Friday, June 10, 2016

A cat of nine tales



There are times, as I know you know, when I just become sick and tired. Sick and tired of feeling nauseous. Sick and tired of being unable to be all that I can be. Sick and tired... of having cancer.

Yeah, and here we are again. I had a bad day yesterday which turned into a bad evening. It was one of those times when I can't even explain what the problem is. I know there is a problem because I feel wretched. Is it mental, though? Physical? Both? Something I haven't even put words too yet? I do not know.

What I do know is that I feel... defeated, is as good a word as any. I reach for one of my tools to adjust the feeling, but it's... it's like the problem is metric and I have a box of standard tools. They can come close to fitting the problem, but in cancer, close isn't nearly enough.

The problem was made worse by the fact that Sheri was out of the house fulfilling a commitment she made to a social group we belong to. That left just me and our cat Wolfie to fend for ourselves. He quickly realized I wasn't going to be any fun and trotted off upstairs to take a nap.

So, there I was, alone, trying to find some way to occupy myself since that's the only way I can get relief when I feel the way I did. Most of the time, watching soccer on television will do it, but the only game of any interest at all was Brazil v. Haiti. Which was pretty much like watching the opening scenes of “Jaws” with Brazil as the Shark and Haiti as the Girl Who Goes Swimming.

On top of everything else, I was cold. Now, cold is an almost constant state for me since I got sick, but usually I am able to warm myself up. Not last night. I could not get warm until... One of my periodic hot flashes decided to take the stage. But even that didn't help much. It certainly didn't last.

I did pick up a book I'd nearly finished and that helped some and then Sheri got home.

As I watched her shuck off the bits of her day in the outside world and settle into the comfort of our home, I felt gratitude flood over me. Yes, at first I thought it was another hot flash, but it wasn't. It was gratitude. I was grateful that I had someone to be connected to through all of this. I thought about people I've talked to and heard from who have to face their challenges, be they cancer or something else, alone. Yes, they have doctors and others, but when the demons come to fill the empty spaces in your day, when it becomes a case of you against them, being alone must leave you totally over matched.

I have learned that sometimes going to bed is the best solution, especially if you're as tired as I was. So, that's what I did. It was barely dark outside, but I didn't care. I just wanted to not feel like I did any more.

It worked as I quickly fell asleep and didn't wake up till about 6:45 am. As is my custom, I took a quick inventory of how I was feeling. Gggggrrrrr. No change. In fact, if anything, I felt worse. The pain in my stomach was horrible. I tried to look past the pain to see what the rest of the day could bring. Nothing. The time in front of me seemed completely empty. And, in truth, that scared me more than anything in a long time. Empty is bad. Worse than that, as I lay there, it seemed unfillable. I had my pain and a whole lot of nothing. Before I could get my self pity in high gear though...

The first sad, longing, needful meow of the day came from the doorway to the bedroom. Wolfie was back and ready to have his breakfast served to him. Here's the thing- That cat has come to rely on us to take care of him, and not just when we feel up to it. So, I got up and gave him his breakfast and went back to bed.

A few minutes later... He wanted the side door opened so he could look at and see the critters in the yard. Done. Another few minutes later... I needed to put out bird seed on our feeding table so that the squirrel, chipmunks, birds et al would come to feed and he could watch them coming and going.

Well, by this time I figured I might as well get up. I realized that the day ahead was no longer empty. It had already been filled with quite a bit of activity. Saved by the cat.

Life, huh? You never know where the light is going to come from, do you?

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere