Ironically, on the eve of my new book coming out (Driving with Cats, June 2013), I’m dealing at home with the very things I write about in the book — helping a cat through a tremulous health journey with no idea of the outcome. Kali, my 18 year old cat, has a tumor inside her head. It is pushing into one side of her face and the area between her left eye and the teeth is slightly swollen. I’ve known about this for a week and a half, had the mass verified through xray (but no biopsy), and have been through the strangest time I can remember in awhile. And it will probably get stranger. I’m exhausted and sometimes spacey, and I thank the gods for my partner/husband, who so skillfully and kindly steps in to fill the gaps I am missing.

This isn’t about me, I keep telling myself — this is about Kali.

Really, it’s about both of us, or all of us.

It’s huge, and it’s not. It’s life.

It does, always, surprise me at its immensity and its power to knock me on my butt. I feel as if I could sleep for days. I’m not used to this — I’m used to moving moving moving, and stuff must go on, be attended to. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think of is Kali. I get right out of bed, and check on her. My heart knows no limits when she greets me with an enthusiastic face or a soft head butt. She doesn’t seem to mind using the left side of the face at this point. Still, I am well aware that cats hide pain.

My goal is to keep Kali as comfortable and happy as possible. I’m trying to stay in the Now, and not worry about the Future.

I know what to watch for. Right now she is eating well, seeking attention, demanding food (she does have a battle cry, just like Kali in my cat fantasy book Kali’s Will), grooming herself, and interested and alert. I’m grateful, and have been showering her with attention. The other cats (except for the young adult Jamie Bluebell) seem to graciously understand this.

Toward the goal of keeping her comfortable and pain free, I’m doing a blend of traditional and alternative treatments. I’ve consulted with three fantastic veterinarians (who have gone way above and beyond to help me) to figure all this out. I’ve been down this road before, but it is always different. She has pain meds when needed, but hasn’t seemed to need them much, yet. We’re going to try a new pain med, which may have anticancer properties as well. She’s also getting immune and digestive enzyme support, and a Chinese herbal tincture with anticancer and detoxing properties. I’m using an essential oil (Frankincense), that may be able to shrink tumors. She is getting a homeopathic remedy as well.

I’m trying to stay clear. The goal is to watch Kali. I have no idea how much time I have or how this will play out. If and when a decision has to be made, I hope I can act for the best outcome for Kali at that time.

And I need to remember to celebrate Kali’s life, so far. She’s been with us for so many years. I need to be thankful for that.

I’m also very thankful for the many people who have simply listened. Thank you. I need to remember how important that is, and simple to do, for others when needed.

Taken a few weeks ago (right before finding out about the tumor) for an article on Kali at catster.com. You can read the article here.