Goodbye My Queen…

8/13/16:  My final update.  My queen has passed…..

“You might be gone from my sight, but you are never gone from my heart.”

My phone rang at 2:00 am. A vet at the emergency hospital told me that Lola “arrested and passed”. I’m surprised none of you heard my scream as my heart broke in two. I asked if I could go and hold her. I raced to the hospital with tears streaming down my face. When I walked in, they told me that Lola stopped breathing for 2 minutes but had just started again. Her eyes were open and she was drooling. Then she heard me and fighter that she is, sat up for me. It was partly my Lola and partly a zombie Lola. Her poor little body was struggling to breathe. When they initially told me she died, I was heart broken that she did so alone. But Lola never made anything easy for me in life, so she literally came back to life to wait for me. I agonized for about 30 minutes but my girl was suffering, scared, and angry. I promised her I’d be with her when the time came. She talked to me until the end. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do on my own. She wasn’t the nicest cat but she was beautiful, loyal and fierce, and she loved me more than any other being has. I really believe she was my soulmate from the first kiss she gave me 13 years ago. I held her in my arms as she passed, then held her for a while more. My heart aches but I know I gave her the best possible life. I adored her, cared for her, and fought for her. I was told to put her to sleep last July but I knew she wasn’t ready. Today at 2:50 am, my beautiful calico crossed the rainbow bridge. I’ll never get over loving her. I’ll never get over missing her. RIP my Queen Lola Soprano, it was a pleasure having you in my life. 7/26/03-8/13/16

*****UPDATE:  Lola, the badass, had blood work done.  It all came back normal.  Thyroid, and everything that came back bad before, is normal again.  The queen will live on!!  Thanks to everyone for all the support!!

*****UPDATE:  I refused to put Lola to sleep.  I upped her medication dosage and she has gained weight.  Waiting patiently on blood work to see if she is getting better.  My baby might be in her 9th life, but she is going down like a badass.

*********************************************************************************Original Post

I never had a cat as a kid.  Growing up we were a dog family.  My dad always wanted to get a cat, but my mom had a fear of felines.  I always swore that I would get a cat at some point.  I bought my home in 2003 and ended up with a mouse.  Freaked me out so much, that I went to the SPCA and adopted Lola.  Lola is a calico tabby.  She was the cutest and snuggliest kitten.  Even my mother fell in love.  She had a serious personality shift after she was spayed.  My cuddly kitten turned into a nasty girl to everyone else but me (although she often dishes out her nastiness to me in terms of hisses and scratches).  I learned to have a healthy respect of Lola’s personality.  I couldn’t pet her too much without being bit.  I couldn’t hold her for longer than a minute without being scratched.  At night, however, I was her pillow and she’d purr and snuggle to her heart’s content.

Lola tolerated the stray cat that I brought into the house in 2005.  Isabella was a hunter and I could never safely leave them unattended in the house.  Lola’s heart broke when I had to make her the “downstairs” cat, while Isabella then began to sleep with me.  In 2009, I brought a puppy named Georgia home.  Lola looked at the puppy with disdain, but they eventually developed a love/hate relationship similar to siblings.  Eventually, Isabella moved in with my parents (she is better off as an only cat and now mom is a cat person, dad is thrilled) and Georgia & Lola became a dynamic duo.  In 2011, Georgia was diagnosed with syringomyelia.  Before this diagnosis, Lola, who never allowed Georgia to touch her, let Georgia lay her head on her back.  Lola never left her side.  To this day, when the cat is nice to Georgia, I know it means something is wrong with the dog.

Lola was with me through so many life events.  She sat on my shoulder as I cried when my autoimmune arthritis was flaring.  She creepily stalked any boyfriend who dared sit too close to me.  She always hissed at my ex boyfriend.  Probably giving me hints that I was too blind to see until it was too late.  She never left my dog’s side when she was sick.  If I had bronchitis, she laid on my chest.  If my joints flared, she’d wrap her body around that joint to provide warmth.  Lola may not have been lovable to most, but if you were hers, she took care of you.  She tolerated my birthday hats, Halloween costumes and Christmas cards with the help of treats and under-chin scratches.  Lola has been a major part of my life for 12 years….my pet, my baby, my friend & confidante.

In 2013, Lola was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Diet change and holistic medication helped control the disease.  Right after her diagnosis, my dog and I both broke our legs.  I had to leave Georgia with my family because my home has too many steps and I was unable to carry her.  People tried to convince me to leave Lola with my parents, but here is my big secret, I hate being away from Lola for any period of time.  I took her with me.  She kept me sane.   You see I did leave Lola once to travel to Africa. Almost a month of separation.  Lola never moved from her pillow in my parents house.  She sulked and moped.  My family has watched her often for shorter periods of time, and Lola always sank into depression.  I always feel out-of-sorts when Lola is not with me.  She is my other half.  In many ways, my feline soulmate.

Suddenly, in June 2015, Lola goes into distress while we are traveling.  I rushed her to the hospital and she was diagnosed with thyroid storm (hyperthyroid disease).  I was given meds (oh fun…I prepared to be scratched) and sent on my way.  I was told to wait three weeks for blood work to find out if the medication is helping.  The results came in and medication did not help.  There is no hope because Lola is deteriorating quickly.

Now comes the decision.  I don’t want her to suffer, but she still has spunk.  She is still grooming herself, eating, and drinking….and excitedly watches the printer spitting out pages.  The vet says her heart will stop because she is breaking down quickly.  Do I end it before then or let nature take it’s course?  My heart is shattered.  I promised to love her until her final moment.  I promised her she would never feel pain.  I am trusting she will let me know when it is time.  Until then, I wait…. with tears….and focus on the happy memories.

I’m not the first person to go through this.  I will not be the last.  Memories will be with me for a lifetime.  This time with Lola truly sucks, but I would not trade any of our almost 12 years together.  She is my heart.  My soulmate.  My baby.  I will walk her to the other side and look forward to seeing her again some day.  It was her world, and I was honored to be a part of it.

I’ve read all these photo journals of dogs enjoying their last days.  Cats wouldn’t appreciate the same kind of things.  For Lola, being home with me and Georgia is her happiness.  I’ll stay home as much as I can, tolerate her hisses, and accept her affection until it is the end.

I love you Lola.  Forever and a day.  See you on the other side.

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

One thought on “Goodbye My Queen…

  1. Reblogged this on As my Joints Turn and commented:

    It’s the one year anniversary of losing my beloved Lola. She is one of the inspirations for my name Lolabellaquin. Sadly, only Bella remains and she is not long for this world. Sharing as a way to honor one of the greatest loves of my life. Life is simply better with a pet. I’m certain.


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