20 apr 2014

dear new york,

i've been in denial for a bit now, ever since i got the news nearly two weeks ago diagnosing mango with lymphoma. i have been looking forward to seeing you for quite some time, especially because i was so in love with you two years ago that i teared up on the flight home.

can you believe how life changes? it's not surprising, but i think the pacing of things still stuns me at times. last night, as i was talking to my parents about you, my dad pipes up: "i thought you weren't going." i got really quiet because there was no hiding from the truth of the matter.

you see, mango may have as few as six weeks left, and if i am to assess things by the bare minimum, then i can't really justify being gone for nine days. there's really no way to know his exact life-expectancy, of course, but i'm just not comfortable leaving him right now.

i wish there was another way. it's not just missing you, new york, it's missing all my friends too. i know you understand. i know they understand.

and, can i add: what is it about this decision that robs me of any grace i might have when writing about it? i feel like an automaton right now, but i assure you: i am not without feeling about this. is this what others experience when difficult news stares them in the face? i've been behaving badly, for all i know. what i really mean is that i feel guilty for being selfish: selfish every time i think about the cost of this news. not only financial, but emotional as well.

good grief, the rest is just gibberish in my head. at any rate, i know you get it. i don't know when i'll be back, but i'll see you on my next visit when i can be worry-free.



11 apr 2014

when i found out the news on tuesday, i was already en route from work to the vet to pick up mango from his series of tests. somewhere on the southbound five, i kept breathing, kept driving, listening as dr. mckee went through the x-rays and the ultrasound. "enlarged lymph node," she said. "thickening of the bowels." lymphoma. lymphoid sarcoma. i listened intently, but it was more for the tone of her voice than the news she was delivering.

dr. mckee has a uniquely calming tone, and i've always found it reassuring. i guess that's what happens when you know a veterinarian for 16 years. we've been through this before, so i trust her implicitly.

i've been through this before. i trust myself implicitly, though gingerly, with the knowledge that i gained when monty was diagnosed just over 4 years ago. these days i spend time talking to anyone who will listen. to the girl at work who i've never opened up to, who mentioned the word pet hair and got the "i just found out my cat has cancer" outpouring, thank you for listening. for the phone call from nyc in the middle of my work day--thank you, erin. i'm so glad i work a job where i can walk away from my desk anytime without a bunch of questioning glances from management. for the picture of a mango with the words "FUCK CANCER" that ended up on my facebook wall today, thank you lauren. for the texts and the messages and the talks from countless others, for my loving family, i am so thankful for all of you for being here for me right now. i want you to know it means so much to me.

mango continues to lose weight. he's at 13 pounds now (if my scale can be trusted), while he was around 16.2 about 15 months ago. his appetite is diminishing despite the prednisone, and he's picked out a new spot to lay down in my room. the change in behavior and weight loss make me itch because i draw comparisons to my prior experience with monty. my heart is breaking and this is the first time i've slowed down all week to really let myself feel it. i had a brief time of it on tuesday, yelling and angry in my car as i maneuvered safely down alicia parkway. i wanted to get rid of as much negativity as possible before i saw mango. i want him to feel safe and loved and comfortable...

...for the rest of his life.
photo credit: l. skantze, 4.21.11


09 apr 2014

here i am again, dear friends and readers. life's been keeping me busy, and things that i set forth to do months ago (reviewing the entire coachella lineup, i'm looking at you) have been set aside time and again as more important things took priority. i've been having a lot of fun.

yesterday, time stood still as i learned once again that i am facing life with a cat that has cancer.

maybe i'll find my voice about this and share it with you, but for now i'm regrouping.