Letter from the North

Weight Loss Panic, Kitten drifting away from me 07-Sep-2019

Sat 07-Sep-2019

Sitting in my office on Saturday morning. Mr Biggles (our Tonkinese kitten) on my lap doing that two-tone buzz (purr) we had only heard from Spook before – buzzing on the in breath and the out breath.

My phone/camera is in the other room and he is settling to sleep, so I am pinned here as long as I can hold out needing to go to the loo.

So, no “cute” picture, sorry, but trust me, he is looking mega cute.

Well I can’t disturb him, can I?

Our 4 adult cats all seem fine but are missing Teresa terribly especially her Orientals (Barney and Spook), they appear a bit but really very passive. I do know that when Teresa gets home there will be wild excitement and even the Tonk will desert me to say hello to her.

Hard working with a kitten asleep on your lap, but there’s something really rather nice about it too.

Son arriving today and his girlfriend tomorrow, so I am not completely on my own.

However, it’s not just the cats that miss Teresa, I miss her too, but I also love her getting on with her life, well outside my rather claustrophobic one and I am 100% behind her and obviously sending regular pussy cat updates!

Doorbell rang so grabbed my Camera:

He is very sweet, that’s why we chose a Tonkinese for me (well clearly I was for him not the other way around) as they are 50% Siamese genes (so fit in with our other cats) but also much more lap cats (from the Burmese genes) so, hopefully more likely to bond to me. However, time will tell and the force (“felimones”) is strong in Teresa so, we will see (indeed we do and not for the best), hopefully these 5 days without her will help, but who knows!

And what am I doing while he sits here sleeping and buzzing? Adapting and testing FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) code!

Oh, and he is a very good listener and really understands the problems I am having with my very rusty mathematical brain this morning, though he is also finding it hard work and needs a rest now (me too Mr Biggles, me too!)

 Teresa has an attraction to cats (what we call felimones) that they cannot fight (and neither can she), cats on the street just come up to her. So, as a rule if she is in the room, I don’t stand a chance. The only upside is that she is VERY fond of her Orientals and Mr Biggles will be turfed off her lap if he is interfering with them sitting with her and then I am a good backup lap. Ditto if she is out (which she often is)!

Collected Son from station, this is what greeted us:

Later that evening this lovely picture of Mr Biggles taken by my son

Sun 08-Sep-2019

My weight down to 15st 2lb, losing about 1lb every 2 days or so – no change in eating. Weight loss is usually the first sign of renal cancer, so, I am somewhat terrified at the moment!!!!

The following appeared on FB that day

The next blog is in preparation and should make it out by the end of today, Mr Biggles willing!

However, I have been noticing a worrying weight loss trend since we got back from Shrewsbury (less than 2 weeks ago) and I seem to be losing 1lb in weight every 2-3 days at an increasing rate. Between 4-6lbs in those 2 weeks, but it’s getting faster.

Normally – brilliant one would say, however I am eating the same and unexpected weight loss is how this cancer (renal) is often diagnosed, so I am rather worried, well terrified is the simple word.

If/when I hit 15st I will contact the cancer nurse. At the current rate that would be Monday or Tuesday!

Now even at 15st I am overweight (down from over 16st at diagnosis 2 years ago, but most of that loss has been VERY slow). So, I can afford to lose the weight, but I need to know WHY I am losing it and if it’s down to the cancer picking up steam then that is NOT a good reason. The last set of blood results (3 weeks ago) showed no reason for concern but unexplained is unexplained!

It could be because I have allowed a bit of diarrhoea to return by easing off my fodmap diet and add some goodness (a few grapes and a bit of broccoli) and hence I am absorbing less nutrition, but even when the diarrhoea was severe the weight loss was not this quick.

I weigh myself at the same time in the same way every day and done so for years, so I KNOW what my normal weight ups and downs are and this is NOT normal for me.

So, this may be just another Bean panic, I am probably crying wolf? I am very aware of that and could stay quiet, but this is what is real for me today and so I wanted to share it.

Hopefully by the time this makes it into a published blog (in a few weeks’ time) I am laughing about it (or worrying I won’t see Christmas and the Strictly final).

Bean

I am very careful with fluid; it is Kidney cancer. And I drink to a regular schedule being autistic and have had the same to drink and just been to the loo when I weigh myself. But I will of course talk to the doc but it needs to be the renal cancer specialists on Monday/Tuesday and I know they will just want to monitor for a bit but I will talk to them

On a lighter note, Mr Biggles is in my office with me, he seems very good at knocking expensive PCB’s off my desk and operating the mixing desk I am working with, moving sliders, operating the touch screen … He has now found the open bag of cat biscuits stored in here and getting into it – what a clever boy!

And to bring the cycle to an end, the worry is still there but is assigned to the background since there is little that I can do other than try eating more and backing off the diarrhoea triggers and monitor. On the other hand, Mr Biggles has finished wrecking my office (my choice, I’d rather have him in here than not, especially as none of the others are and so it is “special” and there is no competition for me 🙂  ). He is now fast asleep on my lap and I am continuing with trying to wake my VERY rusty maths to work and it is fighting me every step of the way, that itself is quite worrying!

Collecting son’s girlfriend later on today

Working in my office on FFT

Hmmm, it seems that Biggles likes salad cream!!!!

Mon 09-Sep-2019

Mr Biggles feels I don’t need to get back to work. But I will have to move him and get on. Those FFTs wait for no non-gender specific person.

Also, will be weighing myself shortly ……

Well, I am in my office, the weight has stabilized at 15st 3lb for now (eating larger portions), one day is not helpful to know, but at least the downward trend has stopped for 1 day – before it was constant, every day a bit more, …. Oh, and after a bit of, I want to be in your office, no, it sounds more fun out there, no, it’s boring out here, can I come in, … He is in here in my office, on my lap and my FFT’s are looking good – I am getting the results I expected, phew! Put a 12KHz sine wave in and the FFT sees a big peak at 12KHz! However, the next blog seems to be delayed – work or blog, I need to get paid, so work wins for now and what little time I have left, Mr Biggles owns! But I will try … (because I want to, not because I feel pressure to). Collecting Teresa this evening YEAH! Even though it means less Biggles time, it will be nice to have her home and Mr Biggles and I have established a few routines – like my office that may help my cause.

Boiler man serviced the boiler today, apparently, we need a new oil tank.

Teresa home around 9:30pm (of course I collected her). I have lost Biggles,

Blog 17-Aug-2019 released – whew catching up …

Tue 10-Sep-2019

Teresa got home last night and I never saw Mr Biggles all night. However, he can drag himself downstairs to eat my breakfast and use my lap to stop me getting ready to go to Penryn but get ready I must. Blah, rather stay here with kitten on my lap.

Ever tried putting on tights with a helpful Kitten?

Work, exhausted, Kitten virtually all night

While I was at work?

On way home from work, a bit of Sainsburys, wiped me out. Stuff moved to bottom shelves from where it used to be. I cannot see what’s down there, if I bend, I will feint, so I have to kneel, it hurts and it’s a devil of a job to stand again and I still get woozy. Just like stuff high up on shelves from a wheelchair. Did anyone offer to help – did they hell. I need a personal shopper, to be fair online shopping would be OK but I like the “touch and think” rather than trust someone else’s idea of a “substitute”!!!

Teresa picked up fish and chips for all four of us – cost a fortune, … I had loads of chips for weight gain purposes. I have to say I am not enjoying these larger meals I got used to my smaller ones – never thought I’d say that!

The following story needs some context for those new to Teresa, me and strictly (come dancing – LINK). I met Teresa in 2007 by the time we started going out Christmas was upon us and I never knew of her secret vice.

The following year, she told me of it, she watches strictly every year. Well, what could I do, so I watched it with her in 2008, I knew it was a load of tosh but I love her, so it seemed right to try and share her passion. I was hooked, I cannot explain why, I was engaged with the people, the process, we forever discussed and debated, …, it was most definitely our big Xmas lead in. Eleven years later it is just the same. Even when I was working up country, we’d record each episode and even though sometimes there were 3 or even 4 episodes waiting for us when I got back to Cornwall, we watched it together.

Two years ago, in 2017, the season had started, we were watching the early episodes and BANG, the accident hit me on Friday, we found out about the cancer at the same time. Now, it’s a case of will we get to see the end of 2017 – we did. The much bigger question was will we (together, she still would, it would be me missing it!) get to see 2018. Yes, the drugs are holding (just) the cancer in check and I got 2018. Given my initial prognosis of 2-3 years, I really worried about 2019 (I still do).

So, Teresa was away on Saturday when the announcement of the dancer’s show was broadcast, so, of course it was recorded and on Tuesday we watched it.

The reason for this long story is that as it started, we both burst into tears at the same time, we weren’t looking at each other or talking to each other but spontaneously it happened. We had to pause, wipe the tears and laugh at ourselves.

Having a death sentence affects you all the time, you might not be aware, you might deny it has any effect at all, but it’s there, all you need is the trigger. For us it was Strictly 2019. I would like to make 2020, but right now seeing the final of 2019 would be good, then Xmas, then New Year and THREE.

Wed 11-Sep-2019

Weight looking better, got it to rise but far too much food

Trying no nausea drugs see how it’s going?

Thu 12-Sep-2019

Had Mr Biggles for a few hours during the night – either with the other cats on Teresa’s chair or on top of cat tower. So, not really WITH me.

Teresa was up early so we missed most of the breakfast ritual – him helping eat mine while my spoon going in!

Then loads of chasing.

Went into my (home) office to work.

About 9am he was wandering around the kitchen and I offered my office door and in he came.

Was almost settled when Teresa was getting ready to go out and even came out with me when I said goodbye.

But after a biscuit snack he came in and was fairly settled, then I had to step out for drugs and loo 10 mins later. Left him on my chair and I’m now back in with “dead cat”, wish I could take a pic but …, he is classic kitten – wide awake, wide awake, spark out on the spot in whatever position he was at that moment.

So here I am working away with a kitten fast asleep on my lap – heaven

Does seem that my office is the one advantage I have over Teresa as it’s “special”.

We are going to ensure that chicken when daddy eats becomes normal as he likes that and mirrors the “daddy biscuits that ferret got into – I kept his kitten bics in a Tupperware (to stop the other cats eating them) and he came and asked. Then even when he was having grown up biscuits that he had from the bowl with the rest. If I was home he’d come and ask for the daddy stock – even though identical.

This one not interested in kitten food, but chicken, he’ll take it from my plate if I didn’t put some in a bowl for him.

So that’s what I’ll do with every meal; they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (it’s not in my case but it does help 🙂  ) but it also seems to work with cats so I shall exploit it, I need every advantage against the overwhelming force of a Teresa, and she is bending over backwards to avoid enticing him, but her and her Orientals are a powerful attraction.

Fri 13-Sep-2019

And so it proves as Barney starts to get into playing with kitten then Barneys closeness to Teresa means kitten is pulled to both of them and away from me 🙁

Work is fine, got everything working nicely.

Postscript

That weight loss panic may seem rather over the top but “unexpected” is worrying and cancer and weight loss are, unfortunately, close allies!

As for the kitten, this is a long and slow and painful process as he migrates from total need in a strange place (the first 24hrs) to slow but sure integration with the other four cats and Teresa’s sphere of influence.

Whether I am a loser in the long term is hard to say, but the short term is highs and painful lows and you’ll see that in these blogs.

Just remember, autistic bean doesn’t make or keep friends easily. As a result, I rarely commit myself to anyone for fear of being hurt (Teresa being one of the few good examples and even then, sometimes, … 🙂 ). So, leaving yourself totally exposed to give a kitten chance to bond with you is a risky and stressful thing. When your reward for that effort is loss, it is remarkably traumatic. If that doesn’t make sense to you, then it means that you aren’t (yet 🙂 ) attuned to the sorts of issues autistics are very good at masking (hiding from you) because what I am describing would make total sense to many of the autistics I know.

The Bean, Pendeen, 30-Sep-2019

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