About Me

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Dubuque, Iowa, United States
I'm a woman obsessed with cats. In this blog, I channel my absent Siamese cat named Angel. She lives with my family in this blog, 3 teenagers, a 4 year old boy and a 15 month old little girl. Life is complicated here. We twitter often, but be prepared for teenage interruptions as well as baby moments... Hope you find it interesting here....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Read "A Friend Like Henry"!

A Friend Like Henry (a book about how a dog named Henry helped an autistic boy immensely)

Got to post this article for myself mainly...

The Asperger's Teen

Most experts do a great job of presenting the problems children with Asperger Syndrome face during their adolescent years. Yet they offer few solutions.

This is a two-part article. Part 1 presents problems. Part 2 gives suggestions that have worked for parents of teens with Asperger Syndrome. Click here for Part 2 - Solutions

Problems Teens With Asperger Syndrome Often Face

Diane Kennedy, in her 2002 book The ADHD Autism Connection, writes that the years from twelve to seventeen are "the saddest and most difficult time" for people with Asperger Syndrome. This is not true of every teen with Asperger Syndrome. Some do extremely well. Their indifference to what others think makes them indifferent to the intense peer pressure of adolescence. They can flourish within their specialty, and become accomplished musicians, historians, mathematicians, etc.

Yet, as Kennedy observes, Aspie teens typically become more isolated socially during a period when they crave friendships and inclusion more than ever. In the cruel world of middle and high school, Aspies often face rejection, isolation and bullying.

Meanwhile, school becomes more demanding in a period when they have to compete for college placements. Issues of sexuality and a desire for independence from parents create even more problems.

Social Isolation.In the teenage world where everyone feels insecure, teens that appear different are voted off the island. Aspies often have odd mannerisms. One teen talks in a loud unmodulated voice, avoids eye contact, interrupts others, violates their physical space, and steers the conversation to her favorite odd topic. Another appears willful, selfish and aloof, mostly because he is unable to share his thoughts and feelings with others. Isolated and alone, many Aspies are too anxious to initiate social contact.

Many Aspie teens are stiff and rule-oriented and act like little adults, which is a deadly trait in any teenage popularity contest. Friendship and all its nuances of reciprocity can be exhausting for an Aspie, even though she wants it more than anything else. One girl ended a close friendship with this note: "Your expectations exhaust me. The phone calls, the girl talks, all your feelings...it's just too much for me. I can't take it anymore."

Inability to "Be a Teen." An Aspie typically does not care about teen fads and clothing styles -- concerns that obsess everyone else in their peer group. Aspies may neglect their hygiene and wear the same haircut for years. Boys forget to shave; girls don't comb their hair or follow fashion.

Some Aspies remain stuck in a grammar school clothes and hobbies such as unicorns and Legos, instead of moving into adolescent concerns like MySpace and dating. Aspie boys often have no motor coordination. This leaves them out of high school sports, typically an essential area of male bonding and friendship.

Sexual Issues. Aspie teens are not privy to street knowledge of sex and dating behaviors that other teens pick up naturally. This leaves them naive and clueless about sex. Boys can become obsessed with Internet pornography and masturbation. They can be overly forward with a girl who is merely being kind, and then later face charges of stalking her. An Aspie teen may have a fully developed female body and no understanding of flirtation and non-verbal sexual cues, making her susceptible to harassment and even date rape.

Criminal Activity. Pain, loneliness and despair can lead to problems with drugs, sex and alcohol. In their overwhelming need to fit in and make friends, some Aspies fall into the wrong high school crowds. Teens who abuse substances will use the Aspie's naivety to get him to buy or carry drugs and liquor for their group.

If cornered by a police officer, an Aspie usually does not have the skill to answer the officer's questions appropriately. For example, if the officer says, "Do you know how fast you were driving?" an Aspie may reply bluntly, "Yes," and thus appears to be a smart-aleck.

School Failures. Many Aspies with their average to above average IQs can sail through grammar school, and yet hit academic problems in middle and high school. They now have to deal with four to six teachers, instead of just one. The likelihood that at least one teacher will be indifferent or even hostile toward making special accommodations is certain. The Aspie student now has to face a series of classroom environments with different classmates, odors, distractions and noise levels, and sets of expectations.

Aspies with their distractibility and difficulty organizing materials face similar academic problems as students with Attention Deficit Disorder. A high school term paper or a science fair project becomes impossible to manage because no one has taught the Aspie how to break it up into a series of small steps. Even though the academic stress on an Aspie teen can be overwhelming, school administrators may be reluctant to enroll him in special education at this late point in his educational career.

Depression and Acting Out. The teenage years are more emotional for everyone. Yet the hormonal changes of adolescence coupled with the problems outlined above might mean that an Aspie teen becomes emotionally overwhelmed. Childish tantrums reappear. Boys often act up by physically attacking a teacher or peer. They may experience "melt down" at home after another day filled with harassment, bullying, pressure to conform, and rejection. Suicide and drug addiction become real concerns, as the teen now has access to cars, drugs and alcohol.

The "saddest and most difficult time" can overwhelm not only the Aspie teen, but also his family.

Click here for Part 2 - Solutions

2. How Parents Can Help Teens With Asperger Syndrome

Parents of teens with Asperger Syndrome face many problems that others parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their Aspie how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, and so much left to do." They face issues such as vocational training, teaching independent living, and providing lifetime financial support for their child, if necessary. Meanwhile, their immature Aspie is often indifferent or even hostile to these concerns.

Once an Aspie enters the teen years, his parents have to use reasoning and negotiation, instead of providing direction. Like all teenagers, he is harder to control and less likely to listen to his parents. He may be tired of parents nagging him to look people in their eyes, brush his teeth, and wake up in time for school. He may hate school because he is dealing with social ostracism or academic failure there. Here is how thirteen-year-old Luke Jackson, author of Freaks, Geeks and Asperger, wrote about being an Asperger teen:
"Are you listening to me?' 'Look at me when I am talking to you.' AS kids, how familiar are those words? Don't they just make you groan? (And that's putting it politely!) ...When I look someone straight in the eye... the feeling is so uncomfortable that I cannot really describe it. First of all I feel as if their eyes are burning me and I really feel as if I am looking into the face of an alien."
Here are some ways that other parents of teens with Asperger Syndrome deal with common issues.

School. If the pressure on your child to conform is too great, if she faces constant harassment and rejection, if your principal and teaching staff do not cooperate with you, it may be time to find another school. The teen years are often when many parents decide it is in their child"s best interest to enter special education or a therapeutic boarding school. In a boarding school, professionals guide your child academically and socially on a twenty-four hour basis. They do not allow boys to isolate themselves with video games: everyone has to participate in social activities. A counseling staff helps with college placements.

If you decide to work within a public school system, you may have to hire a lawyer to get needed services. Your child should have an Individual Education Plan and accommodations for the learning disabled. This may mean placement in small classes, tutors, and special arrangements for gym and lunchtime. He should receive extra time for college board examinations.

Teach your child to find a "safe place" at school where he can share emotions with a trusted professional. The safe place may be the offices of school nurse, guidance counselor, or psychologist.

Social Life. When she was little, you could arrange play dates for her. Now you have to teach her how to initiate contact with others. Teach her how to leave phone messages and arrange details of social contacts such as transportation. Encourage her to join high school clubs like chess or drama. It is not necessary to tell her peers that she has Asperger Syndrome: let her do that herself.

Many teens with Asperger Syndrome are enjoying each other's company through Internet chatrooms, forums and message boards.

Appearance. Because of their sensitivity to textures, Aspies often wear the same clothes day in and day out. This is unacceptable in middle or high school. One idea that has worked for some parents is to find a teen of the same age and sex as yours, and then enlist that person help you choose clothes that will enable your child to blend in with other teens. Insist that your teen practices good hygiene every day.

Sex. You absolutely have to teach your teen with Asperger Syndrome about sex. You will not be able to "talk around" the issue: you will have to be specific and detailed about safe sex, and teach your child to tell you about inappropriate touching by others. Your child may need remedial "sex education". For example, a girl needs to understand she is too old to sit on laps or give hugs to strangers. A boy might have to learn to close toilet stall doors and masturbate only in private.

Drugs and Alcohol. Alcoholic drinks or drugs often react adversely with your child's prescriptions, so you have to teach your child about these dangers. Since most Aspies are very rule-oriented, try emphasizing that drugs and alcohol are illegal.

Driving. Most Aspies can learn to drive, but their process may take longer because of their poor motor coordination. Once they learn a set of rules, they are likely to follow them to the letter - a trait that helps in driving. However, Aspies may have trouble dealing with unexpected situations on the road. Have your child carry a cell phone and give him a printed card that explains Asperger Syndrome. Teach him to give the card to a police officer and phone you in a crisis.

Summer and Part-Time Jobs. Most of these jobs --movie usher, fast food worker, store clerk, etc -- involve interaction with the public. This means they are not always a good fit for a teen with Asperger Syndrome. Some Aspies can find work in their field of special interest, or in jobs that have little interpersonal interaction. Other teens have spent joyful summers at camps designed for teens like them.

Life After High School. If your teen is college-bound, you have to prepare her for the experience. You can plan a trip to the campus, and show her where to buy books, where the health services are, and so forth. Teach her how to handle everyday problems such as "Where do you buy deodorant?" "What if you oversleep and miss a class?"

As you prepare your teen for the workforce, keep in mind that people with Asperger Syndrome often do not understand office politics. They have problems with the basics, such as handling criticism, controlling emotions, showing up on time, and working with the public. This does not mean they cannot hold down a job. Once they master certain aspects of employment, Aspies are often able to work at high levels as accountants, research scientists, computer programmers, and so forth.

Bashe, Patricia and Barbara Kirby. The Oasis Guide to Asperger Syndrome. New York: Crown Publishers, 2005.

Kennedy, Diane. ADHD Autism Connection. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2002.

Myles, Brenda and Jack Southwick. Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing, 1999.

Powers, Michael. Children with Autism. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2000.

Sohn, Alan and Cathy Grayson. Parenting Your Asperger Child. New York: Perigee Books, 2005.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Haitian Vodou and Death

My Grandma died last night. I have been trying to learn about and embrace Haitian Vodun as I find it to be a beautiful way of life. I found this article and copied the part that I wanted (about death and the afterlife) so I could contemplate on it. Maybe you'll also learn something.

Rituals, Behaviors, and Practices Associated with Death and Dying 

Haitians who adhere to Vodou do not consider death to be the end of life. They do believe in an afterlife. Followers of Vodoun believe that each person has a soul that has both a gros bon ange (large soul or universal life force), and a ti bon ange (little soul or the individual soul or essence.)

When one dies, the soul essence hovers near the corpse for seven to nine days. During this period, the ti bon ange is vulnerable and can be captured and made into a "spiritual zombie" by a sorcerer. Provided the soul is not captured, the priest or priestess performs a ritual called Nine Night* to sever the soul from the body so the soul may live in the dark waters for a year and a day. If this is not done, the ti bon ange may wander the earth and bring misfortune on others.

After a year and a day, relatives of the deceased perform the Rite of Reclamation** to raise the deceased person’s soul essence and put it in a clay jar known as a govi. The belief that each person’s life experiences can be passed on to the family or community compels Haitians to implore the spirit of the decease to temporarily possess a family member, priest (houngan), or priestess (mambo) to impart any final words of wisdom.

The clay jar may be placed in the houngan’s or mambo’s temple where the family may come to feed the spirit and treat it like a divine being. At other times, the houngan burns the jar in a ritual called boule zen. This releases the spirit to the land of the dead, where it should properly reside. Another way to elevate the ti-bon-ange is to break the jar and drop the pieces at a crossroad.

The ultimate purpose of death rituals in the Vodoun culture is to send the gros-bon-ange to Ginen, the cosmic community of ancestral spirits, where it will be worshipped by family members as a loa itself. Once the final ritual is done, the spirit is free to abide among the rocks and trees until rebirth. Sixteen incarnations later, spirits merge into the cosmic energy.
Here are some other common behaviors associated with death in the Haitian culture:

When death is impending, the entire family will gather, pray, cry, and use religious medallions or other spiritual artifacts. Relatives and friends expend considerable effort to be present when death is near.
Haitians prefer to die at home, but the hospital is also an acceptable choice.
The moment of death is marked by ritual wailing among family members, friends, and neighbors.
When a person dies, the oldest family member makes all the arrangements and notifies the family. The body is kept until the entire family can gather.
The last bath is usually given by a family member.
Funerals are important social events and involve several days of social interaction, including feasting and the consumption of rum.
Family members come from far away to sleep at the house, and friends and neighbors congregate in the yard.
Burial monuments and other mortuary rituals are often costly and elaborate. People are increasingly reluctant to be buried underground. They prefer to be interred above ground in an elaborate multi-chambered tomb that may cost more than the house in which the individual lived while alive.
Since the body is thought to be necessary for resurrection, organ donation and cremation are not allowed. Autopsy is allowed only if the death occurred as a result of wrong doing or to confirm that the body is actually dead and not a zombie.
Like many Western Christian religions that use a figurative sacrifice to symbolize the consumption of flesh and blood, some Vodoun ceremonies include a literal sacrifice in which chickens, goats, doves, pigeons, and turtles are sacrificed to celebrate births, marriages, and deaths.

Vodou Beliefs about Afterlife

Practitioners of Vodou assume that the souls of all the deceased go to an abode beneath the waters. Concepts of reward and punishment in the afterlife are alien to Vodou.

In Vodou, the soul continues to live on earth and may be used in magic or it may be incarnated in a member of the dead person's family.

Communion with a god or goddess occurs in the context of possession. The gods sometimes work through a govi, and sometimes take over a living person. This activity is referred to as "mounting a horse" during which the person loses consciousness and the body becomes temporarily possessed by a loa. A special priest (houngan) or priestess (mambo) assists both in summoning the divinities and in helping them to leave at the termination of the possession.

The gros-bon-ange returns to the high solar regions from which its cosmic energy was first drawn; there, it joins the other loa and becomes a loa itself.


Each group of worshipers is independent and there is no central organization, religious leader, or set of dogmatic beliefs. Rituals and ceremonies vary depending upon family traditions, regional differences, and exposure to the practices of other cultures such as Catholicism, which is the official religion of Haiti.

Some Haitians believe that the dead live in close proximity to the loa, in a place called "Under the Water." Others hold that the dead have no special place after death.
Burial ceremonies vary according to local tradition and the status of the person. Some families do not express grief aloud until most of the deceased's possessions have been removed from the home. Persons who are knowledgeable in the funeral customs wash, dress, and place the body in a coffin. Mourners wear white clothing which represents death. A priest may be summoned to conduct the burial service. The burial usually takes place within 24 hours.


Westerners, or so-called logical people, might find Vodoun a strange and exotic mixture of spells, possessions, and rituals. Like any other religion, its purpose is to comfort people by giving them a common bond. Vodoun meshes surprisingly well with Catholicism, the official religion of Haiti. With a supreme being, saint-like spirits, belief in the afterlife and invisible spirits, along with the protection of patron saints, Voodoo isn't that different from traditional religions.

I utilized about 20 different sites to gather my information, but I’ve only listed the most credible sources in the list below. Most of these have similar information and contain very few contradictions to one another. The sites that I feel are most credible are the ones published by government or medical organizations and those that cite the sources used for their research.
http://ow.ly/v1wq This site has a long list of sources cited. Haitians had actually commented on the article claiming its accuracy and thanking the author for posting such an informative piece.
http://ow.ly/v1wE Boston Medical site was funded by a grant from The Ford Foundation. The information is provided as a research resource, and does not represent promotion or medical endorsement on the part of either the Boston Healing Landscape Project , the Boston University School of Medicine, or The Ford Foundation.
http://www.near-death.com/religion.html#rel15 Had a huge resource of information about the beliefs of different cultures regarding death, dying, and afterlife.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/Vodou.htm provides a list of 12 Internet resources used to compile the information and had links to more resources.
Cultural Competency, Haitian Immigrants, and Rural Sussex County, Delaware at http://tinyurl.com/ygnp73d is published to help address the challenges of providing health care to differing cultures.
http://whisperingwood.homestead.com/Voudon.html This site repeated much of what I found on other sites, but it gave insight to which I could verify information due to my current knowledge of Paganism.
http://www.widdershins.org/vol2iss2/l9605.htm this site gave a list of resources used.
For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase on Amazon.com

Nine-Nights is a funerary tradition practiced in the Caribbean (primarily Jamaica and Guyana). It is an extended wake that lasts for several days, with roots in African tradition. During this time, friends and family come together to the home of the deceased. They share their condolences and memories while singing hymns and eating food together. In the old days, the nights were calm and reserved for the most part - but that tradition has changed with the times. Today, these gatherings resemble parties much more than they resemble wakes (though this is not true for all “nine-nights”).
Nine-Nights are no longer a time to mourn but a time to celebrate since the loved one is no longer suffering in life. When friends come they do not come with just condolences they come with food, drink and music; this is after all a celebration. True to its name this celebration lasts nine nights and days with the ninth and final night being the night before the church service. On the ninth night the family prepares the food for all who come. As tradition has is on the ninth night it is believed that the spirit of the deceased passes through the party gathering food and saying goodbye before continuing on to its resting place. Out of all the nights this night is the most revered since it is the end of the celebration. Stories about the deceased and the fondest memories are shared, along with prayers. Games, such as Dominos, are played as well as singing hymns, which is also done on the other nights as well.
On the ninth night a table is set up under a tent with food for the loved one, though no one is allowed to eat from it before midnight because it is believed that this is the time that the spirit passes through. Along with the food are drinks, most often Jamaican rum with no less than 100 proof. The types of food on the table can vary from one celebration to the next, but typically fried fish and bammy are the main foods on the table. This time is very important to the family because it gives them time to celebrate the life of their loved one and to be able to say their goodbyes.
Traditionally on the ninth night of the deceased's death their bed and mattress are turned up against the wall, in order to encourage the spirit (Jamaican patois "duppy") to leave the house and enter the grave.
 Retirer d’en bas d’leau: Reclaiming Ancestors: Haitian Vodou
In Haitian Vodou, Guinée is the ancestral home. The place of origin. The eternal dwelling of the lwa. Guinée is Africa. It is where the souls of the dead return to rest, the deep waters of the abyss. And it is the place from which the strength and blessings of the ancestors are repossessed for the benefit of their descendants in a ceremony known as retirer d’en bas d’leau. “A year and a day following the death of a person, the family undertakes to reclaim his soul from the waters of the abyss below the earth and to lodge it in a govi [a specially consecrated container] where it may henceforth be invoked and consulted in the event of illness or other difficulties and so may participate in all the decisions that normally unite the members of the family in counsel.”36 Anthropologist, initiate and scholar of Vodou Maya Deren describes the ritual, directed by a houngan (high priest) or manbo (high priestess) who shakes a consecrated rattle rhythmically, steadily, for a long time. Sometimes insistently, sometimes with a gentle, ringing murmur, the ritual leader uses the instrument and her voice to call les invisibles, the family dead, to the surface of the water.
This ceremony, in which the spirits of the deceased are coaxed with song back into active participation in the lives of their living family members, is a way of insuring that the blessings and help of ancestors are acknowledged and available to their kin. The spirits of the dead are asked to come and reside in special vessels where they can be kept close and cared for by their descendants. Once all the ceremonial rites have been completed, the reclaimed ancestors “are treated as tutelary spirits, a kind of minor loa, who look after their relations and who, in return for sacrifices offered them, attend to the prayers of kith and kin and respond to their appeals for advice or protection.”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

@Spookyshorty and @Dannyspiro22's Blog Hop for Chemo!

I met Spooky as @spookyshorty months ago on Twitter at at #nipclub.  Lillian is their Mom.  I was helping @UsThreeCoons's Nimbus get help with his diabetes at the time, so it was December, I was trying to get it for Christmas. Spooky/Lillian was telling me about Spooky and his Lymphoma ...

Spooky-Shorty My Life with Lymphoma

I am an all black male 13 years old DSH cat & I have lymphoma.
I am trying to get cured of this & I am more then half way through my 1 year protocol of chemotherapy treatments.

My story begins last year in May when I could not go poop, I went to my regular vet who gave me enemas that did not work.
I was told I needed an ultrasound to see what was going on in my tummy. I breezed through that procedure. They saw something in my lower colon/rectal area.

I went back to stay over night so I can get cleaned out enough for a colonoscopy, yes the same procedures humans get.
I started to get this procedure & since they knocked me out I have to repeat the story that was told to me when I got better.

It seems when they went to get a tissue sample of this mass they saw in my colon, my colon tore away, this meant lots of bad fluids were starting to seep into my abdomen & that was very dangerous.
They rushed me into surgery that lasted 5 long hours, the surgeon who is very highly skilled, had cut open my belly & had to stop the leaking fluids & needed to remove this mass.
This mass was located behind my pelvis & Dr. Kyles had to drop my pelvis in order to get at that mass. [I think it means they broke it]

I got through the operation but was in very bad shape I was hooked up to IVs that pumped antibiotics so I won't get an infections, pain medication I heard that is a very painful operation. Also I had a drain put inside my abdomen so that all that bad fluid can drain out.
I had IVs around the clock for many days.

The doctors & hospital staff all were amazed that a few hours after waking up I wanted to eat & went to use litter box.

It was a very rough 72 hours, the doctors said they weren't sure that I would survive due to infections or if it ruptures. I had a part of my colon removed with the mass & the colon was reattached they wanted me to poop loose so I wouldn't put a strain on my sutured colon.

I remained in the hospital for 7 days. I was getting kind of depressed being away from home so long.

My first days home I hid in the dark room, I laid in my litter box afraid to move around too much. I had diahrrea very bad my butt got so sore.
A few days more I started to lay in the open, still in my litterbox [I had paper in it]
I started to look for food & walk around a bit more the doctor said no jumping or running or climbing. [ I didn't even want to walk much less jump]

Then the results came back from the biopsy....very bad news, it seemed that mass was cancerous & the type I have is called Lymphoma. There was very good news, this brillantly skilled surgeon Dr. Kyles had gotten all of the mass every piece of it, & the surrounding tissues he took along with it, when tests came back.....I was cancer-free.

Now the decision was to be made about treatments to keep my cancer away. If I had no treatment I would have maybe 2 months to live, if I have only pills [which I still take daily] called Prednisolone I could live maybe 4-6 months, if I got chemotherapy & the pills I need to continue for 1 full year of what they call protocol.

That was the option I chose, yes I did pick that one. My mom talked it over with me & asked me what I wanted, because I was the one to be going through this, what was involved would not be easy. I told mom I want to live a long time I will take the chemotherapy.

I started with it in July & had gotten a grant to help start it, mom was already maxed out from my operation & medicines & long stay in ICU. [$16,000.00]
I was running out of that fund when I got another fund that helped me continue. Soon that was running out because my chemotherapy had 4 drugs involved that are all over $450.00-$500.00 every week, then every other week.

Because of very caring & loving person Jennifer took me under her wing, she started a chip-in. since then so many other caring & loving people from allover the world have donated so I may continue my chemotherapy.

My oncologist will let me know if I will be continuing my chemotherapy after my 1 year protocol is over. He wants to keep this bad lymphoma from ever coming back

I have side effects, Adriamycin: this causes my poop to burn when it comes out it is very severe. Cytoxan: this causes me to get depressed/frightened I want to be held & comforted, & it also burns when I poop but differently & not as severe. Methotrexate: this causes my poop to burn even worse then Adriamycin & last longer. Vincristin: this one makes my bowels slow down & get sluggish so I don't poop.[ I was told this side effect mostly occurs in dogs]
For all my side effects I get medicines to help get over them, I get Metroniadolze pills for when my poop burns me. Miralax powder for when I cannot poop mixed in my food. [yes its made for people-laxative]
Plus the Prednisolone every day.

I went into the hospital weighing 21-lbs, I came home weighing 19-lbs, I weighed in last time at hospital where I get my treatments at 22-lbs. My oncologist would like me to go back to 19-lbs & stay at that weight it is easier to have a better dose of chemo at one weight then to get heavier then I need more higher dose chemo.

I finally had found a kitty who could be saved instead of going OTRB!  Mom's got Fibromyalgia and a hard case of depression with it and she had finally found a kitty who wouldn't go OTRB if she could help! Then she learned that Spooky had a brofur named Danny who eventually was discovered to have Lymphoma also! Here is something from Danny's blog...

Danny I Have Lymphoma Too

My name is Danny I am a 15 year old DSH creamy white colored cat & I have lymphoma too.

I came from the streets a man found me wandering around when I was about 11 months old. He didn't really like me & put me in a basement of an apartment building. People complained I smelled up the place so this man scooped me up & dumped me down another basement of another apartment building. This one contained huge rats.

I was very frightened of these rats & meowed a lot, there was this lady who came to see about the boiler, it seemed she helped this super tend to her buildings heat system, I ran up to her crying & she brought me food & water.
I don't blame her she didn't know why I was there I didn't know how to explain it.

The next day she came back to feed me & I was frantically meowing telling her 'DON'T LEAVE ME HERE' she left & came back a few minutes later with a bag. But she scooped me up in her arms & carried me up some stairs.
I spent the day in this nice room with food, water, litter box & a bed. I didn't see any rats here.

The next day I went to the vets, I was deemed a boy [like who didn't know] about 11 months old [I guess I forgot I was on my own a while] & I was healthy.

This lady asked around if I belonged to anybody & if anybody wanted me. she had 2 very old cats & 2 very young kittens.

No one answered her question. I was called CAT for a while then one day that lady came to me & asked did I want to live here......was she kidding me?
I was happy inside.

I went to the vets again to get 'fixed' & knew that when I was ready she'd come for me & I'd have a home forever.
After that the lady became MOM & I became DANNY

I have been in very good health most of my life, I think I have allergies cause I sneeze a lot during the mild months & in the chilly months after that I am ok.

Only now I was feeling not quite right & didn't know if I should tell her or not cause I was scared because I know she can't afford another cat on chemo.

I went to the vet & they took blood & urine & a thing called aspiration for cytology.
I went to another vet who did more tests & was told I had a big mass & a little mass in my belly somewhere maybe its why I feel full after eating so little?

I had gotten this really nice doctor who took special care of me [ he takes care of my brother Spooky-Shorty] I got something called chemotherapy.

I went home I pee a lot & eat in small portions but I am feeling a little better. I go next week & for 6 weeks straight in total to get more chemo this will help me get better & stronger cause I lost some weight.
Then I will get chemo every other week  then every 2 weeks every 3 weeks  [just like my Brother Spooky] & will have this nasty thing called lymphoma go away.

I loved to play with those plastic thingys that you buy in gum machines with little surprises in them. I can play with them for hours talking to them when they roll under things.

Did I mention I do talk a lot?

If you can please help donate towards my chemo I will be purring happily all the time. I want to live a lot longer & play with my caps.

 I don't know how, other than to throw #SpookyPawties and now to do this BlogHop, how to raise funds.  Will you join in to help? Use Spooky and Danny's Blog Hop image and include the link for donation at the end. Then at last, please add your blog to the bloghop so you can be part of what everyone sees! Thank you SO much!

A brief history of Lymphoma!

By Lynn Miller (Appeared in the "Cat Fanciers' Journal Summer 1998 Issue)
Updates December, 2002 in italics.
Lymphosarcoma, sometimes called lymphoma, is a malignant tumor (or tumors) derived from lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, spleen, etc.). It is an illness that affects humans as well as cats, dogs, and other mammals. Lymphosarcomas are probably the common tumors of cats.
Although often caused by the leukemia virus, the cases we have experienced have occurred in FeLV negative Oriental Shorthairs, which have been strictly indoors in FeLV negative catteries. Since these cats are related we suspect a genetically inherited cause instead of viral.
Some of the lymphoma cats were diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective so we feel it's important to share our discussions about the symptoms to alert other cat owners and breeders. We have found that by talking about it openly, sharing experiences and pedigrees, we have been able to let go of the pain and continue as cat fanciers.
After our first cat died, I phoned all over the country. I was amazed at how many people would not talk about it. People would tell me about their experiences, but promised to deny the conversation in the future. Some, unfortunately, were all too willing to blame other cats many generations past.
I also went through a long period of denial during this time, which is very common when faced with a disease like this. Even after we lost three cats, I still couldn’t accept that our cases could be genetic. I kept searching for other possibilities. Was it environmental? Water, radon, power lines, or just random bad luck? Were humans affected? It just couldn’t be genetic!
I was frightened. I did not want to hear of any new cases and dreaded answering the phone. I was even afraid to sell kittens. Once we got over the denial, we decided to be proactive. We researched and altered those we believed might be passing it on. Some of our friends thought that we were overreacting. After all, some of the cats had produced beautiful babies and the books said it was viral.
We were also very fortunate to find Dr. Fred. He recognized the symptoms and knew how to treat the disease. Seeing several cats die because they were not treated in time has taught me why it is advisable to start therapy immediately. It’s also important to note that onset of the tumors is rapid, so it is important to get the cat to the vet as soon as possible once symptoms begin.
Lymphosarcomas have been found in Golden Retrievers for years. Rarely do we visit Dr. Fred without seeing one in the waiting room. Lymphoma is also been seen in Boxers, Basset Hounds, and St Bernard's. Lymphosarcoma has also been well-documented in cats. However, until recently, it was thought that all lymphomas were only in FeLV positive cats. This is not true as we, unfortunately, found out. Many veterinarians also believe that lymphoma means death and will advise euthanasia. Many cat owners believe that their cats will be sick from the chemo. Neither of these is true either.
Treatment of Lymphosarcoma in Felines
Most combinations include Vincristine, Cytoxan, and Prednisone (COP protocol). One combination used with success is Vincristine Cytoxan, Methotrexate. Some have added Prednisone and/or L-asparaginase (Elspar)
Dr Fred’s chemotherapy protocol includes Prednisone, Elspar, Vincristine, and Cytoxan. Idarubicin both parenteral and oral routes of administration are possible. Side effects include gastrointestinal toxicity, leukopenia, and anorexia. This drug has limited availability, but seems to have good results in feline lymphoma. Most oncologists agree that total chemotherapy lasts two years.
Case Histories
To help others understand lymphosarcoma that appears to be genetically caused, I’ve included several case histories below. You will see that it is a disease of the young presenting very subtle symptoms.
Algebra's Simon
Ebony Oriental Shorthair Male
Sire: SGC Mitsumews Chip N'Dale of Algebra
Dam: CH Algebra's Pocahontas
9/25/96: symptoms: regurgitating and only eating small amounts9/26/96: Wheezing after regurgitating. Diagnosed with pharingitis at local vet. Treated with Clavamox.9/27/96: Still regurgitating. Return to vet where chest x-ray revealed a mass in the right lower thorax. Referred to referral clinic that refused to speak to me and would not schedule appointment until referral vet called her. 9/29/96: Anorexia, wheezing, dyspnea, and acting depressed. Taken to University of Pennsylvania. After many hours and tests, he was diagnosed with a mediastinal mass, pleural effusion, and intussusception. Vet told us that he would not tolerate chemo or surgery. Euthanasia elected as only treatment. Necropsy revealed lymphosarcoma involving mediastinum, lymph nodes, liver, bone marrow, and colon.
Algebra's Pantera of Teshari (Simon's brother aka Alvin)
Ebony Oriental Shorthair Male
Sire: SGC Mitsumews Chip N'Dale of Algebra
Dam: CH Algebra's Pocahontas
10/96: Owner noted regurgitation, coughing, and dyspnea. Chest X-ray revealed mediastinal mass. Euthanasia. No necropsy report.
SGC Mitsumews Chip N Dale of Algebra
Seal Point Oriental Shorthair
Sire: GC RW Mitsumews Diablo
Dam: Leggs Kiss Me Kate of Mitsumews
Chip had a show career, was neutered and living in Princeton with a family, two cats, and two dogs. They noted that he was not acting right, not eating right, and not playing right. New toys, new foods, AD, Nutrical, etc. tried11/8/96: admitted to local veterinary hospital for fluid replacement due to dehydration. 11/11/96: a different vet realized that Chip was having dyspnea and did a chest x-ray. A mediastinal mass was revealed and euthanasia was recommended. Blood and organs sent to Leslie Lyons.
GP Algebra's Calypso of Y-NOT
Sire: SGC Mitsumews Chip N Dale of Algebra
Dam: GC, GP Algebra's X Marks the Spot, DM
Ebony Oriental Shorthair Female
1/16/97: coughing, breathing heavily but not rapidly. Chest x-ray revealed a mediastinal mass that was so large the heart could not be seen on x-ray.1/17/97: Vincristine, Cytoxan, Methotrexate with Prednisone started. Calypso tolerated chemo well and it was stopped 3/98.
10/98: she continues to do well.
CH Algebra's Esmerelda
Seal Lynx Point Oriental Shorthair
Born 6/1/96
Sire: SGC Mitsumews Chip N Dale of Algebra
Dam: GC, GP Algebra's X Marks the Spot, DM
3/8/97 Coughing and some dyspnea noted. Chest X-ray by regular local vet revealed a mass. In view of past, we wanted chemo started immediately. Elspar (aspariginase) was administered at U of Penn that night.3/10/97 Prednisone started 3/14/97 seen by Dr. Fred. Vincristine and Cytoxan given4/7/97 Radiograph reveals no tumor!
Esmerelda received chemotherapy as per Dr. Fred's protocol. She did well. At the end of March, 1998, she contracted a virulent strain of upper respiratory infection and did not recover. She died on 
4/9/98. Necropsy revealed necrotizing pharyngitisand necrotizing bronchopneumonia of unknown etiology. There was no evidence of lymphosarcoma.
GC Algebra's QT Pi
Blue Lynx Point Oriental Shorthair
Sire: SGC Mitsumews Chip N Dale of Algebra
Dam: GC, GP Algebra's X Marks the Spot, DM
6/1/96 (Esmerelda's litter sister)
4/22/97: dyspnea noted4/23/97: Chest x-ray revealed mediastinal mass. Elspar, Vincristine, Prednisone started.
8/98: Has done very well with chemo protocol. She has been seeing Dr. Fred every three weeks since January. The only doses she missed were in April 98, when she had a URI. She was shown often at cat shows from January-March.
December, 2002 addition. QT did very well with chemo, finished two years of L-COPP and was declared cured of cancer. A follow up six months after completion of chemo confirmed that there was no mass. In May, 2002, QT was seen by her regular vet and was doing well. Within a week, she was not eating and just not doing well. A visit to Red Bank to confirm that it wasn’t cancer, revealed chronic renal failure. She was given subq fluids until August, 2002, when she was euthanized.
CH Algebra's Equal
Seal Point Oriental Shorthair
Sire: Y-NOT WYSIWYG of Algebra
Dam: GC, GP Algebra's X Marks the Spot, DM
3/12/98: Equal was in California as a potential breeding queen. Coughing was noted by owner. Chest X-ray revealed mediastinal mass. Within 24 hours, Equal was back in New Jersey visiting Dr. Fred. Treatment was started immediately. She was the only cat with palpable lymph nodes. Aspiration revealed lymphosarcoma.
She is doing well and also missed doses during her URI in 4/98.
10/98: she is now on every 3 week protocol.
December, 2002 addition. Equal finished chemo in April, 2000, and was declared cured. She continues to do well.
Born 1/88 
Seal Lynx Point
10/88: vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, dyspnea, acting depressed. Treated with amoxidrops, and then prednisone. X-ray revealed mediastinal mass. Vincristine given. Prednisone continued. Antirobe started, Serex given.11/17/88 regurgitation repeatedly noted.
12/88-tumor has shrunk to 1/4 of the original size. Still cannot aspirate cells.
3/24/89-"chest film was clear"
1990-finished chemotherapy
3/98: cat is reported to be in good health.
GC, RW FelitanMick Jaguar of Y-NOT
Ebony Tabby Oriental Shorthair
Sire: CH Y-NOT the Shadow Nose of Felitan
Dam: GC Korindah Kinieger of Felitan (Australian Import)
12/95: Initially thought to be thymoma (after seeing two vets due to not being able to eat) and scheduled for surgery. Diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. Mediastinal mass was found on x-ray. Cat was sent to referral hospital. He had been unable to keep food down because his esophagus was being compressed by the tumor.
Treated for a full two years with chemo (Vincristine, Cytoxan, and Methotrexate with Prednisone). Was shown during chemo without ill effect. Good response and he is doing well.
1. Alvin and Simon's brother, Theodore is alive and well and living in Massachusetts with a nurse and her family.
2. Pocahontas died in 1997 at the age two 1/2 years of a possible seizure disorder. No signs of lymphosarcoma were seen on necropsy. Written report remains unavailable. (As of 2002, her siblings were doing well).
Dr. Leslie Lyons is doing a study on cats with lymphosarcoma. It is possible that it is genetic. Blood samples are being collected. Most vets will draw the blood for free and National Institute of Health will pay for shipping charges. Write to her at:lalyons@ucdavis.edu
Dr. Heather Lorimer is collecting pedigrees of the cats with lympho. She has viewed several common denominators. Write to Helorimer@cc.ysu.edu
Chemotherapy Side effects (this site no longer exists)
Lymphoma Information
Dr. Hahn -- Caring for Pets with Cancer
Lymphoma in Cats -- Australian Study
Lymphoma Information
IOSG Home Page (this site no longer exists)
Lymphoma Resource Pages: Hodgkin's Disease and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Lymphoma Resource Pages - Lymphoma Glossary
Lymphoma Resource Pages - What is Lymphoma?
Ferret Lymphosarcoma FAQ

Talk About Lymphoma
Many of us have been living with cats with lymphosarcoma. They have chemotherapy for up to 2 years before they are declared "cured".
We have formed an on line support group to discuss any and all aspects of the disease. You must be a member to read our files, see our photos, and talk to us. Sign on at felinelymphoma@yahoogroups.com.
This is not a disease of just cats or just Orientals. Several oncologists have been treating felines with lymphoma successfully. If you even think that your cat has lymphoma, please contact one of us for help immediately. It is a fast growing tumor and chemotherapy needs to be started immediately -- even if it is a weekend.
December, 2002 Notes
Cats continue to be diagnosed with feline lymphosarcoma. Young ones treated with long-term chemotherapy continue to do well. Short-term therapies do not seem to have equal results. There are still vets out there who recommend euthanasia instead of consultation with an oncologist. Textbooks continue to talk about feline lymphosarcoma being related to FeLVeand being a lethal disease. There are still vets out there who are so interested in testing and staging that the cat dies before treatment is started. There are still vets out there interested in their wallet and not in the cat or their caretaker. This would be the only explanation for people paying $20 to $125 for the same treatmentAs of now, there are 525 members of the feline lymphoma on-line support group.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spooky and Danny

    Lillian (Spooky and Danny's Mom) wrote to me and said this about their treatments:

Right now I have 2 cats going through chemotherapy.  Danny just started yesterday chemo & I've been told he needs to get chemo every week for 6 weeks straight. This is to treat his mass aggressively, to halt its growth & shrink it so Danny can go into remission.
    Its not easy right now caring for 2 cats on chemo, I must keep them both seperate from each other & my other cats. Because after chemotherapy Spooky can have bouts of soft stools at anytime due to chemo & having the removal of the part of colon that holds stools in until he is ready to have bowel movement. Be highly toxic to healthy cats & myself.
Danny, too now must be kept away from the other cats & Spooky since gets a different drug protocol from Spooky's.
    Danny's side effects aren't known right now, he may get diarrhea, he may vomit, & that to is highly toxic.  
Even though both are getting chemo both are receiving very different drugs & strengths Spooky who is heavier gets a higher dose then Dannny who weighs way less. Neither one can have the others body fluids (stool or urine) touch each other by getting on their feet & ingesting it & the body fluids cannot touch my other cats who are healthy. 
    I must also be careful handling litter boxes by scooping feces & cleaning them up. I must wear gloves that is how toxic it is.
I now must keep these 2 apart in different rooms which means extra care & work. When I am home they must be monitored carefully with each other & my other cats. Danny being frail must use precaution on jumping & handling. & protected should another cat 'sense difference' & might threaten Danny or Spooky to defend themselves.
    Chemo for Danny & Spooky will land on the same day every few weeks.
Danny will receive chemo every week for 6 weeks. Spooky every 3 weeks.
Spooky will be getting an ultrasound in a few weeks too & his oncologist said "with his coming to his 1 year operation & last months of 1 year protocol he too may need to get chemo weekly" if they want to treat aggressively. After ultrasound he may continue on chemo to keep him in remission even after his 1 year protocol is up.
    Danny is going to get his for 1 year his oncologist told me this morning.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Toothless (has plenty of teeth) for Mardi Gras!

He's a Mardi Gras kind of rat!
  We're going to have to give him and his brother away because of the landlord, but while they're here, they're going to have fun! P.S. They're going to a good home!

Thursday, February 10, 2011