Everyday is Like Sunday

She has lymphoma. There's a tumor in her intestines and lesions on the spleen and liver. She lost 30% of her body weight in the last two months. Her mouth is stained yellow from bile or is jaundiced. She doesn't eat or drink. It looks like she has difficulty standing and walking. I don't have the results back from all the tests yet but typically cats live 4-6 weeks after diagnosis.

Diagnosis came last night. The vet left it on my voicemail and since I forgot to take my phone with me to work, I didn't listen to it until I got home about 9:30 pm. On Friday they told me she might have untreatable cancer. But it might just be colonitis or something. Nevermind the tangerine sized mass in her gut. Friday night I cried myself to sleep, in the arms of a friend. (Thank you!) Saturday I convinced myself she had some kind of infection that would go away. There weren't any signs of cancer in her blood. Though the vet said that sometimes an animal can be riddled with cancer without it showing up. But he said there was a chance. I brightened up and clung to this idea.
Wilamina knows better than to leave me. She wouldn't do that.

But she is dying. I've known that in my heart for months. Monday morning I took her back for more definitive tests. Now I find myself in a weird emotional limbo--feeling intense grief when I think about it, but knowing that she's still alive now. I don't want to waste the rest of her life feeling sad about her future death. And yet, I can't ignore it either. I've tried all day. So I've been depressed all day, unable to do anything productive, with spurts of crying between devouring a whole bag of nachos with a jar of processed yellow cheesefood chemical dip. In the afternoon I watched Mildred Pierce and a biography about Joan Crawford. If anyone has ever needed a real job to get her out of the house, it's me.

You might think the crazy cat lady grieves too much for an animal, but you should know what she has meant to me through the past decade. I found this online, it explains my situation:

If your life is in turmoil--if, for instance, problems are occurring in relationships or careers or family situations--your relationship with your pet may be the only stable thing in your life. No matter how bad things get everywhere else, a pet will continue to offer unconditional love and acceptance.

Even when the trying times or stressful changes are past, you may still feel an intense attachment to that pet. "I couldn't have survived without him," you might say. "He was my good luck charm." You might even fear that your life will fall apart completely without that "anchor," even if the crises that the pet anchored you through have long since resolved themselves. If they haven't been resolved, the loss of the pet can be even more traumatic, because you may then feel completely cut off from any source of love and support.

Has my life been in turmoil? LOL! Have the crises resolved themselves? I don't believe such a thing ever happens. I don't even know what stability looks like. Life has been so unstable that the poor kitty has had foster-care by 6 different people, during the times when I travelled or lived in a non-cat friendly place for a month or more. Wilamina has been the ONLY constant in my adult life: Throught six different states, 15 homes, five academic institutions, over a dozen therapists/psychiatrists, probably a dozen different medications and innumerable side effects, more than a dozen men have come and gone, 15 jobs, weight fluctuations through six dress sizes, and the never dull emotional illness which has yet to cease transforming and presenting in new and exciting ways! And then there was Mina. My fat, fiercely loyal and cunning uber-cat who was known to turn cat-haters into cat-lovers. She was quite the hussy as well. Any man I brought home, she wanted in on the action.

Her story, intertwined with mine, is an interesting one. 9 years we've travelled together. She's an extraordinary feline and has been an extraordinary pet. Even today, after spending the night in a cage, she charmed the vet and his staff. When I walked back to my apartment with her from the bus stop--about 10 minutes, she climbed the front half of herself out of the carrier so she could watch the world. She placed her paws on my arm, as if to stand, and followed the trail of birds and squirrels with her head. She got excited as we came closer to my building and strained forward like she wanted to run home. But she knew better and stayed in my arms.

To be continued. Anyone know how to upload pictures into blogger?