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Jill's Journey

Hopping her way towards a (hopefully) cancer free life three legs at a time

Happy THREE YEAR Ampuversary Jill!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 10:09 am on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Well.  Here we are!  THREE YEARS!  Can you believe it?  I certainly cant.  Wasn’t it just yesterday I was sitting here panicking?  Seems like it!

But no.  It’s been three years since Jilly was at the hospital having her leg amputated. Three years since her journey began.  Now here we are.  She’s a happy, healthy kitty.  Looking at her you would never know she was ever “sick”.  You would never ever know she had cancer, went through a major surgery, went through chemotherapy, went through chemo, tried another treatment that made her so sick she lost 25% of her body weight.  She is as happy and healthy as she’s ever been in her entire life.

We had a check up at the oncologist on Tuesday and she is doing fantastic.  She’s lost half a pound since last year, but everything looks normal, so we’re chalking it up to the fact that my parents new kitten comes to visit and they chase each other a lot.  Her x-rays are crystal clear, blood work is purrfect, hugs are still plentiful.  Sitting in the waiting room there was a family crying.  I was once again reminded of just how lucky I am.  I was reminded that I can never take one single day for granted.  We were truly granted a miracle with this little girl.  I know we are one of the lucky ones and I never ever forget that.

So please join me in celebrating another healthy year for my little girl.  Here’s to another UNEVENTFUL year of hugs, belly rubs and treats.  I love you so so so much my snuggly girl.  You have brought so much joy into my life and taught me to live each day to the fullest.

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When it comes to treats, nothing can stop her!:

Secret Revealed!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 10:11 pm on Monday, November 2, 2015

Jill here!

Tonight I got to meet…….WYATT’S MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mommy told me this morning we were going on an adventure tonight that our hero Rene, Wyatt’s Mama was coming to the BIG APPLE to see us!  OK, she was really coming for some conference, but more importantly, to meet ME!

So she packed me up in my case tonight and off in a taxi we went….

At first I was a little afraid because Miss Rene smelled a little bit like a big Dawg but then she rubbed my belly and I started to like her!  I hid under the bed for a few minutes and mom and to get on her belly to get me out!  But then Miss Rene held me and all was OK!  Wow I am so happy I got to meet Wyatt’s Mommy.  She gives good kisses and belly rubs.  I never thoughted I’d get to meet her!

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I haz a secret

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 11:21 am on Monday, November 2, 2015


A Jack Update!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 3:00 pm on Friday, October 30, 2015

Hi Everybuddy!

It’s been one month since Jack’s terrible bout with Pancreatitis.  I’m not going to rehash the whole thing, but it was quite a terrifying ordeal!  He had to spend three nights in the ICU and was severely dehydrated and I was told he “most likely” had lymphoma.

Long story short, I contacted Jill’s oncologist and she recommended based on his labs that once he was better from the pancreatitis I bring him for follow up testing in a month.

Last week I brought him to the amazing internist team at The Animal Medical center (where Jill’s oncologist is and where I should have brought him in the first place).  We spoke about all the blood work, x-rays and ultrasounds and symptoms.  They were happy with how he was doing since he has been out of the ICU and recommended another ultrasound and more bloodwork.  The bloodwork came back absolutely perfect, which was great, because that was what was pointing towards lymphoma.  So that was awesome.  A mass was still showing up on his liver and it was recommended they do a needle aspirate of it.  They weren’t concerned it was cancerous, but a possible abscess.  Jack was very upset and could not relax during this ultrasound:

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Silly guy.  Anywhoo….cytology of the mass came back crystal clear!  Just a benign cyst (with some fat in it….shocking! 😉

So Mr. Jack has a clean bill of health!!!!!  WAHOO!  I am so happy.  It was such an awful scare to be told he “probably has lymphoma” and I will be calling management at that other hospital to tell them a thing or two.  I am going to have to keep a very close eye on him from now on to make sure I do not see signs of pancreatitis as that can become chronic and we can’t have that again!

Now he is all back to normal and even a full pound lighter!  Here he is rooting for his Mets in the world series and spending some time with his best buddy!


Erica, Jilly and Jack

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Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 10:39 am on Monday, October 5, 2015

I’m going to try to make this as concise as possible….I just haven’t had the energy to write as it’s been such a roller coaster of a week.  There’s lots of info involved, but I’ll try to summarize as best as possible!

My poor Jack began vomiting two Thursday’s ago (9/24).  But really, a cat vomiting? No big deal, it happens.  He was vomiting bile and foam though so I was slightly concerned.  I brought him to the vet the next morning and they kept him for the day while I went to work to monitor him and take blood, urine, etc.  From the outside he looked fine, just a bit dehydrated.  His CBC and Chemistry was completely normal.  So he came home that night and they told me to give him dinner as he hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours at that point.  As soon as we got home, he went to his water bowl and 20 minutes later he was throwing up again.

Saturday morning I called the vet.  They told me to bring him in that they would give him fluids, do an stomach x-ray and run one more blood test (a test called fPL specifically for pancreatitis).  So I left him there all day Saturday.  Upon picking him up they showed me the x-rays, all looked normal and the fPL test would be back tomorrow.  Otherwise they recommended doing an ultrasound on Monday, but they assured me he should be fine and hydrated (they gave him plenty of fluids) until Monday.  ALSO  he has a mass in his mouth where his tooth was extracted in March.  They removed some tissue from it and sent off for a biopsy….

Saturday night – he becomes REALLY sick.  Throwing up so much he is just dry heaving constantly because he has nothing in his stomach.  I call the vet first thing Sunday morning.  They recommend I bring him to the ER to do the ultrasound ASAP (regular vet cant do it until Monday).  I ask if the fPL has come back.  Yes – it has…I ask them to email it to me.  Normal range is 0-3.5…his is a 14.  Off to the ER we go…

Poor guy is so miserable.  He now hasn’t eaten in 72 hours and can’t drink any water.  They admit him to start him on fluids, pain meds and anti nausea meds and to do the ultrasound. They’ll call me as soon as it’s done, but all signs are pointing towards pancreatitis.  Few hours later they call – his pancreas is inflammed and he has a few nodules on his liver, but since his liver values are normal, they aren’t concerned.  “Older cats” can get those nodules.  So the plan now is to admit him for lots of good fluids, etc.  Someone will call in the morning with an update.

Monday morning.  A resident calls me to tell me upon speaking further they think it would be wise to do a guided fine needle aspirate of the liver nodules (for a ga gillion dollars of course).  Wha?  No way I say.  Let’s at least wait until the biopsy on the thing on his mouth comes back.  In the meantime they are going to run another blood test to see how his levels are doing.  Monday evening.  Resident calls me back.  Blood looks fine except he has some “unclassified cells” that unfortunately looks like it’s pointing towards lymphoma.  Say what?  She starts going on and on about how lymphoma is treated and cats handle chemo very well….yes I tell her…I KNOW.

Panic sets in.  I start emailing everyone I know with any kind of medical background including Jill’s oncologist who tells me she isn’t sure this points to lymphoma at all….WHAT!?  This resident just basically told me it’s all but certain that’s what it is and they need to do the needle aspirate on his liver.

I visit him that night in the hospital and he is just miserable.  Still won’t eat.  He hates being in a cage.  He really is the type that is always moving around and he hates being confined.

Tuesday morning.  I call the resident and tell her I don’t want to do anything until the mouth biopsy is back.  I explain that I have a relationship (unfortunately…or fortunately depends how you look at it!) with a veterinary oncologist who doesn’t think this necessarily means lymphoma.  She understands and doesn’t push me to do anything.  Tuesday early evening she calls me – Jack has EATEN!  Yay.  I visit him that night and he looks WORLDS better.

Wednesday morning – Mouth biopsy is back – NOT cancer.  Phew.  Some kind of gingivitis infection something or other.  Resident calls, Jack is doing so much better and can come home tonight (thank you lord because it costs $1500 to keep him there a night with the fluids, etc.).

So here we are.  He has been home since Wednesday and is doing a lot better.  He seems to be a bit achy, he’s moving around pretty slow.  But that’s to be expected, he’s been through somewhat of a trauma.  He’s been shaved all over and his arms are pretty black and blue from all the IV’s.  But he’s eating and drinking quite well.

So where to go from here?  Did he stop eating because his mouth hurt him which caused the pancreatitis?  Does he in fact have lymphoma?  Was it just pancreatitis?  Do we see someone about his mouth, his liver, his blood????? Oy.  For right now I’m going to monitor him for the next week or so and see how he does.  Right now I’m just glad he’s doing better.  For about three days there I was really worried.  I’ve never seen him so sick and it just completely broke my heart.  I felt so helpless not being able to understand what he needed.  And Jill….for 10 years I have insisted that Jack loves her so much and Jill is completely indifferent to him.  Apparently, not the case!  As seen in the video below, my little Jill who very rarely meows was crying and crying for him….

Where’s my Brudda!?

Poor baby Jack:

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Nope, don’t want it:




Poor baby so happy to be home:


Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 10:52 pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Taking a break from working like crazy to wish my baby girl a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  Little Jill turns 11 today!!!!!!!!  Today is the FOURTH birthday we are celebrating since she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in June 2012 and her third birthday on three legs.  I never knew if we’d even see her eighth birthday let alone her eleventh, so I am thrilled beyond belief we get to celebrate this special day!!!

Work should slow down soon and I will be back with many more updates – we love you all!!!


Jill getting a special hug and massage for her birthday

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A recent visit from my parents new kitten baby Dempsey

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Jack helping me out with some work!


Toe Ampuversary!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 9:56 am on Saturday, June 27, 2015

HELLO Everyone!!!

First – I apologize for my absence as of late!  Work has been crazy and I barely have time to crawl out of my hidey hole that is my office!!  But I do check in from time to time and hope everyone is well.  Things are great here.  Jack and Jill are doing splendidly.

So today we celebrate.  THREE YEARS ago today Jill went in to have her toe amputated. After doing a needle aspirate, we knew she had some type of sarcoma on it and the xray showed her toe was completely destroyed.  After the surgery, the biopsy would show a diagnosis of Giant Cell Osteosarcoma and away we went on a journey that led to amputation, chemo and got us here today.  I can’t believe it has been three years!!

Today she is just doing fantastic. She plays, she cuddles and I can tell she’s HAPPY.  No more going to the vet all the time for blood work and x rays.  I always thought it wasn’t taking a toll on her, because truly she’s not a cat that hates going to the vet like a lot of cats do.  She enjoys the attention of getting pets.  And I still don’t think it took TOO much of a toll on her, but she definitely has a more joyful attitude now.

She only has to go back for xrays once a year now, which initially, you know me, made me nervous, but to be honest I haven’t even thought about it.  Now when she coughs a bit, I shrug it off.  Cats cough.

So here’s to Jill.  My little fighter!  Sometimes I ask her – “Do you even know what you’ve been through? What you’ve beat??”….and I don’t think she has!  I wish she knew, so I just spoil her to let her know that she is special.

Here are some recent pics and a throwback from the day of her toe amputation rocking her very hip purple cast.

I hope everyone is well xoxoxo

Love always,

Erica, Jill & Jack





A recent visit from my parents new kitten dempsey – Jill and her mini me


June 27, 2012:


28 months

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 11:00 pm on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today is Jilly’s 28 months ampuversary and with just an hour to spare I remembered!!!

She is doing great, Jack is doing great all is well 🙂

May will hopefully bring some fun visits from Belle and Dempsey and I will make sure to take lots of pictures and videos.  Dempsey is settling in purrfectly with my parents and Belle.  She’s a little doll.

Up until October, I was taking Jill for x-rays every 6 months….so…this would be month 6, but her oncologist said in October we can go to just once a year now.  I would of course like to do them but you know..I have to stop being radiation crazy at some point!

So happy ampuversary Jill the Bean.  I love you so very much.


Introducing Dempsey!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 2:26 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The new baby has arrived!!!  Little Dempsey arrived on Saturday.  Her foster mom drove her down from Albany to my apartment in NYC.  My parents were coming into the city on Sunday, so she got to spend one night in the zoo with Jack, Jill and Belle.

She came right out of the carrier and wanted to play!  With Belle that is.  Dempsey does not like other kitties.  The only theory I have about this is that she was raised in a vet’s office for the first 5 months of her life and she just may have become more familiar with dogs.  She isn’t mean to other cats, she’s just a little afraid at first.  On Sunday, we brought her to her new furever home with my parents and Belle.  Everything went great!  We even had some snuggling.

We also brought her to the vet to be checked out and he said she is very healthy and was obviously very well taken care of.  She is a teeny tiny 5 lbs, 5 oz. which is why she was at the vet for so long – her mom was brought in pregnant to a vet and gave birth to her there and they kept her until she was big and strong enough to go to foster care.

She is SO LOVING and so playful.  She loves to explore around and loves to snuggle up.  She is just a joy!

So I have pictures and videos for you – I know there are a lot here, but trust me, I narrowed it down a LOT 😉

Enjoy the new little baby and her new best pal Belle!





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Dempsey with her new Mommy and Daddy



IMG_0647New Best Friends:





A new family member!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rica55 at 10:58 am on Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hi everyone!

Well some very exciting news today!

About a week or so ago I saw this kitten on facebook.  I couldn’t resist her little face, but I have two cats and that is PLENTY for me.  I read about her and turns out she lives with a foster family who has a poodle and she LOVES dogs.  So…I began pestering my parents – something just told me this little girl was just perfect for them and Belle.  After a week of thinking it over, they decided that this little girl, named Dempsey, will be coming to live with them!  Application is still pending but I am sure they’ll be approved 😉

Dempsey lives in Albany, so her foster mom will be driving her down here next weekend.  We’re all SO SO EXCITED!  Most of all BELLE!  Belle always loves to snuggle with Jack and Jill, but she always wants to play with them and they have no interest in playing.  Dempsey’s foster mom told me she loves to play with her dogs.  Here is a description of Dempsey and some pictures of my new sister 🙂

Dempsey’s Petfinder Summary:

Does your dog need a companion to collect all his toys? Does your dog love to cuddle, to have someone throw herself into him? Do you? Dempsey (from Sophia L’Orange – Foster Kittens “How to Marry a Millionaire” or at least make your adopter feel like one litter) may be the purrfect kitten for you.

She is a tiny teen who utterly adores dogs and people, she will literally throw herself into your puppy or you for attention. She is a little weary of other cats and would probably do best in a household without any or with a cat who would ignore her, but she is never aggressive just growls to try to get them to leave her alone.

She was born to a clinic cat in August, but was so fragile and small she was kept there and not even spayed until January. She’s also the darling of adoption events, cuddling in everyone’s laps. But this may have ended up being a disservice as then people looking didn’t know she was still available. But she’s that laid back a kitty. And still playful and cuddly enough at home. She will probably always be tiny, but has the biggest heart.








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