As the year 2009 came to a close, I couldn't help but sigh with relief and hopes that 2010 will be a better year for ourselves and for many people that we know. It seemed to be a particularly difficult year for many folks. My brother-in-law had lost his job in May and shortly after that, my sister injured her foot and had to have surgery. She could not walk for 12 weeks and could not work herself. Luckily, my brother-in-law, a senior computer programmer/analyst, was able to find another job about a month after he lost his previous job, but it put a strain on their lives financially and made the last 6 months difficult. My sister is recovered and recently back to work again (she is an OB/GYN nurse). My mother also became seriously ill in late October and was diagnosed with a rare immune disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. She was in the ICU for several weeks and was critically ill. She also has since recovered and is at home now, but her life ,as well, has been changed forever. The weeks she was in the hospital were very stressful and scary and required her to be intubated and on a ventilator for about 2 weeks. She currently still has to have dialysis three times a week until her kidneys recover, which could take several more months, but we are grateful she made it through.
Erik and I also experienced the devastating loss of two of our beloved cats in a very short time in 2009. In some of my past posts from this last summer, I detailed the illness of my cat, Baby, who passed away at age 16 on October 1 from intestinal lymphoma. A month after Baby's death, one of Erik's cats, his 17 year old cat Little, began to show signs of something wrong. It started out very benign, with a slight limp. Within a week, his limp seemed worse and we began discussing making a vet appointment, but only a day later, I discovered one morning that Little was unable to walk at all and his respiration seemed labored and his belly was swollen. He had showed no signs of illness previous to this, only the slight limp and the night before had seemed normal. It was November 13th, Friday the 13th, and I had just returned from the hospital where I had been sitting at a bedside vigil with my ill mother. I took Little in to see the vet as an emergency, only to receive the horrifying news that Little too was suffering from cancer and that he was dying. Unlike the intestinal lymphoma my cat had, which had many symptoms which let us know something was wrong, Little had a more common lymphoma which often has no symptoms until the very end, when the animal is dying. I had to make the terrible call to Erik at his work to tell him that his beloved kitty was leaving us and that the vet had recommended humane euthanasia to prevent further suffering. They were kind enough to wait until Erik was able to come from work to be there for the end and say good-bye. We just couldn't believe it; two of our "furry children" felled by cancer within 6 weeks! The bad luck just didn't seem to want to end.
So, I write this post, I guess, to remember the loved ones we lost and also to remark again how grateful we are for the loved one, my mother, who did not leave us and keeps gaining strength and wellness apace.
May 17, 1993----Oct 1, 2009