It 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.
Misha’s 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.
It 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
When 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.
The 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.
Misha 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.
Misha’s 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.”
Misha 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.
This 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.
Misha 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.
We 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.