Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Everything There Is A Season

The kitty Princess didn't make it. Even before her chemo was half way through, the cancer spread to her spine and brain (which they said almost never happens). Once the downhill started, it was mercifully quick I guess. The cancer in her brain should have meant that she just got sleepier and less alert, and then within a day or two passed quietly in her sleep. But instead at the end her lungs started filling up with fluids, and that meant one last emergency vet trip in the middle of the night, and one more hard decision.

My two Chocolate Labs both died from cancer, tumors that were only discovered mere hours or days before they died. I always thought that if we'd caught it sooner for either of them, we might have been able to save them. Well, now I know that the extra month to say goodbye may be a gift, but watching them die slowly - no matter what you do - is a whole different kind of pain.

She hated the car trips, she hated the treatments, she hated the vet visits. She was a perfect lady with the vets and technicians, though. Every visit, one or another of them would come down and say what a sweet cat she was, how good she'd been. The cancer changed her, our having to give her pills and treatments changed her, made her less trusting of us. And yet, every time we touched her, right up to the end, she purred. She loved us even though she didn't understand what was happening or why we were doing the things we were doing. Pure, sweet love. In spite of everything.

Many cats don't even have a chance to benefit from treatments because they won't sit still for 1/2 hour IV-drips three times a week. Our Princess politely put up with every single treatment, every single time we packed her in the hated carrier and loaded her in the despised car right up to that very last trip. And it still didn't really do any good.

I'm glad we chose the treatment we did, the wonderful doctors we had. The extra time with her was precious, and until those last few days i think she had a good life. From this whole thing, I learned that when the cancer is this aggressive, more time doesn't necessarily mean a cure. It may just mean stretching out the pain for all of us.

If I had to do it again, I'd make the same choice. But I don't think I'm sorry anymore that I didn't "get" to make the same choices for my Labs.

Thanks for your kind words and support, it helped.

Go hug your pets.