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My Cats Trump Your Cancer

I have resisted the urge to submit this story for quite some time, but I just feel like I have to share. “Susie” and I have been friends for over a decade. As time has passed, I have spent less and less time with her as time after time she exhibited thoughtless and selfish behavior (for example, inviting me and my husband for a home cooked dinner, then changing her mind and insisting that we order in, each paying for ourselves). Anyway, this story is the topper.

Two years ago, shortly before Christmas I learned that I had thyroid cancer and would need almost immediate surgery. This would be my third surgery that year, I was in the middle of moving (had to downsize due to medical bills), and I was out of work (my husband supported both of us at the time). I was very upset at the thought not only of cancer, but what my husband and I would do to pay for all of this. The day before I was to have the surgery I received a call from Susie (keep in mind that Susie was well aware of all of these issues as I trusted her as a close friend). She wanted me to feed her cats while she and her husband went out of town for the holidays. Not only that, she was busy shopping and cleaning so she needed me to come get her extra key in order to do this. I responded that, no, I could not do this favor since I was about to go into the hospital for cancer related surgery and I did not know what the recovery would be like. Her response? “I know that, but why can’t your husband do it?” She wanted my husband to go out to her house to pick up her keys instead of being at the hospital with me! Not only that, she expected him to come out to her house (at least a 45 minute drive) every day for several weeks to care for her pets. Susie was very angry with us for not giving into her demands, saying that we had ruined her holidays because she had no options now. I could understand if we had made this arrangement and then I backed out, but that was not the case, she made that request with no advance notice and being fully aware of my situation.

Wow Susie, sorry my cancer and lazy husband ruined your holiday. I did not initiate contact with Susie at all after that. However, what prompted me to submit this story was that she just called me out of the blue that she was on her way out of town and wouldn’t you know it? She had not made any arrangements for her pets. No thanks. 0624-13


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Elizabeth December 10, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Susie sounds like a classic narcissist. Run for your life – she will eat you alive. She is entirely de-void of empathy and she always will be. She is incapable of being a friend; she will take and take.

    I hope you are feeling better.

  • Jewel December 10, 2013, 4:15 pm

    Teapot — The OP’s story seemed so completely one sided and, as we all know, there are two sides to every story. I’ve rarely run across someone who behaved so atrociously in the absence of provocation. And, as I clearly stated, Susie should have handled the situation quite differently but that doesn’t mean the OP is completely blameless in the break down of the relationship.

  • Michele K. December 10, 2013, 4:38 pm

    To the OP, wow. Glad you are rid of Susan and I hope your cancer is gone.

    To Jewel, I don’t care if the OP was the kind of person you describe (needy hypochondriac). Susan knew the OP was about to go into surgery for thyroid cancer. What kind of person would even expect the OP’s husband to make a 45-minute drive every day for several weeks while his wife was in the hospital with that kind of surgery and then at home recovering?

  • acr December 10, 2013, 4:49 pm

    @ Jewel – Those are some pretty harsh things to say. And I see no evidence at all that that is what happened. However, even if you are 100% right – so what? It still doesn’t make it okay for Susie to berate the OP for not being able to drive 1.5 hours a day for several weeks at the last minute, and accuse the OP of ruining her holiday for not doing so.

  • DanaJ December 10, 2013, 4:49 pm

    What the heck? That’s crazy talk right there. We start booking our pets’ accommodations as soon as we make our own plans.

    Helpful hint: A lot of dog-walking services also offer cat-sitting. Our dog-walker has a wonderful Cat Lady who comes to our house daily to feed our cats and play with them. She will scoop the litter box too. The litter box scooping is not optional, she WILL scoop the box to make sure there are no signs of stomach or bladder issues, or “I swallowed the toy and have a blockage” issues.

    The Cat Lady also brings in the mail and leaves you a log book, so you know how they were behaving while you were away and to notify you if anything with your pets or your house seemed amiss.

  • DanaJ December 10, 2013, 4:52 pm

    *forehead slap*

    I could have sworn I’d sent good thoughts your way regarding your health. Only after I hit “submit” did I realize I had saved it for the end but thoguht I’d put it at the beginning.

    I hope you’ve had some positive gains and are recovering well. I’m sending good energy vibes your way.

  • AIP December 10, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Ooh, I had my thyroid cancer surgery before Christmas 2 years ago too! Actually.. quick check… two years ago this week 🙂

    Hope the brain fog is behaving itself 😉

    Regarding Susie (oh and do I know some Susies!): everyone else has it covered.

  • Ange December 10, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Jewel considering the OP did actually have cancer even if she was being dramatic in the lead up it was not without good cause, no? But even that is an assumption made with absolutely no information on your part. I have had a year of minor medical mishaps starting with a knee reconstruction in January moving through to root canals, neck injuries, tendinitis, back injuries and culminating in minor surgery last week that I didn’t know I needed until I went to the doctor. Honestly on the outside looking in it probably does seem like I’m being a massive drama queen but these things aren’t deliberate and sometimes they’re frustrating and most of all they do kind of take over everything else. The OP had it way worse and got no understanding from her so called friend, she is right to feel hurt and angry. The lack of follow up from ‘friend’ until OP was needed again confirms that this isn’t about drama queen behaviour on OP’s part.

  • manybellsdown December 10, 2013, 6:05 pm

    @Badkitty – I make my kennel arrangements BEFORE I book my own hotel! The kennel I like fills up quickly, but I can always find a human hotel. 😉 And it’s not like my dog can check out and go to another one if he doesn’t like it there.

    Anyway, best wishes from another thyroid cancer survivor. 2 years and counting!

  • lakey December 10, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Good luck with the cancer. I had a friend who had been treated for thyroid cancer 30 years ago. She’s still fine. Keep a stiff upper lip.

  • Amanda H. December 10, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Considering this is now documented behavior from her, I’d be prepared for any future calls like this by having a quote for your “emergency pet-sitting fees” (including gas to and from) ready to go. If that’s too high for her, tough. She can look up more local, less-expensive pet-sitters herself. If she’s willing to pay, you either have money to cover the inconvenience, or at least money to sub-contract to a pet-sitter on your behalf.

    But I do think the suggestion to cut Susie out of your life is the better option, especially if you can do it quietly and cleanly.

  • hakayama December 10, 2013, 8:05 pm

    @Jewel #25: are you a novelist by chance? Perhaps specializing in psychological mysteries? Where what appears white is really black, and viceversa?
    If so, I can see where you draw inspiration for your characters, plots, settings… Congratulations on the most fertile imagination.

  • Angel December 10, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Holy crap. You just can’t make up this stuff!

    OP I hope you are doing better now–both physically and financially. I have said this many times before–when you are most in need you really find out who your friends are. I for one cannot believe that she had the gall to contact you 2 years later and ask you to pet sit AGAIN! I hope you hung up on her–or if it was a text or email, that you didn’t respond. Nerve!

  • Alie December 10, 2013, 9:50 pm

    @Jewel, I mean, even assuming all that, how would that make demanding someone care for your cat okay?

    I actually did some pet sitting when I was in high school. I did take some dog sitting gigs at the last minute, but, you know, I got paid. And even in those situations, no one ever said, “You MUST do this” it was “I’m so sorry, are you able to do this?”

  • JeanLouiseFinch December 10, 2013, 10:37 pm

    OP – hope you are over the hassles that come with thyroid problems. I too, have had thyroid problems, although not cancer, and I know this can be a long and exhausting recovery. Your “friend” sounds as if she not only cannot maintain a real friendship, but also should not have any pets. Anyone who does not make arrangements well in advance for their pets while on vacation is just not up for the responsibility that pet ownership entails. We would not dream of going on vacation without lining up our 2 dogs’ boarding arrangements at a facility we know we can trust. You are way better off without this person in your life.

  • Cady December 10, 2013, 11:36 pm

    For Christmas this year, send Susie a copy-shop-bound mini booklet with the contact info. and rates of all the cat kennels and pet sitters in a 50-mile radius. 🙂

  • Barreleh December 11, 2013, 7:28 am

    This story reminds me somewhat of an experience I had as a freshman in college. A somewhat birchy (my chosen euphemism) woman from my church who’d been a single mom/divorcee somehow managed to land herself a lovely man and had a kid with him as soon as could be arranged, I guess to make sure he would be in the picture even after he woke up and realized what a birch she was. At the time I was known to be baby-sitting the church’s youth director’s kids, but only on those days I wasn’t at school. Birchy lady was working a night job as a nurse or something similar, and asked me to babysit overnight, telling me it would be ‘only until 7:00 a.m. That should give you enough time to get to school.’ Uh, no. At the time I had no car and it was TWO buses to school, plus, I needed to sleep in order to even function at school. She didn’t take my no graciously. Rolling her eyes and sighing, she proceeded to tell me how much I was inconveniencing her.

  • NostalgicGal December 11, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Barreleh, I had not dissimilar in highschool that ended my sitting. Senior year, I had a few kids I sat for, usually short notice, on school nights. I could cook so I could feed kids supper if needed and didn’t charge for after midnight. One regular was three girls, just in school and just before, one was a preschool boy…. New Year’s Eve, I was booked by the regular, three girls; I show up as a post supper (50/50 with them on whether or not I fed the kids or not as part of the gig) arrival, and. There is my regular preschool boy with parents, and another family I had never seen before with their four, three girls and a boy. Oh, they were all going out to party together and decided to use my services that night (my limit was three at a time and my regulars knew this!). The group of four, one of them was sick. Not badly (tossing it or runs) but running fever. I dealt… and. Parents came home-I made each one of them cough separately at double rates or they could forget me sitting ever again; the two regulars made the third pay. Then. The group of four were not vaccinated for religious reasons, the sick one had scarlet fever. And exposed everyone. I had to be segregated at school for six weeks because though I’d been vaccinated I could be carrying. Because of who the parents were of some of the kids; it levered that those four got their shots really fast. It was close enough to graduation that killed my sitting for the rest of the season, because shortly after that I had the accident that badly damaged one hand… (how dare I get hurt!!!!!, I go to the ER and get sewn up, go to collect my books after school and I was confronted by my one regular, who was very upset I didn’t want to sit that night on immediate notice… come on, that sink was still full of my blood (and I kindly rinsed it away myself)and I had stitches and a swelling frankenhand, I want to chase your kids tonight…(eyes roll))

    OP, I do hope you have kicked rears and taken names and are much better now. I agree with the general consensus that Susan needs a cluebyfour…

  • Lerah99 December 11, 2013, 12:38 pm

    I believe Jewel has been subjected to a drama queen hypochondriac in her own life. And that colored her response.

    I have an aunt who is always in one medical crisis or another (all self diagnosed). Any time I call her I find out she now has a new illness or condition to add to the list: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Restless Leg Syndrome, MS, Celiac Disease, Diabetes, Candiada, etc… This causes my aunt to be in endless chaos and she had an endless need for attention.

    This causes things to happen like: my Aunt promised to watch her granddaughter one weekend while my cousin and her husband when on a romantic weekend. My aunt even made comments on Facebook about how much she was looking forward to an entire weekend with her granddaughter.

    When my cousin arrived to drop off her daughter, my Aunt insisted that she had NEVER agreed to watch her granddaughter and aunt’s fibromyalgia was flaring up so she was far too sick to take her granddaughter for the weekend.

    My cousin and her husband had to cancel everything last minute and lost a couple hundred dollars on the hotel room because they didn’t give 24 hours notice before canceling.

    With that sort of person in your life, you start wondering if anyone is ever actually sick.

    EVEN saying that. EVEN if the letter writer were crazy like my aunt. That does NOT excuse Susie’s last minute and self-centered demands.

    Letter Writer, I think you are better off with Susie out of your life. She is a user and doesn’t see other people as people. Everyone else is just a supporting character in the elaborate production that is Susie’s life.

  • Mae December 11, 2013, 1:45 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe ever thought this woman was a “friend”!

    A few years ago, my mother was upset at me for some perceived offense. She decided to take my sister & nephew to see my elderly father in another state. My parents are divorced & dad had only seen nephew once- at Thanksgiving the year before when I took him. She did not tell me that she was going, but she asked MY HUSBAND to drive by & check on her house each day she was gone. She told DH that grandpa needed to see nephew “one more time before he died”. So she rented a huge, family size van and off they go. Oh, and she invited her sister to ride with them because her son was at military base close to my dad’s hometown. Never once told me she was going or asked if my boys or me wanted to go. That almost damaged our relationship beyond repair.

  • AnaMaria December 11, 2013, 3:51 pm

    My goodness, Susie seriously could not find ANYONE else to care for her cats?? That’s a job a middle-schooler could easily do (speaking from experience, I cat sat for my neighbors all the time when I was 11 or 12, and I enjoyed it as I did not have any pets of my own! I would have done it for free, but they insisted on paying me). Sounds like Susie is far more concerned about starting drama and getting attention than anything else!

    Prayers for a quick recovery, OP!!!

  • delislice December 13, 2013, 8:53 pm

    What’s the saying? “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”?

    A scheduler in a nursing home was lamenting to me, a co-worker, that one of the CNAs had been scheduled to work the 3-11 shift on Thanksgiving Day, but “called me from the airport saying that it seemed her plane was about to leave.” ?? When was it a surprise to her that she had a flight scheduled for the same time as an assigned shift?

    Last time we went on vacation we hired a house sitter to look after the pets, plants, and mail. I can’t think of many folks I would make that 45-minute drive for. And not under those conditions either…

  • littlebosammy December 13, 2013, 9:09 pm

    I can’t believe that Susie would try again, two years later.

  • InTheEther January 12, 2014, 2:50 am

    Yeah, you kinda need to make plans to take care of your pets in advanced.

    Besides, we’re talking about a CAT here. I have one and I’ve just left it in the apartment a few times when I left for an extended weekend. Bought one of those large water despencer things, make sure there is more than enough food out, and clean out the kitty litter last thing before leaving. Of course, I keep the temp set so she won’t freeze or get heat stroke and I wouldn’t leave her for more than 4 days tops, but my point is that a cat is possibly the easiest animal to arrange care for. So long as they have access to food and water you can leave them alone. Offer a neighbor kid a $20 to come around and fill up bowls if you can’t get it in a kennel.