I really don't know how to best start this entry. I'm dreading it. I feel it is important for me to write it down because of it and because it affected and still affects me. I've been pushing it away from me for weeks now, I started writing something, but didn't feel like I wanted to write - talk about it.
Today however, I don't know what's different or why I finally have come back here to continue what I wanted to to originally. The past weeks I have kind of woken up from this dreading. I wrote the first episode for a web series I had long started to create characters and backgrounds; I'm about to shoot this particular episode soon and hopefully it won't turn out as shitty as I fear it possibly could as I never really filmed something like this on my own before.
But this is another topic, and I'll keep you all updated.
What I wanted to write about, what I need to tell is a personal loss I'm still coping with, at least inside of me. And those who have ever felt the unconditional love of an animal, a pet, a soul, know how hard this is.
But let me start from the beginning. Because, as typically with me: it's been a long time since I posted something here...
They say the first year is the hardest. And it was, in a lot of ways. I am not even starting on that 'new in a foreign country/different language' stuff because that's a quotidian thing which one grows into anyway. And I did. You somehow find a job to not get completely broke, then you find a better job you can actually survive on; especially in one of the most expensive cities in the world. You move into another place where everything looks more promising and uplifting then where you literally crashed before.
About half a year later, this all settled and I could start with being creative again, at that time mainly focussing on writing.
In all this time, I had to look after not only me but my precious little, by then 12-year-old fur baby. She's my everything, my world, my baby, my anchor that kept me somehow above the surface when I felt like drowning because life itself got too heavy. She is my furry little soul mate with cat ears.
This January we moved to that new place; only a couple months afterwards, she became sick.
It looked like her breathing was more laboured than usual, so I made an appointment at the nearest vet which luckily are a another branch of the one we were before in Streatham Hill and which are an amazing lot of people.
At the vet, they found liquid inside her chest. They drained off some milky fluid - and it was quite a lot they removed. To see where it came from, we were transferred to Streatham Hill as they had the necessary examination equipment in-house.
Both vets took samples, they checked her heart, her chest.
The end result was: idiopathic chylothorax. Which basically means liquid in chest without known cause.
Apart from a heart disease, a trauma or cancer can cause this issue and a few other reasons. Sometimes it appears and disappears just as quickly even. If not, we could go on draining as long as she was fine, and as long as the fluid didn't come back too fast.
Otherwise there wasn't much that could be done except more scans and surgery, if even just to have a thorough look through her chest.
So there was this bit of hope I clung to.
The next time we needed to drain her again was roughly ten days after this first draining. And again it was already a lot. I counted her breathing throughout the days, and as soon as it became quicker and laboured again, we knew that it was time again to go to the vet.
She always stayed calm, even while being drained, no sedation needed. A perfect little patient.
The draining frequency was about every week. I decided to talk to a specialist too see if they would find anything that helped determine another option for treatment.
They did a CT scan but couldn't find anything else. The next option would have been another type of scan or - and whoever has or had a pet knows just how expensive vets visits are, and now imagine what we've done and tried so far! - just surgery, where they would have had that thorough look through her chest and if they found something, they could treat it right away. (And yes, in this case it would have been an open chest surgery, and fyi this is around 4,000£. And no, I didn't have a pet insurance because for 12 years she was perfectly healthy. So another fyi: even when your pet is healthy, get an insurance, just to be on the safe side if anything should happen.)
We went home and I thought about it. All my heart wanted to do the surgery, my head was calculating in regards to my future finances. We needed to drain her twice a week by then.
All the vets we visited and talked to were incredible and sympathetic and made sure I understood everything, from the procedures, to the illness, to our options, and were honest in their opinions about the chances.
Draining fluids of the chest frequently means also that necessary nutrients, proteins and all, were drained from the body as well, slowly but steady being dehydrated.
I was working mainly night shifts at that time, especially when she became so sick. She was incredibly strong and calm until the end. On that one Sunday, when we needed to drain again - she was usually fine for some days and then quite from one day to the other her breathing was laboured again - we went to Streatham Hill, pretty much at the end of the vets shift.
I didn't think the moment would just be there. Suddenly. The vet saying that it only could get worse and she's been so strong and I've already had done as much as I could. And he said what others had said every now and then at visits: the chances for her to get well again are low. Especially as on the last two or three visits the vets felt some mass somewhere between her belly and her chest.
That Sunday evening, the 23rd of April, she was put to sleep. In my arms. All I could do was hold her while the life and love went to sleep with her.
I'm not writing about it any more, I have other plans of dealing with this particular experience and agony in writing at a later point. As for now, to say this lot, to get it out so far, is enough, hopefully.
I am grateful for the support from all the vets we met, from my friend at work who came the moment I called her from the vet and stood by my side all the time and took care of me that week among her family. I don't know what I would have done without her then, as I hadn't been able to survive alone in that examination room that evening.
I am so endlessly sorry that I could not save my baby. It still hurts, it still doesn't feel right to not have her by my side. I still miss her walking all over me while I sleep, her sleeping on my arms (while I was lying on my side) by my head, on the pillow I put next to me on my bed for her, lying anywhere on my legs and I wouldn't get up because I didn't want to wake her. And I am still not able to sleep without her little casket next to my pillow.
I grew up with this pretty, crazy, fluffy, independent, trusting, loving little diva of mine, 12 years I have known her, her habits, her quirks, her character; we've been through a lot together. I loved her more then anything, and she returned this love and showed it especially when she could have disliked me with reason. She proved to me that unconditional love does exist and that this one is the purest of them all.
21st June 2004 - 23rd April 2017