Home.

What a week.

I spent Monday in tears at the thought of having to put down my new rescue, Tucker. Red, puffy eyes gave way to a pounding headache that afternoon. At the vet that evening, I took goodbye photos of my brave, young little kitty. I was certain we were at the end.

But wait — what’s this? You want to try a steroid regimen, Mr. Vet? OK. Let’s.

I wised up on Tuesday and skipped most of my eye makeup, being that I had cried it off the day before. I plowed through another box of Kleenex and a few rough paper towels in the restroom. After work I visited Tucker again, and was shocked to find that he was a completely different cat. Feisty, full of fight and with his tiny meow back in action left me stumped, but grateful. His blood draw results showed his bilirubin — previously at 4.3 then 6.4 — was at a 5.1.

On Wednesday my eyes and nose had tissue-induced dry skin flaking all around them, and his bilirubin was back up in the 6.5-range. It looked like the steroids weren’t doing much, but his energy was still up, he was eating again after two weeks of having not, and was still active. The new issue, however? His fang-like chompers are too long or big for his mouth, and his lower lip had teeth wounds developing.

Seriously? How? You’ve been alive for a year and a half. Does this week really need to be the week during which a strange cosmetic-ish dentistry issue pops up?

Long story short, I brought him home tonight. I assumed I’d be visiting him at the vet indefinitely, but I was wrong…fortunately. His bilirubin is down to somewhere in the 3.0 range, although it’s still very high compared to where it should be. He still has his appetite that returned at the vet, and his feasting on almost a full can of cat food at home was proof. I have two medications to administer on a daily basis for the next month, but I’ll take it.

I’ll take it because my little buddy is back in his forever home.

I’ll take it because he’s not at the vet’s office with the sound of strange animals all around him during every hour of the day.

I’ll take it because he’s a fighter, and fighters deserve to have people in their court. I will be in his court for as long as he is part of this life.

Tonight I am thankful for my Tucker, for his fight and spirit, for my veterinarian and his patience, his knowledge and his concern for my pet that he treated as his own. He’s not out of the woods just yet, as he’ll be going back for more blood work on Monday, but he’s home. And home is a great place to recenter, regroup and start over.

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