The robocall from the medical center went into my voicemail today, reminding me of my “upcoming appointment.” As if I needed reminding. It’s been 11 weeks since my last treatment, the longest I have gone without chemo, steroids, and needles since August 2010. My hair seems even curlier, my taste buds are still MIA, and my “poop-out horizon” is still far too short to be much of any fun, but this additional month in between treatments is alright by me.
When I’m tired, which is more often than I care to admit, Figaro keeps me good company, curling up next to me, tucking his head under my elbow holding up a book, laying his paw on my arm. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, this large orange tabby appeared around Thanksgiving about 7 years ago. For a month, he tracked our whereabouts as we moved throughout the house, darting in our yard from window to window and vantage point to vantage point, successfully engaging eye contact with us to the point that Akemi said, “Mom! The cat is watching me practice and is staring at me again!”
Right before Christmas, as he was looking pitifully thin and forlorn in the cold rain, we told Pam about him. We knew that Pam, a cat lover, would say, “Why don’t you keep him?” and she did when she came over, bringing with her a starter supply of cat food and litter. When we let him in, he went right to his make-shift box with a towel in it, curled up, and stayed there all night. Akemi and I had never had a cat before, so what did we know, but we thought that was an auspiciously well-behaved start.
The second night, he stood in the doorway between the bathroom and my bedroom, watching Akemi and me talk as we were stretched out on my bed. We looked at each other and I said, “If we let him up here, it’s all over.” We both looked at him, sitting perfectly still, and we both felt, “What the heck.” We both tapped the space between us and said simultaneously, “Okay, come on.” In a flash, he bounded up and snuggled his way in. His purring was so loud and his look so content that we got the biggest kick out of how he was obviously thinking, “Ahhh! I made it! Mission accomplished!” His persistence, patience, and good behavior had been rewarded.
So we feel he adopted us, not the other way around. We’ve been amazed at how loveable, clever, and protective he is. He has his battle scars, and never will answer to the name Akemi gave him (from “Pinocchio,” not the operas), but we honestly didn’t ever think we’d have such good company from a cat.
When Akemi is home, he sits over her shoulder in her arm chair. When I’m playing the piano, he often jumps into my lap and puts his paws on my hands or the keys. Occasionally his snoring in the middle of the night startles me awake. He seems to know when I’m not feeling the greatest and stays close by my side.
Time for Fig and me to turn in, saving up strength for the next “hit,” and making the most of the next several days until then.