an appointment with the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care Center in Wentzville to take her in for an evaluation. By time the appointment came on the following Friday, she wasn't eating again, and was barely drinking. At the evaluation, the oncologist did a CT scan to get an idea of the size and location of the tumor so we can could determine if there were any treatment options. The tumor was very large and close to her larynx and tongue, and was almost closing off her airway. They couldn't even get the tube down her throat to intubate her for the scan and had to use only a mask. The oncologist said he couldn't in good faith recommend radiation with the tumor being so close to her larynx and tongue since they would be damaged in the process. The only really chance we had of it working was if we could shrink the tumor with steroids and anti-inflammatory meds. So, over Labor Day weekend, I fought with a surprisingly energetic cat to get meds in her mouth and had Julia help me give her the steroid shots. They didn't seem to be working as she still wasn't eating. She definitely wanted to eat and tried valiantly to have an itty bitty piece of grilled burger and chicken, but just couldn't.

I called the oncologist on Tuesday morning to give an update on Bessie. She wasn't doing well. I decided that I didn't want her to suffer anymore. I couldn't be selfish and put her through chemo treatments that had a very, very slim chance of working, especially since she was already weakened from not being able to eat much. Later that day, I called At Peace In-Home Pet Euthanasia and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 4:15 to have Bessie put to sleep.

I have a few more days with Her Royal Fuzziness until I have to say goodbye. Until then she's going to be the most hugged and cuddled kitty in the world. To some, she may just be a cat, but to me, she's been the best friend and companion I could've ever asked for.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013: A Year of Change

Wow. 2013 was a pretty big year for me.

While talking to a friend last week, I said something that pretty much sums up the entire year:
"Sometimes what you're not expecting is what you need."

This last year involved a lot of change and lot of new things for me.

  • Moved back to the U.S. to a new area
  • Started a job as a contract employee
  • Became a full-time employee of company I was contracted to
  • Started taking over the supervisor position of my team
  • Started a new relationship
The first and biggest change was deciding to leave South Korea and accept a contract position in O'Fallon, MO. I jumped on this opportunity for several reasons:
  1. It was in Missouri, so I'd be closer to family and friends.
  2. It was in a completely different industry, so it'd be a chance to learn new things and get out of my comfort zone.
  3. The people I'd be working with seemed nice.
I knew I had to just put on my my big-girl panties and make the decision to leave Korea after 5 years and come home. I do sometimes miss South Korea and Samsung along with all of the people I grew to care about there, but life moves on and I will see them again.

Finding a place to live and getting settled in a new area was a challenge, but I did it and I like where I've ended up. It's a nice area and it's very close to work. I'm close to several major highways and can be in downtown St. Louis in about 30 minutes.

The next biggest change was the job. The new company was in a completely different industry, and that required a lot of learning for me to catch up and learn about the products I'd be writing about. The good thing is that I was working with a lot of really nice people that were more than willing to help and provide information. I'm always up for learning new things and trying to increase my skill set, so I was up for the challenge.

Around the middle of September, I was actually offered a full-time position in Jefferson City doing what I was more comfortable with as far as documentation, but I didn't know if I wanted to move to Jeff. City and I really didn't want to leave the company that I was already working for. Luckily, the company I was already contracting for made me a counter-offer that I accepted, so I was able to stay put and become a full-time employee. Shortly after that, my manager left for a new position, so I, on a whim, applied for his position and was offered it on a trial-run basis since I had been managing the team already in his absence.

The next big change, and probably most unexpected, was starting to date someone. This was an unexpected and pleasant change. The most unexpected part is that she's someone that I had never anticipated seeing myself with. We have a few things in common but are pretty opposite on just about everything. We somehow just seem to "click" though and I can be more myself with her than with any relationship in the past. It's a surprising yet happy realization.

So, 2014. Here we go. A new year and lots of newish journeys to embark on. Lots of people make New Year's Resolutions every year that fall by the wayside around the end of February after the novelty has worn off. We set these grand goals for the year and then give up because they take too much effort. I think starting off small is the way to go about this - add new goals every month so you're not trying to change so much all at once and too quickly. So what are my goals for 2014?
  • Be healthier
  • Foster a positive and healthy relationship with my partner
  • Grow in my new position at work and do the best I can
  • Start saving to buy a house eventually
  • Just be a good person
Most of those are pretty broad and general, but that's really all that I can think of to accomplish this year at the moment. I'm sure that as the year progresses I will find more things that I want to accomplish. But until then, these few items will do.

Best of luck to everyone in the new year and I hope that 2014 brings you happiness!