has been so long since I have been asked to swear in a good friend at
the Bridge I was hoping we would make it to the New Year, since there is
nothing more sorrowful than losing a loved one at the holidays. But
this week I got the sad summons, grabbed my robe and my swearing in book
and waited at the top of the steps. Although I knew she would be
coming someday soon, I hoped Misha would make it to Christmas, alas, the
Gods had other plans.
journey to the Bridge was a long and strenuous one. She fought very
hard against the cancer but that’s a match that we only win when the
cancer relents, and her cancer, like mine, had no desire to relent.
started with an innocent trip to the vet where liver levels were
slightly high. A few day’s later it was another every day act, a rub on
Misha’s throat, when the large lump was felt, Misha cried out, and her
Mom’s heart sunk to her feet. They went to the vet and he ran a painful test and then, even more painfully they had to wait for the result
the result came it was the news they feared. Misha had a cancerous
tumor in her neck. Her parents decided to forgo surgery and take her to
a cancer center to see if the surgery could get the entire mass or
would only add to Misha’s suffering. Misha and I had so much in common,
we had seemed fine except for throat problems, which both our parents
had thought were caused by a faulty trachea, and both our parents were shocked to find out they were wrong.
doctors at the cancer facility decided the tumor had to be removed then
sent out to be analyzed. Before the tumor could be removed the news
got worse. The tumor was growing rapidly. It had attached to her
tonsils and lymph nodes. Misha would, after the removal of the tumor,
likely have to go through chemotherapy.
had the surgery, came through successfully and was brought home. The
doctors thought they got all the cancer, but, because of where it was
located, it was likely to return. Her parents decided not to do
chemotherapy so she did not have to suffer anymore. Her parents didn’t
know when the cancer would return so they decided to love her and spoil
her for as long as they could.
remission lasted five months, but inevitably the cancer spread to her
left lymph node. The cancer was not yet in her heart and her lungs but
her doctors were concerned it was likely. There would be no more
surgeries or treatments. Misha was closing in on her 13th birthday (as
was I at the end) and, quality of life was most important. As her Mom
said: “We don't know how long we will have with her but we are going to
enjoy every minute we can with her.”
kept fighting, taking her pills and eating despite having a partially
paralyzed tongue, She kept up her appetite, had no vomiting or loose
poops. She even had the energy to chase varmints. And Misha and her
parents enjoyed every day together.
week Misha’s made her journey from the mortal side of the Bridge with
her pack to the immortal side with us angels. Her health went downhill
as she ran out of all the energy that kept her with her family. A kind
vet came to their house to aid her on her journey so she didn’t have to
go to the vet’s office. She so hated the vet. So she did not pass over
alone, but surrounded by her family.
was a champion who travelled to competitions, a treasured member of her
family, and a beautiful friend. She greeted me warmly as she was
sworn in. I know her family was hoping to spend one last Christmas with
her, and I am so sorry they weren’t able to, but she will be spending
it next to me, here at The Bridge, where we will be celebrating our
first magical Christmas at the Bridge together.
would rather be spending it with our families but the fates would not
allow. So we will spend it together, and, on Christmas Eve, when
magical things happen, we will both slip into our Mom’s dreams to wish
them a Merry Christmas.