exhale

I  posted this to my Facebook a few minutes ago.

hopefully, my last Fogg update for a while!

just returned home from the vet. lady woman got a full exam and her stitches out. her vet was thrilled with how well everything was healing up. mouth looks great. surgical site is ahead of target on healing and should not even be noticeable once her fur’s grown back. she’s almost fully recovered from the pancreatitis bout and has gained back all the weight she lost over those scary four days. her sweet, adventurous, feisty spirit is so strong these days. she even got the green light to play with her brothers…though mama is going to limit that for a few more weeks. i love her vet and couldn’t be more grateful.

we talked about the upcoming move and have been cleared to go after about a month–so our revised target should work well. she should be fine, and we can get sedatives if needed–though, considering her reaction to anesthesia, that may not help much. but we don’t have to be terrified she’ll get sick from the stress.

we also talked about the 2nd surgery. our vet thinks we shouldn’t do it, given all the challenges Fogg had. pancreatitis is pretty serious and almost killed her this time. putting her through another surgery–just for preventative measures–might cause it to recur…and it’s just not a risk that’s really worth it. while the fibrosarcoma definitely could come back, the harm of surgery and possible pancreatitis outweighs that of recurrence. we’ll just be vigilant, checking every week, and see what happens. if it comes back, there’ll be enough tissue to get it out again–and we can take those wider margins then. our vet was pretty confident that–while not everything–our margins now are really large–and should give her some good protection. since i found the fibrosarcoma when another vet didn’t, she’s pretty confident that i’ll find anything new pretty early on if it does show up.

so, while there is some gray and some uncertainty, for now–we’re good. for now, she’s doing well and will make a full recovery. and we’ll take the rest of it day by day. after this week, any time with her at all feels like a miracle. i just can’t be more grateful and happy to spend the rest of this saturday snuggling with my best girl.

###

This  past month has  pretty much been my total nightmare, from start to finish.  Along with the Fogg stuff, I also met two guys who ended up being  pretty disappointing.  The last one just fizzled out last night, after it–ironically–was actually escalating into something that had some meat on it.  In one fell swoop, he managed to do the one thing that  could  push me away.  It sucked.  And so, we’re “friends” now.

In any case, the stress has really fucked up my body and I’m going to be extra good to myself in the next few weeks.  I’ve learned so much about myself and so much about what I want now.  A few highlights:

  • I’m known for being strong, and I consider myself  pretty resilient, but man–I get it now.  I understand why  people believe in me.  I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.  I surprised myself, honestly.
  • Strong doesn’t mean unemotional for me, anymore.  My heart is wide open and on my sleeve.  I couldn’t keep it shut if I tried.
  • Sometimes,  prayers are answered.  Sometimes, they’re not. It’s not so much about the outcome, but the faith behind it.  And the willingness to give it to someone else for a while.
  • I can’t control anything.  I can’t make the guy be ready.  I can’t fix cancer. But I can do the best I can and keep trying.  I can listen to my gut and ask for what I need.  Honestly and earnestly and somehow believe it will work out, eventually.
  • I can forgive myself for all the shit I’ve failed to do.  I can cut myself slack for the shit that wasn’t  perfect.  Because it was all I had to give at the time.  And even if I knew how big the gaps were?  It was enough.
  • Life is often random.  Things blindside you and hit you and, sometimes, you can’t duck.  And sometimes the whole  point of the damn injury is knowing you can heal. Again and again and again.
  • Sometimes, you just need to fall into someone and let them hold you up for a while.  Even if it’s wrong.  Even if it’s just for today.  Even if, twenty minutes later, they break your heart.  Again.
  • And you just can’t ever fucking give up. And the biggest thing: all of this  pain is a good indication that I’m doing something right. Because  pain and fear and all this shit means I have things to lose.  Means I am living again.  And that is beautiful and worth all of it.

all the happy tears

Picked up Foggy this morning. Our vet internist said she was a lovely girl and had nibbled for most of yesterday. She ate a bigger meal this morning and was very chatty. He feels like she’s out of the woods and should make a full recovery! Her pancreatitis will take a few days to go away, and it may come back again–so lots of TLC for her. We have lots of meds to take, too.

She tried to escape her cage when she saw me and wasn’t too keen on all the doggies or the snow, but we made it home with mostly just whining. As soon as she got here, she stopped crying. Her sweet brothers welcomed her home with songs and cage rubs. When I let her out, she made a beeline to her wet food and ate some of her soaked dry food. Cuddled with me and then tried to climb boxes. She is now whining in her cage, and Mama is gonna get to work.

So happy and relieved. I could cry. I really thought we were going to lose her. Thanks to everyone for all the love.

the unknown

A lot of people don’t know that I struggle with anxiety–to the point that  I once asked my primary care doctor if I should get a prescription to manage it.  Talking with me, she felt like anxiety meds weren’t a good fit and recommended I take something called CalmAid instead.  It’s basically lavender oil, and it works pretty well.  She also suggested meditation, yoga, and healthy amounts of time spent in and around water–since I love water.

My old therapist diagnosed me with PTSD last year.  My version of PTSD is not what soldiers get.  It’s more subtle, I guess.  Most days, I’m fine.  But when crap happens, I can get bogged down and have horrible dreams.  I don’t sleep.  I don’t eat.  It can get bad.

Pretty much only those closest to me really know the extent of it and how it affects my life.  It’s easy to blame my introversion, but a lot of that introversion is from the anxiety.

Right now, I’m kind of feeling like I’m having one of my anxiety attacks.  It’s been with me all day, and I’ve not been able to relax or be productive.  I forced myself to eat, but didn’t feel all that able to enjoy it and I didn’t even want it.  I’m really trying not to indulge it, but fighting it doesn’t work well either.

###

Fogg’s been at the vet hospital since around 9 am yesterday.  I took yesterday off and drove her over there.  We had a snowstorm that got worse as the day progressed, and I was grateful to get it over with early.  We saw a different vet this time, who was great.  She recommended hospitalizing since Fogg was still not eating and getting more dehydrated.  Because of the fibrosarcoma, I can’t do sub-cutaneous fluids at home.  It has to be through an IV.  Based on my previous convo with the original ER vet from Sunday, I thought the bill for two days would be one amount–but it ended up being quoted as significantly more given the level of care she’d need.  We’re a bit tapped out until payday in a week and a half, so it was a tough decision.  I decided to forge ahead and figure it out.  We’ve already exhausted our Care Credit options (who has, btw, been awesome and supportive throughout this…odd to say…but SO THANKFUL to have this option).  [I’m so pissed about animal care in this country. It’s about the level of rage I have about human healthcare, but I won’t go there now.]  It’s just been a lot of cash to shell out with less than a month’s notice.  To pay for this, we’ve basically had to do the biggest financial dance ever.  But we made it happen, somethow.  Because that’s what you do when your cat is desperately sick.

I didn’t get any updates last night, so I called first thing in the morning and spoke to a tech who cared for her overnight.  She said Fogg was huddled up in her cage, very scared because of all the other animals, and wouldn’t eat at all last night.  (This made me want to cry and made me question the decision to hospitalize her…did I do the right thing?).  She had a fever, but it went away.  She hadn’t pooped or vomited all night, but that might have been from the fact that she’d eaten nothing on her own since Saturday and only a tiny bit by syringe on Sunday.  She told me the vet was doing rounds then, but would call me in a few minutes to give me her update.  The vet said the belly pain that we noticed on Sunday (very slight) had gone away and basically said what the tech had said.  She said Fogg’s not eating might just be from being there.  She might eat fine at home.  A lot of pets get too anxious there and don’t eat.  She asked if I wanted to bring her home today, since she was stable and had done well  on the meds and hydration.  I said I’d rather keep her there the  2nd day and see if they could get her eating.  I figured they’d be better at getting that going than me.  The vet ordered an appetite stimulant, and I told her about Fogg’s hatred of pate.  So, they tried to feed her throughout today.   I asked how long a cat could go without food before it was dangerous, and she said 5-7 days.  We’re at day 4 today.  I asked about a feeding tube since that was one thing that I wish I’d insisted on when Cleo went down this starvation road.  I never understood why the vets didn’t recommend it then, and it really haunts me that we didn’t try it.  She said she’d prefer we wait and see on that since the feeding tubes were pretty invasive and would cause stress as well as another large bill for us.  So, basically, we had till Saturday to get her eating before that was a good option.  I had no idea how to pay for that–so I was pretty upset–since I was pretty sure Fogg was going to be her stubborn self and keep not eating.

I worked but had cleared my schedule just in case, except for an HM call, so it was kind of an excruciating day of sourcing and scheduling things.  Which meant I was getting way into my head.  I was so damn frustrated.  All of this expense–all of this pain and effort–and she still wasn’t eating.  I just felt so helpless.  Here I was doing everything possible, and  it wasn’t enough.  Again.

At noon, the vet called again to update me on Fogg.  She told me Fogg ate a tiny bit and then stopped.  She hadn’t wanted more since, but hadn’t thrown up or  pooped, so this was a good sign.  I think I cheered.  I don’t think it was enough, necessarily, but it was at least something.  She also told me I could come visit later tonight.  But given the snow situation and the fact that I’m picking her up tomorrow, I opted not to visit.  I feel guilty about that and wonder if she feels like I’m never coming to get her.   :(

I haven’t had an update since then, and my anxiety is kind of out of control because of it.  Did she eat more?  Is she vomiting?  Is tomorrow going to be another Sunday?  Just a shitshow of emotions.  I am even overanalyzing my plan to get out there.  (I’m not driving in this shit.  Lyft to the rescue).  I could  call, but I feel weird doing that as well.  It’s stupid.  I spent the evening cleaning everything to make things more comfortable for Fogg, hoping that would help–and it did–but not enough.

I’m actually scared to bring her home, as much as I sincerely miss her.  What if she’s worse?  What if she’s skinnier?  What if she’s better and gets worse again?  What if we have to do this again and again?  What if we need a feeding tube?  How do I make this better?

I just wish I wasn’t alone dealing with with this.  The calls and texts to friends just aren’t enough.  And add to that a full day tomorrow where I may need to shuffle depending on how she is.  I just want it to be normal.  Our normal, challenging life that I know how to do.

SIGH.

when you’re not looking

It seems like it was just a few days ago when I was ranting on Facebook about how much I hated online dating and how I was totally done.  So done. The latest dealbreaker? Some dude slut-shaming me. Oh wait…yea…it was a few days ago.

Nothing has really changed my opinion on that, except well I’ve made a new friend.  In the hubbub of everything going on right now, I wasn’t my normal introspective self about such things.

The funny part is that this dude is someone I met late last year, through the site, who turned me off.  After some talking, I did the slow fade.  I was kind of a judgmental asshole.  He rubbed me the wrong way in some respects by mentioning his employer all the damn time and his situation was complicated.  I didn’t want or need complicated, tyvm.

I deleted my profile for the hundredth time (deactivated, whatever), and he sent me a note when he saw I was back–asking if I’d finally made it out to Cali.  I told him all about that.  And then mentioned my cat was sick.  He was actually really nice about it.  We decided to have a phone conversation that night.  It had been a really hard day for me, and that conversation was such a nice, welcome distraction.  We talked for almost 3-4 hours.    We talked again yesterday night and have texted a lot since then too.

From the get-go, we both agreed that we’re not looking for a be all/end all relationship at the moment.  We’re  looking for friends, mostly, and if more comes–good.  But for now, friendship is good.

Today, while texting, despite being very careful NOT to flirt–I accidentally did and he said something kind of telling about how he felt towards me.  I didn’t want to address it because I didn’t want to draw attention to it.  Because let’s just slow this shit down.

But you know how you talk to someone and you can kind of just tell?  Like “hey, we could actually work.”

It’s just a gut feeling, sometimes, but I’ve found that, to be with someone and make it last, I need a few different elements to be at play:

  • Banter.  There has to be this inexplicable ability to interact with one another that’s light and easy.  That doesn’t take huge amounts of effort.  My Canadian ex had that.  It surprised me the first time I talked to him because I wasn’t into him at all up to that point.  He was just a nice guy who was apparently interested in knowing me.  But our first conversation? It felt like home.  Like I knew this man forever .  That won me over.
  • The ability to travel “deep” topics as well as lighter topics where there are no awkward silences and there are layers to the  interaction.  I’ve found that many people can be easy breezy, but they can’t go in the deep end.  Others are all about deep and can’t traverse light.  Still others are just awkward all the way around.  So to find someone who is actually comfortable with all of it–where these topics just naturally flow?  That’s pretty cool and necessary.  I’m that kind of person.  I live in both worlds, and I need both worlds.
  • The ability to just let it go.  To tell the truth of the crap you’re going through.
  • Vulnerability.

I was kind of shocked by this guy, to be honest.  In writing, he can come across as a little pompous and technical.  But talking to him?  He was all of the above.  What I liked most was that he was super honest about his life–telling me the tough things.  And he asked for my advice about things.  It’s so rare to see someone who wants to support you but also wants to be supported.  I’m used to guys who were the white knights swooping in to help the damaged girl.  And to some degree, they needed me to be damaged.  Sometimes, yea, they were vulnerable.  But they never let me support them.  Not really.  And in one instance, that was pretty much the entire reason we fell apart.  Because had he just talked to me, we could have made it work.  We were both so alone in that relationship.  With the Canadian, he couldn’t really support me and never let me support him, in any way.  That’s pretty sad.  So, it’s kind of like a breath of fresh air to meet someone who does this so effortlessly especially with a relative stranger.

We’re just friends, for now, and it would take a lot for it to be more.  His situation is still complicated, and I’m complicated too.  But it gives me hope that maybe things actually could work out for me one day.

the best we can

One of the things that tortured my heart for years and years after my mother died was the decision I had to make about my mother’s open-heart surgery.  The one that killed her, ultimately, ironically.  It still, sometimes, does.  Even though I know I did the best I could.  Even though my reasoning was sound.  Was it the right decision?

I’ve done that dance in my head.  Why did I have to do it right then?  Why couldn’t I have waited six months?  When she was stronger.  Or at least not fresh from life-altering crisis?

At the time, I told myself the longer we waited, the worse it would be.  The weaker she’d be.  The weaker I’d be.  Two months of this was debilitating.  Could we survive more of them?

But then those last two weeks happened.  Those days when things calmed.  And I’m not sure if they calmed because she knew it was coming or if they calmed because we got into a rhythm.  And those days, those days that weren’t the worst ever in my life, make me question it all.  Still.

Knowing what I do now, I often wish I had waited.  Even if she was weaker.  New technology changed things for patients like her.  She might not have died.  That used to be a stab in my heart.  Now, it’s something I usually just wince over.  I can’t dwell on that too much or it starts again.

The truth is–part of the reason I chose then and not later was because it was breaking me in two.  I was losing myself more and more every day.  I needed it to end.  So, that decision–as much as it was for her was also for me.  And for years, I hated myself for that.  Because how selfish, right?  But now?  I get it.  I was the one doing everything for her, and doing what was best for me was doing what was best for her.  Even if it felt like I was a horrible person for making that choice.

###

The break from this reality today gave me some good perspective.  Maybe it was the cold air or being in the park where I made so many of those decisions back then.  Coming home with her tonight,  I realized I made the choice to not leave her there because I needed to save money for the upcoming surgery.  Yes–Fogg would do better with me in the equation–but I was balancing interests.  I believe wholeheartedly that money should never factor into health.  If it’s needed, you do it and figure out how to pay later.  I would go to the ends of the Earth to save an animal.  This whole thing is expensive as Hell.

But then, tonight, I just realized–she’s really sick.  She may not survive this.  She’s better than she was, but she is so thin right now.  Still so tired.  Still not eating.  And I know what this road looks like.  I’d rather die than go down that road again.  What the Hell am I doing?  I’m not putting her within the care of people who do this every day because of a few hundred bucks–because of a preventative surgery that may not work?  A surgery that might kill her if we actually do it in a month–because she is too sick right now and is a month really enough time to get strong enough?

It was so ludicrous.  Did I bring her home today because I needed to fix her because I couldn’t fix Cleo?  Did I decide to do this surgery to make my fear less prominent–so I could feel like I was doing something?  So that boogeyman wouldn’t chase me?

Probably.  But I thought I was doing the right thing for her.  And in some ways, I probably was.  But things are different now.  She’s really sick, and I need to focus on now–not a month from now–not a tumor that isn’t even here yet that may never appear.

The reality of now?  Fogg had a cancerous tumor.  It’s not in her body anymore, by all accounts.  It may come back–no matter what we do.  But she is sick now, and she could die now because of that.  She could die from a million things outside of my control.  Hell, so could I.

The reality of now?  My sweet, amazing cat has had 7 long years of being constantly adored.  Tonight, I knew she knew that when she held on to me when I took her out of her carrier.  I am her person.  And she gets that.  I have given her the best life, and she has lived well.  As sad as it is, if she died today, that would be enough.  I can’t control any of the ways she goes that are just shitty, but I can choose better for her–as I always have.  I can protect her from further suffering.

And yes, I don’t want to put her through more of this in a month.  I don’t want to feel this awful and dread those days.  And that is okay.

So, I’m going to probably take Fogg back and hospitalize her tomorrow–unless, by some miracle, she starts eating.  And I’m going to cancel that surgery in a month.  I may reschedule it.  But I’m going to wait until we’re both better supported and stronger before I go down that traumatic road.   It may be a huge mistake.  But it’s not kind to her or me to just push through because it’s too scary not to.

 

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