Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Shitty Things That It Just Seems Wrong To Discuss In The Same Breath, And Yet How Can I Not?

Yeah, so.

Tomorrow (oops, today) both Shrike's grandma and our BoyCat are having biopsies. To get the details about what we've already been told are cancerous tumors of some sort.

First, and of course, most importantly, Shrike's Grandma:

She is 85 years old, and until this (and other than this) in pretty damn good shape for her age. She and Pappy are very active, and could run any of the rest of us ragged on most days.

A couple of weeks ago, she fell and ended up at the hospital with a broken nose. After some confusion about whether she'd passed out or fallen and knocked herself out, it came out that she'd been having some fainting (or dizzy?) spells that they'd not told anyone about.

Tests determined that her oxygen levels were low (thus the dizziness / fainting) and an xray showed a "node" on her lung. As of when she was discharged after a day or two, the word was that, "She has emphesema and is on oxygen," and after a PET scan the following week, we were told that the node "is cancer" and that it's not in an operable location, and that there's another mass "in the middle of her chest."

The biopsy tomorrow will, I suppose tell us more about exactly what's going on, what treatment options are available and what the prognosis might be.

And BoyCat:

He's 13 years old, and has also been in good shape, other than this. He's a big ol' boy, but "carries it well," or at least, better than poor GirlCat does.

A couple of weeks ago, he was hanging around while Peeper and I were playing in her room (as he often does - he is incredibly tolerant of her) and I was petting him, when I felt something near the base of his tail. I figured it was just a fur mat, because he gets those, so I brushed his fur back to get to it, when I saw some sort of fleshy mass - a big bump, or maybe two bumps, pretty gross looking, so I didn't look for long. I called in Shrike (who'd just gone to bed) and made her look at it, and we decided immediately that he needed to go to the vet.

After some scheduling snafus over the past week and some drama today, with getting him caught and caged (and then with getting Peeper in the carseat), we finally got him here this afternoon.

The vet took a look at it and said, "I don't like this. It needs to come off." When I asked what she thought it might be, she rattled off about three different types of tumors, and I couldn't help but notice that "Or it might be nothing," was conspicuously absent from the list of possibilities.

Of course, the surgery itself has its own risks. Because he's old, she'll want to make sure that his kidney and liver functions are okay before doing anything, and also, "He's a big guy, so there's a risk there." I don't know if she thought it was reassuring when she told us that, "But we'll take precautions, and we'll try to wake him up," but it really wasn't.

So, we're nervous about tomorrow itself, and when that all goes okay, we'll still have to worry for anywhere from a couple of days to a week until we get the pathology report, because we actually don't really know much of anything at this point.

I told Shrike that I really feel like a shit for even spending energy stressing about the cat when her Grandma is in such a similar situation, let alone for angsting about it to her, but she said that, in a strange way, worrying about him is kind of keeping her mind off worrying Grandma.

Of course, I have lots of other things to feel like a shit about in this situation.

Like how, every time I go in the laundry room, a tiny part of me kind of looks forward to how much less gross it will be in there some day when we are, sadly, catless.

Or how I am just so surprised that if something was going to happen to a cat, that it's him and not GirlCat.

Every time she goes to the vet, I expect to get some kind of dire news, and to be honest, it would on some level, be a blessing for her, because she really doesn't have much quality of life, since she doesn't get around well enough to do much beyond hang out in the laundry room near her food and litterbox.

And then, I have to feel guilty all over again about her being in that shape, and how maybe if we'd been more disciplined about her diet, she wouldn't be. And furthermore, that when she's in a laundry room phase (that comes and goes; sometimes she hangs out in a more people-centric area for a few weeks) we really don't interact with her at all, other than putting out food and saying "Hi" when we are doing laundry.

And then, I think about the fact that if she's our only cat, we barely even have a cat. I mean, we're feeding and cleaning up after a cat, but we're not really having a relationship with a cat.

And Peeper has absolutely no relationship with her, other than to point over the barrier at the laundry room doorway, and say "yeow yeow!"

Which brings me back around to BoyCat, and how much Peeper loves him, and how great he is with her. She was so worried about him when we caged him today, and she wanted him to sit by her in the car, and she sat on the exam table with him the whole time, except when the vet was actually messing with the, well, the tumor, and while we were waiting to find out if they could get him in for surgery tomorrow, she petted him, and hugged him and kissed him and talked to him the whole time.

I don't know if she was intentionally comforting him, or just taking advantage of the fact that he was there and wasn't going anywhere, but it sure was sweet.

So how the fuck do we explain it to her, if she's going to lose her kitty cat?

Or much worse?


  1. I am sorry to hear about all this and hope things work out for everyone. Knowing something is wrong with your loved ones is so difficult.
    I understand your cat situation very well. We have one cat left and he is the most unfriendly cat we had. He never comes out anymore and if we did not have to put water and food in the dishes and clean the litter boxes no one would know there was a cat there. I love my pets but I look forward to when we don't have one hiding down there anymore.

  2. I heard from Shrike's dad around 11 am or so. They expected Grandma to be finished around 1-ish (they were told it would take about 4 hours - not sure what-all they are doing). She'll go home today; they'll stay with them, so Pappy's not taking care of her on his own.

    The vet called around noon to say that BoyCat is out of surgery and was starting to wake up. He'll be ready to come home after 3:30 or so.

  3. Glad to hear everyone is waking up! That is atleast one small thing to be thankful for today ☺

  4. #1 was just about Peeper's age when Lady died. We just told him "she went to Heaven" and that was all. Probably something about all the doggy toys there or such. Maybe something about having to stay there. He, of course, understood none of the context of it, but it was an explanation for her absence. My memory is that he took her absence well. He would go slap the patio door sometimes, because when she was in the yard and he did that she would come, but he didn't cry or anything when she didn't. Thankfully two year old's are pretty distractable.

    Do you remember how when Hubby's dad died and we were on the way up there, Frappa (just turning 3) asked if we could stop by Heaven on the way and see Pawpaw?

  5. Oh Gawd. Yes, I do remember her asking that. She was riding with me, and I couldn't figure out what she was saying, and then it hit me.

    BoyCat is home now, hiding under the couch. (He's supposed to be in the laundry room, but I opened the cage with the door open and, oops.

    Shrike's parent called her a while ago to say that Grandma was done with her biopsy and they were on their way home, as well.

    Now we wait.

  6. healing light and love sent your way...


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