In August I adopted two blue cats. The photo above is Newton (he’s named after Sir Isaac Newton because I never got over being the gangly science-geek girl with ginger hair… except I have no hair now, just peach fuzz.) His brother is called Casper. My timing was bad because no sooner had we become friends than I had to stop being quite so friendly with them due to impending chemo. Fortunately they’ve forgiven me and my standoffishness and in a few weeks I hope to have them sitting on my lap purring and cuddling-up again. Stroking pets, cats or dogs, is meant to be a good way to alleviate stress and remain centred – some hospitals now use this approach to help people through difficult situations or as an aid to recovery. I’m an animal lover and particularly fond of cats so if they help relieve stress or induce healing I’m all for it.
Newton and Casper were banished to the conservatory because I took a risk conscious approach to my treatment. I’d seen my mother succumb to chemo induced infections part way through 1996 and it’s a memory that hasn’t evaporated with time. I have so many lovely recollections of my Mum yet sometimes the only ones that seem to surface are those from the dark days. Into the 17th year after her death and they still have the power to make me feel sad if I let them.
My own experience has been different and for that I am grateful because the thought of chemo initially scared me senseless. Aside from a little incident with temperature fluctuation in December I’ve only had to deal with nausea, ulcers, vein and skin issues and GI tract dysfunction. I’ll write-up a side effects page at some point in case it’s of use to others faced with a situation like this. (For everyone else, I’d avoid that page – there are some things we don’t need to know in detail unless we have to deal with them).
On the whole I consider myself to have been very lucky though I know I’m far from being ‘fit as a fiddle’ again. Chemo takes a toll but yesterday I started self-administering GCSF injections (interesting but not painful), tomorrow I finish steroids and also begin the preventative antibiotics. I noticed amongst other things that I’m not allowed to drive while taking antibiotics – 11 days worth. As we’re still blanketed in snow driving isn’t an option anyway but I’m hoping to be re-energised enough to take a small walk if it isn’t too cold/slippery. I’d like to capture some photos of the Shropshire hills and Welsh mountains, they look stunning at this time of year.
This morning I didn’t expect to find Newton sitting in the cherry tree outside my window. He was in full cat-instinct mode without a cat in hells chance of capturing a passing bird. The birds were far too wary and he couldn’t resist whipping his head around in all directions alerting them to his presence. The birds also seemed to realise cats climb up trees very easily but climbing down is far from graceful. It made for a farcical scene. Birds having quite a party down on the ground while a not so stealthy cat perched precariously on a cold, snow-covered branch. Eventually Newton realised what goes up must come down, possibly prompted by the fact that sitting in snow is a sure-fire way to get a very cold, very soggy backside!
Unlike Newton, Casper has taken to staying indoors as much as possible and instead occupies himself by playing with the tag on my Olive tree (currently in the conservatory because I don’t want it to freeze). Here he is, bright-eyed and playful because he was sensible enough to avoid the perils of frozen paws and a snow encrusted rear-end!
As for me, knowing cat woman is almost back is a good thing and I’m looking forward to welcoming my furry, purring friends with open arms again 🙂