Schrodinger’s Cat, Pandora’s Box, and a Pet Cat (Scan)

Our house is a very, very, very fine house.

With two cats in the yard,

Life used to be so hard …,”

Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Actually, there’s just one cat in the yard. At 16 pounds he has the heft of two, but Spanky, our tiger stripe rescue, prowls our new property alone.

The front and backyards are small. The previous owners, however, didn’t let its size confine their imagination. They planted flower beds intensively and dotted the grounds with trees and ornamental shrubs. When we arrived in April, violet clematis climbed its trellis and served salad plate sized blooms for three weeks. Daffodils garnished our L-shaped lawn with gold highlights. On the east side of the house, two 12-foot lilac bushes filtered the morning sun in the kitchen and sweetened the room with their perfume.

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Day Lily
Cat Tail Bush
Shrub with Shiny Leaves
White Rose
Budding Rhodys

Soon, other plants followed, taking turns coloring Spanky’s new domain. Roses; purple spirea; stalks of mustard hued yarrow; Shasta daisies; and a trio of rhododendrons bloomed in succession during May and early June. Then, late in the month, three mature blueberry plants began to ripen, surprising us with several quarts of fruit.

An eight foot fence surrounds the yard. It keeps Spanky inside and relatively safe from intruders. I’ve no doubt he can and will figure out ways to scout the neighborhood. For now, though, he seems content to be king of his ¼ acre lot.

The perils of city life differ from those in his former habitat among the foothills of Mt. Hood. Here there are dogs, cars, and maybe a wandering raccoon. During the day, the thick plantings provide shelter and shade. In the summer evenings, the hot weather piques his nocturnal curiosity and I let him outside, Schrodinger’s Cat in a box of night.

Blood cancer patients also spend a lot of time in the dark, curious about their disease status. We shine lights into the recesses of our bone marrow via lab tests, biopsies, and X-rays. Some trepidation accompanies the wait for results. We can’t help but wonder, “Will this test be the one?”

Recently, I dared to open the box of my blood cancer, multiple myeloma. I underwent a PET/CT scan, verbally expressed as a “pet cat.” Peering at the interior of one’s body is really more a Pandora’s Box endeavor than a Schrodinger thought experiment. Contrast agents and radioactive dyes make the cancer cells glow in the dark. By looking, you know what is going on — for better or worse.

What did we learn? We already knew the cancer was stable, given my history. But, I cannot take my current drug cocktail indefinitely. Either it stops working or leads to more problems than it solves. So, diagnostics are a necessary part of any plan going forward.

After looking, and after all the furies escaped, we were left, like Pandora, with a box of hope: no abnormalities appeared in the scan. I still have myeloma, confirmed by blood work, but it has an indolent personality. There is no need, at this time, to add or change treatments.

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A Guardian Angel Came With Our Garden
Flowers amidst the berries
Shasta Daisies
Flowering Shrub

As to Spanky, where does he go at night? What does he do under the cover of dark? I suspect he has safe sleeping spots. But some time must also be occupied with skulking in the shadows, satisfying the urgings of his cat DNA. Nonetheless, I don’t fret as I did when we lived in coyote country. Like my cancer, multiple myeloma, you can only worry about the unexpected so much. After a while, you must let it go.

Gardening, even if it’s mostly just admiration, is a good way to take your mind off of things less pleasant. The summer’s warmth continues to reveal new blooms. By Independence Day, multi-colored day lilies began showing their smiley faces. A coreopsis brightened the base of a cut leaf maple tree, the shade of which cools Spanky’s afternoon naps. 

I’m recovered from the minor injuries mentioned in my last post. The lack of any remarkable findings in my PET/CT probably did as much to boost my immune system as the drugs I take. Spanky and I are both transitioning well from country bumpkins to city slickers. And yes, our house is, indeed, a very fine house.