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.”

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