Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Me! Remember?

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Remember me?

The one who has sadly been neglecting her blog, her half ironman training and just about everything else as she does anything and everything possible to save a sick kitty. I've purchased new and miraculous herbal concoctions which Phantom, the sick kitty, hates. I have become a creative genius in hiding it in tuna, cat food, cat milk, etc to get him to eat it. When all else fails I get someone to hold him down (that would be my reluctant husband) while I syringe the awful tasting stuff down his throat.

He's been a good sport! Bless his heart! And his coat has become shinier and glossier than ever. He's the plushest he's ever been!

Our entire house smells of dead fish, probably something called "krill oil".

My husband is concerned by my sudden interest in potion mixtures and energy healing and has been calling me a "witch". How could he not when he sees me with all my vials of stinky liquid goodness. One of the concoctions has krill oil in it. I'm not sure what krill is, but I know it stinks and it is almost impossible to get the stinkiness off your hands when you accidentally touch it or squirt it across the room or all over your clothing or in the face of your spouse.

This is me. This is the part of me that being an autism parent has created over the years of being told "no", of being told something was impossible. Basically, being told to just give up. Don't even try.



This applies to autism cat parents as well.

If I had listened to all the negativity, my son may not have graduated with a regular high school diploma. He may not have gotten into college or done all the things he's done over the years.

If I had listened to all the negativity, I would never have thought I could finish an Ironman, much less two.

If I had listened to all the negativity, who knows what condition my family pet might be in right now. Probably not purring and begging for food or chilling out to his favorite jazz cds.

Yes, the Murph has figured out all Phantom's favorite jazz cds and plays them in the evening just for Phantom's listening pleasure.

Who knows what the future holds, but never listen to the negativity. Think positive thoughts only, no matter what!

We've even called on an energy healer that we met at a restaurant in Pensacola Beach a couple of years ago. She "healed" the Murph's chronic shoulder problem and helps patient's who are dealing with pain and cancer among other things. She has worked miracles with people, so why not pets?

There's also the chemo drug, Palladia that I am still giving to Phantom every other day. He's become very adept at hiding the pills and spitting them out when I'm not watching. He's a sneaky one!

The yellow spot on his paw gave him away the other day.

We couldn't figure out where the spot came from until I took a closer look at his mouth. His entire tongue and mouth were stained yellow as well as his teeth from the yellow chemo pill. He had somehow hidden it in his mouth even as I was giving him the blue pill. Then he went into his bedroom, spit out what was left of the pill (about half) and came smugly back into the family room.

He was busted by the paw stain!

At the moment he is doing great! A huge turnaround from a couple of weeks ago. In a couple of days we take him back to Auburn for more blood tests. The Murph and I will probably have to kill time visiting an arboretum or something while Phantom gets poked and prodded again. As long as he keeps getting better, I'm all for a "tour of Auburn". We'll probably be exhausted as usual when we get home. Those museums and arboretums can really take it out of you. Wine and vodka helps.

One day we will be back to normal. One day our house will smell all floral like again. One day I'll get my 5k time under 23 minutes, do a 50 mile bike ride and swim a couple of laps in the pool and be ready for my upcoming Fall triathlons. One day I'll wear fashionable clothing that doesn't have krill oil stains, take some pictures and Friday will be Fashion Friday again. One day, fingers crossed, our cat will kick cancer's butt.

But for right now, this autism parent is on a mission....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas In July

Maybe it's the general delirium I'm in from getting very little sleep due to worrying about a sick cat, who, by the way, seems to be doing a little better from the chemo, but I'm doing a Christmas in July post before July is over and August is here. Maybe it's because I've been praying that Phantom would still be here and healed of cancer by Christmas so Christmas has been on my mind. Maybe I just want presents and to sit on Santa's lap again. Who knows. When I get my sanity back I will let you know.

I'm posting one of my favorites in the Rudolph the Red nose reindeer movie. I've even been listening to an occasional Christmas song on my Iphone when I'm running. Mainly because I don't have any playlists set up on my phone and don't know how to set them up or even if that is possible so I'm at the mercy of whichever song randomly comes up. Not even in any order necessarily.

This may be due to lack of sleep as well.

I apologize for my disappearance act on the blog and then reappearing suddenly with a lame youtube of my favorite Rudolph song. I hope you like it as much as I do. You'll probably remember it anyway.

Here's another favorite and one I can relate to! Yes, it's kind of lame too!

I'll try to do better next time. When I get caught up on sleep.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Motivation - Let's Get More Aero

Today I finally got my tri bike out, put my regular wheels on instead of the racing ones and got everything ready to go for a real live bike ride instead of the exercise bike ones I've been doing. The last time I was on the bike was at the Buster Britton Triathlon over a month ago. I can't believe it's been that long! How did it happen? Where did the time go? I spent at least 30 minutes getting the bike ready, put my helmet om, bike shoes, bike gloves, water bottle, etc.

 By the time I took off on the bike it began to thunder and lightening. I guess I didn't pay much attention to the clouds moving in while I was getting the bike ready. It's been raining on and off all day so all I got was about 5 minutes on the bike. I really do need to bring my trainer here!

And I'm so going to get one of those pointy aero bike helmets that guys wearing in the video! I need all the help I can get!

And you can read all about my training (or lack of training) if you follow my blog!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Feel Way Better About My Half Ironman Training Now!

First of all I just wanted to say that I volunteered again for the Portofino Sunset Triathlon series race number 6 or 7 or something like that and guess what?

That's right! I directed traffic again wearing the super sharp, orange vest, although this time I didn't get a flag and I was at a different traffic stop (See the orange fashion statements Here). This time I was at the main entrance with three other volunteers, where the bikers were coming out of the resort from the transition area and then coming back in as they finished the 7.5 mile ride.

After making sure the cars all stopped when the bikers came out and then waving the bikers back in, I had to make sure the runners stayed on the sidewalk. You would think stopping the traffic would be harder than merely directing runners to stay on the sidewalk, but no. By the time the racers got off their bikes in the heat and humidity, some of them were a little delirious, I guess, and they were trying to go everywhere but stay on the correct sidewalk. It didn't even matter that I was wearing the bright orange vest!

My spot directing traffic/bikers and runners
It just so happened that one runner got past me and ended up on the road and had to be directed back to the sidewalk. The Murph witnessed this and shook his head at me like it was all my fault I let the delirious, sweaty racer get past me.

What? I TOLD him to stay on the sidewalk. I even pointed down the sidewalk in the direction he was suppose to go. Was this my fault?

Hey, I didn't even have a flag!

Besides, one of the volunteer coordinators congratulated me and gave me a high five after the race telling me what a great job I did. Of course, he was the one who totally stuck me and a couple of others out there until the last runner came through.  It's funny how even the most delirious, heat exhausted ones had no problem at all knowing which way the finish line was! Amazing what the promise of vodka shooters will do. (and that was a lie because there was no alcohol at the finish line - sorry!)

I  know that feeling of getting to the finish line! Sweet! Sweaty and sweet!

I sort of like the power that comes with directing traffic. This kind of power could go to my head. All the vacationers really appreciated my help crossing the road too as they made their way back to their condo at the end of a beach day. It's been a lot of fun volunteering and the racers are great and appreciative, which makes it totally worth it, but next time I'm racing, not volunteering!

Not bad when you are looking across the road at this as you're volunteering!

Once again I decided to compare what I should have done according the training plan this week with what I actually did. First, let me start by saying I haven't been getting much sleep lately which has directly impacted the intensity of my training. Second, I've had to go back to inhaling my steroid meds because of my asthma and trouble breathing. Third, my weird vertigo/motion sickness, whatever it was the other day decided to linger around and screw me over.

So there are the excuses and there's more of them where those came from! See...

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Here's what the comparison looked like and I had to estimate how long it would take me to bike the number of miles that is on the plan since it goes by miles, estimate how long it would take me to swim the number of yards on the swim, and estimate the number of miles on the run since the plan goes by number of minutes run, not miles. It's all way too confusing which is probably why I stick with my own plan or lack of plan. Whatever, here's what it looks like....

                    The Training Plan                                            What I Actually Did

              Yds/Miles                Time                                     Yds/Miles                 Time

 Swim     3500 yds                 1 hr 45 min                             BIG FAT '0'              '0'

 Bike       80 miles                   5 hrs                                         49 miles                  3 hrs

 Run       14-15 miles             2 hrs 25 min                             14 miles                  2 hrs 30 min

Total Overall Times:          9 hrs 10 min                                                            5 hrs 30 min

So not surprising I am way behind on swimming, half-way there on biking and right on target in running. While it seems like I'm way behind in overall training time, if you add the strength training (weights), core training, stretching and time on the elliptical I did for the week, it brings my overall workout time to 9 hrs and 22 min. This is clearly more than the training plans 9 hrs and 10 min, although not by much. I  would say according to this comparison, I am not as behind as I think I am. I have plenty of time to make up the swim and bike hours before October. No worries!

I think this training plan seriously lacks in core and strength training anyway. Although I think it does say somewhere on there that you should do strength training at least twice a week for an hour. That would make the training plans overall time 11 hrs and 10 min. Hmmm...

I'm still going to remain positive. I mean it's not like I haven't had painful races before when I didn't put all the training hours in that was suppose too. Two races to be exact and I finished both of them swearing I would never do another race without proper training ever again. They were the slowest races I've ever done, as well as the most painful. Being slower, I had a lot more time on the course feeling the pain.

My motto is: "It's all mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it don't matter!"

I think I better get to work!

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Friday, July 19, 2013


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I know I haven't kept up with blogging very well this week. Travel weeks are not good weeks for me these days! I'm ready for the Birmingham house to be sold or rented so we don't have to keep going back and forth there every other week. Now we have to detour through Auburn, Alabama for Phantom on the way back and next time we go we'll be adding a trip to get the Boy, which adds another hour and 1/2 to the overall trip.

It's an endless merry-go-round from hell around here these days!

Phantom looking hungry after the appetite stimulant I gave him.

On a positive note:  Phantom's calcium levels are down so that means the Palladia pills are helping him. The vet said it would not cure him, but if he handles the pills well it might prevent the spread of the cancer to other organs. Right now it is in 90% of his liver so prognosis is not good. I'm going to stay positive though. He's eating, drinking and doesn't seem to be in any kind of pain. At the end of this month he will get to see his boy again when we take both of them back to the ham with us.

The Boy has a doctor appointment to see if he needs to stay on the lexapro (he does!) or some other kind of medication for anxiety and we have our annual appointment with AL Rehab to go over his accommodations for this coming school year. It just so happened to all come together for him because he's finished with his summer internship program and starts his new internship for fall when he gets back to school. Both are paying positions which is good. He needs the money especially since his apartment is more expensive than the dorm, but less depressing for him. He was very isolated when he was in the dorm his freshman year.

Phantom will be very happy to see the Boy and vice versa.

We have to get Phantom's blood tested again that week as well and I may see if I can take him to his regular vet which is nearby, instead of Auburn where he has to be in the car an extra two hours. When we took him Wednesday for a blood test, I thought it would only take an hour, but we got there at 8 am and didn't leave until 12. The Murph and I had another "tour" of Auburn which included breakfast at Chappy's and a trip to Chewacla state park, about 15 minutes away.

Pretty waterfall at Chewacla State Park

We found the park by typing in "attractions' on the GPS. If you are following me on Instagram, you probably saw some of the above waterfall pictures. It was fun climbing around on the rocks although I kept my eyes open for snakes. I'm not fond of water moccasins.

We had already done the fine art museum and Pebble Hill and we're running out of "attractions" to visit in order to kill time as we are waiting for Phantom.

An arboretum came up on the attractions list, but neither the Murph nor I knew exactly what an arboretum was. At first I thought it might involve birds, but that is called an aviary.

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Now I know it's a botanical garden with trees and stuff.

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Someone also suggested getting a lemonade at Toomer's Corners. Those are on our "to do" list for next time. After his next blood test in two weeks, Phantom won't have to go back for 4 to 6 weeks.

Next time I'm going to find a vet hospital in Vegas, baby. More things to do to kill time!

Just joking, of course! Auburn Veterinarian hospital is a great place to take your pets. I just wish my cat was healthy and didn't have to go there, but if they can't help Phantom nobody can. Besides, I don't think Phantom would appreciate the plane ride to Vegas any more than the car rides to Auburn although he is a much better traveler than I am. At the moment, he's not very happy with me shoving pills and nasty drops down his throat. The Boy says Phantom would really appreciate what I'm doing for him if he understood. I'll take the Boy's word for it. It's his cat after all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Outside the Box

My blogging and facebook friend, All over the Spectrum, did the above ecard for me the other day since I've been feeling sickly and puny. I don't really know what's going on with me, but I think I've developed some sort of weird motion sickness triggered by the Murph's erratic (very careful, deliberate and always on time) driving. All I know for sure is that we've been spending way too much time in the car this summer and not enough time with our feet in the sand.

The cats are even rebelling. Phantom ran and hid under the bed this morning even though I was very careful not to give away the fact we were about to leave and his tail was going to be trapped in the cat carrier for hours.

Ed and Cadence, who we left behind for a couple of days, decided to start peeing outside their litter box. We still don't know if this was a deliberate, rebellious act or if one of them just has bad aim. I prefer to think that they are just super creative, out of the box thinkers. We got kitty geniuses on our hands. Maybe one of them will get a job!

That's all for today. My fingers are fatigued from all this typing. I do post updates on my facebook page and photos on Instagram from today's vet visit where the Murph and I had some time to kill so we went to Chewacla state park in Auburn, Alabama.

You can also LIKE Konabarbie on Facebook.

FOLLOW me on Instagram.

Phantom also has his own Facebook page where he posts updates on his battle with cancer or anything else he finds interesting when he has computer access. 

I'll post more on his vet visit today soon.

If you like me on FB or follow me on Instagram, leave a comment and I'll "like" or "follow" you back.

Gotta run!

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Eat Papa! Eat!"

Saturday we came back to Birmingham with Phantom and the drive that is usually a 4 hour trip turned into 4 1/2 hours due to stop and go traffic on Hwy 65. Phantom slept most of the way and handled the trip much better than I did. I wasn't feeling well that morning and being in the car that long stopping and going, stopping and going, made me very car sick.

Luckily, I had a plastic bag from a recent stop at a convenience store handy. One wasn't enough, but I had a back up plastic trash bag that I had put the empty litter box in as well. Good thing I cloroxed the litter box before I put it in the plastic trash bag to transport, but it wouldn't have mattered. I was very sick! The litter box would have come out of the plastic bag, germs and all.

I wonder if I'm getting sympathy sickness for Phantom?

Even though he did great on the car ride, once we got to the house he went directly downstairs to his and the Boy's bedroom and went right under the bed where he stayed the rest of the night and most of Sunday. I finally bribed him out from under the bed with an offer to take him outside. Unfortunately, he doesn't want to stay on the front porch and I don't want him to get fleas, so he had to settle with a window seat next to the open window. 

Not as much fun, but better than being under the bed.

I also had a hard time getting him to eat and after almost two days I resorted to not just the two types of cat food and three kinds of cat treats, but pushed canned tuna, chicken, watered down milk, scrambled egg whites, pepperoni pizza.... ANYTHING! Just EAT!! Our favorite quote these days is the one on the Christmas Rudolf the red nose reindeer movie, "EAT PAPA! EAT"(here).  Nobody likes a skinny Santa!.   

A little Christmas in July, but that gets jokingly said a lot around here year round.

I sprinkle this feline vitamin and antioxidant supplement along with a few drops of milk thistle on his food. Ed and Cadence have been getting the vitamin supplement as well and their coats are getting all shiny and super fluffy. Wonder if it works at well on people?

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And I started giving Phantom a small amount of these Life Gold cat cancer drops to help him detox.

And no, he doesn't like them at all! I don't think they are bacon flavor enough to hide the other not so nice flavors.

Phantom is doing a little better today, although not eating enough.

And me?

Still not doing good. Maybe it's time for me to look into getting some herbal drops for humans. Hopefully, it will taste better than the feline kind. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fashion Friday - Two New Bikinis and My Feeble Attempt At Mismatching Them

My husband surprised me with two more bikinis from Victoria's Secret the other day. I really loved the pink ones he got a few months ago so he got a black one in the same exact style and another one that's a little different, but similar. The bikini above is the one that is the exact same style as the pink one (here in this post), just in black.

Now I can mismatch them and wear the black bottoms with the pink top vice versa. It's much easier for me to mismatch when they are the same brand and style and I'm not even sure if that counts as mismatching. Like I said in my last mismatch swimsuit post (here ), I'm not very creative at coming up with cute combos. This makes it easier for me.

I paired this black top with some leopard print bottoms that I've had for a few years now. I really liked this combo. I can also wear the leopard print top with the black bottoms for a different look. It's like having double the swimsuits now. As if I needed more swimsuits!

And again all in black looking like I have a headache, but I like the lighting of the sky and water in this picture and the way I'm standing right in front of the point where the water and sand touch. This could have been a really good picture minus the headache pose.

Moving on to black bikini and cover up number two.

Just when I thought my husband couldn't find anything skimpier than what he's already gotten me, he proved me totally wrong. He's so good that way! This bikini is a little too much (too little actually) even for me. We affectionately have started calling it the "smut kini." It's one you wear with a cover up over it until you get to the beach, and hopefully find a spot with nobody close by, to soak up some vitamin D and get a tan. A weird stripes on your butt kind of tan, but lots and lots of vitamin D due to the amount of skin showing.

Every year my husband tops himself on getting me skimpy swimsuits. I wonder what he will come up with next year! He knows I'll wear it if it's a color I like and not a one piece. I don't even like to swim laps in a one piece because I get a wedgie every time I extend my arm out to pull through the water. Ick!

The pink top/black bottom combo below was my least favorite mismatch attempt, but my husband's favorite. Being the wrecking ball that I am, I broke the side chain on the pink bottoms (here) that match this top. I thought I could pair it with these black bottoms from now on, but I don't think it's a good balance. The bottoms are just a little to skimpy for the top.  I think my other pink top will go better with these bottoms.

Now I have plenty of tops and bottoms to match or mismatch or whatever. Just not swim laps in. That's an entirely different kind of swimsuit for a post on another day.

Swimsuits: Victoria's Secret, first black bikini here;  black strappy bikini no. 2 here
Bracelets: Free People
Cover Ups: Victoria's Secret, gold sequin here
Flip Flops: Juicy Couture
Tote Bag: Free People (I got it free with a purchase)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Is What Happens When It Rains For 5 Days Straight Forcing You To Rent Movies...

Last week I felt bad for all the vacationers who came here to celebrate the fourth of July holiday in hopes of getting some time on the beach or at the pool. I'm sure they didn't expect the rain, all day, for several days straight. I've never seen so much rain in July that lasts all day, for several days straight. Afternoon storms that blow in and leave quickly are common, but not what happened last week.

Although there were some hard core people who were on vacation( dang it ) so they were determined to hangi out by the pool and on the beach no matter what, downpour and all! I actually saw some rather fool hardy people who refused to leave the hot tub even though there was lightning directly over their heads with thunder so loud I was even a little hesitant to step out on the balcony to quickly snap this photo.

Don't worry, they survived the thunderstorm and left the hot tub as soon as the storm moved off. What fun is a hot tub with no lightning in the vicinity? I wouldn't be surprised if there was a little alcohol involved in their rather reckless behavior!

One day the Murph and I were getting a little restless ourselves from being cooped up in the condo so much. After working out at a different, not so crowded gym, we headed over to Krispy Kreme to pig out on doughnuts and coffee. When we got back home we decided to watch a movie. We decided on Les Miserables since we hadn't seen the new movie version yet.

It was great! We both loved it, but bad things happen when we watch these musical movies. Songs get stuck in our head. For many days. And drives me nuts!

For the past several days I've heard the Murph going around the house singing a song from the movie, Master of the House and one other marching song that they sang during the revolution. The Murph really doesn't even know the words to that one, but never mind that, he makes them up as he goes along!

While I've pulled up all the Les Mis songs I have in my Itunes and have now gone from 2 to 10,000 plays on the song below.  I'm staying away from any other of my Itunes songs that involve musicals to avoid getting any more of them stuck in my head.

This isn't as bad as the time we went to see La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway and for months I had the song, We Are What We Are, stuck in my head. If you're not familiar with that song you will have to look it up yourself because I'm not taking the chance of getting it stuck in my head again.

It was very exciting when the sun made an appearance for most of the day Tuesday.

Beach Day! Finally!

I thought yesterday would be a repeat of Tuesday, but after less than an hour on the beach, suddenly storm clouds blew in and covered the sun. Thunder. Lightening. The usual. All the people who had tents set up had to hastily take them all back down again.

And today? Clouds, as usual.

Which movie to watch next?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Far Behind I Am - A Comparison

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Last week was the 2nd week of my Ironman 70.3 training plan. I didn't exactly do a great job following it. To see just how far behind I am in training, I decided to do a comparison of what was on the plan to what I actually did that day.

Below is the comparison of the actual training plan and what I actually did...

                          The 70.3 Plan                                        What I actually did that day

Monday           1000 yd swim                                          8 miles on spin bike = 30 minutes
                         20 mile bike                                             Treadmill brick run .5 miles = 5 min.

Tuesday           1250 yd swim                                          Nothing
                          45 min run

Wednesday       25 mile bike                                             2 mile run aprox 20 minutes

Thursday          1000 yd swim                                          6 miles on spin bike aprox 20 min                            
                           35 min run                                               4 mile = 40 min run

Friday                                                                              .5 mile run on treadmill = 5 min

Saturday           55 min run                                               Run 1 hr

Sunday             30 mile bike                                             Bike on spin bike 1 hour = aprox. 17 miles

I did core and weights on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday which is not included on the plan.

Total workout hours on plan = Swim aprox  1 hr 15 min to 1hr 30 min
                                                   Bike aprox    4 /12 to 5 hrs
                                                   Run  aprox   2hrs 10 min

                                                     Total aprox 7:30 to  8 hrs

Total I actually did last week = Swim aprox   0 hrs
                                                   Bike aprox    1 hr 50 min (all on spin bike)
                                                   Run aprox     2hr 10 min
                                                     Total aprox 4 hrs

With weights, core workouts and elliptical added in I did aprox 7 1/2 hours last week so I got the number of training hours in, but not in the areas I was suppose to be working on. (which is very important when you are in the middle of a half ironman.)

It's clear I've got a lot of work to do especially swimming and biking. Not surprising that I have the run hours down plus some (since I ran 13 miles a couple of weeks ago already), but 0 swim hours.

That's so me!

Actually I don't feel so bad now that I've done the above comparison because I'm not as behind as I thought I was. The training plan doesn't include weights, which I do four times a week and core too. The plan also doesn't include brick (bike then run) workouts which I do every Thursday and sometimes after I do a long bike on Saturday or Sunday as well.

The 70.3 Ironman isn't until the end of October so I still have plenty of time. It was tough for me to focus last week because I was so worried about my cat, Phantom. He is doing great this week and seems to be handling the chemo drugs well. I've actually gotten some sleep the past three days. And when I sleep, everybody around here sleeps, husband and cats. (well maybe not the cats at 5 am).

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Sleep helps me train better too. Maybe I should add it to the training plan!

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Taking Phantom To Auburn University Veterinary Hospital

Last Tuesday we took Phantom to the veterinary hospital at Auburn University to let an Oncologist look at him in hopes that there is something we can do for him to stop the cancer that is in his liver.  We left early and headed down there knowing it would be a long day. I never realized how long a day it would be or the effect it would have on us the rest of the week. I'm still not totally recovered and back on schedule! I guess I could also blame it on the holiday weekend.

 Five days later and things are still not back to normal routines, including my 70.3 training program. It has been put on hold temporarily and I haven't even been in the pool all week or on my tri bike and my gym workouts have even been short and easy. I just can't seem to get motivated and my mind is focused on this horrible thing that is happening to my cat and what can I do to help him.

Tuesday we arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes before our scheduled appointment and filled out the paperwork.

New Animal Hospital Under Construction

Phantom was calm, but curious and did great the entire day despite being cooped up in the carrier with no food, water or litter box. 

After looking over Phantom's records, the doctor said they would do a biopsy of the liver with an ultrasound and a cardiologist would be brought in to do an echocardiogram of his heart since he has an enlarged heart and heart disease. That would be done first to make sure it was safe to sedate him for the biopsy.

We were in the room waiting for a couple of hours before they took him for the biopsy. I took pictures of all the newspaper articles and pictures of former patients that were hanging on the wall and the Murph wrote "Phantom was here" all over the dry erase board that was on the wall. I took an Instagram picture of it but forgot to take one with the camera. Click Here to view the photos I took on Instagram.

Other Oncology patients

Finally they came to take Phantom for his biopsy. We said our goodbyes to him and left him in the good hands of the vets at the hospital.

To kill time as we waited for Phantom to have his biopsy, the Murph and I had lunch and then went in search of some local attractions. I had never been to Auburn University campus. We typed in "attractions" on the GPS and Pebble Hill came up first and was nearby so that was our first stop.

As I was taking pictures I wondered if later I would see some ghostly apparitions from former house residents somewhere in the photos. I don't know if I was disappointed or relieved when I didn't find any. The picture below was the only "ghostly" one in the bunch due to the sunlight coming through the windows by the door.

A family of cats that look kind of like Phantom were hanging out and probably live at Pebble Hill. I took that as a good sign. I was grasping at any sign that was good at this point.

The back porch of Pebble Hill was very nice. Kind of reminded me of our house in Birmingham.

Then we drove around campus and decided what to do next.

The GPS "attractions" feature showed that there was an art museum nearby so next stop was the Museum of Fine Arts.

I snapped this photo before being told that I wasn't allowed to use flash. Since I don't know how to stop the flash on my camera and the battery was almost dead anyway, this is the only picture I took inside the museum.

The grounds outside were very nice though. It was hard to be stressed out when you are surrounded by this.

The Auburn football stadium where it all happens. War Eagle! (being an alumni from U of A  ((Roll
tide!)) saying, or typing, "war eagle" is a tough one!) It's a southern thing.

We waited until about 4pm and headed back to the hospital. They brought a very drugged up Phantom into the room with us while we waited for all the test results. I've never seen Phantom this happy to see us! I doubt he remembers any of it! It's without a doubt the most loving I've EVER seen Phantom and the most obedient. He was stumbling over his feet to get to me whenever I said his name, which I had to do several times as he tried to get behind this very large desk that had electrical cords running everywhere and didn't look too safe for a drugged cat to be hanging out.

The news was not good. While his heart is no longer enlarged thanks most likely to the atenelol and lasix he's been on these past months, his liver has a large 4 cm carcinoid tumor and more nodules spread in other areas of his liver. It isn't lymphosarcoma like we originally thought, but a more rare neuroendocrine tumor that has taken over much of his liver. His prognosis is poor, but the vet did suggest one drug that is similar to a chemo drug. It is called Palladia and has been used mostly in dogs but may help cats as well. He will stay at home with us and take it every other day and then go back for blood tests in two weeks. He will have to be monitored carefully while on the drug.

We left Auburn around 6pm and got home late and exhausted. Phantom was very happy to be home!

And somebody else was sure glad when we got back home!

Phantom seemed in fairly good spirits the next morning just minus some fur in spots.

The Boy came for a short visit to see Phantom over the 4th. Phantom ran under the bed when he first heard a stranger come in, but the minute he heard the Boy's voice calling for him he ran back out and over to sniff the Boy, who was hardly recognizable since he FINALLY got a haircut. I'm so glad he decided to get one and went on his own to do it since he had an interview last week. Maybe there is hope for him after all!

We started the new cancer drug and Phantom will take it every other day as long as he doesn't get any GI issues. So far he is eating and drinking, but not as much as he normally does. He's taken the pills two days now and is more withdrawn on the days he takes them so I'm guessing he doesn't feel really good on those days. It is really tough to give him pills that I know make him feel sick. I can only hope for good results long term.  This is one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I hope I'm doing the right thing for him.

Cancer sucks!