I couldn’t get the doctor’s words, “…you’ve got cancer” out of my head as I drove home from the appointment. After the doctor delivered the ominous news, I felt out-of-body, numb. “Okay…” I said without sheading a tear. I’d heard this diagnosis with three of my beloved cats, and each time, I cried.
But, I couldn’t cry for myself. I just sat there robotically asking questions about what to do next and treatment. I was relieved that finally, I had a diagnosis, a proposed treatment plan (depending on if the cancer had metastasized) and that I was in the hands of an experienced, compassionate cancer specialist with Hoag Hospital. I drove down Pacific Coat Highway, devoid of emotion, but my mind was anxiously active. I’d known that something was going haywire in my body, but, seriously, cancer? Despite the cancer-related symptoms, a nine-centimeter mass in my uterus, and an oncologist’s diagnosis, I could not believe in something so threatening. As I approached Crystal Cove, an uncontrollable sob shook me.
By the time I got home, the sobbing stopped, but the internal running commentary continued: Oh my God, I have cancer. What if it metastasized? How do I tell my parents? What if I get too sick to take care of Bobcat?
I would need chemotherapy and surgery. Thoughts raced over the things I’d have to do before my first chemo treatment: get a CAT scan, a biopsy, more blood work; tell my boss; take medical leave; file for disability—and what I had to do that afternoon—tell my parents and my friends who knew I had an appointment with an oncologist.
My mind stopped spinning when Bobcat jumped onto the sofa and cozied-up by my side. He looked up at me and began to purr. I leaned over and wrapped my arms around him, rested my chin on his head and took a deep breath. Bobcat grounded me. After a long cat hug, I sat up and announced to Bobcat, “I have cancer.” It was no longer a thought spinning in my head. I spoke the words, sending the diagnosis out into the universe, making it real. With the comfort of my cat came an acceptance of this new reality. I made my first move towards coping with it and picked up the phone.
My parents took the news with grace and strength, and so did my dear friends. Everyone went into supportive action offering help with anything I needed. By the end of that afternoon a “Help Cat Lady Kick Cancer” support team was created.
I tackled all those things I was so worried about with my team by my side, checking-up on me, cheering at the great news that the cancer did not spread, bringing meals, groceries, keeping the cottage tidy, and taking care of Bobcat when I was too weak to feed him and clean his litter box.
And with my loving feline companion by my side lending a comforting paw, I’m never alone.
I love this Pam and we love you! You are doing a Great job fighting the cancer. You are done now with the crappy chemo and hopefully the next step is the surgery to get it out once and for all.
Awwww, thank you so much! Couldn’t do this fight as well without the support and love from you and everyone!
You are an amazing writer. I was moved to tears. There for you should you need me and always available to take care of Bobcat. Always thinking positive thoughts for the cancer to go away. Love you.
Robin, thank you so much! That is one of the best compliments a person can make to a writer. Thank you for your constant thoughts and support and love. xoxo
We send you purrayers and Power of the Paw and know that Bobcat makes a formidable ally, as well as your parents and human friends.
Indeed! Thank you for your support! Love it!
Pam, you expressed your experience so beautifully. I am thinking of you and sending many purrs from us for your complete recovery. Your friends and your Bobcat are taking good care of you.
Leah, thank you! I’m in good hands and paws, and thank you for your healing thoughts. 🙂
Don’t know what to say Pam…nothing but positive thoughts for you.
Oh my goodness—Buzz! So great to hear from you my collage colleague. Thank you for the positive thoughts. I’m on the mend…
and am so grateful. Thank you for reading!
Sounds like you have a wonder “Help Cat Lady Kick Cancer” support team — and of course the wonderful Bobcat by your side! Wishing you the best and sending good vibes.
Thank you! It has been so heartwarming to have close friends I’ve known for years, family…and friends I’ve recently made be so helpful and comforting. I’ve shed many a tear of gratitude…
Sending positive healing energy!
Thank you! I do believe it is working! xo
Hi Pam I will give this a try..remember I am an old lady!!
You are very important to me & I hope & pray you will have
A less stressful recovery & you have Bobcat at your side to get
You through this uphill of recovery. You are a fighter & you have
Many people who care about you. Love you my friend ❤❣🐾
Thank you so much, Sandy. And… you are a very youthful spirit! xoxo
Pam, another wonderful blog that is going to be helpful to those who are struck with cancer or a life threatening disease. Your proactive stand in dealing with cancer is going to be very rewarding. Your medical team, prayers and sharing your thoughts is an asset to all. Dad
Awww, thank you, Dad. xoxo
What a beautifully written tribute Pamela. My family and I are praying for you as you round the last corner of this challenging journey. Also praying for Bobcat ams that somehow he heals.
Thank you so much, Shana. xoxo
Hey, Pamela!I have tried to respond to your blogs, but keep running up against a wall. I don’t have social media accounts, so they require too many hoops for this old broad!I am shocked to hear about your cancer. But know you will get through it!! I have been through the chemo route, and I know that at times it may seem hopeless, but IT ISN’T!!!Hang in there, pretty lady, and you will come out better than ever!XXXMaggie Maggie Spencer “A Joyful Journey of Zen” Unique Kiln-Formed Glass http://www.maggiespencer.com 714-264-5617
Maggie! So wonderful to hear from you. I prefer responses here on my website as I don’t look at FB regularly. Thank you so much for continuing to read my stories and for your encouraging message! It put a BIG smile on my face. I don’t recall you talking about having cancer… thank you for sharing. I just learned I will need more chemo than anticipated and possibly radiation, so this message came along at such a purrrfect time. Miss you! I had intended to take one of your classes to make either a chime or dish, but got too sick. I will treat myself as soon as I’m healed.
A big hug to you!