...

Nov. 16th, 2010 11:52 pm
janegodzilla: (...fuck)
You know, it's sort of ironic that I made a "yay, I'm caught up" post about NaNoWriMo the same day I got news that completely derailed any desire I had to work on my novel. My desire to write hasn't gone away -- in fact, I'm throwing hundreds of words at everything but NaNoWriMo, because...ugh, I don't even fucking know. Because every time I start feeling good about something I have to sabotage myself, apparently.

I know I just have to ~put my mind to it~ or whatever. I'm just...not doing so hot right now, I guess, and it's because I'm stuck in that stupid waiting phase of grief, where I know what's coming and I can see what's happening but I can't properly grieve because we're not at the worst part yet. And I'm so angry, my god, I can't even breathe sometimes I'm so angry about this. That I have to make this choice, that I have to watch him get a little worse every day, that I can't explain to him that the meds are for his own good and that at some point, probably very soon, I'm going to have to actively choose to end his life. I don't want to make that choice. I really, really don't.

And I feel so aimless. Every day I wake up and think, "Please don't let today be the day," and then even though it's not there's still some little sign that he's inched farther downhill. He was on that plateau for so long that I deluded myself into thinking it would last, but at the end of the day he has terminal cancer in his head and he's dying and there's not a fucking thing I can do about it except make him comfortable and love on him until the day comes when I have to let him go.

Fuck, I'm sorry I keep talking about Ivan. He just keeps slowly but surely getting worse, and it's killing me.
janegodzilla: (sadness)
"I'm so sorry," the vet says. "I wish I had better news for you. I'm so sorry."

Ivan, much calmer now that no one is trying to prod him or put things in his eyes, howls his general displeasure at the room. His voice is loud and strong, and he eats enough for two cats. In the last three days he's continued to lose weight, and he's now officially underweight for a cat his length and height. His eye is getting visibly worse, and the mass that pushes behind it won't stop growing.

"How much longer?" Unlike my cat, my voice isn't loud or strong. I can barely keep from breaking.

"Probably not long." The vet's eyes are so kind, so full of sadness. "Continue with the meds like you've been doing, and be aggressive with pain control. That should keep him comfortable until it's time."

"How will I know?" I say, and then I do break, because this isn't a conversation I want to be having, it's not one I'm ready for, this is a conversation that scares the shit out of me because what if he's in pain, what if he's suffering, what if I'm making it worse, I can't...

"You'll know," she says. Very quietly, very kindly. "When it's time, they always let you know."

On the car ride home, Ivan's quieter than usual, like he knows how upset I am and doesn't want to make things worse. He goes straight to his food bowl when we get in and trills until I feed him, wolfs it down like it's been days as opposed to hours since he last ate. In the living room he settles into his customary spot behind my head, nose tucked into his tail, one paw on my shoulder, and every time I shift he flexes it like he's trying to hold me still, like he doesn't want me to get up just yet. I tell him he was a good boy today, and he starts purring at the sound of my voice.

He keeps his eye hidden from the light. Every once in a while, he presses his paw to that side of his head, like the pressure makes him feel a little better.

It's not time yet. But I don't think we have much longer.

I wish this wasn't happening.
janegodzilla: (lonely)
I have so many half-finished LJ entries lying around that it's not even funny. That's what happens when my brain gets stuck in the NaNoWriMo place, I guess.

The book is actually going pretty well, to the point where I'm giving it a metaphorical side-eye, like, I know you want to start being awful, book, so why hasn't that happened yet? I went with the zombie apocalypse story and I'm still on track with my word count even though I skipped a few nights: once because I went to a Portland Art Museum member's dinner and came home a wee bit too tipsy for writing, and another earlier this week because I'd taken Ivan to the vet that day and some of the news kinda bummed me out. But I managed to churn out a decent amount over the past two days and now I seem to be caught up again. Hooray, and stuff.

It's weird -- part of me is all excited because I think I'm actually going to reach 50,000 words this year, but this excitement is tempered with the knowledge that the story won't even be close to finished at that point. I mean, I just passed 18,000 words and I haven't even gotten the characters out of the city yet! Their journey north and all the shit that goes down as they travel is supposed to comprise the bulk of the novel, so every once in a while I can't help but feel a little intimidated by everything still looming ahead of me.

I don't entirely know what to make of the fact that I've already killed off half my working cast and yet none of those deaths were directly attributable to zombies. IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE NOVEL, what the fuck. I also managed to kill off a character who wasn't supposed to die until the novel's halfway point, so...now I have to figure out what to do with the subplot I had planned for him. This is why I'm glad I keep my outlines flexible. Hypovolemic shock doesn't care about your carefully constructed outlines! Hypovolemic shock does what it wants!

("Hypovolemic shock" is more fun to say than "complications from blood loss". Please don't judge me.)

Anyway, I've been sending the draft to Nate every time I hit a 10-20 page mark and he says he likes it, so that's been kind of nice. It's a lot harder to convince myself that I suck when I have an outside party asking me to write more because he enjoys reading it. *hearts*

It's funny -- you'd think I'd be sick of zombies by now, what with ZomBcon (I GOT TO SHAKE GEORGE ROMERO'S HAND ANJNDBHDBHSJDJWJKAL!!!!!!!) and The Walking Dead and Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and my NaNoWriMo novel and all, but...nope, I'm still feeling the freaky little bastards. As I've written about before, I think it's because they're one of the few monsters that genuinely frighten me. Ghosts and demons are scary mostly in the context of whatever book or movie or tv show they appear in, and poor werewolves and vampires have been defanged to the point of ridiculousness, but your dead loved ones coming back to life in order to eat you? That's scary shit right there.

On a much more depressing note, I have to bring Ivan back to the vet's today for a recheck. He's had complications involving his right eye and I don't think it's doing any better than it was earlier this week, and the whole thing is just really devastating and sad. He was doing so well, you guys, for such a long time, but in the past few weeks I feel like we've shifted into a phase where things are starting to get worse and it fucking kills me. I'm not ready to lose him yet and he's not ready to go, from the way he's acting, but he's obviously in more pain and discomfort than he used to be -- even with the meds -- and it makes me so sad that we're now at the "evaluating his quality of life" stage of things. Right now, his quality of life is still pretty good -- aside from his eye, that is -- but if his eye doesn't improve then he's going to start going downhill really fast and we're eventually going to reach a point where it would be cruel not to let him go.

This is something I don't like thinking about.

He's in my lap right now, purring his heart out. Oh, cat. :(
janegodzilla: (lonely)
Thank you to everyone who's offered condolences on the Ivan situation in my last entry. I don't really have it in me to thank everyone individually, because it's a lot easier for me to fuss over how much he's eating and figure out how to manage his pain meds than to think about how he's going to die from this. Your comments and support have meant the world to me, so...thank you. I really do appreciate it, even if I'm not doing so well with talking about it one-on-one with people.

I'd been steeling myself for what the oncologist might say, but it was still pretty devastating to hear just how unsuitable the various treatment options were. Basically, they would make him feel really, really awful, the constant car and vet trips would make him unhappy and stress him out, and -- because of the type of cancer he has -- the treatments probably wouldn't work anyway. I can't do that to him. I want him to be happy and comfortable in the time he has left, not sick and miserable and struggling.

The oncologist wasn't really sure how long he has, because it largely depends on how quickly the tumor grows and how long he's able to keep eating. Now that he's not going to the vet every other day, he's back to his usual dorky self and eating horse-sized portions of soft food, which is something I'm encouraging. He's getting an anti-inflammatory drug every day, and heavy-duty opiate painkillers when he needs 'em. His medication needs will probably evolve as he get sicker, but at the moment he's doing well and that's the important thing. The cat he is right now -- the goofy, lovable one who headbutts me all the time for attention and keeps trying to flop down on my computer keyboard because it's in my lap and that's where HE wants to be -- this is the cat I want him to be for as long as he's physically able. He'll let me know when he's ready to go.

As difficult as all of this is...even if I'd known, years ago, that Ivan would eventually develop untreatable cancer and probably wouldn't live to see his eighth or ninth birthday, I still would've adopted him without hesitation. He's the best cat I've ever had, and I'm just so glad I got to be his person. I'm going to cherish the time I have left with him.

And if this means letting him sleep on my keyboard when I'm trying to work, well...so be it. Oh, cat. ILU.

...

May. 29th, 2010 01:57 pm
janegodzilla: (sadness)
It's cancer.

They're going to refer me to an oncologist so that I can talk with her about treatment options, but the tumor originated in the joint of his jaw and it's growing rapidly, and they don't know that there's much I'll be able to do beyond managing his pain and discomfort. Because of where the tumor is, surgery is pretty much out. I'll have to talk with the oncologist to find out whether any other treatments would be appropriate for him, or if they would do more harm than good and just make him feel awful all the time. I can't believe I even have to think about this. This shouldn't be happening.

He's asleep in my lap right now, purring happily like nothing whatsoever is wrong. He has cancer.

This hurts so much. My poor Ivan.

update

May. 28th, 2010 03:06 pm
janegodzilla: (agnosticism)
So...some tentative good news from the vet's office.

While they can't rule out cancer entirely until the biopsy results come back, Ivan's preliminary results are promising. Aside from some wonky electrolyte readings, his labs look great, and the mass is entirely localized to the spot on his jaw -- if it is cancer, it hasn't metastasized. The vet also said that it looks like there's less bone tissue involved than they were initially concerned about, which she says is also a good sign. He's recovering really well from the sedation, and he'll be coming home later today.

Basically, she told me that even though we won't know if the mass is cancerous until the radiologist reads the scans and they get the biopsy results back from the lab, the results they have so far are the absolute best we could hope for at this juncture. He's in great health otherwise, so I've got my fingers crossed.

It was so weird not having him around last night and this morning. He's one of those cats that's all, I MUST BE IN YOUR LAP RIGHT NOW SO YOU CAN SCRITCH MY EARS AND PET MY BELLY, and so it was very strange to sit on the couch and not suddenly have 10 pounds of ferociously purring cat clinging to me. He's also super loud and incredibly talkative, to the point where it's kind of annoying sometimes, but even though he can be a total pill I still missed the hell out of him this morning when I came downstairs and he wasn't there to run squeaking around my feet because he's so damn excited that I'm awake. :(

Please be okay, cat. The results so far are promising, but I'm not going to stop worrying until the biopsy gives the all-clear.
janegodzilla: (boys in foxholes)
Well, the case I've been working my butt off on for the past two weeks has settled at the eleventh hour -- jury selection was today, and trial was set to start on Monday. On one hand, this is a very good thing. The settlement was on our terms, as far as I know, and now I don't have to work this weekend or over my vacation like I was going to have to if this thing went to trial. So this is good. It's good!

On the other hand...here I am going all emo for a bit. )

This is completely unrelated to everything else, but I had a nicely surreal experience on the drive in to work this morning. I was sitting at the corner, waiting for the light to change so I could turn onto First, and I happened to glance over to the bus stop there and saw...a man dressed in a Star Wars t-shirt, white jeans, and a skullcap (?!), doing what was either very enthusiastic tai-chi, or incredibly bad kung-fu. Or demented karate. I honestly don't know the difference, especially not with the way he was doing it. He was doing that thing where you jump and spin and do a side kick? And then he crouched and did something all fwooshy with his hands? And then karate chops? I...I don't even know. At the BUS STOP.

It was a very "if it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college" moment*. I have a lot of those in Portland.

Bus stop ninja wannabes. O...kay.


*Reference to a very funny stand-up bit by Lewis Black. Google it if you want the context.

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