Wednesday Vignette – pain

After a week of news containing so much excruciating sorrow and raw pain it feels almost disrespectful to bring this up, but as of 4:30 today, this is what has been on my mind. Thinking that our beloved Manneman had a toothache, we took him to the vet today. He’s lost some weight over the past year, but then again, he’s an aging cat (probably about 15 if he truly was 2 when we adopted him) and might be forgiven for not having the appetite of his youth. Turns out, our furry ball of love has bone cancer. We’re aghast – the prognosis is not good. Which kind of bone cancer is impossible to know without a biopsy, but here I’m starting to balk. Do I really want to know? The outcome won’t change, so do we really want to put him through all that?


What we’d like to know is how much pain he is in, but of course neither he, nor the vet can really tell us. While silently scoffing at myself for asking, I asked the stupid question if she could tell us how long he’d have left. Stupid, because who can give a definite answer to something like that? She kindly humored me, and estimated 6-8 weeks.

My mother, whose father was a vet, and who spent many years working as a nurse, wisely says that we often treat our pets better than our humans, in that we allow them to die when they need to, preserving at least some shred of their dignity. I hope their humane approach has rubbed off on us. We will keep Manneman as comfortable as we can, for as long as we can. But, I also hope we will find the strength to not selfishly string him along when his suffering becomes too great. But when that is… well, who knows.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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26 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – pain

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I’m sorry to read your post, Anna, I couldn’t ‘like’ it. We went through this with our dear old black cat, so I know how your are feeling. Sending warm thoughts…

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Jane, I appreciate that very much. Even though I know we’ll all wander that way eventually, and that it’s part of being alive, it is so hard to accept.

  2. Tina says:

    Well, I’m just really so sorry about this news. It’s a hard one and I wish you and your family strength. Sweet Manneman.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Tina, much appreciated. He is such a sweet boy. Knowing this totally changed how I touch him. I treat him as if he is fragile… which, I suppose, he actually is. I’m probably projecting all kinds of odd feelings toward him, poor thing. Love him so much…

      • Tina says:

        I think that’s why I like the Irving Townsend quote that I mentioned in my post about Asher. It perfectly captures the joy and pain involved in loving our pets. What helped me at Asher’s end (as well as all the others) is to remember that animals live in the moment and as long as those moments are comfortable and full of caring, it’s good. All the best.

        • annamadeit says:

          I remember that quote well. You’re right, it is perfectly put. Well, I’ll be sure to spend as much time with him as I can in the weeks to come. ❤

          • annamadeit says:

            Tina – reposting that beautiful quote from your blog here: “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.”
            ~ Irving Townsend

            I will refer to it when things get bad…

  3. Peter Herpst says:

    So sorry, Anna. Sending you love and hugs.

  4. FlowerAlley says:

    I am so sorry. Big hearts break more. Bless you.

  5. Alison says:

    I’m so sorry you and your kitty are facing this difficult time. Poor baby. It’s so hard to know with animals, how much pain they are in, and that of course is the gating factor on whether to ease their suffering. There will be a lot of second guessing, the only thing you can do for your own sanity is believe you made the right choice, no matter what it is or when you make it.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Alison – those are wise words, for sure. I think, as long as he can eat and move around, we’re good. But, we’re all bracing for the time when such an independent spirit will succumb to his disease. Just can’t stomach the thought of him suffering… We’re watching and waiting.

  6. Kris P says:

    Such a beautiful cat. He looks peaceful and content in your photo and that’s something to appreciate. Letting him find both these things when and where he can is the very best thing you can do for him now. Appreciate him, love him, and spoil him in every way you can for as long a you have. (((HUGS)))

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Kris – that is all good advice. We are pouring love and cuddles over him, spoiling him, and trying to learn how to read his comfort/pain level. I’m all worried, because I think he might be in more pain that I realized. 😦

  7. Oh Anna, I’m so sorry. This is the hardest thing! My heart hurts for you and your family, and Manneman. Big hugs, gentle ones for the kitty.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Loree – as you so intimately know, seeing them suffer is just awful. Sweet Tamara gave us all the pain meds left after Lucy. I’m bringing them to the vet on Friday to see what I need to know about dosage, etc. Fingers crossed they will alleviate at least some of his pain for a few weeks more.

  8. bergstromskan says:

    Oh what can I say, when it has been said so well by so many of your friends. Lovely they are. What’s coming to my mind is when my very favorite pet, Pedro, was ill, he clearly let us know that he was in pain, and when we could not control it, we helped him out of misery. Manneman looks so relaxed on the picture. He probably knows he’s in loving hands. I know he is

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, we were just talking about him this evening. We’re not pursuing any treatments, because there is nothing that can be done that will make any real difference, other than – for now – pain control. We will do our best to be as humane about this as possible. But, damn, it’s hard!

  9. hb says:

    Very, very sorry. I lost a wonderful dog to bone cancer. He told me very clearly and unequivocally when it was time to let him go, just with a look. He gave me so many gifts, and that was one of them. Stay strong and do your best, that’s all he asks of you.

  10. annamadeit says:

    Thanks, Hoov – it’s a horrible disease, and I’m sorry you too had to see it up close. I hope we will be able to understand when he signals it’s time… Your last sentence made me tear up.

  11. So sorry to hear that.

  12. It’s the hardest thing ever. I’ll never get over it. I am here for you, Anna. xoxo Give him a big, furry love from me….hugs.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks T – and thanks for the painkillers. We’ve been giving him two per day, full dose. The vet suggested we elevated his bowl, and that is helping him eat better. I’m SO dreading this. I think Sunday is it. 😭

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