A week ago my heart broke in thousands of pieces. My beautiful little Holly, my cat, left this world to go spend time with my deeply loved dog Botolo, and my other loved pets Melina, Alfonso, and Oscar.
Holly was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma at the end of February 2022. The initial news was incredibly scary. She had always been very healthy and I was not expecting this. Doctors told me he had only maybe one month to live, but I could not accept this.
I started studying this disease, spending my entire time reading articles, forum posts from other cat owners, writing to doctors, hospitals and universities. We decided to go with surgery, radical mandibulectomy, inspired and reassured by some cats on Youtube who went through the surgery and recovered very well.
We got the surgery done. I was so scared to see Holly after surgery, I was worried I would have been shocked by her new face but it was quite the contrary. I immediately fell deeply in love with that little cute face with her tongue out. Yes, it was challenging at the beginning, but Holly was always super strong, trying to go back to eating on her own almost immediately.
And when things looked great and we were hoping for a complete recover, the bad news came: the cancer was back. That bump in her lower jaw that I started feeling a few days ago and that made me super worried was truly what I was afraid of, the freaking squamous cell carcinoma growing again inside her bones.
Like we did the other time, we did not accept the idea that Holly was dying and we went back to the drawing board, studying all different options an calling doctors one more time. We did radiation therapy, stereotactic, and we started with Palladia. Doctors said “she may continue for another six months”, but we were confident we would have beaten the cancer. While I lived the past five months in fear, I never truly accepted the fact that one day I would have had to say goodbye to my little pumpkin.
And then it happened. Holly started acting weird. First, she seemed just a little bit weaker than usual, then she started circling obsessively. A visit to the neurologist and an MRI confirmed that the cancer invaded her brain and that there was nothing more to do. The doctor called us while beautiful Holly was still under anesthesia and we gave green light for euthanasia. I wanted to drive as fast as I could to her, hold her while she was going to fall asleep one final time, but my wife looked at me and told me “let her go”. My beautiful baby left us while sleeping. I hope she was dreaming about something sweet, I hope she did not suffer not even for a second and I so much hope that she knew I loved her so much and that I would have never given green light for euthanasia if there was even the smallest chance she would have survived.
Now I am here, crying while typing this words, not being able to accept that my beautiful Holly is gone forever and that I will never see her again. How can this be, how will I be able to continue with my life without seeing her little face every morning, without her coming on the bed to wake me up. And even if this was a struggle, I would give everything I have to just be able to go back to a few weeks ago, when I felt that she was recovering from the surgery. Even if I had to feed her through the tube, we found our routine. She was coming to me when it was time, she was hopping on my laps and purring while I was pushing her food through the tube.
My god, Holly, how much I loved you. I used to have nightmares of you running away, and I always found so much comfort waking up, and finding you sleeping close to me. Those moments seemed to be magical, I was going from a nightmare to the most beautiful moment, finding that you were still with me.
Now I wake up every day and you are not here, and it seems like this nightmare never ends. Or maybe one day I’ll just wake up and realize it has truly been just a nightmare and I’ll find you close to me, sleeping like a baby.
I miss you, my beautiful Holly. I miss you.