Last month, I had to make the tough decision to euthanize my cat, Bella. In a span of two weeks, I went from discovering a tumor to administering medications to making the ultimate decision to let her go. We gave it the best fight, but you can’t always beat biology. During this two weeks, a friend asked me if I was planning to catalog this experience as it tied in so well to my year of strength theme. Now that the emotions are a little less raw, I thought I would share what I learned:
- I am adaptable. In this two-week whirlwind, I completely overhauled my routine. I worked remotely on certain days, fought to keep Elly from eating Bella’s food and medications, started administering medications (thank goodness for liquid medications), traveled with Bella on the bus and in an Uber and did whatever I could to keep Bella comfortable. And I did all of this without a second thought. Most importantly, I’m now adapting to being the owner of a single cat — but I’m still using plural pronouns.
- I appreciate quality customer service and care. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery for me — I’ve been with my hairdresser for more than 10 years now — but in a time of crisis, it becomes more important. Since I moved out on my own, I’ve been a big fan of Jewell Animal Hospital. They are top notch in care and thanks to our vet, Dr. O’Connor, Bella rebounded from the infection she had and I went into the visit with the internist prepared with questions. I also appreciated the honesty — and genuine sadness — of the surgical team that took care of Bella at Premier Veterinary Clinic. I would make the decision to go there for emergency and surgical treatment again.
- I still prepare for the worst-case scenario. My mom always tells me that I’m my own worst enemy and that I always expect the worst. In this case, I found this to be beneficial. By preparing myself for all possible scenarios, I was able to hold it together to make the decision that final decision. I’m immensely grateful that I was able to reflect on the options available to me and was able to make the best choice for Bella.
- I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people. When Bella was first diagnosed with this tumor, I knew I wanted to share her story and the information I was learning with others. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of support that came from others. From offered rides to flowers and cards, everyone’s messages of support and sympathy were immensely appreciated. Elly enjoyed the extra pets, too.
To say that January tested my emotional and mental strength is an understatement. Despite how devastating this situation was, I know I came out the other side of more informed on cat care and myself. Have you been in a situation similar to mine? What did you learn about yourself along the way?