day in the life, The Cancer Cat Chronicles

With every broken heart, we should become more adventurous.

When Lanty was diagnosed with that darned Lymphona last summer, I felt, momentarily anyway, the solidity of life drop right out from under me. There was very little that could make it seem right again.  Lanty was the third leg of our little three-legged family.  For the last, oh, ten years or so, whenever would get that pesky inquiry, “when are you going to start a family?” we’d always say, at least to each other, “we ARE a family. You, me, and Lant.” Our family, defined.  Now, our family was going to change. And the ground on which I stood turned to mud, mushy and slippery. Would I fall in it? Would my shoes get ruined?

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Cinema, felines, Month of Madness

MonMadAnd so, we made it to the last week. The last week of D asking me “did you watch your movie today?” as if reminding me of my vitamins; the last week of scouring Netflix, the library, and The Internet Archive for last-minute movies when my plan for the night went awry (or I just changed my mind); the last week of my super, even uber-cute Halloween blog theme; the last week of feeling utterly and delightfully self-indulgent.

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felines, The Cancer Cat Chronicles, tributes

Our little Biscuit has gone on beyond the sea.

At about 11 0’clock this morning, we helped him move from this life into the next, and away from his suffering and pain. We will miss him so very much, but never forget his funny ways and the precious lessons he taught us about life, death, and the strength in letting go.

He was an unusual, remarkable, confounding, delightful little guy. I will miss his loud voice and whiny-cute requests for meals, his voracious appetite for his mush (canned food), his adorable “fake out” game of standing on a toy and pretending not to see it, then suddenly kicking it up with his back foot and attacking it as if it came out of nowhere, the way he curled up by my shoulder in his special spot on the bed, his fur getting everywhere, his loud loud rumbling purr – popping corn, as mom calls it – and even giving him injections and sub-q fluids and cleaning him and so many other endearing, difficult, silly, wonderful things that were unique to my little character.

In Japanese, kokoro means “heart,” but not the heart in the chest. Rather it means the “heart and soul,” the heart with which we love and long. My Kokoro was my heart and will always be in my heart and soul. I am so grateful and so much more for having known him.

The two girls looked sadly at the remains of their pet…”Cats have nine lives, so tomorrow he will wake up someplace as somebody’s kitten and start a new life,” said Ramona.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” said Beezus, “but it sounds logical. I hope his new owners give him melon rind. Picky-picky loved melon rind.” She picked up the shovel and started to fill in the grave. “We should have some flowers for him, but there aren’t any.”

“I wonder which of his lives we got him on,” said Ramona as she gathered damp brown leaves to strew on the grave. The girls stood looking sadly at the little mound left by Picky-picky’s coffin.

“He was a good cat,” said Ramona.

From Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

The Cancer Cat Chronicles

I write this tonight from my blue couch, with a small beige kitty resting as comfortably as he can next to me. This is an exciting and precious moment, as Koko has not been willing to sit on the couch for some time – not since the couch became the Place Where All Manner of Junk is Stuffed in His Mouth. He’s had innumerable pills and syringes popped into his little face on the couch, including four-times daily feedings. Naturally one begins to develop an aversion to the location, no matter how comfy, where crap is constantly forced into your esophagus.

But those days are mostly over and my little guy is up here, dozing a little and, I think, enjoying being near me again. As his condition has worsened, some of the palliative care I’ve been providing has become ineffective or unnecessary, so we’ve been able to forgo a lot of the most unpleasant of our daily routines, such as the Bitter Pill of Emeticus, the Oh-God-Is-That-An-Air-Bubble? Thrice Daily Injections, and most of the More On Me Than In Him Syringe Feedings. The great news is that removing some of things things from our routine, and removing the stress involved in administering and receiving them, has allowed us all to relax a little more and even given Biscuit back his appetite.
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The Cancer Cat Chronicles

My little guy is in a very serious place right now. Since he started a new chemo called lomustine on Tuesday, he’s not been eating, has been vomiting, and has had awful diarrhea. We’ve been treating all of this as if it is side effects of the chemo (he had similar problems after cytoxan, so we knew what to do), but he’s only improved a little.

Today I had a long talk with my vet, and the possibility of a ruptured bowel was raised. If Mr. Biscuit doesn’t improve by the end of the weekend, we’ve got to consider that diagnosis and what it means – he will not get better. I’m utterly freaking out, but on the outside, I’m as calm as I’ve been through this. My pal and I have spent the day together, with belly rubs, syringe feedings, naps, and singing (lullabies to him, purring to me on occasion).

We’ll probably know what’s what Monday.

The Cancer Cat Chronicles

Biscuit started chemo on April 27. The first week went very well; he had one bout of vomiting, but maintained a normal appetite and activity level. We’ve been told that he won’t lose any fur, but may lose his whiskers.

By the time he second treatment came around, D was in Belgium so I took Biscuit to the vet on my own. It was a new drug this time, cytoxan, and after doing some reading about it, I was a bit concerned about its potential side effects. Biscuit came home in the late afternoon, having done very well with the drug at the vet.

felines, The Cancer Cat Chronicles

D started this as a simple email, but it grew into a journal of sorts. Though some of you have read this already, I thought I’d share it here. I hadn’t intended to – I didn’t want to write about this here at all – but D has summarized the details of our last week so very well, and likewise has captured the fragility and strength we’ve both found in these intense days such that I felt compelled to share it here.

There’s more, much more, to come as we face the next steps of this journey.
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