19 September 2013

Great News, Sad News

Feline and canine companion news.

I'll start with the sad. The day after Dizzy's surgery, our super handsome Ben cat passed away. Ben spent fourteen and a half of his fifteen and one-quarter years with me. He was never truly good in the behavioral sense, but he was always handsome, and he shared a lot with me and, in recent years, with me and Dave and the dog. He traveled with me to Washington DC when I went there on my postdoc fellowship (twice). He was the first cat I ever owned, and convinced me that a house without a cat is lacking a certain something, and that certain something is not the scent of litter box.

Ben was very sick a year and a half ago. We went through tests and worried that we were losing him and then he seemed to recover. Bottom line, the last year and a half felt like bonus time. True to his mysterious and sophisticated ways he sickened and weakened and got to his last day giving only the barest of outward signs. He was still playing and interested in stuff and bossy even as he was on his way out. Because of that we were able to be fully present and make the decision to let him go humanely. We were both there with him when he passed. He didn't suffer much and he was peaceful when he went.

My favourite photo of Ben.
The last week has been a lot about sadness and the terrible task of putting away or dealing with cat paraphernalia. At the same time, we've been waiting to hear back about the dog's lab analysis with that special mixture of fear and exhausted anxiousness you feel when you've just dealt with a worst case scenario and you're not sure you can handle another one.

Which leads us to the great news. Dizzy's lab report came back and it turns out that the mast cell tumor wasn't. The original needle aspiration was a misdiagnosis. The lump was a sebaceous adenoma, a benign skin tumor. It was rupturing periodically so it was good that we had it removed, but long story short, my dog doesn't have cancer, and never did. We are breathing massive sighs of relief over here. This has been a hideous time and we are glad it's over.

Part of me wonders if the dog and cat didn't have some secret collaboration going on, like the dog summoned up this bizarre and apparently dangerous physical symptom so we would put all our attention on him. That way, the cat could complete his shamanistic death ritual in peace. We will never know for sure.

I am looking forward to things easing off a bit in the next little while so I can, you know, start doing that writing thing again. I hope you all are settling into a good fall routine. Thank you to everyone who commented or sent me private messages on my previous posts. You guys are the best.


Mark K said...

I'm so sad for your loss of a great feline companion, and family member. But I think those of us with cats are blessed by their companionship, as we know only too well, cats more often than not, choose us and not the other way round. He does indeed look a picture of feline handsomeness.

So very pleased to hear your news regarding the misdiagnosis. It's always a terrible time of worry and concern when waiting for these results. I share your feelings on both counts: cat and dog.

The very best of wishes to you and yours, my thoughts are with you :)

Andrew Leon said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your cat. I still don't really understand all of this cat business, but my wife says my attachment to our cat, which she says is -my- cat, is close to obsessive.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and great news about the dog. That I do understand. I would be devastated by the loss of my dog.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks, Mark and Andrew.

Anonymous said...

Hey. Sorry to hear about the cat, but I love that notion of the pets arranging the whole thing with Dizzy distracting you while Ben makes the journey to the next of his nine lives alone. (I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me!) You should definitely hang onto that notion, there's a good story in it.

Little Gothic Horrors said...

So sorry about poor Ben, but very happy to hear that Dizzy is fine!

Deborah Walker said...

So sorry to hear this, Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!