Updates

15 Mar 2016 02:34 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
We lost Claire a few weeks ago. It hurt too much to write about, so I didn't. It was very sudden; she had a blood clot, and there was nothing we could do.

My GP agrees with me that I have Raynaud's and probably some form of Ehlers-Danlos (hypermobility type).

I should be hearing back about grad school soon. Russian class is going well.

RIP Luna

1 Dec 2015 02:43 pm
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
Today around 5, we're taking her back to the vet one last time. She always hated it, so we wanted to bring her home after the ultrasound for snuggles (and maybe some tortilla chips) and so she doesn't spend her last day entirely at the vet.

http://feuervogel.tumblr.com/post/134345994341/gotta-say-goodbye-to-this-sweet-face-today-love
feuervogel: (group hug)
We didn't get to SF as planned very late Monday night because our plane had a maintenance flag, which resulted in a 2-hour delay. We could have gone home and rebooked for a Tuesday AM flight, but going to Atlanta (and staying in a hotel on Delta's dime) meant we could get an earlier flight to SF. So we did that.

Tuesday we went to lunch with Mo & Enne, and we went shoe shopping, where I tried on the Vivs at the Fluevog shop, and now I really hope Santa brings me some shoe money. Then we BARTed over to Oakland, got dinner with Robynne & Starchy, then I tried on about a million bras at Robynne's shop (bought one). After that, we thought about going out to a tiki bar, but sitting down felt really good, so we had mixed drinks at home instead. I had a de la Louisienne, which is rye, Benedictine, vermouth, and Peychaud's. It was pretty awesome.

Wednesday I met several of my VP classmates for lunch, which was nice. I hadn't seen any of them since VP, and I missed them. I miss talking about writer stuff. After that, we went back to R's for our stuff, then took BART to a station where Ben's parents picked us up & dropped us off at our B&B. Dinner was at a Vietnamese place called Tamarine. I had a squash & sweet potato curry which was lovely.

Thursday we didn't do much until dinner, which was around 3:30 or 4. Ben's brother & his wife (and her parents--this was a packed house) made dinner. Ben's mom had Christmas, which was a bit excessive IMO. (Too many presents. Too many stocking stuffers. I don't need more Stuff! I need LESS!)

Friday we went for a walk at a nature preserve in Mountain View then had lunch. Ben and I went to Adam, Alexander, and Rachel's. We played a round of Sentinels of the Universe (where we ALMOST WON but the environment killed us a lot) then went up to Vynce's to hang out and play more games.

Our trip home was entirely uneventful.

Luna is sick and not really getting better. She doesn't have much of an appetite, and trying to convince her to eat is difficult. She's lost more weight since we were gone. She still loves Cheetos, though. IDK. CATS.
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
We had to put Mylene to sleep on Tuesday. The vet wasn't sure what it actually was, but it wasn't lymphoma. The cytology had histiocytes in it, which made her think it was a histiocytic sarcoma, which isn't treatable at all in cats. There was nothing we could to to make her better, so we had to make her comfortable.

She'll always be my sweet little foxy-faced girl who made the most adorable sound when you touched her if she was asleep.

Some pictures and my favorite picture.

Again.

15 Aug 2014 10:57 am
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
Monday Mylene was limping, and it wasn't better Tuesday morning, so I took her to the vet. They thought it was arthritis and tendinitis, gave us tramadol and Dasuquin. Tuesday evening we gave her a second dose of tramadol, and she responded poorly. Like, trip to the closest vet hospital poorly.

So we go to the vet hospital in Durham at 9 pm, get her on fluids and oxygen. They take some blood. Her hematocrit is 14%; she needs a transfusion. They keep her overnight, and the radiologist & oncologist will look at her in the morning.

This time it's definitely lymphoma. As opposed to March, when the vet school said it was IBS.

She's doing fairly well at the moment, though she doesn't want to eat much. I offer her food every couple hours, and sometimes she eats, sometimes she doesn't.

We need to decide whether to take the aggressive, most expensive 20-week treatment option that could give us another 6-9 months or the less aggressive, less expensive 15-week treatment option that would give us 4-6 months.

In the meantime, I'm considering making and selling to order laptop, tablet, e-reader, and phone sleeves to get some funding for it (so we don't have to keep digging into savings). I have a stash of Amy Butler fabrics (3x2+ yards) that are nifty (and I think out of print), which I could probably get a decent amount out of. Plus some remnants. Any of that has to wait until after Dragon Con, though. Too busy trying to finish my armor.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
It's the first day of the World Cup, and I am perpetually without cable. Most of the matches will be on ESPN or ESPN2 (cable), but some will be on ABC. I guess I'll be befriending the folks at Italian Pizzeria III (super sketchy storefront, decent NY-style pizza) and/or Fitzgerald's (Irish pub) when I get back from Germany. Or doing what I usually do for the Bundesliga.

I leave for Berlin in 5 days. I have a packing list, and I'm working on a shopping list. I have most everything I need, but I'm almost out of protein bars (excellent airplane/travel snacks/emergency food), and my bathing suit doesn't fit anymore. (It never quite fit, but it was good enough. Not so much anymore.) But I hate buying bathing suits (because ones that fit my top are $75 wtf), and I'm not entirely sure I'd use it (while there are swimming areas in Berlin, I don't know if we'd have time to go to them, though our hotel has a sauna).

I'm worried that Luna will get sick while we're gone. The last 2 times we've been away, she's gotten stress-sick. So we started her on Prozac (which won't have built up enough to be effective before we leave), got a new Feliway plug-in, and have some xanax for her. We also have anti-nausea medication and antibiotics which theoretically will prevent diarrhea.

I really don't want to get a phone call from the cat sitter 3 days into an 11-day trip telling me the cat is sick as hell, you know? Argh. So we're doping her to the gills and hoping.
feuervogel: (sideways days)
Friday afternoon, Mylene (our 11-year-old orange girl) started vomiting. Repeatedly. I took her to the vet, where they did blood work and found nothing wrong (except some intestinal gas on x-ray), gave her nausea meds, and sent us home with the instruction to call the on-call vet if she kept throwing up. Which she did, but the on-call vet said it was our decision to take her to the vet school, and to go if she looked bad.

In the morning, she hadn't perked up, and she refused breakfast, so we packed up for Raleigh. We spent 4+ hours at the vet school while she got blood drawn and ultrasounds. She stayed overnight, and she apparently perked up enough to love on all the techs. (She's very friendly when she remembers she likes people because they give her scritches.)

They saw a thickening of the abdominal wall on ultrasound, which they said was either IBD or lymphoma, and the lymph nodes looked enlarged.

Sunday they did aspirates on her spleen and let us take her home. The vet said that the detailed radiology report didn't show enlarged lymph nodes, so it was more likely to be IBD, and they'd let us know what the aspirates said.

Meanwhile, Luna has been losing weight and eating a ton, but her thyroid and glucose are normal. So we sent off a blood sample to Texas to get vitamin levels, since that could tell us whether it's a nutrient deficiency (ie IBD) or cancer. Those came back yesterday, and apparently it's colitis.

So we're supposed to give her antibiotic powder on her (canned) food, as well as probiotics, for 6 weeks or so. I picked them up this morning, and she refused to eat her dinner with the powders on them.

Mylene is on metronidazole suspension and a floxacin tablet. We can't get the metronidazole in her, and her dose is 1/10 of the smallest available human tablet. So tomorrow I get to call the vet about a) getting a local pharmacy to compound it for her (rather than the usual place in TX), b) seeing how to get the dewormer the vet school wanted us to give her into her (it's also a liquid, which we got all over us the only time we attempted that), and c) asking what to do about Luna's antibiotics.

Mylene's aspirates came back, and they're "cytologically uninteresting," which means no lymphoma. Yay. Just a novel protein diet and a month of antibiotics.

Also, every time I think "OK, this month won't be too bad; maybe I can buy a new pair of shoes for summer because my Tevas are 8 or 9 years old and dying," we get hammered with $2k of vet bills. *sigh*

Fuck

22 Jul 2013 09:21 am
feuervogel: (black haru)
Saturday night, Ben and I had people over to hang out and play games. A tray of chocolate-covered rice krispy treats was brought, and I made a point to tell people to make sure the cover was on tightly because one of the cats gets into all the food.

Apparently people don't fucking listen, because I got up at one point to put some fruit in the fridge, and Luna jumped guiltily off the counter, after having nudged the top off the tray and licked a bit of chocolate off one of the bars. She would absolutely have gotten a lot more if I hadn't coincidentally gotten up right then.

Apparently Luna having done this didn't make an impression on people, because a couple hours later, I heard the sound of top sliding over foil as Luna pushed it off.

Last night when Ben cleaned the litter boxes, he found a huge liquid poop in one of them and a smaller goopy poop in another one. This morning, Luna ate really slowly and then barfed up her entire breakfast. She's acting fairly normal otherwise, but we still may have to take her to the vet--because of someone fucking else's fucking inability to listen to fucking directions.

I've been called "bossy" and "bitchy" and "anal retentive" for insisting that people do basic things like NOT POISON MY CATS. "Ugh, C's just being a bitch again." I've been made fun of for having a particular way of doing things. I HAVE A PARTICULAR WAY OF DOING THINGS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW I KEEP THE CATS OUT OF MY FUCKING FOOD.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive because I don't want to make a fuss and have people roll their eyes at me for making a simple request to keep food from marauding cats. When Isis was still alive, I had to pick up all sorts of dropped food, following people around like their fucking mother, because she had diabetes and a severe grain allergy. I said, "hey, Isis can't have crumbs, so please be careful and pick your crumbs up," and that didn't work.

I am really pissed right now and scared for my cat. And I don't want to have to spend money on a vet visit because of someone else's fucking carelessness.
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
http://feuervogel.tumblr.com/post/25591672130/isis-spring-1997-21-june-2012

Comments are on, but email notifications are off.
feuervogel: (isis)
This morning, I noticed that Isis' pupils were different sizes, so I called the vet, and they worked her in. It's probably a brain tumor. The vet suggested humane euthanasia, because she has "days" left. I was there by myself, so I asked if we could wait. He gave her a steroid shot, and now I'm home. Ben's coming home soon.

She's had trouble eating the last few days, and she's wobblier than before, despite glucosamine supplements (which helped for a few days, but she got worse again). She can't see very well, she gets stuck in corners, and she misses the litter box a lot.

We won't be home from tomorrow morning until Sunday evening. Right now, she seems happy enough, talking some, walking around and stuff. I took her outside, and she found some grass and ate it. But she could have a seizure any time. I don't want her to die when I'm not around. I don't want to be callous and euthanize her before the con so she doesn't die alone. I don't know what to do.

I'm not ready for this.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Ben & I drove down Friday, picked his family up at the airport, and checked in to the Lion and Rose, the B&B we stayed at when we went there for our anniversary a couple years ago. The breakfast is still awesome. Saturday we had eggs scrambled with veggies in a wheat shell, Sunday was blueberry pancakes with bourbon-pecan syrup, and Monday was a variant of eggs Benedict (with foccacia, spinach, ham for the meat-eaters, a poached egg, and a Hollandaise-like sauce made with goat cheese). Yeah, it was awesome. If you go to Asheville, look it up.

After we got settled in, we went to Nine Mile for dinner, which is just up the street from the B&B. It's Jamaican-pasta fusion. I had a tuna dish with perfectly-seared tuna and a coconut curry sauce; Ben got a dish called Soon Come, which was cheese tortellini with pineapple, apples, bananas, and currants in a cinnamon syrup. It was awesome. We split a piece of their Chocolate Spliff Cake, which included black pepper in the cake and had a lemon-thyme cream filling. It was awesome, and I wonder if it got the name because they were high when they thought of it. After that, we went back and Ben opened his birthday presents from his family, and we drank port and talked. (They have port and sherry you can drink.)

Before I talk about Saturday, I need to mention the cold front that just came through the state. Thursday it was 80 degrees. Friday's high was 60, and it was windy as hell.

So, Saturday morning we went hiking in the Blue Ridge. We walked up Craggy Gardens. When we parked, the car's thermometer told us it was 32 degrees, and it snowed a little bit. The trail was in a cloud, except a brief moment at the end when it cleared just enough to see the view for a few minutes. There was hoarfrost on the ground, and the grasses looked like they'd been covered in ice. It was pretty miserable. I packed for cold, but not for wind. We went back to the B&B, changed, and went downtown to see the sights (and eat food). We planned to go to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, but we got sidetracked by a crepes shop. Then we walked up Haywood, stopped in Malaprop's, and eventually made it to the chocolate lounge, after which we went to the Grove Arcade, then back into town a bit. Ben's parents went to Sante (a wine bar and used book shop) while we went to the Chocolate Fetish (and where Beth dropped off our free Biltmore tickets). We were heading to meet them and got sidetracked by a game shop which had just reopened after renovation. We picked up Trans Europa (a game about building railroads) for half price: $15. Dinner was at Laughing Seed. Their vegan sloppy joe is amazing, and the red cabbage sauerkraut is pretty good, too.

Sunday was the Biltmore. We toured the house, walked through the gardens, saw the smithy and woodworking shop, and this time we went to the winery. Ben & I aren't wine drinkers, but his parents are. Then we went to dinner with Beth at Tupelo Honey (and didn't get seated until after 8 because the 6-person tables were filled with people who just kept hanging out after they finished eating; so they sat us at two neighboring 3-person tables instead). Peach-ginger cornbread ftw. I ordered a side veggie combo with sweet potato fries, tofu, and the cornbread, all of which was awesome. (I was tempted by a tuna dish, but I had my monthly-ish tuna on Friday.)

Monday we drove back, and [personal profile] ranyart and [personal profile] picklish went out to the Wooden Nickel with me, Ben, and his brother. His brother can't come into our house because he's highly allergic to cats, so he stayed at a nearby hotel. The other 4 of us hung out and talked. It didn't feel like I hadn't seen them in a year since they moved to California; it felt like any of the dozens of nights we all just hung out at our house and talked (sometimes with alcohol, sometimes not). They'd planned to stay here Saturday after the beer festival as well, and they're probably coming Friday night because their other plans may be falling through. So we get to see them a lot, which is awesome.

Now I'm trying to get back into my usual routine, and it's hard. I finished building the 00 Raiser yesterday afternoon, so I don't have that distraction. I need to schedule a couple appointments today and call in Claire's refill. I need to finish revisions on The Novel, though I haven't figured out how to change the things I need to fix yet. Joy.

Stuff

21 Sep 2011 04:42 pm
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
It's raining right now, quietly. I've been hearing this light rustling through my open window for a while now.

Isis has been sick lately. feline digestion ) At least we hadn't given her her insulin already, like the first time. Checked her blood sugar, and it was 407. She got a second feeding and her shot. She was limping really badly yesterday, so I called the vet and asked it we could give her some tramadol we had left from a different cat's dental cleaning. Isis doesn't fall for the hairball gel trick, so I had to give her some more food (on her already-wonky blood sugar). She was all stoned the rest of the day. Today, after 2 doses of fish oil, she's less limpy, which is good. And her blood sugar was only 200 this morning, which is a lot more normal.

I'm working on the synopsis of Iron and Rust. This draft is going to be 6-7 pages, and if I want to send it as the Kickstarter reward submission packet review thing, I have to get it down to 5. I may go through and extend it to 10 pages at some point, then also cut it down to 2 pages and 1 page, since those are the common requested synopsis lengths, and a girl ought to be prepared.

Then again, I have a few dropped plot threads I need to tie off and a few "more tension!" moments to fix, so I'll be changing it anyway. May as well wait until I've done all that to fix it up nice.

I changed my thyroid medicine again. I dropped down to 10 mcg of T3 after noticing I was really irritable and that my tinnitus was back. (Irritatingly, it happens for both high and low thyroid for me. Makes it a fun guessing game.) Since I've recently gone up on my T4, which is converted to T3, it's possible I was getting a little high on that end. I'm still having tinnitus for much of the day, but it's gone when I wake up. I'll give it a few more days to balance out (it needs about a week to reach steady state). I should probably call my dr and let her know I adjusted my meds. I may go down further if this tinnitus doesn't abate. I'll know pretty quickly if it's too low, because I get The Nausea. I lasted about a week when we dropped my T3 last month before feeling awful.

I'm doing things with people this weekend! I'll be missing the second half of Werder Bremen: Hertha BSC on Sunday, but I can download it if I have to. Twitter can keep me posted.

And next weekend, we're going to Asheville with Ben's parents and brother. We're staying in the same B&B Ben & I stayed at for our anniversary 2 years ago. There will be hiking (yay -_-) and the Biltmore and food and (hopefully) Beth (who is awesome & giving us comp tickets, so we only have to buy 1)! Our usual catsitter has a second job at the vet school hospital, and the backup one locally had problems with Isis (who growled and clawed and pissed and shat). The usual sitter hasn't gotten back to us, either, which is frustrating, because she's the only one Isis doesn't hate. Probably because she shows no fear of the crazy evil tortie.

We may have to do separate vacations for the foreseeable future if this keeps up. Especially at holidays. (And, joy, I really want to go to my mom's house by myself! It's so much fun!) I could ask if mom & co want to come here for Thanksgiving, but she doesn't drive that far, Grandpa shouldn't drive that far anymore (he's 87, and his artificial hip hitches if he sits too long), and my sister works retail, so she has to work that Friday. Which pretty much means it's always me going to them. We already have plans (but no plane tickets) for New Year's in St Louis, and I may end up begging off. The new catsitter charged us extra last time because she had to bring a helper and spent a lot of time dealing with the evil hissing beast (and wore WELDING GLOVES to give her shot), and at $15 a visit, 2 visits a day, times two for the helper/trouble charge, those 4 days away become 8 in catsitting fees. With me not getting any hours at all, we can't afford the extra charges. (And subsequent vet bills because Isis' blood sugar is whacked out due to stress and she gets sick again.)

It doesn't really help that I don't like Family Togetherness Time (tm).
feuervogel: (isis)
Back around Christmas, Claire was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, after we got her hyperthyroidism under control and around the time we got her teeth cleaned. When she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, her serum creatinine (SCr) was 2.4, then at her cleaning it was 3.3. On Friday, it was 2.4 again. Stable is good. They also said her thyroid values looked good, so that's good, too.

We've been feeding her Weruva Asian Fusion and Mediterranean Harvest (I think, purple and light green labels). They have the lowest protein and phosphate of the brands. The chicken ones have less than the fish, but Claire won't eat them. So she gets the fish, which is still only 12% protein (vs 8-10 for the chicken). There's one seafood with 10% (outback grill), and I don't know if she's tried that one.

I'm concerned that the vets will push the nasty, byproduct-laden Prescription Diet kidney diet to get the protein as low as possible. One of the vets has generally been cool with our preferred food choices; the other I don't interact with as much, but I also don't like him very much. Beside that, there's evidence that high-quality, better-digestible protein is better than getting the protein as low as possible.

Weruva's big schtick is that they use human-grade ingredients for their pet food. (Honestly, that we feed our pets byproducts and waste is pretty disgusting.) The first time Ben opened a can of one of their tuna flavors, I was half tempted to take a forkful. It smelled that good.

Señora Crankypants and her diabeetus are doing well. She's getting 3 units of Lantus twice a day.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
We have a few kitty beds. A couple we've had for ages, from PetSmart, and they've got this little raised padding on one side, and the other two are from Phydeaux, the flat ones filled with recycled soda bottles.

We've had a couple of them beside each other (seen here) because Isis kept trying to share with Claire. But Luna sat on the green one, and Claire wanted to sit on the other one, but Luna kept growling at her, so Claire sat beside me and looked all mournful.

Then I moved the other one under my desk, and Claire is peacefully curled up on it right now.

Cats.
feuervogel: (happy)
So, I love my vets, but this is the second time this year they've given us a major scare about cancer. Now, I understand, being a medical professional myself, wanting to be absolutely sure and rule out cancer, but if they could say something like "these signs are suspicious for cancer, but it could also be XYZ, and these are the risk factors and it's possible/likely/probable/just want to rule it out," that would go a long way in keeping from freaking your patients out.

What they found on ultrasound was renal fibrosis consistent with chronic kidney disease and a fluid-filled cyst on one kidney. The bowel findings weren't suspicious for cancer. The vet thinks her coughing and the bowel distension is related to her swallowing her food whole, because she can't chew. She's got some pretty significant plaque buildup, and one of her fangs has a bit of gingivitis, so we're taking her back in tomorrow for the dental we'd planned on Monday.

So, hopefully, she'll be able to eat normally again, rather than taking forever to eat and running away while the other cats try to steal her food.

(Yes, I am aware that my pessimistic outlook on life leads to a lot of needless worry, but it also means I'm pleasantly surprised or relieved much of the time.)
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
I picked Claire up today after her ultrasound. They didn't tell me any results, and since it was mysteriously not on my bill, I don't know if they took any biopsies or not.

She's having trouble eating. She has an appetite, but she can't chew, and there may be an indigestion component as well. When she eats kibble, she sort of swallows it whole, and when she eats wet food, she tries to swallow it whole, but it gets stuck on her teeth, which are very much in need of cleaning.

Her needing a dental is what got this whole mess started.

She's lost about a pound since her last weight, which I think was the middle of November. She hasn't been eating much.

If it's lymphoma, and it's metastatic from her GI to the kidneys, I can't imagine the prognosis being very good. I don't want to think about giving the most neurotic cat we have chemotherapy, chasing her around the house trying to catch her and force her to take pills. It would make her miserable, and it would make us miserable.

If it's aggressive, and she keeps not eating, I don't know if we'll be able to make it up to Maryland this weekend to visit my family. I don't want to miss her last days. (I also don't know if the cat sitter is willing or has enough time to feed her dry food a few pieces at a time on the floor while somehow keeping the other cats away.

Oh god, this isn't going to work at all, is it? It'll be 6 meals, total, and she's neurotic as hell, and she's not taking her clomipramine, which is making it worse, and I don't want to think about taking her in the car to my mom's, then finding something to do with her while at my aunt & uncle's for (midday) dinner Sunday, then I guess at my sister's Sunday night.

There are a lot of ifs up there, I know, but without the information, all I can do is plan for the worst. And I don't think we're going to get another reprieve like with Isis earlier this year.

And I can't stop crying.
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
Claire has kidney disease. We get to switch her to canned kidney diet. She's definitely interested in food, but she's had trouble eating because she needs her teeth cleaned. The vet's OK with her getting her teeth done next week, and it's better to do it before the kidney failure progresses.

Poor sweet piglet :(
feuervogel: (smiling Zuzu)
When's the last time I wrote about what I've been doing, other than writing? Uh, can't recall. April 10, maybe?

Let's see. Sunday the 11th I went to the park to practice San Shou with my tai chi school, then went to UNC for the anime club's spring picnic/ohanami. That was fun, aside from there being no fucking parking on campus diediedie.

I did the usual weekday stuff during the week, then Friday I went to Charlotte to stay closer to where I was going for a writers conference. The conference itself was OK; it was only $20 so even if the session I went to in the morning was billed as a workshop but was more of a lecture on what to do than how to do and there were so goddamn many Christian-interest writers there, it wasn't a huge waste.

The afternoon session I went to was David Drake talking about how he writes - his process, that sort of thing - and taking questions. It was interesting, and he's really intense. He told me I shouldn't read Hammer's Slammers, because it would disturb me (eh?) because he wrote them after he got back from Vietnam and they were a form of therapy. Now, I like a good, realistic, gritty war story, so I'll see how that goes. I might have time to start reading again soon.

Saturday evening, since I was in the process of flipping out about that volcano in Iceland, after I got home, I texted my ex-coworker and we went out to the bar in Hillsborough. (There's just the one, actually.) Then I tipsy-posted when I got home.

Sunday I went to a Turkish festival out at the fairgrounds. It was OK; there was Turkish coffee, and for an extra $5 I could get it in a Kütahya porcelain cup to take home. I bought some more helva, and Ben got some chocolate-creme-filled cookies that were pretty damn tasty. There were demonstrations of ebru (video) and folk dances (these guys were pretty amazing).

Monday I went out to Greensboro to meet [livejournal.com profile] xjenavivex and J, to talk about starting a regional genre writers group, for things like networking, promotion, support, etc. The coffee machine at the Borders was broken, wtf. It was fun, and we're going to work on how to make it bigger & better. And maybe if we get enough interest, we can do a writers retreat out at the Outer Banks in like January when it's cheap(ish).

Coming up: Saturday I'm going to a conference/CME event on pain, addiction, and the law (from 7:30 am to 5 pm...but I'll get close to 8 hours of CE credit for it.) Sunday we have to run another blood glucose curve on Isis, so I'll be home all day. Then next week, I'll be running around and getting my shit together for Germany (clothes, toiletries, hair cut) and trying to see people before I go. L's having her birthday party Friday the 30th, and I may or may not go. I probably won't decide until Friday, actually. My plane leaves at 12 something (I forget if it's noon or like 12:45), so I'll have to be at the airport at like 10:30. We'll see.

Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] av3rnus I have a lot more German industrial & techno. I need to find time to sit down and make note of which bands I liked enough to want more of, now that I've listened to all 3 CDs like 2 or 3 times each. (The only band whose song I skipped was Einstürzende Neubauten. Sometimes music hits certain frequencies or rhythms or something that makes me either cringe or become anxious. I can't reliably describe what exactly it is, either. EN tripped that button, each time I listened to it. Thankfully, I know how to use the 'next track' button.)

Right, then. Time to get the last few scenes on this novel draft edited/written. I only have 4 left. Which means I'll need a few hours tomorrow to finish it, because I'm good for about 3 scenes a day, if they need extensive reworking, and these, uh, do.
feuervogel: (isis)
So, we braved the roads and took Isis to the vet school for her oncology appointment. (40 was clear, but getting there wasn't fun; the parking lot was half clear.) The vet student on rotation came in, talked to us and took some notes, then she went out and came back a little later with the intern.

Who started off by saying, "Yeah, I don't think it's lymphoma."

... That's probably the best thing we could hear.

Apparently, the PARR isn't sensitive for B-cell lymphoma. When it's in T cells, PARR is highly sensitive, but B cells not so much. (It had something to do with the test itself, and how you get cells from the spleen. I'm a pharmacist, not a histologist, Jim.)

Additionally, if she *did* have lymphoma, she would have gotten worse in the month we've been waiting on the test results, not better. And apparently there's usually vomiting even without a massive tumor, and she hasn't been doing that.

So they kept her for the afternoon, to repeat the ultrasound and spleen aspirates (and get repeat bloodwork to see how her liver is doing). I got a text from Ben around 2:30, saying that the ultrasound was IMPROVED from a month ago. Which means it probably isn't cancer, but they want us to come back in 6-8 weeks to repeat u/s and aspirates. Unless she gets worse, of course, in which case we go in RIGHT AWAY.

She also said that, if it *were* lymphoma, it's highly treatable with oral medications, and cats often live "for years" on maintenance therapy. I asked if we should cancel our travel plans, and she said no.

It's an emotional rollercoaster, y'all. If there weren't crappy road conditions for the foreseeable future, I'd have a celebratory party thing. My birthday's too far away...
feuervogel: (isis)
It's the same vet who managed Isis' case when she was in with ketosis, so she's more emergency focused and couldn't give me too much detail on oncology.

They ran a PARR test, which is a PCR antibody test to look for cellular markers for lymphoma, because the cell samples from the splenic aspirates were slightly suspicious (as in, if you're worried about lymphoma, test further; if not, carry on). They took splenic aspirates because there was a bit of thickening in her intestinal wall, which could have been IBS or lymphoma.

They found B cell clones consistent with lymphoma. That's a bit of good news, because T cell (aka blastic) lymphoma is Bad News. It's probably small cell, but onc would be able to give us better details on that and whether we should pursue further testing.

In her favor as well is that it (as of right now, according to the ICU vet) seems to be early stage. If it were later stage, the splenic aspirates would have been more than "slightly suspicious." She's also happy, eating and not throwing up, so there's not a tumor blocking her gut.

However, as an eternal pessimist, I'm not letting my hopes get up too high until we talk to onc and see how treatment goes. I'm not paying for class yet (I have until 3/3), and I'm not ruling out the necessity of canceling our vacation.

We got an appointment at 11 am Monday. It should take 60-90 minutes of talking with the oncologist (note: bring extra kleenex), then Isis stays the rest of the day for further testing as needed. They said she should be able to come home between 4 and 6 pm.

I'm not going in to work today. I woke up shivering under my covers and in GI distress at 2 am, and it hasn't gotten any better. Been drinking tea and trying to eat frosted mini wheats, because I'm hungry, but when I swallow, I feel ill. I'll finish this tea and lie down some more.
feuervogel: (hold me)
Talked to Ben, who's up at Newport News for work. Have pretty much been crying the last 45 minutes, sometimes hard enough to make me want to puke.

A quick google tells me the prognosis isn't good: 70% of cats get 4-6 months with therapy. 30% get up to 2 years.

I have no idea how this is going to affect our travel plans, which are in ... 3-4 months from now. I haven't paid for the class yet, but we've got our plane tickets. I'd be gone May 2-June 13. And I'd regret it forever if she died while I was gallivanting in Europe and I couldn't see her one last time before she's (crying again) gone forever.

She seems so happy! Diabetes I could live with; treatment is annoying but manageable. Since we got her sugars down, she's been frisky and lovey and PLAYING like she hasn't in months. How can she be dying? (crying more)

I wish I could talk to the vet now, because not knowing makes it so much harder. I also wish Ben hadn't had to go to Virginia for work today, and I know he does, too. Even if we'd just be sitting together and bawling; we'd have each other. The cats have no idea why Mommy's making that weird sound and holding onto Isis for dear life.
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
For those of you not on Twitter or facebook (the only places I can update easily by text message):

Isis has lymphoma. I haven't been able to talk to the vet yet, so I have no idea what the prognosis is.
feuervogel: (writing)
Carolinas Writers Conference. GMaps tells me it's close to Charlotte, so only a couple hours' drive. And it's $35! It's April 17. I should totally go!

There's even a session on writing science fiction, though it overlaps the synopsis session (2 hours), which also overlaps plotting. None of the afternoon sessions sound interesting. Figures that's how it works: three things I want to attend at the same time, then a dearth.

In unrelated news, I slept in CAT PEE last night because I didn't want to wash my sheets at 10 pm. It was mostly on the outermost blanket, but the smell wafted up every time I moved. Or Ben moved. Ick. Left a question for the vet today about Claire and valium. Or possibly Luna. I suppose it's possible her clomipramine is off this month, because she's just been evil for a few weeks.
feuervogel: (isis)
It sounds like a cool band name or some sort of SFnal plot twist, yeah? Not really, but it is pretty cool.

We did a glucose curve on Isis yesterday. Her fasting reading was 307, then we fed her and gave her insulin, and 2 hours later it was 347. That's not incredibly unusual, to see a sustained increase in blood sugar after eating. In a non-diabetic, the BG will approximate normal at 2 hours. I considered, upon seeing her high fasting sugar, whether there was any Somogyi effect going on, and I kept that in mind throughout the day.

We continued to check her sugar every two hours, and over the course of the day, it continued trending downward. Before dinner, it was 160, then at 8 pm it was 140, then before bed it was 93.

Normal range in humans is 80-110; in cats it's similar. In diabetic cats, they want it between 130 and 200.

I didn't like the look of that, so we gave her a few Wildside Salmon treats (freeze-dried salmon; the cats LOVE it) and some dry food before bed. We checked her sugar before breakfast today: 143. To me, that indicates yesterday's morning reading was likely due to Somogyi.

So what the hell is this Somogyi I keep talking about? First, a little biochemistry. When you sleep, you're not consuming any sugars, though you're not really exerting yourself, either. Your body is still metabolically active, keeping your heart going and your brain going and your breathing going, doing cellular repairs, that sort of thing. This requires energy. The liver stores glycogen, which are basically long-chain sugar molecules, and it releases glycogen when your body signals "hey, we could use a little sugar here" at 3 am. (Glycogen also plays a role in distance running and other endurance events.)

In diabetes, when the BG drops too low overnight, the liver can overreact and dump more glycogen stores than it needs to, leading to a spike in BG in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.

Ben is sending the spreadsheet I made of Isis' BG readings yesterday to our vet, and hopefully there'll be discussion of how to manage this. We can't really go down further on her nighttime insulin - she only gets 1 unit, so skipping it entirely or giving her kibble before bed are likely to be good options. We'll see what our vet says.

I really would prefer not having to stick her ear and get a BG reading every night, though. She's none too thrilled about it, and we're crap at making the kitty burrito.

I also haven't heard back on the additional testing from the spleen aspirate to see if she has cancer. I asked Ben to ask if they'd heard anything on that yet.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
So, we picked her up Tuesday night, as I mentioned. We're giving her insulin, which she seems to tolerate, and Clavamox tablets, which she doesn't. (If we could Pill Pocket her, trust me, we would. However, they're made with wheat, which she absolutely cannot has. She's allergic to it, pretty severely.)

We're trying to get her to eat, because they found evidence of fatty liver, which happens when cats mobilize their glycogen stores when they're not eating. If she continues not to eat, it could become fatal. But she is interested in her food, and she'll eat all of it with encouragement, so it's good. She's catching on to us, though, because this morning she ate some food, then slinked off upstairs. I brought her back downstairs, and she ate more. Then after a while, we poked her and shoved a pill down her throat. We're bribing her with salmon treats, and she goes for those after we pill her. I got her to finish her breakfast after the treats.

The spleen aspirate showed some leukogenesis, which isn't too surprising, because they gave her iron IM and she was a bit anemic, but the cytologist said, "if you have any question of lymphoma, do this other test." So they're running another test that involves staining the slides and looking at them again, to find out if she's got lymphoma. (The differential diagnosis is irritable bowel disease, which, with her history of food allergies, seems slightly more likely, but I'd rather definitively rule out cancer (or rule in) than keep fretting over it. Definitive yes or no is better than inconclusiveness.)

We need to get her back to our vet for a blood draw tomorrow morning, to check her liver function and see if it's getting better. She won't like that at all, and she'll be pretty cranky about being stuck for insulin, pilled, *and* shoved into a box, then poked some more. Hopefully she'll forgive us quickly.

I suddenly have a contract, so I'm working 1-7. Which means I'm foisting my writing into the morning. In about 45 minutes, I wrote 648 words, most of which were rewriting an entire scene (because this way makes so much more sense.) They want me to do 40 hours, but I hesitate, because I'd be gone from 9:15 until 7:45, and that cuts heavily into my doing anything other than work time. I'm contemplating asking if I can bring my laptop and write during the 1-hr lunch break, but ... I'm still undecided.

On that topic, I need to go eat lunch and put some real clothes on before heading out. Isis is squawking on the stairs. Last I checked, she was sleeping in a sunbeam. She's so cute :)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
A bit dopey from the sedation, but home. And she ate most of the food Ben gave her for dinner, with some encouragement. Hopefully she won't need a feeding tube.

I'm gonna go sit with my dopey fuzzbutt until it's time for bed.
feuervogel: (isis)
So, this morning, we were supposed to go in for a simple urinalysis and some how-to on the insulin shots, then go home.

Best laid schemes, as they say.

There were ketones in Isis' urine, so they ran a serum sample (separated blood) and found moderate to high ketones. What does that mean, you ask? It means she's spending the next 24-48 hours at the NCSU vet hospital, getting hydration and IV insulin.

So, in diabetes, the body doesn't process sugar properly, usually because there isn't enough insulin available. Insulin acts as a key to open the door that lets sugars into the cells. When insulin isn't doing its job, either because there isn't any (type 1) or because the cells aren't as sensitive to it (type 2), the cells aren't getting the sugar they need to do their jobs, and the body looks for other ways to get energy. (Sugar is the basic fuel source for every cell in your body.)

Ketones are a breakdown product of fat and fatty acids, which the body can also use for fuel. However, this is not a good state of affairs for the body in general. Ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis can occur.

Isis is being treated for ketosis, as opposed to DKA, I believe. Neither of the vets said she had a low blood pH, which is the distinction between ketosis (presence of ketones) and ketoacidosis (ketones + acid). DKA has a third component: elevated blood sugar.

So I'm waiting for the vets to call with an update on her blood chemistries and her condition in general. She was feisty and surly this morning, but sick enough that she had to go to the hospital.

Also, a local friend had some syringes and a glucometer from her late diabetic cat, and now we have them. It'll save us a bit of the initial outlay, which is nice, considering I paid $300 at the vet, then a deposit of $1500 at the vet school, and we haven't even bought the Lantus yet.
feuervogel: (isis)
So, Señora Crankypants has diabetes. Her cleaning for Monday is off until we get her under control, but we have to take her in for a urine sample Monday, as well as some instructional stuff and getting the prescription.

- This is where my training in diabetes education and management will come in handy. Thanks, UNC SOP! I'm a little out of date as far as what meters are available, but we don't need anything fancy like Ascensia Breeze. Luckily for me, some kind soul at Walgreens put together a comparison table.

- Our vet likes to use Lantus pens. Except not as pens: they want us to draw insulin into regular U-100 syringes. It's more cost-effective: one box of 5 3-mL cartridges costs $185 at Harris Teeter (and we can get a VIC discount), and one 10-mL vial costs about that. Once you open a bottle of insulin, you're supposed to pitch it after a month. If you're good about aseptic technique, and you're vigilant about checking for precipitate in the cartridge, you can use it longer. I personally wouldn't use it more than 2 months. (In humans, this typically isn't an issue.) So even if the pen cartridges cost more, it's really saving money in the long run.

- Isis should eat food that's <7% carbohydrates. The Evo she's eating is 7% max, which is the lowest carb content in dry cat food. We'll try a few other types of canned Evo, to see what she likes. The one she's eating at the moment (turkey & chicken) is really mushy, and I think she may have trouble eating it. We know she likes Luna's food, which is Innova canned (not Evo), and that has 3% carbs. A trip to Phydeaux is in our future.

- We also need to have Karo syrup on hand in the event of hypoglycemia. Smear it onto her gums, apparently.

- The vet said I can do a glucose curve at home, because she's comfortable with me doing it, since I'm a pharmacist. It's about $170 each time they do it in clinic, and it may require several times to figure everything out, so it'll be another cost saver. Because I feel more comfortable having a glucometer available when giving insulin, I'm going to acquire one.

- Boarding at the vet clinic is $22/day, plus $2.50 if the cat needs medication. They also do a flea treatment on admission for $5. So not too much gloom and doom for vacation travel (there's no way I'm asking a pet sitter to deal with this. Isis hates everybody except me & Ben. Vet staff can deal with it, and if anything goes poorly, they'll be able to take care of it.)

Things to buy:
- glucometer (AccuChek Aviva ($20 at Walgreens) or Active)
- test strips (AccuChek Active $30/50 at Walgreens; Comfort Curve $20/50 at Amazon)
- alcohol wipes
- lancets
- Karo
- Lantus SoloStar
feuervogel: (isis)
Isis has been eating less recently, and her breath was smelling bad (not foul, just kinda off). The vet had mentioned at her last exam that she probably needed a dental soon. Since she would eat wet food and look mournfully at her dry food, I figured it was time to get her to the vet to have her teeth looked at.

She was extra grumpy at the vet, growling and trying to run away. This is unusual for Isis (seriously! Shush!), because she normally loafs up and grumbles a bit, but just sits there and goes all limp-kitty. She wasn't thrilled that the vet was poking in her mouth, and when they went to get her blood for the pre-anaesthesia workup, she pissed on them. Yeah.

So it's possible that her extra crankiness of late is related to her tooths.

She's scheduled for a dental on Monday, assuming her blood work comes back OK. Not sure what we're doing if it doesn't.

And now that I've got all the internet stuff I usually finish before 9 done, it's time for lunch. Then some writing.
feuervogel: (writing)
Today's word count: 173. Another editing day.
Total word count: 17362/90000.

My major accomplishment for today was fixing a plot point that no longer rang true to the character, since the Romance aspect is gone from this version. It was making some of the subsequent sections too gloopy and wangsty, and I hated it, because it didn't fit Atesh's character. So now maybe I can move forward, after I get in and edit the intervening sections.

I think I'll keep Michael as a POV character. I'm starting to get a better handle on him, so maybe his chapters will come out soon. After Michael's intro chapter (#2), I have to expand the other introductory chapter (#3). Then maybe after getting revisions done on the intro (first 25K words or so), I can move on to the middle bit where the action happens.

I'm honestly surprised I'm managing to get this many words this early in the plot. Though it's probably evidence that I need to write either long form or flash, because my brain comes up with either complex shit or a vignette.

In other news, I need to get myself some CE by the end of the year, so I can renew my license. I've got a few programs in mind, but they're all expensive. And one of the cats peed on the free CE booklet that came in the mail, so I can't do it. Damn cats.

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