Skip navigation

On Tuesday, I am taking Lila Bean to see an oncologist.  She had a mass removed from her mouth this past Tuesday.  It turned out to be melanoma.  It appears to be early in the disease – today’s chest x-ray looks clear and her lymph nodes aren’t enlarged, though it’s apparently a very aggressive disease, and it sounds like most cats die from it within a few months.  There’s a melanoma vaccine for dogs now that is said to have good results, but little data on cats, maybe because few people can afford it.  I may not be able to afford, or want to put her through, cancer treatments, but I want to know all the options before deciding not to or to.  She’s almost 12, and until now has never had a significant health problem.  The mass was discovered a week ago by her vet as part of a recheck on an apparent middle-inner ear infection that could be related to the cancer.   The mass wasn’t there at the beginning of December.  This has all happened so fast, and I’ve gathered so much information since the vet called with the mass lab results yesterday, my head is spinning.  And poor little Bean is very stressed with all this back and forth to the vet and procedures and still not really eating much since the mass was removed from her mouth and me thrusting the pain drug in her mouth and antibiotic/anti-inflammatory in her ear.  And the tendons in both my elbows/forearms are screaming from added usage.  And Muki (who’s still hanging in there) and Ella are being neglected.

This past Tuesday, Yo La Tengo released a new album, Fade, and tonight they are in town playing the final in-store at the Easy Street Records in Lower Queen Anne – which sadly is closing shortly after.  I love this band and my impressions so far on this album are of songs of slow loss.  The instrumentation is beautiful.

I am going to Easy Street this evening to see them and say goodbye to a local record store that has been important to me over the years, was on my beat when I made the rounds.  Thankfully the West Seattle store will be there, at least for now.

My sister-in-law aptly named the decision I am facing after the data-gathering phase (which I think concludes on Tuesday) as the algebra of love.  When I think about whether or not I can afford to take the risk of cancer treatment for Lila, I have already decided two general parameters: the treatment can’t be something that will make her miserable in the process, and it needs to have a track record of on average a year of additional life in what few kitties have had it.  I am willing to accumulate some significant credit card debt if I can buy this chance for her.  I am waiting until Tuesday to find out if this chance is even an option.

My sister-in-law has lost two dogs and her mother to cancer, and three dogs to other long-term serious illnesses.  She remarked this morning that, at this point in our experience, when we take on a new pet, we are already calculating how long it is likely to be until we have to say goodbye.  Each new relationship of love already has sorrow built in.  But it is still worth it, isn’t it?

Lila enjoying her Xmas gifts

Lila Bean enjoying her Xmas gifts


Postcript:  Though I made it over to Easy Street, took a last paw through the boxes of 7″s while the bins were being disassembled all around, kinda rudely interrupted James NcNew’s record-shopping to ask if they were planning to do a signing afterward, and bought two records (including Fade), the store quickly filled wall to wall with bodies.  I waited at the back until close to showtime, but became so uncomfortable with the crowding that I squeezed my way back outside and let someone else squeeze in before Yo La Tengo took the stage.  It was nice to see such a great turnout – lines halfway around the block.  I stood across the street for a while, waiting for my brother (who certainly wouldn’t have made it into the store) and soaking in one last look at the iconic spinning sign.

The Seattle Times posted some nice images from the evening.  Here’s a video of one of the songs they played from the new album.  And here’s a video of a longtime employee reminiscing and then getting engaged on the same stage that night.  Added: here’s a better video of the band, along with the store owner’s thank you speech… aw, crap, I missed seeing them play “Detouring America with Horns.”  A right nice lullaby, that.


Goodnight Easy Street Lower Queen Anne

closing time



  1. aw, poor Bean and poor you. I will think good thoughts.

    • Thank you, LT. She’s having a good day today.

      • That makes me happy to hear. Give her a skritch for me.

        • Thanks, LT . She’s been appreciating the extra skritches.

  2. What a difficult time for you and Lila Bean. Can they not give her pain meds in the form of transdermal codeine that would go in her ear, too? That’s what they do when my cats have dental extractions.

    • Thanks, Laurie. I will ask about the transdermal option for future pain control.

  3. I hate to hear this about Lila Bean. This must be such a difficult time for you. Be sure to take care of yourself, as well as the kitties.

    • This weekend we’ll have lots of cuddle time together. Before I got out of bed this morning Lila was quite cuddly. Thank you for the kind words!

  4. I’m so sorry for the bad news. I know you’ll figure all out once you have all the information.
    I’m with laurie that finding proper pain control for Lila is a priority
    your little family is in our thoughs

    • Thank you, Mariser … pain control is definitely to be the top priority. Based on the oncologist consultation today, the prognosis for her with the cancer-abating options discussed (radiation and the canine melanoma vaccine) is at best a few more months. So, I think I’m just gonna keep her comfortable until the cancer does the inevitable, and not try to extend her life.

      • When I think of what the humans I know have gone through with radiation treatment, and a cat not understanding what she’s going through it for, I think you’ve made a good decision to just let Lila Bean be for the rest of the time she gives you. But my heart goes out to you, too.

      • I am so sorry to hear, for the beautiful Lila Bean, and for you.
        like laurie sez, it’s not fair or just to put your baby through pain and stress she cannot comprehend for a small life extension.
        I hope you got more effective pain control for Lila, so she can enjoy to the fullest.

  5. Oh, I’m so sorry for both of you. I’m sorry you are in a situation where you have to make such a decision. There must come a stage in life where we might die before our beloved pets – but then I feel sad for the poor pet not knowing what has happened to its carer – this might be more so in the case of pet dogs than cats though. I have fish and I’m sure they couldn’t care who throws in the food pellets as long as they appear each night.

    • Thank you, Emjay. That’s a good point about being at that stage of life … I guess it’s time to prepare a will.

  6. I hope Lila Bean is comfortable for the rest of her time. I’m glad you aren’t putting her through all that. I wouldn’t either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: