You guys! Today, we have a real life story. Please meet Walter, who was recently diagnosed with cancer in his eye at the age of only two and a half, and had to go through a complete enucliation (eye removal). We talk with him a bit about how he overcame it and how his person, Caitlyn, dealt with the whole situation.
Walter before surgery
C: Welcome, Walter. Tell me a bit about yourself.
WC: Good evening, Crepes, and thank you for having me on your program. My name is Walter Cronkat-Violette, but I just go by Walter Cronkat for professional reasons. Originally from a garden shed in Minnesota, I moved to Chicago to lend my gift for reporting to the Windy City. I guess you could say I’m just you’re everyday award-winning cat journalist looking for the next big scoop…… get it? Scoop? It’s a pun, because I poop in a box. Make sure to put it in italics so the readers get it.
C: I will handle this, Walter. Now, you’ve had a trying ordeal recently with your eye. Tell me a bit about what happened.
WC: During Caitlyn’s daily hour spent affectionately gazing into my eyes, she noticed a little black dot in the corner of my right eye. She took pictures and sent them to our local white-coated keeper of needles and cold hands, who referred us to another white-coated keeper of bright lights and similarly cold hands and he diagnosed it as an Iris Melanoma.
C: That sounds like a nightclub performer. Go on.
WC: Since it was still contained inside my eye and was still flat against the eye, it likely hadn’t spread anywhere else, but once it starts getting raised and bumpy, it spreads quickly and can be fatal, so it needed to come out. I had some labs done by the stabby people, and they determined I was [otherwise] cancer-free. So, to answer your question, I guess I wouldn’t personally say I’ve outsmarted death, but I see where you’re getting that. Wait, what was your question?
The stages of Walter’s melanoma growth.
C: I can’t remember. How long did it take you to heal from surgery?
WC: Caitlyn keeps insisting it only took about a month before I was back to normal, but right after surgery they had me in this atrocious plastic contraption and I’m certain I was in that for at least three months to a year. I silently protested by not eating, drinking, or using the litter box and they eventually took notice. I had stitches in for two weeks after surgery, and Caitlyn put these horrifying liquids put in my mouth twice a day until the stitches were out.
C: How did your mom handle the whole process? What was hardest for her?
WC: She got a little clingy about the whole thing, not sleeping for the first few days, picking me up all the time, making these terrible noises and getting her face all wet. I mean don’t get me wrong, she’s a nice girl and she learned how to use a can opener this year so we’re really proud of her, but once they took the devil cone off me and I was able to eat and sleep and continue hunting the ribbon population in our apartment, she seemed to do better. Her mom came down from Minnesota for the surgery and brought me my favorite duffle bag to sleep in, so that was considerate. I think she actually talked to your mom and some of her friends throughout the ordeal.
C: Yes, I heard them speaking of the subject. What was hardest for you? Any adjustments that you’ve had to make to your life? Does Henry, your brother, treat you differently?
WC: The devil cone and horrifying liquids were definitely the worst of it and once I got the stitches removed, I didn’t notice much difference at all. The only real change I’ve noticed at all is the red dot sometimes seems to be getting better at escaping my clutches, but I can still jump, eat, report the news, sleep, destroy ribbon monsters, and throw up on Caitlyn’s shoes as well as before. Perhaps better since I’ve lost the weight of the eye making me lighter and presumably stealthier. And Henry… is he that new intern cat at the station? Nice kid, I let him get me coffee sometimes, but we don’t talk much.
CS: Caity-Shea here. Henry, his brother who he definitely knows, was freaked out when he had the cone on, but didn’t seem to notice when it was off.
Walter after surgery, pondering one-eyed life.
C: I see your person likes to interrupt you, just like mine does. What advice would you give to others who might have to go through the same thing?
WC: Avoid the cone at all costs, start a house fire if it means the cone burns with it. I highly recommend our white-coated stabby humans for their willingness to look at pictures via email to spare extra trips and fees, they also called Caitlyn to check in a lot. And make sure your Caitlyn stares into your eyes adoringly frequently to see any unusual changes. I’m only two and a half and the spot was in the corner of my eye and was still small when we figured out it was cancer. The light shining eye white coat said if the spot is small enough and not on the corner of your eye they can sometimes laser it off and avoid removing it, but mine was too close to the edge.
Walter, learning to read with one eye.
C: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Caitlyn spends many hours now one-eyed, in solidarity, as it should be.
A big thank you to Walter for his time and for his person Caity-Shea for driving him here, though she occasionally interrupted him.
PS. If you like interviews, check out this great piece on Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows featuring and interview by me with interruptions by MomFOD! Learn more about my work as a cover girl and the new book “Rescued,” out now and available here!