October, I have decided, has it in for me. Or rather, it has it in for my cats.
First there was Rebecca, who keeled over on my head last Monday and died shortly thereafter. I'm not going to be over that one for a while, although I've at least stopped tearing up when I think about it.
Now, it's Allegra. No, she's not dead, but the key word here is 'yet'. A few months ago I noticed she had a strange, hard lump on her lower jaw. We kept an eye on it – it didn't seem to bother her at all but it wasn't going away. So I took her in to the vet. $500 later (yes, I was wincing too) I brought her back home, minus an infected tooth, having subjected her to various and sundry indignities, including some x-rays of her chin. At that time the vet did suggest the possibility that the lump could just be a nasty abscess from the tooth, but then he tossed out a few other, scarier, possibilities. That was two weeks ago.
Today he finally heard back from the radiologist about the x-rays. It's not an abscess. That would be too easy. She could *recover* from an abscess. She won't recover from this.
She has bone cancer. Because it came on relatively fast he estimated we have about six months, more or less – as much of an estimate as anyone can give for a cat. Treatment options are pretty limited – we could put her through the hell of radiation and have her lower jaw removed (try explaining that to a cat who already has issues with being medicated, force fed, or otherwise manipulated against her will). But there's no guarantee any of those treatments will ultimately be effective, nor can I justify doing something like that to her anyway.
I want to hit something, or someone. I want to scream and stomp my feet and yell at the top of my lungs that this is not fair, damn it; it's not supposed to be like this; first Rebecca and now her. I want to know the exact number of days I have left with her so I can prepare myself somehow, some way, to be strong enough to make the decision I do not want to make.
Eventually she will stop eating on her own. Eventually she will start feeling pain. Eventually this thing that is growing in her jaw will win the fight. And eventually I will have to put my little musical cat to sleep.