Sunday, May 3, 2009
A trip to the vet oncologist on Friday confirmed what I'd been thinking for a few weeks now. Maddy's cancer is back and badder than ever, and she has 4-6 weeks left before she goes ambling over the Rainbow Bridge. The vet oncologist recommended that we keep her on her daily prednisone and her every-other-day Leukeran until she is truly no longer herself. She also said that with cancer, you generally don't find your kitteh or puppeh dead one day when you come home--you'll have to make the decision of when to send him or her on their way.
I asked about food: what should I be feeding her at this point? Does it really matter? Nope, said the vet oncologist. "Feed her whatever she wants, as long as you're not seeing diarrhea," she said. "What she eats doesn't matter at this point so much as whether she eats." Good to know. Friday night, after driving home from the vet's office sobbing almost the whole way, I made cheezburgers. And Maddy got some crumbs from one. Nom. Yesterday, she hid a little more than usual, but I know Friday afternoon was pretty exhausting for her. Today, she's been social but has been barfing up almost everything she's eaten. I've gone from Purina DH food as her treats to Temptations (from the grocery store) and now to the mooshy Whisker Lickin's treats (also from the grocery store) to get her to keep something down. She's finally been keeping those down, and I hope she can keep her wet food down when I feed her later this evening. I know, I know; I'm feeding her and then she barfs and then she mmmeeeeooowowwwss and then I feed her a few more treats and then she honks those up a few minutes later. It's a vicious cycle, but I'm determined to make sure she gets something in her.
I know she won't be around for Labor Day; she won't even make one year after her initial diagnosis. She most likely won't be around for when Grandmrrmy Wilderness Gina comes to visit in July. She may not even make it to my visit to Georgia at the end of this month. I've been planning to have a wonderful balcony garden this year, including a rose bush, but she won't live to see everything flower and bloom. As I plan my garden, I'll need to start researching cremation options for her--being in a condo, I can't just bury her in the back yard like we used to living on a farm. Thinking again to my garden, my little oasis of life five stories up from the street, I hope I can at least get things planted so Maddy and I can sit outside and enjoy some final warm days together, me on my Adirondack chair in a fleece blanket, and her in my lap, Sphinx-like, nose into the air, searching the wind for familiar smells, swiveling her ears to locate distant birds
As i finished that sentence, I reached for a tissue and wiped my eyes. Maddy appeared at my feet. I looked down, and she looked up and gave me a plaintive, impertinent "Mrrow!" Her pesky sister, Hazel, who is getting pudgy from all the second-hand noms that Maddy gets, walked into the computer room and punctuated Maddy's complaint with her own "Myeew!" I pet Maddy's bony shoulders, her spine ruffling her fur in the way that an underweight cat's bones are wont to do when there's not enough fat and muscle covering them.
I look down again. The tip of her tail is fwip-fwip-fwipping, waiting for me to get off the computer and go in the kitchen to distribute more treats. It's also about time to cook dinner for Guy and me. Madd is sicker but not dead, not quite ready to die. Eventually, yes, but not today. Today, it's time for treats and sitting on the chaise and reading about what herbs to plant in containers and attempting to make calzones out of canned pizza crust dough and being together while we can. Just being together. She's still here.