Timmy’s Diary – Part One. During Treatment.
Timmy was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism on Christmas Eve 2013. From the moment my vet mentioned radioiodine treatment I knew that was the route I wanted to take. Yes Timmy would be away from home for possibly up to 2 weeks, but this was something that we both had to put up with if he was to be cured, and a cure was what I thought he deserved. I was so happy when Andrew rang me and said Timmy could have the treatment and even happier when we only had to wait about 10 days. Reality then kicked in and I started to think about what he would go through. He would be away from home and, to a certain extent, isolated because of the treatment, but as anxious as I was I knew we had to do this.
I took him to the centre on the 6th February and I had a bit of a knot in my stomach. Andrew and all his ladies were very welcoming and went to great lengths to assure me that Timmy would be well looked after. By the time I left I knew Timmy would be OK and I started to count down the days to him coming home. He had his radioiodine injection that afternoon and they rang to tell me. I was very pleased as that meant one less day in the centre. The next day I felt stressed as I was so worried about Timmy and how he was coping so I was desperate to know how he was. I rang up at 9.30 am to get some information and Andrew told me he was very pleased with Timmy but would get the ‘girls’ to ring me back with more detailed information as they were with him at the moment. They rang me back and gave me very good news ‘ Timmy had eaten, was very well, very verbal (which he always is when he is normal) and had been to the toilet! My spirits soured!!
The first week-end was difficult as contact with the centre was less than during the week but I did get an up-date that Timmy was fine and happy so I tried to stop worrying. Looking forward to Monday, he will then be approximately 1/3rd of the way through his time at the centre, but I’m not counting!! Monday brought good news and bad news. Timmy was well but being picky with his food.
After much discussion we decided that I would buy him the treats he usually has (he is a typical cat and at times will only eat certain things) and so I headed up to Thorpe Arch armed with fresh cooked chicken, ham, corned beef and a tin of wild Alaskan red salmon, fortunately I am only 35 minutes away so I could do this. I also took his bed up (a duvet), which I should have done in the first place. I didn’t want Timmy to know I was there because I didn’t want to upset him. I did sneak a quick peak though at where he was but he was hiding in one of his boxes. I certainly heard his usual cry, not a cry of distress but a cry of ‘I want something now’. Again I felt much happier knowing that he was behaving as expected. Tuesday brought great news, he loved the chicken so had eaten better and was loving his own bed. Joanna had struggled to find him but lifting up the top of the duvet revealed a snuggled down cat. I think his duvet is helping him to cope in a strange environment.
It is now nearly a week since he was admitted and he is still eating the fresh meat but not his wet cat food. Gina tells me they are happy with him as he is eating something and he is going to the toilet. He is more contented now he has his duvet and we are virtually half way through his time there. I hope it is like going on holiday, the first week goes very slowly and then it flies after that, if only!! Just had some fabulous news from Andrew, he was hoping Timmy’s radiation levels would be low enough so that he could come home this Friday but he doesn’t think they will be. He is hopeful however, that he will be OK by either Monday or Tuesday next week. I was flabbergasted, I didn’t think he would be able to come home so soon. I had got it into my head that he would most likely be in for a fortnight so this news really made me feel that Timmy was certainly on the mend and responding well to his treatment. We are on the downhill run now and I am over the moon. Great
news this morning, Friday, Timmy has eventually eaten his wet cat food. He finished his full bowl off and some ham overnight. He is also being more lively as well. He had re-arranged his bed and moved a few of the boxes he has in his room which he hides in. Popped up to Thorpe Arch with some extra rations for the week-end to ensure he continues to eat well. Andrew said Timmy should be OK to come home on Monday. Andrew and Joanna rang me over the weekend to update me with Timmy’s progress. He has eaten really well and is actually coming out from his duvet now to great Joanna. He must be feeling much better. I am getting quite excited at the thought of Monday and hopefully bringing him home.
Monday 17 February – going to pick him up at 3.00 pm. Just got back with Timmy, fabulous news after his blood test this morning – thyroid level down to 31 (it had been 181 at its highest) and the tests for the liver were much improved on the ones before his treatment. Timmy is so happy to be home and he has eaten something. I have had to keep away from him because he just wants to be near me all the time so he is in the conservatory at the moment, crying at the door. Hopefully in a few days he will get back to his normal self. This morning, Tuesday, he is much more relaxed. He doesn’t rush to the door when I enter the room every time. He had a good late morning nap in the conservatory and didn’t come out at all when I briefly went into the lounge (which is connected to the conservatory). It is so good to have him home and coping with isolating him is nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be.
It has been quite an emotional roller coaster time at the centre, lots of highs but lots of lows as well. If only we didn’t worry about our pets so much, but we do. The experience is something I wouldn’t want to go through again but if one of my other 2 cats became hyperthyroid I would grit my teeth and take them to the centre for the treatment. I want Timmy to live a long, healthy life and I have given him the opportunity to do this with the help of Andrew and his team up at Thorpe Arch. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done and I know in the weeks, months, years to come Timmy will feel the same. The treatment they give is exceptional and the care is from the heart. The centre is very welcoming and the staff understand what we, the owners, are going through, so they do everything they can to help us as well as our cats. I hope my account will give anyone who needs to take their cat there the strength to do so and some comfort from the fact that I, and many others, have been through what they are about to experience and have come home with a well cat.
Timmy’s Diary – Part Two. Settling in Back Home
Timmy’s first week at home has been a wonderful experience. His appetite was a bit erratic at first which was a worry but now he is eating regularly. I bought some rabbits on Tuesday, he loves rabbit, and cooked the first one up for him in the evening. He finished the whole thing off by breakfast time Saturday and was eating cat food as well. He is very relaxed now, not agitated as he was before. He is also more confident, something he always was until the thyroid problem kicked in then he became quite timid. His motions have been quite soft and Andrew asked me to keep an eye on this. I never thought I would be that interested in it, but I check daily!!
I was very worried about how I would cope with the problems of radiation but this has not been a problem at all. Timmy, although affectionate, is not a cat who wants to sit on your knee but does want to be in your company. He spends most of his day in our conservatory, with access into the lounge but comes into the lounge with us every night. He usually settles at one end or next to the fire, so is always at least 6 feet away and happy. This also makes me happy as I don’t feel that I am excluding him.
Timmy has been home 5 days now and I am going to weigh him on Monday. Weighed him today and he has gone up to 4.3 kilos from 3.9 when I picked him up just a week ago. Really happy about this. He is on his third rabbit (Wednesday, 9 days after coming home). I might have to cut his food back soon as I don’t want him to get too heavy. Aiming for 5 kilos as this is supposed to be his ideal weight, but if he keeps on eating the rabbit, as he is doing at the moment, he might get to that weight sooner than I think. Good to see him enjoying his food again though. I have never liked marigolds, the gloves that is, not the flowers. I have found them extremely useful however. If I wear these when I am around Timmy and I stroke him I wash my hands still with the marigolds on so my hands aren’t drying out all the time. If I give him a cuddle I do it without the marigolds so that’s when I have to wash my hands thoroughly.
Friday, nearly 2 weeks since he came home. I can’t believe how different Timmy is. Different is probably the wrong word, different was what he was for 6 months before the treatment, he is now normal again. He loves to be in the conservatory with the sun on him and will lay contented for hours, either asleep or watching the birds in the garden. No more crying at me constantly. He used to sometimes scream at me but he doesn’t do this any more. He had developed a technique of grabbing my legs with his paws (claws in thank goodness) every time I walked past him. This was usually because he wanted feeding, all the time. This has stopped also. Oh, and more importantly, his motions are solid again. I have definitely got my boy back.
Friday, nearly 2 weeks since he came home. I can’t believe how different Timmy is. Different is probably the wrong word, different was what he was for 6 months before the treatment, he is now normal again.