Are you still there?

Hello there,
Long time, no type. I thought I’d check in to let you know I’m still alive. I know it’s been a while, so here’s the short version.

Tony and I took a quick vacation to the western UP at the beginning of October. We stayed in a quaint little place that allowed pets, so we brought Petey. We dropped Sebastian (male cat) off at the vet so they could dispense UTI meds in our absence. I created lots of photos, lamented the harsh sun, enjoyed hiking in that warm sun on the trails, and we met up with Kathy.

It was a well-timed break, because we were both a little burned out from work. That part of the Upper Peninsula has practically no cell phone service, and we didn’t bring laptops, so we were unplugged almost the whole time. Petey enjoyed his trail time, Sebastian didn’t mind the vet stay too much, and Dominique (sister cat) greeted us loudly – asking why we had left her alone.

It wasn’t long after we returned home that the fall color started in earnest in this part of the state. I hadn’t been expecting much of a show, because the color we’d seen up to that point had been muddy. I was convinced the leaves were just going to turn brown and drop. Instead, they burst forth into a vibrant display, and our weather was unbelievably pleasant. I got lost in a photo and hiking frenzy.

Spoiler alert: most of the rest of this blog is decidedly cheerless.

And then the end of October arrived. I laid down for a nap on Halloween day, and noticed that Dominique felt tiny. I could tell she was sick, so we cuddled for a good hour – a very long time for that restless, squirmy cat. We had her in to see the vet two days later, because she wasn’t eating and I was pretty sure it was a painful dental issue. I was wrong. It was a painful tumor in her lungs. We were given prednisone and a possible six months.

We spent the last two weeks carrying our once sassy (frankly bitchy and demanding) cat around (she was too unsteady to jump down from places she could jump up to), and coaxing food and water into her. She seemed to have some good days. It’s hard to say. She certainly had days full of love, spent in sunny windows on top of warm radiators and tucked into laps with toasty blankets. We don’t question whether it was the right thing, to say goodbye to our sweet kitten on Wednesday, but that doesn’t make letting go easy.

Sebastian’s urinary tract, unhappy with all the stress we’ve been under, developed an infection. Again. It wasn’t long ago that we were uncertain his health was sustainable, as we couldn’t seem to get him well (successive and stubborn UTI’s). Fingers crossed, he seems to be on the mend.

Speaking of “on the mend,” we had to have Petey in for a lumpectomy this morning. He had a cyst on his back that had previously seemed fatty and benign, but had become hard with larger nucleated cells than our vet was comfortable with. He came out of anesthesia okay, but he’s got a nice set of sutures to get healed in the next 10-14 days…which is a long time for a guy who plays so hard with his new gal-pal that he tears up his tummy skin. We’re hoping for good news on that pathology.

Red tummy courtesy of playing too hard in the pastures and woods; snuggling photo is with us this afternoon – you can see his shaved patch for his stitches on his back.

And, to add to the drama, I’ve had some wonderful – but stressful – photographic opportunities come my way in the midst of all this…literally this week. I shot some photos for a cell phone provider (should probably not discuss details), this month’s Traverse Magazine features one of my photos on the cover, and I a have a nature photography opportunity that’s still in the works (again, should probably not discuss details – but I think it’s a perfect fit, and I am thrilled with the potential).

So that’s where I’ve been. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. I have over 300 items in my feed-reader, so it might take me a while to get to your blog to check! If you’re inclined, leave me a comment and tell me the highlights. Or lowlights. Or just say hi πŸ˜‰

34 thoughts on “Are you still there?

  1. Hi. Having gone through surgery with cat and a diagnosis of lymphoma (said cat is supposed to be taking prednisone, but I have not found a way to get them in her since I have only two hands) and the aging arthritic Bailey, I get the stress part. With Twiggy cat, I am opting to let nature take its course – in part because I feel I have no option – and with Bailey, when her life is no longer living we will make that horrible, dreaded trip to the vet. To you, I wish for the best with Petey and Sebastian and offer congratulations and best wishes on your photographic journey.

    • You were right – they really can turn your world inside out. And yet, I know that if I were to end up pet-less, I’d wait until I was ready and then I would adopt again. Hugs to you and your sweet furry girls.

        • We’re all at that age, unless some of us are clairvoyant πŸ˜‰ But I know what you mean. Some things are just not fun to think about. If it comes to that, you can always consider fostering or adopting an older dog. I’ve been pretty inspired by a local “hospice” rescue. The lady who created it happens to run the daycamp/socialization camp place where we take Petey. If you want to take a peek at what they do and read a mixed bag of stories (though she tries to keep the focus on the positive), check out the Silver Muzzle Cottage on FB.

  2. It’s hard for me to click the ‘like’ button because I know how very difficult this week has been for you. Yet there are so many good things in here. The great fall images. The leads to more photo gigs. A trip to the Western UP, one of my favorite places. Still. Loss of your beloved kitty-girl is overwhelmingly hard. And we have to hope that Petey will be fine, he just has to be fine.

    • You know, it has been one heckuva week. But there were good things too, and I know there are harder things…ad I choose to deal with them only when they are present. I feel confident that Petey will be all right. I hate being confident though, because certainty does not always equate with correct. But yes – he has to be πŸ™‚
      Thanks for the photo-love. I’m currently ordering some prints for a friend, but I am going to check out some card options for you!

  3. Oh, Heather–what a rough week indeed. Your sweet and precious kitty… The photos are lovely and I am glad others are viewing your fabulous work.. It was so sweet to see you last month even though it feels like a million years ago. I am typing with one finger because my poor left hand middle fingernail was just crushed by a frozen turkey. It is throbbing intensely.

    • It is so hard to believe that was just last month. We are socked in under beautiful white fluff, and it feels so far removed from a warm October visit farther north.
      I’m sorry about your poor finger. But think: it probably feels better than the turkey πŸ˜‰ Hope I didn’t just cause you too much guilt!

  4. I’m so sorry for all the stress you and the family have recently had to endure. 😦 I am, however, very happy to hear you have promising photography opportunities emerging as a silver lining in the midst of all of that! Best of luck with it all lady! I am here if there is anything I can do for you! xoxo

    • It’s not been the best month so far, truth be told. But it hasn’t been the worst, and we are grateful for your friendship. Just knowing you care helps πŸ™‚
      Hoping to keep chipping away at the photography thing. We’ll see what shakes loose!

    • Petey went on a big hike with us over the weekend. Perhaps he shouldn’t have, but we tried not to overdo it. His stitches are looking pretty good. Sebastian seems to be doing well. I think he might fare better after his sister’s passing – there’s no competition for food and litterbox now. Or even lap time.
      You’ll know when it’s time to make that call. We could have made it sooner, but we wouldn’t have been sure. We made the call on our kitty after talking to the vet on Monday. Monday night she had a terrible night – so bad that I looked at her before we went to bed and wished that she’d just not wake up. Still, it breaks my heart that that choice was the best thing we could do for her.

  5. And I thought I had pet woes….
    What a lot of stress and sadness Heather. Hope everything is okay with Petey. I wonder if Sebastian misses Dominique. If on;y we could read cat minds…
    And yes, life definitely IS getting in the way of blogging for me too …I miss it though.

    • It’s crazy that all that happened just last week. I still have teary moments (and expect more), but the stress has really calmed down. It’s so tough caring for a terminally ill animal at the end of her run. I’m so sad things ended for her the way they did, but I am also grateful that she was only symptomatic for a month.
      Blog when you feel like it. There’s life to do, and sometimes blogging and life are not on the same page. That being said, I do love keeping in touch with you. You write such good stuff on your blog, and even though FB is great, neither of us writes long-form posts there πŸ˜‰

  6. How did I miss this post? What a hectic time you’ve had. Whew! Sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet kitty. I hope the path report on Petey is A-OK.
    Some exciting news of the photography front. That’s getting yourself in front of a lot of people! Kudos!
    Have a great, RELAXING, long weekend!

    • It was tough saying goodbye to her. She was always so vibrant, and such a little PITA. It was shocking when she got so sick, but for her sake, I’m glad we didn’t have time to adjust to an ill kitty.
      We should know something about Petey’s lump on Monday. He’s got quite the row of stitches, so I’m hopeful that even if it was worrisome, that it’s all been cut out.
      You have a nice long weekend too πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. I stumbled across your blog (as one does) and was pulled in by the photos. Then your story held me. It can be hard to share something so personal – thank you for doing so. Although it’s been a while since your blog, my thoughts go out to you. I look forward to reading more as I stumble through this thing called the world wide web

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