catbag (1 of 3)

i want to post photos of chuck all day, but i feel like taking pictures when he's just home from the doctor is unfair (this one is from our old apartment in hell's kitchen). you should know, however, that he is as handsome as he has always been. he has a little priest's collar of lighter shaved skin on his neck where our vet drew blood last week, and a panel on his belly that was shaved for his x-rays and ultrasounds on tuesday and thursday. the skin there is stone grey, so he looks a bit like a statue that has come to life. this is reasonable, for he is a magical cat.

joe and i decided on thursday night that we needed to find out what sort of chemotherapy might be available for chuck, so i called our vet as soon as i got to the office on friday morning. he told me that he would try to refer us to a specialist at a large, venerable veterinary research hospital here in the city, but when he called back he said that it would be two weeks before we could get in to see one of their oncologists. that was unacceptable - according to my nauseating, interminable internet research, an aggressive, untreated cancer could take chuck from us in a matter of weeks - so i kept going. i tried the specialist who interpreted chuck's original ultrasound: she could see us, but her practice is an hour away on long island. i tried calling the hospital myself and mentioning their conversation with my vet; they sounded harried and didn't recognize his name. at last i found another group of veterinary specialists a few blocks from my office. one of them had been named one of the city's best doctors a few years ago, a friend of a friend responded to the call for help in my last post and told me that same vet and his colleagues had taken wonderful care of the cat she and her husband lost to cancer last year, and that i needed to call him and drop their names immediately, and our friend lesley's excellent dog hayley underwent emergency surgery (and has since recovered beautifully) in their care. they had appointments that afternoon and could begin staging chuck's cancer (that is, aspirating his growths and determining how far they had progressed and what course of treatment would stand the best chance of arresting them or perhaps even, oh, my dear cat, putting him into remission) immediately. i arranged for his records to be transferred, took the train home and bundled chuck into his fifth car of the week, and spent two hours pacing a glass-walled exam room and speaking with his new doctor. we're now waiting to discuss his cytology results with her.

a cab driver carried chuck and me downtown in silence on thursday afternoon as i called joe to break our original vet's cancer news, as i called my office to ask if i could spend the rest of the afternoon at home, and as i cried raggedly in the backseat. he then apologized for his broken english and told me that i was a strong person, and that he believed in god, and that he knew god was going to take care of me. he refused the money i offered him when he pulled to the curb in front of our building, and he blessed me and said that he would pray for us. god bless you, too, i said.

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