Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Post I Keep Putting Off About Lily

First and foremost: you can relax, Lily is (mostly) fine, and I think she's going to be ok.

 

It never ceases to amaze me how invested we can get in each others' lives online, and I'm touched that so many of you ask about Lily, and offer advice, and just generally give an actual damn about a cat you've never met. It's part of the weird and wonderful life I get to live out online - but strangely, it also means I worry sometimes about worrying all of you.


So, I haven't said much lately about Lily's health, except to mention some tests, which weren't quite as ok as I may have led you to believe. Sorry about that.

In a nutshell, Lily has hyperthyroidism, which means her thyroid is on overdrive. It's pretty common in older cats (Lily's 11), but is still life-threatening, and since it makes them lose weight it can be pretty scary when your cat's as small as Lily.

(And since we found out not too long after I was diagnosed with my own thyroid condition, I was convinced someone was punking me.)

The vet assures me Lily's not in pain, which is a relief, but when she was first diagnosed she was down at least a pound and throwing up a lot. Other than that, though, I mistook all the symptoms - playfulness, extra energy, being more vocal -  as a sign that she was doing great. :(

So after a lot of research we decided to try the iodine-free cat food, y/d thyroid. This worked great, and within about 6 weeks Lily's levels were almost back to normal... but we think the food triggered her poultry allergy, because she started over-grooming again - badly.

ARG.

Since that meant the food was out, and the thyroid meds have a high rate of complications and rejection, that really only left us one option. A very expensive, very hard-on-Jen option: radiation therapy.

This isn't nearly as scary as it sounds: in fact, it's just a single shot. Trouble is, the shot is full of radioactive iodine, so the cat has to be kept in isolation in a special facility for a few days while the radiation wears off.

The good news is this treatment has something like a 97% success rate, is a one-time deal, and cats who get it tend to live a few years longer than those on meds. All good things.

The bad news is it's quite expensive (Nearly $2k with all the required tests), the closest facility is about 2 hours away*, and I have to manage a couple of days without my little furball. Plus, we had to get her off the y/d food for at least a month before they'd do the treatment.

ARG.

 [*Actually, there IS a facility in Orlando that does radiation therapy for cats, but for some reason they charge over 4 TIMES the standard rate, which I still can't understand. On average, radiation therapy costs about $1,200. This place wants $5,000.]

So this Tuesday John is driving Lily up to the facility, and I think we'll have her home again by Thursday night. Back in ye olden days they'd have to keep the cats for 2 weeks, so really, I can't complain.

But of course I'm still worried.

I'd have waited until after the procedure to tell you guys - in the hopes of giving you nothing but good news - but this is where I could use all those wonderful good vibes, virtual hugs, prayers, and wibbly-wobbly joy juju you all might care to send my little girl's way.

'Cuz lookit dat face.



Right now Lily is still a happy camper, and other than some residual over-grooming issues and the occasional bout of crazy-eyed hyperactivity, you'd never know she had a problem. Left untreated, though, she'd only get worse from here - so we're just glad we caught it before there were any heart complications.

We've had to run a bunch of pre-procedure tests at the vet, so Lily's become extremely fond of her cat carrier. If she's not on one of us, she's in there. This reaction makes no sense at all, but we've been keeping the carrier in whatever room we're in anyway, which I hope makes the drive on Tuesday more comfy:

This is her beside me as I'm typing this.
Maybe she just likes it in there because Tonks won't fit. ;)

Other than her health, I'm most worried about the procedure changing Lily's personality. So fingers crossed she comes back her usual loving, oh-you're-taking-a-picture-lemme-get-in-on-this self, and will be photo-bombing all my craft tutorials and distracting me from "real" work for at least another ten years. 

And thanks for caring, guys. You don't know - you can't know - just how much it means to me.

192 comments:

  1. Having an ill fur baby is so difficult! Sending lots and lots of positive vibes for ALL of you!

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  2. My sister JUST had the the same treatment done for her cat for the same condition last month! She was so nervous too but he's so much better now and turning back into his cute chubby self!

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  3. Lily is going to do great, and so are you! Can't wait to hear the good news when she comes back and see more beautiful pictures!

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  4. Good luck to Lily! She is so pretty, and the picture of her in her carrier is so adorable. She has the prettiest eyes! <3 all the good vibes to you both!

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  5. Being someone who almost lost my lovely little dog several times, I know how you feel. Mine was given six months to live more than six years ago and is now the happiest 14-year-old dog in the world. I hope Lily does at least as well as she.

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  6. Prayers and positive vibes sent out to Lily, Jen, John, and Tonks!

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  7. My cat has the same thing. He's responded well to meds, so we haven't gone for the radiation (yet). A good friend of mine had a very successful time with her own cat getting the radiation treatment. Here's sending all good thoughts to Lily, and to you and John!!!

    Becky

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  8. My son's 14-year-old cat, Sprocket, just had the "Radiocat" procedure done a week and a half ago. He had some of the same symptoms as Lily - losing weight and grooming issues. He's back home, talking a lot, and getting back to normal. Best wishes to you and Lily!

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  9. Best of luck to pretty Lily (and to you at home worrying about her) x

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  10. Good luck!
    I know all about having a furbaby that needs the vet a lot :/
    Lily is such a gorgeous cat (I love her blue eyes!) And sending good vibes your way :)

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  11. Good luck!
    I know all about having a furbaby that needs the vet a lot :/
    Lily is such a gorgeous cat (I love her blue eyes!) And sending good vibes your way :)

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  12. Sending good thoughts to you, John, and Lily! Our pets are our babies. A week and half ago we learned our beloved yellow lab has a tumor growing on his heart. That, along with an enlarged heart, will ultimately send him into congestive heart failure. We have no real timeline for his expected survival, and can't afford the $8-10K for the surgical procedure that could extend his life by two years. Right now we're fervently hoping he at least lasts the next two weeks, when my stepdaughter will make the trip from CA to IL. She received him as a birthday gift 9 years ago as a puppy, and I know she'll be devastated if she can't say goodbye.

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  13. Thinking of you and Lily. Best wishes! (My 6-year-old wants me to tell you, as he looks over my shoulder, that she is "the most beautiful cat I've ever seen." :) He also says "Get well soon, Lily!")

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  14. Our 19 year old kitty (Silkie the Russian Blue) has hyperthyroid, she is on pills and has thankfully done really well. I think her even more advanced age is why that was the course recommended for us. She only weighs 5 pounds, and the pills do upset her tummy, so we are just loving on her all we can while we can! Hope that this treatment works well for little Lily!

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  15. Sending prayers for sweet little Lily, and hugs to you, Jen.
    My dog (Also, named Lilly) tore her ACL a few years ago and had to have surgery. Luckily she's doing very well, still the annoying beast she always was. Everyone who meets her can't believe that she's almost 13, she acts like a puppy. (Well, except for when she's annoyed, then you know she's a little old lady!!!)
    Lots of love, I hope everything goes well!!!

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  16. You're cat is so beautiful, and we can see she's a loved family member. It's so hard when your babies are sick. I'll be thinking of her - and you.

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  17. Good luck with the procedure to both Lily and her people :) I just had an emergency situation with my cat not too long ago, and I know how stressful that can be. So here are some good internet vibes from Illinois!

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  18. H.H. BandersnatchJune 7, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    *insert the entire internet's worth of good vibes here* Hope everything goes well with Lily. She's a beautiful girl. And she absolutely needs to be photobombing craft pictures for years to come.

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  19. De-lurking so I can comment on this. I've had at least one furry-purry baby my whole life, with the exception of the first few months that I moved out of my parents house. I'm 38 now. I totally get the worry and concern, so I'm sending tons of love and get-well-soon thoughts from me and my 3 furry-purry babies here in CA.

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  20. Thoughts and hugs to you and Lily. It's so hard when our fur babies aren't doing well. Sending positive juju.

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  21. Lily is literally prettier than most humans, I swear, Jen! Best wishes from here, Jen--hoping all goes well :)

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  22. Assuming you're coming up to Gainesville for our UF affiliated vet teaching hospital, they're great. And on the off chance you need something done here while you're there, feel free to call on me.

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  23. Good luck Lily! You live with (own?) an awesome set of humans who care for you deeply, and a bunch of us online fans who are rooting for you!

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  24. Good wishes & happy vibes to Lily and big big hugs & love to you, John, & Tonks. So hard on all of you. Hang in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel, you will get your sweet wonderful Lily back good as new.

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  25. You should start a Lily fund! I would give to help y'all out. I'm sure she will come back good as new!!

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  26. She's so pretty.
    There's a theme in your family, Jen- you never give up. You've all gotten not-so-great medical news, but somehow every time you each come out on the other side with a great recovery and a tear-inducing heartwarming story (Which reminds me, how is John's ear? And have you been on the Hogwarts Express lately?).
    You are all fighters, little Lily included and I'm sure she's not ready to toss in the towel just yet.
    The Internet is a weird thing. I do feel more attached to Lily and her story than someone who's never met her or you and John probably should. But I genuinely care about her, and I will be sending all the positive energy I can muster her/your way. Best of luck to all four of you. HANG IN THERE, LILY!

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  27. Sending you warm fuzzy happy cat vibes for her treatment. I also am hoping for a quick return to you and her normal self!

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  28. Keep in mind that once they do the radioactive iodine, Lily will probably become hypothyroid. The ROI actually ends up killing part, or all, of the thyroid and most patients (at least human ones!) who were initially hyperthyroid end up needing thyroid replacement meds. I ended up electing not to have the procedure for myself when I was way hyperthyroid and it's a good thing I didn't, because I ended up going hypothyroid just from taking the ATDs.

    I mention this just in case your vet didn't warn you about it.

    Good luck!

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  29. So many thoughts - first of all, sending lots of good wishes for Lily!! And for you guys too. I've had the radioactive thing done on me, was quarantined for a few days, and no ill effects. Shortly after that, my cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroid too, and she took meds for many many years, and did just great on it. She lived to be nearly 20! And yes, she was smaller at the end, but she lived a really happy good life. We had her meds put into a liquid form at the pharmacy, and syringed it into her mouth, which she took really well. Such a good natured furbaby. Later on she did also take meds for her kidneys, which the thyroid meds did some damage to, but we balanced that for several years too. Hoping your Lily feels better and can put some weight back on, and lives to be a very old woman!

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  30. Awww. we get so attached to our furbabies. Many, many, good thoughts headed both your way and Lily's way for a smooth procedure, quick recovery, and quick return home.

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  31. I had a thyroid cat and she lived to be almost 21 so I'm sure Lily has many more years of photobombs.

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  32. My Savannah girl is 18. Yes, EIGHTEEN! In human years, that's 88-90. She recently started (as I call it) dribbling bloody pee. All. Over. The House. Vet thought it was a UTI and gave us meds. After one round, she was still dribbling. So round two. Still going on. Further tests revealed her kidneys are shutting down and like most senior citizens, her bladder is weakening and she "thinks" it's full even when it isn't. Hence, dribbly bloody pee. So she is now on an anti-inflammatory AND pain meds just in case she might be in pain since she can't tell us if she is or not. So far, she is still not acting her age, other than the dribbly pee, which is now no longer bloody and for the time being, she is peeing in her box which is a very good thing! I have bought disposable pet diapers (yes there is such a thing! Who knew?!) and will not hesitate to use them should the dribbly peeing start up again.
    Sending Lily, Tonks, you and John good vibes, juju, virtual hugs and wibbly wobbly joy. Will be keeping you in my good thoughts as you go through this procedure. Please keep us posted as you find out anything new.

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  33. If you set up a fundraiser site, I'd love to help out. We had an angel pay for our kitty, Sapphire's, cancer surgery a couple of years ago and I'd love to pay it forward.

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  34. I hope it all goes well! Sending kitty cuddles across the Pacific.

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  35. My friend's cat had the radiation treatment last summer. The food and meds did not control it. He came home from the procedure the same goofy, sweet Stinky - no personality change at all. Sending you good thoughts!

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  36. Jen, as a cat owner, I totally feel what you're going through. These little furry pests that ignore us and cuddle us and amuse us have this way of creeping into our hearts and staying there! Sending hugs and get well soon wishes to the pair of you. :)

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  37. Hugs and love through the cyber-webs for Lily and you and John and Tonks. Here's to Lily coming back to you ready to photobomb any and all craft project pictures. <3

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  38. Our terrier got into some moldy trash last summer (cue massive pet owner guilt) and had to spend several days at the vet on an IV and doggy Valium. It was stressful and heartbreaking, but she came back to us just as cuddly and strange as ever :) Good vibes for you, John, Lily.

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  39. Lots of virtual hugs being sent out to Lily and to you guys! I don't like it when I have to kennel the dog every now and then (even though he LOVES the place), and I like it even less when I get home on a Sunday, but have to wait until Monday to pick him up. So, virtual snuggles for Lily during her treatment and virtual hugs and happy thoughts being sent you while you wait!

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  40. Sending you both and Lily so many good thoughts and hugs! <3

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  41. My furry babies, iggy and lemmy, and I send our love and good vibes. Lemmy also says to tell you he had to spend 36 hours in a bubble (asthma) and, while his mother was a sobbing mess, he was fine and unfazed by the nights away! <3

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  42. Sending all of you lots of love and light and virtual hugs. <3

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  43. Sending Lily lots of hugs and well wishes from me, Squishy and Nemo (my own crazy fur balls)

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  44. My cat, Brisby, had the iodine treatment two years ago when she was fourteen. I can't recomment this treatment enough!! She got bumped to the top of the procedure list when it became clear after only 3 days on the meds that she wasn't going to be able to keep anything down. There was a centre just down the street from us in London, Ontario (in the people hospital!) that did the treatment, and it cost us about $1200, too. She was quarantined for five days, and the staff sent me email updates once or twice a day and sometimes even called on the phone to check in. They even gave her her own private room when it was clear that she was being stressed out by the other cats. She came back to us and was her old self within days and started putting on weight within two weeks. Two years later (at age 16) and my vet says she's about the healthiest, most attitude filled cat of her age that comes in. And if she happens to be in the unfortunate, very small percent where the hypothyroidism comes back, the centre will perform the procedure again at no cost (so you may want to ask about that, Jen). If that was the case, we would not hesitate to do it again. She's snoozing in abosolute cuteness beside me as I type this. So, Brisby and I are sending all sorts of good vibes Tonks' way! She is going to feel a whole world of better once the procedure is over.

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    1. And I just realized that I wrote "Tonks" instead of "Lily." Ermm, ahem, (shuffles feet) oops! But, you get the point and the vibes, right? The vibes are soooo there . . .

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  45. As a licensed veterinary technician who had her cat (Nigel) treated at Virginia Tech with I-131 last year - I can say you are making a good decision. If you need to talk, feel free to contact me (brandyschmidt578@hotmail.com).

    Sending all kinds of good thoughts to all of you!

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  46. Jen thanks so much for sharing! I am sorry lily is having all the problems. I am praying for you and lily. We have a shop cat at work who loves her carrier too. So we just put a fluffy blanket she LOVES in there (you know the soft fleecy ones that are all over the place at Christmas?) Maybe lily would like one for her long ride? Much love to you all and I look forward to updates good or bad

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  47. I had a cat diagnosed with hyperthyroid and kidney disease when he was 12 years old. The thyroid condition was keeping his kidney disease in check, so the vet didn't want to completely treat the hyperthyroid, but also didn't want to leave sweet Simon kitty sick. We put him on low dose thyroid meds plus a special diet to treat the kidney issue. He lived to be 21 years old, and was the sweetest, funniest little fur baby I've ever known. We've got 3 cats now (Alton is 7, and our new 3 month old babies are Izzy and Lizzy), but there will never be another sweetheart like my Simon.
    All that to say, I've been there, and know that it's horrible trying to find the right treatment. But the good news is that they can live long, happy lives even with chronic medical issues. Thinking of you and John and Lily, and hope you all are reunited and happy soon!

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  48. I worry about you worrying about us worrying! I bet Lily is comforted by the closeness of the carrier. Much better than my cats that go bonkers when they even see a carrier! Good luck to you all, we are sending out good vibes to you!

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  49. They really are like children, aren't they? Definitely sending good vibes your way. I hope that this goes a long way to solving all of Lily's issues. Best wishes! :)

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  50. Oh, I feel for you! Pets are part of the family, and it's hard when they are sick. My two year old 85-pound baby of a Bernese Mountain Dog is having some issues with her elbow, and it's potentially really costly to fix, but we can't just leave it, the poor girl is limping significantly and it's really cutting down the activities she can do. But between the potential costs and the possible recovery time, plus the fact that we're trying to prep for our first human baby at the same time, and the stress is mounting. But I love my girl to bits and want to do everything possible to help her out. So I definitely feel for you. Pet parent life can really be tough at times. I'm sending you all the good vibes, and all the best with coping through the days of separation. Good luck!

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  51. Good thoughts to you and Lily! Just think, this could be her superhero origin story. :)

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  52. Good luck Lily! I know how you are feeling Jen, I had to send my little dog into the vets to get his leg removed due to a highly aggressive cancer, it's a hard thing to have to do. It will be worth all the stress to see Lily happy and healthy again (take it from my little 3 legged dog who is already running around like it never happened!)

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  53. I know how stressful it is to have furry family members feeling under the weather. My two purrballs and I wish you all the best!

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  54. Wow, that's a lot for all of you to go through. All the kitty kisses to Lily. One of my friends had a similar procedure done (but for humans) and she came out great, so here's hoping you get the same results.

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  55. *hugs* to you and Lily. Our fur babies are so important!

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  56. I feel for you, so much. I lost my Tinkerbell in February at 14 years old. She was my baby (I can't have children) and it was incredibly sudden. I am sending you good vibes and will be watching the site for good news. <3

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  57. Oh my goodness, Jen and John...crossing fingers and sending good thoughts Lily's way, and yours.

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  58. I lost my Skittle on my birthday last December. We were able to keep him with us an additional year and a half, during which he fed on Y/D no iodine food, took pills in various strengths and dosages, and underwent a thyroidectomy. His weight went up and down even after surgery. We were scheduled for a specialist just after the first of the year when Skittle decided he was done. All best wishes with you and your baby. We do what we can for our family, even though it gets more and more expensive. I do not regret one dollar spent on getting Skittle on an even keel. I will always remember what an exemplary cat he was, and I rejoice that I will see him one day again at the Bridge. Hugs from Texas.

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  59. Oh, goodness you are going to miss that girl like crazy! Lilly will have other cats and technicians and vets to keep her occupied and pet her and play with her.... while you are at home without her. Tonks is great -- but Tonks is not your girl. I totally can understand that. Just keep repeating to yourself the reasons WHY you are doing this! You will get through it, Jen. You have amazing John (thoj) and Tonks, and no doubt lots of things lined up to do. You can do it -- it will be for the best of your beautiful girl.
    Maureen S

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  60. I know people and cats are very different, but my sister has been dealing with thyroid issues for almost the past year and it has included radioactive iodine and isolation. She came through it well and she couldn't be around others for about a week! I'm sending all the positive vibes I have available to you, John, Lily, and Tonks! <3

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  61. Poor Lily! As a veterinarian, I can say that doing the radioactive iodine is the best choice for this disease. I know that it is hard on owners for the treatment, both financially and emotionally, but in the end Lily is going to feel so much better. I know when I did my clinical year at NC State, one of our favorite breaks one medicine was watch the videos of the cats going through treatment. There, at least, many owners brought a toy for their cat to have while in isolation, so definitely ask if you can do that for Lily.

    Good luck to Lily, and feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

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  62. Hugs and healing thoughts and purrs for you and Lily.

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  63. Good luck, Lily! And love to all three of you.

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  64. Prayers for the lovely Lily (and her parents) from Oregon. I work with a no-kill cat shelter here in Portland and I know that vets can work miracles. Looking forward to many happy updates on this girl.

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  65. One of my kits has hyperthyroidism. It's really not hard to deal with, I mean compared to our other cat (who has inflammatory bowel disease). Jubs has never "stabilized" long enough on medication go for the radioactive iodine treatment. But, really, it hasn't been so bad. The pills are small and she is pretty good at gobbling them up in a pill pocket or smooshed in to wet food.
    Good luck with your baby!

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  66. Prayers and love for you from our family. You have helped me so much, in so many ways. Wish I could do more.

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  67. I had the same procedure done to me almost 2 years ago! The week of isolation will be hard for Lily (I actually loved my quarantine - the family left and I had a week to be home alone and eat all the Doritos) but I felt absolutely fine the whole time. Except for the thyroid-tanking weight gain (which will be good for a skinny kitty) I have felt better than I have in the past 10+ years. I'm more patient, kinder, and I sleep better! Translate that into cat behavior and imagine how much better Lily will feel!

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  68. Lots of Love and Hugs for you guys and Lily. She will do great :)

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  69. I usually just lurk, but as a fan, pet lover, and a fellow thyroid-shenanigans sufferer, I just wanted to pop in and say I hope Lily takes the shot well and recovers quickly!

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  70. Sending good vibes to you and your beautiful Lily.

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  71. I completely understand what you mean about feeling punked with you and Lilly both having thyroid issues. I had Grave's Disease (a form of hyper, but now I'm being treated as hypo because the endo believes my thyroid burnt itself out), my mother, brother and two of our dogs were/are hypo. Our vet said it was rare to see two unrelated animals within the same house have thyroid problems. My mom says there is something in the water here. All the best to you, John and Lilly.

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  72. We love our fur children so much! Praying this procedure helps Lily to feel better and gives her lots of years more with you and John.

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  73. Best wishes to Lily, and to you guys! <3

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  74. Will be thinking of all of you this week! I know those multi-day procedures are hard, but Lily's going to have such good care, and she'll be home soon. Sending good vibes to Tonks as well. Looking forward to hearing how it all goes for you all (and especially Lily).

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  75. Sending positive thoughts your way! My fur baby is only 5 and drives me bonkers sometimes but she's also such a warm sweet ball of fur and purrs... You're lucky that she *likes* the cat carrier, the last cats I cohabitated with would disappear for hours if the carriers came out, and they were surprisingly good at hiding and escaping in a tiny apartment.

    Hope everything goes even better than you hope for all of you!!

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  76. I was in the same condition (hypothyroid owner of a hyperthyroid cat). I researched the radiation treatment, but due to the cost (and her age), I treated her condition with medication. Other than hiding tiny pieces of pills in treats twice a day, she had no complications from the medication. The pills were very inexpensive (I bought them at a people-pharmacy instead of a kitty-pharmacy), and the additional TSH blood work was done during her standard vet checks. Best of luck to you and Lily!

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  77. Good luck Lily! I can't add any advice, but I'm sending lots of prayers and good juju that way.

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  78. My fur baby and I wish Lily all the best. We've been dealing with kitty health issues too, and it's so great when after all the worry and stress you see your baby feeling so much better and and acting like her old self. I had to laugh when I saw Lily in the carrier--my furry hates hers. If we have to go to the vet, I get it out the day before and she promptly vanishes and hides for hours. By the next day, she's forgotten it's there so I can just scoop her up and quickly pop her in! We hope you feel better really soon, Lily!

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  79. Sending lots of positive thoughts and cat cuddles your way! My cats had thyroid problems too, I know how scary it is when they start losing weight like that, but we went for tablets rather than radiation therapy as they were so old and it was easy enough to deal with (It helps that they weren't fussy eaters and would gobble up the tablets in their food without even noticing!). Here's hoping everything goes well, best wishes to you and Lily.

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  80. Awww, Lily, you gorgeous thing, you!

    Jen, thanks for the update on Lily's condition and all the beautiful photos. She's a feline supermodel, for sure.

    The separation is going to be harder on you than on Lily, so I'm wishing you peace of mind while she's away. Take comfort in the knowledge that you're doing the right thing for her and that this is just one more small step on the way to having a healthy Lily.

    I'm sure you guys have already thought of this, but maybe you should *try* to be out of the house as much as possible (I know, I know...) while she's gone so that you won't feel her absence as acutely and so that you'll be distracted from the worry and stress. Arrange a couple Disney meetups, go shopping for more accent pieces for the back room, go take some more jaw-dropping photos at WWHP to share with us (okay, that's just me speaking selfishly, heh), or go visit friends or family that you haven't seen in awhile.

    I'm sure Lily will have excellent, attentive care and will be feeling good as new in no time at all.

    I'll be keeping all of you in my thoughts this week. Please give us an update when she's back home.

    KW

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  81. Lots of kitty head-bumps and purrs to Lily (and Tonks, so he doesn't feel left out). Gentle hugs to you and John. Wishing all of you the best!
    Zippy

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  82. Another veterinarian here based on her age I think the radioactive iodine is an excellent idea. I've had lots of kitty patients undergo this procedure and it works really well. Thinking good thoughts for Lily.

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  83. Best of luck to Lily from me and my dog Emma! Lily is one beeeea-u-tiful kitty (I mean, look at those eyes!).

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  84. Wishing you all the best of luck!

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  85. Wishing you all the best of luck!

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  86. I don't usually comment, but I ABSOLUTELY have to today. I don't want to be one of those who say don't worry, but, well.... don't worry. We went through this process with our kitty Cobol (yes, named after the programming language - what can I say? We're geeks.) Cobol lost over three pounds, which on a nine pound cat is a LOT. I was terrified for her. She's been my constant companion through a lot of rough times, and losing her scares the living daylights out of me. Her personality didn't change one iota - she was a cranky ol' cuss before it, she is a cranky ol' cuss now. The hardest part was remembering how exactly to dispose her waste when she got home as it is still slightly radioactive for a few weeks afterwards and local regulations vary. Ask your vet - they will be able to walk you through it. The amazing thing to note is that Cobol had the procedure done four or five years ago (or was it more?) and she is still doing just fine at the ripe old age of 16. Her tummy has pooched out a little and she's no longer the sleek feline she once was, but everyone gets a little pooch as they get older. We tell her she's a beautiful as she ever was. We send our best wishes to Lily, and to you as her pet parent - sometimes it's harder on you than it is on them when they are ill. <3

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  87. Oh Jen, of course we care. I guess most of us have pets of our own, so we can relate.

    It seems like you have a great vet and that you have chosen the best treatment for her. It's a shame the diet (which probably would have been the "gentlest" treatment) didn't work, but when it makes her miserable because of other issues, it's just not an option. That she is right at home in her carrier is a great advantage - my old tomcat hated that thing and everything to do with it. He would be cross with us for days after a vet visit.

    So here's to hoping that she will be as comfy and relaxed as possible through the procedure and the extended stay. Keep a level head. You're doing the right thing.

    We'll keep our fingers crossed over here.

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  88. Sending a lot of wibbly-wobbly joy jujus your way! Not that you would need them, because that beautiful Lily will come back better than new and ready for more pretty pictures. But still... Good luck and hold on!

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  89. keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.................

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  90. Good luck! I hope everything goes well tomorrow. My cat's also had some health problems as she gets older, so I know how it is.

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  91. Lots of positive thoughts sent all y'all's way.

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  92. Stephanie LeasureJune 8, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Good luck Lily!

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  93. Prayers & Juju heading you, John, and Lily's way!

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  94. Prayers, good juju, and kitty cuddles to you all - my sweet Mary Alice passed away at somewhere in the neighborhood of fourteen, and even though it was seven years ago, I still get misty thinking about her.

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  95. Head bonks & purrs to Miss Lily from my fur family - Bueller, Bernie, Frankie, Tweakes & Toby

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  96. My kitty Malcolm had to go through the same thing when he was 10 yrs old, being away from him while he was stuck waiting it out at the vet was super difficult (though the vet let me call twice a day to check up on Mal). But he came through with flying colors and survived for another 7 years because of the therapy. So Miss Lily has a long life ahead of her :-) *hugs*

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  97. Lots of prayers and virtual hugs for you and Lily. My husband used to work for a veterinarian oncologist, and he's seen the success of this treatment many times. (Also, thank you for your previous Lily posts - our cat Alice started over grooming, and it's gotten so much better since we switched to a duck-based food. I would have never thought of food allergies if it weren't for your blog.)

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  98. I would be a wreck if one of my furry fellas had to do this. Love and all the happy thoughts from my geeky kitty filled family to yours! - Abbey & Josh, Gandalf &Bilbo

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  99. My very best wishes to you all. Our cats are very old and showing their age in lots of ways, but we haven't had any horrendous diagnoses. I can't imagine what you and John are going through, but you're all in my thoughts.

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  100. Weird as this is, I have experience with a hyer-t cat! He came back super zen and friendly, eating normally, and no longer spooking at 3 in the morning.
    Three cheers for Lily, Jen, and travelin' Jon! Peace be with y'all.

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  101. Thanks for the update! She's such a beauty.
    I lost my baby boy one year ago tomorrow. He was 17...and that is very good for a cat with diabetes.
    I don't say that to scare you, I say it to give you hope...the treatment WILL WORK and Lily will be with you for many more years. Give her a hug from all of us and maybe her own little Epbot to hug while she's away. :)
    Prayers for you all, definitely.

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  102. sending lots of wibbly-wobbly joy juju your way!!!

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  103. Many, many good wishes for Lily's good health.

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  104. You are lucky that Lilly likes to hang out in her carrier. Miss Sprite the Maine Coon does NOT which is why we spend months with it under the table inching her bowl ever closer and then IN the carrier. We had a ca with hyperthyroid who did well for years on Tapenzole ( a human med). Keeping Lily, You, John and Tonks in my thoughts until the post of Lily back home photo-bombing your crafts. Oh - we care because you care about her and let's be real - she's freaking adorable!

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  105. if loving a cat (and people) i will never meet it wrong, i don't wanna be right.
    sending lots of prayers for your beautiful, sweet lily...and you.

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  106. Those beautiful eyes! Lots of virtual hugs for you, and virtual pets for Lily.

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  107. Good luck, Lily (and you and John)!

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  108. Hope all goes well for you and John and dear Miss Lily!

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  109. So sorry to hear Lily is having troubles, but happy to hear there is a treatment. Hugs to your family, I'd be a wreck if one of my 9 year old cats needed something like this.

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  110. My sweet Kira was on thyroid meds for a few years - it seemed so sudden, all of a sudden my tiny girl was even TINIER! but she was eating voraciously and going after all sorts of people food, which she had never done before. Got her on the meds and she did wonderfully. Had radiation therapy been offered I would have seriously considered it - by the time you add up the vet visits and the meds over a few years, it all kind of balances out! I am sending all sorts of good vibes to Lily!

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  111. Hugs and good thoughts for you all and Lily. Cats are the best. Thanks for sharing how things are going with us!

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  112. Hope everything goes swimmingly for Lily! I wish you, John and Tonks the best from my family and furbabies, Sebastian, Cheerio and Cookie.

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  113. Sending positive vibes your way, Jen! Good luck Lily! I know you'll do great! *hugs*

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  114. Thinking of you during this difficult time and hoping for a quick recovery for your Lily! :) I appreciate (again) your ability to share your stories. I can only imagine that you've inspired and educated others who are reading this to do and try things that they might not have had the courage to do.

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  115. Sending lots of good thoughts to your whole family. My two kitties said Lily should feel better soon. :)

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  116. Aw, best wishes, Lily!

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  117. I have an elderly cat (Pixie) who underwent the same radiation treatment at age 15. She's having her 17th birthday this July and has never looked better. It's scary and traumatic (for you!), but SO worth it in the long run. Pix was miserable before the treatment, and she's not the kind of cat to tolerate pills, so the cringe-worthy expensive treatment was the only option. They tried to talk me out of it due to her age ("you might only have a year or so left with her"), but I haven't regretted it once. Best wishes for Lily!!

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  118. Happy, healthy kitty vibes coming your way, along with virtual hugs and you're-doing-greats and LOTS of awesome healing energy too. She looks like a doll. = )

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  119. Hugs and wibbly-wobbly joy juju to you all. My heart is with you.

    -Just Andrea

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  120. I'll be thinking of all of you this week!
    I have 5 furballs and would do anything I had to for them.

    Sending purrs and snuggles to you all!!!!

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  121. We had a cat with hyperthyroidism, she was on meds but they gave her a new lease of life, she lived to the age of 18. I in more recent years have also had hyperthyroidism, my levels are currently fine but if they go up again i'll be having radioactive iodine! much love to you guys xx

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  122. I'll be thinking of you and Lily all week, sending wibbly-wobbly joy juju as we speak.

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  123. I also had a kitty with hyperthyroidism in his final years. They didn't offer me the radiation option (and honestly, we probably couldn't have afforded it at that time!). Iodine free food was out for us because one of Dagon's great joys in life was sampling everything we ate. The meds did work well for him, though, and he lived to a ripe age of 17, and was very spry and himself until very close to the end. Luckily, Lily has one of the more treatable cat health issues that can come up! I'll be thinking good thoughts for her for her treatment, and wishing you several more happy cat years ahead. Pets are so hard...they just don't live as long as we do, so we get to practice over and over how to deal gracefully with aging and mortality. Hopefully we learn some lessons about how to treat our human companions and what we want for ourselves along the way too :)

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  124. Lots of happy, peaceful thoughts and prayers for that beautiful baby and all of you! I second the idea of staying busy as you can while she's not home. Or take up coloring!

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  125. Add me to the list of folks sending wonderful good vibes, virtual hugs, prayers, and wibbly-wobbly joy juju your way.
    Bummer that the place closest to you is stupid expensive. Good thing you were able to find that out beforehand and figure out a plan B. Don't worry, everything's going to be fine. Really.

    T


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  126. If you're still looking for a better food, check out Wellness or Blue Buffalo. I have a cat who likes to drag her but on the floor we switched her to a grain free version of Blue Buffalo and she's now a very happy pooper who doesn't drag her pooper across my floors. We have 2 cats total plus my mom's cat living with us and once we switched them all over everyone is much healthier and happier. Our pooper is Lily as well :) Hope everything goes well!

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  127. Kitteh and cat-parent prayers your way. Hard for our babies to be ill!

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  128. happy purring thoughts sent your way from faraway France!! I hope everything goes great - having 2 cats myself, I can only imagine how hard this must be for you... bon courage!!

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  129. Huh! I had no idea that they did this for cats. I JUST had my own radioactive iodine treatment two weeks ago - second go-around due to thyroid cancer. The low iodine diet is AWFUL (no dairy, no soy, no seafood, and no food with unidentified salt) but the treatment is a breeze (best vacation I ever had). I wonder what they'll do about the salivary glands. In humans, you have to suck on lemon candies for two days post-treatment to keep the salivary glands from burning. My treatment was to kill thyroid cells, but historically radioactive iodine was used in imaging, so it's very possible that the dose will be low enough that it doesn't kill the thyroid. And if there wasn't any instruction about isolation, then I imagine the dose isn't very high. Good luck!!!

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  130. headbutts & purrs from my two girls!

    ((((hugs)))) from me

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  131. Sending Lily, you, and John all the positive good health energy vibes we can to help your little girl make a full recovery. We have a rescue dog (minnie Aussie) that was nearly starved to death which caused ongoing allergies and a wicked skin condition that requires constant monitoring and attention (to say nothing of the $$$$ we've spent over the last 5 years). I really do wish you all the best and will be checking for updates. I check CakeWrecks and Epbot daily for a chuckle and geek fix, so thanks for all you do!

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  132. Hi, Jen --
    Just chiming in to say that a beloved cat of mine had this treatment nearly 20 years ago, and his personality did not change at any point, and he had no complications. Surely the treatment has become only more sophisticated in the interim. Additionally, I wasn't allowed to sleep with him for a few weeks after because of residual radiation (so we scheduled for when I would be out of town for a bit), so you may want to inquire about what level of cuddling is allowed/prohibited with the specifics of Lily's procedure.

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  133. Hi Jen,
    I haven't commented before but I wanted you to know I'm sending you all the good vibes I can, I hope that Lily's treatment goes perfectly and you don't feel too sad without her around. I have to take my baby cat Whisky (he's 17, sleeping on my lap as I type this) to the vet tomorrow for a heart scan to see how the ongoing heart condition he has is doing; I have been giving him meds every night for the last 6 months so hoping for good news here as well. So while we are at our appointment I shall think of you and Lily at yours and be wishing you well. Hang in there, it'll be Thursday before you know it and you'll have her home again.

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  134. Lily is the prettiest cat I've ever seen, and obviously brings much joy to your lives. I'm glad you posted this before the procedure, so I can be sending up prayers for her and you both as you go through this week. Hopefully we hear nothing but good news at the end of the week when you get your baby home!

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  135. Sending so much love and white light for Lily and you and John and Tonks that it can't be measured.

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  136. Best of luck to Miss Lily and hugs for you and John!

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  137. Sending you all the wibbly-wobbly joyous juju I have!

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  138. Absolutely will be praying for and thinking of your Lily this week.
    Less than a month ago I had to say good-bye to my 13-yr old cat (my little girl) and I want you to have oh-so-much-more time with your fur baby, because I'm missing mine.

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  139. My late Siamese cat had hyperthyroid. She hated the special food and so we gave her pills once or twice daily depending on her blood levels. Once we figured out to hide the pills in cheese we had no difficultly getting her to take her medications. Instead, we had to be careful not to let her beg extra doses. She lived to 19 with no further health problems.
    so here's hoping your Lily does as well!

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  140. ((HUGS)) to you and Lily. My fur babies and I are sending good vibes your way. A few years ago, my senior-citizen kitty, Lilly, had to have an $800 procedure. I looked at her and said, "Okay, but this counts as your prom dress." :) I'm sure everything will work out fine.

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  141. Aw I'm sorry your kitty has been unwell. I know how scary that is.

    If you're taking her to Blue Pearl here in Tampa they are really good and I had testing done on my older kitty there. Everyone had good things to say too when I asked about it.

    Best wishes to you and Lily!

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  142. Sending happy healthy thoughts to your lovely little lady and happy calm thoughts to you and John.

    “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    ― Julian of Norwich

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  143. What a gorgeous cat. Every time I see her pics I am amazed afresh at how stunning she is. Hang in there, you can do this and so can she!

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  144. I've had a radioactive iodine treatment too. (Thyroid Cancer) The isolation sucks, I had to be away from my kitties for days. My mom came and took care of me and them. But really, no long term affects. Good luck to you and your cute baby girl!

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  145. Thoughts and prayers for you, Lily, Tonks and John. Those little fur-babies of ours sure have a way of getting deep into our hearts, don't they?!

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  146. Good luck Lily!
    All my kitties & even my JRT, are pulling for you!

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  147. Back in 1999 I had a cat with the same condition, and I did the radiation treatment. Long story short she lived for another 17 years happy and healthy. Sending good thoughts to you, John, Tonks, and Lily.

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  148. Sending you lots of hugs and good vibes from myself and my furbaby xxx

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  149. Very best wishes for sweet Lily for today! The treatment might actually help with the licking too so it might have that as a bonus. Being hyperthyroid can have as many weird symptoms as being hypo, so it very well might be linked. Good luck Lily! xxx

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  151. Lovely Lily! I'm crossing my fingers :)

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  152. Sending good thoughts and prayers for Lily! I have my own friendly fluffball with grooming problems, so I'm really glad to hear that you've got a diagnosis for her. :)

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  153. The world would be a sadder place without Lily's beautiful blue eyes. Get better soon, pretty kitty!

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  154. My best friend did the radiation treatment to her cat about 10 months ago, and her cat is SO HEALTHY now!!! Same personality, but gaining weight back, good coat, everything. My friend is super happy she did the treatment, it made her cat so much better and all good news. Lily will be fine!!! Really, this is an awesome treatment and she will feel better and you will feel better. Like you, my friend also found out she had a thyroid condition at the same time as her cat! For the cat, she tried the pills, the special food, and then the radiation, and radiation was the best option. So try not to worry, this will be good!

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  155. Good luck to Lily today! And lots of hugs and happy thoughts to you and John who will be without a lovely fur-baby for the next couple of days! I will send snuggles to Lilly via my four kitties :)

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  156. so much love and so many hugs for all of you. And I must say that Lily is a stunner, and I am by no means a cat person!

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  157. Sending out so much positive vibes! You got this Lily!

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  158. Many Snuggles to beautiful Lily - I'm certain she will come through this totally oblivious to why her Mama was stressing. My own furbaby loves his carry box too. I think it's a cat thing - they like boxes and if they've had a positive experience or can associate the box with being a calm hiding place then it helps keep them settled during vet visits. When I first brought Enzo home as a kitten we left his carrier in the dining room partially covered with a blanket and full of soft toys to simulate 'litter mates' while he was acclimating to his new home and he saw it as a dark, safe sanctuary - he still does and rarely protests more than a token amount when I put him in the box and take him to the vet (and I think that is more about protesting because I usually have to disturb his sleep). He travels well and I always know he's not stressed or unhappy in the box.

    Small request? Can we have a close up of Lily's beautiful face with those vivid eyes? I'd love to see them more clearly. :-)

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  159. Please PLEASE check out CatNutrition.org. I'm not sure if anyone has already suggested it, but I have found that a homemade raw with bones food has dramatically helped my cat with his over grooming.

    In a nutshell, cats are carnivores. They should never EVER be fed grains, and they should be consuming a diet that is at lease 90% animal protein. Also, cats do not have the thirst drive as much as dogs do. Even if they have access to fresh water 24 hours a day, they will never drink enough to compensate for eating a dry cat food. Please PLEASE try feeding her at least a high quality grain-free wet cat food such as Best Feline Friends or setting similar if the homemade raw diet isn't for you. (I hate raw meat and am extremely squeamish myself, but I power through making a large batch about once a month for the health of my cats.

    Give the website I mentioned a read, and please keep an open mind when doing so. Do your own research, just like you do with your own health.

    Good luck to you, John, Lilly, and Tonks!

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    1. I just looked at the ingredient list on that Science Diet food, and oh my goodness im so glad you took her off of that. The first ingredient is "corn gluten meal"! Why on earth anyone would think it was a good idea to feed cats corn gluten, when they would never EVER eat something like that in nature, is beyond me.

      Do diligence and read up on what is best to feed cats. Catnutrition.org is a great place to start. There is also a wonderfully informative book called "Your Cat" by Dr. Elizabeth M. Hodgkins D.M.V that really opened my eyes to the harsh reality of what we SHOULD be feeding our cats.

      Again. Best of luck to you, and I do hope you and Lilly can get well and find piece. ;)

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    2. I don't have anything to add to Hilary's post on cat food, but I will say that it's spot on advice for any animal food to check reviews. Veterinarians typically don't get a lot of training in nutrition (kind of like our MDs, actually), and I've read some schools just have a pet food company representative give the vets information. As a result, Purina and Hills Science Diet have been recommended by my vets (two different ones that I've gone to), despite being some of the lower quality food in terms of ingredients. When my dog started having allergies, they recommended Hills Science Diet z/d, at $60/bag. It didn't help, so I did some research. It turns out that there's a similarly priced dog food to the Hills Science Diet z/d that has much better ingredients that significantly reduced my dog's allergies (wellness simple, if anyone's interested). It's been several years since I've made coats to keep him from scratching himself bloody, and he hardly ever scratches himself any more.

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  160. oh boy, i can sure relate to how worried you must be. Sending her all the love and good vibes I can muster. Good luck Lily!

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  161. Hugs for you and good thoughts and prayers for Lily!

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  162. Sending prayers to you all! You're a great pet mom!!

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  163. What a unique and pretty kitty! Wishing her and you the best with her treatment!

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  164. I'm so glad another option was open to you after the food didn't work out. I saw the facebook post of John dropping her off today. I hope everything goes smoothly! Happy thoughts are with you :)

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  165. Love and ju-ju to you all! *waft waft* I have 2 Bengals, one super confident and one my neurotic shadow so I understand about worrying about a furry bundle. Best of luck to Lily!!

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  166. Prayers.... Don't know that I have prayed for a cat before....

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  167. Oh, no! I'm so sorry your poor kitty is having such difficulties, but so thankful that there is a treatment for her and that you are willing to do whatever you can to help her out. My cats are basically my best friends so I totally understand how stressful it mush be for you guys. Sending prayers for comfort and peace to you, John, and Lily while she undergoes this treatment.

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  168. So many snuggles and so much love to Lily - not to mention both you and John. I know how hard it can be to worry over a fur-baby. I lost my precious little calico princess Serendipity last August to a very fast, very aggressive cancer. I still miss her. Anyone who says "it's just a cat" will get a boot to the face from me!

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  169. Hugs to you and Lily! Our oldest furball underwent the same procedure last summer and came through with flying colors - still our same old obsessively snugly puss, so I have faith Lily will still be Lily when she gets back! :)

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  170. Love and hugs, hugs and love.

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  171. Hope she gets better quickly!!! She has the most beautiful eyes.

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  172. Lily's the most lovely cat. I hope she's feeling better soon! I know it's hard when pets are sick, but you guys are such good caretakers. I know there's a lot of people that wouldn't even consider getting such an expensive treatment for "just a cat". You guys are awesome. :)

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  173. I honestly think of Lily as the mascot of this blog - her stunning photobombs are so enjoyable! (Although I have my suspicions you pick the photos she is in to post, who wouldn't?!)

    Love and hugs to all of you Jen x x

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  174. I know I'm a bit late for this but...
    My furbaby (dog) underwent emergency surgery about a week ago. It was a scary time for all of us and so I know how it feels to have a furbaby in distress. Thoughts and hugs to you.
    *hugs!!!*
    -Z

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  175. My aunt had this therapy for her cat many years ago, when the cat was... I want to say 10 or 11. She lived to at least 22 afterwards and never had any sort of personality changes with it. My aunt got to take her home afterwards, but had to specially bag all the litter and keep her away from the other cats for two weeks. The litter got picked up by a special radioactive waste disposal company, I remember that.

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  176. Lily is one seriously photogenic cat...and I'm not even a cat person.

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  177. Good vibes for the lot of you from my furballs and me!! They're the ones that I miss when I travel, not the people :)

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  178. I hope Lily recovers quickly, and that she comes home today!

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  179. I'm crying at my desk at work now, thank you for that Jen ;-) I'm so in love with my pup that I don't even want to imagine what it altos be like to go through this. Hugs and warm fuzzies to you, John, Tonks, and especially Lily over the next few days. Hope she's back home today or tomorrow and gets back to her usual antics soon!

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  180. Hugs to you, John, and Lily. I had a hard time watching How to Train Your Dragon, and had to stop watching HTTYD2 because Toothless just reminds me too much of my black cat, Echo. It is pretty amazing how much those little furballs affect us, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  181. So glad she's doing well! My now 15-year-old kitty had the radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism last year in March and she's healthier than ever. I also switched her to a homemade raw diet w/ bones as Hilary Porter suggested above and that's helped her lots too (it got rid of the diarrhea she was having even before she had the RI treatment). She looks and behaves like a kitten and has the softest coat she's ever had. Her personality HAS changed a little--she's way more lovey than she used to be. ;) Still has her spunk, though. If you're interested in the homemade raw diet please feel free to reach out--it was a hard switch for me but has been so worth it and actually a lot easier than I thought. Best wishes for you and Lily!

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