CREDOS : Survivors — I

Gwen, I think it’s ovarian cancer, and I think it’s spread everywhere. I’m so sorry.” These were the grim words of my surgeon in late October. “Go home, get your affairs in order, and we’ll operate as soon as we can.” I had surgery in mid-November and learned that I, indeed, had an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. Then there were complications — intestinal blockage — and ten days in hospital.

I was weary of being in the hospital. I was frightened about my future. I wondered whether I would even have a future.I had been divorced a year earlier and I wondered how I was going to cope with chemotherapy, my job as an editor, and taking care of my house in the country all by myself. Sometime during those ten days, my daughter began to say, “Mom, I don’t want you to be alone. I think you need a pet.”“Oh, Wendy, how could I take care of a pet? I’m so weak I can hardly take care of me.””What about a cat? Cats don’t require much care.” But one night after my concerned daughter had gone for the evening; I began to think about what she’d said. Perhaps a pet would give me something else to think about. The doctor had already told me that the very best therapy was going to be a positive attitude.

I went to sleep that night thinking about the kind of pet I might want. In the morning when Wendy came I shocked her by saying, “All right, I’ve decided I want a cat. I want you to go to

the animal shelter and get me a black-and-white tuxedo cat. —