About Grim…

When you live with a death deity, you get used to receiving input regarding situations where death is a possible (even if unlikely) outcome. For example, when I overdosed Corbie on his heart meds last year, both Jo and I got a very distinct “He’ll be fine” from Odin. (In other words, “He still has congestive heart failure, but he won’t die from this overdose.”) Even though it was difficult to believe what we were hearing while the crisis was still going on, He was insistent on the matter, and even ventured to add that Corbie would survive 2014—which, of course, proved to be accurate.

In cases where there is no such reassurance from Him, we know to prepare ourselves. For example, when Sassy (my 16 year old Maine Coon) began her final decline a couple of years back, He didn’t say “she’ll be fine,” but instead, “I’m sorry.” She died of kidney failure. (Correction: we made the decision to put her down when it became clear the alternative was to watch her starve to death.)

When Grim stopped eating the other day and we called the vet out to take a look at him, once again my Husband offered no reassurances. Instead, His comment was, “You will need to decide how far you are willing to take this.” He also called my attention—via a flicker of memory—to the tumor-riddled stomach of my keeshond, Orion, who we had to put down immediately prior to our move out west. (We had taken Orion to the vet to get him pet mover-approved when she discovered the tumors. Orion had a pot belly, so we never noticed anything, and the tumors were inoperable by the time we knew they existed.)

No, not reassuring at all. But then, my Husband has never, ever, sugar-coated the truth to make me feel better. (That would be a lie, and He doesn’t lie—not to me.)

So. It turns out my Grim Greyling has a tumor roughly between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball in his abdomen. He is a chubby, pot-bellied cat, and according to the vet these tumors grow quickly, so the fat has likely been replaced by tumorous mass within the span of a week or two. It is now so large the vet could feel it, and when he put my hand in the right spot, so could I. Like most malignant tumors, the feel of it is hard and immovable.

The thing is, apparently with cats tumors such as this are about 95% cancerous.

So, that’s the verdict. The vet also did a blood test to rule out an infection, and it came back showing cancer markers. The most likely variety of cancer is lymphoma, which has a very poor prognosis—a conservative life expectancy of maybe a month or two. The vet is recommending a biopsy to confirm exactly what type of cancer—but, since knowing that won’t change the treatment, we’re on the fence about whether to bother putting him through it. Chemotherapy is an option, but the best case scenario is remission of 6-15 months. My mother was in chemo prior to her death; I’ve seen how miserably sick it can make a person, and am reluctant to put Grim through it in order to lengthen his life by a tiny amount of time during which he would mostly be ill, nauseated, and listless. Subjecting him to that for the sake of wringing another year out of him—at the most—feels unfair. It seems like it would be mostly for my sake, to postpone having to say good bye—not for his. For this reason, we are going to talk to our regular vet (the vet who examined Grim was her new business partner) to see if there would be any real benefit to him from the biopsy procedure. If there isn’t—if it won’t change the treatment and won’t relieve some of the pressure and make him more comfortable—we aren’t going to do it. (This is what Odin meant when He commented that I would need to decide how far I was willing to go with this.)

The treatment he is on now consists of prednisolone tablets twice a day. They will retard the growth of the cancer and shrink it slightly, but not get rid of it, And they’re working: after the first dose Grim started eating again. Today, he’s back to acting like his usual self—except that the vet made it clear this would be a temporary improvement. He’s giving him about a month as a conservative estimate—enough time for us to say goodbye, and come to terms with things. In theory, anyway.

In happier news, today was my first weekday working at FiberWytch full time. “Don’t be nervous,” my Husband said to me this morning, pulling me into His arms. “The boss has a soft spot for you.”

Both sides of my life feel very surreal right now—both the fantastic and the…not so great. My way through it is to put my head down and just keep working. Most of this week will be spent making a whole boatload of new jewelry for the shop, since we’ve already spent a fortune at the vet and will be spending still more. One way or another. I’m also looking forward to being able to write real content for this blog again, now that I’m able to come up from the black hole of working 16-18 hours per day and scale back to a more reasonable 10-12. (Oh hell, who am I kidding? Probably more like 14—at least until I’m caught up on everything.)

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33 thoughts on “About Grim…

    • That’s the real blessing of the timing. While at first glance it seems to suck to have this happening now, when I should be able to be unreservedly ecstatic at finally working from home full time–actually, if there would be a good time for this to happen, it’s now (as opposed to six months ago, say). However long he has, I’ll be here for him.

  1. Damn!

    Chemo is rough business.

    I had a close friend who went through chemo to fight Lukimia back when we were both seven or eight and it was vicious for her.

    We are currently going through the process of watching one of my best friends (who helped me navigate the world of the blind when I first started losing my eyesight) as his three year old daughter is fighting the long battle with cancer of the eyes – While she will survive the eventual war with her life, it’s looking like they are going to have to take her eye. Most of the more recent hospital visits and trips to the ER for her has been due to side effects brought on by the toxic effects of the chemo itself.

    I hope that the best can be done for Grim, and that your cat can find peace if and when he moves to the other side.
    Rob

  2. My sympathy to you, Beth. It’s always hard to make a decision like that but since anything that you do will only be a stop gap measure letting him go back to Bastet is by far the kindest thing you can do for him. All the pain is yours, not his. We have had to let go of too many furkin over the years and it never gets easier. Could be that he waited until now so you would have something to keep your mind occupied. Again, my deep sympathy.

  3. Reblogged this on Strip Me Back To The Bone and commented:
    Once we were eight strong, now we are four, soon it’ll be three. Cats, that is. Through it all our boyo population has remained steady. No longer. We’re enjoying every second with Grim (even if he does wish we’d stop touching his dusty toes while he’s sleeping!) and trying to wrap our heads around our impending lose. With his appetite (temporarily) back, he doesn’t seem sick. He doesn’t *look* sick.

    Our joke with him has always been, “Grim Greyling doesn’t ever do anything wrong!” and it’s mostly been true. He’s a clean, fastidious cat who’s never gotten into much trouble. He’s never been a wild hellion like his various sisters, he’s never been big on getting into people food, he’s not clutzy, he’s not impish. He’s mellow, like his daddy, and has always been more interested in chilling than anything else. So now it’s, “Grim Greyling never does anything wrong . . . except this.” This being, of course, dying young. (ish)

  4. I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you. 😦

    I’m wishing you peace and comfort, and a lot of sweet, special moments with Grim while you say goodbye to him. Enjoy this time with him as much as possible. ❤

  5. Oh, ooph! I am so sorry, for you and for Grim. My Gods don’t lie to me, either, about the hard stuff, nor about the easy stuff. For me, I like the warnings. Knowing is easier for than limbo, but ooph! *hugs* Transitions are so rife with *feelings*. 😦

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. Not that you need me to say this, but I believe you’re doing the right thing in questioning all the options in light of what the payoff is for Grim. I see it far too often in humans with other humans, where someone is subjected to or subjects themselves to treatments that have little to no likelihood of meaningful success just so the survivors can feel “everything” was done, even if the actual patient would rather have focused on enjoying the time they had left. It truly is a blessing that you’ll be able to be home with him. {{Hugs}} to you all.

  7. I’m so sorry. I had to make the decision to help Maggie out this January. She was old (16) and sick (hyperthyroid, heart murmur mass in abdomen which tested inconclusive, but . . . ) and tired. I bought her a couple of months by babying her, feeding her baby food chicken and anything else she wanted/would eat (at one point I was making a daily trip to the local deli for a chicken breast, because that was what she’d eat), but when she stopped wanting to eat anything at all, it was time. She was ready—a lot more ready than I was—and we’d had time to say goodbye at length. I’m glad for you to have that time with Grim at the end of the spiral; it doesn’t really make things any better, but it helps to know you did what you could and he’s beyond all that now, and happy.

  8. we offer prayers for you and your family. This is one of the most difficult decisions of being a furparent. I trust that you will make the right one for him.I am glad that you will be able to be near him during his time here and the time you’ve had together. Blessings

    • Thank you! As I said to Jo the other day, it does kind of suck that, while human children grow up and move away, furkids just die. But that’s the price of having them.

  9. I am sorry about Grim, Beth. The hardest thing always is saying goodbye to these four-footed members of our family. There are two cats especially I had in my life that I will never get over losing. At least you will have some time with Grim without him going through the tortures of Chemo.

    I am delighted every time you remind me that your full-time job is FiberWytch. You will be highly successful with it, both because of your CEO and because of your talent and hard work.

    And of course I will be doing my part to support your efforts. I always freak a little bit because I never stick to a budget when I see your stuff.
    But also what happens is after I go overboard at FiberWytch I always have some unexpected good news regarding money, or some gift come my way. Funny how that works……

    • Thank you, Christine! ❤ Yeah, I am doing my best to concentrate on my many blessings; after all, if I were still at my day job, Grim would still be dying. The fact that things came together this way was by design, I'm sure. And I'm glad to hear that your splurges are being rewarded–though not surprised! (Not that getting my products is not a reward in its own right. 😉 )

  10. Sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about the death warnings; Old Hornie always lets me know too. I like it because then I’m prepared. Every once in a while you can intervene; but not often. 😦

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your fur baby. I’ve been surrounded by friends and acquaintances who have pets that have moved on or are ill. I think four friends have had pets pass through the veil in the past six months.

    I don’t know what I’d do without my fur. I know that when their time comes I won’t get any more cats. I made an oath when I got these two [two Siamese, Sage and Dusty] that I’d take care of them and protect them for all their remaining days. [They’d apparently been rescued by abusive people but then the new family had a baby and the baby was allergic] Honestly I think they take care of me more than I take care of them. They’re my therapy cats.

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