Mr. Darcy (the cat pictured in previous post) is a great example of the strange forms help can take when you have cancer. He is not my cat. He belongs to two guys for whom I have worked for about 12 years. They are clients who became friends over the years, to the point that they were also my caregivers secondary only to my mom while I was in treatment. I had to put my pet sitting job on hold while in treatment, except for these guys. During my chemo treatment weeks, I either lived in these guys’ house if they were away or the apartment above their store if they were in town (my treatment center was an hour away from my home, because the place I chose to be treated was close to the 9 to 5 I had at that time).
The night before I was to begin my Taxol infusions, I was given a bunch of drugs to prevent an allergic reaction to the Taxol. The nurses told me I’d probably be up all night, since the drugs cause insomnia.
Well, Mr. Darcy to the rescue!
When I went to bed that night, he put his overweight self (he is the quintessential fat cat, diabetic, with a problem in his back legs that makes him make a “thwamp” sound when he tries to get somewhere quickly) right on my chest. He is under 20 pounds, just barely, and he drools when he purrs. And his purrs are so loud it can actually wake a sleeping human! But, in spite of this terrify picture I am painting, he is also quite comforting. Hs purring synced up with my heartbeat, and I did not want to move, because I am the type of person who does not want to disturb a sleeping animal even if they are sleeping on me He NEVER slept on top of me before that night when I was on so many drugs and I needed his comforting presence. I slept like a baby that night…I think the chemo nurses were a little miffed…they like their advice/threats to be true, and here I strolled in, well rested as if nothing were out of order for me.
Darcy has only slept on me one time since, and that would be this past Thanksgiving, when I got some kind of 24 hour bug. He relished the chance to “defend” me against the threats in the house (two blind Bearded Collies, and two other overweight cats, including his own mother, who only wanted to snuggle with me, warm as I was). He bravely stalked the edges of the king size bed, making sure no other animal got close enough to disturb me. He begrudgingly let my mother enter the bedroom to give me ice chips, which he eyed with suspicion.
So, yeah, cancer for this curmudgeon was one giant suck, one shitty day after another. But, sometimes there were little moments of goodness, like Mr. Darcy’s idea of “care for the patient”, and the love his humans have for me, that prompted them to also take (better) care of me. Certainly, there are days and the behavior of some people I’d like to forget completely, and some memories I’ll treasure forever.