Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Friend Cutie

This should have been a spectacularly exciting week, but like another recent one that comes to mind, it has turned out to be bipolar in nature, highs and lows intermingled into a uniform shade of dull brown.


One of our cats, Cutie, started showing signs of illness over the weekend. A trip to the vet on Monday and then specialist seems to indicate she has cancer. How quickly it struck her down to the point she cannot use her right hind leg and the left is compromised. Masses are seen in her lungs and intestines. Cutie has been the most loving animal I've known, she even tried to rub the vet's leg as she was being evaluated. Her motor ran the entire time we were at the clinic.

 Cutie as a kitten

The only good thing is she does not seem to be in much if any pain, but she has not eaten since maybe last Friday and is rapidly losing weight. I know she is not going to be our pet for many more days. She has been a good friend and it is my wish she could have had a longer life and one night of endless sleep.


On Tuesday I received a Freedom Innovations Nitro foot from my friend Scott Rigsby. Although this foot is a category 6 and I should be a category 4, it will still be very useful in finding out any clearance issues short of my weight being insufficient in compressing the blade. I never felt I had a light foot strike as an able-bodied runner so one category higher may yet be best for me. Scott has indicated he has a category 5 blade I might be able to try later. (Note: I talked to Scott for a long time today; if the shoe, uh, foot fits he will dig up the other blade if I need to try a softer one.)

                       (NEW ATHLETE)   (EXPERIENCED ATHLETE)
100-115                      1                              1
116-130                      1                              2
131-150                      2                              3
151-170                      3                              4
171-195                      4                              5
196-220                      5                              6
221-255                      6                              7
256-285                      7                              8
286-325                      8                              9
326-365                                                      9

I have an appointment at Floyd Brace on Friday. Not sure if the Otto Bock C-Sprint foot will be there by then, haven't heard anything else about it since Larry was sent the wrong Sprinter foot. It will be interesting to try both of these foot types and to be able to offer personal experience findings to others.

I just couldn't get terribly excited about this event as I had anticipated I would be and not sure I can, at least not right now. Not having a running blade is still not holding me back as much as my overall fitness is at this point, although I do feel as of last night that I have moved from beginner to novice. I ran 6 miles on the track and outlasted everyone who was there while finishing after the recreation department folks turned off the lights.

I love running at night as long as I can see where to place my feet; it is so much quieter than during the day. It felt particularly good this night, lap after lap in the dark, alone with my thoughts.


 Cutie resting in my wheelchair about a month after my surgery

No call from the vet today, by the time I called they had already gone. In a stressful situation it seems only proper that I would have been informed, and on the other hand, deep down, I am not disappointed with the delay for one more day. Sometimes it is best to leave tomorrow alone.

I feel so sad for this small life coming to an end. This never, ever gets easier. This is our friend who I know loves us.

Wherever you go, I will keep your memory here.

I will be with you at the end.

Remember old friends
we've made along the way.
The gifts they've given
stay with us everyday.

- Mary McCaslin


I have been listening to Górecki's Symphony No. 3, first movement all this time. It was released "to commemorate the memory of those lost during the Holocaust." When I first heard it I thought: these are souls ascending. How one of man's most violent and inhuman actions against fellow human beings could lead to the sublime is unnerving. The composer has given a voice to those who have been stilled: they will never be silent.


Today, Thursday, and Cutie is still not eating. I have given her subcutaneous fluids twice today and rubbed some food around her mouth but she appears to have given up on eating. My vet said she has noticed a pattern with horses and cats shutting down when on some level they have given up...they do not want to extend the end where they will be weaker for a longer period of time.

I have decided if she is not eating by the morning to have her euthanized. My vet uses a gas method and I could not be present with Cutie due to state regulations. At the clinic they would use the injection method; I am all too familiar with this procedure as our cat Kiki, also a cancer victim, died in my hands last year at this very clinic.

I have decided to place Cutie's beautiful body along side Snickers, our little dog that passed with heart disease not long after Kiki. It has been a good season for Mr. Death, and I hope he is satisfied for a few more years. You are not welcome at our house.

When cancer is cured, that will be a day to hold mass celebrations. I hope I live long enough to see this brightest of days.

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