Greetings All! 🙂 Well, it looks like I’m back again – probably not quite as often, or as prolifically as I was before I took a nice, long break (and well-earned rest from writing every night!), but at least back in the picture – here and there, and now and then… off and on… I’m sure you get the picture 😉 If you want to read all about Winter’s Grand Diet, fantastic recipes, and the “prequel” to this blog, you’ll find it here…
So, where to start? Well, to start off with, the excruciatingly detailed and in-depth documentation of my “Grand Diet” has finally come to an end – not because it didn’t work, or because I gave up, but simply because I achieved my goal – going from 134-point-something kg in 2014 to under 65 kg the year before last… not too bad a record for an old codger like me, eh? 🙂 I have put on a bit of poundage since – my actual goal was 70 kg, even though I went under that for nearly six months – I’m now at a much more healthier 73 kg, and with luck and due diligence, I hope to hover somewhere around that weight indefinitely. If not [shrug] I shall simply hop back onto my Optifast diet – with modifications – until I go back down again… Hey! Don’t knock it! It works! Yes, yes, I can hear some of you grumbling from the sidelines “That’s yo-yo dieting, and it’s not good for you!”, but our introduced “modifications” make it more like a “cutting down on things we shouldn’t be eating anyway”, than the ultra-strict Optifast diet I went on when I weighed 134-point-something kg, back in 2014. Yes, it was drastic, but it was either the Optifast “Intensive Level” diet (which you’re not supposed to remain on, but I did anyway…) or the permanent removal of 3/4 of my stomach – and since that would require surgery, and I’m permanently on Warfarin, that probably wouldn’t have been a very wise choice… So there you go… no more grizzling about weight fluctuations, or weeping and wailing if the scales don’t show a marked weight decrease every morning – but do expect plenty of food tips, yummy recipes, and lots of foodie-gossip! 🙂
Secondly, if any of you follow Julian on Facebook, you’d know that we’ve been going through a hellish nightmare for the last month with our beautiful little darling, Satai!
On or around September 12th, we noticed that he seemed to have hurt his back legs, as he was only walking a few steps, then flopping down and resting a bit before getting up again. We thought he might have pulled a muscle or tendon in his back legs, or something, because he loved getting up onto the vanity unit in the en-suite and playing “splashies” with a dribble of water in the hand basins (Julian would turn the tap on for him while I weighed myself) We thought that this would right itself after a few days, but it didn’t – in fact, it got worse, so we took him up to see the Vet (Dr. Rod) Dr Rod had a good look at him, agreed with us that maybe he’d pulled a tendon, but took x-rays of his spine, hips, and both back legs – which showed up as being perfectly fine, which was a relief, as this was about the age that hip dysplasia usually reared its ugly head, and I was concerned that that could have been the problem.
He continued to deteriorate so well before his followup visit, we took him back to see Dr. Rob., and by the end of the month (September) he was barely able to walk, was having trouble using his litter box (to his credit, all through this terrible time he never once made a “mess” outside his litter box – not that we would have blamed him or been cross with him if he had – the poor baby could hardly walk! He’s such a brave, good little boy!) Another set of x-rays was taken, to see if there was any change in what they showed – but no-one was surprised when they didn’t. We were advised to take him down to SouthPaws in Moorabbin for an MRI or CT scan, to see if there was any soft tissue damage, or maybe a slipped disc. Poor Satai – he hates going in cars, and he’s terrified of Vets – but, down we went, and talked to a lovely young Vet who watched him walk/hobble/creep/stagger around… He was walking (if you could call it that) with quite a big hump in his lower spine, and his tail either drooping or dragging along the floor – luckily he didn’t seem to be in any physical pain, but it was dreadful to watch, and I was beside myself – not wanting to let go of him, but wondering if we were doing the right thing or if we should… er… “end his suffering” – it even kills me to write that, you know?!
She was a clever young Vet – had done her homework very thoroughly! She tested his reflexes (yes! Vets have a miniature hammer thingy that they tap the cat’s knee with to see if it jerks like ours do – it does! 🙂 ) She said that they’d do the scan if we wanted to go ahead with it, but she didn’t think there’d be much point. She felt, after her observation of him, that he had “inherited Bengal Polyneuropathy”. It’s a Bengal associated condition, and more prevalent that I would have thought! Certainly no-one ever mentioned a word of it to me when I was investigating the possibility of getting a Bengal! – anyway, there is another variation of this condition found in other breeds of cat – but as you can imagine, it’s pretty rare! She recommended that we take him to Care, in Collingwood (of all places! Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous!) to see a Neurologist, Dr. Sam Long.
Satai was left there to undergo electrodiagnostic testing, again under a general anesthetic, where they measure the time it takes for a signal to go from one muscle to another, the results of which were consistent with demyelinating disease (i.e. the Bengal (or other cat) Polyneuropathy) We picked him up early that afternoon. Dr. Sam seemed very much taken with Satai, who by this stage couldn’t control his back legs at all 😥
Basically, what happens in this condition is that the sheath protecting bundles of nerves (that control the back legs) from the spine start to wear off – or de-laminate – causing the function of those nerves to be disrupted, and making walking difficult (to put it mildly!) And… it can sometimes… recur. Well, that’s the bad news… but there is good news, too! Apparently 86% of Bengals who get this recover, if not completely, then certainly enough to allow them to live a normal, healthy, and happy life. There’s no treatment, as such, and no “cure” per se., except time… and there’s only one way to ascertain whether or not it is the Bengal inherited condition or not, and that’s to do a fairly painful biopsy requiring stitches and restricted movement while the cat is recuperating – but as the Neurologist said – what Satai has is either the Bengal inherited condition, or it’s the other, rarer “ordinary cats” version, so there’s little point in doing the biopsy. He’s put him on 0.8 ml of Prednisolone twice a day (with food) for 14 days, then once a day for 14 days, then once every second day for 14 days…
Next Monday Satai will have been on the Prednisolone for 14 days, and he’s due for a follow-up visit to see Dr. Sam at 11.00 am. I think Dr. Sam will be surprised, and very pleased! Satai isn’t the uncoordinated, half-crippled little cat that he saw a fortnight ago, he’s almost completely back to the bouncy little teenager he used to be before he was struck down – he runs around, pounces and wrestles with his big brother Sal, and with a little help from Mummy and Daddy strategically putting chairs and other low objects in “useful places”, he’s even able to get up onto the cat stand next to Auric and Dapple in the lounge room, and up into the Penthouse here in the Den. He’s climbing, but not scrabbling, he can stand up on his back legs, but he’s lost an awful lot of muscle bulk in his back legs and they’re not quite strong enough to jump up very far, though he can jump down from benches and such… Scratch that! I just heard a gentle “thump” of a cat landing on the two cabinets next to my desk – I turned around, and there was Satai – he’d jumped up! 😀 The first time he’s jumped that high since he got sick! 😀 Oh, he’s so clever and beautiful and brave and gorgeous! I’m so happy I could cry! 🙂
So there you have a potted history of Satai’s Great Illness! At the moment he’s busy shredding a ball of paper that Julian wadded up and threw for him – there are little bits of torn-off paper all over the floor! 😀
It’s his first Birthday on Saturday… 🙂
And now, the pictures…
And finally, the first loaf of bread that Julian’s made in over a year! (not bread-machine made, either! “A Mano”! 🙂
So there ya go! 🙂 I’m back with news, opinions, musings, recipes, and photos… so take care, all of you – drive carefully, bee good, and remember – biology gives you a brain, life turns it into a mind… ciao, all! 🙂