OK, prayerful people, this post’s for you.
Actually, this post’s for Lola. Today, she needs you.
I would much rather be writing something asinine and silly – comparing our sweet senior to a glamorously-retired Rockette, perhaps, or alluding to the Kinks’ version of Lola. But every so often – too often – we’re reminded that life with cats is not all hee-hee-ha-ha.
Lola has cancer.
Here’s the kick-in-the-gut part: it’s lung cancer.
You may remember another cat who was dealt that hand. It’s a raw deal.
I hasten to add that, as of this evening, Lola’s diagnosis is not 100% certain. It’s all unfolded very quickly, and we won’t have confirmation of it until tomorrow. Some strange symptoms this morning led to a series of X-rays. Through the wonder of smartphones, images of those X-rays were in the hands of veterinarians before you could brew a pot of coffee.
The consensus was grimly united: there was major badness happening in Lola’s lungs.
Surprisingly, it was Lola’s dainty feet that seemed to cement our fears. Before those stark X-rays, the only symptoms Lola had showed were a general “quietness” (from a decidedly un-quiet diva) and a strange new habit of streeeeeeeeeetching out a front paw.
Dr. House would be no match for our Denise, who knew enough to be alarmed by that subtle paw-stretch. It just so happens there’s a form of lung cancer that metastasizes to the toes. It just so happens that, on X-rays, Lola’s toes show the same sort of inner ick that’s afflicting her lungs.
I have always admired Denise and Dr. C for…well, many things (not least of all their dolphin impressions and ability to dance, respectively). But among them I’ve been in awe at their resolute honesty, their unwillingness to sugar-coat bitter things. This morning was no different. After Denise had shared the grim news, I had to ask: How much time would Lola have if this is all true? Denise grimaced, then told the truth: “The average survival time from presentation of symptoms is 53 days.”
That barely brings us into Autumn. Pumpkins won’t even be at their full-moon fullness. It just won’t be enough.
I keep trying to remember: 53 days is 53 whole, beautiful, good days in which to love Lola. We don’t “deserve” the gift of any days with Lola (or any other cat, for that matter). Each day is a bonus – and we have somewhere in the ballpark of 53 of them with one of the most extraordinary cats ever born.
Maybe. Or maybe – as Dusty and Lily and so many others were determined to prove over the years – we have much more.
So that’s where your prayers are needed, Felis Catus fam. Lola needs them – for comfort, for joy in however many days (or years) remain, for a merciful extension of those days/years, for miracles that don’t make medical sense. We need them – for comfort, for the strength to love Lola in the ways she needs most, for wisdom to make the right decisions for her in the days ahead. We all need them – for love.
Thank you for loving Lola with us. I will keep you posted.