MOUSH MOUSH AND ME

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I rescued Moush Moush from a laurel bush in a lakeside suburb of Seattle in the summer of 2001.  A Manx cat had stalked her and she hid in the branches of that bush all day, hoping someone would hear her cries and rescue her.  I thought I heard a cat meowing in front of my attic apartment in an old, dilapidated, Craftsman house before I left for work that day, and when I returned home, there it was still—a loud meowing from within the bush.

I walked over to the overgrown, laurel bush that was as tall as the house and trimmed into an arch over the gravel driveway—creating a tunnel of sorts—and out flew a tuxedo cat with an unusual smoke coat, followed by the evil Manx.  I wiggled my fingers and kept calling, “Come on kitty,” and she ran right after me and up the rickety stairs to my apartment and has never left my side since that day.

It was a strange neighborhood due to the zoning, but I put up signs for a lost cat and no one called.  There was an old orchard behind the Craftsman and I often saw stray cats back there when I went to pick plums and raspberries, but I’d never seen Moush Moush, with her pretty markings and little mustache.  She caught a lot of mice in that orchard for me, so I suppose it was a haven for ferals and strays.  She was so small that I thought she was a kitten when I took her to the vet soon after I rescued her, but they said she was an adult cat and about a year old.  She had been spayed and I’ll never know what happened to her the year before she found me and I found her.  It was under strange circumstances that I rented that apartment and I believe it was fate that we found each other that day.

Within a few months, I began to get sick from Ehler-Danlos syndrome, not that I would know I had it until 11 years later. By the winter, we moved to a nicer apartment in the same area due to a better paying job.  I had a career and was in graduate school and didn’t see Moush Moush all that much, but I was already very attached to her.  We moved again that summer to a duplex in Seattle’s Central District, where Moush Moush caught huge sewer rats she left on the kitchen floor as presents, and then we moved to Southern California due to my declining health and inability to work.  My friends had all left me, but Moush Moush was my quirky, talkative, and loving companion always.  Moving is hard on cats, but she adjusted and was so easy.  She always was.  She even flew to California under my seat since she was only 6 lbs and didn’t meow once.

Moush Moush loved the hot, California desert and my mother’s home on a golf course in a country club became her personal oasis.  She slept in lounge chairs by the pool, hunted Mourning Doves, and chased after Roadrunners and stray golf balls.  I was a very sick, 95 lb zombie schlepped to doctor after doctor in search of a diagnosis, but my little tuxedo was as happy as could be.

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We stayed in the California desert for almost 2 years and I eventually rented an apartment in a mid-century 4-plex in el barrio that I loved and I got a bit better with medication and even worked at a part-time job that I enjoyed and met a friend there.  Then, I started school for a new degree in hopes I could work for myself and balance a career with chronic pain and illness.  I woke up relatively early and ate breakfast in my little, enclosed yard where I’d grown an herb garden.  I got out daily, was around people, and I walked everywhere—so unlike my life now.  I always saw the sunshine.  Things were not horrible, despite my aching body. Moush Moush got in a lot of cat fights in el barrio that I rescued her from, but she was dealing with the loss of the country club.  Well, poverty is poverty.

In late-summer of 2004, we moved to our current state in the SW due to reasons I’d just rather not discuss.  Moush Moush became an indoor cat—stuck mostly in dated, tract-style condos that had mold inside the walls from failed stucco and filthy air ducts, which is typical here.  She only had a dusty balcony to go out on to see the sky and birds, whose call she could mimic.  I wanted a better life for her and for me as the condos made me sicker, but as my life was steadily declining due to my health and inability to work consistently, I just did the best that I could.  I never liked this city and its ugly genericness and it has contributed in so many ways to my downward spiral.

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For a few years we drove back to Seattle for a summer business I’d had for years and Moush Moush loved the long, 2-day ride.  We’d drive to my mother’s house at the country club several times a year and she’d lay in the back window of my car the whole way.  It’s a long drive and was hard on my body like the trips back home, but we’d go late at night and fly on the interstate and she was happy.  Moush Moush always knew where we were going and would climb off her perch the minute we got to the guarded gate of the country club.

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Things got worse with my family and my health and the trips stopped.  I managed to find a nicer condo here in the spring of 2009, but it was on the outskirts of the desert and I became more of a recluse from the isolation and my illness, but maybe Moush Moush was happy that I was always home since I was on SSDI by then and only left once or twice a week for a doctor appointment or to do errands.  It was a newer, better-built, carriage house-type condo with an attached garage below so she could hear me come and go, and when I came home, all of her stuffed rats and toys were lined up at the top of the stairs waiting for me.  She was always sweet and loving—so unlike my family—and I was the same with her.  I smothered her with kisses, even after I became allergic to her.  She was my soul mate—my everything.

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In July of 2009, I flew to Seattle for my brother’s wedding and someone watched Moush Moush for me.  I couldn’t wait to get back home and away from the horrid climate in Washington and my equally horrid family and evil grandmother, whose house I stayed at and ended up crying in the bathroom one night due to her insults and my muscular pain that hurt to the bone from the humidity.  I just wanted to go home to the hot desert and see my little love.

Soon after returning, I noticed a lump on Moush Moush’s right shoulder.  It was like a goose egg that stuck out to the side and felt like a firm oval.  I figured it was just a cyst.  I took her to her vet and the aspirate, or needle biopsy, was strange. There was a viscous fluid that came out via the syringe, but it sounded like a cyst to me.  The aspirate came back from the lab as a benign cyst and actually had flattened like a blister after the fluid was removed, but her white blood cell count was off and her vet wanted to do a biopsy if it grew back—and it did.

I took her in for a little biopsy, which turned into invasive surgery as the cyst—now obviously a tumor—went clear down into her shoulder joint and the vet couldn’t get it all out.  I think this is where things went wrong and I wish she had just taken a small biopsy as planned and left it alone. Moush Moush had to spend the night at the clinic and I picked her up the next day, along with narcotics to take for the pain. Then, I had to wait for the biopsy results, and her vet was not optimistic.  I was a complete wreck.

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I’m extremely superstitious.  I hung a hamsa around her neck and put my big one on her side of the bed and asked anyone above—including all of my deceased relatives—to watch over her.  I don’t know why I do things like that when Jews don’t believe in heaven—I just want to know that people go somewhere in the end I suppose.  I’m not Orthodox, so I pick and choose what I believe.

The call finally came from her vet, who is a very good doctor, but not the type you want to hear bad news from. Moush Moush had myxosarcoma, a rare type of soft-tissue sarcoma and these are not good cancers in any form. Myxosarcomas contain mucin, hence the viscous fluid in the aspirate. They are locally invasive, grow quickly, and have microscopic tentacles of cancer cells, so the only chance of survival is if the vet can get very wide and clean margins around the tumor and hers had been dissected during the biopsy.  Who knows where those creepy, cancer cells had gone as a result?

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The vet said she needed an amputation of her right, front leg. My heart dropped out of my chest, even though I was still in a state of shock from her telling me Moush Moush had cancer.  I begged her to call other desert cities and Southern California, but they all were saying the same thing.  A soft-tissue sarcoma of any type on the body is almost always terminal due to the inability to get the necessary margins, but there is much hope if it’s on a limb that can be amputated, although an oncologist in California had said radiation was needed, as well.  I was referred to a specialty clinic here who has a very good veterinary oncologist and by the time I got in to see him, the tears had somewhat dried up as I had done my research. Humans get the same cancer and the prognosis after an amputation was deemed excellent, regardless of the species.

However, the weeks between the diagnosis and the surgery were a complete nightmare.  I was a walking anxiety attack who was so scared I would lose my best friend.  I couldn’t function and just cried and cried.  It was my father, who happened to be talking to me at the time due to the wedding, who got me through it from afar.

It was a replay of everything my father taught me as a young child, even if he had a mean way of toughening me up.  I had to rely on my strength.  I had to stop breaking down.  I had to be in charge.  I am grateful my father was there for me on the phone and by e-mail.  It was one of the worst times I can remember, nonetheless.  How could this horrible disease happen to my sweet, little cat?  How could it happen to me after all I’d been through?  Why do bad things always happen to good people—and that included Moush Moush?

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Deciding on an amputation is hard, especially when it’s not a decision for yourself.  I needed to know if Moush Moush wanted this surgery, but she didn’t know something in her body was trying to kill her so how could I find that out?  I thought about animals in the wild and how they fight for their lives.  I thought about how in Judaism, life is seen as a gift that you don’t take for granted.  I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing this solely because I couldn’t live without her. All of her doctors were in favor of the amputation and finally, my mind was made up.

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At the appointment at the specialty clinic earlier that month, the oncologist told me that there was a 90% cure rate with amputation.  The 10% would be if the cancer metastasized to the lungs, which wasn’t likely as she had a stage 1 tumor with a very low mitotic index, meaning the tumor was slow growing at that point.  I can’t recall if he mentioned radiation or if they even provided it, but he was very confident that surgery would suffice and I really didn’t want to put Moush Moush through any unnecessary treatments, so I followed his advice.

We met with the surgeon, who was very confident as well, despite the initial surgery she’d had.  He was very friendly and drew diagrams on a whiteboard of how he was going to cut clear around the residual tumor and surgical area in order to get very wide margins and all the microscopic cancer cells.  I was told that tripods, or 3-legged cats, do quite well.  It seemed like Moush Moush had cheated death by getting the tumor on her leg.  The surgery was scheduled.

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I dropped her off with big kisses and was told they would call me when they were done and I could visit her in a couple of days.  I went back to the desolate condo and missed seeing Moush Moush in bed or finding her rats and toys at the top of the stairs.  There was a horrible emptiness as I had no friends and was so isolated as it was.  I was cautiously optimistic that everything would turn out and tried to not think about what she was going through during the surgery. I got a call that all went well and she was recuperating and I felt a little better.

I went to visit her at the specialty clinic a couple days later when they said I could and was completely unprepared.  A tech led me into a small room and I took a seat while she brought Moush Moush in and placed her 5.5 lb body on my lap.  Nearly half her body was shaved and she had a large, semi-circular incision with black sutures where her leg had been.  There was nothing there: no leg, no shoulder, no shoulder blade—I was told that would look odd once the muscles atrophied.  She was on buprenorphine, a very strong narcotic, and she tried to lift her head to turn and look at me, but couldn’t.  I kept petting her and talking to her and telling her how brave she was.  She knew it was me.  The guilt was about to swallow me up and my sadness and anger at this disease was eating me alive.  Moush Moush had been through a terrible surgery and I signed the paperwork.  Why did this have to happen to her?  She didn’t deserve any of it.

I finally was able to take her home.  She smelled awful as she was too sick to groom herself and I wished they could have cleaned her a bit, which I tried to do at home.  I had made a safe, tent bed of pillows under a folding table covered with a sheet.  I had her food and water right by her side, but she didn’t move.  I gave her the liquid narcotic as scheduled and she drank it up.  She couldn’t eat or drink, so I bought baby food and syringed that and water into her mouth to keep her alive.  She stayed like that for days and days and hadn’t used her litter box, which was an aluminum baking pan as I needed something very low to the ground for her.  I was so worried I barely slept.

She finally tried to get up one day, but she didn’t know how to walk on 3 legs and the laminate wood floor was so slippery. She was like Bambi on Ice and did the splits.  I tried to help her to no avail and was so afraid to touch her surgery site and cause any pain.  I bought sticky, rubber drawer liners and lined the floors and little by little she learned to walk on 3 legs.  She also finally went to the bathroom after nearly a week, but she couldn’t make the long walk to the litter box so I had a flood to clean up, but I didn’t care. Moush Moush was going to be okay.

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And she was.  One day I caught her slowly climbing down the stairs and she was sleeping in bed with me again courtesy of a chair I placed at the end to help her get up and down.  With time, she just had trouble getting down from things as she could jump onto lower furniture just fine with two back legs. Every 6 weeks we went to the oncologist for a checkup and chest X-rays, and every time she had a clean bill of health. At the 1-year mark, we could just have this done by her vet and the oncologist reminded me that with each passing year, the chance of metastatic disease was smaller and smaller.  I felt I could finally breathe.

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Shortly after that, we got notice that we had 30 days to move out of our rental condo due to the shyster owner who was moving back in because despite knowing that I was sick and in need of long-term housing, he leased it to me simply so I could pay part of his mortgage while he lived in a house he was flipping during the recession.  Now I knew why I got it for so cheap and he would never forward his mail.  It would be another move for Moush Moush, who was content enough where she was.  The amputation changed her in so many ways, but she was still a sweet and talkative companion that I would do anything for.

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It was August of 2010 and so hot with the monsoon coming and going.  I couldn’t find a rental as most condos here are not locally-owned and are managed by shady property managers who do nothing for you and steal your deposits unless you sue them, but they do require proof of employment—not credit or income.  The large, apartment complexes here are even worse or were converted into condos during the boom before the recession.

So, we ended up in the motel, where we’ve been for nearly 3 years, with the exception of a nightmare, studio condo I reluctantly rented for a year until it developed a clogged sewer line above my unit and I got sewage and Drano dumped on my head twice and ended up with acute bronchitis and fluid in my lungs with a note from the ER doctor to not return until the unit was habitable, which the property manager could care less about.  We stayed for 2 more days until the mold from the wet drywall was too much to bear and I got our old room back here at the motel the evening that I went out-of-state and got a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type II by a geneticist. Well, I can’t say Moush Moush got dealt the best hand in life, either.  At least she prefers to stay in bed most of the time now, as there isn’t much space to walk around in here.

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I used to belong to a small synagogue here that was affordable.  I’m not that religious, but during the part of the Shabbat service where we stand and pray silently, I’d pray and pray that Moush Moush would stay healthy and then take my seat.  It hurt my body to sit through the service and I never prayed for my own health.  The years passed with clean checkups, so the cancer was behind us, even though I didn’t renew my membership last year due to my vision and missed the High Holiday services, which fell right after my corneal surgery when I was far beyond legally blind. Nonetheless, something had worked to keep Moush Moush in remission.

I was the one getting worse.  The keratoconus showed up in 2011 by my estimation and then I connected the dots and got correctly diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos during the sewage disaster in November of 2012 and things just seemed to be spiraling out of control, but I still had Moush Moush to keep me from feeling so utterly alone and unloved.  She has always been my reason for living and the balance when things get so off-kilter.  This September is 4 years since Moush Moush’s amputation and the follow-up appointment when her oncologist put his hand on her side where the tumor had been and said, “I consider this area cured.” Oncologists never like to say the word “cured”.

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Then I felt it the Tuesday before last: a small, firm, oval lump where her leg had been.  I could almost get my fingers under it—just like the myxosarcoma.  I lost my mind and took double doses of Klonopin—my prescribed amount actually—to get through the night until I could call the vet the next day. I also had to see the cardiologist about my echo the following day and can’t say I was at my best.  I was able to get an appointment with the vet that Thursday night, and we saw the same one who did the big biopsy and diagnosed her, so at least she would remember the tumor I hoped.  She did, but the aspirate was dry this time, which allowed me to breathe again momentarily.

The clinic stays open rather late and she said she could do a biopsy—and I stressed just a biopsy—and I could pick Moush Moush up in a few hours.  The vet called when she was done. She said the tumor wasn’t encapsulated and didn’t just come out as hoped.  She wasn’t optimistic, even though she didn’t see the bubble of mucin like last time.  I went back to the double doses of Klonopin and picked Moush Moush up.  She was fine, but had a small incision in her white fur with white stitches from the biopsy and was wild as could be from the narcotic they gave her.

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I calmed down a bit over the weekend, but by Monday I had CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” stuck in my head, with the line “Someone told me long ago; there’s a calm before the storm,” playing like a broken record.  The biopsy results would be back on Tuesday at the earliest.  I had no one to talk to about Moush Moush and I didn’t have a good feeling.  I just kept thinking that this can’t happen again. Things are so bad right now and this really just can’t happen because if this cancer is on the body, they can’t surgically remove it with the wide margins and it’s terminal.

I just can’t lose Moush Moush and I know there are people who are attached to their pets, but they have a life beyond that. She’s the love of my life and literally all I have left.  The first person—yes person—that I talk to when I get up and the last one I talk to when I go to bed and who else do I talk to in between?  I get into bed with her by my side and always say, “Night night, Moush Moush.  I love you.”  I poke my head in her cat pyramid that sits on the bed and kiss her on the head and make sure she’s okay.  Everything is routine with us. She’s been on this slow journey into nothingness with me for 12 years now.

Tuesday came and I called the vet clinic in hopes the biopsy results were in because I needed to know.  I was told something came back and her regular vet, who is a gentle soul, would call back my 9 pm.  So, I waited and tried my best to distract myself.  The clock soon read 10 pm and no call—I already knew why.  Her vet called around 10:45 pm, even though the clinic closes at 10 pm.  If I had to hear bad news, I wanted to hear it from her, but I could tell from her first words what she was going to say.  Moush Moush had a recurrence. The biopsy showed myxofibrosarcoma—the same cancer as before but worded differently.  The diagnosis was grim, especially as it’s the second time and on her body, but she wanted me to see the oncologist to get the hard facts.  I kept my composure and thanked her—I really did need to hear it from this vet who is so warm and caring.

Then, I just broke into a million pieces and cried like I’ve never cried before.  I had a massive panic attack and couldn’t breathe—it was as if all the air had been sucked out of the motel room. I fell to the floor in the bathroom and wanted to die, but I couldn’t leave Moush Moush all alone with this disease, like the world had done to me.  So, I told her exactly what was going on as she senses my moods and was upset.  I know what it’s like to not get the truth about your health, so I told her everything and what was going to happen and that I loved her and that I would somehow find her again one day and that I would never ever forget her and all our seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years together.  How could I?   We eventually went to bed and I kept my hand on her until I fell asleep.

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I spoke with her vet who did the biopsy the following day. She has a softer side and we had a good talk; I’m glad I called.  She told me she was hoping that it would be some benign thing when the biopsy results came back.  She was sorry.  I let her know I had made an appointment with the oncologist for next Wednesday to find out the prognosis.  I do know the mitotic index is higher and this is typical. Soft-tissue sarcomas that aren’t completely excised grow back much more aggressively, but they usually show up again within 3 to 6 months, maybe a year.  We’re almost at 4 years.

Moush Moush’s vet doesn’t understand based on her knowledge of oncology and this type of cancer, either.  She’s not sure if the oncologist will know how a cell, or cells, just sat for so long as soft-tissue sarcomas have a pattern of rapid recurrence.  There’s also the fact that these top, veterinary specialists were so confident and the pathology report showed even wider margins than mandated that were clean. She said I would drive myself crazy trying to understand it. Something that shouldn’t have happened did and science can’t explain it. Science seems so logical, and this freak recurrence after so long is bothering me to no end. I keep replaying everything in my head like with my own diseases. How did this all go so wrong?

How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  Is anyone really upstairs?  I screamed that there wasn’t at the top of my lungs in the bathroom when I got the news on Tuesday.  I wanted to tear my necklace off my neck—the one that I wrote about—but I am still who I am, whether I believe in a higher power or not. The only joy in my life is dying.  My sunshine: the one who lets me cry into her fur and who spoons with me while I hold her tight and tell her I love her forever.  How will I survive this, too?  How will I live this horrific life—this inhumane hand I’ve been dealt—all alone after she’s gone?

I planned on being back in the California desert when her time came years from now and I would bury her there as it’s always warm and beautiful and it’s Moush Moush’s favorite place.  To me, Moush Moush is a person and even as a non-Orthodox Jew, I follow the basic rules regarding death and according to Jewish law, you go into the ground.  I won’t bury her in this city that I wouldn’t want to be buried in myself and I will be out of here the minute my broken-down body is simply capable of moving.

Now, I will have to cremate her and the thought makes me want to vomit—burning bodies like crematoriums in concentration camps with flames and smoke and the smell of burning flesh.  I can’t think about it; it’s not our way.  Moush Moush deserves to be buried in a cemetery among the petunias; she always loved to hide in the gardens at my mother’s home that are filled with them.

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I can’t think of her becoming sick very soon and then that last trip to the vet when I get to be the executioner—the one who gives the vet the go ahead.  I won’t let her suffer like I have for 12 years, but I don’t know how I will give the orders. I will say the Shema for her and then how will I express a lifetime of love in the few minutes we will have left when she has no idea what is coming, but I do?  My heart is ripping apart and my eyes are swollen and hurt from so many tears. I’ve kissed her and told her I loved her a thousand times. I’ve taken so many photos this week of Moush Moush and me—the ones I should have taken years ago.  The photo of us together is from this Wednesday on my airbed; we would never sleep on some hard, nasty bed with motel sheets.

How many times did I spend the whole night writing posts for this blog that I edited for days while Moush Moush just stared at me with her head hanging off the bed beside me? How many hours passed with my body aching from sitting and typing on the laptop and I didn’t notice her there watching me?  I started this blog 11 months ago to the day and aside from my search engine crowd that I am providing much needed information to and a few, faithful followers, I’m really not sure it was worth so much of my time now.  I wish I could do it all over, just like my life.  Why is hindsight always 20/20?

I saw my counselor this Wednesday after I spoke with her vet and less than 24 hours after getting the devastating news about the recurrence.  Things are better between us.  Some erroneous assumptions had been made about me that are now cleared up and his weirdness is gone, as well.  I’m still confused as to what happened as things were off from the start.  Yes, my counselor is male and I no longer am worried about him reading my blog—I really hope I can trust that he won’t.  It’s almost like a whole new person is in our sessions that he lets run for one and a half hours in the evening, which I really need.  I didn’t want to talk about Moush Moush, but he said I should and then I just melted into a puddle of tears.  My counselor was what I needed that night.

He told me he had ordered an audio book for me the previous week and I’ll get it at my next session; I can barely read printed text anymore due to my vision.  He asked if I knew who Viktor Frankl was.  I said that of course I knew who he was—the late psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who wrote Man’s Search For Meaning, which I read so long ago that I don’t remember it well, but I never forgot the title because it fits me so perfectly: the need to know why.  I eagerly asked if that was the audio book he bought me and it is.  When was the last time I received a gift?  My counselor actually understands me, when no one else ever has before. He understands my brain and my need for answers and the Jewishness that is woven through everything.  This is a good thing and I desperately need it right now.  He gave me a big hug after our session and I felt like someone cared about Moush Moush and about me and all that I had endured in the past and all that I am enduring now.  I felt compassion, and maybe for the first time.

When detailing his experience in the concentration camps, Frankl wrote, “If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”  This is the concept I need to understand and the one I couldn’t explain until now.  I need to learn it from a fellow Jew who endured the worst suffering imaginable and my counselor realized that.  This is exactly why counseling has always failed me in the past, as well.  I have yet another steep mountain to climb and I will have to do it all alone this time.

The hole in my heart that can only be filled by Moush Moush has begun to grow and it hurts more than any physical pain I’ve ever known.  My counselor said that I shouldn’t think of her as dying now and to spend every precious moment I can with her—and I am.  This is my last post for now as I needed to write an homage to Moush Moush, who is the best thing that has ever happened to me in the almost 40 years I’ve been on this earth.  She deserves her story to be told.

I always wanted to find the fountain of youth so that for as long as I lived, my little soul mate would be by my side.  I naively thought it would always be Moush Moush and me going through this life together.  She is the one good thing I still have and I am clinging on to her for dear life until the last piece of me is stolen away.  I only hope I can understand the meaning in suffering before that happens.  I love you, Moush Moush—forever and ever and ever.

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Mi Shebeiriach

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64 thoughts on “MOUSH MOUSH AND ME

  1. Moush Moush looks like my “Buddie”. Buddie was a girl named after the My Buddy doll. I thought initially she was a boy… She fooled me. Also a tuxedo cat. She lived to be sixteen. Also had tumors we found 2-3 years previous (VET said treatment would be overkill at her age) but died on her own terms. BUT close to me, and wrapped in my favorite velour dress for burial. HUGS.

    • Thank you for reading Moush Moush’s story. It’s really just too much as she’s all I have left. I don’t want to think about the end, but I wish I could bury her as stated like you did with your cat, but that’s just not possible now. I like that you wrapped her in your favorite, velour dress. Cancer is so awful–it’s worse than both my diseases put together and I hate it.
      Take care of yourself,
      A

  2. I understand. And you take care of yourself too. 😦 And I’ll be around if you want to WP chat! Hugs

  3. dyspatient says:

    Oh my heart is breaking for you two right now. I am so sorry she’s been sick. I know that anything I say can come across badly, but I want to say it and hope you can read it in the spirit of love I feel. I know how deeply a pet, a cat, can bond with you. I’ve had two dear cats in my life now, the new one is growing closer too. It was scary to reach out to them, first to my dear Max after my childhood cat (Muffin) died, and now after Max has gone, to my lovely girl Anya. But it has been worth it and although it has been unbelievably painful, I do not regret opening my home and my heart again and again.

    Max was so sick in his last years, a slow deterioration with episodic crises. And I also felt feelings similar to what you’re describing – the guilt of not spending every moment I could with him when he was healthy still. As we weathered his health crises, I found myself spending those times that I could as completely as I could. It helped in the end, when his time came and after he was gone. It does help to take your time now and enjoy the love you can get and give. I know she will know it, your bond sounds so special and she sounds so attuned to you. Your love now is going to be a comfort to her.

    A note on your blog and what you’ve given through it. Your blog posts and your comments have been more than helpful tips. You have been someone who gets it, who makes me feel less alone. I have had some truly dark times these past few months and feeling even a thread of a connection has been a great comfort. I am glad you will take your time with Moush Moush. I’ll miss your comments and posts, but I’ll imagine you wrapped around her on the bed or the floor, and I’ll send as much love and good thoughts as I can for you both and be happy. Please give her a kiss for me, tell her I said thank you for sharing her mom with me, and that I know she’s in good hands since her mom was such a help to me when I needed it.

    • D,

      Your comment made me cry. It was so touching and I know you get it, even if you do have others in you life and I’m sorry you had to go through illness with your cats, too. So many people told me they would have just put Moush Moush down when they found out how much I paid for the amputation and follow-ups (that I really didn’t have) and so most people seem so cruel to me and I really thought no one would understand our story–it really is our story if you read deep into it. We both changed for the worse when we moved here, even if Moush Moush just had terrible allergies at first.

      I don’t know why I feel like my blog and comments are rather worthless. I’ve never been one to fit in most of my life and I blog on such odd topics. I’ve reached out to so many people on WP and nothing (or the one-sided thing I don’t care for). I know my posts and comments are long and don’t care for this Twitter world that holds no meaning for me. So, I really appreciate you telling me that they have helped you. That’s why I started blogging (I was never the journal-type), although it was actually to get info out about CXL since there isn’t any aside from the basics. I need to take a break from writing posts as they take days (literally) to put together and I really don’t even enjoy it until it’s done and I hit publish, but I am too loyal to stop commenting–I just needed a few days to work on this. So, I will still be doing that until things get messy and then I’ll probably need a break to mourn. I will catch up on all your post by tomorrow. 🙂

      Thanks so much again for your kind words… It means the world to me. My mother, who knows what’s going on, called me last night and started a fight with me to rub salt in my wounds that lasted for 2.5 hrs. Can you imagine? Why didn’t I just hang up the damn phone.
      A ❤

      • dyspatient says:

        I really do understand. I’ve been blogging since, what 2006? And how many people comment on my blog? So sometimes I don’t post for a while. Especially when I need to consolidate my energy.

        I meant to tell you, the pictures of Moush are great. I love her mustache, kinda like The Colonel, wondering if she likes fried chicken. 🙂 Kisses to the kitty and hugs to you.
        And boooooooooo to your mom. Seriously. And more boooooo. What a rotten thing of her to do. It’s stuff like this that’s why I don’t have a relationship with my mother. God, what is wrong with people?

      • Thanks and glad you liked the photos–that took soooo long. I got you on the blogging thing and totally commend you for sticking with it. I’m so not a quitter, but it’s rather frustrating, even when you find people with the same problems and nothing (or they quickly stop blogging). I need the interaction more than the writing as I really am social by nature (or was)–it’s the few people I e-mail occasionally who always said I needed to write somewhere. I so wish I could write shorter posts like you where you just get crap off your chest, but I’m stuck in Scholarly Writing Land, where there’s literally a damn outline in my head like my prof is going to grade it! I also want to redo my conclusion on this post since I always tie things back up and didn’t. Oy vey. This is why I just need to comment for now.

        Moush Moush would go crazy for KFC and get a greasy mustache (I thought it was a beard when I 1st saw her), but she’s allergic to chicken and fish and corn and wheat and herself! She used to have no fur on her lower back! Those pictures were in order and the latter ones show her bald spots from scratching and chewing her legs to bits. She’s given herself eyebrows (did you see?) that I’m trying to get under control with HC cream and she won’t let me touch her legs. The food allergies started when she was younger and she eats an Rx diet, but the rest is from the motel and I finally figured it out last week (3 yrs later). I won’t let the crappy maids in this time (we get service 1 x week and they break everything and use toxic stuff), so I clean myself and borrow a vacuum from the front desk. Btw, I have horrendously itchy legs that started in this place, but are also from salicylates, which seem to be like a mast cell (EDS) thing, but my legs get worse after I vacuum, even with jeans on. Anyway, I noticed the vacuum smelled like insecticide (Raid or whatnot), which I will not use around her. Then the vacuum here broke so I had to buy one at ol’ Wal-Mart last week (prefer the bagless) and all this white, chalky crap came out of the carpet into the plastic bin. They must have put insecticide powder into the vacuum bags due to the roaches, etc. and it just goes everywhere. So, I cleaned MY vacuum out and threw the motel towels on her pathway to her food, etc., but keep catching her laying on the damn carpet. I wish I could steam clean it, but they did that at a job I had in ’01 and I got massive hives all over my face the next day when I went in. I hope this didn’t contribute to anything–it’s very bad for small animals. :-(. I so hate carpet and it’s everywhere in this city–they just love it so I lucked out with that one condo as the a-hole owner had allergies like me.

        Yes, my mother has some undiagnosed mental problem for sure. I think it’s something along the lines of a personality disorder, which sort of sounds like yours, as well. Every summer I hope she gets stuck in Europe and never comes back–maybe you can send your mother there. I didn’t talk to her for around 2 years and should have left it that way. I have no idea what’s wrong with people, either. Sure sucks! Long reply… thanks for the hugs (need them) and Moush Moush is confused about so many kisses all of a sudden. 🙂

      • dyspatient says:

        I know I am preaching to the choir but god I wish you didn’t live there. I wonder if you can try an area rug over the carpet? Carpet place around the corner form me where I used to live had cheap remnant stuff now and then.

        Your description of Moush’s diet sounds like Max’s. I blogged about some of it while I was happening back in 06 – 09. We had to buy him special Rx food too, expensive and he didn’t love it. Or sensitized to it fast then got sick again. It was hard to keep up.

        Moms. Yep. And I’ll be seeing mine soon for a funeral. Ugh. Really not looking forward to that. I had to call my parents’ house last night to (try to) talk to my brother. Got my dad, who was like “wanna say hi?” and I was like “um, no.”

        Although I like the comments, I think I blog to write. I always wrote journals. I think length puts people off, I’ve suspected that about my blog now and then. Which is really sad because you write such beautiful, well crafted posts and they are really worth the read. I do get some social interaction still from working – less than I’d like but I know what you mean about needing it. People do. I think it’s part of our evolutionary heritage. Hard to fight that.

        “…Moush is confused about so many kisses all of a sudden”
        My cat’s like “why can’t I walk through a room without you freaking out and coming for me?! WTF lady?!” because every time I see her right now, I want to make sure she knows I love her. 🙂 Poor thing. It’s too hot to be manhandled like this. Just got myself a big gouge in the chest for picking her up at the wrong time (like I said, she’s still a little panicky/street cattish).

      • No worries. I actually put another towel down, but Moush is all weird about the towels (that feeling under the toes) and walks around them to get to her food. Argh. Cats are so funny. I’m so allergic to the dust/dander that gets into carpet and the layout is so odd in here that I’m thinking I’ll get a sheet from housekeeping and throw that down if she keeps it up (and I can wash it!). Luckily, I have the kitchenette so 1/2 the room has wood laminate and the bath is tile, which I mop–boy, this is a boring reply. I can tell you the brand if you want–haha.

        Moush (luckily) did fine once we found a good vet and put her on venison and pea years ago and it is pricey, but she’s so small I only have to get a bag every 5 mos (I think her vet bills evened things out). Just a tip in case you have to deal w/that. Sorry Anya is still so nervous–hate to think what she went through before you found her. 😦

        I would so dread having to be near my mother and sorry about the funeral–your uncle I presume. That’s where I’m stuck even if I could get out of here. The SW sucks and the Cali. desert is the only safe (safer), pretty place, but then I get to live right by her and my step-father 9 mos out of the year!!! Back to the Catch-22. I don’t know what to do as I need the dry desert and it would be better there as you can get to LA within 2 hrs for the BIG docs if need be.

        Yes, my long posts are an issue. Yours don’t seem long, though. I have no idea as I like to read! I feel like a weight has been lifted now that I’m not posting and dealing with my damn monthly quota I gave myslelf–sure my PT will be happy to know that! It wasn’t even my intention as I was just going to (via my brother) post on my CXL experience and be done. I was always a reader (never really kept a journal like you, which I did try to do). I completely do not have your humongous vocabulary, but I was reading chapter books before kindergarten. Does anyone read anymore??? I like your style b/c it totally captures your personality, but I also love the long posts that are more story-like on WP. I read the best one that got pressed shortly after coming on here. That was so long, but such a good read–still remember it. It was about grieving–how odd. I don’t read that section often, but glad I did that day.

        We have the oncology appt. Wed and the calm before the storm is coming again. Thanks for being there (my dear blogging friend). ❤

      • dyspatient says:

        About the carpets: my bil, the dreamy dreamer one, he works in enivronmental science/occ health – so think asbestos removal stuff. He HATES carpets, apparently he’s seen just way too much mold and other crap in them. And can’t look at one without that coming to mind.

        I have a few friends who are readers. I still read, I’m out of authors at the moment, my favorites need to write more! I prefer novels to anything else, although I read a really good book on Boston’s busing crisis last year that was very compelling (in the way novels usually are).

        Thank you for the nice words about my writing. The vocab, we can thank my parents for. Two frustrated english majors raising kids in a working class town. They swamped us with big words. My student workers used to joke “oh, a big word!” and I would obligingly define it for them and explain that this is a good thing for them to have exposure to, and that while a “big word” it was exactly the right word for the moment. Like ambivalent.

      • Yes, carpet is disgusting and I don’t wear shoes inside so even yuckier. Still going with the big sheet if MM keeps avoiding the towels!

        I figured you got your vocabulary from the prestigious U. Well, that makes sense and nothing wrong with that! My parents are average speakers, what can I say? Even the MD step-father. I love novels too, but I used to read a lot of books on social issues (going all the way back to Sinclair’s The Jungle). Have you read any of Jonathan Kozol’s books about at-risk youth in NYC. He writes about the public schools, as well. Very good and terrible at the same time. If of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Kozol. All very urban. There was another one I read years ago called Random Family I believe that was so like the kids I worked with and people I used to know. I hope I can read again one day. It was the pain of sitting before my vision went that stopped that.

      • dyspatient says:

        The reading thing is a real tragedy. I love reading and I can imagine how this would feel for me. Like losing a best friend. How are you with audio processing? There are a lot of text to speech systems out there that will give you electronic text as audio. It takes some getting used to, and the voices are not exceptionally human sounding, but in some ways I find that less intrusive. I’ve noticed when I’m audio-reading, I tend to crank up the speed so it’s super fast. Not quite as fast as what the students who use it all the time listen at, but then I’ve only just recently come to the audio reading party. Slower speeds = frustration for listening and comprehending I think.

        One of my favorite books as a kid was my “child’s dictionary”. I loved that thing. And really, my parents used big words like people use salt. My dad in particular was fond of pairing fancy words with base ones, “unctuous little s**t!” was his term for one of my boyfriends, for example. They were showing off i think, since both of them were 1st gen college and certainly didn’t grow up with those vocabularies, but you put a bright kid in that language environment and you get a potty mouthed fancy word using woman out of it. 😉

      • I think I had that Child’s Dictionary! I had a whole little alcove that was like a library (and I wonder why I never fit in!). I still think that stuff your dad would says is so funny and the best is that no one for the most part would know what he was talking about but his kids! 🙂

        Oh, a little lost on the audio thing. Not sure if I know what you mean, as I can read the computer all blown up (thanks to you!). I get my scleral lenses next week so if they work, I’ll be able to see 20/30 (really 20/30!), but I’m a visual learner so audio is iffy. I have Viktor Frankl’s book on audio from my counselor, btw. It’s the sitting (pain) that made me lose focus and then just not be interested in anything with time. 😦

      • dyspatient says:

        I’m glad you can appreciate the unlikely marriage of vulgarity and erudition. lol. I picked it up from him, having once accused my PhD program head of “f**king prevaricating” on funding decisions (so as to favor his baby making wife and her friends, who were students in the program). One of my prouder moments.

        There are three classes of higher tech that transform digital “print” for people with low, limited, or no vision. Tactile, where words are converted to a refreshable braille display (think little box with pins that raise and fall to spell out the words in bumpy braille); audio, where text to speech algorithms and programs convert the digital text to synthetic robo-voices; and visual transformation, where you can zoom globally or selectively on digital text, and where you can alter the contrast or invert colors so that you see light text on dark background, for example. All of my students use some combination. Two with low vision use zoom and synthetic voice reader, one of these two students uses color inversion too, and both of them tend to navigate visually with magnification of the mouse cursor and screen.

        I think I could do the audio, but I wouldn’t love it. Not as much as reading visually, e.g. I can drift off to sleep while visual reading but not so easily while hearing audiobooks.

      • Lol! I think it’s hysterical but I’d just sit there with my pocket translator trying to figure out what you were calling me! I have a bad habit of telling people off, but with none of the good words like you.

        OK, per the computer, I am doing really good (or so I think) with just having the OS blown up and then Chrome (browser) and using the zoom in there to blow up different pages. It’s easier than using the magnifier that I never figure out and I think I just want to get off the laptop asap due to my pain, so faster is better. I know I have loads of typos still but blame my typing (stiff fingers and some numbness) and inability to notice little things. My light sensitivity is better on here now (bad outside) so I think I can get by, but I do notice that the white font on black is easier to see which is interesting you mentioned that (like Sheep’s blog, where I still have loads of typos when it posts and shows up bigger (should use the zoom more!). They need an edit for commenting!

        I think I’m doing OK and the CXL helped to bring the ghosting down some, which was very bad at any size font. That’s the issue with KC but you’ll probably never get a KC student as everyone gets by w/special contacts until they need transplants (if they do), which should be gone in due time with CXL. My biggest issue is still with sitting (and then typing) as it aggravates my sore muscles. When I had a breakfast bar, I’d stand to use the laptop, but I still have that issue with typing aggravating my shoulder/neck muscles. What a mess! Oh, if it were earlier last nt. I would have contacted you as I couldn’t get the audio book to play on here (1 of 4 disks played?). I was downloading different things and nothing. I finally just tried the DVD in here and it came through the TV! I have no clue and I have to listen to each CD all at once as it doesn’t give you the tracks, but at least I can do my homework with Frankl’s book. I am such a visual learner and it was hard to grasp it all like when reading, but I was creating a video in my head while listening. I used to read before bed yrs ago and then would fall asleep too, but I could sit in a coffee shop pre-EDS and read for hrs. I used to always say I’d rather be deaf than blind–how odd! Anyway, after CD 1 I was lost in thought and depressed and missed MM. Picking her up tonight and they said she’s doing well and her incision is clean. Yippee… I’m going to post a “Taking a Break” page soon so I have a different post on here to chat on.

        Oh, this got long–yikes. Thanks for the info about the computer. You’re so good at all this! 🙂

      • Thank you!!! So nice of you (or your friend’s daughters) to send this! What’s interesting is this comes from the same branch of Judaism as my last synagogue (better fit for me). The good thing in modern Judaism is that it keeps evolving unless you’re Conservative/Orthodox, so there is always re-interpretation like here. Well, that synagogue doesn’t do anything like this and I didn’t leave on the best terms as they kept sending me bills when I never renewed (grrr), but I can sit and sway with MM when she’s healed up a bit! I don’t have a great voice but sing the Reconstructionist version of Mi Shebeiriach to her (on my post) and she likes that. Prayer for the sick. Now I look like a religious zealot. 🙂

      • dyspatient says:

        You’re welcome! I am sorry that there isn’t a good temple for you locally. I told my friend about this, she said “they usually will work with people, I mean the good ones will…” but I don’t know what that entails. She’s had some troubles with her synagogue, but I think she outlasted them (a not great rabbi, some board (?) members who were weird and who ended up leaving with him). Now, things are good. I think that private prayer is good and not zealoty at all. I actually feel more zealoty and weird when I practice spirituality en masse. However, having been to plenty of rallies and protests and demonstration, I know there is power in a group experience like this. I used to joke that these were probably the closets thing I’d ever feel to religious “ecstasy”. I’m glad I had the experience though, because before I really couldn’t get it, the whole “why go to mass/temple/services?”

      • I got you there. I, like most of my extended family, got tired of the politics and the pay to pray theory involved in institutionalized Judaism as I call it. I was able to go to High Holiday services yrs ago for free when I was getting that design degree (got a weird look when a 32-yr-old showed up with a student ID), but it was at one of the HUGE Reform synagogues and it was just like my youth and I thought it was fine until I found the Reconstructionist synagogue and much preferred that, but it just didn’t work out due to my health/vision and then the bad break-up. Your friend is right and I hear this story over and over, so people stop going. I find it sad as we are a community and come together en masse, as you mentioned.

        Speaking of Catholicism. I saw on CNN that the Pope (my new guy) is making all the Cardinals (or ?) sell their pricey cars and donate the money to the poor! See, this is where things have all gone wrong with us in modern times. A synagogues is supposed to be a simple, non-ornate bldg., yet they hire these crazy architects and spend millions building them and then you get the bldg. fund tacked on to your dues (around $4k/yr for a single person/no kids + High Holiday tickets). That’s why Larry David bought tickets from a scalper if you caught that episode (HBO in here). So, forget it and I’m not asking for a handout. There was a great article in the Huff Post about this subject and why so many Jews are unaffiliated. Tragic.

      • dyspatient says:

        Ok, I had no idea about the pope thing, and I’m about to go google that. Hilarious and awesome. I’ll be there are some cardinals wishing for the “good ol” days when one could just elect another pope in another country. Seriously, this amuses the hell out of me.

        The membership dues thing. Ugh. That is so wrong. Really really wrong. I don’t blame you for not wanting to be a part of it.

        I did not see that Curb. Loved that show but sometimes it felt meanspirited towards the later seasons/episodes so I dropped off in watching it. I love the idea of Larry trying to buy tickets from a scalper though. 🙂

      • Yes, so great about the Pope and so rotten about the yearly dues!
        I only started watching that show (I just call it Larry David!) the last season as I didn’t have HBO before so I really don’t know what it was like before that, but most of those episodes were hysterical. Jewish humor. Can be offensive at times. He reminds me of my father in how he just blurts thing out with no regard for the person he’s talking to and other oddities I find in my culture. Actually, very similar I think aside from their looks. I believe that clip is on YouTube, as is the Palestinian Chicken Joint and possibly the one with the divorce lawyer, which I thought were hysterical–the latter totally being my father again. I think the one I mentioned was from that last season? However, I now recall some channel had re-runs 2 yrs ago so I did see earlier episodes, after all. Now I’m confused and where did that show go?

      • dyspatient says:

        It IS a funny show. He reminds me of my sister. She’s so socially, just, odd. The rules he lives by and assumes everyone should too, that’s the part that makes me think of my sister. The looks of unadulterated outrage he can do when someone breaks one of his rules, holy crap they kill me.

      • Lol! So funny. I really think you need that DNA test on your mother–she could be related to my father (his mother was adopted out of NYC) and hence your sister. You never know. Well, I look like a lighter version of my father (but we look like my grandfather). You never know, and then you can be a member of the tribe, on top of the rest of your problems. Fun, fun. I think I have some Larry in me, too (yikes). 🙂 Hahaha. Off to the optom.

      • dyspatient says:

        I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to find that out. My mother’s always wanted to be Jewish. I chalked it up to her having gone to Big Jewish U up here in northeast US, but who knows. And my grandmother is notoriously unreliable on the facts of my mother’s paternity. Had originally said it was a man named (wait for it) Mr. Coffee, from County Cork in Ireland. But later recanted, saying “you know, your son” (my brother) “looks so much like that guy I knew from that party, Chico’s friend…” Ok. Chico’s friend. Great! That’s so helpful Grandma.

      • LOL! Maybe you can get her to take and pay for the DNA test then. So funny! You told me about Mr. Coffey (I think you weren’t sure on the spelling) and Chico’s friend–best ever. NY is a closed-adoption state so my grandmother can’t get any identifying info (like anyone is alive still–she’s 94!). We can get it when she goes, but my dad has his DNA on some site and he found 2nd cousins on her side in Argentina whose parents came from Ukraine and the woman looks so much like her, but younger. Holy weird. That would be the best if you matched and then had to talk to my father aka Larry David. I can totally hear him, “Catholic? No, you’re waaaaay off. Goodbye.” He tells people he’s Sicilian all the time (???) so if she’s at all Italian like your dad, then he’d be interested. I swear that’s why he got that damn test and was all pissed to trace his roots back 30k yrs to the Holy Land. Lol! No Italian names or Italian speakers in the gene pool. What a putz.

      • dyspatient says:

        chrome ate my comment. Anyhow…so your dad wanted to be Sciillian? LOL. Is it a bad-ass mob thing?

        MA was a close adoption state too, may still be. I remember my mother playing private detective. So many kitchen phone calls, so much lying to various people on the other end of the line. I don’t blame her, I think that she needed to do it and I don’t know why it has to be so hard…why there can’t be some big message board somewhere that people can check. I dunno, something. I was raised with a keen but secondhand awareness of the strangeness of being adopted. It was a big issue for my mother, probably since her adopted family was NOT good. She probably would have looked sooner (I was a tween when she did finally do it) but her little brother had had a really horrible experience. I think it put them both off the whole birth parent thing for a while.

      • People ask my dad if he’s Sicilian all the time so he’s been playing this game for decades. I used to get the same question when I actually talked to people. Haha. Actually, I take that back–these girls asked me what nationality I was at Wal-Mart this week. Oh, I could see them too as I got my scleral lenses that day; I forgot to mention! Doc needs to tweak the Rx so will tell you more when I can see even better, but good enough for now. Back to strange father… When he’d go to Italy on vacation, he’d come back with an Italia T-shirt and wear it non-stop. We actually have mafia blood in the family (and an uncle–paternal great-grandmother’s brother–who disappeared, supposedly with cement shoes in the Chicago River). Little factoid there. 🙂

        I don’t get why some states are still closed-adoption. I do know a lot have changed the rules, though. That’s rather amazing your mother actually found her mother w/o the state documents. I think a lot of people who are adopted end up with some serious issues… Really hope no one adopted reads this. Yikes! One of my former best friends (traitor!) was adopted out of Korea and had serious issues. She had siblings that were not adopted and they were normal. My grandmother really lucked out getting pulled out of the Lower Eastside by a wealthy couple in Chicago, but I do know that her adopted mother was a real piece of work (spoiled and snotty like her), so I’m not sure if that’s why she’s a narcissist or what. She did spend a yr in the orphanage (way back in ’18/’19) and that may have done something based on those nurturing studies. Sort of reminds me of your mother’s story with the crappy family, but evil grandmother had a very nice father per my dad, who gets a big smile when he remembers the only grandfather he knew, although they never left Chicago. It is all very mysterious to say the least.

      • dyspatient says:

        Ah, mafia. It’s so compelling for “men of a certain age”, isn’t it? We have only one family member, Guitano, a cousin or uncle of my grandfather. As the story goes, he ran money, booze, or guns and died rather suddenly when he walked into a train. That’s some Boston humor for you btw. As I child, I asked ‘walked into a train and then what happened in the train?’ Oh my dad certainly did think he was a clever one. Loved the language jokes.

        Holy crap, you can see. I’m thrilled. I know it’s not like everything’s fixed but still, how excellent.

        Adoption – I had actually always planned to adopt one or two kids. Truly. I never wanted to give birth, carry a pregnancy, and infertility runs in my family. But I had figured when I was about the age I am now, when I was settled and less angry about everything, I would welcome a kid into my home and the chance to provide for someone. These days though, there’s no way. I don’t even think it would be fair for me to adopt another cat let alone a child. I can barely take care of myself. I still occasionally entertain a fantasy that if I “get better”, I might do a later in life adoption, but that’s a fantasy for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the idea of having a teenager when I’m in my 70s….oh boy!

        You grandmother’s circumstances sound like a novel. Seriously, especially with the NYC/Chicago settings. It is all very mysterious indeed.

      • Good story! I thought this uncle (born Yudel in Russia, but changed his whole name) really had shoes made out of cement when I’d hear about him growing up. Lol! Very infamous relative and similar to yours as this was during the bootlegging days, although I think he disappeared in the late ’30s. My great uncle was in total admiration of him and used to play with his guns as a kid. I actually have a copied photo in my room and he’s in it and there’s another in our family book where he has a fedora on and looks so sinister. I look like that side so rather odd photo. We’ll save great-grandfather (his brother-in-law) for another time.

        Yes, excited about the contacts, but they fade out due to the vault filled with saline not being replenished w/natural tears as I have none and the rest of my sclera/inner lids get so dry, too. So, I’m supposed to wear them for less time and take days off for now. They’re out right now as I’m going to bed soon and the computer looks terrible (so faded!), so they do help close-up I guess, but only to a certain point (like reading text on paper still sucks). I really like my doc and know he’ll get them as good as he can and the dryness issue is post-op/meibomitis (ocular rosacea), so the former may improve I hope.

        We must think alike, as I always said that maybe one day if I changed my mind about kids I’d adopt a minority kid since they just sit in the foster care system–or do the foster care thing myself, but the time never came. I had a girl at one of the Clubs I worked at that I would’ve taken in if CPS ever did a damn thing–I must have called them on one of my kids every week! Well, that will never happen and no regrets–I know I’d be like my father and that’s not the best. If I ever have a different life and get a hold of the pain (when I’m 80!), I could see doing foster care for older, minority kids. 4th graders were always the best–just no babies/toddlers and no teens! Ugh.

      • dyspatient says:

        Babies and toddlers and teens, oh my! I agree. I love 4th graders, I’ve always said that kids around 8 are my favorite since they are old enough to have personalities and young enough to believe things that only kids believe. I always thought I hated kids, but it turned out I’m just not a fan of babies, toddlers, and teens. LOL. Even with teens, some of them are ok. I sympathize with them. truly. But damn they’re tough to be around.

        Love that you thought your uncle had cement shoes. Love that we had similar misunderstandings.

      • Yay to finding commonality in bizarre things! I never thought I liked kids (of a certain age–haha) until I worked with them. Yeah, I don’t even do well around pregnant people and like to imagine I grew in an egg and broke out one day. The mere thought that I was ever inside my mother makes me want to hurl! Omg. I feel nauseous again. I even say that about Moush Moush–that I just sat on an egg and she hatched one day. So much more civilized! 🙂

      • dyspatient says:

        Oh sorry you feel nauseous. Don’t think about it!

        Moush totally hatched out of a sparkly rainbow egg.

      • dyspatient says:

        I’ll check out the Kozol. Thanks for the tip!

  4. […] A at Playing the Hand I was Dealt was just dealt a really bad card recently.  Her sweet kitty Moush Moush has had a recurrence of a rare form of cancer.  I know this is not a high traffic blog, but for anyone out there with even a bit of […]

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that A. Moush Moush is blessed to have a mom like you. All that Love you have for her and you know that it is well deserved because of all she has given you. Do take a break and spend quality time with Moush Moush. She’s a beautiful and obviously amazing little girl. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need to. I carry you both in my heart. Big hugs and love. xox

    • Sheep,

      Thanks so much for you nice words and thoughts–I know your dogs (and bird and ?) are a big part of your life (and Gen’s) so I knew you’d understand this. I will still be commenting, but I’m taking a break (maybe for good) from posting as it just takes too much of my time and isn’t even something I enjoy that much due to the time and my perfectionism. I’m really grateful that you read about Moush Moush and me and our long story and she won’t be forgotten. She loves people and I feel so guilty that she’s just with me in the motel room 24/7 and not around people and hearing the birds. The window only opens a few inches in here. Sigh…

      I’ll see you on your next post and thanks again,
      A xo

      • I also wanted to say that I’m very happy you shared that picture of Moush Moush and yourself. There’s a lot of love in that pic and also a certain fragility apparent in both of you. I can understand and feel how Moush Moush and you are as one. About the guilt you mentioned, I feel the same about my dogs because I don’t take them out as I should. Especially for Cole as he is very anxious which causes problems and I haven’t been good to him in that way. But sometimes, we just love them so much and they are so lucky to be loved and treated well that I know they are better off with me and our whole situation than perhaps somewhere where they could have been neglected or have received less love and attention. Again Moush Moush is blessed to have you as a mama. 🙂 More hugs from us here, including Gen. xox

      • Aw, I’m so glad you liked it. ❤ I took it the day after I got the news and when I was about to leave for counseling (so I actually looked put together even if I was a total mess). I'm not the best with cameras but it turned out perfectly and I just blew it up on my old Nikon and presto. I love it too and I wanted the world to see Moush Moush and me together (and now you sort of know what I look like–as imagined?). I would never have put my photo out there due to the problems I've had on this blog if it weren't for her. Well, if my doctors find me and sue me for WHAT (everyone is still anonymous)–then fine.

        I think we both need to stop with the guilt (so hard). I know that most people would have put Moush Moush down when they heard she needed an amputation and all those follow-ups, not to mention the outrageous cost. Who else would have been her 24-hr nurse and syringe food and water into her mouth? I'm sure Cole is a very happy dog, even if he doesn't live with a jogger. Animals need love more than anything else. I just hate that Moush Moush loves the outdoors and has been stuck inside for 9 years, aside from when we used to go to California. Well, we're spending lots of time together now and I'm so grateful for that…
        Hugs to you and Gen, as well (my faithful friends)
        xo

  6. cissyblue says:

    I loved your story. It is beautifully written and the pictures are precious as well. This is your time. Enjoy it! Thinking of you and your beloved kitty. My heart goes out to you both! ❤

    • Hi Cissy!

      Thank you so much for your kind comment; it means a lot to know people are reading about Moush Moush’s life and all we’ve been through together. I know you are an animal lover due to your strong feelings about what is done to the wild horses (we have that in my state and it’s terrible). I haven’t forgotten you and really did just drop by your blog a couple weeks ago, but I don’t know a lot about horses being from the city. I will keep checking back as I can as I love your stories (write more!). I will still be commenting on WP with people I know, just not posting for the foreseeable future.

      Take good care,
      A ❤

  7. Moush Moush took her last breath today just before 2pm with her vet by her side. I was unable to see her since I took her in on January 12th, but her vet said it was best that way. For unknown reasons, she developed acute renal failure and while she was being treated aggressively for it, the build-up of toxins apparently took its toll on her tiny body. She went into respiratory distress for a 2nd time and I said if that happened, to not do CPR again. I won’t go into detail about all the awful things that had happened since the 13th, but her vet said she went very peacefully and decided she’d had enough. She apparently seemed better this morning, so all the vets were surprised by what happened, except for what preceded it all. Between the 2 times she coded early this afternoon, I talked to her through the window of my room from across town and told her to go and that it was okay; I know I’ll see her again one day. Maybe she heard me.

    Moush Moush was a gift that I got to have for 13 years and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Life will never be the same and while I’m somehow staying strong for now, I have a long grieving process ahead of me as she was my whole life and I miss her terribly. I keep thinking she’s on the bed like normal, but she’s not. This little studio I live in is so lonely without her.

    Night night, Moush Moush. I love you, Moush Moush. Thank you for being by my side for as long as you could; I’m eternally gratefully.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  8. Matt says:

    My LuLu, who was also a tuxedo kitty, passed away June 28th 2014, the anniversary of her passing is tomorrow. I hurt terribly knowing it’s been a year since I lost my little love. She was also a beautiful little soul and a little person. I loved her dearly, and she did own a very big piece of my heart.

    Like your Moush Moush, she used to bring birds and mice home to me as her little gifts.
    We used to lay down in bed together and I would pat her sweet head and give her kisses.
    The pain is still palpable even after a year. There is no truer love than the one we have with
    our furry little family members.

    LuLu passed away in my back yard while she was laying in the sun. It was very sudden
    and the vet thinks she had a heart attack 😦 I had let her out in the morning and went to
    check up on her in the afternoon. I thought she was sleeping in the sun but discovered
    something was terribly wrong when she didnt respond.

    I still suffer from her loss greatly. She was a part of me, a part of my heart and soul.

    Unconditional, true love, is the hardest love to lose.

    I want to get another kitty, but it still feels like its too soon. No one will ever replace my girl.

    I am so glad that the time we had together was a time that I spoiled her rotten. She was a rescue and we were together for 5 years. She was 12 years old when she passed away.

    I love LuLu dearly and always will.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for sharing your story about LuLu and I’m truly sorry for your loss. 😦 I think there’s something special about tuxedo cats as I took care of one named Puddin prior to finding Moush Moush and she was very sweet, as well. Grieving is a very personal thing. I seem to be grieving in reverse: I was doing fairly well in the beginning as I think I was in some state of shock and denial, like perhaps Moush Moush was still going to come back from the animal hospital. She’d survived cancer twice, so how could something like this happen? Nearly 6 months later, I obviously realize that she’s not coming back. As I’m not blogging anymore and it was a bit too hard, I never wrote about her last days aside from adding a comment to this old post that she had passed. It takes time and I don’t think that hole in our hearts is ever filled, even by another cat. I do hope you can get another cat when the time is right, though. I became horribly allergic to cats so Moush Moush was my one and only.

      I hope you can find something meaningful to do tomorrow in honor of LuLu as anniversaries can be hard. Btw, I visited your FB page and saw her precious photos, but as I don’t have an account, I couldn’t leave a comment.
      Take good care and thanks for dropping by,
      A

      • Matt says:

        Hi there, Thank you for your kind reply. Please send me an email, you should be able to see it with my posting.

        Thank you.

      • I’m sorry, but I don’t have a public email. When I was still blogging, I just corresponded with people via my blog as I’m rather leery of the internet in general.
        Take care,
        A

  9. Lacy Gray says:

    Thank you for sharing your’s & Moush Moush’s story. I’m so sorry for the pain you both endured in your hearts. You were so very blessed to have each other. I found your story because sadly, I am experiencing the same. My sweet Boone (that I lovingly call Boone Boone) was diagnosed with cancer roughly 16 months ago. At the time we did not know it was myxosarcoma and he was only given weeks (yes weeks) to live. We had to make a tough decision on whether to try surgery or just give him the most amazing life possible. Boone, unlike most kitties, likes to travel and is comfortable meeting strangers, my husband and I were planning our wedding and we planned our honeymoon around Boone (calling it our “HoneyBoone”). We traveled with us and we spoiled him, giving jim tons of love, attention and anything he showed interest in… Spending every moment together. The tumor grew, but Boone was loving living his life and fighting to keep it. After 16 months, the tumor was so big, we knew we had to euthanize – but I lived him so much and felt that same pain of being selfish trying to keep him a little longer – it’s never enough time. I had Boone from birth, his Mama left him for me and was hit by a car. I fed him with a tiny bottle and carried him everywhere with me for the past 13 years. I managed to find a miracle surgeon that gave me the gift of more time. I prayed to God constantly to just put the cancer in me and give me 10 more years with Boone. I would rather fight it than see my sweet baby go through that! I have lost people I love, but Boone and his brother Tyson are my heart and soul. The unconditional love from them, pales in comparison to people love. I truly feel you deepest pain. We made it through surgery a week ago. Even 7 days more was priceless to me… Of course I pray for 10+ years but I will take every moment and be cautiously optimistic. My vet specialist surgeon was Dr. Drygas at Veterinary Specialists of Tallahassee. This place is amazing if anyone comes across this blog and is looking for a surgeon that is willing to try with all his heart. The staff is incredible too and you can really tell they care. Please keep us in your prayers. Boone’s tumor was on his sweet face and at a whopping 20cm in diameter, consumed my baby’s eye but Dr. Drygas managed to do surgery around it to try and save it. I didn’t care about the eye, I just wanted the cancer gone and to have my baby for years to come. He would be my adorable little pirate… Just give me more time. So I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I pray I get 4 more years, but no tennis ever long enough when you share that bond of unconditional love.
    Bless you and your sweet Moush Moush ❤️

    • Hi Lacy,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and I’m so sorry to hear about Boone Boone. I never want to give false hope to people, but if you didn’t see later posts I wrote, Moush Moush was put on Palladia, which is a targeted cancer med, and it put her in remission (she did have surgery on two, tiny tumors, but as these were on her torso, they couldn’t get huge margins). Her onco had cats who had huge tumors and they just shrunk away. If it works, it works. I did lose Moush Moush in 2015, but not to cancer (thankfully). If Boone has the gene in his myxosarcoma that Palladia works on, it will work but only for so long (or so we were told by her onco). Moush Moush was in remission for about 1.5 years when she died under very mysterious circumstances–all docs believe she was poisoned as she developed acute renal failure and all potential causes were ruled out. We were living in a motel at the time and there was a shady woman who lived there who I strongly believe killed Moush Moush because she was just crazy and didn’t like me (I know this sounds very odd). Anyway, I wanted to give you this little ray of hope and Palladia is pretty cheap, too. She was on an oral, compounded version until that disappeared and then we were cutting pills and she was on a schedule for her tiny size. She also needed a med for the GI side-effects, but giving 2 meds every 3 days was nothing to have her healthy. She did have some thinning of her fur, weight loss, and mild anemia which is common in long-term administration of cancer meds, but it worked for her. If you have a vet oncologist in your area, please ask about Palladia (or Google away). I am in the SW so too far away.

      I am so glad that I got that extra time with Moush Moush and I pray the same happens for you. In the end–especially due to her sudden passing (she went on her own in the hospital)–I did attend a pet loss group that was of some help, but we all grieve in our own way. I have her remains in a beautiful sugar bowl from Macy’s (only the best) covered with butterflies and hummingbirds and everything else she liked to hunt when we lived in CA and it sits along with her photo on my nightstand. I still talk to her all the time and say “night night” to her every night and tell her how much I love her. Our pets give us the most love in the world and like your Boone, mine loved to travel and meet people (not cats) and she was just so sweet and special so I really do get it and how hard this is. Just hang in there and even though I’m no longer blogging, feel free to drop a line if you need to chat with someone or need more info. There are also pet loss groups online, even though you’re not there at this point (if only we could make them immortal). Also, thanks for posting your vet’s info as I get so many hits on this subject and someone will find it.

      Take good care of yourself and Boone Boone, who doesn’t deserve any of this.
      A ❤

      • Lacy Gray says:

        Thank you so much, I will definitely ask his oncologist about the Palladia. You are such a strong, beautiful soul. It is comforting knowing that someone else “gets it” – that incredible connection. I’m so sorry that Moush Moush passed under those circumstances (or any circumstances at all). People can be horrible, especially towards cats for some reason. We have a neighbor that moved in next door about a year ago that allows her dogs to bark constantly and dig under our fence and into our yard, then tried to get into an enclosure on the the side of our house that we had created for Boone and Ty to enjoy the sunshine and butterflies, but now they are confined to the indoors and sunlight only through windows. The big dog (a large, pit mix, very aggressive dog) barks endlessly and my babies hide under the bed. It’s no way to live so after 17 years here, we are moving in the middle of all this too. Hopefully our house will sell soon, Boone will go into remission and I get have an ever better outdoor place built for the two of them with butterfly bushes again. It’s crazy how little respect people have for each other and how entitled people act, not understanding how the stress they cause affects others. Now with all the happy tears of Boone making it through surgery, last week we found a lump on Tyson’s leg and I’m having that biopsied in a couple of weeks and praying this disease will not rear is head in my other baby now.
        That’s so neat that Moush Moush liked to travel. I’ve never had one that enjoyed it and meeting new people (yes, definitely not other cats!!). Thank you again for letting me know what medication worked for Moush Moush. You are an angel. >^..^<

      • You are more than welcome and thank you for your kind words. My fingers are crossed for you. I am beginning to hate people and their absolute selfishness as I, too, have barking dogs and barking people (lol) who keep me from sleeping or even having a minute of silence. Ugh. I know cats enjoy their outside time so I hope you can find a new home that is safe and that Tyson has something of a benign nature or that is an easy fix. It’s possible. I’ve always been a cautious optimist and it’s helped me out. I’m so hoping the Palladia works for Boone. Moush Moush’s oncologist had dozens of cats on it back then. 🙂

        And, thank you for being a great guardian to your cats. Not everyone is as you know.

  10. Lacy Gray says:

    Just wanted to say hello and wish you a peaceful and pain free day. Asking for prayers as my sweet Boone undergoes his second de-bulking surgery today. I always think of you and your love of your sweet baby and support. ❤️

    • Hello to you and I will keep Boone in my prayers (even if I am a little late replying). Just hang in there and I hope you can get the med that helped my Moush Moush out.

      Sending many hugs your way…
      A ❤

  11. Lacy Gray says:

    Thank you so much for your prayers and hugs coming our way, God has heard them! My sweet Boone made it through the second debulking (and Thank God Tyson’s biopsy on his lump came back negative!). Now for the exciting (and terrifying) news! Your baby may have given my baby a fighting chance. I love that Moush Moush’s legacy has paved a path for Boone Boone. Today, June 21, 2017, we were blessed with a prescription for Palladia!!! I have high hopes for shrinking and remission, this I will pray for, I am a realist, I know, I can certainly settle for slowing or no more growing, but I am so incredibly hopeful. Boone is in good spirits and has been playful and healthier looking than ever! I know we are with the right vet (Dr. Drygas) and the 3 hour trip (one way) is a small price to pay for the miracle of more time. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, I am forever grateful for your guidance, direction and support.
    During both of Boone Boone’s surgeries, I wait in a park known as Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. It’s a beautiful and peaceful oasis in the center of a bustling city. I always think of you and Moush Moush and your love for each. This place is filled with artifacts and beautiful bits of pottery, glass beads, etc. Among them all sits a big, hand carved, wooden statue of St. Francis of Asisi which has a special meaning to me and along the wall behind a piece of glass, sits a gorgeous vase covered in butterflies and I always think of you two. When I left on that last day that I emailed you, I received the call from the surgeon and I quickly headed to my car, sending up prayers of thanks and exhaling a sigh of relief. As I opened the car door, a stunning butterfly landed on my nose! I couldn’t believe it. It literally lit on my nose and fluttered there for a minute, as if the spirit of your baby was watching over mine… ❤️😻
    Thinking of you,
    ~ Lacy

    • Hi Lacy,

      I’m sorry I don’t use my name on here but I ran into trouble on my blog many years ago and became anonymous so my apologies on that. This is such wonderful news that just made my day. I have high hopes for the Palladia as it tends to work even if the cancer doesn’t have the genetic mutation it targets, just not as well. But, let’s hope it does have that mutation and you can watch it shrink away for a long time. I also love the description of the park in the city and that you have a peaceful and spiritual place to go to during such a stressful time as I know that feeling all too well. All the butterfly references are really uncanny and I do still believe that Moush Moush is paying me a visit if one happens to flutter by which has only happened at my mother’s house in CA and that was her favorite place (but I have yet to have one land on my nose). The other odd thing is the sugar bowl that she’s in also has a green beetle on it and just about a year ago, I came out of a store and a green beetle was on my car door. I’ve never seen a green beetle in the desert in my life and I Googled around and couldn’t find one that matched the photo I took of it. I don’t know what to think, but it was very odd. Well, I like to think it was her, of course! I was just thinking about you the other day and was going to check in with you but figured I should wait to hear from you, just in case. What great news I have received. Lastly, even though I am not Catholic or Christian, I do know that St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals so I think your park is very special indeed.

      Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful news and enjoy your time with Boone Boone and I’m glad to hear that all your pets are on the mend and I hope and pray it stays that way. Btw, in case you run into some side effects with the Palladia, they can be managed. We spread out Moush Moush’s dosing and she took liquid metronidazole with her pill for the unwanted GI issues. It did change her coat a bit and she lost the hair on the tips of her ears which gave her a distinguished look in my opinion, but she really did well with it. 🙂

      Keep hanging in there and I’m so glad you stumbled upon my old blog post,
      A ❤

      • Lacy Gray says:

        Thank you so much for the liquid metronidazole reference. He handled the first treatment well on Wed. But on Friday, he threw up prior to the 2nd treatment, so the vet said to skip that treatment and resume on Monday. He is on chemo M-W-F with an anti nausea prior to treatment, then Pepcid on T-T-S. Oh, and carefate slurry on nights after the chemo. It was weird because he threw up about 30 minutes after the anti nausea medication, so I will definitely ask about the metronidazole.

        I completely respect and honor your privacy about not using your name. I can totally relate as I have been off FB for the last year due to the neighbor’s harassment & attacks, but I am back on now as of last week. I had friends and family asking about Boone Boone and I want to be as strong as you are and share our ups and downs in hope it will help someone else as you have helped us and to rally for Boone Boone prayers.

        I too, am so happy I found your blog. It’s nice to know I have a kindred spirit that has experienced this and your knowledge is priceless to me. ❤️

      • You’re welcome and I’m glad you’re back on FB as I do get a lot of hits on this topic so people are searching. Hmmm. Moush Moush was never on standard chemo as it hasn’t been shown to help with soft tissue sarcomas so I wonder why your vet has BB on that? It’s rather stressful to have a cat go in for the treatments, but that’s just my 2 cents. There are some oncologists who prefer radiation + Palladia (especially in SoCal, OMG), but they have to do it daily and knock the animals out for it and I wouldn’t have put MM through it even if I could’ve afforded it. I also would have had to get her to CA and board her for 4-6 weeks at the facility–no way! MM saw an oncologist vs. an ordinary vet for her myxosarcoma who was the best in the west in my opinion so maybe that was why she was on a different regimen. She never vomited from the Palladia, or at least I don’t recall that, but she had diarrhea (I hope she doesn’t mind me telling the world that!) and that’s a common side effect. As Palladia is not true chemo, but rather a targeted cancer med, it doesn’t have the typical chemo side effects like nausea/vomiting from my understanding. So, that’s what the metronidazole was for and she was a-okay in the lower GI dept. once she started taking the oral dose. Some side effects pop-up over time so just keep an eye on things, especially in the litter box which I was cleaning out diligently. Ex., she had regular blood work done even after 1 year (in remission) and she developed mild anemia at about 1.5 years which is typical with any long-term cancer med. She was just starting monthly B-12 shots for that as it was easier for me to get her to her regular vet who didn’t have iron shots, but then the unfortunate happened, also due to a former, deranged neighbor (I hear you). Anyway, try to not worry yourself too much which I know is hard to do, but there will probably be some side effects and it’s just par for the course.

        Hang in there. ❤

  12. Lacy Gray says:

    It’s always so incredible peaceful to see a message from you. I probably should have mentioned that I use the “chemo” in exchange for “Palladia” sometimes. It is a M-W-F dose of Palladia. We have an oncology specialist/surgeon, an Internist and his regular vet, working together to address the best course of action. His surgeon spoke with the oncology unit at University of Florida about radiation treatments, which is definitely more effective, but due to the location of my Boone Boone’s cancer (his right cheek and face) they told me that they would not be able to effectively use radiation and while they said they could try, I asked them if there would be at least an 80% positive outcome and they could not really guarantee that, so I opted to not put him through that for the same reasons as you mentioned for Moush Moush. My boy also has an enlarged heart (from overflowing with love no doubt!) so I get terrified at every procedure when they have to put him under and probably do my own personal health more harm with the worry. The ondansetron (sp?) is the anti nausea medication that he has to have 30 minutes before Palladia and that was what was making him sick a couple of times, but the good news is we have switched up now, so hopefully it will be easier on his tummy. I guess maybe it’s a precaution to keep them from throwing up the Palladia, but we have never tried Palladia without the anti nausea.

    Today we had our first check up with blood work after 5 Palladia treatments and all the blood work came back perfectly normal so I am elated about that. I still have not seen the tumor shrink, but I know it takes time to work and his is quite large even after two debulkings and removal of more than 80% each time. Myxosarcoma is a special kind of evil isn’t it?! It’s like watching a horror movie and the killer just keeps coming back! I will continue to pray for a miracle.. Over… And over… And over.

    Oddly enough, in the first week of using Palladia, I noticed one of the smaller growths (a lump about 12mm on his lip that would bleed occasionally) had started bleeding and as I was wiping it, it literally opened and meat (like slimy pale hamburger meat – sorry but thats the only way I know how to describe it) just kind of loosened up and came out, allowing me to almost wipe the lump away completely. Strangest thing ever! Now if only the rest of the cancer would die and do the same!
    I’m so curious about the size the tumor was when Moush Moush started Palladia and how soon you saw it shrink?

    Thank you for being there. You make my tortuous worry so much easier. ❤️

    • No worries and sorry for the late reply. I totally understand the tortuous worry. Gulp. Even if I didn’t have cat allergies, I honestly could never have another cat and go though what I did again (and what you are going though, too). MM never had a huge tumor, actually. The 1st one, in 2009, was a small, rubbery, oval lump that I could almost lift up and get my fingers around, but it was firmly attached at the bottom. She had a needle aspirate and the fluid that came out was a clear, viscous liquid. The pathology report came back as a benign cyst and one vet at the clinic (who I did NOT like) told me there was no way she had cancer. You may know that myxosarcomas have a clear, cyst-type lump on the top so they are tricky. They also grow microscopic tentacles and that is why obtaining wide margins (all around) via surgery can be a cure, but that is rather impossible on the body or face. Anyway, MM had 2 great vets at this clinic and the one we saw for the lump, who actually had touched the liquid and thought it was very weird (like sticky goo), said if it inflates again then she wanted to do a surgical biopsy. I should go back and say that the aspirate actually flattened the small lump as it drained all the liquid out. Sure enough, it did “inflate” again and very quickly so she had a surgical biopsy soon after via this same general vet and the surgery ran late and I knew something was wrong. The tumor went clear down into her shoulder joint and her vet couldn’t get it all. What I had felt was only the tip of the iceberg. I wish she hadn’t even gone in that far as that can make the cancer spread, as you know. Anyway, biopsies were sent to the lab and I got the call that she had myxosarcoma and that she might make it with an amputation, but the sheer thought of that about killed me. So, after careful thought of what MM would want and discussing the success rate with the oncologist and specialty surgeon we were referred to (90%+ success), I opted for the amputation of her entire front limb and removal of her shoulder blade as that sticks out once all the muscle atrophies. I was told animals do very well with 3 legs and saw 3-legged dogs at the clinic, but MM never did well on 3 legs which was hard for me. This is all in my blog post and it is not something I like to revisit.

      Anyway, there was no Palladia at that time and I knew the if this had been on her body, it would have killed her as the tumors grow very fast (I was spared that). So, after frequent check-ups and chest x-rays for a year and then yearly chest x-rays after the 1-year mark (this is looking for metastatic disease), she was officially in remission until 2013 (4 years later) when I felt that same lump (now like the size of a pea) where her shoulder had been. I tended to pet that area more just to be safe, but never imagined I’d feel a tumor again. I took her in ASAP for an aspirate and it was not the viscous fluid this time so I thought she may have dodged the bullet, but the pathology report came back as myxosarcoma again and that is when I wrote the long post you stumbled upon as I thought that was the end. Her vet urged me to see her onco again just in case there was anything new they could do. By the time we got in, she had a 2nd small tumor growing next to the 1st one. She had a CT scan and it had not spread anywhere else and her lungs were still good. I opted for surgery again, but not the most aggressive as they would remove part of her ribs and chest wall. As I am a sick human, I understand chronic pain and disability and wouldn’t do that to her. This was less aggressive surgery, but she did have a huge incision again which made me feel awful. She did fine, though. Anyway, prior to surgery her onco told me about Palladia and that he had had some success with it–even on cats with soft tissue sarcomas all over (this was one of the cats whose tumors melted away). So, MM didn’t have any visible tumors when she started it, but even though the pathology report post-op showed clean margins, they couldn’t get the wide margins needed so there is no way the surgery put her in remission this time. All I can say is I never felt a tumor ever again on her (she died from unrelated causes 1.5 years later). Due to how fast these cancers return, the Palladia indeed kept it from returning as there would have been microscopic cells left behind but Palladia causes cell death and it only targets cancers cells, as mentioned in other messages.

      That was a very long answer that really didn’t answer your question and I’m sorry I don’t have that info for you. You might want to look for an online forum as I did see some years ago that had people with pets (dogs and cats) on Palladia and they might be able to help you out, or the onco should have an idea on how fast it works. I am hoping the experience with the lump on BB’s lip is a good sign. I just heard (and read on a forum) that present tumors that respond to Palladia actually shrink away. Anyway, you know how fast sarcomas grow and they actually grow faster each time so if you are not seeing any growth post-op, I think even that is a good sign as this is not the 1st surgery. But, as MM’s vet always said, “I don’t want to give you false hope.” I always hated that advice, but it really is a wise thing to say. Just try to be a cautious optimist and don’t ever blame yourself. I’m glad you didn’t do that awful radiation and it’s not a cure and they should have told you that. It probably would have been more palliative and slowed the growth. In MM’s case (the 1st round), it would have upped the 90%+ success you get from surgery with wide, clean margins (only available via an amputation) as it can kill those microscopic cells, but her surgeon got them and he was confident he would. The only theory her onco could come up with as to how the same cancer came back to the same area 4 years later is that she likely had VAS (Vaccine Associated Sarcoma). Although this was in her shoulder joint originally, we think that some dumb vet tech gave her a vaccine way back when in her scruff and it went into her shoulder instead. This is why vaccines are given in the hind legs of cats as they can amputate and save the cat if they get VAS. I don’t know why big pharma can’t remove the antigens that are in vaccines that they know give some cats VAS, but it’s a sad thing. Her onco said that it creates a sunburn effect, where a vaccine is given years earlier and then shows up as a sarcoma (aka VAS) years later, rather like how a sunburn can turn into skin cancer later on. So, even removing her leg didn’t get rid of the full “sunburn” from the old vaccine, or so we thought. I hope that makes sense. Giving cats shots in the scruff was phased out a couple of years after I found MM back in ’01, but I recall her getting some there and who knows her story before we found each other. Soft tissue sarcomas, even in humans, are most commonly found near joints in the limbs and have high cure rates with amputation, but they can occur elsewhere and that’s where things get tricky.

      Fingers crossed on the Palladia and I’m glad he’s tolerating it, at least. Keep hanging in there (sorry for my “post” tonight)…

      ((Hugs))

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