Monday, September 24, 2007

It Is the Evening of the Day

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood earlier today. Unfortunately, he had more bad news about his cat.

“The big guy’s x-rays showed some shading in both of his lungs, which is probably cancer. And he has two lumps that we know are cancer, and we just noticed two more lumps which we figure are probably cancer. Surgery is not really the answer for him, so we are just giving him anti-inflammatory pills and hoping he can hang on for a while.”

We seem to be having this conversation too often, Will. I am sorry.

“Thanks. The good news is that he does still have his appetite. And although he does not seem to have as much energy, he does still get around ok. I’m just worried that his lungs will stop working enough, like what happened to the old girl. His quality of life is pretty good now, but I’m afraid I don’t know how long it will last.”

Did the vet have any suggestions or ideas?

“The vet says that the big guy’s cancer is very unusual – he doesn’t think he’s ever seen a case where a cat had so many tumors of this type. He said he has seen cats live for up to a year with lung cancer – but they did not have the external tumors that the big guy has.”

I am sure you and Mary will give him the best care possible.

“We try. I mean, he has survived almost a year since losing his leg to cancer. Hey, on the other hand, Mary’s daughter and her fiancĂ© got a new kitten, and so did my brother and his girlfriend. So life goes on, and all that.”

I know that you and Mary will have many more cats in the years to come.

“Well, the big guy would not be happy with any changes to his environment at this time, so we won’t be bringing home any new cats any time soon. And Mary has talked about fostering kittens instead of getting any new cats for ourselves.”

And I am sure that Mary would never keep any kittens for herself…

“No, never. Hey, I have to get back to work, but let me tell you a quick story.”


“I was sitting out on our porch the other evening. Reading my vampire novel, and the big guy was curled up in the chair next to me. I look out the window, and watch the wind in the trees, and I start thinking that it’s evening, and it’s fall, so it’s getting late in more ways than one. And this book – it’s called The Historian – there’s just this sense of dread in the story, and I’m looking down at the big guy, and thinking that it’s getting late for him, and, well, it was like Melancholy was a capital M.”

As tears go by…

“Yeah. I gotta go -- remind me to tell you about the Sinead O’Connor show last night.”

And do not forget that Heroes is back tonight.

“That’s right. Talk to you later.”

Take care, Will.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm All Lost

I was walking around the mall during lunch yesterday, and I heard “Lost In the Supermarket” by The Clash, over the music system.

“Im all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily
I came in here for that special offer
A guaranteed personality”

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Get Well, Big Guy – Again

My friend Will Briarwood called me earlier today. Unfortunately, he and his wife just got more bad news about one of their cats.

“I think I mentioned that the big guy had some sort of shadow on his lung on an x-ray last month.”

I think you did.

“A week ago, I noticed a little bump on his chest. We took him to the vet on Friday, and the vet found a second little bump. Well, today the lab results came back, and he has cancer again, for the third time.”

I am sorry, Will.

“Thanks. The vet said they’re fibro sarcomas, like he had the last two times. He also said this is very unusual, that there is some unknown factor with the big guy, maybe it’s something environmental – but none of the other cats had anything like this – or maybe it’s something genetic.”

So does this mean another surgery for him?

“Don’t know yet. He goes in for to get his chest x-rays again this Saturday. The vet said if his lung looks better, then we could remove the sarcomas. But if his lung looks worse…”

Is he still coughing?

“No, the good news is that we haven’t heard him cough for a week or two. But the bad news is that he’s been throwing up his breakfast every other day.”

Is this all related? The cancer, the coughing, and the vomiting?

“Not that we know of. I mean, if he has cancer in his lung, then it could be caused by whatever causes the sarcomas. But we think it might be the antibiotics he's been taking for several weeks, or maybe he has some sort of food allergy, that is making him throw up.”

Do you know what he might be allergic to?

“We thought it was turkey. But the dry food he eats all the time has turkey as its main ingredient. He was eating the same moist food as the queen, but that food has been out of stock everywhere for the last few weeks. So we’re trying to find foods that the queen will eat, but won’t make the big guy throw up.”

It has been a tough year for you and the cats.

“Tell me about it. I try to keep positive, for the cats’ sake, and for Mary’s sake.”

For your sake too, you know.

“Yeah, I know. Did you read the latest issue of MOJO?”

Umm – as in the music magazine? I think so.

“The article about Def Leppard?”

I did read that. But I do not recall that it mentioned anything about cats…

“You know, I’m not a fan. I mean, I think I still have their first album on vinyl somewhere, and I did actually see them many years ago, they were opening for Ted Nugent.”

Is there a segue here somewhere?

Rick Allen, the drummer, talked about the accident where he lost his arm. I wish I had the exact quote here – but he said that, looking back over everything that happened to him, that it’s important to try to stay in a place of gratitude.”

Ahh. You are referring to you and your cats.

“I read that, and it made sense to me, but then I thought, well, I am grateful that we had healthy cats for many years, so why do I still feel so bad about the old girl’s death, and about the big guy having cancer again. And I realized that I am not in a place of gratitude – you know, I think that’s the phrase he used – that my first thought about the old girl is how much I miss her, and how bad it felt when she was sick and dying. I try to remind myself of all the happy times we had together, and make that my place of gratitude. Hey, sorry to get all long-winded on you.”

Not a problem. I hope everything works out.

“We’ll know more on Saturday. I’ll keep you posted.”