Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: Wordless Wednesday (Last train to Skövde)

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Aby-a-Day – 12 April: Our last exploration together (Friday Flashback)

Last week when Jacoby and I went to Jönköping to see the vet and get his blood tested, we saw the cutest little play park on the way to the bus stop.

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It looked like a little Hobbit village!

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I knew Jake wasn’t really feeling well, but it was such a nice day, and we had time to explore it before our appointment, so I let him out of his carrier so he could explore.

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Sick as he was, he perked up and eagerly explored the first cave.

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The little hills and caves were just the perfect size for him! I wish we had noticed this on earlier trips to Jönköping.

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It’s even his colour!

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Typical Jake, he had to climb up and sit on top of the little hill.

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He always has to survey whatever kingdom he’s currently ruling.

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The next little cave wasn’t a cave at all…

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…It was a tunnel!

Jake wasn’t interested in going through it, though. He was more interested in the portholes.

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And in climbing to the top again, of course.

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The park also had these spinning saucers. They were kind of like a merry-go-round for one. I didn’t spin him in it, but look! It’s the Cat From Outer Space!

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I’m not sure what these wooden and rope sheep were meant to be for. Just something for kids to pretend to ride, I guess.

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Jake thought they were pretty awesome, though.

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The last thing on the playground was a sort of atomic jungle gym with a bouncy chair that worked kind of like a swing. It was definitely a throne befitting His Highness.

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It’s hard to believe that these photos were taken only a week ago. This was how he was last Friday, curious, interested in new things, alive. And now he’s not. It’s so hard to wrap my brain around; he just declined so quickly! But I am glad that I didn’t just pass the park by; it would have been so easy to decide he was too sick, that we’d come back when he was feeling better…but I didn’t and we had one last little exploration together. You only regret what you don’t do…I am so glad I did do this.

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As a reminder, the insurance cap has been reached so I won’t close the GoFundMe campaign for his chemo just yet as we don’t know what his final total bill will be. Also, the insurance won’t cover his cremation. Donations are still coming in, and after Jake’s bills are paid off, I am sure there will be a good amount left over for New England Abyssinian Rescue. I will close the campaign down on Jake’s birthday, Sunday 14 April.

Aby-a-Day – 8 April: “Cancer is a fight to the death. Either you kill it, or it will kill you. Get ready to brawl.” (Medical Monday)

Cutting to the chase, the vets think Jacoby has Lymphoma.

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On Friday, Jake and I repeated the trip we took back in August when we went to Djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to find out what was the matter with him.

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They have the best cubbies for cat carriers in the cat waiting room.

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When they called us back, they put us in a really nice, sunny room. Anicura puts birdfeeders outside the windows of the cat exam rooms. Birds came to the window whilst we were there…but not when I could take a photo of any of them.

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The first thing they did was weigh him. As you can see, 4.35kg (9.6lbs). On 3 March, he was up to 4.9kg (10.8lbs). When I weighed him on the 31st, just under a month later, this is what he weighed. I called the vet the next day.

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After the nurse took some blood samples, he went back to the sunny windowsill.

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The vet felt something when she palpated his abdomen, so she ordered an another ultrasound, which they managed to squeeze in that same afternoon. They sent me off for a couple of hours, and when I came back…the news was not great.

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They suspected Lymphoma, and scheduled another exploratory surgery for this morning. I was meant to bring him back on Sunday afternoon.

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It was a pretty long day, and Jake was exhausted. He didn’t even get out of his carrier on the train ride back.

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On Saturday, Jake was worse than ever. He spiraled in the 24 hours after our visit the day before.

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He wasn’t eating or drinking, just lying on the kitchen floor. I tried putting him in comfortable places, but he kept going back to the floor. I knew he needed to go back to Jönköping, but I wasn’t sure that the train would get me there fast enough. Björn got home from work at 5, and I asked him if we could borrow one of our neighbours’ cars. He did, and we drove to Jönköping.

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We saw a majestik møøse on the way to the vet!

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When we got there, we were put into the same exam room we’d been in on Friday.

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You can see how much worse he looked than the last time we were in that room.

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Despite having no appetite, Jake was still interested in the treat jar.

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When the nurse came in, she gave him a few…and he ate them!

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Then there was some paperwork to fill out…

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…farewells to be said…

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…and then he needed to go into the hospital transport cage.

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At first, he didn’t want to lie down so she could close the carrier.

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Finally, he cooperated, and they rolled him away.

One of my favourite things about Anicura is that they send good morning texts with a photo of your cat. This was this morning’s text, after being on fluids for a day, before his surgery.

They called me after his surgery was finished and he’d woken up. He was doing well, and the samples from the biopsy were sent to the lab but from what they observed when they had him open was that they were fairly certain that Jake does have Lymphoma, and they are going to start the chemotherapy as soon as they can without waiting for the results.

Cats respond differently to the treatment, and can live for three or four months to three or four years. We just don’t know how he will respond. According to this article I found, “Feline lymphoma cases currently appear to fall into three groups from a prognostic point of view. There are some that fail to show a good response to any chemotherapy offered. For these patients, their lymphoma is unfortunately fairly rapidly progressive. Patients in the middle group tend to show a degree of response to the treatment but never achieve complete normality and for these patients there is an average life expectancy of approximately 4 months. The third group achieve complete remission from their lymphoma and their life expectancy is measured in years.” We just need to wait and see which group Jake falls into.

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I wish I knew what else to say. I mean, his 10th birthday is next Sunday. I can’t imagine not having him with me.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Looks like we’re going back to Jönköping (Medical Monday Mystery)

Siiiiggghhh… And we had been doing so well, too. Jacoby has been on his treatment plan for several weeks, and he had been gaining weight nicely. But in the past week or so, he’s been…not himself. Less eager and excited about food, sleeping in unusual places (like the radiator bed, which I don’t think I have ever seen him in before), and just…not being himself. Most concerning, the last time I weighed Jake on 16 March, he was up to 4.8 kilos…and yesterday, he weighed 4.3 kilos.

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So…I called Min Veterinär this morning to leave a message, and then, completely by coincidence, Anicura called me an hour or so later. I made an appointment with them, just in case…and, when Min Vet called me back, we discussed it and decided it would be better to take Jake back to Anicura since they have all his recent treatment records. So it looks like Jake and I will be riding the rails to Jönköping this Friday.

Aby-a-Day – 25 December: The sole of Christmas (Cartoon Tuesday)

In Sweden, the main Christmas celebrating is done on 24 December. After the ritual of Donald Duck, the presents are opened and then dinner is eaten.

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The traditional Julbord, which Björn’s mother orchestrated every year to perfection, consists of pickled herring, smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs with kaviar,

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the Julskinka (ham with mustard), boiled potatoes, Janssons Frestelse (a sort of potato casserole with anchovies), cabbage rolls (which I can totally get behind because they’re also a Russian thing), handmade köttbullar (meatballs – ours were moose, lamb and wild boar),

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Prinskorv (sort of like hot dogs, but better), a ball of cheese and bread, and a cheesecake.

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This was our first year assembling the feast ourselves, and the first we have done at home instead of going to Jönköping. Beer, wine and shots of aquavit are usually drunk before, during, and after the meal, but this year we also added my kickass eggnog with rum, tequila, whiskey and hazelnut liqueur. Because, hey, let’s start our own traditions! (I also introduced the hanging and filling of stockings, which we open on Christmas day, because that was MY tradition. I still have the stocking I was given on my very first Christmas, when I was six months old.

The one Swedish Jul tradition I am not completely onboard with is the Christmas Day dinner of lutfisk served with potatoes and peas. Not that lutfisk is bad…it’s just bland. It’s basically like eating hard-boiled egg whites. Which is great, I love hard-boiled eggs. Just not necessarily for Christmas dinner. And I don’t really like peas all that much, either. We would always eat it at Björn’s mom’s house…but this year, we are having goose and starting our own tradition (which also includes the oranges my mom always used to put in our stockings).

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The first Christmas I spent in Sweden, I drew this silly little drawing of a “lute fisk” as a joke for Björn’s brother…and today I got the idea to update it a bit with Abys. And a Singapura. Just a sketch for now, but…Happy Christmas, everyone!

Aby-a-Day – 24 December: Julafton and Kalle Anka

It’s hard to describe how important watching Kalle Anka (Donald Duck) at 3pm on Christmas Eve is in Sweden.

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Jacoby…seriously. It’s a big deal. Go sit down and watch.

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That’s better.

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Having experienced four Swedish Julaftons now, I can attest. Donald Duck and Christmas are a thing.

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The annual broadcast, shown in Sweden since 1959 consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the 1930s to the 1960s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book. The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a Swedish host and the addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie (This year, it was a scene from Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet and a scene from The Incredibles II).

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The first year we lived here, we went to Jönköping and watched it at Björn’s mom’s house. We have done that every year…until this year. In a manner of speaking, Jake spent Christmas at Björn’s mom’s house before he even lived here.

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This year, we had Julafton and watched Kalle Anka at home in Skövde.

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But it was hard to not think of the Juls we had spent at Björn’s mom’s house. That defined Christmas in Sweden to me…and Christmas in general to Björn.

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We did miss Björn’s mom’s Christmas tree, decorated with hand-cut paper hearts.

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And also the weird straw pig that lived underneath the tree.

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Björn’s mom also had this display of her collection of Dala horses. Jake tried to fit in.

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“Ugh…these guys are a bunch of stiffs!”

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Like his mini-me, Jake posed with the row of Tomten, too.

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This Julafton was wonderful…but I miss the holiday in Jönköping.

Aby-a-Day – 27 November: Kalle’s sketch of Jacoby (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a little drawing Kalle did whilst we were on a train home from Jönköping using my iPad Pro and Procreate.

I set him up with a photo of Jacoby to start with.

Then we set it to 75% opaqueness, and he worked on it. It’s a little wobbly, because the train was, of course, moving. I keep asking him to finish it, because I think it has a lot of potential. I really like it.