With the good comes the bad.
My favorite cat (I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but I do, and I’m not ashamed to admit it) is diabetic. I’ve mentioned this before. She is my bestie, my love, my girl. As I write this, crying, she’s snuggling up and plucking my chest as she purrs with delight, nudging her head gently against mine. Her diabetes have always caused us a lot of concern, but it’s been manageable and actually has been in remission for a long time. I pay close attention to her though, even when her diabetes seem to be on a break. Paying close attention has its pros and cons. With the pros come the cons.
The con came last week when I weighed her.
I’ve noticed her seeming a bit thinner (for her – she started at 15 pounds!) and have I’ve sort of ignored it. I had a cat prior to her (the BEAR, who was my very first kitty) who was a very sick kitty, and when he would lose weight, it meant bad things were going on. I only had the BEAR for 4.5 years before I lost him to hypotrophic cardiomyopathy. That was so hard on my heart (and his, obviously) and Lily’s weight loss spiraled my mind back to those days when the BEAR was so sick. I finally weighed her last week and I figured that she’d lost about 1.5-2 pounds since her last vet visit 6 months prior. This was not good. I knew it. Despite ignoring the vet reminder cards for a month to bring her in for her 6 month check, I knew it was time to get her checked out. I scheduled an appointment that day for the following Monday, figuring that I’d enjoy the weekend before getting the potential bad news.
I got the news today. When we went in yesterday, Dr. D seemed alarmed. Lily has lost 2.5 pounds since September and although he’s thrilled with her diabetes remission, he just seemed concerned. He mentioned that that type of weight loss is not good, and I said I already knew that. We talked about the BEAR and what weight loss usually means, and I cried. Dr. D didn’t say much to make me feel better. I think he knew that things were not good, and he knows that sugar-coating is not my thing. He drew blood and said he’d call me the next day, but that on physical exam she looks great, so if there is a problem, it should show up in the blood work.
Dr. D called today. We will be going in for x-rays on Thursday to look for tumors – tumors that will likely be malignant but may not show up on x-rays. I knew when he called that things were not good. He didn’t pump me full of hope, he said he wants to do the basics to get a diagnosis but that things are pointing to cancer (likely lymphoma) and that the blood work would imply that it’s agressive. God. I asked if x-rays could wait until we’re in Florida and he said no, let’s do it now so that if they can treat her while she’s there for a week, that that would be preferred. I agree.
People say things to me like, “I don’t get cats. I don’t get how you can love a cat.” But my response is, “do you get dogs? Do you get animals? It’s the same thing – it’s the same love – just for a different species.” A very large chunk of my heart is aching right now, knowing what’s coming, and it’s debilitating. Dr. D and I talked about treatment and he says that there really isn’t much to do but make the time she has (unknown at this point) as comfy as possible. There’s no way to know how much time she has – it could be months, it could be a couple of years. We’re already on borrowed time with her diabetes, so I don’t assume it’s a long time we have left together. The minute her life gets hard is the minute I will let her go. Just typing that is upsetting, but it’s the truth. She’s been too good to me to go a minute longer than is comfortable for her.
So there it is. We’re going to Dis.neywo.rld, and my favorite cat probably has cancer. While we’re in Dis.neywo.rld, my favorite cat will be “at the spa” being watched over closely by people who love her and take good care of her, while I worry about her.
My dad, the realist when it comes to these things (even though he still can’t talk about losing the BEAR without tearing up), texted me, “:( but remember the circle of life.” My parents can really irritate me, but I appreciate the realism. I appreciate the reminder that this is all part of the deal when you have pets. We love them for as long as we can, and then we let them go. We sometimes have more time with some than others, but it’s never enough time for us. Because of that, we do it over, and over, and over again because we love and need their companionship.
Lily is, and always will be, a great companion.