Saturday, October 4, 2008

The End

Isabella died on Sunday September 21, 2008.

I've been waiting for the right time and the right inspiration to write this final entry but I don't think that time will ever truly come. So today, on the day that I buried Isabella's ashes, I am closing this blog.

I want to be clear about one thing: diabetes was not the cause of her death. Although I don't specifically know why she declined over her last ten days, I do know it wasn't diabetes. Because she was walking with so much discomfort, and eating so little, and in the end, breathing with such difficulty, I speculate that the cancer, though small at the surface, was likely doing unseen bad things. It may have spread to her lungs. I don't know and never will.

What I do know is that Isabella was a cat who lived life on her own terms. She had her ideas about how things would be and was not shy about letting me (or anyone) know when something wasn't to her liking. She bit me many, many times. I would have preferred some other means of communication (litter box hieroglyphics, anyone?), but that was Isabella. She didn't care one whit about how someone else felt - she cared first and only about herself.

Isabella behaved uniformly horridly to anyone who came to the house. She glared at, hissed at, swatted, and occasionally sank her teeth into my friends and family. No one, and I mean no one, could understand why (or how) I treated both cancer and diabetes in my mean kitty. My father took particular delight in antagonizing her. He'd gleefully thrust out his scratched and bitten forearm: Look what your cat did to me! I'd just roll my eyes. Certainly after more than a decade he knew better. Sometimes I thought Isabella was more well behaved than he.

Under her snarky, cantankerous, feisty attitude, Isabella was a very loyal kitty. If I was home, she was with me or at least nearby. She slept on my bed every night with only two exceptions: right before she was diagnosed with diabetes and right before she died. Her loyalty bloomed early in kittenhood - once leading her right into the refrigerator when I opened it. Unlucky for her, I didn't see her climb in. Lucky for her, I did miss my little velcro kitten in short order (where'd that cat go?) and opened the fridge to find her sitting next to the cottage cheese like it was the most normal place in the world for her to be. Her habit of walking through any door I opened taught me to account for all cats before leaving the house - and many times saved her from closet and cupboard incarceration.

Isabella lived her nine lives well. She beat vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma for more than three years. She laughed in the face of diabetes. And she escaped the wrath of the many, many people she abused, some whom would have abused her in return had I ever turned my back.

Through her personality Isabella taught me tolerance. Through her diabetes I learned patience and how to let go of things I could not fully control. (OK, if I'm being honest, maybe not so much on curing my inner control freak). Isabella also led me to the wonderful and wise community of the Feline Diabetes Message Board, where lots of other control freaks (admit it, people!) struggle, and laugh, and learn about caring for a diabetic cat. I am grateful for the guidance and friendship I found there.

Isabella, my little punkie, you were demanding and uncompromising for every minute of your 13 years. I loved you and I will miss you forever.

Sometimes, she was just so darn cute.


Anonymous said...

Tears and hugs Nancy. Isabella was well loved. I will miss your wonderful commentary!


Unknown said...

nancy, i am new to fdmb and didn't get the privilege to follow your story.. i'm so sorry isabella's journey has ended- she sounded like quite a girl! you were both lucky to have each other..


Unknown said...

Tears as I read this...and the sweet photo at the end , more tears.

I am so touched by what you have written about your years of loving and caring for your beautiful girl. I know you will forever miss her, but she will ber always with you in spirit. You were a great Mom to your sweet girl...

Judith and Thomas

Karen said...

Nancy....what a touching tribute to the true personality that Isabella was. You were a wonderful mom to her and because of that, her spirit will always be a part of you. Many hugs!!!


chriscleo said...

Been waiting for this post for your beautiful, brave, feisty, cranky, totally herself, little girl. Your blog has meant the world to many of us, as we shared in your triumphs and frustrations, and sometimes laughed out loud even tho things weren't going our way in battling this disease. Well, VAS is a disease that hasn't been won yet, but you still got 3 more years outta your crankly divaesque little darling, and we got to know the two of you better on the diabetes board. Happy trails to you, until we meet again...
Chris (and Miss Cleo)

Unknown said...

Your blog was one of the first things I'd read about Feline Diabetes when Chip was diagnosed. I read it core to core, as I did all your posts on FDMB. I am so sorry about Isabella. You and she have been an inspiration to me, and to so many others.
Irina, Chip, and Mr. H.

Andrea C said...

Hugs to you Nancy. I am so sorry for your loss. That sweet Isabella will forever be with you in spirit, you were the best momma bean she could have had. Many times I have read your blog and wondered "How does she know?" It seems that somehow you have been able to find the words to describe what none of the rest of us can. For that I will forever be grateful to you. As Chris said...until we meet again..

Love and Hugs, Andrea

Terri said...

You and Isabella put a different slant on this disease from your first day on the board. Do you remember your first test? I laughed and laughed when I read that post.

You and Isabella were a very special team. I hope you will drop in on FDMB now and then. And if you start a new blog, please let us know!

Anonymous said...

ul. Ok, I am reduced to tears, I'll write more soon. I hope that you are taking care of yourself.


Mary C said...

Nancy, my sincerest and deepest condolences. We have both lost cats we loved dearly, and only within a couple months of each other. You will surely miss her, especially since she slept every night on your bed. That's what I seem to have missed the most about Avalanche. Just keep in mind how many of your blogging/message board friends are sharing your grief. How's Casey taking Isabella's absence?

Anonymous said...

This brought me to tears.
What a beautiful tribute to your fiesty diva Isabella. You and she were quite a team and thru your posts on FDMB we all had the privelege of getting to know and love her unique, slightly snarky and independent personality. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and Isabella with us.

I know that you will never forget her and neither will we.

Sending much love and many hugs.

Donna and Flame

Anonymous said...

Nancy, that was so beautifully written. I miss you both and I'm moved to tears, my heart is broken for you.
Take care.


Carolyn said...

Dear Nancy,

Ahhh the tears, I've cried and cried over your loss of Isabella, and I'm sure I'll cry more.

It's always been so beautiful the way that you bring her to life for us all.. and your tribute to her is no exception. I laughed out loud picturing your dad and his arm, and the little kitten in the fridge, and I cried buckets looking at that precious picture of her.

(((((hugs))))) and peace, I just don't have anything to say to take away your hurt.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl. The story of the fridge reminded me of my own Zoey who would run into the back of the freezer section when you pulled it out. Thank you for the memory. Thank you for sharing your story. Many hugs to you as you deal with your loss.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I still can't believe Isabella is gone. We miss you on the board. Please know that my prayers are with you.


Anonymous said...

Nancy, I had hoped that this entry would not come for a long time. Even though Miss Isabella's time here is done, she will live on through her blog, the stories on the diabetes board and, most importantly in your heart.

Thank you for sharing her with us.


Susie said...

Nancy, you have paid a wonderful tribute to your beautiful Isabella for whom I always had very fond spot. There is just something about these fractious girls that makes them very special. Isabella was one of the finest of the sisterhood.

She will be missed.


Anonymous said...

I'm crying a little now too, even I feel her loss and we never met. But you made your relationship with her so vivid, Isabella came to life in my kitchen and in the beginning it was you what made me feel I can handle Angelbait's future and my own burgeoning neurosis regarding all things feline diabetes.

Nancy, you have my condolences and deepest admiration. You were the best thing she ever had and your writing is so moving, intimate and necessary I hope you will return to blogging in some form and let me know so I can instantly blogroll you.
Take care, you, and

((((hugs))) <<< if you want 'em.


Donna said...

Nancy, I've been away from FDMB for a bit and so I'm just now hearing of Isabella's death. As "mom" to a diabetic cat also, I share your control freakishness and understand just exactly how that loss of control in making them better stings.

Your eulogy of her is beautiful. I share your grief and only hope that in sharing it, your load is lighter. Isabella was one of a kind... thank goodness. :) She will be sorely missed.

~Donna (Maximillian's Person)

Anonymous said...

Yes, and the post as wordle, here:

Anonymous said...

i never met her in 'real life' but i miss her terribly. she was a special little girl with a mind of her own, and your words always painted such a clear picture of her...we all felt like we knew her so well.
many hearts were broken that day.

remember on FDMB, in this blog, and in many hearts she lives forever....

chinablue said...

Nancy, almost everyday I thank the goddess that you documented Izzy's journey. I refer back to your blog at least once a week to review what I should or shouldn't do!!

This past couple days was pretty frightening. Bess stopped eating and I thought we would have to get that big needle and pump those fluids into her. I was ready, I read your experience.

The big problem at the time was that our car had been damage, not driveable, and we were fighting with the insurance companies. We could not get the cat to the Vet. My image was taking a bus to a hospital (human), feigning illness, the minute they brought the bag in the room in the room, I was out!!

About the time I was about to describe the plot to Wally, Bess ate a little bit, then she ate more, then she drank!!! We survived this potential tragedy! After the crisis was over, I remembered this blog. With the information you provided/experienced, I have my rescue kit list put together. I will begin to assemble the items that we may need on Monday. Thanks for your support even if you did not know you were providing it.

When this happens again, Bess will have a fighting chance. Thanks to you for the documentation. Thanks to Isabella for providing the strength or the other way around. I am still freaked!

I am not sure what that says that every time I get freaked out, I come to your blog - I think it is a complement. Chat soon! Glad to hear about new kitty!!

dan - wally -bessie

KIC said...

I love the wurdle someone made you of Isabella. My heart still goes out to you.

Karen & Pearl

Saz said...

That was a beautiful tribute. Your Isabella seemed like a wonderful character. I'm new to cats with diabetes, and in my hunt for blogs of others in a similar situ I stumbled on your story. Although with a sad ending, it's not put me off and I hope I cope half as well as you did.

I wish you all the best x

Anonymous said...

Your blog made me cry at the end... I'm sorry about the loss of your cat... having lost a few of my own babies during the past few years that I raised from birth, I understand the loss completely.

Isabella couldn't have had a better owner, a better life. Not many people would have the dedication to her that you did.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog while doing a search on limping in my diabetic cat Callie. I was so sad to see this entry, yet touched by your obvious love for Isabella. It is nice to know that others have experienced such love for their cats, and that Isabella had someone like you to care for her. You will see each other again someday.

Lisa Claxton said...

Thank you for this blog. My Franklin was recently diagnosed after several bad bouts of pancreatitis. Reading about your care for Isabella is encouraging to me and your humor is comforting.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I just recently lost my own sugarbaby, Toby, about a month ago, after having him around for fourteen crazy and awesome years. This final entry has tugged at each and every one of my heartstrings. I know you have shut down this blog, but hopefully these condolences and hugs reach you. Your final entry, in so many ways, summed up my relationship with my Toby, almost like you reached inside my own head. I am truly so sorry for your loss- it is a very hard place to be in. Isabella certainly was in the right place at the right time to have you come along to care for her.

Angela's Anxious Life said...

So sad... sorry for your loss!

Jay said...


I'd like to thank you for taking the time to share your stories. I read through your blog quite a bit and found you quite inspiring. We have a Diabetic cat of our own and I was searching around, only to find your site. We're somewhat struggling with the condition.

Thanks again.


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