True confessions: I am prone to anxiety and depression.
I am amazed at how the cats help reduce my anxiety and depression. Playing feather or string with Nahum is the best mental health therapy I have found. Cuddles with Max used to be amazingly therapeutic as well. I am hoping Buddy's cuddles may hold similar therapeutic value.
The cats also create a significant amount of anxiety - mainly fears concerning their health and impending death.
Kidney disease has been ruled out as his urine concentration "looks good" (this makes me very happy to hear, I like good looking urine!). The recent blood samples that were sent off to the lab all came back clean, meaning he doesn't have any nasty viruses. The vet seems stumped. She decided to rule out Cushing's disease, something that apparently is rare in cats. The results came in today - he doesn't have Cushing's (again I did the happy dance as the anxiety was released).
I am not sure what the next option is. We discuss it with the vet again on Wednesday and meanwhile keep an eye on Buddy.
While awaiting the Cushing's disease results I was quite aware of my intense anxiety. While curiously wandering around in my anxiety, I realized I have been reluctant to fully bond with Buddy for fear he would be diagnosed with some horrible illness and I would lose him. For some reason when I took him in I had a weird feeling that he might not be with us long. By not fully allowing Buddy into my heart, I was trying to protect myself from the future pain of his loss. For most of my life this was my default way of living, intentionally choosing the chronic displeasure of loneliness and superficiality to mitigate the overwhelming sting of death. Now, I try to choose to step into the risk and go for the emotional ride while looking for healthy ways to grieve and manage the resulting anxiety.
One of the many things I love about playing with Nahum is it helps me be fully present to the moment. Nahum exists in the present moment, he doesn't worry about the future. He is very bonded with Willow and yet (unlike me) he doesn't worry about her death. His anxiety about Willow's future death doesn't stop him from getting everything possible from the moment. I have much to learn from my cats - fully give myself to the moment and not worry about tomorrow. Or as Nana used to say, "don't let tomorrow's clouds hide today's sun."