Caching Away Cancer

Besides being crazy for cats, my mom loves geocaching. Her caching name is MEcat. The ME part is a nod to the state of Maine where we live. If you are not sure what geocaching is you can learn all about it at Geocaching.com, but basically it is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Mom thinks it’s loads of fun and says it helps make all her long road trips much less tiresome and more of an adventure.

Anyway… way back in December, Mom found a geocache with a cute kitty Trackable tag inside it. A Trackable is a sort of physical geocaching “game piece.” Each Trackable is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on Geocaching.com as it travels in the real world. And each Trackable has a goal set by its owner. Goals are typically travel-related, such as to visit every country in Europe or travel the US from coast to coast, etc. With the help of geocachers, Trackables are moved from cache to cache to reach their particular goal. Some of these items have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles. Pretty cool, huh?!

So when Mom spotted this cat Trackable of course she just HAD to pick it up. It’s a cat! This particular Trackable had a story behind it which she thought was quite sweet at the time and then she didn’t give much thought to the story again. But she did carry the cat tag with her on all her travels, finding geocaches and logging the cat as “visiting” to help it along with it’s goal of visiting caches in every state in the US.

Now fast forward to last week when Mom and Dad were preparing for another one of their business trips out of state. Mom decides she’s been hanging on to the cat Trackable a little too long so it’s time to drop it in a cache for someone else to move along now. Just to be sure that she’s following it’s goal instructions, she goes back and re-reads it’s Trackable page. And then there it is in black and white… this Trackable was started in memory of a cat who passed away from cancer in 2011.

Eek!! Suddenly the crazy comes out in Mom and she starts seeing connections. Like the fact that I was doing just fine until she picked up the cat tag and then not too long after that I started acting a little funny and was diagnosed with cancer. So then Mom decides that she needs to rid herself of the Trackable in order to help rid me of cancer. Didn’t I tell you she was a little wacky? Although in a very sweet way. And oh, if only it could be all that simple!

Simon and the trackable tag.
Simon and the Whiskers the Cat trackable tag.

So last Thursday, Mom and Dad left us in the care of Aunt Sherry and went off to do one of their art stamp shows in MD. Mom was on a mission and searched frantically for a cache large enough to drop off the Trackable down there, but had no luck. She was getting really worried by the time they were headed home on Sunday and she still had the Trackable with her. She told Dad that it simply must be left far, far away.

Finally, as they were traveling through NJ, Mom saw a cache listing up ahead with potential. There was a Travel Bug Hotel (what they call some of the larger caches made for dropping and swapping Trackables) and it was just off the highway and very close to the exit. Mom could hardly contain herself, she was so relieved!

Then when they got there, Mom was super surprised and excited to see that the cache was hidden in the backyard of a mobile veterinary service. What are the odds of that?! How purr-fect!! Needless to say, she took that as another sign that she was doing the right thing by getting rid of the cancer kitty Trackable. She could hardly wait to get out of the truck and start searching.

Cache location in NJ
On the way to the cache.

It didn’t take her long to find this one… a nice ammo can hidden among some fallen trees. Mom wanted to take a few pics to mark the occasion and when she went to turn on her phone it said the time was 11:11. Well that made her smile even bigger! She frequently just happens to glance at a clock and see that it’s 11:11 quite often so she took this to be another good omen.

The clock says 11:11
Another good omen?
Ammo can cache
Mom found the cache!

Just to seal the deal, Mom thought it would be most fitting to sign the cache log using the pen she got from my oncologist’s office. And there you have it… with a simple signature and the cat Trackable deposited safely in the cache, Mom symbolically kissed my cancer goodbye!! She left one of her signature MEcat wooden nickels behind for good measure too.

Mom signing the cache logbook.
Mom signing the cache logbook.
Leaving the cat Trackable behind. Goodbye cancer!
Leaving the cat Trackable behind. Goodbye cancer!

When Mom and Dad arrived back home later that night, Mom excitedly told me this story and said we should all believe. I was so happy to see her and excited by the way she was talking to me that I started a rodeo right then and there.

Mom also said that I have to go back to see the oncologist again this Wednesday and that they will be doing x-rays and other tests to see if I am developing any new tumors. Paws crossed that Mom’s crazy theory will be correct and that I will get a good report. Your good thoughts and/or prayers would be especially appreciated this week too. Thank you!!

Pill Time… the good, the bad, and the ugly!

I woke up still feeling pretty good the day after my last chemo, but Mom wanted to make sure I stayed that way this time so we tried something new. She popped a little pill called Cerenia down my throat before I even knew what hit me. And it worked like a charm! I didn’t feel bad at all after my chemo this time… no nausea, no throwing up, and no hiding out from the rest of the world. Yay!

She gave me another pill the next day too. This time I knew it was coming, but it went down okay anyway. But the third time was not the charm. Mom really blew it on the third day and I guess I wasn’t being too helpful either. After multiple tries… I either spit it out or she missed my mouth… the pill finally disappeared. But then things went from bad to worse.

Unlike the first two pill days, this time the pill got wet and touched my tongue. It tasted horrible… bitter and icky! And the next thing I knew I was foaming at the mouth and then drooling like a St. Bernard. Gross! It freaked us both out, not to mention how disgusting it felt to have a steady stream of thick drool streaming from my mouth to the floor. Thank goodness Mom didn’t have her phone handy to video me… That would have been really embarrassing!

Mom kept trying to clean me up, but I didn’t trust her for a while after that so I kept running away. Needless to say, I left a lot of my DNA all over the house that day. And good luck to you, Mom, if you ever try giving me a pill again. Blech!!

But other than that, things have been going really well over the past couple of weeks. Ollie and I have been putting on rodeos and playing mouse hockey. I even learned a little trick… Running through the cubes when Mom snaps her fingers and whispers my name. Who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks?!

And now for my latest trick… Pop Goes the Simon! Ta-Da!!

Chemo Kitteh… Round 3

Here we go again. Just when I was beginning to think I might not ever have to go for a ride in that box again, Mom scooped me up and stuffed me in there. Ugh! I was not a happy camper. She snuck me down the back stairs again after giving me a good rub down with a clean sock just like last time. And she gave me a little Rescue Remedy again too. It did help calm me down, but as you can see by the look on my face, it didn’t make me feel any happier.

Simon on the way to the vets.
Here I am doing my “Grumpy Cat” impression on the way to the vets.

Today when we got to the vets office the waiting area was full of dogs. Suddenly being in my box didn’t seem so bad after all. But I squeezed myself way to the back of the box just in case anyway. And luckily we only waited a few minutes before the nice vet tech invited us into an exam room.

Simon in his carrier.
Making myself as small as I can in the back of my box.

Mom told the tech how great I had been doing lately. I’ve been eating better than ever and putting on lots of solo rodeos too. Aunt Sherry took care of me and Ollie for a few days last week. She hadn’t seen me for a while so she was really impressed with how well I had bounced back from my surgery and the chemo. She even told Mom that I was amazing. Why yes… yes I am!

Then the nice tech lady took me out back for my blood test. I must have passed because Dr. P. had a talk with Mom and Dad afterwards and they were all really happy. Dr. P. said my blood work looked good, my weight was the same, and they checked my kidney values and that hadn’t changed either. Everyone was especially relieved to hear that.

So Dad dug out the credit card again and off I went for round 3 of my chemo treatment. Like usual, they shaved my leg and hooked me up to the IV and petted me to keep me calm and still. Fortunately my snuggle buddy today was not wearing perfume. That’s always a good thing when we’re trying to outsmart my brother! Afterwards the nice lady wrapped my leg with a yellow bandage and said she would see me again in 3 weeks.

When we got home Mom snuck me back into the house and up to my private suite. Hehe!! We tricked Ollie again… He never even knew I’d left the house. I bet he wouldn’t believe the adventure I went on today!

Mom left me upstairs then so I could relax for a while and have something to eat while she went to tend to Ollie and have lunch herself. Then she came back to take off my bandage and rub the vet smell off me. Mom and her crazy sock ritual! Sounds a little nuts, but if it helps to keep Ollie from turning into Mr. Growly then I’m willing to play along.

Simon home from his 3rd round of chemo.
Happy to be home and patiently waiting for Mom to take off my chemo bandage.

The rest of the day was all the usual stuff… a little napping, plenty of eating, and lots of regular breaks for petting. Hopefully I’ll still be feeling this good tomorrow!

Rodeos and Mouse Hockey

I’m back! Did you miss me? >^..^< It took me a few days to fully recover from my last chemo treatment, but I’m finally back to my old self again and I’m feline really good right meow.

Last week I surprised Mom and put on my first rodeo since before my tumor. Rodeos are what she calls it when me and Oliver go crazy for a few minutes and race around the house doing 90 miles an hour. Okay, so maybe not quite that fast, but as fast as we can. We just can’t help ourselves… it’s so much fun!

You never know when the rodeo mood is about to happen, so Mom has never been able to catch us on video. But she did capture one of my more tame playful moments this weekend. Here’s a little clip of me and Mom playing mouse hockey.

Besides being happy and playful again, I have been eating really well too. Mom says it seems like I eat even more than before I got sick. Does cancer give you a big appetite? Maybe… or maybe I just really like what’s on the menu these days.

Furry Alarm Clock

Same song and dance… different day. No need for mechanical time devices as long as I’m around. Mom calls me her “furry alarm clock.” She even designed a rubber stamp that says so! And even when I’m not feeling my best, I’m still right on schedule.

Sandpaper Kisses rubber stamp by Repeat Impressions
Mom says the saying on this rubber stamp describes her mornings purr-fectly!

Rubber stamp by Repeat Impressions

This morning after our sunrise purring and licking session, I convinced Mom to put me up on the sink to drink out of the faucet. She usually only lets me have bottled water so drinking from the drippy spout was a treat. After I’d had my fill of water, I had a little breakfast and then took up residence in my hideout. Mom looked disappointed that I’d gone back into hiding again.

When I didn’t show up for lunch, she delivered. And when I didn’t show up for dinner, she delivered again. What can I say… the chemo really got me all out of whack this time. All I wanted to do today was sleep. At least I ate and kept all my food down today so there won’t be any pills in my immediate future. Thank goodness for that!

About the time the sun was setting, I finally emerged from my hideout and graced everyone with my presence. First I made the rounds for some petting and then I got comfy on the arm of the couch for some napping. Now and then I got down for a bite to eat and more petting. By bedtime I was feeling a little better. I even gave Oliver’s face and ears a good washing!

April Fools!

This morning I got up on the bed extra early and gave Mom the stare down. Hehe!! It worked! It wasn’t too long before she opened her eyes and saw me really up close and personal. She looked surprised and happy to see me so I rewarded her with some purring and wet kisses. Then I got rewarded with an early breakfast. Mom looked so relieved that I was doing better this morning.

Close up of Simon.
Wakey, wakey! Rise and shine!!

Since it was early yet, we all went back to sleep for a bit. But after a while I decided it was time for round two. So I got back up on the bed again and turned on the charm… purring, chirping, licking, and begging to be petted. Mom was pretty excited to see me so chipper so she thought it would be fun to try to take a “good morning” selfie together. She wasn’t too thrilled with her morning face, but since I look so handsome she decided I could post it here anyway.

Simon & Mom's first selfie.
Our first selfie… Say “cheese!”

After that I had a little more breakfast and then decided to go back to my hideout for a nap. But not too long after I started feeling a little weird so I got up to make a deposit in my litter box. That just made me feel even more restless so I went downstairs to see Mom. I sat in the doorway and stared at her and then I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden I did a little leap like someone had goosed me. What was that about? It’s like I was’t comfortable in my own skin. Mom looked puzzled then, but I didn’t stick around and went back to my hideout.

Soon after that, Mom came up to check up on me and left me a bowl of soup. But I didn’t feel like eating and couldn’t get comfortable so I went back downstairs to be closer to Mom while she was working. I settled myself into what she calls the “meatloaf” position and eventually relaxed into “violin.” She said that looked like progress.

At lunchtime Mom tried to entice me with a little tuna water. It worked… I almost licked the bowl clean. Then I decided I’d have a little of my regular food too. After that I gave myself a good washing and then settled into my favorite basket for a nap. That’s when the chemo decided to play a nasty trick on me. April Fools! I am not feeling better today after all.

I jumped out of my basket and started retching. Mom came running with the paper towels, but she was too late and I threw up all over the beige rug. Yuck! Thank goodness for the *Folex. Mom swears by that stuff to get my messes out of the carpet. But I didn’t stick around to watch the clean up. I went downstairs to the big cushy couch to sleep it off.

Simon cozy on the couch.
Couch potato time!

I stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. I felt pretty miserable and didn’t eat for the rest of the day either. By bedtime Mom was fussing over me big time and put out a whole buffet of different things trying to get me to eat. I finally nibbled a little diced chicken to make her happy. She said if I’m not better tomorrow then she’s breaking out the pills. Uh oh! Cross your paws that I’m feeling better… because I reeeally don’t like taking pills!


 

*Of all the things we’ve tried, Mom likes Folex best to get the cat food stains out of the carpet. She says it works like magic and best of all it’s non-toxic and odor-free. She buys it at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Folex Stain Remover
Folex Stain Remover

 

Carpet stain
Carpet stain from where Simon threw up.

 

No more stain after using Folex.
Carpet after treating stain with Folex.

Blah…

This morning I didn’t wake Mom as early to feed me. She thought that maybe I just ate too much last night before bedtime. But then right after I ate my breakfast I ended up blowing it all over the rug. Ugh… After yesterday’s good report at the vets, I’m afraid this latest round of chemo might be trying to kick my furry butt.

I wasn’t really feeling up to speed today at all. But I made an appearance to visit with Dad and get in my morning petting while he was reading the newspaper. After that I spent all day napping in my favorite hideout under the table skirt in the bedroom. Mom stopped by a few times to check on me and leave me a snack. I rewarded her with purrs and ate a little something now and then too.

Simon in his favorite hideout.
My favorite hideout spot for peace and quiet.

I still wasn’t feeling too great later, but I surprised Mom and Dad at dinner time and finally came downstairs for a little petting and a few nibbles of chicken table side. Then I spent the rest of the night curled up in a ball on the living room floor while everyone else was watching TV. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Chemo Kitteh… Round 2

Well after a nice long break, Mom scooped me up after breakfast and stuffed me in my travel box again. I guess I should have known something was up when she went through that whole sock rubbing ritual again and put drops on my ears. Then she took me down the back stairs and snuck me out of the house again too. We fooled Oliver the last time so she figured it was worth a second try.

I complained a little bit on the way to the vets, but not as much as before. And I didn’t play my invisible game in the box this time either. I guess maybe I am getting used to all these road trips. I still don’t like going to the vets, but as long as Mom promises not to leave me there then I guess I can deal with it.

Today they checked my blood and then Dr. P., the oncologist, met with Mom and Dad to talk about my progress. He was pleased with the good report Mom gave him about how well I’ve been doing at home and he said that I had maintained my weight and my blood work looked good too. So guess what? He said I was ready for another chemo treatment today and then I didn’t have to come back again for 3 whole weeks! Yippee!! We were all so happy!

So off I went to the back room again to get hooked up to the chemo. And it must have been my lucky day because the nice lady who snuggled me this time was not wearing perfume. Good thing since you know how much Ollie loves it when I come home smelling of strange, flowery women… NOT!

Then when it was time to take me home I got some more good news. Turns out that Dr. P. will be away when I was supposed to come back for my next checkup. So he said we’d have to change my appointment… Now I don’t have to go back for four weeks! No rides in the box or needles for a whole month?! Sounds totally pawesome to me!!

When we got home Mom snuck me back into the house and up to my private suite. I was so hungry when she let me out of the box that I ate a whole bowl of food without hardly coming up for air. Then she left me to chill for awhile and work on getting the vet smell off me.

After she put drops on Ollie’s ears and had lunch, Mom came back to give me the rub down with the socks and shirt again. She took the annoying bandage off my leg too. An orange one this time. I think this one suits me a little better than the yellow one I had last time. Don’t you?

Simon wearing orange bandage.
What do you think? Is orange more my color?

Oliver was waiting outside the door and barged right in when Mom went to leave my private suite. But it was okay. He walked right by me with hardly a sniff. Haha!! We fooled him again!!

Happy Box-day!

Today was Mom’s birthday, but she wasn’t the only one to get a box full of goodies. The man in the big truck left a big box for me and Ollie too. A delivery from Chewy’s is always reason to celebrate. That’s where Mom buys all our special food, favorite litter, and sometimes a new toy. But the part we like best? The box of course! Ollie and I have a collection of different sized boxes all around the house. But Dad gets a little cranky if we have more than 5 boxes at one time so we only get to keep our most favorites.

Simon & Oliver's new box.
Checking out the newest box in our collection.

Speaking of boxes… I am sooo happy to not have to take a ride in my travel box this week! Can I get a “ME-OW!” people?! But I guess the icky vet office smell must have finally worn off, because I couldn’t believe my eyes this afternoon…

Simon sees Oliver in his travel box.
Are my eyes playing tricks on me?
Oliver napping in the travel box.
Oliver napping in my travel box.

Yup… it’s true… I caught Oliver napping in my travel box! Is he crazy or what?! You won’t catch me hanging out in there any day soon. You never know if the door will get slammed shut and you’ll be going for a ride!

YouCaring for Me

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! The luck of the Irish must be with me today because I have the best parents ever! They are doing all they can to try to give me more wonderful days of being spoiled by their love. The chemo treatments are supposed to give me a better quality of life, for a longer period of time. But Mom says if it makes me feel worse instead of better then we can stop. She only wants what’s best for me.

Unfortunately, what’s best for me comes with a big price tag. So far Mom and Dad have run up close to 5K in vet bills for me between all the tests, the surgery, and my first chemo treatment. They’ve never asked for handouts before, but somebody suggested that a online fundraising page might help a little. So today Mom set me up a page on YouCaring.

If you’d care to donate to help fund my chemo treatments you can just click on the graphic above. No amount is too small and every little bit helps! Or if you’d rather not help support me monetarily then please share my page to help spread the word. And of course, your positive thoughts or prayers if you are so inclined are always welcomed!!

With purrs, love and appreciation…
Simon  >^..^<