Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee was a hurricane kitty who blew into my yard in 2004 and adopted me for ten years. In March of 2014 she was diagnosed with lymphoma and started chemotherapy. The cancer ended up in her kidneys, and the treatments had to be stopped. Lexie Lee was a wise old soul kitty. She taught me many lessons over the years, but none more poignant than the ones during her terminal illness.

Forgive and Forget
For five months, Lexie Lee had eighteen appointments at Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists with Dr. Beth Lechner. Most visits took five to six hours for blood diagnostics, ultrasound, and chemo treatment. When we returned home, all she wanted to do was crawl into my lap. She had at least one daily medicine to take. During two months, she had to be medicated in the morning and evening. There were even a few weeks when a third medicine was necessary. She was difficult to medicate and tussled with me. But when it was all over and I let her go, I was amazed how she did not go far. I would be busy putting away medicine and cleaning syringes. When I turned around, Lexie was near me. Her attitude was what’s next. She never held a grudge for long.

Do What You Have To Do
Lexie Lee tended to get carsick on the forty minute return visits from the veterinarian. Most of the time she had an anti-nausea shot. When she did not, we could make it about five minutes from home before getting sick. There was not much I could do but keep driving and get her home and out of messy carrier as fast as I could. I always felt so bad for her and wanted to help clean her up. But she resisted and simply lay down in the dining room and proceeded to clean herself. On this one occasion, Lexie Lee took several hours before she was satisfied that she well groomed. I was struck by how she forgot about everything else that she might have done (like take a nap, eat, play with Chauncey and Grace, lay on my lap) and focused on the fur problem. She was a mess, knew it, and dealt with it.

Accept Some Days Are Icky
Taking medicine, getting stuffed in a carrier, or being stuck with needles defined an icky day for Lexie Lee. Hiding out under the bed was the anecdote for feeling sick, tired, or scared. Lay low, conserve energy, and eat all food pushed under the bed were her philosophy.

Patience and Trust
When Lexie Lee was locked in her carrier with as little drama and trauma as possible and headed to the veterinarian for the umpteen appointment, she did not fight to get out. She did not bang her head on the cage door or meow incessantly. She kept her eyes on me as I drove and trusted I would keep her safe. She trusted we would reach our destination together, and she would be released.

Stay Involved in Favorite Pleasures
During Lexie’s battle with cancer, she continued to enjoy her favorite pastimes. Without a doubt, one was greeting me at the door. She would jump on the back of a wingback chair and be nose to nose to me when I opened the door. Then she would kiss me. She was a lap and chest kitty. So if I sat down or stretched out on the couch, she would be on me in five seconds. She liked to playfully nibble on my hands and wash them. She spent countless hours being my muse and hanging out on her custom windowsills in my home office. Catching sunbeams, watching birds and squirrels from the inside, and rough housing with Chauncey and Grace rounded out her fun time. Oh, and did I mention eating?

Live in the Present
Animals are masters at living in the present, and Lexie Lee was no different. She lived each moment and each day as though that was all there was. She did not have nightmares about going to chemotherapy. She did not worry about having cancer or what might happen the next day. She was not concerned about a miracle remission. She did not anguish about how or when she would die. She ate when she was hungry, napped when she was tired, and crawled in my lap when she wanted love.

Be Tenacious and Brave
Tough battles require going above and beyond. Lexie Lee was the strongest willed cat, physically and psychologically that I have ever seen. Those characteristics helped her fight for eighteen weeks of treatment over a five month period. The result is not always our heart’s desire, but God’s will be done. However, the effort has to be put forth. As Dr. Lechner reminded us, “you hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

Be Joyful
Lexie Lee was a happy, delightful kitty. She was fun, animated, inquisitive, and loving while terminally ill as well as on the morning of euthanasia. Because she had a joyful spirit, she was a joy to behold. I wanted to be around her forever. Now she is around me forever.

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