Saturday, 21 June 2008

Storm Returns Home

(posted by Meowmie L)

Storm was cremated on June 20th, 12.30pm...almost one week to the hour after I gently cradled Storm in my arms as she peacefully slipped from this world. 

We made our way to the Cambridge Pet Crematorium by train...and on the way we passed through Sawbridgeworth...the village that Storm and Castle were born in and where we collected them from as kittens. We had no idea the train took this route - it was a very poignant moment for us and it triggered a few memories and raised a very teary smile or two.

Jo and I spent some time with Storm beforehand, she looked beautiful, we bathed her in kisses, stroking her, caressing every tiny part of that beautiful little girl that gave us so much love, and that we loved so much.  Her paws were so soft still, her tail so floppy...and when we stroked her head and cheeks it almost felt as if she was gently headbutting us once more...

We took her favourite shoelace toy to her, along with a picture of her and Castle as kittens on one of their first days with us as a family, and another picture of them together which was taken on Storm's last morning with us.  

We then placed a final kiss on her nose 'X' and made our way to the Gardens of Remembrance where we a laid a tiny cat-sized bouquet of flowers at the base of a tree, by a small lake, in Storm's memory...the tiny bouquet was part of a larger, gorgeous bouquet that Ben Vet and his colleagues sent to us in sympathy earlier in the week (pictured below) seemed like the right and most fitting thing to do, a gift from us all.  We watched as Stormie, her shoelace and the pictures drifted into the sky in the form of a pure white, clean smoke...

We stayed in the Gardens for almost three hours, sitting on the bench beneath Storm's tree, whilst we waited for Stormie to be returned to us. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place, the Gardens are lovingly cared for, and so are the graves and memorials of all the pets within.

We were then reunited with Stormie..her precious ashes interred in a mango wood pot that Jo and I purchased in Thailand about 6 years ago from Khao Lak beach.  We have another one which is exactly the same, this will be Castle's pot when it is his time to join his sister Stormie.  We travelled back on the train, I cradled Storm and pointed out her birth place, Sawbridgeworth, as we passed through it once again...and then Storm was home again, where she belongs, with her family.

When we were first told that Stormie had lymphoma and that 6-9 months was the average survival time with treatment, our world fell apart, we were sad and we feared what lay ahead of us, how little time we had left. Was Storm going to survive past Christmas? Was it going to be 2, 4 or 6 months or less? Maybe 9 months? Dare we hope for more? From that initial diagnosis in December 2006 every day has been a blessing for us, extra time with our baby girl. When we hit the 9 month mark, the 'top' of the median survival time, we were overjoyed, it seemed such an impossible thing to have hoped for 9 months previously. However, even though Storm seemed normal and well and healthy, we always knew that inside her something wasn't quite right and that one day it would allow the lymphoma to return - for that reason every day really did become a special and cherished day, lived with love, not fear or sadness. When you know you are on borrowed time you make that much more of an effort to enjoy the things that light up your life.

Storm eventually made it to 18 months past diagnosis, beating the lymphoma twice...but sadly her little body just couldn't cope with the second battle, she had become tired. I hope that anyone who stumbles across this blog whilst searching for info on feline lymphoma will draw hope from it...although Storm is no longer here, she fought her fight and won it, she did not suffer and she had a normal quality of life...for twice as long as the best prediction. So, if you too are feeling sad and afraid please think of Stormie and remember how successful her battle with lymphoma's not the end of the world, it's a new beginning...

Thank you to all of you wonderful cats and people on the cat blogosphere for making our blogging so much fun over the past year..and for being such a great source of comfort to us during this very difficult time. We thank our friends on, in particular Jeanie, who has been such a great support throughout and has known Storm online for about 10 years now. We also thank our families too for their love and concern.

Lovely Ben Vet, Caroline Vet, Nurse Ann, Nurse Jo, Nurse Jenna and everyone else at the vet practice - we thank you for giving us this time with Stormie; your care, dedication and love for our little girl was evident (and still is) and we will always be thankful for everything that you have done.

Stormie, we miss you so much, I can't put it into words because no combination of words can do justice to how much we miss you and love you. You are our special girl, always will be and will remain forever in our hearts.

You won in every sense of the word... now sleep tight little you always and forever, Linda, Jo and Castle xxx

Stormie, February 1st 1996 - June 13th 2008

I was chosen to day
I'm learning to fly
the world took me away,
but please don't you cry.

And I chose you today
to try and be strong
so please don't you cry
and don't say that I'm gone.

When you're feeling alone
just remember our love,
I'm up near the stars
looking down from above.

Remember our love
in a moment you'll see
that I'm still here beide you
When you're thinking of me.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Storm's Last Hours and a Beautiful Tribute from Ben Vet

(posted by Castle, Storm's loving and devoted brother, photos were taken on the day by my Meowmies).

June 13th 2008...we will never forget that date, it was the date on which we had to say goodbye to our adored, brave, strong and courageous Stormie.  It was the right day to say goodbye; the day before she had managed to eat a little, and still moved around...but she did not eat on the morning of June 13th and she seemed a little bit more tired too, not really wanting to leave our cushion.

Storm relaxing on her cushion

After spending the night with Meowmie L on her bed, Storm and I spent the WHOLE morning on our brown fleecy cushion, with the little square of fleece that we have had since we were kittens,  just snuggling into each other, and the Meowmies by our side, watching David Attenborough wildlife documentaries. Meowmie L must have kissed Storm's little 'X' on her nose about a hundred was, after all, her special kissing place, and the first thing that Meowmie L noticed on Storm when she was a kitten...'X' marked the spot - or should that be 'X' marked The Most Beautiful Siamese Kitten In The World?  I think so.  We shared a last few rays of sunlight together, before the sun moved around and no longer shone through the window on us as we cuddled...

Enjoying our last cuddles

Ben Vet showed up at 1.30pm as promised and gently approached Stormie...who, despite barely moving all morning, recognised Ben and welcomed him to our home by gently raising herself up off her cushion slightly and greeting Ben with a headbump...we spent a few minutes all adoring Stormie, talking to her, loving her...

Ben Vet gave Stormie an injection which relaxed her and as she drifted off to a place where she could start her final journey from, my Meowmies held her, stroked her, kissed her and whispered so many words of love to her...Meowmie J then took me from the room and we both stayed in the bedroom together for a few minutes.  Meowmie L stayed with Storm, holding her, looking into her eyes, and reassuring her that everything was now going to be OK...and as Ben Vet sent Storm on her way Meowmie L cradled her, supporting her head gently and thanked her for being so wonderful and for sharing so many beautiful years with us...placing one final kiss on Storm's 'X' just as she departed.

Ben Vet then said a very emotional goodbye and for the next two hours we spent a very quiet and peaceful time together.  Meowmie L cleaned Storm's little eyes and the small blood spot from her leg where she had the catheter - Storm was very particular about her appearance and Meowmie L wanted to make sure she looked as she would have wished .  Storm looked so peaceful, just like she was sleeping, she seemed relaxed and free finally...she looked quite beautiful.  I washed her ears and her bottom and her back legs for her too, for I knew she could no longer do that herself.

Saying goodbye after Ben helped Stormie to the Bridge...

Nurse Ann showed up on time and was very gentle with Stormie, she too saying her goodbyes through a stream of tears...the Meowmies kissed and cuddled Stormie one last time, and then Nurse Ann carefully wrapped Stormie in her towel and left us...Meowmie L saw Stormie off at the door whilst Meowmie J held me tightly and reassured me that I would be OK.  

Ben Vet made everything so perfect and dignified for us and helped us through one of the most difficult days of our lives.  Along with the love that surrounded Storm, Ben's knowledge and care (and that of his colleagues) also helped Stormie live up to the name The Furry Fighter...and helped her win her fight against this illness...she did not lose the fight, it was just time to go, her body was tired.

Here is Ben Vet's tribute to Storm, which he left in the comments for our post dated June 11th 2008..the day we found out we were to lose a very dear and special family member very really sums up what a special girl Stormie was, and how she should be remembered...she is missed greatly and the tears are still flowing...there is a massive Storm-shaped hole in our lives right now but we know that over time it will get filled up and eventually overflow with beautiful memories of our gorgeous little Stormie.  

From Ben Vet....

On Friday I had to perform one of my most important and yet most difficult tasks as a vet – to send Storm on her way, to prevent such a special cat from suffering.

I have so many great memories of Storm, from the very beginning of her illness when she went home just in time for Christmas (2006).

She was always such a pleasure to treat – she behaved for every blood sample, iv catheter, tablet, ultrasound and xray. She never hissed, scratched or bit, but was so tolerant – understanding even – of everything that we did for her.

The most surprising of all was that, when she was receiving intravenous chemo, she would stay completely still as long as she could hide her head under her blanket. This became a bit of a ritual: We’d get everything ready for the treatment – drugs, catheters, gloves, masks and… Storm’s blanket.

Storm’s meowmies’ dedication was unparalleled and the only factor in any decision was always Storm’s well-being.

Storm was loved by not only her meowmies, but also by every member of our vet Practice (and countless others too, I’m sure). We’ve been very sad since Storm’s passing – not for Storm, because I’m convinced it was the right time for her to leave us – but for her meowmies’ loss and our loss. There has not been a dry eye in the Practice over the last few days and my friends and family who’ve heard so much about her were very sad too.

So, on Friday, we said goodbye to an old friend, a beacon of feline fortitude and a cat that has touched so many lives. We gave her the gift of freedom from suffering and of dignity. And that is how she left us - very calmly, understanding even, that we were doing the very best we could for our dear, beloved Storm.

I will always remember her,

Storm's last portrait just before she went to The Bridge

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

I Won

I won because I exceeded all expectations and lived for 18 months instead of the predicted 6-9 months at diagnosis.

I won because I fought the second bout of cancer and made the 3 tumours go away...I just got a little weak and my body has no more to give.

I won because I have been surrounded by love and have had the best family I could wish for.

I did not lose this is just time for me to go now.

Ben Vet is coming around to see me in my home on Friday at about 1pm, he is going to help me to the Bridge. I am just too weak to carry on - I'm not in pain, just debilitated - I am not going to get better either. My Meowmies love me so much and they are doing the best thing for they have always done.

And please don't think that Friday the 13th is is not because I am lucky in that I am able to spend today and tomorrow with my Meowmies and Castle, doing the things I love to do. I will also be released from this illness and will be going to a beautiful place. 13 is also my Meowmie L's lucky number and birthdate so please celebrate this Friday the 13th as a lucky day...for me.

Meowmie has been playing wildlife DVDs for me today, I love to watch them and listen to the noises so much. Today was David Attenborough films, tomorrow we have March Of The Penguins and 100 Greatest Wildlife Moments, also with David Attenborough (he's the best!).

Thank you all for being my friends over the past year...I hope you will take care of my beautiful Castle for me, he has been the BEST brother ever...I won't be able to visit all the blogs to say a personal goodbye, so I will say one here to you all...and from the bottom of my heart I truly wish you all a happy and healthy life...until we meet again....

Love and purrs and headbutts...always,

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Sleeping Arrangements

How many beds do you have? We have a few...

We have our fleecy Flecta-Pad in the lounge, it sits in front of the radiator and is big enough for both Fat Pants Castle and I to stretch out on (it is actually a Flecta-Pad for dogs).

Then we have another bed in the hallway which is our Harry Bertoia designer chair that has the pad on it that Kaze, Latte and Chase sent to us last year for winning the Halloween competition. Our entry into the competition was Bride of Meezerstein:

We also have a big soft brown fleecy cushion which we bought over from Meowmie J's house when we moved in here. This cushion resides on the orange sofa, which you will recognise in many photos on this blog. We also have a square piece of white fleece material which we have had since we were kittens, my Meowmie said she will never throw it away. In the following picture you can see the brown cushion and the fleece square.

We also perch ourselves on the brown sofa, nestled up to the cushions, especially if Meowmie J comes around. This is me and Castle with our old housemate Dubbs on the brown sofa, he is at the Bridge now, I hope he is waiting for me when I get there.

Since I have been ill again, my Meowmie now moves our Flecta-Pad on to her bed every night at bedtime so that we can all spend as much time as possible together, and sleep near each other too. She likes to nod off with my paw in her hand. We LOVE this new bed - we don't even bother moving to any of our other beds around the house when the Flecta-Pad is on Meowmie's bed. Notice how Castle leans all over me yet again? May be he knows my temperature is a little low...

I have my Vet Visit tomorrow appetite has all but disappeared again. I didn't even want Tuna Flakes In Gravy this morning. And I was sick once in the night again. Apart from that, I seem OK...purry and happy to be with my Meowmies and Castle, accepting the love surrounding me and dishing out the occasional headbump or two.

Love Stormie

Monday, 9 June 2008

Meezer Monday Award

I'se got an Award! I am very honoured to receive this Brilliante Weblog Award from the wonderful blogosphere star, ML from Missy and KC! Thank you so much my dear friends...

I would like to pass this on to the gang at Simply Siamese, beautiful Princess, the handsome Ramses, the gorgeous Cheysuli and my adorable recent date Yao-Lin.

I have remained fairly stable, although I have slowed down a little since yesterday, and have not eaten as much as I have been recently, which as you know wasn't really enough anyway. I did a sick up yesterday too, first one in ages. Let's just hope I am having an off-day, I suppose it is to be expected...I have a Vet Visit on Wednesday morning for a check-up and to ascertain whether I can continue with the chemo...although, to be honest, I don't think I have put any weight on...

Meowmie has been in need of a good laugh recently and she saw a comedy show on the TeeVee the other night which made her giggle and shoulder-shake a fair bit. It is a British show called Headcases, the humour is very British and satorical and we hope you enjoy it...

At Home With Brad & Ange - Part One

At Home With Brad & Ange - Part Two
(with special guest Madonna)

Thank you all for your continued purrs...we can hear them!
Love Stormie xxx

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Thankful Thursday

I had a check-up at the Vet Place today. When I arrived Nurse Ann came to see me, we are quite bonded and I stretched out of my PTU in the reception area and I allowed her to pick me up and give me a cuddle - a rare treat for Nurse Ann, or anyone else in fact cos I am not keen on heights or cuddles - I prefer strokes and ground level.

I saw Caroline Vet today. She was very lovely and handled me with care and affection. So why Thankful Thursday if I have been to the Vet Place? Well, I am thankful that I weigh the same as I did almost a week ago - this means that the amount I am eating is keeping me on an even keel. Most importantly I haven't lost weight - this means there is a chance that the cancer hasn't come back to get me, cos if it had I would have shown a weight loss for sure. Even cats that eats LOADS and who have cancer attacking them, still lose weight despite their food intake.

I am also thankful because, despite not being able to have chemo for the past two weeks Caroline Vet could not feel any tumours in my tummy. My temperature was a little low but this may be because I *clenched* quite hard when Caroline Vet put the stick in my bum, and she didn't want to force it in there, so my temperature only read 37.8, it should be 38.5

We are still not sure what has caused my poor state lately but it may possibly be a combination of a few things - not getting along with the appetite stimulant Mirtazapine; lack of food intake; damage to my tummy from the chemo and tumours; and the chemo possibly making me feel ill - although this is difficult to determine for sure as I was also taking the Mirtazapine just after I had the chemo. All we know is since we stopped the Mirtazapine I have perked up a little. I got on with the chemo drugs last year, no problem, but maybe a second time is just too proving too much for me to manage...

So what now? Well, we are in a kind if no-win situation. Caroline Vet said that if I don't have chemo very soon, the cancer will definitely come back, but then there is the question of whether the chemo will make me feel ill and put me off my food again? I really can't afford not to eat. But if I don't have chemo then...well...the situation only becomes a 'win' if I have the chemo and it doesn't make me feel bad, but we obviously have to try the chemo to discover this.

So, the plan is, I try to eat as much as I can for the next few days, increase my strength, stay alive...if I succeed in this, I head back to see Ben Vet next Wednesday for a check-up to see if I have gained enough weight/strength to resume chemo, should we decide to go down that route...

I am thankful for all your continued purrs and prayers...oh and I am also thankul for my Meowmies and my brother Castle, here he is squashing up to me on the sofa

Love Stormie

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Return of Thomasina!

Some of you may remember the little tabby cat that adopted Meowmie J a few months ago, we thought she was a fat kitten, but it turned out she was a very pregnant, very tiny cat. Thomasina eventually ended up giving birth to her kittens under a bush in Meowmie's front garden. We later found out that Thomasina (real name China) shared her home with two HUGE dogs, no wonder she preferred giving birth in a rose bush!!!

Well, guess who has made a return to Meowmie J's house? Yes, our little friend Thomasina! At first the Meowmie's didn't recognise her as she was soooooo tiny and skinny - she looked like Thomasina but was just too small surely? But, no, it is definitely Thomasina, she is just not pregnant and of course she has had 4 kittens suckling off her for a while so she is bound to be thin and small!

Meowmie L thinks the owners have not been responsible and not bothered having her 'done' cos when they first saw her a couple of days ago, Thomasina was rolling around on the floor, and strutting about with her bum in the air...about 2 feet away from a big black Tom cat who obviously had only one thing on his mind! Meowmie L picked up Thomasina, who then growled and hissed (so she obviously only had one thing on her mind too! The hussy!), and carried her away to the safety of Meowmie J's garden, where she started purring and parading again.

Thomasina now seems to have taken up residence in Meowmie J's porch, which is strange because her real home is only 100 yards away! Maybe she is pregnanat again and looking for a safe is Thomasina, isn't she a beauty?:

As for me...well, no change really. I am eating (not enough though) and drinking of my own free will - Meowmie stopped giving me the appetite stimulant 'Mirtazapine' cos it wasn't working (I ate next to nothing on Saturday or Sunday), and I was being sick and retching whilst taking it, I am not being sick anymore. I actually ate a little less this morning than I have been, but at least I am still trying. I am purry and prummmpy when stroked and spoken to, and give my Meowmie a headbump when she says "Kisses" to me in a high-pitched voice. I am happy to sit peacefully on my various beds and watch the world go on around me. I like to have company and will sit with the Meowmies or Castle - I am not isolating myself or anything like that - and show no signs of pain...but I am quiet in general, very skinny, and I am not at all lively. Meowmie spoke to Ben Vet yesterday and he said that if I am eating and drinking, and showing no signs of pain and seem happy to be around us then "today is not the day".

EDIT: wow, I have just been over to Simply Siamese and they have dedicated their Blog For Peace 'Peace Globe' to little old ME!!! I am so touched by this...and my Meowmie got teary (in a good way). Thank you to my dear friends at Simply Siamese *purrs and headbutts*

Love Stormie xxx

Monday, 2 June 2008

Meezer Mancat Monday

It's Meezer Mancat Monday today because I have a very funny picture of Castle that I want to share with you. He is trying to launch himself at a Flying Shoelace, but just look at his belly and physique! Is it any wonder I am so skinny, not only do I have to contend with my poor appetite, I then can't find any food if I do eventually feel peckish because a certain somecat has stolen it all!!! There is no way he can get off the carpet and fly through the air like my good friends Kaze and Latte!

It is also Meezer Mancat Monday cos Yao-Lin took me out on a date whilst Meowmie was running in Race For Life! I had made a comment on Skittles' blog that I had never been asked out on a date let alone got two marriage proposals (unlike her!) face-twin Yao-Lin spotted my comment and whisked me away for the day! What a Gentlecat he is! We spent the day talking about ourselves and checking out our own refelections. It was absolute heaven! The perfect Meezer date! We even look like each other! Thank you Yao-Lin! Here we are on a gondola in venice, trying to catch our reflections in the water, all the photos from our date are available at Yao-Lin's blog:

I have also been given a lovely award today from Katie at Katiez Furry Mews. It is the Rosy Award and it is for me AND my meowmies cos of their efforts in the race yesterday. Thank you sooooo much Katie Kat and the rest of your lovely gang!

I am still quiet and lethargic but I am not in pain, just weak...I have eaten more today though than I have for quite some time...but I am quieter than I have been in the past too...I have enjoyed cuddles with Meowmie J and Castle tonight, and at bedtime I will sleep with Meowmie L, pressed up against her under the duvet, like I did last night...this is quite a rare thing for to do...I usually save that for Saturday mornings when Meowmie has a lie-in!

Thank you for your continued messages, we really will try to get around and thank you...many purrs to you all xxx

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Race Report

Meowmie did it! She ran all the way - without even one walking break! I was very surprised cos she didn't sleep too good last night and was up early this morning to try and get me to eat. I didn't want to of course, and she tried me with about 5 different foods, I eventually had a few mouthfuls of the Sheba tuna flakes in gravy - which she had offered to me first, but I didn't want it first time round...I thought I would wait to see what else she had in the cupboard.

So, I eventually waved Meowmie off from the flat at 9.45am, she wore her running clothes and she had a dedication to me, her grandparents, and our old housemate Dubbs The Rabbit pinned to her top - they all died from cancer, Nan had stomach cancer (like me), Grandad had lung cancer (he smoked like a chimney!) and Dubbs had kidney cancer. This is what was pinned on Meowmies running top (Meowmie J also ran and had the same message too, her grandparents died of different things though):

There was about 10,000 runners today I think, all ladies cos it was a ladies only race. The men do their race separately on another day later in the year and it is for prostrate cancer awareness mostly. The first picture is all the runners that were behind Meowmie at the start line, the second picture is all the runners that were in front of Meowmie at the start line!

At 11am sharp the horn sounded and they were off! It was an incredibly emotional event, so many people were running and every single person there had had their lives affected by this awful illness. The tributes on people's backs were heart-wrenching. Meowmie had some tears on the approach to the start line, but she pulled herself together once she crossed the start line. Meowmie said the first 500 yards were quite bunched so she couldn't run as fast as she liked, but after about 1km it was more comfortable and people had spread out more.

Meowmie J finished the race ahead of Meowmie L with a time of 29.58. Meowmie L finished in 32.30. These are both personal bests for my Meowmies, which is extra-special cos the race was for me! They must have been trying really hard for me. I am *very* proud of them. In fact people were still crossing the finish line by the time Meowmie L got home - we can almost see the finish line from our kitchen window, if you bigify the picture below, look down to the left of St. Pauls Cathedral, you will see a road with ALOT of runners still out there!

When Meowmie L got home she tried to feed me but I just had a few licks of tuna flakes in gravy, nothing much. I hopped back on the sofa and then Meowmie L presented me with the medal she got today. She told me that I would always be a winner and whatever happens in the near future no-one can take that away from me. She reminded me that I beat cancer once already, and I have gone far beyond the 6-9 months predicted for me 18 months ago. She said that I was her Little Star, the Meezer she always dreamed of sharing her life with when she was a child...I am sure Castle is too, but I fink she always wanted a Seal-Point.

I actually don't look skinny in this photo, but it is deceiving, I am very skinny, I guess I was puffed out with pride for my two Meowmies:

Thank you all for visiting us...your kind words and support are incredibly comforting, we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts xxx