I suppose in a sense, all our days are numbered, but it’s different when you actually have some idea of how many days are left. We were told in September that Mele has about six months to live. It started with a lump on her belly I found when I picked her up one day in early August. Lumps are never good news, so we called the vet for an appointment.
When we brought her in, they told us the lump was due to mammary tumors, and that they were almost always malignant. We scheduled her for surgery later that month. It went great. They removed all the mammary glands along her left side. The stitches were tricky because they didn’t leave much skin to spare, so we couldn’t let her rip them out no matter what.
They sent her home with a collar, but it was obvious within a day that it wasn’t going to work out too well. She would stop in her tracks whenever the edge of the collar snagged on something, even a little bit. She would walk backward until she ran up against something and had to stop, or worse, she would twist around and fall. I was afraid she would hurt herself or fall down the stairs.
Luckily, Eva Roehrkasse, a friend from California who is a vet, suggested we try a Suitical Recovery Suit, so I went looking on Amazon. It turned out to be a godsend. She was still mopey and depressed, but she was much more mobile and even jumped up on things, whereas she didn’t seem to even want to visit the litter box with the collar on, or if she did, she would miss and pee on the floor.
Her stitches were removed a couple of weeks after the surgery, and she eventually healed, to the point now, a couple of months later, where she’s back to her spry self. If we didn’t know better, we wouldn’t know anything is wrong. Every once in a while, I catch a hint that she might know something isn’t quite right, but it’s so hard to tell.
She’s become more insistent on having her morning brush time with me on the coffee table downstairs, and her lap time on the couch upstairs, where I’m writing this. I’ve gotten into the habit of coming up here with my laptop and iPad when I don’t need my big screens, just so we can spend that special time together.
Time is all we really have. If our pets teach us anything, it’s that. After losing Truffle so suddenly, I make a point of being more present with Mele and not taking her for granted. She played second fiddle to Truffle until she died, and still won’t come into the bedroom because she doesn’t think it’s her territory, so I want to make sure she knows she’s special before she leaves us.
Six months takes us into the spring. We’re trying to make the most of it.