It all started with a lump.

Just yesterday, I noticed my cat, Cooter, has a lump on his tail. I was petting him, one long stroke from his head all the way down to the tip of his tail, wrapping his hand around his tail all the way down. I usually wrap my fingers around his tail gently, but for some reason, this time I squeezed it just enough to feel the bones in his tail. He is a striped cat, and near the third stripe from the tip, I felt a lump on the right side. Not a pimple sized lump, but a small lump that is under his skin.

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I automatically got stressed. The first thing I began to fear is cancer. I lost my cat, Isis, on December 22nd, 2016. She had a lump on her ankle in 2015 and it grew. They said it was cancer and she got the leg amputated. A year later, she had more lumps in different areas and it was too late. I took her in to send her to Rainbow Bridge once I saw the beginning of her quality of life to degrade because I refused to let her know a worse level of pain. It was a horrible decision to make.

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Isis, December 2016

I have been meaning to write a memorial section on my site for her, and I will get around to it soon.

Anyhow, I immediately called the vet and they suggested I come in, made an appointment for today. I dread bringing my cat into the vet. He has a history of bladder crystals and he’s been blocked maybe about four or five times. I have to give him medicated food. Last time I took him to the vet was when he had an episode in 2014. Every time he goes to the vet, he acts like he’s 100% sure he’s going to be completely tortured. He gets violent when the staff tries to touch him. I have seen them break out with long gloves and a net, I’ve seen them get a little rough with him. I’ve been asked to place him in a plexiglass box to they can knock him out long enough to examine him.

Cootie is going to be 15 years old next month. He doesn’t need the stress of being roughed up by vet staff. Stress also triggers bladder crystals for him, so I hate seeing him stressed out. And using gas to knock him out is a risk for his heart. So of course I don’t take him to the vet unless I really need to. And a finding a lump means I need to.

I brought him into today and the vet assistant was asking questions. He was already growling so we let him stay in his carrier until the doctor came in. The assistant said when a lump is on the tail, it’s usually an abscess or cancer. I hated to know how high the odds for cancer are. After asking questions, she left and returned with the doctor sooner after. She was an older woman who quickly appeared to be scared of my cat. They brought a few towels in and tried to handle him, but he wasn’t about to let it happen. She quickly said she thinks it’s best she prescribes some Gabapentin to give him and help him calm down before I bring him back again. I told her I have tried to give him pills in the past and he refuses. I told her it would work best if she can make the medicine into a liquid compound that I squirt into his mouth and I would much rather pay for that. She called the prescription in and I am supposed to give it to him before I bring him back next Friday.

I tried to put the lid back on his carrier and he was hissing and swatting at me from inside his carrier. It was so frustrating and heartbreaking knowing my cat needs medical care but he just can’t handle visiting the vet. How will I ever get him the medical care he needs? I hope the sedative works and they can examine him next Friday. I need to know that the lump is NOT cancer.

Of course when he got back home, he was completely normal again.

 

Well that was short lived

I recently posted about the positive outlook on possibly returning to the gym without my back hurting as much, but I have been disappointed. I did something for work that required me to stand on a hard floor for four hours straight, and my back started to die about halfway in. It was very frustrating. It was like the pain was telling me not to get too brave because it’s not going away any time soon. It felt a bit better later, so I decided to do  Body Combat class that evening, but just modifying the moves to protect by back from any more strain. That was Thursday night and my back hurt the whole weekend.

I kept thinking I need to go back to the gym. I went to the gym three times within a week and didn’t want to lose the work I put in by backing away from going. My back was hurting on Tuesday, but again, I bargained with myself, thinking I could just go and do my best while moving cautiously to protect my painful areas. My back hurt the whole time and it was very angry when I got home. I even had to ice it. Today is a special Valentine’s Day Body Combat class that I really want to attend, but I feel myself getting pushed behind that fear of pain wall that is stopping me from going. It’s so annoying.

I’m not ready to go back to the physical therapist again. I have very little faith that they are actually even helpful. From my experience, all they seem to do is guess what’s wrong and use the least amount of their resources possible, and then have you do little stretches that don’t even work.

Day one of many?

After like two months of no gym, due to my back and stupid body hurting, I finally went to the gym! Yep, first time this year! I went almost a year with my back hurting almost every day, so I have been very reluctant to go to the gym even though it’s been feeling decent recently. Can I just enjoy being mostly painless for just a little while? Well I know I needed to return soon so I can get back to where I want to be. I started off today with a tiny bit of elliptical and a 30 minute Body Combat class. Lisa picked harder tracks to fill that 30 minutes, so it was a challenge. I feel so much heavier now. That extra weight sucks. But hopefully I can return to the gym painlessly to help lose some of the extra pounds. If I feel good tomorrow, I’ll go to the gym again!

Monks Cafe – Flemish Sour Ale

Although I only worked six hours yesterday, Friday, it was an annoying shift. I had a long week and frustrating things kept happening. I clocked out, jumped into my car, and headed straight home to be an antisocial recluse. But something told me to stop by the house to grab my book and head to Jack Rabbit Brewery and have one of those delicious Sour Habit beers.

It wasn’t open for another hour. Same with Yolo Brew. I decided to go to Nugget Market and seek a sour beer. I found this and gave it a shot.

It’s not bad. I couldn’t tell if it’s salty or sweet. It’s not as good as Sour Wench, but it’s much better than any beer that is not a sour beer! 😂

The House of Thunder – Dean Koontz

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Wow. Okay so this was my first Dean Koontz book. I know he’s popular. I have friends who are huge fans. When I did a thrift store book haul I was sure to include him as an author to try out, and I got this book. I kept thinking, “This may, or may not, be one of his better books.” I decided to get started on it the other night.

There might be kind of a spoiler here, so don’t read further.

There was definitely suspense! It started off setting a foundation for the story and then all these other little factors started coming into the picture. It played games with my mind. Is something wrong with Susan or are there evil deeds at play? I kept going back and forth with that for a long time and the suspense was building. Things started getting quite crazy and I had to know what was really happening.

When the truth was finally laid out, I was more shocked than satisfied. It was interesting that the truth was something I would have never, ever imagined. I was impressed by that. But it was also based around a topic I have little interest in, so for that reason, I didn’t find the ending satisfying. Compare it to, let’s say, a friend inviting you to a party and they’ve spent a lot of time hyping it up, and you’re really excited to go. But when you arrive, you find out it’s a football game party and you have zero interest in football. That’s how I felt. It’s the shock of the unexpected that I enjoyed, but not the theme of it. If that makes any sense.

I really liked that it was easy to read and I didn’t get lost in too much detail. I am looking forward to reading more of his books! After I finished it, I received recommendations from friends for other books of his to read! I’m excited!

A vegan food weekend

Every weekend is a vegan food weekend for me. Every day is a vegan food day. But I got to sample some new good this past weekend! Saturday was Sacramento VegFest! I got there a bit early and ended up getting too full to try everything. I didn’t even eat that much! Here are a few things I purchased…

Cashew Sauce by Beyond Better

Pan Dulce by The Jaguar Baker

Ice Cream by Conscious Creamery

Vegan Carrot Chili Dawg with heirloom beans by Chili Smith Family Foods

I do want to point out the amazing shopping bag I brought with me!

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I purchased that bag in Portland years ago and use it on special occasion.

I was finished with the VegFest and almost home by noon. I stopped to get one of those nice sour beers on the way home and took a sweet little foodcoma nap before enjoying a nice lazy day, complete with some video game playing. I’m revisiting The Legend of Dragoon. I haven’t played that game since not long after it was released!

My goal on Sunday was to go to Oblivion Comics & Coffee because they were having vegan cannoli by Love + Flour Bakery. It would be my first time trying it, and they had three different flavors, so I needed one of each!

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The one with pistachio was my favorite! I ate them with some coffee and was pretty happy about it. My friend Mischa and I went back to that brewery so I could have another sour beer. She’s going to move back to Sacramento soon, so I am sure there will be plenty more brewery visits and food adventures!

 

 

That back pain

I never wrote about that visit to the physical therapist.

I complained about my back pain, arthritis, and getting out of shape when I posted about the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race I did. I was expressing how disappointed I was and that they were the weakest races I have ran ever since I started racing in 2014. All because I slowly just stopped going to the gym due to the pain I experience. The lower back pain would discourage me. I would go to Body Combat class with plans to “take it easy”, but I’d still grumble in pain and stretch my back in between each track. It felt disheartening to try doing what I used to do and it would just hurt. Body Pump class was out of the question. It just made my lower back ache. Of course I would go on the elliptical, but it’s just not that fun. I’d like to do all my fun things again.

I’ve gained all my weight back that I had before my fitness journey. My knees bother me. My back started hurting to the point where I got sick of it and went to see a physical therapist. He took a look at me and had me move around a bit, says I have an anterior pelvic tilt and I need to do certain stretches every day to correct it. He said having a desk job for 12 years is a likely cause of the pelvic tilt.

I am wondering if doing squats and dead lifts, without any awareness of the anterior pelvic tilt, is partially what caused the lower back pain. I read that it would make the pelvic tilt worse if you keep arch in your lower back. Maybe that’s what I was doing to aggravate my lower back, causing the arthritis problem. When I am able to do weights again, maybe I should start off with Body Pump class, low weights, and just test out my form to protect my lower back and avoid anterior pelvic tilt.

I am afraid to jinx myself by saying anything, but that particular back pain hasn’t been affecting me for a couple weeks. I had the back pain for almost a year, so of course I am terrified of going to the gym and ending up in pain again. But I NEED to go to the gym. I want my fitness back again. Maybe all I need to do is take baby steps and have a lot of patience.