Bittersweet Valentine

Monday morning I woke to a sweet pink pot of Gerber daisies from my lover.   I prefer a live plant over fresh-cut flowers any day.

We had also decided that we wanted to have our second oldest kitty, Petunia looked at.   Her gums were a bit pale on Sunday and we have noticed weight-loss.

Jennifer and I both work for specialty vets, so we are extraordinarily lucky to have sensational medical care at our disposal when we need it.  Which is great because we have so many pets.   My job gives a very rich pet benefit that is such an amazing perk and I was quite happy to take my pretty girl in and show her off.   I have a great doctor, she’s amazingly smart and I trust her with my pets completely so I was glad she said she would take a look.

Throughout the day I got updates on her condition.  First that her PCV was extraordinarily low.   PCV is the proportion of blood volume that is occupied by red blood cells.   The norm for kitties is usually 35 so her Doctor decided to do an ultrasound as well.   I gave permission to them to shave her little tummy, asking comedically that they wouldn’t shave off her little bimpies (hey, I had to lighten the situation for myself!)   I did enter the u/s room and another one of my favourite doctors noted that her liver and spleen were both three times their normal size.   At this point I wasn’t sure exactly what all of this means…but it sounded scary and my heart began to beat and all I could think of was talking to Jenn, because maybe, with her smarts, she could help me make a little sense or what I was being told.

Now, I have been Peutnia’s mum for about the last four and half years.   When Jennifer and I joined together in 2006 we each had three cats, Jenn also had a pup, so we really did kind of make a brady bunch family.   We have acquired a few more pets on our journey as well… but that’s really another a story for another day.

After reaching and speaking with Jenn she noted that it was probably the big C.   I felt terribly upset and discombobulated.  Unsure of what to do, trying to keep it together, hurting for her, my love.. for us.

The doctor spoke with me at work and noted we could put her on a steroid, probably prednisone and it might entice her appetite.

The next day the cytology report came back and it was inconclusive, though it noted four different possible cancers.   I asked if there was a time line, something I really wished I could reel back in and was given the prognosis of 6-12 weeks.    I believe this was the timeline that was given if we just kept her on the steroids.

Wednesday I had another doctor, an oncologist look at her cytology and she became very interested.  She want’s to see the cells (that we took during the aspirate) herself so she can possibly categorize the cancer so we can find an proper treatment for her.   In the meantime, today she is going for her first chemotherapy treatment, Vincristine.  It is a broad spectrum drug that doesn’t live in the body very long, so if we do find out what it is and need to start another treatment it will be easier to switch.

Last night as Axle Rose’s version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s door came over the restaurant speakers I cried salty tears into my second pomarita as Jenn described what the vincristine would do in the body to help fight her terrible cancer.

Petunia is very sick; her tiny, petite frame is sitting, purring on my lap as I write this.    I’ve decided it might be cathartic for me to tell her story as she goes through treatment.

I’m going to get in the shower now and then she and I will be off to work.   I really never thought that I would be bringing one of our pets into the Oncology department at work.  I walk through every single morning and say hi to the babies… I feel grateful that I work where I do.  The women in our Oncology department are known as the “Onco B’s”  their manager is a bee keeper, and well… they might be known for their attitudes once in a while too.  :o)  But that all stems because they love their patients and take their work so very seriously.  I can say I’ve never called ’em that.  I just have immense respect for what they do, even more-so now.

Here is a photo of our beloved Petunia.  It was taken in January, just a few short weeks ago.   She looks beautiful and like nothing is wrong, and in classic Petunia fashion she is crossing her paws, like the lady she is.

So my pretty little pot o daisies feels quite symbolic to me.  Like the flowers in ET.  I’ve never had a green thumb really…but I feel determined to keep these flowers alive for as long as I can.


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