Monday, November 13, 2017

The Queen of the Orange Line

November 8 wasn’t a great day anyways with the year anniversary of the downfall of America.  The weather had shifted so every old injury in my body was aching all day.  When I got onto the orange line that evening, I saw an empty seat so I wove my way through the crowd to sit down.  Finally a break in the shittiness of the day for me. The woman sitting to my left muttered, “Well, I guess you need to sit down more than me.” and for absolutely no reason got up in a huff. 

The WTFness of her attitude and the bad day frustrated me so I asked her, “How many stops should I stand to deserve this seat?” She scowled at me. Then I asked, “Do herniated discs and months of physical therapy count while you judge?”  I am sick of people not treating each other as fellow human beings. I sat there wiping tears off my face while Her Highness scowled at every person who bumped or jostled her.  I could not figure out what her deal was but as we pulled away from Mass Ave, I decided to apologize to her because hey she might have been having a bad day as well.  Then she looked me in my eyes and claimed she never said anything to me. Ummm… bitch what? So, fellow commuters enjoy this delusional, judgmental prize who knows better because she is better than all of us.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Bow and the Target

I have not been doing so great. The first morning it dropped into the 40’s, I pulled out a long sleeved shirt and spent the next 15 minutes sobbing because the last time I wore that shirt, Rasputin was alive. My heart has been racing at night while I try to fall asleep. My body hurts all the time.

I’m not going to give birth to my own children, it’s too late for me. I poured all that love and attention into my cats. The enormity of what I’ve lost comes in waves. I cry every day. Since I have been in such a state, I have backed out of socializing. I feel like such a downer and can’t guarantee that I have a handle on crying. If I get sympathy, it’s all over - waterworks central.

I also have a handy bunch of avoidance techniques: drinking and computer games. Designing a house and family in The Sims feels calming and enjoyable. With enough wine, I might be able to grab a full night’s sleep. Going for days with these ultimately makes me feel worse! It’s like they dam up the flood of sadness for a limited time.

Stella has become a very needy affectionate kitty. Of course there’s still the biting and apologetic licks (she’s still a tortoiseshell). She hates being picked up and held but lately she tolerates it for me, it seems. Rasputin was a huge snuggler - he’d climb up my body and just lie under my chin. I miss that so much, I’m considering getting a 14 lb bag and covering it with fur material so I can at least get the tactile comfort.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Numb Shuffle

The mornings have gotten easier. The pain in my heart is not as oppressive.  We have downsized the feeding area and I’ve washed all the drool stained items.  One shirt is completely ruined but I’m keeping it because I could not stop sobbing seeing it.  I have packed up Rasputin’s special grooming gear and toys for storage.  I had a couple decent days Sunday and MondayWednesday morning, I was in bed when I had a panic attack or when my heart decided to try a gallop.  I was half asleep thinking “Well, this isn’t a bad way to go” On top of that, I broke out in hives on my arms and legs. So I took a sick day to get some rest and do some cathartic wailing. My theory is that my body rebelled against my push to feel better.

Stella figured out Rasputin isn’t coming back around Sunday and she has been very sad – sleeping away from us.  When I find her snoozing, she wakes up with a faraway blank look.  I pet her and talk about Rasputin to her.  Shanna has been extra affectionate with me, which I don’t mind at all.  Those two are not getting along any better.  In fact, Stella has been extra hissy. We all grieve in our own ways, right?

I have been very impatient with myself.  Sadness is such a sucking void of energy and I hate feeling like I’m wallowing.  My therapist has told me it’s important to honor my feelings and let them happen.  With my shitty childhood, finding value in how I feel is a struggle.  I wasn’t allowed to express strong emotions without punishment. I was “sensitive” or “dramatic”. I just get impatient or angry at myself for being sad over Rasputin’s death then eventually I am able to tell myself that it’s okay to feel what I feel.  Basically, not only am I grieving, I am also unpacking a lot of psychological baggage plus self-parenting.  Sweet baby Jesus, I am pooped!

A couple things have been helping my spirits. I enjoy playing the Sims game. I’m on the third generation of my main family. The house building is a ton of fun too. I have been researching local Maine Coon breeders and have enjoyed looking at pictures of their kittens.  It is way too soon for me but eventually I’d like to get a kitten.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nineteen Days

Thursday October 12 at 8:50 pm, I put Rasputin to sleep. He didn't move all day and was very lethargic.  His left eye was almost swollen shut. I got home from work, took a look at him, petted and tried to get him to drink water.  Then I went out to the living room and discussed putting him to sleep with my roommate through tears.  The two home euthanasia services I had picked didn't have any availability.  My brother had already planned on swinging by after work so I alerted him that this could be IT.  He was really awesome.  He brought us dinner. For the second time ever, Rasputin jumped in his lap.  Our other two cats knew something has been up this past week.  My roommate told me that Shanna walked in the room where Ras hadn't moved all day, looked at him, gave him a long blink, and Rasputin blinked back.  Aw!

My brother drove us to Angell.  They were incredibly lovely.  The waiting/euthanasia room was a small lounge with sofas where we could hold Rasputin comfortably.  The vet was kind and empathetic who explained everything clearly. After some cuddling time, the vet took Ras and inserted a catheter in his leg and brought him back.  Then we had more cuddle time.  This is when I played Tom Petty's "Wildflowers" song. We said our goodbyes. While I was still holding him, he got the injection to sedate him.  Then he got the one that stopped his heart.  The vet checked his heart with her stethoscope and told me quietly, "He's gone."  Then this terrible wail came out of my body. I was doubled over rocking him. My brother and roommate were on either side of me rubbing my back. I really thought I could feel him purring so I kept gasping, "He's purring! He's purring!" like a lunatic.  Then I moved onto crying, "Why?" and "My baby boy" over and over. I tried to remember the Hebrew of Oseh Shalom. Depleted, I finally quieted down muttering that I'm exhausted and want to sleep for a week.  My roommate reminded me that I have another kitty, Stella, to take care of.  Then my DNA emerged in classic dark humor as I replied, "Oh yeah, I have a spare."  That dark humor has gotten us through wars and tragedies.

Angell provided a clay paw print and a cardboard box for transporting him to his grave.  We buried him in my parent's backyard next to our old family cat, Max.  We have two other family cats back there buried on the other side of the yard - Miklos and KC. The ride to my parents was fairly lighthearted - which I know is part of the lovely mourning emotional roller coaster. Thank goodness I had a therapy appointment Thursday morning!  She told me its important to be present and feel all my  feelings when he passes. Rasputin was wrapped in a warm blanket he loved, I tucked his collar and a letter I wrote and we buried him in 40 degree weather by flashlight. My parents are pretty great in a crisis.

My roommate and I got home around 10:30. Stella, who is a touchy tortoiseshell, let me hold her and hug her without any squirming or hissing. I saved a clipping of Rasputin's fur and when I smelled it, I started weeping.  He always smelled like honeysuckle.  Trying to fall asleep was not really working. I googled pet cloning - which is totally out of my tax bracket. Plus, the clone will probably have the fibrosarcoma gene.  Can I just say fuck cancer? It took a little over two weeks since the tumor emerged to debilitate my baby. I popped a Melatonin and it took forever to work. I unearthed my old teddy bear. I had already called off of work Friday.

I woke up after five hours of sleep.  Stella was sleeping at the foot of my bed.  Then I remembered. It felt like a kick in my stomach and a shaking sob of "Nooo!" came out of me. I lay in bed sobbing for a little while. I know I"m going to be okay and the way he passed was surrounded by love and painless. I told my roommate that the pain in my heart feels clean like it will heal healthy not festering - eventually.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Longest Shortest Two Weeks

Rasputin's tumor is growing too fast. If he had surgery, they would need to take his left eye and left jaws. Radiation/chemo can't shrink the tumor fast enough. I got the news this afternoon after rushing him to Angell hospital Monday night. I am absolutely gutted. I brought him home today and the plan is to eventually put him to sleep at home. My heart isn't there yet.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Rasputin Has Cancer

I found out last Friday that the tumor in his mouth is a fibrosarcoma. The vet sounded as upset as I was when she told me the news.  His prognosis really depends on staging his cancer.  If it has spread beyond his mouth, he’s got months left to live. If it’s localized, the tumor is very reachable so surgery is an option.  Some sites give the survival rate range as 3 months to 4 years. I got him low dose pain medication to take the edge off.  This Friday he’s getting X-rays and October 18 I’m seeing a surgeon (with my room-mate) so we can discuss options.

It has been an emotional roller coaster. I was in tears when I got the news but as the day wore on, I felt calmer because there’s a plan of action and the owner guilt evaporated. I spent lots of snuggle time with him this weekend. The sadness and panic comes in waves.  I was fine most of this weekend but when he climbed on my stomach Sunday night as I was settling down to sleep, I started crying petting him.  For all his life, my body has basically been a giant jungle gym to him so not having his weight purring on me will be hard.  He started gently pawing my face as tears slid down my cheeks because he’s a kind wonderful cat.  When I am not sad or worried, I’m just exhausted with this ache in my chest.

My family, friends, and co-workers have all been awesome and supportive which helps a ton.  I like to think about the loving energy pouring towards Rasputin hopefully sustaining and healing him.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tough Weekend

Rasputin has been going through a lot lately.  He had a dental procedure August 11 to have teeth cleaned, some extracted, and abscess treated.  By the way, caring for your cat’s dental hygiene is a real important health task!  It isn’t a scam by vets to suck more money out of us and just because you never had to do it for your family cat growing up, doesn’t negate its importance. Unfortunately, I did not make teeth brushing a routine with Rasputin.  

He seemed to be doing a lot better after the dental procedure – eating a lot and playfulness coming back.  But the last couple weeks his drool has gotten worse, the left side of his face swelled up and he had been hiding in my closet sitting in a puddle of his own mucus. I took him to the vet September 16 and he had an infection near one of the excision sites. The white thing I thought was a tiny tooth was pus.  He got a shot of antibiotics and clearance to eat two cans of food a day since he lost two pounds in four weeks.  The shot and more food daily perked him up and I could see his face reducing back to normal size. I had a follow up this past Saturday and he has a tumor in the top left side gum. I was shown it and it came out of nowhere in a week!  The vet biopsied it and now I am waiting to hear the results.  If it’s benign, it’ll be an easy removal procedure.  If it’s malignant, he will probably not live too long. Thank goodness I took my room-mate with me to the appointment! I broke down crying discussing options. She helped me think through what to do next and stop blaming myself.

In a very health coping move, I drank a ton of wine Saturday night.  Sunday, I had plans to go apple picking with a cousin and her family.  Sunday was also ninety degrees and humid. It wasn’t completely horrible but I should have had an actual breakfast other than water and aspirin.  I love my cousin’s kids and her mom so I was having fun with trickles of sweat everywhere.  What I did not like was my cousin’s husband snapping and being nasty to her for every little thing. She sat there and took it looking exhausted. I was sad and angry on her behalf but did I do anything? Nope. I sat in the passenger seat with this pit in my stomach and froze. When my dad was like that with my mom, I knew when we got home I would be beaten.  So, that was where my fight or flight response was at on the ride to and from the orchard. They might have had a fight before I showed up.  Plus, it was a boiling hot day of apple picking with a 7 year old and 6 month old so that could be wearing on the calmest person. I hope she’s okay and it was just an aberration…