The Life Cycle Talk

A couple days before my surgery we noticed a funny thing about Styxxie.  She had an odd bump forming on her head.  It’s kind of difficult to see in the picture, but it’s definitely visible.  She’s a darker colored kitty, so amongst my dark colored blankets and rugs it somewhat blends in, I think.  Not only that, but the sound of her breathing was definitely more labored.  She was trying to mouth-breathe and cats really don’t like to do that.  The really concerning part was this lump in the middle of her head though.  Master Pravus and me were both thinking the worst.  We called the vet and asked her if she thought she should take a look and she agreed that would be best.

So, on Master Pravus’ birthday he brought her down.  Poor Master.  That wasn’t the best day for that, however it was the soonest they could get her in and he really wanted Styxxie to get some relief.  I know what you’re probably thinking.

“That was a week ago.  Why blog about this now?”

Two reasons.  One is that I’m obviously still recovering from my kidney stone surgery.  It’s not so bad except that sitting up for too long seems to tear my insides up leading to more blood and clots and other yuckiness so I’m supposed to be taking it easy.  The other reason is that..  We’re both really devastated and I’m in tears on and off over this.

I wasn’t there for the appointment, Master Pravus was.  The doctor is pretty sure that bump on Styxxie’s face is a tumor.  This is awful to hear.  We just found out she didn’t have cancer, though cancer was likely to grow in the necrotizing tissue they biopsied.  We still took that as a win.  With all the medicines we’ve been giving her, we thought we were one step ahead of the cancer.  Poor Styxxie!

They can’t remove the tumor because it will probably just grow right back, and also because of its location on her face.  The doctor said it might not be a tumor, but she doesn’t think it is worth putting Styxxie to sleep to biopsy it again because even if we did and it turns out to be cancer they wouldn’t change her treatment anyway.  The vet says there is no point in putting Styxxie through another major surgery when it wouldn’t change her treatment and it would just put her in more pain. 

She also said that since antibiotics do seem to help Styx when she’s on them (and she always gets rapidly worse when we stop them) she’s going to keep her on them for the rest of her life.  She said it was possible that the bump was where the infection was settling, and if we were aggressive with the antibiotics (as in, not missing any doses) then the bump might decrease or at least stay the same and not get bigger.

So, Master Pravus brought me home this devastating news, and we were both a bit sad that night.  I know we need to be strong for Styxxie.  After all, she’s not dead!  She’s still here with us right now, and I have seen animals in the past live with tumors on their face for a long time!  I have no idea how long Styx will live, and I’m trying to be realistic.  She seems so frail to me. 

We try to do her subcutaneous fluids as often as she will stand it, but with shoving four syringes down her poor little throat each day we feel so bad for her and we try to not make her sit still as long as we did before if she doesn’t want to.  So, some days she only gets half her dose or a quarter.  The vet says to let her guide us because it’s all about keeping her comfortable right now.  It’s probably not going to be her kidneys that get her now, anyway.

The vet called me last night.  It’s funny.  When we adopted Styx, Master Pravus went out of his way to tell me that she wasn’t mine.  Ugh, I’m tearing up writing this.  It’s so hard.  I’m just not ready for this at all.  When we went to the shelter the big thing was, Styx was going to be chosen by Master Pravus.  Of course he wanted me to have a say in the cat.  Meaning: he had to have me there because if he chose a cat and then that cat wound up hating me or not getting along with me, what good would it have done?  You must go and meet your new family member before you take it home he says: but Styx was to belong in whole to Master Pravus. 

I was more than happy with that.  Still, Styxxie bonded with me in a way that I didn’t think a cat could bond with me since our beloved Samantha, who I will never ever forget.  The vet always calls me up on the phone directly and first, and she asks me what we should do about things before she asks Master Pravus.  It’s so weird.  I think we have Master Pravus down as her owner, but everyone sees the bond between me and Styx and they treat us as though I am her owner.  I know better, but it is just backwards compared with the rest of our lives. 

This isn’t to say Master Pravus and Styx do not share a bond.  Styx loves everyone, truly.  She’s a remarkable cat.  Even at the vet’s office she’s always purring and loving on everyone there!  It’s the most bizarre thing!  I have never had a kitty like that!  Most want to hide at the vet, not our beloved Styxxie. If people are around then she wants to be social, wherever she is.

Anyway, the Vet called me and she asked me how Styxxie’s bump was doing.  I told her that it was about the same and she was happy that it wasn’t getting any bigger.  She was also happy that Styx wasn’t in pain, though she has given us a stash of kitty pain medicine so that if we suspect that Styx is in any pain at all we can make sure she isn’t in any for long.  She’s so good to our Styxxie. 

She told us she wants us to increase the steroid but that she didn’t think there was anything else she could do for Styx.  We just have to keep her comfortable for now.  It feels like kitty hospice.  I told her that I agreed, and I think it was just one of those things now.  She told us that almost no one does everything for their cat that we do for ours.  That Styx is lucky to have us.  That she’s so sorry that these things happen to the best cats.

The truth is, I know Styx isn’t young.  Everyone must die one day.  Not all illness can be healed.  Styxxie’s time is coming, and we don’t know when.  Of course we hope it’s not soon, but we also know it likely won’t be ten years from now either.  I can’t help but be upset over this.  While I know that it is but another turn of the cruel wheel of life, I am angry that I got so little time with her.  So very little time. 

I will probably always be a little angry at the shelter for telling me that she was four.  My heart is not ready to lose another baby so soon after the last one.  I know that these things are not precise.  I know that we would have adopted her anyway.  I know the perfect fucking fit is the perfect fucking fit.  However, I would have had time to prepare.

I think Styxxie is the Universe’s way of saying to Master and me:

“Here is the most pure, precious little bundle as a way to apologize for all the hard times you have had to go through in the last three years.”

Every one of my friends and family tell me that they know what Styx means to Master Pravus and me.  They say that no one does more for their pets than us.  Maybe so.  I’m sure there are others out there who also feel the same about their animals.  I’m also sure that no one has any idea how we feel about our animals.  There are no words.

We adopted her right before Master Pravus lost his job the first time, when we were house hunting.  We reasoned that seemed the best time to get two kitties to get along together.  New territory and all.  Then, Styxxie was there through our absolute worst time in our lives.  All that awful contracting, when I came down with gastroparesis, started getting crazy sick and needing tons of surgeries.  This precious smol thing was there with us for everything.  She’s seen us through it all.

I don’t know what we can do for Styxxie but this is our time to be there for her.  I’ve never seen an animal pass this way.  We are all keeping very, very close tabs on her and she is not going to suffer.  Not with her Mumma and Daddy around.

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