Sunday, October 5, 2014

The deep fatigue of uncertainty

For the last two days I've been sitting in uncertainty. My lovely Nellie cat got puny, then stopped eating, and I went to the vet with her. She had a high white cell count, so I hoped for urinary infection but no such luck. She has intestinal lymphoma, the most common cancer for cats (along with respiratory lymphoma) and is incurable.

Although the ER specialist was pretty sure what it was from the first ultrasound, they waited a day and did a second and some cytology (fluid biopsy). The cytology report comes tomorrow but the second ultrasound confirmed the first: ugly lymph nodes all through her intestines in keeping with lymphoma. They were happy to do surgery, to do anesthetized biopsy, and chemo but I said no.

I brought her home last night with steroids and appetite stimulants and pain meds to give her in the hopes of both making her feel better and giving us some additional time together (perhaps days or weeks). She has perked up but is not eating much and eating is key for her. But I am letting her do it her way.

Last night by 7 pm I was exhausted. I had been on high alert, high anxiety, deep worry, and deep grief for about 36 hours. But once I knew what it was, what I was dealing with, and once I had a plan, I felt somehow relieved. The worst agony had been in not knowing and wondering if I would have to choose to let her go immediately, with what seemed like no preparation. Now I can prepare for this.

Nellie is 11 and I had counted on at least a half dozen more years with her as my cats tend to live a long time. But that isn't going to happen. I am immensely sad and grateful for what I have left. One day at a time, for sure.

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