It is always unnerving to get a call at an early hour of the day. This morning my phone rang and it was ADT. Instant dread sets in so I answer and I am told that one of the glass breaking sensors had triggered the alarm at the renovation house. They summoned the police and I headed over there, It is only a few miles away and the police were already there when I arrived. We checked and there was no broken glass so we went in and searched and everything was in order. It turns out that I had forgotten to unplug the air compressor and when it kicked in to recharge, it was loud enough to trigger the alarm. What a perfect way to start the day!
Stimpy went in for her check up on Wednesday. Her labs were good. Her white cell count was normal thankfully, but unfortunately she had lost three more ounces. She just does not seem to eat as much as she did before the chemo. I hope this is not a downward trend. Her chest x-ray showed that her lungs were perfectly clear so that was a huge relief. We went to a specialty pet store and bought her some new food and she seems to like most of that. We got stuff low in phosphorus since she is getting old, we want to make sure she has no kidney issues. Thankfully she is doing OK in that department. Another $265 vet bill but at least the news was more encouraging than her last visit.
I take Stimpy out for walks every day and she absolutely loves it. She is getting somewhat demanding though in asking to go outside. She tried to bolt out the door this morning when I was leaving to answer the alarm call. She will go to the door and claw at it to try and open it. She wanders all around for quite a distance and the dogs all keep their distance. Here is a picture of her lounging on the retaining wall. She actually growled at me when I picked her up to take her inside. She was not ready to go back in!
Stimpy has found a hiding place outside. There are some lilies that give her nice cover. She curls up inside them and will just stay there for a long time, perfectly content. I just go off to the side and sit down until she is ready to move on. I love that she enjoys being outside. It is a small pleasure she has so I am happy to let her take her time.
I am almost done with the coffered ceiling in the dining room and then I will move on to another project. Another month and the house should finally be finished. I never want to renovate another house again! I have decided to forego the silvered leaf ceiling. It will take too long and I just do not want to do it. I have opted for a color called suede camel. It looks pretty good actually with the red walls. The coffered ceilings will be painted white. Here is a picture showing part of it finished so you can see what it will all look like eventually. I have had a few requests to help do the same in other homes. I think I will pass!
Hopefully in a few weeks I can go home to visit the family. I will probably drive although I can get a direct flight into Chicago from Oklahoma City and then just rent a car. I hate flying so I will probably just drive. It has been a while since I have been home. The last time was over a year ago when I went there to help my sister move.
Stimpy is finally asleep and leaving me alone about going outside. She has decided that she is now more comfortable in my spot on the bed and she curls up by my pillow. I hate to move her. She gives me her best "I'm so cute all curled up like this" look so I do not have the heart to disturb her. I am sure there are plenty of people who know what I am talking about. Cats rule!
I am not sure why I did not think about this before but it dawned on me to start a website with the same name as Stimpy's journal, and upon checking, it was actually available. So, it is official, I have registered www.thecatstimpy.com but it will likely be some time before I get around to developing it. I will use it for VAS education. There are a lot of possibilities. Now, if I can ever find the time to make it into a nice web page. It may mirror this journal, the two will certainly be linked. I thought about selling Stimpy souvenirs, donating the money to Kobi's Fund and other pet charities. (I was going to write something here, something that is somewhat "dark comedy" but I just could not find the words to express it in a tactful way. I feel too guilty for even thinking about it so I will have to keep that dark, twisted ironic comedy to myself at this time until I can figure out how to present it in a more tasteful way). I blame the thought entirely on this early morning, sleep deprived hour.
Stimpy is enjoying her walks outside immensely. She now waits by the door so when I come home, she is right there and she usually pops out. She really loves her hideout in the lilies. I think she thinks she is Invisible Cat while she is there. She just sits there for the longest time and just observes. I am going to build her a secure environment outside that will be off the master bedroom. I plan on putting a lot of plants in there, maybe even a smalll patch of grass, and give her access in warmer weather so she can just go outside when she wants. It will be enclosed to protect her but I think she will enjoy it. It will be her own mini day spa retreat. I will still take her outside for her walks but this way she will have a new jungle to explore when she is alone. Right now I am sitting near the door and she is a little put out that Baloo is stretched across the exit and she cannot get to the door to scratch it at and make her demands known. She kind of snorted and walked away and she has now retreated back to the bedroom. They have no sense about the time of day. She wants to go outside and there is no way I am taking her out at night. She could disappear too easily and there are too many nocturnal animals on the estate, including that rogue bobcat. I used to walk down to the gate and back at night just to relax, but when I saw that bobcat just outside the property a few months ago, it made me think twice. We are pretty sure that the one boxer dog got into a confrontation with the bobcat one night and we think that is what messed her up so bad. It was such a sad day when I had to sit there and hold her paw as she was euthanized on the table. She was in such bad shape when we found her the next morning and we rushed her to the emergency room but they did not think she could be saved. Pets bring so much happiness, it is difficult to lose one. We now have our own little menagerie here. In addition to the bobcat, there are deer, red fox, peacock, armadillo, snakes (!) mice, opossom, gophers (unfortunately, what a parasite!) and of course, the occasional stray dog that has decided he wants to live here as well. Ah, yes, lets not forget the scarlet macaw...she makes sure of that. She screams at you if you ignore her and it sounds like she is being strangled!
I took this picture of Stimpy on our walk yesterday. She sat there for a good 20 minutes before I finally had to pick her up and take her inside so I could get ready for dinner. She expressed her dislike of being manhandled with some low threatening "I know where you live" type of growls!
Yesterday started off with a bang. The bank called because apparently the debit card had been compromised. Some slimeball somehow got a hold of the number, etc, and tried to charge $2000 to it. The odd thing was that the charges were made to the London Borough of Newham to a government office. There were some minor authorizations, to test the card, like to Netflix, Keytag and Zagg, but the two main charges were for $168 and $1800 to the government offices. Maybe the person who stole the card number is not the brightest bulb on the tree because there is bound to be a paper trail with a charge like that. They allow you to make payments on line for your account in the UK so it has to lead somewhere. A fraud report was filed with the government office as well as the police in Newham. The card was canceled and they are Fed Ex'ing a new one. It is so unnerving to have that happen. It was a pretty bold charge too, the $1800 one. It makes you wonder if they also had access to your bank account to verify that much money was even in the account. I hate criminals. I hope they catch the slimeball and lock them up. Fortunately the bank was on it quickly and they put a halt to it before the damage was done. I cannot say the same for American Express though. When I had a card stolen years ago, it was absolutely nerve wracking to deal with AMEX. With that one, I finally just paid the amount to stop their idiotic phone calls asking why I shorted that amount with my payment only to find that the day before their last call, they had already credited my account so now they had more of my money. Believe me, they took their time sending a refund too.
When I took Stimpy in to see her oncologist last Wednesday, I shared the letter that I received from Boehringer Ingelheim. In that letter, they outright blame the veterinarian for not disclosing the risks of VAS. They basically said that it was the veterinarians fault that we were not told about VAS because they supply the vets with the information they need and it is up to them to pass that on to the consumer. They actually take this position to explain away their negligence. Unless the veterinarian is reading something different, I do not see how they claim they provide them with the information they need with a simple, sugar coated statement like this on their product:
" A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration "
Boehringer Ingelheim does not seem to get it, that this is not sufficient. They do not seem to understand that this is NOT enough information and for them to hide behind the CVB (Center for Veterinarian Biologics) with the weak excuse that "they approved this" is nothing short of criminal in my book. They do not understand that is what I am fighting for, changes in their disclosure. It will come someday. Too many cats are dying and being mutilated from this cancer. It has to change. They could make the moral decision now and make that change before they are told they need to make that change but they probably will not. No one wants to lose profits. They do not understand just how personal a pet is. They are family members. It has been proven how much they impact us emotionally, how they improve our lives. Their "it's just a cat" attitude is going to be their downfall. Too many people will not accept this. The oncologist was annoyed at their cavalier "blame the vets" attitiude. When I write to the insurance industry in my effort to have them require the vets that they insure to start disclosing the risks of VAS, I am going to include a copy of the letter from Boehringer Ingelheim showing them how they want to pin the blame on them, ultimately costing the insurance industry money and left holding the basket.
So, here we are again, at 3:30 in the morning. Stimpy woke me up an hour ago by gracing me with a hacked up hairball on the bedsheet right next to me. She was looking pretty pleased with her handiwork and was purring like a dove, and she did not seem to understand why I was contorting by body in all sorts of odd shapes to get around it. She looked somewhat annoyed that I cleaned it up and scrubbed the sheet vigorously. Thank you Miss Stimpy...that is just what I like waking up to. I do appreciate the fact that you did not deposit it just below the bed where I step out in the morning. I still have not been able to decide if I like them warm or cold. Yeech! She is shedding like crazy too. I brushed her yesterday and I swear she weighs a pound less now. I had a furball the size of a softball when I was finished combing her. She really enjoyed that too, purring heavily the whole time. These cats have me wrapped around their little paws!
Wednesday April 6, 2011 5:31 PM
A note about the following post. Last Friday I received a letter from Boehringer Ingelheim. It was the first and only letter I had received from BI and that was only after I had sent a letter to the CEO at his home. I suspect strongly that up until that time, he was not even aware of the situation at hand. That letter was somewhat gentler in its tone compared to the copy of the letter I received from the Attorney General's office. That letter pre-dated last weeks letter, having the date of February 14, 2011 on it. I have written this post much as I would have responded to their letter had I received it first. It amazes me how I was continually ignored for months. I guess I have taken my queue from Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction:
Today I received a letter from the State Attorney General's office in Missouri. Last December, I filed a complaint with them against Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. They enclosed a copy of the reply from Boehringer Ingelheim's attorney, the one who repeatedly ignored every letter I sent them. In his answer, he is whining about all the "harassing letters" I have sent him. Funny, that is the FIRST confirmation that I have had that he has even seen them. It is an obvious attempt to discredit me in my complaint. He goes on to state that I have threatened to post a billboard on the St. Joseph area (apparently that really touched on a nerve as he mentioned it several times). He also states that I have "defamed" Boehringer Ingelheim and I sent out "disturbing" Christmas cards to him and other Boehringer Ingelheim executives all over the world.
I would have to agree, the Christmas card was disturbing. I made a parody of their "Have We Seen Your Cat Lately" campaign, a campaign designed to get people to get their pets in the veterinarians door to get more vaccinations. They make no mention of the dangers however, so yes, it is a disturbing Christmas card. Here is a picture of it:
Now, I am not sure that is what he means by "disturbing" but I personally find it disturbing that they know their products cause cancer yet they do not disclose it. I wonder if Michael Herman (the BI attorney) finds this image disturbing?
I wonder if he finds this image disturbing, the image many of us are eventually faced with thanks to this cancer? (With all due respect to Rodney and Little Girl)
The letters only strengthen my resolve to fight them on this. They just do not get it. They think this is about money. For them it is. For me and thousands of other victims, it is about accountability from the pharmaceutical companies.
I will scan the letters and post them on here in the next day or so. I want everyone to see how they do a tap dance to excuse their actions. I want other vets to see how they place the blame on them. I want people to see just how low they can go.
I guess the letter today was an effort to intimidate me. It does not. I like the way he whines about the "harassing letters", letters that I have been sending to him and Boehringer Ingelheim since this began. Had he felt they were so harassing and defaming, why does he wait until now to bring this up? Are my letters so intimidating to this lawyer that he was too terrified to write me? No, it was their way of showing contempt for me and trivializing Stimpy's cancer. He makes a point that Stimpy's cancer was caused by a Pfizer product (Pfizer did indeed own the Fort Dodge division at the time of Stimpy's vaccination). This is their second attempt to push the blame on someone else (in this case Pfizer). Their letters only show how they think they are blameless. Unless Mr. Herman missed that day in class, he should know that liability does not disappear when a product is sold.
Michael Herman has never made any objection to the "harassing letters" until now, in his answer to the State Attorney General. Again, I am sure it is just a feeble attempt to discredit me. I wonder, is Boehringer Ingelheim also in the business of incroaching on a person's First Amendment rights in the United States? I do not know what it is like in Germany, but the last time I checked, it is not illegal to express yourself. Like I said, no lies have been published here so Mr. Herman had better brush up on that area of the law if he wants to challenge me on that point. He also needs to brush up on the definitions of defamation and criticism.
To clarify things, I am sending a letter to Pfizer's legal department tomorrow via certified mail and I will get confirmation once and for all whether or not they are accountable for the products that they sold to Boehringer Ingelgeim. I already know the answer but I would like to have this clarified for my own satisfaction.
They also make the claim that they have offered to review Stimpy's medical expenses. Such outright lies. Unless they are referring to the ONE AND ONLY phone call from Dr. James Hall on November 10, 2010, a phone call that ended with me telling them I would settle this for the cost of Stimpy's care, including her post care, and with him telling me that he would "present it to the powers that be" and get back to me, a call I am still waiting for, there has been no such offer. There have been no letters from them except for the one that my letter to George Heidgerken's home brought about. I filed the complaint with the Attorney General's office because they ignored all my letters. I knew they would be compelled to answer that letter at least. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as it were.
So, I guess we are at a crossroads here. I am prepared to move forward. I will not back down in my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim. Mr. Herman stated I had published defamatory statements in this journal. No lies have been stated in this journal. Mr. Herman has in fact himself, published a defamatory statement against me now with his answer to the State Attorney General.
I have yet to meet an attorney who can intimidate me. I am ready for this battle, I hope they are. I would welcome a day in court against them. It would really bring VAS into the spotlight. It will be a publicity nightmare for them, there are enough people who care about this issue that it will be very public. It would make Stimpy's name and face permanently synonymous with vaccine associated sarcoma and Boehringer Ingelheim. I can afford it.
Stay tuned. I will scan the letters and publish them here on the journal. It is interesting, in the Fed Ex letter that I received last Friday, it was not signed by anyone. The letter today, on the same letterhead, is signed by Michael Herman, their attorney. When I sent my reply to them in regards to last Friday's letter, I did not sign my name either. I wonder if that was lost on them?
Thursday April 7, 2011 5:31 PM
Stimpy is getting pretty demanding about going outside these days. I have opened Pandora's Box by taking her out for walks and now she wants them all the time. She woke me up at 2:30 this morning and was wanting to go outside. She went to the door and meowed loudly and would not give up. Finally I made Baloo park his furry bottom by the door and that really ticked off Stimpy so she stood one foot away from Baloo and just meowed at him loudly. Poor Baloo just kept his head low looking nervous until she finally retreated into the bedroom but I could hear her in there protesting loudly! Between all the animals, I do not think I will ever be allowed to sleep again.
I finally got the coffered ceiling finished today! What a task. If I had done the math beforehand, I do not think I would have started it. There are 260 pieces of wood in the ceiling. I am sure I spent over 100 hours on it. My body aches from being up and down a ladder every day for a week. I have not hung the chandelier yet, but here is the finished product. I am pretty pleased with it but I do not think I will ever do another project like this again. I do not build from a design, I do it as I go along, basically designing it in my head. It turned out exactly as I pictured it.
I take as many pictures and videos of Stimpy that I can these days. She loves being outside and yesterday I got some great shots. She really posed for the camera on these. She always protests vehemently when I pick her up to bring her in. I need to get some tick protection for her. Since we have so many trees and a woodsy setting, there are tons of ticks. Last night while sitting in the chair, I felt something crawling on me and it was a tick. Uugh! I hate ticks.
Stimpy's appetite seems to change with the wind. I worry about her and I try to give her plenty of choices. The mirtazipine seems to work OK the first day but by Day 2, she seems less interested. I keep some dry food out for her and she has been eating that. She usually does not like the dry stuff but I bought some Royal Canin and she seems to like it. At this point, I am happy that she eats anything before her.
Today a friend ask if I could stop by the pharmacy to pick up his prescription. I think it was called zyvox, made by Pfizer. It was an unbelievable $1900 (yes, that is one thousand, nine hundred dollars) for 20 pills! I am still in shock from that one. I called my friend and told him how much it was and asked him if he still wanted me to pick it up for him and he said OK. So that breaks down to almost $100 per pill, taken two times a day. I guess all Pfizer needs to do is sell a few of these to cover their small offering they give to VAS victims. Wow, my head is still spinning that a drug can possibly cost that much money. I guess my $30 a pill for Relpax (also a Pfizer drug) is not so bad after all.
Stimpy is sleeping on the bed at the moment. I will take her out for another walk soon and hopefully she will eat some more food. She is too tiny to lose any more weight.
Friday April 8, 2011 6:30 AMLast night I was finally faced with the reality that Stimpy is sick. Yesterday she was just so lethargic and did not even eat much of her wet food all day long. I tried to entice her with five different varieties but she just walked away. She did eat some of her dry food and she seemed very thirsty yesterday. She perked up a bit when I took her out for her walks, but even that seemed more sedate. Last night she just curled up in a hole that the dogs had dug up near the caretakers house and she just sat there for at least 30 minutes. I wasn't feeling too good myself actually so I was just as content sitting on the rocks, taking in the nice breeze.
Last night, she wouldn't even move from her spot on the bed. She normally comes up next to me and purrs for a short while. She seemed to be breathing shallow and did not respond to my touch. For the first time in a while, I was thinking this could be her last day. So many thoughts went through my head. I even told her that if she needed to go, it was OK. In one sense, I was relieved thinking that she would just go to sleep peacefully with me by her, and it would spare me of that agonizing decision that so many are faced with about having to euthanize their cat. They say you will know, but I have not come to grips with that reality yet.
So, I stayed up with her all night. My arm is numb because of all the overhead work I have been doing and I did not want to disturb Stimpy by moving so I just laid there like a statue, keeping vigil over my little buddy. The morning has finally come and she did get up and eat some of her wet food, followed by a lot water. I will call the vet this morning and get her in. I am hoping she is just sick from a common cold or something. Her last labs came back good, so I hope things cannot change that quickly. I know some people will understand why Stimpy is so special, moreso than the others. She is MY first pet. I have never had a pet that was MINE. It was always someone else's pet. I just cannot imagine Stimpy being gone.
I know this entry is somewhat dark. It is important to document the bad days too. This cancer is not all sunshine, that is for certain. It also makes one reflect on just how fragile life is.
Stimpy is up and about again so I will take her out for a short walk and see if that perks her up. I will post more later.
Unfortunately Photobucket is down at the moment so I cannot post any of the images of the letters from Boehringer Ingelheim, including their latest "go f*** yourself" letter received yesterday. As soon as Photobucket has resumed, I will post those letters for the world to see, along with my responses to Boehringer Ingelheim.
I suppose by this time, Michael Herman, the lawyer for Boehringer Ingelheim, has assured all his colleagues and the powers that be at Boehringer Ingelheim that I am just an insane person. No, it is much worse than that Mr. Herman, I am completely sane, enough to go after Boehringer Ingelheim with incredible stamina. I am definitely stressed....EXTREMELY! I am definitely pissed off...EXTREMELY and I am definitely angry. I suppose if it makes Mr. Herman feel better to tell people I am a nut job, knock yourself out Hermy. HEIL HERRMAN!
My next line of defense will be to use the letters that Boehringer Ingelheim has sent me to show the veterinarian community that Boehringer Ingelheim squarely places the liability for vaccine associated sarcoma in thier laps (THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THOSE LETTERS!). They go on to say they they provide the information the veterinarians need to educate the consumer about VAS. They also hide behind the veil of the CVB (Center for Veterinarian Biologics) and basically say "they said it was OK what we put on our labels." What a bunch of asses to blame someone else for their product liability.
"A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration"
Click here to go to the next page and read the letters from Boehringer Ingelheim
Well, here they are. I do not have time to comment on all of them at the moment but here are the letters from Boehringer Ingelheim.. These include their reply to the State Attorney General's office (an effort that I knew was a waste of time but I DID KNOW that it would compel Mr. Herman to finally answer my letters. Chronologically, that was the first letter EVER written in response to my letters to them. Mr Herman ignored all of them until I sent the letter to the private residence of George Heidgerken, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica's CEO. That certainly went over like a ton of bricks I am sure!)
This is the first letter, dated February 14, 2011 (Valentine's Day...ahh...lawyers in love!)
Feel free to print out ANY of these letters and give them to your veterinarian.
I like the blatant obvious lie in the letter to the State Attorney General that they had offered to review Stimpy's care costs. I guess when you are not under oath officially, it is OK to lie about things to the Attorney General?
This next letter is the one they sent me via Fed Ex immediately after George Heidgerken received his letter at his home in Kansas City, Missouri.
This letter most obviously was NOT in response to my letter to Mr. Herman on February 25th, 2011. This was the "Holy Shit" letter, as I have come to call it. This was obviously in response to my letter to Mr. Heidgerken. Do they really think they are that smooth?
This was my reply to them initially, followed up by a more direct letter that was sent to them via FAX yesterday.
My official "Go F#@! Yourself" letter was this:
I wish I had more time to reply to each one of these points, but it will give me something to work on in the coming week. Like I said feel free to print any of these out and show them to your veterinarian. My guess is that I will not be getting many more letters from Mr. Herman in the near future. I suppose he could sue me, accusing me of defamation like he did in the letter to the State Attorney General but that is OK. I would welcome that with even more enthusiasm!
Wednesday April 13, 2011 6:30 AM
Wow, yesterday had a record number of readers on the journal. I used to hate Facebook but I have found it a very important tool for spreading the word about vaccine associated sarcoma and Stimpy's battle with it and my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim. Yesterday was really a pretty exhilarating day in so many ways. It was a huge relief to subcontract the work out at the renovation house so that took a tremendous amount of pressure off me. The crew will be there today and hopefully, they can finish everything in a week. I will do a lot of the trimming out and I will still build the custom built in's but that part is easy. No more drywall or painting for me!
I need some input from the readers here. You can either post a note directly or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . I need to make a decision about the billboards I am going to install in the St. Joseph, Missouri area. There are basically three choices I have to work with. One would be the electronic billboard, the kind that has multiple messages on it but the problem with that is that they circulate throughout the day. They only make an impact on the people who happen to be there at the moment.
The cost of these is $3000 every four weeks. The message is guaranteed to display 1426 times in a 24 hour period. That seems like it would speed by too fast for anyone to see it. I want the message to be simple, with Stimpy's web page, but it needs to be slow enough so people can have time to note the name. I personally am leaning away from this media. I will have to verify that 1426 number with the sales rep but that is what she e-mailed me. It just seems so fast! You do have control over those as far as the message. You can change it yourself from your computer from what I gathered.
The next option would be poster units. These are approximately 11' x 23' and these are great for saturating the market overnight and reaching neighborhoods in St. Joseph, MO. Seven locations will reach 50% of the St. Joseph, MO population and the rate for production, installation & 4 weeks of space is $4515. Here is a map showing the market area:
I am personally kind of leaning towards these. They seem to reach the largest market over a wide area. I also get to keep the posters when the job is finished. Those would be great to use as cat shows to promote VAS awareness.
The third option are the billboards. These are 14' x 48' and make the biggest visual impact. There is one approximately at the Number 2 spot above (how appropriate!). The initial cost of this is $3000 which includes $1500 for the production of the large vinyl bulletin and then it costs $1500 every four weeks. Quite frankly, I think any of these options are very reasonably priced. Any input from people would be much appreciated.
It is only a six hour drive up there from Oklahoma City so I think I will venture up that way soon to visually check the bulletin locations to give me a better perspective. I need to go home and visit the family and I could hop on over to I-35 and then take the 80 over to Chicago. I really need to go home and visit my mother, it has been some time now.
I called the investigator from the State Atty General's office and asked if there was anything else I needed to do. She said I could follow up with a reply if I wanted to. I pointed out that Mr. Herman lied in his answer so I think I will address that and have that on file. I told her that they have refused to answer any letters and the only contact from them have been that one phone call from Dr. James Hall on November 10. She thought that was kind of funny because they had called her numerous times in regards to this. She was also a cat owner so it was a chance to educate her about VAS. I asked her if she could afford the $25,000 for the cost of care if her cat got VAS? She said she could not. Most people cannot sadly. Most people cannot even afford the initial costs of surgery to remove the tumor. Boehringer Ingelheim is low enough to offer "up to $1500" to the pet care giver, an amount that is a pittance to them. I imagine they hate dealing with someone like me, a person who could tell them to shove their offer. Mr. Herman went on to talk about how "rare" VAS is. We all know the numbers are blatantly way off. The reported cases are rare indeed, and that is simply because the consumer does not know what to look for. Education is lacking in VAS awareness. I know this journal has reached many people who knew nothing about it so it is doing its job. Mr. Herman basically defends the deaths and suffering of our cats by saying that the good of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Tell that to the person who had to just inject a deadly liquid into their cat to end its suffering.
This will eventually end up in litigation I am sure. I am prepared for it. I hope it does. Not only does Boehringer Ingelheim profit off the suffering of our cats, they will probably also try and profit off the suffering I am dealing with. They just do not get it. They are killing our cats and hiding behind some government veil. I wonder who the pharmacy lobbyists had to sleep with to get those bills passed? I can guarantee them this though...they have never dealt with someone like me. Nothing will discourage me from continuing this battle. They can threaten me...big deal, I do not scare easily. They can sue me...big deal, I am fully prepared for that battle too. I guess you could characterize my determination right now as a pitbull with rabies. I am pissed off so stay out of my path!
The workers are here at the house. This may prove more stressful than if I did the work myself. They are painfully slow so far. Sigh...I guess I will just have to grin and bear it!
Stimpy is doing well it seems. She has gotten somewhat demanding in her rights to go outside. Yesterday I took her out twice and in the early part of the day, she saw one of the gardeners hauling something towards the greenhouse. She hunkered down and then suddenly took off running so fast that I had to run full pace to catch up with her. She rounded the house and when I finally caught up to her, she was by the door wanting to go back inside. Dang!!! I do not think she ran that fast when she had four legs! I do not know why the gardener spooked her so much. The gutter guys have done their share too. I had no ideal there were so many gutters and downspouts all over the house. The old ones were brown, and we discovered that those also were copper that the architect had painted years ago! Who in their right minds paint copper gutters brown? What was he thinking? The new ones are so embarassingly shiny right now though, you could probably see them from an airplane. I hope they get that work done soon. They have been there for weeks now. Last night when Stimpy was taken out for her walk, there were two deer on the other side of the back lot gate. I do not think she has ever seen deer before. She was so fascinated by them, she just stared for a good five minutes.
More later, I want to go over the letters in more depth. I usually have more time when I am relaxing in the evening. I need to get some work done around here. Paws out.
It has been a very busy past few days! Dealing with taxes, workers at both houses and of course all the animals. I am basically back to square one at the renovation house. The work crew I hired was so pathetically bad and inexperienced that I just paid them for their work and told them not to come back. They did such a horrible job on the drywall installation. They have left areas untaped and some without mud even and the "smooth" finish is as rough as it can be. I will have to spend days correcting their work. Oh well, at least the drywall is in place. I can correct their poor work, it will just take more time. Once again, I have learned that if you want it done correctly, just do it yourself. On top of the bad drywall job, I now have several deep gouges to repair in the new wood floors where they kept dropping their tools. I even covered the floor with heavy tarps to protect it yet they somehow managed to kicked them all up and expose the floors. I guess duct tape does NOT work for everything!
Tax day has come and gone. As usual, no tax refund but a large amount was due for capital gains. I noticed this posted on Boehringer Ingelheims website:
In 2008, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17 billion.
WOW! Seventeen BILLION dollars! It does pose some questions. First off, why does a wealthy multi-billion dollar German company need a $3.2 million forgiveable loan from the State of Iowa so they can expand their Fort Dodge plant? That was $3.2 million US taxpayers dollars. I feel like I just wrote a check to the bastards that are killing Stimpy with their vaccine. They even get tax credits for doing something that they would have done even without the aid of US taxpayers. Does anyone really believe that Boehringer Ingelheim would have yanked up their operations in Fort Dodge without this gift? I am sure they did the math and realized that it would cost them more to move. They are too greedy to not factor that in. It creates jobs? Yeah, so...the workers they hire will also make them many more millions over what they are paid so it is not like Boehringer Ingelheim is doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. It is always about the bottom dollar.
The next question I have is that since Boehringer Ingelheim is so wealthy, why are they so lax in assisting cat owners with the costs of treatment associated with their products? Most people cannot afford the $25,000 plus to help their cat. Most do not do what we have done so it would cost this greedy corporation even less money to do the humane thing here. The money was never a question for Stimpy. She is one of the fortunate ones that we were able to provide her the care.
Once again, I get this sickening feeling in my stomach that we just wrote a check to the bastards that are killing Stimpy.
I have not had a lot of time responding to Michael Herman's letters (the lawyer for Boehringer Ingelheim). I will soon but one thing I did notice was this:
Notice the red box. This is in the letter that Mr. Herman sent to me and here he is quoting the AVMA's advice to veterinarian's in regards to vaccine associated sarcoma.
"There are other uncommon but serious adverse reactions, including injection site tumors (sarcomas) in cats, which can develop weeks or months after a vaccination."
First off, have you noticed how it is only the people closely related to vaccine associated sarcoma, the people who could really make a difference in education, are the same people who continually throw out the word "rare" when addressing VAS?
The above image is from Mr. Herman's letter to the State Attorney General in Missouri.
Back to the "red box" above. I find it interesting that Mr. Herman is so quick to quote the AVMA in their defense about how they handle informing the public about vaccine associated sarcoma. It varies dramatically from what they actually put on their labels:
According to the AVMA, a source that Boehringer Ingelheim obvious reveres, they call this deadly cancer what it is..." a SERIOUS side effect".
Boehringer Ingelheim on the other hand likes to sugar coat their version of it, just so it will not sound so sinister. Boehringer Ingelheim simply refers to this deadly cancer as "A LOCAL REACTION".
I guess the AVMA and the veterinarians have to be a little more cautious on their handling of VAS. After all, they do not have the same bedfellows that Boehringer Ingelheim does in Washington DC so they have to watch their backs more carefully.
Did you notice the first full paragraph of the above letter too? Mr. Herman foolishly blames the veterinarian for vaccine associated sarcoma. I wonder if he has any regrets being stupid enough to put that in writing for the whole world to see? From what I am reading in Mr. Herman's letters, they like to quote findings, recommendations, etc, when it benefits their lack of concern for cat owners and our cats. BTW Mr. Herman, that IS a criticism of the way Boehringer Ingelheim handles this situation. It is NOT defamation. What a joke...he accuses me of defamation but so far has not had the balls to do his job as an attorney and sue me for it. We all know why he has not, he does not have a leg to stand on. We all know what an embarassment it would be to Boehringer Ingelheim also to have a story break that they are suing the owner of a cat that got cancer from one of their vaccines.
On a more somber note, today marks the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. It really tugs at you when you visit the memorial and see all the chairs on the location where the Murrah Building once stood. There is a chair for each victim of this senseless tragedy. What really gets to you is when you see the small chairs, the ones representing a child that was killed in the bombing.
I remember exactly where I was when this happened. I did not live in Oklahoma City but I was at one of my customers house doing an installation, and she came running in and said her husband had just had a heart attack while mowing the grass. The ambulance came and rushed him to the hospital and then shortly after that, she came back in and said there was an explosion in Oklahoma City. She turned on the news and there it was. A good friend works just blocks away from the Murrah building. They said they felt the blast on the 20th floor of their office building. Sadly, my customer's husband also died that day from his heart attack. So much senseless stuff in this world.
Friday April 22, 2011 5:28 AM
Stimpy woke me up this morning at 3:30 AM. She wasn't distressed or anything, she was just wanting to cuddle. I moved to the side and smoothed out the pillow and she actually laid down facing me with her head on the pillow. She was purring so deeply and she was so calm. It was incredibly relaxing to me, almost too much as I started to drift off to sleep again and then she reached out with her big fluffy paw and placed it on my chin, almost as if she was telling me that the job was not finished yet and I had more to do. So, I started scratching her on the neck and behind the ears so she continued purring again.
It occurred to me that I did have more work to do. As I laid there looking at Stimpy, I decided that I need to move forward. It took Boehringer Ingelheim nearly a year to write me a letter. The more I read that letter, the angrier I become. They are so arrogant in their attitude that they can get away with it simply because they can. I think the part that makes me most irate is where Mr. Herman quoted the AVMA in a clear attempt to justify their apathy, and it only served to show how this does need to change. He quoted them as saying in some instances, serious side effects may occur, particularly, sarcoma's. OK, so he wants to use the AVMA as a model for disclosing the risks of vaccines. Why then, is the only warning on THEIR label, is an over simplified one calling this serious side effect "a local reaction".
I could continue writing in this journal about my problems with Boehringer Ingelheim.I can continue documenting Stimpy's day to day life as she lives with this cancer. That was the whole point of starting this journal, "A day in the life of a cat with cancer". That does include my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim for certain, but I need to move forward.
It is obvious that Boehringer Ingelheim and the other pharmaceutical companies sit back and laugh at people like me. People like Rodney who lost his beautiful cat to VAS (another Boehringer Ingelheim victim). People like Jenny, who is fighting to save her cat Chicken, and she has gone through a lot of the same things I have with Stimpy. A month of radiation after surgery, and then an attempt at chemo but only to find it was too harsh on Chicken (read Chicken's blog here http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/ ).
There are too many people to list. Every time a new person joins the VAS support group, I have to keep asking myself, why does this go on like it does, with the pharmaceutical companies hiding behind their government buddies? Every time I read another e-mail from someone, telling about those last precious moments of life they spent with their beloved cat, it is hard to take at times. I just cannot imagine or even begin to comprehend, the agony of holding your cat in your arms as it is euthanized, taking its last gasps of breath as it lays there looking up at you. It is all so senseless too. There are some in the group who want to blame the veterinarians. They do hold some responsibility but I have been connected to the medical and pharmaceutical world too long now to know the blame lies with the pharmaceutical industry. How they can actually sit back and make billions of dollars every year (Boehringer Ingelheim posted sales of $17 billion alone in 2008, and that was even before they acquired the Fort Dodge Animal Health division. "Animal Health"...it is a sickening thought) and accept no responsibilty for their immoral actions is beyond comprehension. It is criminal, plain and simple in my opinion. They all act like they are such saints, offering a "reimbursement" program. That reimbursement doesn't even touch on the actual costs of this cancer. It doesn't even come close to the emotional impact it has on our lives.
So, where do we go from here? As I laid in bed, I thought, let's go ahead and file a suit against Boehringer Ingelheim. I have nothing to lose from it. They will argue that they are protected and it is a frivolous lawsuit, but in order to move forward and make changes to this negligent act by the pharmaceutical industry, you must first start with a lawsuit. I have tried to reason with Boehringer Ingelheim and they just tossed me to the side. That is very clear by their actions in taking nearly a year to even send me a letter. At this stage of the game, it is not about monetary damages. I do still hold them accountable for Stimpy's health care costs, but the deed is done. I have paid over $25,000 in care costs for Stimpy and it is a moot point right now. I want to have them in front of a jury, and I want to be able to tell Stimpy's story, Little Girl's story, Chicken, Job, Sakura, Cassie...there are too many to name here. I want this to become an issue in the pharmaceutical world. I want them to start listening to us and stop hiding behind their government bedfellows. As I laid there looking at Stimpy, I knew that is what I needed to do. Now is the time to file this lawsuit. What am I waiting for? For a while, I was hoping Boehringer Ingelheim would sue me, after all Mr. Herman has publicly accused me of defamation at this point. I wondered, what are they waiting for? If I truly am defaming them, why would they tolerate it? I was hoping they would serve me with papers, trying to intimidate me into backing off, but those papers have never arrived. It would be an embarrassment to them to sue the owner of a cat who got cancer and had her leg amputated from it. So, what AM I waiting for? The answer is, "I am not waiting for anything". It is time to move forward.
Another reason now would be an appropriate time to file a suit against Boehringer Ingelheim is we are approaching Stimpy's one year anniversary. I have not had any satisfactory answers from Beohringer Ingelheim. I have not had any satisfactory acceptance of responsibility from them. Indeed, I am still waiting for the Freedom of Information documents I requested. Supposedly, those have been sent to Boehringer Ingelheim for "approval" as it contained some trademark secrets, sales figures, etc. I was supposed to have those months ago.
It is time to move forward.
It is amazing how this has impacted my life in the past year. My headaches have increased, largely due to stress. My personal life has been put on hold. I do not want to travel out of fear something will happen to Stimpy while I am gone. I find myself leaving the house on the days I have to give her the Mirtazapine. She has such a low, mournful wail on the first day and it is too heartbreaking to listen to her. It reminds me too much about that night I went to visit her in the hospital after having her leg amputated. It is a sound that will live with me forever and every time this Mirtazapine kicks in, she cries like that. I hate to not give it to her, as it does stimulate her appetite. She just cannot afford to lose any more weight.
The other day, a friend called me and offered me a job at their high end gift shop in Nichols Hills. I could do it as they are the same kind of clientele I had in Tucson, very wealthy society people. At first, I thought, it could be good. I have not worked in years and it would give me something to focus on. That thought quickly disappeared though when I realized I have to take care of Stimpy. I do not want to be strapped down to a 9-5 job ever again. I did not want to schedule my life around a job, not being able to give Stimpy the best of care possible, not now, not while she is dealing with this cancer. So, that thought set aside, I need to focus on the task at hand. Taking care of the houses, the animals, it already is a full time job.
Speaking of the animals, Baloo went in for his haircut yesterday. It was almost a year ago too, that I took Baloo in for his haircut. It is too hot and humid here so he is shaved for the season. He almost seems to be proud of it, the way he romps around with the other dogs when he gets home. Frida will be next and Chula has nothing to shave. Here are a few pics of his new style:
Chula checking out Baloo's new cut. I wondered as we were on the way home, do dogs actually have a perception of changes like a new haircut on one of their companions? My question was answered by Chula's look when she first encountered Baloo, she was very cautious in approaching him and of course they had to do the customary butt sniffing!
Doesn't Baloo look thrilled to death here?
The other day on the news, they were talking about the drought here in Oklahoma. They said we are down 5" from what is normal for this time of year. It is very apparent by just looking at the pond. It does not look like it here, but I would guess the pond has dropped a good 8' here at the house. You can see where the water line was but even that was lower than usual. I wonder where the turtles have gone to? I have rescued many turtles from the road and have released them near the pond but maybe they have moved on. They always did so well here when the pond was full.
It is nearly 7:00 AM now so I guess I will go over to the renovation house and get some work done there. I keep telling myself, one more month and it will be finished but I know that is not true. I am too picky about how I do things. People have often told me I should have been a lawyer or something on a "professional" level. That just is not how I operate. I like creating things too much. I like building things, fixing things, etc. I get so much satisfaction from that. I am pretty proud of how the coffered ceiling turned out at the house. It was worth the effort so now I must do something creative like that again to keep me out of trouble!
Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011 11:04 AM
So, I decide to do a little painting this morning and as usual, the cats have to watch every move. I set up a work area in a spare room and lay out some trim I want to paint and it is a battle from the get go to keep Privet off the table to see what I am doing. Finally, I finish and decide to sit down for a brief moment, paint tray in hand. Sure enough, Privet ambushes me out of nowhere and she leaps into my lap, paws directly in the paint tray! I yell from being startled which in turn startled her so she leaps off my lap, walks on the newly delivered Ralph Lauren leather topped desk, which was also newly spattered with paint. There is paint all over me but that does not matter as I already had my war paint applied from the earlier painting. She jumps down to the floor and flees downstairs, white paw prints following close behind. I grabbed a wet rag, quickly wipe off the leather and then go find Privet. It is not a difficult task as she has left paw prints EVERYWHERE! Fortunately the upholstered furniture appears to have been spared but there were stark white paw prints walking across the black finish on the grand piano. I finally found her in the kitchen, and she was just sitting there. I do not think she realized her paws were covered in paint yet, she was still a little shaken by my reaction I think. I ran some water in the sink and just dipped her paws in the water and fortunately it washed right out. I engaged the sprayer and got her under side and she was not a happy kitty. Somehow I have survived without any battle wounds.
After the improptu bath, I went back and cleaned up the paint carnage. I spent a good hour doing that but fortunately most of it was on the wood floors. I guess I should be laughing about this but it is not exactly what I had in mind for this Easter Sunday. I swear these cats are going to be the death of me yet!
Many people have asked me why I have never blamed Stimpy's veterinarian, the one in Tucson who administered the Fort Dodge Rabvac 3TF vaccine that has caused Stimpy's cancer. The answer is simple...it is because she has been compassionate. From the very beginning of all this, she has always shown care and compassion for Stimpy. She was chosen from a number of referrals from people when I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a good veterinarian. Out of all the names that kept coming up, her's was consistent in the good reviews. She always took excellent care of Stimpy and she does it because it is something she loves doing. The pharmaceutical companies on the other hand, have never shown any of us an ounce of compassion. They act in the cowards manner by hiding behind others and point the blame.
I want to share an e-mail I received yesterday from a member of the VAS support group ( I have posted it at the end of this journal entry). This is typical of ones we receive on a regular basis, a story of another cat losing his or her battle with VAS. When you read this, you will feel the anguish we all go through with this. This one in particular does an excellent job descibing how we all feel when we lose our beloved cat to this cancer. They are all senseless deaths. The pharmaceutical companies could take a proactive role in educating people about VAS but they choose the cowards path. When you read this, you will find the compassion that the person received from their veterinarian. We do not find this compassion from the pharmaceutical companies and that is why I do not blame Stimpy's veterinarian. She is compassionate. She cares for animals out of love of animals. The pharmaceutical companies do it out of love of money. The letters from Mr. Herman, Boehringer Ingelheims attorney, do nothing but reek of cowardice. How pathetic that a multi billion dollar company that makes so much money from our animals can show no compassion at all. I have not been able to uncover one single document or act of kindness on their part to show they care. Sure, the donate money to VAS research, they have to have some tax write off. Have they ever donated to a fund like Kobi's Fund, a fund set up to help those who cannot afford the care for their pets? I can find no record of it. Have they demonstrated one ounce of compassion towards Stimpy throughout all this? NOT ONE SINGLE ACT OF COMPASSION has come from Boehringer Ingelheim in regards to Stimpy.
If you have not already, take a moment to read the letters from Boehringer Ingelheims attorney, Michael Herman. You can find them here
I like to refer to these as "Love letters from Boehringer Ingelheim". It shows them for what they truly are...a privately owned German company that does not show any compassion.
Yes, I will say it, Boehringer Ingelheim is evil. The parody of their "Have We Seen Your Cat Lately" campaign hits the nail on the head. It perfectly portrays Boehringer Ingelheim for what they are, just plain evil. Not surprising though, this image has consistently been one of the most popular of all the images on Stimpy's Journal, but the love letters are rising in popularity. You can do Google searches such as vaccine associate sarcoma, the above mentioned campaign, Rabvac 3TF, and these images display prominently now. I hope they become a permanent reminder to people just how evil Boehringer Ingelheim and the other pharmaceutical companies are.
I like to look at the charts daily to see how much Stimpy's Journal is reaching people. A few months ago, the number of hits were still good but ever since I posted the letters from Boehringer Ingelheim's attorney, the journal has been doing extremely well. Here is a breakdown of yesterday's views. Thank you Mr. Herman!
I will close this chapter of Stimpy's Journal with the e-mail I received yesterday. If you can read this and not feel the compassion these people received from their veterinarian, if you can read this and not be moved by the loss of their family member, then you need to step back and examine your life.
This is posted with deepest respect. My heart goes out to Angel's family
It is with a very sad heart that I notify the group of our beloved Angel's passing this morning.
She woke up as usual, but didn't eat all that much. Went back to sleep in the walk-in closet. It's nice and cool in there and she is away from her sisters who were always "inquisitive". needed to be alone.
About one hour later, my wife noticed that the tumor was beginning to discharge. My wife called the vet while I got the carrier ready to transport Angel. In those few moments, she had left our sight and was laying in her litter box...in the warm Sun.
We knew just what she was telling us, bless her heart.
At the vet's, Dr. Nancy told us that the tumor had begun metastasizing into Angel's lungs. Angel showed no signs of breathing problems, yet cats have this wonderful way of masking pain and discomfort. We had been giving her drops for the little pain she was having, yet up till this morning, she would eat and use the as always.
Once the vet gave us her diagnosis, it confirmed what Angel told us earlier.
Our vet was most compassionate and understanding! She administered to Angel like our cat was her own. The complete procedure took more than 2 hours.
First, she gave Angel a dose of Morphine to calm her. We were in a dimly lit room, which made this less stressful for everyone. Although Angel had been saying "good-bye mom and dad" to us for the past week, we were always holding out hope after hope.
Naive, perhaps. Yet this is how my wife and I dealt with the eventuality of loosing our first "baby".
The second dose was something a little stronger; Angel began closing her eyes longer and keeping them closed. We kept talking to Angel, stroking her, letting her know that she was not alone in the room. Reassuring her, loving her and blessing her on her way. In between our tears, we could see Death taking over her body. her breathing became less frequent. She never meowed, or shrieked out a loud
After 30 minutes, the dose of Lidocaine was given. Death was almost immediate. The vet, using her stethoscope under Angels abdomen looked at us and said, "She's gone..."
My sole purpose in telling you the whole story is that, as your "baby" approaches this "next step" in their life experience, I pray that you too, have a wonderfully compassionate and loving vet like we do. I pray that you and your baby[ies] have so many happy and fulfilling years of "head butts" and "wet nose kisses".
Those are just a few of the many things I will miss the most...
Your baby IS NOT "just a cat"!
The love that we express towards and receive from our cats is not measured by their size. We don't grieve LESS for our babies because they are "just cats". I sure don't.
Love IS Love.
It's like gravity; whether you drop a feather or a stone, each responds the same. We cat lovers, never love "a little" or "just enough". We are in it for the complete relationship; realizing full well the joy, the peace, the love and the heartache that comes with it.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your many kindnesses along this very emotional road, since 2008. Yet, with all that we've grown through, I would not change a thing. Angel showed us how to love and live and how to let go in death.
I'm a different man for having her in my life for 13 years.
My wife and I extend to you all a very special blessing. You are, each one of you, very special people!
Today when you hug your kitty "Goodnight", give your baby an extra squeeze for Angel...
Saturday April 30, 2011 9:16 AM
Yesterday was a very windy day here in Oklahoma City.To me, the weather we tolerate here is just another reason to really hate living in Oklahoma. With the violent tornadoes that just hit the South and with all the deaths, I wonder why we stay here. At least all you really had to deal with in Tucson was the occasional scorpion. People are so terrified of scorpions but they do not kill you like the movies show. They are only defending themselves but you do not have to worry about them that much. In Oklahoma we have the bad weather, humidity and brown recluses! There seems to be a rash of brown recluses in the house lately. Almost daily, I kill one. I have placed those glue traps in safe places so the animals cannot get to them and almost daily, there is a new on it. Brown recluses terrify me. They can really mess you up!
So, with the high winds yesterday, it knocked the power out at the house. The generator kicked in but it only services the important things. The electric company was called and while they were there, apparently a hot wire snapped and fell to the ground. It created a cavity in the ground where it hit, and it was about 2' in diameter and maybe a foot deep. Here is a picture of the contact point:
The picture is a little blurry becaue I took it with the iPhone but you can see what I am talking about. The wire hopped over the fence and a fire started and quickly raced up the hill. It was fortunate the man was there already and he called the fire department and they immediately came. The fire reached quite a distance and it got pretty high in places because you can see a lot of the trees burnt up high. The fire started where the lower yellow arrow is and it stopped just behind the greenhouse. It was right on the fence line and you can see how close it came to the caretakers house. It was within 8' of the house.
It is really frightening how quickly things can change. Later that night, after the fire department left and the electric company was still there, I noticed a log smoldering red in the darkness. The three of us became junior firemen ourselves and I had to go find the water hose which turned out to be a more difficult task than I thought. The groundskeepers never replaces things where they belong and it took me a good 20 minutes to locate it. We hooked it up at the caretakers house and fortunately it reached. I was worried all night long that another fire would pop up so I was up all night, constantly walking the fence line to make sure there were no small fires starting. Thankfully there were none.
I take Stimpy out for walks every day, usually 3-4 times. She really loves being outside. I stay by her side constantly, I guess I am being overprotective. She explores everywhere and the only dog that I will allow near her is Baloo. He has always been amazingly respectful of Stimpy. Frida and Chula would attack if they got a chance I am pretty sure. Chula helped another one of the dogs bring down a fawn on the property last year. It really upset me. I heard the dogs barking madly so I went out to inspect and they were all congregating around something so I drove down the hill and saw the fawn on the ground. Chula and Pancho (Pancho disappeared one day...we wondered if the bobcat got him) were surrounding the fawn so I ran them off. I did not know what to do. I was there by myself so I just held the fawns head in my lap and eventually a short time later, it gasped its last breath. I always cry when an animal dies, especially one in my arms. Once I was taking care of our friends house in Tucson and I came across a black cat that had died by his koi pond. I picked it up and washed it clean and got all the ants off it and then I placed its little body in a cooler. I printed up some brochures and posted them within a four block radius of the house and ironically, the very last one that was placed on someone's door, turned out to be the owner. It turns out that Hobo was very sick and had disappered the day before and the could not find him. Not knowing what happened to your pet is a terrible feeling. When I walked in the door, the phone rang and these people lived on the same street and they came and took Hobo home and buried him. Why does that still bother me to write about these?
Anyway, Baloo is good with Stimpy. He keeps a respectable distance and she does not mind him being near. That in itself is amazing. She has always hated dogs. Here are a few pictures of them together. In one of them, you can really see Stimpy's white patch of fur. That is where her radiation treatment took place.
It has been a week of sadness in the VAS support group. There have been a few more e-mails from people. One was a tribute from a member who lost her cat last year and she still has trouble writing about it. Here is that e-mail from here. It is a long tribute but too short for a life cut short from this cancer. It is a way we all grieve when we lose our cat. Reading these makes me sad, but they also help. I live with the knowledge that I may very well be the next one writing a tribute.
Hi, it's been a while since I've posted anything, but your question
and Mick's answer caught my eye...
Mick said it all--it's chance and luck, including the aggressiveness
of the fibrosarcoma and the particular genetic variability and makeup
of both the cancer and the cat. This is true (and being further
confirmed by ongoing research) for humans, as well as all other mammals.
The story of my beloved and extremely healthy cat, Shadow, of blessed
memory, is a very clear case in point. (She's the March cat in the
2011 calendar.) Long story as short as possible: she was vaccinated
with the vaccine (in left hip muscle) at around age
2, when my son adopted her. When she came to live with me at age 4,
she was glowing with heath, and at her 6th year vet checkup ( ,
200) she was totally healthy still, and had just the required in
Mass. rabies booster inher front right muscle (she was an indoor-
outdoor cat still then).
In mid-December (less than 2 months later), I noticed very subtle
signs: eating a tiny bit less, playing a tiny bit less, sleeping a
tiny bit more, and then a very tiny limp--almost imperceptible--all
within just four days! On the 5th day I had her to the vet, and he
felt an elongated (about 3 in. long raised area in her rear hind leg
muscle--site of the feline leukemia vaccination. He immediately had a
wedge biopsy done-- (a Friday). The results came back as
high grade 11 fibrosarcoma, likely feline leukemia vaccine-induced.
Shadow was referred to a dedicated small animal cancer hospital about
20 minutes from where I live with a superb staff and reputation. She
was operated on in early January by a board-certified surgeon. By
this time, however, her cancer was so aggressive it had grown down
around her hind leg. She was on buprenex and prednisone to keep her
comfortable. The amputation was total from her acetabulum (the pelvic
Given the virulence of her particular fibrosarcoma, her oncologist
gave us a one year to two-year survival estimate.
Margins were narrow but clean -- about 2 mm around. A CT scan was
done to see if any were present, and the results were
negative. She had a course of 15 radiation treatments (5X/week for 3
weeks) to the site of the original tumor (amputated) and surrounding
tissue, which she took in amazing stride.
After the radiation, she began chemo with adriamycin, and had four
treatments, 3 weeks apart. She thad no side effects from the chemo
either, all her liver, kidney, blood CBCs were normal. She remained
so "healthy." After the adriamycin, she had n x-ray which showed a
small metastasis in one of her lungs, but she had no symptoms from it
at all. The oncologist switched to carboplatin, which after 2
treatments, showed only a tiny enlargement of the lung mnetastis--
still not symptoms whatsoever from that.
Her appetite, energy, playfulness, and quality of life on three legs
remained great. On a harness (the h-shaped one) she spent many happy
days walking, running, playing and resting in the yard in the warm
months, and sitting on the chair on my screened-in porch--even
venturing into the snow occasionally (not for long...)
The oncologist tried lomustine, which was the one chemo (after one
try) that Shadow really didn't like. So, she turned to gemcitabine,
and that succeeded in holding her lung metastasis stable and small--
Shadow never ever had a symptom from her small lung tumor.
All was going wonderfully--normal appetite, normal weight, normal
energy, all organ functions healthy, normal happy behavior, until
about 6 weeks before the end. I began to notice a slight slowing in
energy in her last hind leg--it was a bit harder for her to climb up
on my bed and onto her favorite perches, but she still did it.
Her oncologist said on exam (when she pressed her rear spine a bit
and Shadow winced a little) that it looked like those invisible
microscopic cells had finally broken through from the original tumor
(possibly/likely "seeded" even before I noticed even the subtle
symptoms noticed within 4 days) and were invading her rear spinal
column. It was time she said, to call my son to come and be with
her ...and to start her on palliative/hospice care. He came from
California and spent around 10 days--she was still active, still so
happy to see him--it was June 2010 and they sat in the grass for
hours, happy to be together.
We picked out one of her favorite spots as her burial site, when the
Shadow and I bonded ever more deeply with every day we still had...
The hospice/palliative care vet started her on prednisone and
buprenex, and she never suffered. Her appetite was undiminished. She
also never hid. When she couldn't get up on my bed anymore, and it
started to hurt her to be lifted, I made her a bed under the open
desk in my bedroom on her favorite blanket, on the carpet, and would
lie down with herand she put her paw on my hand as always and I sang
to her, and stroked her head. I learned how to lift her under her
legs and carry her outside to the grass in the warm July sun, where
we sat together for hours. I moved her food and water bowls, and her
litterbox near her blanket bed (far enough apart as to be comfortable
for her sense of cleanliness), and cut a hole in the litterbox end to
make it easier for her to get in and out. It was clear her hind
quarters were gradually becoming paralyzed.
or so, as I recall, I gave her the bedtime buprenex and
prednisone at around , and noticed a huge bulge in her side.
I called the oncologist on call, who said to bring her to the
emergency vet (next door to the hospital). Shadow and I took
a cab and got there at midnight. She was still able to stand up on
her three legs. The vet said it seemed to be an over-full bladder,
and she manually expressed it, painlessly, and Shadow was much
relieved. X-ray showed no change in the lung, but it was now clear
that the fibrosarcoma was paralyzing the muscles of her bladder--a
cat who can't urinate in 24 hours or so can die... I took her home,
and in the days that followed, she would drag herself to the
litterbox, occasionally urinate a little, and also have small bowel
movements, but finally, there was no more pain in her hindquarters--
the paralysis was complete.
I made an appointment to see her vet and palliative vet ,
and they said they'd try and teach me how to express her bladder
manually. They also suggested bringing a friend.
Shadow's last morning I gave her her meds, fed her a hearty
breakfast, carried her outside to one of her favorite birdwatching
spots, and we sat there in the grass, among the flowers and plants,
for hours--no leash, no harness, as she climbed with her still strong
front legs as high as she could on the slope, dragging her paralyzed
legs without pain behind her. Then she ate a hearty lunch--her
favorite canned wild-caught Alaska salmon (Shadow was an ecofriendly
cat too ;-)
and we went together to the vet. Her treating oncologist, and her
vet each took turns trying to express her bladder.
Only a tiny bit came out. They couldn't do it. With all their skill,
they couldn't do it. And it meant the end... If they couldn't do it,
I certainly couldn't succeed. The fibrosarcoma had finally defeated
Shadow and us all. Please forgive me for I can't go on right now....
I've posted many poems about her and for her.
will be one year from her death, at age only around
8-1/2. , luck... You gave us everything, we gave you
all we could...
Rest in your resting place in peace, Shadow. Your soul is bound up
in the bond of life, and your memory is a blessing...
Then there was another just yesterday. This one hit too close to home for me. Their cat had its leg amputated and then out of nowhere, the cancer returned and Shaman lost her life to this cancer, just a short time past the one year anniversary mark. I hope people who read these realize that this cancer makes no distinction on how much money you can spend on your cat. It does not matter how many procedures you go through, it is a horrible cancer that takes the lives of our cats and it hurts deeply. I post these stories from others because it adds the reality of this cancer to Stimpy's story. Her story is not finished yet. It never will I guess because she has touched me so deeply and made such a profound effect on my life that it will be impossible for me to ever stop thinking about her. She will always be in my heart no matter what.
Here is Shaman's story. I will close today's entry with this.
Hi wonderful community. Last week on 4/21 marked 1 year since Shaman's leg and Fibrosarcoma were removed, and we were so excited that she made it to the 1 year mark - I was actually going to post last week as a happy anniversary message. Sadly, the tumor returned - we didn't realize it until Wednesday (4/27), when we could feel and see it, and by she could no longer walk, etc.
This morning we said goodbye to our sweet kitty. I want to thank everyone in this group for so much support last year - I haven't been on recently, because we also have a Toddler :), but I really appreciate the support.
I want to put it out there for anyone considering surgery for their kitty and weighing their options - Shaman was 16 when she had her surgery, and was barely 7lbs - we were concerned she wouldn't make it, but went ahead with it - she took a little while to recover, but when she learned to walk as a tripod she was amazing! Running up and down the stairs, going into her favorite window spots, and escaping outside once to happily bask in the sun. Also, she tolerated our new baby/toddler, and they developed a really sweet relationship. All in all, I wouldn't trade the last year of her life for anything. I know everyone's situations are different, but I had doubts last year that we were being selfish, but she was still clearly enjoying life. Last night though, she was purring in my lap, yet gazing at me, as if to say "I am ready". People always told me you would know when it was time, and it clearly was. My husband and I were both there for her, and it was very peaceful.
Anyway, thank you all, and give love to your furry friends. Shaman was our only kitty - my husband and I got her when we were just "roommates" and not even dating, so she was a very special kitty for us, as all kitties are. Thanks for reading - it feels good to write.
It has been some time since I have requested the information from the Freedom of Information office in regards to VAS records from Boehringer Ingelheim. I was supposed to have all the requested material in February. I looked up their log on line and it still shows mine as an open case. I guess I will have to contact them again and inquire why it is taking so long. Supposedly, there were some "sensitive documents" and they had to send them to Boehringer Ingelheim to get their approval. It will probably be a bunch of sheets with blackout all over them. As soon as I get the material I will publish it here in the blog.
I wonder if Boehringer Ingelheim has discovered that I am not going away any time soon? This month marks the one year anniversary of when we discovered Stimpy's cancer. I cannot believe it has been a year already. Stimpy seems to be doing pretty good. She is pretty adamant about her "outside time" every day. It has gotten to the point that when she knows you are getting ready to leave, she will run, and very fast, to the door. Nobody is getting out that door unless she is first. You usually have to choose an alternative exit but when she sees you heading that way too, she will charge after you! She really loves being outside. I take her out 2-3 times a day but she wants more. I want to build her a safe habitat outside, perhaps just off the master bedroom. That way she can come and go and I know she will be in a safe secured environment. Too many things to do but I need to make that a priority. She will explore all over the property. The other day she climbed up on the roof of the potato house. It is a small red stone building and one side of it is into the hill so the roof line is close to the ground. She seemed to like her perch up there but I got too nervous about her losing her balance and falling over the side that drops to the ground. I am not sure what the building was for. It was on the estate when it was built back in the 1920's. We just think it was used for something like that.
Every time Stimpy comes to a tree, she looks up at it in awe. In Tucson, we did not have many trees in the yard. I think you could count them on one hand even. Here, there are hundreds of them on the property. There are even some pear trees but the entire three years we have lived here, we have never gotten a single pear from the tree. They bear lots of fruit, but the squirrels eat every single one of them before they mature. Stimpy was looking up into the tree yesterday so I lifted her up to the lower branch and she seemed to be thrilled to death. She just sat down and looked everywhere. One year ago this month changed everything. We had never heard about vaccine associated sarcoma until last May. Little did I know that my life would change forever then. Would I do it again? Without hesitation. Would I live in a hotel again for a month away from friends and family. Absolutely. The last hotel was a Marriott Residence in. It was OK for what it was but it was noisy on weekends. It was right next door to a "Hooters". All I can say is that people do not go there for the food because it sucked. Once a week the Hooters girls would have a car wash and all these guys would come and park their cars in the hotel parking lot and watch them wash cars. It was pretty pathetic.
This past Saturday, we were invited to our friends 30th Anniversary party. They have this big ranch south of Oklahoma City in a place called Pauls Valley. It turned out to be a great party. They had live entertainment and lots of food and the weather was great. They hired a country singer named John Anderson to perform. I will be honest, I had never heard of him before. I am just not into country music all that much. I was ready to leave before the music started but they convinced me to stay. I did know one of his songs...Swinging. I used to make fun of it when I heard it though because he used to say "Swangin" and these backup girl singers would come in and say "Swinging", almost as if they were correcting his pronunciation. It lasted for about 1 1/2 hours and then everyone got an autographed CD and picture. It was nice to get out and do something for a change. Stimpys cancer has occupied my life for the past year and I have given up so much for her. Last October we were supposed to go on a two week cruise to Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Bangkok and Singapore on the Regent Cruise ship. The "Owner's Suite" was booked (it is a 2000 square foot cabin on the ship! Imagine, 2000 square feet on a ship!). I bailed the night before. I just could not leave Stimpy alone for two weeks. Even with someone taking care of her, I just could not do it. Everyone was mad at me for bailing out but honestly,I never really wanted to go there in the first place. When I am spending 14 hours on a plane, it needs to be somewhere I want to go to begin with. The same with a trip to Quadalajara Mexico. I went to the airport, went through security and at that moment, I got a call from my mother about a family emergency. I WAS SAVED! I did not have to go to Mexico! It was fortunate too as I came down with a horrible flu just a few days later. Mexico is another one of those places that just does not excite me. I find it incredibly boring.
This week I will do another mailing to Boehringer Ingelheim and their executives. I really do not care if they throw them in the trash. What matters is the exposure Stimpy's Journal gets. It goes through a lot of hands by the time it reaches Boehringer Ingelheim. Their attorney has accused me of defamation but so far he has sat back and done nothing about it. I really do not fear any legal retribution from them. After all, their product caused Stimpy's cancer and for them to sue me would be quite despicable and would only make them look like the asses they are. Aren't we all fortunate they do not treat humans the same way? Their attitude is that there will be collateral damage with the vaccines. They just do not get it. I am not denying vaccines do good, I am fighting them because they do not dicslose the facts that there is a risk. If it were as rare as they claim, then paying for the care of the cats that are stricken with this cancer would not be an issue. They fear VAS education because they know the number of reported cases will increase and then that makes them look pretty bad. They are fools to allow me to continue this blog. One day it will all explode in their faces and when this journal is there as a record of their corruption and misdeeds, I will be in the front row watching them squirm.
I guess it is time to get some work done. I need to get over to the renovation house. I have hired another crew to come in and correct the sloppy work the last crew did. There has been a nice bonus attached if they do it correctly and by the end of the week. I just want this house finished. I am so tired of working on it. I do not care if the housing market is in a slump, I just want it done and on the market.
This month marks the one year anniversary when we learned about Stimpy's cancer. It was the first time we ever heard the term "Vaccine Associated Sarcoma". It was also when we learned that many cats lose their leg, at the very least, to this cancer in an effort to save their lives. It is also when we learned about the greed and deception played out by the pharmaceutical companies. They continue to make these cancer causing vaccines using the excuse that "the good of the many outweighs the good of the one". They hide behind others and place the blame on others, and they make billions of dollars every year from their animal "health" divisions. They accept no blame or responsibility for their evil deeds.
Why do I have this special bond with Little Girl? She is the first cat that I became acquainted with who was a victim of Boehringer Ingelheim. When I first learned about VAS, I searched the Internet for everything I could find and her video is one of the first videos that I came across. It stirred a lot of emotions in me. Was this what I was going to be facing soon as well? Would Stimpy's life end like this too, the victim of corporate greed and corruption? I knew right then and there I had a fight on my hands. Not only a fight to save Stimpy's life, but one with Boehringer Ingelheim too. When I first called Boehringer Ingelheim to report the adverse side effect of their vaccine, I was greeted by a cold hearted woman named Dr. Stacy Martin. She was so mechanical in taking down my information and abruptly announced that Boehringer Ingelheim had a program that offered "up to $1500 for costs relating to this cancer". I was taken aback by her callousness. Little Girl's caretaker was told the same story. Promises were made, but ultimately, in the end, Boehringer Ingelheim was too greedy and cruel to even honor that meager promise of financial assistance, because Little Girl's time frame from vaccination to diagnosis, fell just outside their window of compensation. I believe in the end, they offered Little Girl's caretaker a mere $80. EIGHTY DOLLARS. That is how much Little Girl's life was worth to them to add her to their statistics data bank.
She loves being outside. The only dog that I will allow around her is Baloo. He is gentle with her and she does not mind him being there. She will occassionally protest but I think she is doing it for show...it is what cats are supposed to do.
Here is a great picture of her and Baloo together. I never thought I would see the day she would be next to a dog!
I take so many pictures and videos of Stimpy now. I know one day they will be all I have left of her as far as seeing her. I will have some momentos of course, but not hearing her purr or have her curl up in my arm at night will be what I miss the most. I love this picture of her. She likes the area out behind the greenhouse. Baloo does as well. In the picture above they are sitting on the retaining wall next to the generator. Maybe it is the smell of propane that they like! Something attracts them to this area. I took this picture yesterday afternoon while we were out for one of her walks.
Entries are due Dec. 31.
That is when I got the inspiration to do the Boehringer Devils and add the syringe in the devils hand with the "VAS" added to the drop coming from the tip. The image is very effective in conveying the message about their promotion.
Rodney did an excellent job creating a video called "Boehringer Ingelheim Killed My Cat". It needs no explantion. It is posted below.
I just got confirmation from Pfizer that Boehringer Ingelheim is indeed the responsible party for the Fort Dodge Rabvac 3TF rabies vaccine. This is the vaccine that caused Stimpy's cancer.
In Mr. Herman's letter to the State Attorney General of Missouri, he stated that I gave no "empiracal or reliable evidence" indicating that the Rabvac 3TF product was the culprit in causing Stimpy's cancer. He goes on to state that the veterinarian records provided by me show that the vaccine was administered in 2007, at Stimpy's approximate age of 10! Someone is bad at math. If Stimpy was 15 at the time she contracted VAS in 2010, that would place her age at 12 (she received her vaccine in Sept 2007, which is her birthday month). Perhaps they are trying to make an argument that she falls outside their "three year window for reimbursement". Mr. Herman also states they do not know what other vaccines Stimpy may have received after the Rabvac 3TF vaccination. I provided Boehringer Ingelheim with ALL of Stimpy's veterinarian records. I confirmed from Stimpy's former caregivers that her previous vaccinations were always given in the scruff. I do not have access to those records but it is a moot point since Boehringer Ingelheim has their own self imposed three year rule. The Rabvac 3TF is a three year vaccine. According to Boehringer Ingelheim, it should be administered in the following manner:
Dogs And Cats
Inject one 1 mL dose subcutaneously or at one site in the thigh intramuscularly at 3 months of age or older. Revaccinate one year later and every 3 years thereafter.
We moved from Tucson in February 2008. Obviously that was too early to re-vaccinate Stimpy. Due to the move and other things happening in life, Stimpy was not taken to any veterinarian for any vaccinations (thankfully) after the move to Oklahoma City. She was taken in for exams and blood work, and all those records were provided to Boehringer Ingelheim, along with all her records associated with the surgeries, diagnosis, radiation, etc, up through her treatment she underwent in Columbia, Missouri. It was her veterinarian here, the one who discovered the VAS, who noticed that she was not current on her vaccinations. This was AFTER her visit when we discover the lump last May. We have elected to NEVER vaccinate Stimpy ever again, which is what is recommended for VAS cats and this has been approved by her oncologist here. Boehringer Ingelheim's letter to the Attorney General is so self serving. Mr. Herman states that they "voluntarily" offer up to $1500 to help with the costs associated with VAS. He goes on to state that they are under "no obligation to provide this assistance" and could have elected to discontinue the program when they purchased the Fort Dodge products. WHAT SAINTS! His statements certainly sum up their callousness about VAS. They offer this meager assistance because they know their product causes this deadly cancer. Mr. Herman knows in court, it can be proven that their Rabvac 3TF was the only vaccination she received since 2007. Her veterinarian records prove that, they do not lie. It can be proven she received no other vaccinations after that fatal September 2007 shot too. They have her records, he is just trying to make me look like the bad guy. He goes on about the "harassing and disturbing" letters that I have sent to him. Um...you ARE the attorney for BIVI Mr. Herman. Do you call every letter you receive from someone who can sue you a harassing and disturbing letter? What a limp wrist.
So, they are under no obligation to provide any assistance for the effects of their product? Guess what Mr. Herman, I am under no obligation to stay quiet about this. I am under no obligation to stop sending the letters. I am under no obligation to discontinuing publishing everything I find about Boehringer Ingelheim, which will include the FOIA documents, once I get them. Unlike some countries, we are allowed to voice our feelings in the USA. You're a lawyer...sue me for "defaming" BIVI's good name.
Take a look at the letter below. Note how they tell the State Attorney General that I provided Stimpy's medical records. Take a look at their letter to me in March (the one they FINALLY sent to me after I sent a letter to Mr. Heidgerken's home). You will note that the whole tone of the letter is nicer. They also ask that I provide Stimpy's full vaccination records. Perhaps that was their way of making it look like they cared and that I was the one at fault for not providing them with the information they needed in all those letters sent to them over the past year. On no less than three occassions did I send them ALL of Stimpy's records. I even had them bound into a 1" thick volume with tabs on the pages for easy reference. Yep...they sure do shovel the shit at BIVI.
On a lighter note, my mother called me and told me that are taking this small calico cat into the veterinarian today. It has been hanging around her house so they are taking it in to get a check up, blood work, etc. I told her to specifically tell the veterinarian to NOT use ANY Boehringer Ingelheim or Fort Dodge products and the vet asked why, so my mother told her about this blog and my dealings with Boehringer Ingelheim. I hope she reads it and sees how Mr. Herman pushes the blame and financial responsibility of VAS onto them. She told her about the other lines they carry and Merial PureVax was one of them so I told my mother to request that one. I also told her to make certain the shots are given in the legs and NOT the scruff. In addition, I told her to get vaccine information including lot number, date, and where it was administered. All cat owners should insist on this information and if the veterinarian does not follow the vaccination protocols of where to vaccinate, they should find a new veterinarian.
I have made one last offer to Boehringer Ingelheim to settle this for Stimpy's care costs and post care costs (an estimated $35,000). If they decline, that is OK with me. This next mailing will be the most signigicant one yet. Mr. Herman and Mr. Heidgerken will both need a new pair of shorts when they discover what the letters contain. Quite frankly, I do not care what they do. I do not need the money and seriously, this blog is starting to get REALLY interesting! I told the people at Pfizer to take heed. I have encouraged others to become fighters in this battle. Seriously, become their worst nightmare. Sending out 100 letters a month does get noticed, especially when you do a catchy cover with your web address on the outside. The billboard is on temporary hold, as someone else has contracted the ones that I want. That is OK, there is always the newspapers and doing a large ad on Sunday morning reaches a lot of people too. I also received an ad packet from Cat Fancy magazine so that will also be in the works! So much to do. If I can just get the renovation house off my plate, I will be as free as a bird!
Like I said, this blog is going to get very interesting soon. Mr. Herman will have some damage control on his hands at that point so stay tuned for updates.
OK, I cannot end this without a cool picture. Here. Mr. Baloo reacts to the news of what is to come in the blog:
"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." Anonymous
Wow, what a busy weekend! The renovation house is nearing completion thankfully and the new work crew is doing a much better job. I have stayed on top of them this time and pointed out flaws so they have been paying closer attention. I will be so glad when that project is done. I will never take on something like that again. You watch all these DIY shows and think, that looks like fun. I always wanted to renovate an older home but I think I have it out of my system now. Once it is finished, I may start up my business again but this time I do not want to deal with the public, I will work strictly with designers and let them deal with the headaches.
I woke up this moring at 4:20, even before Stimpy. She was curled up in a ball at the base of the bed and snoring and it did not even disturb her when I got out of bed. I had this raging headache. Of course, by the time I came out of the bathroom, she was sitting at the base of the door, peeking under. You always have to watch you step. I am so afraid I will step on her, especially when you are feeding her. She weaves in and out of your feet, excited about the bounty you are carrying in your hands!
Has anyone ever noticed when you are trying to get a really good picture of a cat, it is like they know this and they deliberately move at the very moment you click the button? They see you contort your body in all these weird angles in an effort to get just the right shot and then...they look away! I have hundred of pictures of Stimpy but only a handful of really good shots. Here, she is in her "suspect mode", the one eye open, getting ready to move. Little does she know that I have already taken some good ones of her curled up. I win!
This morning, I had just settled into a comfortable chair after taking some migraine medicine, and I heard a splash and Stimpy came running. The poor thing apparently lost her balance while drinking water and she fell face first into the bowl. She was soaking wet. I picked her up and held her close and toweled her off. Hearing a cat purr is one of the most calming sounds to me. Even when we were at the house in Laguna Beach, the ocean was 124 steps below from the balcony on the PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), the sound of the ocean a constant in the background, I still prefer the sound of a cat purring. They say they do not know for certain why a cat purrs but every time I have heard Stimpy purr, it is because she is content. I've never heard her purr while she was scared or in pain. I think purrs are something you earn from a cat.
Stimpy is off in the corner bathing herself. There has been no sign of life anywhere else this morning. The macaw is asleep thankfully. If she knows you are up and she wants food, she will squawk at the top of her lungs until your ears are ringing. I wonder if they make a bird muzzle? Baloo did go outside. Baloo has become a wonderful dog. He is a good watchdog but he is also very gentle with Stimpy and she does not mind him. He likes to stay close to her when we go out for our walks and he seems somewhat protective of her. He was sitting on the porch yesterday and she walked right by him, within inches of his face, and he just sat up and wagged his tail as she passed. There were some dogs in Tucson who used to chase her and I used to chase the dogs. Our neighbors had this annoying dog who always barked, always chased anything that moved and was just plain aggressive. One day she cornered Stimpy and Stimpy hauled off and slapped her across the face and the dog went running with its tail between its legs and it never happened again. Good kitty!
Stimpy and Baloo like hanging out by the greenhouse for some reason. Every time I take Stimpy out, she heads straight there and Baloo follows, and she likes to just lounge in the grass. Stimpy takes her time getting there, stopping and smelling everything. Have you ever wondered how a cat picks which blade of grass to eat? She will sniff a dozen or so blades before chomping one off. All the cats seem to enjoy their daily salads. I guess they need their greens like humans do. We do not use any chemicals on the grass in the main area so the dogs and cats are not affected by it. The more you know about the side effects of chemicals, the more you want to stay away from them.
I see dawn is breaking. As soon as it is a little lighter outside, I will take Stimpy out for her morning walk. She has this odd habit of exiting through the kitchen door, but she always wants to return through the garage door. I usually just open the garage door as we are passing it and when she is ready to go back in, she walks into the garage. On the occasion when I have to cut the walkabout time short, she vehemently protests being picked up and deposited back in the house. She will walk back over to the door and have this very demanding MEOW! and she wants to go back out and NOW! When you try to exit, she will run to the door and block your path. She just faces the doors, nose to the crack and will not move. When she sees you trying to exit out another door, she will come charging at you and you literally have to run to get away from her! Generally, you have to have several exit strategies every time you want to leave the house. Pretty soon, I think we may have to lower a rope from the balcony and shimmy down that! Bless her little three legged body! She can really get a fast trot up when she wants to.
It is nice to just sit while everything is quiet. Soon it will be time to feed all the animals, and prepare for the day. I need to plan a trip home soon. I have promised my niece that I would spend a few days in Chicago with her. Chicago is one of my favorite city's in the world. It has everything. Some of the greatest museums are there. We enjoy heading downtown and spending the day there, going to the Art Institute, Shedd's Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry is always fascinating. One of my favorite exhibits at the Art Institute is the Thorne Miniature Rooms. I have always been obsessed with detail and to see the incredible detail in these rooms is amazing. Of course, seeing some of the most famous paintings in the world is always a thrill. We are fortunate to actually own an original Degas charcoal and ink study of a ballerina. It is amazing to hold something like that, or be standing in the place where a famous painting captured its life. When we were in France several years ago, we went to the hospital where Van Gogh was during that time he had cut his ear off. To see his room, visit some of the places where he sat and painted, was really incredible.
Yes, I think going home would be good for me right now. Of course I would worry about Stimpy the entire time but she usually does very well.
It is finally Friday. Generally I do not really look forward to Fridays as the days are always the same to me. When I had my business in Tucson, I used to have to look at a calendar every day so I always knew what day it was. Now, I often have to ask what day it was. Maybe dementia is setting in!
When Stimpy and I were in Columbia for the month or radiation therapy, we always welcomed Friday. It meant a two day break from the treatment and it meant I did not have to take her food and water up at night. Stimpy would often hide out in the morning, dreading the morning ride in the crate to the vet school, but she would soon see me hanging out and she would soon figure out that we were not going anywhere that morning and she would come out of hiding. I remember that last day at the vet school so well, the day Stimpy became a Rad Grad. We packed up the car and headed home to Oklahoma City the next morning and I was so happy to be back.
Today for some reason I have been reflecting on that month in Columbia. Maybe it is because it is raining so much. It seemed like it rained every day when we were there. Some days it looked like a tornado even and being on the third floor of the hotel was a bit scary when the wind was whipping around outside. Oklahoma has been in a drought so of course it has to pour with all its fury now. All of the animals are inside with the exception of Frida (the border collie...she refuses to leave her post by the gate). They are all going stir crazy and the chases have ensued. They all want out bad! I want them out bad! Privet is asleep somewhere thankfully. Every time I try to sit down at the computer and type, she plops down between me and the keyboard and it makes it impossible. Stimpy is curled up, but she really wants to go outside.
Yesterday when Stimpy and I were outside, it suddenly occured to me that taking her out for her walks every day was the most wonderful thing. It was absolute pure innocence. She was content, she loved taking in the breeze, and just letting her explore was so calming. It really makes you reflect on what is important. Seeing her content and happy just being outside, an incredibly simple pleasure, was humbling. I used to really enjoy a lot of things. Ever since this cancer with Stimpy has come into the house, my life has changed. It has affected my health for certain. I get little sleep these days. I do not enjoy the things I used to. I used to love art and antiques, now I have lost interest. I used to love collecting US stamps, especially the 19th Century unused ones. I even have a Scott #5 which is quite an accomplishment (fellow stamp collectors will appreciate that one). Now they are just little pieces of paper to me. Maybe one day the joy will return but for now, I just concentrate on Stimpy. Everything seems to revolve around Stimpy and I am content with that. I just cannot imagine Stimpy not being with me forever but I know that is not true.
This week, I have read so many stories about VAS cats. People have sent their stories to me and as I read them, they are emotionally draining. Some offer hope, others are tales of sadness in losing their beloved cat to vaccine associated sarcoma. They all share one thing in common for the most part, the pet caregiver had never heard about VAS until their cat was stricken with it. I seem to have unwittingly thrust myself into the position of spokesperson for VAS. I did not realize how many people really read this journal until this week. I am thankful for all the support. There will never be a way to repay that to everyone.We just keep fighting to do more to educate people about VAS.
The storm finally blew down this one old tree on the property at the renovation house. We were planning on taking it out but it is one of those things you put on the back burner, not wanting to deal with the unpleasant task. I guess the ground became so saturated that it fell over. HOORAY! It was such an eyesore and a huge snake lived in the trunk underground. A couple times a year you would see its shedded skin and it was enourmous. The least the snake could have done was to keep the gopher population down. They really mess up your yard in Oklahoma. I think they are called pocket gophers. These are not the cute furry gophers from Caddyshack either. Anyway, the tree is down so I will have to get the chainsaw out and cut it up. At least the roots came up too so there is no stump to deal with.
Mr. Butters is quite the gopher hunter I have found. He will sit out in the field for hours, patiently waiting for the ground to move, and then he will stand over it until the gopher pops out and he grabs it. The animal kingdom is brutal at times!
Mr. Baloo is once again quarantined since the workers are here. They are installing a new roof on the barn now. This was damaged last May during that incredible hail storm. I cannot believe it has taken this long to finish it but I guess they had to order the roofing material. It is metal but it looks like clay tile. It is kind of interesting. Baloo has been in attack mode since they have been here so he is banished inside and is taken out for supervised runs while they are here.
So, it is still a rainy day. Why do these days always make you so blue?
I am doing some built in cabinets and cubicles in the walk in closet so all the clothes that were hanging in there are now piled high on the bed in the guest room. Naturally, the cats have to go exploring and I heard all this commotion in there so when I walked in, this is what I found:
What? We aren't doing anything? Yeah, right!
It is hard to not love cats, they are so interesting. They certainly keep you on your toes!
I think the worst thing about this cancer is that not a day goes by that you do not think about losing your beloved cat to VAS. This past weekend I read so many sad stories that people sent to me about their VAS cats and it really has drained me emotionally. I do not feel like I have even slept for days now. I think I am going to take the day off and do nothing. It was one year ago that we learned about Stimpy's VAS. Ever since then, I have thought about losing her every day. It is so draining on your psyche.
Last night when I took Stimpy out for her walk, she seemed really down. She did not even leave the porch. She just laid down at the end and stayed there for almost an hour. I did take her down to the grass by the greenhouse which is her favorite place. She walked around a little but then headed back to the house. She did respond when I called her to bed. It is so cute to see her at the end of the bed when you call her. Suddenly these two little ears appear over the bed and then she hops up. Stimpy has been so amazing throughout all this. From Day 1 she has handled everything with such poise, never complaining except that night of her amputation. Man, I will never forget her cries that night and how she cradled her head against my chest when they brought her into the room. I have read so many stories about how many cats did not handle the amputation well at first. Some had to stay in the hospital, some had to wear collars, so were on pain meds for a while. Stimpy was up and walking about the next day. She is so amazing, especially since she is almost 17 years old.
I received what I believe is the be the first of the information from the Freedom of Information office. It contains 550 pages of nothing but adverse reaction reports from vaccines. It did not contain a lot of the other information I requested so I will have to follow up on that. Typical of a government office, they black out some of the information but they leave enough for you to find the information on the Internet. Go figure.
I started a project of assembling VAS stories. After reading them, I have taken the stories and pictures and had them printed and bound in a book. I left the words exactly as people sent them. I did not worry about layout, grammar, spelling etc, I wanted to leave them in raw form because I think they make the most impact that way. It is not a "happy book" but it is a book worth publishing because it shows the tragedy of this cancer, what we go through, and what our cats go through. The people at the printers were really moved by it and said that some tears were shed as they were putting it together. It is not to be a bedtime storybook. It is a dedication book to all the VAS cats out there. I hope to use it to spread VAS awareness. If people are OK with it, I would like to distribute copies to the veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies and others who can make an impact in spreading the education about VAS.
The other night when Stimpy crawled up in bed with me, she curled up between my chest and arm that was outstretched. She braced her back against my chest and she started kneading my arm with her claws. She has not done that since before her amputation on November 22. It hurt, and was drawing blood, but I did not want to stop her. I was so happy that she was doing it. It was always a sign of affection I felt whenever she did it and I always just gritted my teeth and let her do it. This night was no different. Some people will not understand why I took a picture of this and why I am putting it here in the journal, but for any of those who have experienced this with their cat, you know what a bonding experience it can be.
All of these devastating tornadoes that we have had here in the area lately only make me want to leave Oklahoma City even more. Oklahoma City is not nice enough of a place to live to tolerate this. Yes, the cost of living is 1/4th of what it was in Tucson but considering OKC is such a large city and has over 1 million people, it could offer a lot more. I think we will return to Tucson in June and possibly look at homes. The market there is good right now so it would be a good time to at least buy a home there even if moving there will not happen for another year or so. The renovation house in OKC is nearly complete and I welcome the day I do not have to work on that project. I always wanted to renovated an older home, so I have done that and gotten that out of my system.
This looks like this could turn into one of those Harry Potter marathon days. I think I will just load the DVD player, hit play and zone out.
Paws out for now.
Wednesday May 25, 2011 4:10 PM
I did not sleep well last night. Perhaps it was the turbulent storms that swept through the area or perhaps it was the darker cloud looming over my head.
I put it in the back of my mind because I did not want to think about it. Last week, we discovered a small mass on Stimpy in the amputation area. It is about the size of a small flat pea and it moves. I guess I knew in my heart what the news would be...I have heard it too many times before. The oncologist thinks it is a VAS recurrence and that we should remove it immediately. She did a chest x-ray and her lungs are still perfectly clear thankfully and her heart was still strong. Her other labs will be in tomorrow...kidney and liver function, thyroid, etc.
I broke down and cried in the office. It is the news you do not want to hear. We have scheduled her surgery for next Tuesday. They will have to shave her fur again, just after it has gotten long enough to cover that gapping hole in her body. It was this time last year when she went in for surgery to remove the second mass. Too many anniversaries are just around the corner for Stimpy. This will be difficult.
I do not know what to say or write here. I am devastated.
I take Stimpy out for her walks every day. She seems to enjoy that more than food now. That was some good news, at least her weight is up. She is now 8 pounds 5 ounces, up from 7 pounds 9 ounces on her last visit. We can learn a lot from a cat. Something as simple as a walk outside gives Stimpy the greatest joy. She is so adventuresome when she is outside. Here is a view of the property looking down from the house. She walks all the way down this hill on her own and walks pretty much everywhere. She stops at each tree nearly and looks up in awe.
Stimpy's personality is so much like mine when you come to think about it. She is so strong and independent. The other cats will come when you call to them and not run away as you reach down to pet them or pick them up. Stimpy looks at you and gives you that "Good luck with that" look and takes off. Yesterday as she walked in front of Baloo as he was resting on the patio, she was no more than a foot away and she stopped right in front of him and meowed. I think she was telling Baloo "Cats rule".
Stimpy scared me this morning while we were out walking. She has done it before and I did not like it then, but there is this small red stone house just below the caretakers house. We call it the potato house. It is a small cellar type structure, with the back half buried into the side of the hill. You can walk on the roof from the back side but when you get on the other side, it is a good drop down to the ground. She ventured a little too close to the edge and I was afraid that she would loose her balance and fall off. Baloo had to join in on the fun too so I had to remove both of them. With some protests, Stimpy allowed me to pick her up and move her to safer grounds.
Stimpy scaling the roof of the potato house
I am having difficulty writing this today through the tears so I will close for now. I am so sorry Stimpy.
First off, I really want to thank everyone for all the e-mails, comments and well wishes about Stimpy. It helps ease the hurt knowing so many people care and love Stimpy too.
Stimpy's oncologist called this morning and her labs came back. Her kidney and liver functions are near perfect so she is a good candidate for the upcoming surgery. I guess what makes this so sad is that for a 16 year old cat, she would really be in remarkable health if it wasn't for this cancer. Stimpy is almost 84 years old in human years. We have done so much for her, always given her the best, taken care of her when she needed it. I feel this cancer has taken some years off of her life.
These past two days have been so emotional. I break out crying right in the middle of something. Yes, I am a grown man and I cry. I think Privet was trying to cheer me up. She came walking in the house with a green, collared lizard and deposited at my feet. It was still alive and it crawled away. I have no idea where it went. It will probably end up in my shoe or worst, my shorts!
It is all kind of bittersweet, after feeling the elation of having a face to face meeting with two people from Boehringer Ingelheim here in Oklahoma City the day before. It was a positive meeting and I will write more about that later but right now I can only think about Stimpy right now.
Thank you again for all the kind messages. I am truly grateful.
Sunday May 29, 2011 7:00 AM
Stimpy seems to be feeling very well these days. She has gotten so demanding about going outside and I give in of course. Yesterday as I was trying to leave the house, she stayed right at my feet. I would walk to the door, she would walk to the door. I started walking to another door, she was right on my heels. Back and forth. Finally I had to walk to a door and then turn around and take off running for the other door, Stimpy hot on my trail. She is pretty fast for a little three legged cat! I am so happy her weight is up again. She is almost back to her normal weight if you take the lost limb into consideration. She has always been a small girl. The other day at the oncologists office, she hissed at the doc when she picked her up to take her back to the lab. It is Stimpy's way of telling you she is in charge, "don't mess with me".
So many things to worry about with this upcoming surgery. I am thankful all of Stimpy's vitals are strong but you always worry about her going under. It was like that every day in Columbia. I hated the wait while she was in radiation. I always worried when it took longer than usual for them to call me and say she was finished. One day, I dropped her off at 8:00 as usual and by noon, still no call. I finally went in and it turns out they had simply forgotten to call me. After that, I just started going in by 10:30 to get her is there was no call. I hate that her fur is going to be shaved again, revealing the gapping hole where her leg was. I also hate that I will not be able to pick her up and hold her again for a while out of fear of hurting her. I have just gotten used to holding her in a manner that does not bother her. She likes to be cradled like a baby, and she will start purring for you. It could be a few more nights of sleeping on the floor with her until her sutures are removed. Waiting for the biopsy report is going to be agonizing. I hate to manifest anything but I have heard the results too many times now from other members in the VAS support group.
I try to stay busy to keep my mind off of Stimpy's upcoming surgery. Some people just naturally enjoy being outdoors doing yard and garden work. I am not one of them. I truly hate doing yard work. We do not have groundskeepers at the renovation house like we do at the other house but it is only 1.25 acres so it is managable. I have done nothing with landscaping but I keep the grass mowed and things trimmed. Yesterday I was mowing and stopped to pick up some big sticks and when I got back on, I noticed that the grass was not getting any shorter. Apparently you have to engage the blade each time! I must have made five passes before I noticed this. Grrr!! Later, while in the back yard mowing, I was having to duck under the low hanging tree branches. The back yard is pretty much surrounded by wooded area. As I was passing under a tree....SMACK! I ran right through a huge spider web with an equally huge garden spider on it and I felt the thud on my face! I swear that mower had an ejector seat on it as I was off in a flash. I hope no one was around with a camera filming me doing my little "spider dance" to post on You Tube. I hate that feeling of a spider web on my face! There are simply too many spiders in Oklahoma. When we lived in Tucson, you rarely saw a spider although I know they were there. Here, there are brown recluse spiders everywhere, I must encounter at least 2-3 a day in and out of the house. I am so paranoid about a brown recluse bite that I shake out everything before putting it on. When I first started on this renovation house a few years ago, the back yard was in shambles. There was some grass as high as six feet tall and when I first mowed, the deck of the mower was covered in wolf spiders fleeing the onslaught. I prefer scorpions over spiders!
Today, the work crew is coming back to supposedly finish up the work at the house. After this, pretty much all that is left will be the trim work and a few custom cabinets. I will be able to build the cabinets and finish the trim work up within a few weeks and then it is finished! I will be so happy to be finished with that house. I hope it sells quickly, it has been on my mind too much for too long now. Never again will I renovate and entire house! There is one worker there who desperately needs a vehicle so I think I will give him the pickup truck. We rarely use it.
I guess I am just rambling now. It is a reflex I guess, trying to keep my mind off of Stimpy. I need to take her out for her second morning walk. She went out at 6:00 AM so it has been nearly two hours. I really need to work on that outdoor habitat for her! Of course, what I have in mind is something that some Beverly Hills cat would have. She is after all, an LA kitty!
Tuesday May 31, 2011 11:10 AM
I have been unable to sleep for the past two nights. I cannot help but worry about Stimpy and the dread of today has been looming over my head.
Stimpy's surgeon, the one who has been with us from the beginning, came in and she was sad to see Stimpy again. She is amazed at how well she is doing for a 16 year old cat but much like November 22, her thoughts were somewhat grim again today.
She thinks she feels a larger mass, one that we were unaware of. What she is feeling is attached to the pelvis and is larger than the small one that was discovered last week. She wants to do a CT scan today and get a 3-D image made of the area. She is going to Fed Ex the scan to Columbia today and have them read it there and we will go from there. She talked about possible radiation therapy again, and removing the mass along with that section of the pelvis. Poor little Stimpy. She is so tiny and if that much of the bone needs to be removed, I just do not know what I am going to do. It all seems so grim. Stimpy's surgeon knows what we have gone through for Stimpy, what it has cost, the sacrifices of time and health. This weeks vet bill (including the oncologists exam) was another $550. If it turns out they have to do another radical surgery after they get the CT results back, she said she can perform the surgery later this week.
I told her about this meeting we had with the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica CEO and Sr VP. I updated her on all that battlefront and she was really amazed that I have managed to get that far. There is still a long way to go and there are finally some changes in our VAS support group coming about too, some changes for the better and I think people are finally realizing that we can be heard. So many people come and go in the VAS support group, usually they leave for one of two reasons. First, their cat dies from VAS and their grief drives them away. The second reason is because they just cannot continue reading the sad stories. More often than not, there is sadness so needless to say people do not trip over themselves to become a member! I have never been one of these activist types. I care about issues but none have really hit me to the core like this has so I know this is my calling. I know that I must stay within the group as a voice and one to help push for changes. There are some good changes coming but I cannot post them here at the moment.
The one thing that has lingered on my mind these past two days is the fear of losing Stimpy on the operating table. Stimpy's story is almost mirroring another VAS cat in the group, and I have this dread of getting that call that something happened while under anesthesia. I think Stimpy has been through more in the past year than I have in my entire life. I wish I could go through it for her. I would give anything to take away this cancer from Stimpy.
I took a few pictures of Stimpy in her crate at the surgery center today. Here she is, amazingly calm. She used to hate this crate but now I think she finds it somewhat of a comfort zone. She walks right into it now when I put her in. It used to be she would hold out all four paws (three now) and fight like crazy to not go in.
I will write more later after we learn about Stimpy's CT results. I am fearing the worst. This surgeon has been pretty straightforward with us from the beginning and she is a talented doctor. For this first time since this has begun, I am at a loss as to what I should do for Stimpy. I cannot bear the thought of these tumors getting so large and popping through her skin like I have seen so many times now. I also cannot bear the thought of her little body being cut up some more and I cannot bear the thought of having to say goodbye to her while holding her in my arms.
Friday June 3, 2011 3:56 PM
Today is my mothers birthday. Instead of being a time of celebration, it is overshadowed by the news of Stimpy. She called me on the phone and was upset about the news. She has never been a cat person but she knows how much I love Stimpy and so it bothers her that we are going through this.
Stimpy's CT scan has been Fed Ex'd to Mizzou in Columbia. There are three specialists there who are going to look at it and will try to come up with a plan to procede here. They asked me what I want to do. I told them I cannot bear to have these tumors pop through Stimpy's skin, like I have seen on so many other VAS cats. I told them I want to know that I have done everything I can for her. This surgery has its risks and I have weighed those but I simply cannot put Stimpy on the schedule to die. I must try to do what I can.
So, most likely it looks like I could be returning to Columbia next week with Stimpy. We have discussed the other options as well, including another round of radiation, chemo, etc. I do not think chemo is an option. Stimpy handled the radiation pretty well. If I have to drop everything and go to Columbia for a month again, I will. This time I am just going to go. I am not going to pack the car like I did last time. I will buy what I need there and then donate it to Goodwill when I leave. I want as much room as possible in the back of Toyota so Stimpy will have a lot of room. Now I wish I had purchased the Range Rover last year instead of the Toyota. It had a lot more room in the back and it probably would have been a more comfortable ride for her. I guess I could go do that tomorrow but there is too much to think about right now.
Stimpy seems so bright and clear still. It is hard to believe she is sick. She eats, she makes demands, she uses the litterbox as usual. She loves her daily walks. I do not begrudge all the mosquito bites I get every day because it is hard to compare my discomfort to hers. Last night we were out walking for nearly an hour. She walked all the way to the gate, which is a pretty good hike even for me. She just kept going, Baloo close behind and of course me. She stops at the trees and looks up like she has never seen one before.
I talked to Stimpy's oncologist here and asked her about putting Stimpy on an anti-inflammatory. She wants to hold off on that until they decide in Columbia what to do next. The anti-inflammatories can affect renal functions and since Stimpy's all checked out fine, she does not want to run the risk of any set backs from that.
I cannot believe this is happening. I cannot believe how many cats go through this every year and you never learn about it until your cat has been stricken with it. It does not matter how much money you can afford to spend on this cancer, it does not make any distinction based on that. All you can do it hope that there is some small miracle that takes it away. I still have trouble believing Stimpy is sick and may not be with me much longer.
I am just a basket case right now. I did not sleep last night. I finally got out of bed at 4:30 because staring at the ceiling did not help. Stimpy was asleep at the base of the bed and she came into the TV room to be with me. She curled up on the ottoman and I could hear her little wheeze as she slept. She has always been somewhat of a snorer.
How is it I have managed to go through 45 years of life without being faced with a decision this hard? How is it I have been fortunate enough to not lose a close family member or friend in all these years? I am just not prepared for this.
All I can do right now is look at pictures and videos of Stimpy. I treasure every one of them. Here she is in Tucson. I had just returned home from a trip so she naturally had to take over the luggage so I could not unpack.
I was reminded of something today. Before moving to Tucson years ago, there was of course the process of finding a home. I was in the back yard of the house that ultimately became ours, and Stimpy was there on the fence. Even then, I went up to her and she let me scratch her on her chin. She was there from the beginning waiting for me. She was there on the first day of moving in too. Outside in the evening, she came walking up with her little meow. There was no food for her but I managed to round up a can of albacore tuna for her and she wolfed it down. The next day at Safeway, every variety of Fancy Feast was purchased for her and it was love from that point on. She came back every day for her wet food. Eventually it was learned that she belonged to the neighbors but it was too late by then, she had made her choice. She was just a cat to them. They never really socialized her and their friends always called her Satan. It couldn't be further from the truth. She has been one of the greatest joys in my life. I will never forget what she has done for me.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 7:22 PM
It all started with a $35 rabies vaccine four years ago. Who knew then that it would turn into a horrible cancer that has cost us nearly $30,000.
Stimpy's surgeon here in Oklahoma City is not comfortable doing the hemipelvectomy surgery. She has not done enough of them and since this new mass is so large, she wants us to take Stimpy to Columbia. We weighed several options, including bringing the surgeon here or even taking her up to the Vet School in Stillwater. I hate for Stimpy to be in the car that long. I worry about her on three legs and her discomfort. I called the school in Stillwater and frankly, I did not like the attitude of the woman on the phone. She seemed so uncaring and cold so I have decided to trust my instincts and take her to Columbia. I am leaving Sunday morning and her appointment is at 9:00 AM on Monday the 13th. She will go into surgery mid morning or early afternoon. It will be horrible time waiting for her. I suppose they will want to keep her overnight. Depending on how she feels, I will probably let her rest on Tuesday at the hotel and maybe return home on Wednesday or Thursday. Once again, I drop everything to take care of Stimpy. I am not complaining, it just hurts to see her go through this. Once again...Life, Interrupted.
This has been an emotional roller coaster for me this week. I cannot even talk to the doctors without crying about this. I'm angry, I'm sad, and of course there are the horrible feelings of guilt for doing what we thought was helping Stimpy. I hate that she has to go through all this.
Last year, the day before leaving for Columbia, the stress really got to me. I ended up in the ER and they ended up doing a CT scan and a spinal tap to rule things out. I did not want to be in Columbia with Stimpy and risk having something happen to me. Now, almost a year later, I have yet another thing to worry about. Yesterday while on a ladder, I missed my step while coming down, and I fell to the floor, pushing the ladder away and landing flat on my right arm and chest. I am bruised and sore and I tore my rotator cuff. It hurts like hell! I cannot even lift my arm and do something like brush my teeth. Fortunately the toothbrush does a lot of the work. I will have to live with it until I return from Columbia. I cannot even comtemplate corrective surgery right now. It changes everything and I have to really do things differently. Driving is OK since I tend to use one hand always. Getting in and out of the Toyota is difficult. Why is it always the arm or hand you use the most that gets injured? I do not want to risk anything happening with the Toyota on the way there so tomorrow I will take it in and get new tires. There are only 14,000 miles on these but I have picked up a few nails so I just want new ones. I was going to replace them soon anyway, the ones on there are just the stock tires.
I am not sure where I am staying in Columbia yet. The place I stayed last year is completely booked (so much for gold level membership!) and a lot of the other hotels are as well. I have called a large place and placed a special request with the manager, offering to pay a deposit on the suite. He will get back to me tomorrow. I just cannot believe we are heading back to Columbia. They all remembered Stimpy and her doctor has called me a few times.
Stimpy will miss her walks for a few days but I suspect the poor girl will not be too excited about going out. I was just getting used to holding her again and now I am robbed of that once again. I will probably have to make a pad of the floor to be next to her. She loves curling up in my arm so this will be interesting dealing with this torn cuff. I did not sleep a wink last night. I did manage to score three stars on several Angry Birds levels so I was not completely bored.
Here are a few more pics of Stimpy while she in out for her walks. Yesterday we found a large peregon falcon tail feather on the grounds. It is really beautiful. She always amazes me how well she handles what is dealt to her.
The little paw was shaved last week when they did the CT scan
Stimpy being the jokester..."Look at me! One leg!"
Wednesday June 8, 2011 5:21 PM
I feel sick. Today I got a call from Stimpy's doctor in Columbia. She and three other doctors have looked at Stimpy's CT and they all believe there is very little they can do with a surgery. Because of the location of the tumor, it is so close to the spine, it is too risky. It can cause other problems too that could cause her to lose control over her bladder.
I may as well face it, I will have to say goodbye to Stimpy someday soon. We discussed a few other options...a drug called Palladia. It of course has some side effects. Stimpy's oncologist wants to start her on prednisone tomorrow. I just want Stimpy to be comfortable. There is really nothing more that I can do for her other than love her. I do not want Stimpy to live her last days on drugs.
My poor little Stimpy, she has made the ultimate sacrifice of her life for a rabies vaccine. If I feel this sad now, how will I ever feel better when she is gone?
I love the other cats dearly too, but Stimpy is so special. She touches my heart like no other animal ever has or ever will. I always worried about her when we traveled. I was afraid something would happen and I would not be there to take care of her. I am one of those crazy pet people who has provisions in the will to take care of them. Stimpy has done so much for me in the too short of time that she has been in my life. I just do not know how I will wake up every morning and not see her beautiful face looking at me for food, a scratch behind the ears, her walks outside.
Will this lump in my throat ever leave me? Will this sadness I am feeling ever leave me?
Sunday June 12, 2011 10:30 PM
Yesterday we received an e-mail from another VAS support member and she told us that she had to say goodbye to Artemis on Friday. We have lost another cat to vaccine associated sarcoma. It is so sad every time you have to read another one of these stories. This flood of emotions keep sweeping over me every time I read another one of these stories. I get angry at first, angry because none of us should have to endure this. There is no reason we should not be informed of these risks. It just is not fair that we have to watch our poor cats slowly fade away right in front of our eyes because of a vaccine. RIP Artemis! We will all miss you.
Someone in the group shared this story recently. It talks about vaccines and how they are geared more towards the almighty dollar than saving our animals.
Andy has been an ER doctor for over 30 years. During that 30 years, he has NEVER had to treat anyone for rabies. He has NEVER seen a case of rabies or even heard of a case of rabies from any of his colleagues. We are told these vaccines are here to "protect" us and our pets. I get sick when I think about poor Stimpy losing her life to a rabies vaccine that was in all likelihood completely unnecessary.
Today, all I could think about was that this is the day that Stimpy and I would have been on the road, traveling to Columbia and she would be in surgery tomorrow. At five o'clock, all I could think about was that we would probably be in the hotel room at that time. In some way, there is relief knowing that she will not have to go through this horrible surgery but knowing that there is nothing more we can do for her is very devastating. We have started her on the pred pills and I think we will start her on the Palladia when her oncologist returns from a veterinarian seminar. She wanted to make sure she was here to monitor her.
Stimpy loves her walks. I take her out 2-3 times a day and she can wear me out. It rained yesterday and she always wants to go down the hill from the house. It is quite steep and she took off and was down the hill in a flash. I had to carefully make my way down the hill too, hoping I would not fall. She explores everywhere and after about 30 minutes, I pick her up and carefully make my way back up the hill with her, under her protesting meows. As long as I let my arm stay down and not raise the shoulder joint too much, I can manage. Anything I have to do slightly elevated or above the head is agonizing.
So, now we just wait and enjoy what time we have with Stimpy. I love the evenings. She will crawl up in my arms and go to sleep. She always looks so peaceful. After about 10 minutes of that, she will go to the end of the bed and curl up there. I love watching her sleeping so peacefully.
Saturday June 18th, 2011 8:19 PM
This past week has been kind of a downer. I have been dealing with this torn rotator cuff and I have been putting off the visit to the doctors office to hear the news that it will have to be operated on. You do not realize how much you take things for granted until you no longer have use of it. It has really made me feel so limited.
Stimpy is doing good. Every night she comes up on the bed and just looks into my eyes as she purrs softly. I cannot remember when she first started sleeping in the bed with me but it was probably in Tucson. She used to sit at the entrance to the bedroom and she would have this very stern MEOW! That was her 5:00 AM wake up call to me so I would get up and feed her. If I did not get up immediately, she would go downstairs and start scratching this chair by the piano because she knew that would get a reaction from me. It was usually a sock being chucked over the loft balcony coming within a few feet of her. On any given day, there would be a dozen rolled up socks spread across the living room. I would get up and feed her and she would want to go outside immediately.
Here is a picture of Stimpy while we lived in Tucson. She is sitting on the threshold of a small greenhouse I built. It was made completely from scratch, no plans, I just started building it one day, right down to the door. Stimpy has always been one of those possessive cats. Whenever something new appears, she automatically claims it as her own.
I loved Tucson. You never had to do any yard work. You would have to rake the rocks once in a while but that was about it. It always amazed me how many people had grass in the desert! Oklahoma has been such a drastic change. The maintenance of the grounds is never ending. I would trade it for the desert any day.
The other day when I was in Pet Smart, there was a cat in their adoption area. I fell in love with him immediately. His demeanor was so much like Stimpy and he even looked a little like Stimpy. I played with Trevor for at least 30 minutes but I knew it was not time for me to adopt another cat, especially one that looked so much like Stimpy. I hope he finds a good home. I'm afraid that if I go in there again and he is still there, he will be coming home with me. This is not the greatest picture but you can see how he kind of looks like Stimpy.
Stimpy starts her Palladia this week. I hope it goes well. Her oncologist was going to be out of town for a few days and she did not want to start her on it until she was back in case there was a side effect. She is now on prednisolone and mertazipine. I hate giving them to her on the same day although it cannot be avoided since she takes the pred every day. The combination seems to cause an energy boost in her, it is like she is on kitty speed. She does not like taking pills! I have tried everything but to no avail, it is always a struggle.
A few days ago, I received an invitation to a lecture that Merial is hosting here in Oklahoma City. The lecture is called "Vaccines and Vaccinations. Protocols and Controversies". I cannot wait to attend and see what they have to say! It is supposedly opened to veterinarians and techs but I was able to RSVP under the umbrella of a doctor. We all know what the controversies are. There have been so many articles lately about how we are over-vaccinating our pets. Here are links to just a few of them. They provide some very interesting reading. The first one talks about vaccine associated sarcoma reaching epidemic proportions:
This article has some interesting points in it as well. It is a lot to sort out. If there is one good thing that I can think about coming from all this heartache, is that I am a wiser person now and I will use that wisdom to help others and educate people about VAS. I am amazed how "famous" Stimpy has become. I met a complete stranger the other day, and we had one thing in common... a cat that was missing a leg. I asked the person if their cat lost its leg because of a vaccine and she was surpised I knew about VAS. When I mentioned Stimpy, incredibly she had found Stimpy's blog on the Internet and she knew who I was because of Stimpy's blog! We talked for quite a while and it was kind of a melancholy experience being brought together like that because of Stimpy's cancer. Almost famous I guess!
Stimpy and I just came in from our evening walk a short while ago. As usual, she had to head down the hill! I am getting too old for that climb Miss Stimpy! We stayed out until the fireflies were surrounding us. She seemed pretty interested in the fireflies. She protested as usual about being picked up and carried back up the hill. She also loves hanging out by the potato house. She always want to go in and explore and she has gotten by me a few times. Talk about creepy! It is one of those places where you would run into Jason from Friday the 13th! No thanks. Here she is hanging out by the potato house, comtemplating her move as soon as I am distracted.
Cats seem to always be thinking, trying to figure out ways to out smart you. Here, Privet is obviously contemplating cutting her own catnip. You have to really keep an eye on these guys.
I just realized that I have not eaten any dinner yet. Overall, today was a good day. Stimpy is doing well, she seems pretty bright and alert and when you think about it, that makes it a pretty good day! I hope there are many more. Paws out.
Tuesday June 21, 2011 11:05 AM
I just got a call from Stimpy's oncologist. She wants us to bring Stimpy in to talk about the Palladia. Stimpy was supposed to start it tomorrow and it almost sounded somewhat ominous the way the tech was talking to me. I guess at this point, I really need to make a decision on what to do. If anything, the Palladia will only add some extra time to Stimpy's life. On the other side of the card, it would be subjecting her to a lot of discomfort. I am struggling about what to do. I have come to accept that I will most likely be losing Stimpy this year. Every time I think about it, it is hard to not become angry about it. Everything about Stimpy's health indicates that she could have lived another five years. Her liver, kidney, heart and lungs are all clear. No thyroid issues. All because of a damned vaccine, my poor little Stimpy's life is being cut short. Honestly, I just do not think I want to put her through the Palladia treatment. This cancer is going to end up taking her life, I know that, so I just do not think it is right to subject her to this harsh treatment.
Throughout the past year, I have been keeping these little keepsakes of Stimpy. I have this brass chest and I keep putting little things in there. A dropped whisker, a nail that has shedded, some fur from her brush, the compression vest she wore after her first surgery. They will be special reminders of her and this past year. I will always cherish them and take them out once in a while to have her close to me. It has been a tumultuous year, the worst in my life.
I love taking Stimpy out for her walks. She really loves them. She loves trees. She stops and looks up in them all the time. A few days ago a branch broke off and it is dragging on the ground now. She goes right to it and just likes to hide inside it. I lifted her up onto a low branch yesterday and let her sit there. She was so content, being six feet off the ground, surveying her kingdom. She sat there for about 15 minutes and since it was starting to get dark, I had to lift her down. It was not without protests.
I am feeling pretty sad right now so I guess I will sign off. We have to have Stimpy into the oncologist in two hours so I want to take her out for her afternoon walk first.
I wish I could talk to Stimpy and tell her what is going on. She looks deep into my eyes at night when she crawls up beside me, tickling my face with her long whiskers. It is really a special feeling knowing that you have gained the complete trust of an animal. It started out with a scratch on the chin, a bribe with some albacore tuna, and the dangling of some string.
I chose to administer the Palladia last night. If it does not make her sick, it could help make her more comfortable. If it does make her sick, I will discontinue it immediately. I am told that the body will filter it out very fast. So far, she is doing fine. She actually seemed a little more spry this morning so I will hold onto that. If she is comfortable, that is my main concern.
We went out for a nice long walk last night. Some days she likes exploring the grounds, other days she wants to just rest and take in the air. There are a few caves in the rocks here. She really wants to go exploring in them but I have to keep her away. They are just too creepy and who knows what is lurking inside them. She always wants to head down the hill. It is pretty steep so I carefully make my way down too and carefully make my way back up when she is done. I think she likes it so much down there because it is more "woodsy" than the rest of the grounds. It is kept more natural, with little maintenance other than to keep the brush down. There is an enourmous oak tree down there, You would be hard pressed to get three adults to stretch their arms around it. It must be at least 150-200 years old.
Yesterday I was so emotionally wound up. I just did not know what to do for Stimpy. It is a frustrating feeling not knowing what to do. I stayed home with her all day long, and cancelled the crew at the renovation house. Only one room to go there before it is finished. Yesterday I started to take Stimpy out but there was a work crew down below clearing some trees. The electric company was cutting down a lot of stuff along the fence line where the fire occurred. Stimpy started down the hill, took one look at them, and bolted back to the house, pawing at the door to get inside. She went to her hiding place and stayed there for a while. We tried to go out later but then there was this person here to service the generator, and that is near the greenhouse, another favorite spot of Stimpy's. Once again, she wanted to go back inside so it was not until after dinner that we finally got our walk in.
After we came in, Stimpy went to her bed and just fell asleep. Seeing her sleep so peacefully makes it hard to believe she is sick. I hope she will always be able to sleep so peacefully.
Monday June 27, 2011 11:49 AM
Today will mark the third dose of the palladia. Poor Stimpy. She really hates having any meds put in her mouth. She is an incredibly difficult cat to pill. Today she was scheduled for all three meds...the pred, mirtazipine and the palladia. I gave her the pred and mirt this morning and I will wait until this afternoon to give her the palladia. I always worry about drug interactions. I know they will still be in her body but it just seems like too much to make her take all three at once. We are supposed to take her back into the oncologists office tomorrow. I called there to see what time and I got so frustrated with the receptionist there. They always seem so insensitive to what we are going through. She told me to just drop her off by 9:00 AM. I said I did not want to do that, I wanted to wait. She did not know how long it would take. I asked what they were doing...drawing blood. I asked if someone couldn't just draw the blood and let us be on our way. It went on and on for 10 minutes. I finally snapped and asked her if she understood that Stimpy would likely be gone within six months and if she understood that I did not want her spending the last months of her life locked in a cage at a office where she hates being? She put me on hold and came back and said I could come in at 2:00 and it would take about 1/2 hour. It is so frustrating dealing with people like this. It is not the first story I have heard from the VAS group about dealing with insensitive receptionists. I do not understand why anyone would work in a vets office and not have the capability of being in touch with pets and pet owners. They become so blase' about dealing with animals and you just want to shake them until they realized just how important their job is.
Stimpy is eating but very little. I worry so much about her losing too much weight during this. Last night I boiled some chicken thighs and diced them up small. I served about a tablespoon full with some of the juices and she seemed to enjoy that. I am going to get her some A/D prescription food and maybe puree the chicken and mix it and see if she likes that too. I just need to get her to eat anything that she will. At this stage of the game, she can have pepperoni pizza every night if that is what it takes. Her long hair is deceptive, it makes her look larger but when you pet her, you can tell she is underweight. I still get angry when I think about all this being caused by a rabies vaccine.
It is so hot here that I hate going outside but Stimpy still insists on her three daily walks. The other day, she went down the hill, me close behind her, only to turn around and go back up the hill when she got to the bottom. This kitty is trying to make me have a stroke in this heat! She will sometimes just drop to the ground and stay there resting for 20 minutes or so.
Just chillin' out by the greenhouse, one of her favorite spots
I've noticed that Stimpy tilts her head more now. I think she is trying to balance herself and compensate for the lost leg. She will often come into the TV room and just stand at the door looking at you and with her head tilted like that, she looks so sweet.
There was an article I posted on her recently about VAS cases becoming epidemic. I have noticed that we get more new people in the group these days than we did a year ago. It used to be maybe 1-2 new members a month, but now it seems like we get 1-2 every week. It only highlights how important VAS awareness and education is. There are a few members from the UK who have some VAS cats. I have never compiled any numbers, but the feline leukemia and rabies vaccinations seem to be the biggest culprits. The ones with adjuvants also seem to have a higher number of reported cases. We really need to move forward as a group in a faster pace. There are just too many cats dying from this.
Stimpy has been such a wonderful cat throughout all this. She rarely complains and she takes everything in stride. We could all learn a lot from her.
Here's a Tucson sunset for you Stimpy. We spent so many evenings outside on days like this. This picture was taken at the very spot you came into our lives too. I will always remember that first night in the house, we were outside enjoying the weather, and this little fluffy gray ball of fur walked up and meowed. You looked so hungry so I went inside and found a can of albacore tuna (why I had a can of albacore tuna in the house that first night is beyond me, I am not really a fan). I placed it on the ground and you eagerly ate every bite. I imagine it was your first experience with albacore tuna. I learned later you had always eaten Meow Mix. You have been spoiled ever since that can of tuna was placed before you. You knew where to come for the good stuff. You have been worth every penny that has been spent on you and I would do it all over again without hesitation. Cats deserve to be spoiled!
Yesterday we took Stimpy into her oncologist for a follow up appointment. She wants to check Stimpy's levels every week now. They drew blood and thankfully they results came back normal so the palladia has not had any adverse effects yet. I was so relieved because it was really a struggle in the decision to move forward with it. Her weight however, is a major concern. The poor thing is only 7 pounds 2 ounces now. She is as light as a feather and it is heartbreaking to pick her up. Her fur makes her look bigger in the pictures but underneath is this tiny little girl. She has always been a small cat but I am so worried about her weight. We started her on the prescription food A/D. It is a high calorie, high fat food that is generally for "critical care cats and dogs" (so it says on the label). Thankfully she seems to like it. She eats most of it when I put it out and the mirtazipine helps. I hate this. It is so difficult emotionally to deal with this. I talk to her and tell her what is going on. I try to remain upbeat around her so she does not sense my fears.
This morning was nice and cool so we had a nice long walk. She went down the hill as usual and went all the way to the gate again. Baloo was close behind. I think he thinks he is her protector. He stays close behind but never too close to make her nervous. She never seems to mind him being there. All the animals know that Stimpy is the queen and they all respect her. Amazing for such a little girl. Here is a picture of her looking towards the back of the house and one of the "caves" on the property. She is dying to go exploring inside this one and it actually goes back about six feet. There is no way she is going in there on my watch! Too creepy!
This picture was taken this morning on our walk.
Here is another picture, typical of our walks. She chooses the least friendly path down the hill and I follow suit. One day I am going to just slip down these rocks! You can still see some of the burnt trees by the fence line from the fire last month.
Tuesday July 5, 2011 6:17 PM
Today we took Stimpy in for her weekly check up with the oncologist. While she is doing this palladia, they check her levels every week to make sure her numbers aren't low. Everything was normal...renal, liver, heart, white cell count. It was good news and there was even more good news to learn that her weight was up four ounces! All in all it was a good visit and I needed some good news like that. It has been so stressful, I needed the break. We were sitting out in the waiting area and I had the door open on the crate. She likes that and she feels secure but not trapped. She was perfectly calm until they came and got her. As they were taking her back, I heard her hiss at the vet tech. When they brought her back out, she ignored me for a while and turned her back to me. The oncologist said that she always expresses her feelings about being there but she does not act on it. That last day we were in Columbia, MO for her radiation therapy, she hissed at the doctor and would not come out of her crate.
Stimpy likes to hide out in the closet these days. She has found a nice little dark corner there so I tried to place her little bed in there but all she did was stare at it and then walk away. I pulled it out and placed it on the floor outside the door and when I went back into the room, this is what I found:
How typical of a cat is this? She wouldn't even step on it when it was in her corner but it was good enough to take a nap on when I moved it out of her corner!
We still do our walks 2-3x a day and she loves rolling around on the ground. I guess it keeps her cool and a lot of times she just plops down on the ground and curls up. I just sit down and play a few rounds of Angry Birds. Stimpy will be 17 years old in September. She has been such a remarkable cat and she has handled all of this stuff so well.
Here she is rolling around on the ground. Here you can see the white patch caused by the radiation therapy, Her long fur does a good job concealing the amputation area.
I feel pretty good about today. It is nice that Stimpy has gained weight (she seems to really like the A/D prescription food). Hopefully things will continue on the upside when they do her labs next week.
I want to end this journal entry on a high note. This picture was found in the Feline Veterinarian Emergency Assistance Facebook albums. This is the group that hosts Kobi's Fund. This is the fund from our VAS support group that helps people who cannot afford the high costs of care associated with VAS. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica donated $10,000 to the fund after we had the meeting with them here in Oklahoma City last month. It was a nice gesture on their part but there is still a long way to go with these pharmaceutical companies.
Monday, July 18, 2011 12:15 AM
I have not written in the journal for almost two weeks now. I just do not know what to write. Stimpy's tumor is getting bigger and it is stretched tight against her skin now. She licks it more and it is starting to poke through the white fur. When we were out walking the other day, I noticed it as there is no fur on the tumor and it looked pretty pink. Right now it is about the size of a jelly bean. I do not know if the prednisone and palladia are working. Perhaps it would be larger without the meds. Bottom line though, it will eventually take over Stimpy's tiny body. I have seen it so many times in other cats. Unfortunately, fate will be knocking on Stimpy's door soon and it will be time to say goodbye. I have tried to prepare myself for that day, but it is impossible.
We have moved Stimpy into a bright airy room. Lots of windows so she can look out whenever she wants to (nine to be exact). There are places to hide when she wants it dark but most important, she seems very content. Her water and food station is set up in the next room and she has free access between the two rooms. There is a king sized bed in there and every night she curls up in my arms and goes to sleep. She never complains. She is such a remarkable cat. Her weekly appointments to the oncologist will continue. I know there is no hope for her to beat this cancer but that does not mean I am going to stop her care. It is not time for that.
I have taken some new pictures of her that I will post below. I probably take at least 20-30 pictures of her everyday. Soon they will be the only image I have of her. She will always be in my heart and mind but to be able to see these beautiful pictures of her will mean so much to me.
Stimpy is kept away from the other cats. Her immune system cannot be compromised at this point and Baloo is kept out of the rooms too. Writing about her life helps. I will continue the journal when she is gone, and devote it to educating others about VAS, dedicating it to other VAS cats, and share their stories too. It is too important to just let it end.
I really hate the pharmaceutical companies at this moment. It is sickening that they are allowed to manufacture a deadly vaccine and not warn anyone. Pure greed. They are too greedy to offer any real assistance to the victims. It does not matter to them that it costs so much money to fight the cancer their product causes. We are probably up over $35,000 now. Marla Persky, the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim, has worked as a product liability defense lawyer. In other words, she works on the side of the ones who cause death and despair when their products cause harm. People have often told me I should have become a lawyer. I would hate it. Even if I was like Clarence Darrow and took up for the underdog, you would still have to deal with people like Marla Persky and Michael Herrmann (as you may remember, Michael Herrmann is the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedia in St. Joseph, MO).
I took this short video of Stimpy outside the other day. It really speaks for itself. I know she is old but it really kills me to know this cancer is taking a little bit of her life away every day.
For those of you who have not seen the video of her that I did set to music, here it is. Please share these with your friends and family. Spreading the word about VAS is so important.
Rodney did an excellent video on VAS education. He dedicated to Stimpy. It was very touching and special that he did so. I know he still misses Little Girl. Little Girl was also a victim of a Boehringer Ingelheim vaccine. Thank you for the work you do Rodney, this video is very special.
Sorry to all of Stimpy's fans. I realize that today's post is kind of a downer. It is unfortunately, the reality of this cancer.
Yesterday, while we were sitting in the oncologists office waiting for Stimpy's labs to come back, I got an e-mail on my iPhone. It was from Lisa, a member of the VAS support group. Her cat Dixie has passed on. Dixie fought VAS valiantly. It is always a sad day in the group when another cat loses its battle to VAS. You get to know each and every one like it is your own cat and when they pass, the sadness really hits you.
Rest in Peace Dixie...I know Lisa misses you very much.
Saturday July 30, 2011 6:17 AM
These days, I seem to get little sleep. I worry that I will roll over on Stimpy while she is on the bed, I hear the tapping of her claws on the wood floors and when the rhythm is off, I jump up to make sure she has not stumbled. The other cats are dying to come into her space. Fortunately, Stimpy has a wonderfully large area to roam so she does not get claustrophobic and she has some nice windows to look out of. I open the windows for her, even in this heat, because she enjoys it so much. She does not beg to go outside like she used to. She slows down a little more each day.
Stimpy likes to curl up on this one chair in the room. She often curls up into a little ball and puts her paw over her eyes, almost as if to block out the light. Its funny how most cats have the same traits. Even watching them bathe, they all pretty much do it the same way. At times, I will just lay next to her, stroking her soft fur and she will start purring. Some cats purr when they are nervous but you earn Stimpy's purrs. They are always a sign of contentment with Stimpy.
You do what you think is right for these wonderful animals. The guilt knowing that you took your cat into your vet to get a rabies vaccine is overwhelming. You live that day over and over. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I can still see the needle going into Stimpy's leg, smell the office that we were in. We know without a doubt that Stimpy's cancer was caused by the Boehringer Ingelheim Rabvac 3TF vaccine. I checked with the people who took care of Stimpy before we got her, and I was told that her vaccines had always been given in the scruff (I hope everyone reading this knows by now that you absolutely DO NOT allow your vet to administer any shots in the scruff of the neck!). This Rabvac 3TF was the ONLY vaccine Stimpy received there. We moved from Tucson shortly thereafter to Oklahoma City and because of everything going on, she was not taken in for any follow up vaccines. The next thing we knew, she had a lump forming on her leg. I still remember that day so vividly too, taking her in for the exam and being told for the very first time that vaccines can cause cancer and sometimes you have to amputate to save the cats life. I was so horrified. It is hard to believe that was 14 months ago. So much has happened since then. I spent the month in Columbia, MO with her while she underwent radiation therapy. We lived in a hotel for the entire month. I had to endure a spinal tap just before the drive there (the day before and I had a horrible headache for days afterwards). She had undergone numerous CT scans, x-rays, exams, and ultimately she still lost her leg to this uninvited guest. This cancer came into our home without any warning, without any invitation. Just like it always does.
VAS has been known for 20 years now. The only company that seems to really take any proactive steps in fighting is has been Merial. They have a vaccine called PureVax. Even though there have been some reported cases of VAS from the PureVax, they seem to number far less than the other pharmaceutical companies. Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer seem to be the biggest culprits of this crime. A large number of members in our VAS support group advocate the use of the Merial PureVax. If for no other reason, I would recommend them because they actually mention the risks of VAS on their website. The other pharmaceutical companies like to hide this dirty little secret. Here is a link to Merial's info page. Like I said, at least they seem to understand the devastation that VAS causes. Ask your veterinarian to use it. If they do not carry it, find one who does.
The other day Stimpy and I had a wonderful moment while in bed. I was laying down and she came up to me and cuddled her head against my head. It reminded me of that day I went to see her at the surgery center when they amputated her leg. When they brought her out to see me, she cradled her head against my chest for the longest time. She knows I am there to protect her. She knows how much I love her. It is such an amazing feeling to have the love and trust of a little animal. It takes years to build this trust and there is simply nothing like it. Most of these pictures are taken with my iPhone so they look somewhat fuzzy. I carry it with me all the time so I can get a picture of her. Her she was the other morning. I look like a ton of bricks were on my face just prior to this shot but it was 6 AM! Trying to take an overhead shot is not easy either.
Like I said, I will continue Stimpy's blog even when she is gone. It has become an important part of me as well as a memoir of Stimpy. It will serve as an educational tool and one day I will publish it. It will not be quite as funny as Marly and Me but it will be very poignant. There is certainly nothing funny about VAS.
Here are some pictures I have taken of Stimpy this week. She is so wonderful. She takes her medicine, although she protests, but I think she knows it is not out of any malice.
I often wonder if the other cats know she is sick? They all seem to repsect her space and so do the dogs. Every time I sit down in the media room, I have three cats on my lap. Usually Miss Privet decides it is only a one cat lap and she will jump the other two. I have narrowly escaped a vasectomy during the course of their little tiff.
One thing I have mentioned in the past is how Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica walked away with a $3.2 million forgiveable loan, money that came from the Iowa taxpayers. The money is to expand their Fort Dodge plant. They say it will create jobs but does anyone really believe they would have spent 10x that moving the plant? Boehringer Ingelheim is a privately owned German company. During that period, they posted net sales of $17 BILLION! Why does a company that is this wealthy need $3.2 million of the US taxpayers money? Not coincidentally either, during this same time, the Boehringer Ingelheim PAC (political action committee) made a $6000 donation to Tom Latham, the very one who represents Fort Dodge and that district in Iowa.
You can see all of the contributions here:
When George Heidgerken, the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, and Marla Persky, the Sr.. VP and attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim flew to Oklahoma City a few months ago, I made sure they knew about all the VAS cats. I had a book published of VAS stories, and sadly, some of them have died since. I didn't just want to talk about Stimpy, I wanted them to see how it affects so many. The costs of the care is the least important aspect. Losing our beloved cats to this cancer is the horrific truth to this cancer. They made it very clear why they came to Oklahoma City. They laid the groundwork that I was some nut case and that George and his family were afraid of me. It was much like the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim in St. Joseph when he answered the State Attorney General's complaint. He commented how I had personally sent him threatening letters. They were not threatening in the sense of any harm but they did bluntly state how I would take them on. If he calls a letter from a pissed of consumer threatening and it bothers him so much, he should move onto another profession. George Heidgerken was recently promoted. In the story written about him, he poses with his three dogs and the article goes onto say that he lives in Kansas City, MO with his wife Lynne and two children, Michelle and Rodger. Here is a screen capture of the story. Not really the act of a man who is fearing for his family. It is obvious they have been trying to discredit me. Marla Persky sent me a defamatory letter herself last week threatening me with the legal authorities if I harm any Boehringer Ingelheim employee or their property. What part of her derrier she pulled that one out of is a mystery to me as I have never threatened a Boehringer Ingelheim employee nor have I threatened to damage any of their property. Like I said, an obvious attempt to discredit me. I will publish her letter as soon as I get a chance to scan it.
Marla and George think that spending a little money and flying to Oklahoma City to say "we're sorry our product is killiing Stimpy" is sufficient. It is not. In another letter from Marla, she goes onto defend Boehringer Ingelheim about paying any Rabvac 3TF claims prior to them buying it from Fort Dodge by passing the buck onto Pfizer. Yet, they still flew to Oklahoma City, paid all that money, donated $10,000 to Kobi's Fund (with a promise of an additional $5000 per year for the next two years) but they still claim they are blameless. I wonder how much this will cost them in the end before I go away? It won't be any time soon. Even when Stimpy is gone, I will be fighting these pharms for justice and some responsibility. Stimpy is one cat that will be remembered for a long time for taking these pharms on. I really have no fear of them suing me. I would welcome it. Imagine, a big pharm suing the owner of a cat who sacrificed her leg and life because of their cancer giving vaccine? It is something I would welcome because I would make sure it reached all the news outlets. It would really thrust the reality of VAS into the publics face and if they attack me about my blog, they will be treading on thin ice. I can go the distance and I am willing to be the one to thrust this out into the spotlight. It would be a public image nightmare for them. The face of Stimpy is far sweeter than the face of Boehringer Ingelheim.
During the past year, many of you know about my fight with Boehringer Ingelheim. They pretty much ignored me for a year hoping that I would go away. For those of you who are new here, I finally managed to get their attention when I sent a letter to the home of George Heidgerken. If you know where to look, you can find anything. I sent him this letter and then suddenly I get a Fed Ex letter from Marla Persky wanting to meet with me about Stimpy. I really wanted them to come to the estate and meet Stimpy but they declined so we met downtown at the Renaissance Hotel (in the lobby no less!). I did not invite this cancer into my home. I feel no remorse for intruding on their homes with this cancer. They sit in their ivory towers and ignore us, letting more and more cats die and they feel they are untouchable. Writing in this blog has helped me tremendously. It is a permanent record of Stimpy's battle with this and my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim. If you have been the victim of Boehringer Ingelheim, I would encourage you to write to these people at their homes as well. Like I said, it will be an uninvited guest but there is no reason we should not share this agony with them. They are the ones who manufacture and sell these vaccines with no disclosure.
You can write to George Heidgerken here:
6008 N. Mattox Rd
Kansas City, MO 64151
You can write to Marla Persky at her home as well. She defends Boehringer Ingelheim against any product liability so make sure you let her know how you feel about being victimized by Boehringer Ingelheim. I cannot help but wonder if she went home and checked her long haired cat for any bumps after she learned about Stimpy's cancer.
190 George Washington Hwy
Ridgefield, CT 06877-1115
As you can see, she also lives in a beautiful home just like George. I wonder if she would take a month out of her life and live in a hotel with her cat while it underwent radiation therapy 400 miles from home, and spend over $35,000 in a years time to try and save it from a vaccine induced cancer? We all know that I would, as that is what I have done these past 14 months. Even though I know it is inevitable I am going to lose Stimpy to this cancer, I am still continuing her treatment. She deserves that.
You can also write to the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim USA. His name is J Martin Carroll
J. Martin Carroll
371 Wilton Road E
Ridgefield, CT 06877-5724
And finally, if you want to spread your story as much as I want to, you can go to the Federal Election Commission and pull the reports filed by Boehringer Ingelheim PAC. In the reports you can find the names and addresses of others who work for Boehringer Ingelheim. The more people who know, the more cats we can save.
To quote some lyrics from a song by a group named Twisted Sister:
"We're not going to take it, no, we're not gonna take it, we're not going to take it, anymore!"
That is exactly how I feel.
Monday August 8, 2011 10:02 AM
This morning I took Mr. Butters in for his check up. He is doing great, no issues to worry about. He hid behind some paper towels under the table when he first got there. He was so quiet in his crate on the drive over. Poor thing, I often wonder whats goes through their heads when they are being taken somewhere. Butters is really a sweet cat. He is always into something. He likes to play a lot and the laser light drives him wild!
When I was at the vets office today, I finally got up enough courage to talk to him about Stimpy's last days. It is incredibly difficult but I know I have to prepare myself for it and I do not want to wait until the last minute to figure out what to do. I have decided on private cremation. I want to spread some of her ashes at the house in Tucson. That is where she first came up and said "feed me tuna". I also want to have a diamond made from some of her ashes. They can take some of the ashes and make a diamond from the DNA. It is a synthetic diamond which means it possesses all the properties and characteristics of a real diamond except it is lab made. I will then mount it into a ring that I can wear all the time. I really do not know how I will deal with the loss of Stimpy. It is really tearing me up inside. I feel like I have let her down. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot imagine Stimpy being gone. At night, when she gets out of bed, she will walk across the wood floors. I hear the slow step caused by her limp. She seems to walk slower now and when she lowers her body down to rest, she goes very slowly. I hope she is not in any pain. She is so tiny now, I think she is down to 5-6 pounds. When you rub your hand across her back, all you feel is the spine underneath the fur.
Stimpy will be 17 next month. I hope she makes it. For some reason, her reaching that milestone is important to me. She did not deserve to live to an old age of 17 and die from a Boehringer Ingelheim vaccine. One thing that bothers me is that I am actually a very loving, kind person. I find that my anger for Boehringer Ingelheim has now turned into hatred for them. It simply is not a feeling I have. Of course I "hate" bad drivers, I "hate" going to the dentist but this is the real hate. I know this is a tough thing to write and read, but this is a journal of this journey I am having with Stimpy. I cannot sugar coat it. People need to know what this does to us. The pharmaceutical companies need to know what this does to us. They simply do not care.
I have decided to post something in the journal every day now. Even if it is just a short blurb like we gave her the meds, she ate this, she pooped. I will post a new picture of her every day too. It will help me remember her. I will be able to look back on the days a year later and even though it means nothing to someone else, that scooping of the litter box, that meal she had, will be preserved forever.
So, here are some recent pictures of Stimpy. She gets irritated with me always taking pictures. The one of her with her ears back kind of shows this.
On another note too, please excuse me for having to screen comments now. Please feel free to post them but lately I seem to be getting a lot of spam posted in the comments section. I made the decision from the beginning that I would not permit advertising on this blog. I read these comments every day and will post yours as soon as I make sure that it is not spam. I have gotten some hateful comments too (quite a few from Boehringer Ingelheim employees) and I post those as well. They do not cut into me like they would hope, it just shows their hateful nature and really, they need to be pitied. Thanks again for all the support and well wishes. It is nice knowing so many people love Stimpy.
This last picture is of a black cat that has been hanging out in the yard periodically. I hope it is not a female looking for a place to have her kittens. She is real skiddish and she never lets me within 200 feet of her. I had to take this with a zoom lens so that is why it is so grainy. I really do not need a litter of kittens on my hands at this time.
Tuesday August 9, 2011 10:20 PM
This morning as I was preparing Stimpy's medicines, she just looked at me and retreated into a corner. She knows the familiar sound of the pill bottles now. Today she got her mirtazipine and prednisone along with the palladia. It is always a chore but somehow, we get the pills down her. She spit half of the palladia out and the yellowish brown sticky liquid stained her white mane. I gave her two kinds of food, the venison and grilled beef because she has a good appetite on the days we give her the mirtazipine. Later in the afternoon however, I stepped on the pill pocket containing the mirtazipine and prednisone. The little sneak managed to spit it out unnoticed so we will try again tomorrow. I hate giving the mirtazipine too late. It tends to wind her up and she has this terrible mournful yeowl.
It looks like we are going back to Tucson! I am so happy about the prospect. I have really hated living in Oklahoma City. It looks like everything has worked out and the decision will be finalized by Friday. I also talked to the realtor in Tucson and our old house is on the market! It would be so incredible to return there. We were so happy there and Stimpy loved it. This is also where I first met Stimpy. It would be wonderful to take her home. The house in Tucson is considerably smaller but that is OK with me. Less maintenance, management. Best of all, no grass! In Tucson you have desert landscaping so all you do is rake the rocks now and then. When the cactus bloom, it is so amazing. Selling the house in Oklahoma City will probably take a while but at least the market here has not tanked. Tucson prices have gone way down. Right now, the move is 99.9% certain. It will be so nice to return, it really is home.
Here is the picture I took of Stimpy today. She rotates beds throughout the day. She likes being in the warmth. Even in this horrible heat, I open the window for her so she can take in the warm air and sunshine. We have to crank the AC to balance it out but it is OK. Whatever makes Stimpy comfortable and happy. It is such a minor inconvenience.
Yesterday, we received this e-mail from a member of the VAS support group. Kobi has passed away.
Subject: [VAS Support] Angel Kobi, 6/12/2000 – 8/11/2011, amputation 9/7/2002
I am very sad to announce that Kobi became an angel today. He was a 9 year survivor of VAS,having had his leg amputated in 2002 at the young age of 2. He died of Polycystic Kidney and Liver Disease not VAS. Kobi beat VAS!
For those of you not familiar with Kobi, he is the gorgeous white Persian who graces the VAS Support Group Yahoo group page. The Kobi Fund for VAS Cats is named after him and memorializes his 1st hu-mom Colleen.
He is survived by his brother Sushi and his current hu-mom Sue and hu-dad Jim. Sue asked me to post as she is too heartbroken to write. Sue and Jim loved Kobi with all their heart as he was such a special boy whom they lovingly took into their home (along with Sushi) after Colleen died. He worked his magic and will never be forgotten by Sue and Jim or any of us who shared the stories of his antics and loving personality.
He will be dearly missed. Our hearts go to Sue and Jim and his brother Sushi. Heaven gained a very bright angel today.
Per Sue, “Kobi was our sunshine, my sugar cube, my little meringue and all things sweet and precious. He loved being kissed on his Kobi spots on top of his head and he dearly loved his tissue paper. He was a faithful and loving brother to Sushi.”
Kathy and the rest of the Kobi Team
Kobi was the cat who inspired Kobi's Fund, a fund established by the group to help people who cannot afford the high cost of this cancer. Kobi's story is here (copied from the Kobi's Fund brochure):
We are all thankful that Kobi beat VAS. By now, many of us know the statistics show that more cats die from VAS than survive. It really felt like a personal loss to lose Kobi. Deepest sympathies go out to Kobi's family, I know they are hurting deeply from his loss.
Please consider making a donation to Kobi's Fund in his memory. Every little bit helps. You can follow the link below and send a check or make a donation via Paypal:
June 12, 2000 - August 11, 2012
Rest in Peace
Thursday August 18, 2011 5:44 AM
This post has been hard to contemplate. It has been a difficult week in the VAS support group. There were some passings, some new members, some anniversaries and some amputations. The whole week was full of stories, each one significant, and each one very important, especially to the caregiver of the cat.
Right now there is so much to plan for. It is official, we are moving back to Tucson. I need to call a realtor for the Oklahoma City property. I will not miss OKC at all. I can say without a doubt that it has been the worst place I have ever lived. No amount of money is worth it when you are unhappy where you are. I should be excited about the flight to Tucson next week, as it marks a big step but all I can think about is Stimpy. The realtor in Tucson has some homes lined up to look at and it will be a whirlwind decision. Too many choices are bad so the houses have been narrowed down to just six, so by next Saturday, the 27th, we will know where we are moving. After that comes the real crunch, taking care of everything in OKC, contacting the moving company and having to deal with that. I am hopeful all goes smoothly and Stimpy hangs in there. One road trip will be moving all the animals except Stimpy. After the others are there, I will take Stimpy in the car, just the two of us. We will stop in Albuquerque the first night and then on to Tucson the next day. Hopefully, by the end of October, it will all be done.
Stimpy is hanging in there. I am amazed at how she handles things. I worry about her weight though, she is so tiny. You can see here in this picture just how small she is by looking at the shoulders.
It really saddens me that this cancer is going to take her life. I have not forgiven Boehringer Ingelheim for the hell they have put us through these past 15 months. I have prepared some packages to send to some of their homes. I will be sending them to Marla Persky, the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim, and George Heidgerken, the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. These are the two who flew to Oklahoma City a few months back to discuss Stimpy. They kept apologizing for Boehringer Ingelheim treating me so disrespectfully. That is an understatement.
The packages will be simple. I am going to weigh them with plain paper to reflect Stimpy's weight, which is 5 pounds 2 ounces (!!!) I want them to physically be able to "hold" her in their hands so they can see how tiny she is. On the outside of the package, I will of course have Stimpy's picture and blog address with the message about vaccine associated sarcoma on it. Marla Persky tells me that these letters serve no purpose. They do serve a purpose, they spread the word about VAS and how horrible it is. They do not like having it thrust into their faces and having to deal with the reality of it. The pharmaceutical companies have basically blackmailed the federal government for protection against any liability by stating that unless they have these protections against liability, they will not manufacture vaccines. The government tells us that they need these protections in order to "move forward" in developing these vaccines that help all of mankind. It just goes to show that once again, in America, the more money you have to shove down the politicians throats, the more "rights" you have. Boehringer Ingelheim's PAC contributed money to the politician Tom Latham, the representative for Fort Dodge, Iowa, and coincidentally, Boehringer Ingelheim received a $3.2 million forgivable loan from the Iowa taxpayers so Boehringer Ingelheim could expand their plant there. Fort Dodge is the plant that manufactured the vaccine that is killing Stimpy. Boehringer Ingelheim purchased the Fort Dodge line of vaccines in September 2009. At that time, Fort Dodge had a "reimbursement program" to help cover the costs of this cancer for the victims of their product. Whe Boehringer Ingelheim purchased the vaccines, they kept the label, the name and product and to this date, they still do not disclose the risks of this cancer. Boehringer Ingelheim also kept the "reimbursement policy" in place because of their "humanitarian" concerns. I still remember the day I called them to report Stimpy's cancer. Their veterinarian, Dr. Stacy Martin-Beamer, was so cold when she talked to me. Before I even said anything, she told me about the "reimbursement policy" they had to help defray they costs and cats whose cancer showed up within the past three years were eligible. It was as though she was offering me $1500 for Stimpy's life with a "gee, we're sorry our product is going to kill your cat and put you through hell". Interestingly enough, Dr. Stacy Martin-Beamer also studied at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the very place where Stimpy and I lived for a month while she underwent radiation therapy.
This is a copy of the label on the vaccine that has caused Stimpy's cancer. It is pretty clear that Boehringer Ingelheim (or Fort Dodge) have no concern about disclosing the risks of this cancer. Why should they? They are in bed with the politicians so why should they care?
Stimpy seems to be slowing down these days. She sleeps alot and some times she does not even notice when I walk into the room. She is so tiny now that when she jumps up on the bed, I do not even feel it. I know what I am faced with in the upcoming days. I have been trying to prepare myself but the lump in my throat gets bigger as the days pass.
It is hard to write this, but I have started working on a little casket for Stimpy. I am putting all my love and all my skill into it. She will be cremated in a private cremation and her remains will be returned. The purpose of the casket is that I want something dignified for Stimpy when her tiny body is transported to the crematorium. The finality of even thinking about this is so devastating. I know if I waited until until she is gone or when I know she will be gone soon, I simply would not be able to even think about it. The image is hard to think about, but it is the reality of this cancer. It brings up the image of Rodney's Little Girl in her casket. It is something that so many of us face with this cancer.
(I'm sorry, I need to stop here, it is too painful to imagine. I will finish writing later today)
Last night I was speaking to my sister in Wyoming and I mentioned the little casket I am building for Stimpy, and we both starting crying. She lost a cat named Spot many years ago and she believes it was VAS related. Back then, VAS was not well known which goes to show we have a lot of work to do for educating people.
You all know about my battle with Boehringer Ingelheim because their vaccine is what caused Stimpy's cancer. It is obvious they do not care about Stimpy or any of our VAS cats. I stay on top of them weekly. You are all aware of the "Have we seen your cat lately" campaign by now. It was a campaign by Boehringer Ingelheim to encourage people to get their cats into the vet for vaccinations. They would like you to think it is out of concern for our cats but it all boils down to their profits.
In light of Stimpy's current condition, I have redesigned it to reflect the true meaning of this campaign. It speaks for itself.
I do not feel like writing much at the moment, still feeling pretty melancholy. Below is a copy of the letter that I am faxing to the legal departments at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, CT and St. Joseph, MO. The names and addresses were collected from the latest Federal Election Commission filing from Boehringer Ingelheim's PAC so it is public information. I try to do a weekly mailing to employees and associates of Boehringer Ingelheim to educate them about VAS. I have drafted a sample letter for them to send to these people to explain why they are getting these mailings. It is of course full of sarcasm but it rings true. One day I hope my name becomes so well known in the industry that they shake when they hear it. Too many of our cats have died from VAS.
Yesterday we took Stimpy into the oncologist. I wanted to make sure things looked good before we leave for Tucson. Her numbers were all good. She had a very slightly elevated white cell count, typical of the chemo, but nothing to be concerned about. Her weight was down and her tumor was larger but we knew that beforehand. Her kidney function was normal which is amazing for a 17 year old cat. Her liver and heart were good and the chest x-ray was clear. Damn this cancer, Stimpy would be a healthy cat if it was not for this cancer. It was another $300 vet bill. At this point, it does not even matter anymore. Like I said, we will continue her care until the very end, she deserves that. These pharmaceutical companies lie about the number of VAS cases so they can hide their shame and dirty little secret, and if that was the case, that the numbers are low, then they should willingly pay for the costs of the care involved when a cat is stricken with this cancer. It is so heartbreaking to read the stories of people who cannot afford the care. VAS does not make any distinctions though based on how much you can spend on your cat. We will probably reach the $40,000 mark by the time Stimpy is gone. I know we have extended her life comfortably by doing what we have been able to do for it. It has not been a matter of keeping her alive for my sake. She was given the same care that a human deserves.I am sure there will be those holier than thou types criticizing me for spending this much money on a cat, but it is 1) none of their business, it is not their money and 2) I have donated just as much to charities to help people and 3) it is none of their business!
This trip to Tucson today is going to be a whirlwind. The realtor has lined up a dozen homes to look at, all vacant, and the decision has to be made by the time we leave Saturday to return to OKC. So, checkbook in hand, the next few days will be spent looking at house after house. The realtor is a good friend so she has scoped out any flaws, made sure they had inspections and appraisals, so now the only thing left is deciding on one. Unless something really sways the decision, there are two houses in the running for top choices. I am so tired of the house in OKC. It is nothing but sad memories. Walking the grounds, all I can think about is Stimpy leaving her tracks. The house itself has become like a giant black cloud so I just want to sell it and return to Tucson. Living in OKC these past 3.5 years has been like purgatory. My whole psyche has changed just from knowing we are returning to Tucson. Hopefully, the move will be completed by the end of October. The house here will be listed after the move most likely. We just do not want to deal with people coming and going during this time. There will be the typical number of people who waste your time, those who just want to see what the house looks like. They can wait for the open house!
So, it is a short post today. Our plane leaves at 4:50 and it is a direct flight to Sky Harbor in Phoenix. I hate flying so I did not want to switch planes. It is a short, enjoyable drive to Tucson from Phoenix.
Here is a short clip of Stimpy. She likes to "scrap" her water before drinking. I have always wondered if she can see it. I use the fountain so it has some ripples in the water but I have to clean it daily because her paws drop debris (kitty litter) into the bowl. The poor thing sometimes loses her balance and has fallen face first into the water. I have set her feeding station up in the laundry room. She likes to hang out in there. I have a small bed set up for her that is just under the clothes that hang low. It gives her some security.
I will post more from Tucson. The animals are in good hands. A friend is taking care of them and she loves them. She started crying when she saw Stimpy and her tumor. Stimpy looks bigger than she is, she is all fur. I would hate to see her all wet, she would only be a few inches wide.
It is a done deal, we have found a house! We looked at several but the first one we looked out turned out to be the one. It has a nice large private walled courtyard off of the master bedroom which will be for Stimpy strictly. I will have to supervise her while she is outside the entire time because the house is up in the foothills and there are all kinds of wildlife, including birds of prey that could swoop down on her. It has a nice patch of grass too so I think she will enjoy it. There is another large walled in courtyard that will be suitable for the other ones. All together there are two acres. There are citrus trees, saguaro cactus, and your typical desert landscape. The house is designed in such a way that one side of it can be totally blocked off so Stimpy will have a nice large area to explore, about six times the size she has now. The others will have plenty of space too and they will not even know what is on the other side!
I love Tucson! I am so thrilled to be moving back. The flight here was horribly bumpy, exactly why I hate flying so much. The pilot seemed to pick every cloud bank he would find to fly through. I seriously thought about taking the Amtrak home and leave tomorrow. I may still. Tonight we are taking our friends out to dinner at one of our favorite places. It is hot here, 112 degrees when the plane landed, but it does not bother me at all. It's a dry heat! Last night, it was 100 at 9:00 PM but it did not feel like it at all. OKC is so humid I just cannot stand it. I have missed the sunsets too. Wow, I am just so estatic!
Seeing this sign on the drive from Phoenix made my heart leap! We are really back!
Today, we stopped to take a break and discuss the houses we had seen. We went to a place that has a great outdoor patio. I just wanted something to drink and I love ice in my drinks so I asked for a cup of ice. This is what the guy gave me...a cup that was 2" high! I started laughing so hard that I had to walk away and find a table. When my friends came up to me they asked why I walked away and I showed them the cup. Needless to say, the heat melted that small cup of ice very promptly!
I call the person taking care of the animals in OKC twice a day. Everyone is doing fine. I did not sleep last night because I am so worried about Stimpy. Tomorrow I am stopping by her old veterinarian here and touch bases and find an oncologist referral. She is such a wonderful veterinarian. She has been so caring and wonderful from day one with Stimpy's cancer.
Tonight is dinner with the old neighbors. I have been trying to get them to give me a picture of Stimpy when she was a kitten. I will ask them again. I do not know if they know how important that is to me, to have a picture of her when she was a kitten. She was born in Los Angeles but she spent most of her life here in Tucson so I am so glad we are bringing her home. It is funny, when we were looking at houses today, my main thoughts were about her, and how well she could get around and how much space she will have. I know she will love the courtyard and grassy area. This house is all on a single level, typical of Tucson homes. It is a mud brick adobe, and typical of Tucson architecture.
Tomorrow I think we will go to Bisbee and Tombstone. We have to sign the papers but that is first thing in the morning so the whole day will be open. The realtor was wonderful, she had everything in order and things have been flawless so far. Lets hope the move goes the same way.
I will post more later, Paws out!
6008 N. Mattox Rd
Kansas City, MO 64151
George is the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. If he gets enough letters at home about them killing our cats, perhaps they will take us more seriously. Marla Persky is the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield.
190 George Washington Hwy
Ridgefield, CT 06877-1115
Marla tells me these letters serve no purpose and I am sure she would like me to believe that. I will end this journal entry with some pictures of Stimpy. I take pictures of her every day. Soon, they will be all I have of her as far as being able to see her every day. I am going to miss her so much. I cannot sugar coat these journal entries. She is dying from this cancer and we all know when it gets to this stage just how quickly that comes about. I hate Boehringer Ingelheim for what they have done to her. I will continue this journal in honor of Stimpy, and it will serve to educate others about VAS.
Wednesday August 31, 2011 8:36 AM
This emotional roller coaster I am on is just overwhelming. There was the elation of moving back to Tucson, only to come home and find that Stimpy's tumor is larger and the discovery of another lump. Today, it is even larger, about the diameter of a quarter and it protrudes about an inch. It is so tight against her skin now that I am sure it will rupture soon. I just called the surgery center here to talk about my options as far as caring for the wound and easing her pain and I couldn't even talk, I was so choked up in tears.
I hate living in this house so much now. I just want to take Stimpy back to Tucson and let her walk around in the desert again.I hate for her to die in a place I despise so much. Last night I did not sleep at all. Stimpy seemed so melancholy. She just laid there on my arm. My arm was killing me from the rotator cuff injury but I did not want to move her. She just laid there for hours. I really thought she would die last night, People tell you that you will "know" when it is time but I just cannot deal with that reality of making that appointment for death. I just cannot.
I'm sorry the pictures are so fuzzy. The lighting was bad and I just had my cell phone camera handy.
I just do not know how I am going to deal with this. I have never felt such heartache before. How I have managed to live to be 45 years old without ever losing any close loved one is amazing to me and now it is going to be Stimpy, my first pet, one of the loves of my life. She will take a part of me when she is gone.
Here is the tumor. I can hardly bare to look at it.
She will be 17 years old.
Today is Stimpy's 17th Birthday! That is 85 in human years.
This is a great milestone for us. I needed something to look forward to in light of her current condition and I was hoping so much that she would live to reach her 17th birthday.
My beautiful Stimpy is 17 today. I know that albacore is not the best for cats but at this point, she can have whatever she wants. That is the first thing that I gave her when we first met. We were outside enjoying a beautiful Tucson sunset and this little dusty gray ball of fur came up to us and said "Feed Me!"
That's all I had in the cabinet that she would eat, so her first meal with us was albacore tuna.
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y S T I M P Y !
I have not posted for a while. I am feeling so overwhelmed by everything but especially from Stimpy's tumor starting to break down. It is growing and it is starting to break down so it will soon ulcerate. That will start a whole new chapter in this journey. I will have to tend to it daily to keep it clean. It is going to be so difficult looking at it but I know I will be able to take care of her. I think my biggest fear is that I will caused her some pain while doing it.
I spoke to her oncologist about wound care and pain management. We are going to try a pain medicine that isn't quite as draining on her like morphine is. I will give her one today to see how it works for her. She is still on the mirtazipine and prednisone. I hate this. Poor Stimpy, this is what it has come to, taking pills every day.
She still gets around and does what she usually does. I still see that spark in her eye when I ask her if she wants some food. She hops up and seeing her do that little walk/run trot is so cute.
Tomorrow I leave for Tucson. I am so worried about being away from her. I worry about how large the tumor will be when I return and of course, worried that she could pass away. I do not think that will happen but cats are notorious for doing things on their own terms. She will be in good hands and if anything changes, I am on that plane immediately.
I am driving with a friend. We are going to take a truckload of things that we do not want the movers to handle. We will spend the first night in Albuquerque and then onto Tucson the next day. I was going to fly home on Wednesday but I pushed all the appointments at the house up to Monday and I will fly home on Tuesday. I tried to get the appointments for Saturday but no one wants to work on weekends it seems. My friend will fly home on Sunday but that gives us Saturday to show him Tucson. He has never been further west than Amarillo or further east than Oklahoma so it will be a new adventure for him. I want to get a picture of him next to a giant saguaro cactus so he can show his daughters how amazing they are. I was going to route him through Los Angeles on the way back so he could at least see the Pacific Ocean but it would have been a 12 hour flight day for him and no one should have to spend that much time in airports unless you are traveling overseas. As it is, he will fly over the Grand Canyon, some spectacular in itself and also get to see some Denver. Hopefully it will not be a cloudy day. I made sure I got him window seats so he could enjoy it as much as possible. Me, I head straight for the exit row. I hate flying with a passion! How I ever managed to spend 14 hours on a plane from LAX to Auckland, New Zealand is beyond me but I did.
I think Stimpy will hang in there for a few more months. I would really like to take her back to Tucson with me. She loved it there and I would love to see her outside in the courtyard just enjoying the cool grass. I have decided to start my business again once I return to Tucson but I will wait until after Stimpy is gone. I want to spend as much time as possible with her. A lot of my old customers know that I am returning to Tucson and they are thrilled so I already have an established clientele. One particular lady has become a good friend. When we first met, she was somewhat distant from me. She had become so accustomed to having being work for her that you are simply the help. They have an enourmous house south of Tucson near the Mexico border, 15,000 square feet! It took me over a year before I even knew it had three living rooms! They also have a "weekend" home in Tucson that is *only* 7,000 square feet. We have become such good friends, going to dinner, attending family events with them, and we have stayed in touch the entire time that I have been away from Tucson. We talk on the phone every week. It will be good to go home. I have really missed Tucson.
The old neighborhood is quite different from the new one. The old one was in the most historic section of Tucson. It was an old barrio and for years it was very run down. Then, people decided it was a cool place to live and prices shot up quickly. I loved it, it was such a colorful neighborhood. It was where we met Stimpy too. I will go back there and visit the old house and stop by and pause at the corner of the house where I gave her the first can of albacore tuna.It will be a melancholy experience. Here are some pictures, all from the neighborhood.
This is typical of some of the houses in the barrio. Painted bright colors and they are close together. Some of them are the old adobes with 20" thick walls!
This is the lobby of the Hotel Congress. This is the hotel where John Dilliger was captured in 1934. They have Dillinger Days every year and it is a lot of fun. Poeple dress up, they have reinactments and old cars. Oklahoma City is SO boring compared to Tucson!
This is an area called La Placita downtown. There are a bunch of small shops and coffee houses. Once a week, they play a classic movie out on the lawn and people come from all over Tucson and hang out and watch the movie and enjoy the evening. I love the colors in Tucson! I guess when you live in the desert, it is how you compensate for the arid landscape. And finally, there are the magnificent saguaro cactus! They only grow naturally in a small area and Tucson is lucky enough to be one of them.
These cactus are 100 years old when they get their first arm. When you transplant them (very carefully!) you have to make sure they are facing the exact same position that they were in originally. We have some of these in the yard at the new house.
This is going to be a very busy day. We have to go pick up the truck and start loading. We will leave tomorrow morning around 7:00 AM.
It really gets difficult writing in this journal at times. It brings tears to my eyes because I know it will be almost impossible for me to go back and read some of it when Stimpy is gone. I will continue it though in Stimpy's memory because it is important to share these stories so hopefully, the word will spread about VAS and fewer people will have to go through what I have with Stimpy. I will continue fighting the pharmaceutical companies for changes so I know I have a long road ahead of me. I will try and post some things while in Tucson. I need to do some updating on the new VAS website. Check it out if you have not already. It is full of very helpful information. It was created for our VAS support group as a portal for people who come looking for answers.
It has been wonderful being back in Tucson. I check in on Stimpy several times a day and she is doing fine. That was the biggest worry I had about coming here but I had to make the trip. We arrived in Tucson with the 26' U-Haul truck at a reasonable hour so we were able to get it unloaded. We were exhausted though by the time it was empty.
I am so happy to be home. The house is wonderful. There is going to be some wonderful room for Stimpy to explore away from the others and she will have her own courtyard. The grass is looking good there but it is still coming up in the larger courtyard. My friend Roger drove out to Tucson with me. He has not explored much outside of Oklahoma so it was a real treat for him. He now wants to move here. We went out to the Desert Museum yesterday and Saguaro National Forest and he was blown away. We were out walking on a secluded trail and just three feet in front of us, a rattlesnake crossed in front of us. Roger went walking behind it to film it! Roger also was touching the cactus. I do not think this is a suitable environment for Roger. Too many things that bite, sting and stick here and he doesn't seem to understand that you keep your distance from these things! Anyway, it is wonderful to be back here. Roger flew back to Oklahoma City this morning since he has to return to work, and I fly home on Tuesday. The locksmith and alarm people are coming tomorrow.
Stimpy's tumor was bleeding a little the other day but has stopped thankfully. I am so sad that she had to go through this. I stopped by our old house and it was kind of melancholy to stand on the corner where I gave her that first can of albacore tuna. I stopped and chatted with our old neighbors and caught up. One neighbor who moved from Tucson to go work for Dreamworks in California was back so we chatted. He flies home on the weekends and returns to California on Sundays. Not something I would do. Years ago, I found their cat who had died, by a neighbors koi pond. I did know whose cat it was so I printed up a bunch of fliers and posted them on doors and posts in a four block radius so I could let the owner know about their cat. Their house was the last one I posted a flier on (of course) and they were at the door within 10 minutes and picked up Hobo. He told me that he and his wife still talk about that.
I have taken a lot of pictures. Anyone interested can check them out in Photobucket. I set up a Tucson album. There are pictures of the house, the magnificent saguaro cactus, the wildlife around here. I just cannot believe it is really happening. It will be a little creepy in the house alone tonight. Tucson has a low light ordinance so there are no street lights in our neighborhood. The citizens decided they did not want to obstruct the fantastic night sky with bright lights so it is a little dark, especially in the foothills. While out at the Desert Museum I came across a passion flower in bloom. It was magnificent. It is the first time I have ever seen one here so it was a real treat.
I am not sure what I will do today, just kick back I guess and do some organizing at the house. I am having dinner with an old neighbor tonight at one of our favorite restaurants. I am anxious to get back to OKC and get things wrapped up so we can get this move over with and get Stimpy out here so she can explore her new home. I did not realize how many saguaro cactus we had in our yard but I am thrilled. I love them. They are simply stunning. Here's a few pics with Roger standing next to them to give you an idea of size. He is 5'9" and when these get their first arm, they are usually about 100 years old. It makes living in Tucson so much more enjoyable.
You really should not be hugging these things like this!
After we left the Desert Museum, we went out to San Xavier Mission. It is an old white church south of Tucson that was built in the 1700's. It is the most photographed place in Tucson. They finally finished the restoration of it so it was the first time I have seen it without the scaffolding covering the outside.
I probably will not be posting much more before I return home. There is no Internet connection at the house yet so I have to do this at a coffee shop. I think they make these seats this hard on purpose!
If you want to see the other pictures I have taken here, you can find them here:
Tuesday October 11, 2011 9:52 PM
It has been some time since I have posted in the journal. It has not been easy, this past month. I had a meltdown over Stimpy this week and I kept breaking down in tears. All the events of these past 18 months flooded back to me and it overwhelmed me. It started when we took Stimpy into the oncologist to discuss wound care and hearing her say that we are near the end of this journey was too much to bear. Seeing this ugly tumor progress really takes its toll on your emotional state.
Today is my birthday. I was asked what I wanted for my birthday and all I want is for Stimpy to be healthy but I know that is not going to happen. I thought, "what if Stimpy dies today, how horrible that would be". I then realized that would be a gift. For her to pass peacefully at home with me, not having to make that horrible appointment with death when you inject a fluid into your beloved pet to end their life. I simply am not brave enough to do that.
As many of you know, the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, George Heidgerken, and the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim USA, Marla Persky, flew to Oklahoma City this past May to discuss Stimpy. Boehringer Ingelheim acted so dispicably towards me up until the time I mailed a letter to the home of George Heidgerken in Kansas City, MO. Every letter, every phone call, was ignored by them. It was only AFTER the letter was mailed to George Heidgerken's home did they finally decide that they needed to address this issue.
All the pharmaceutical companies pretty much act the same way towards VAS victims. They simply do not care about the pain our cats go through and the emotional pain we go through as caregivers. When George and Marla were here, they apologized for ignoring me and admitted it was the wrong thing to do, but they still stopped short of accepting any responsibility for Stimpy's cancer. George told us that Boehringer Ingelheim was working on drugs that would improve the end of life for our pets, their "golden years". This is Stimpy's end of life, her golden years, and she lays around with a huge ugly tumor protruding from the area where her leg used to be, a tumor that was caused by Boehringer Ingelheim's Rabvac 3TF product. In a desperate attempt to finally get rid of me, Marla sent me a letter stating that Boehringer Ingelheim was not responsible for Stimpy's cancer, rather Pfizer was! This was after they flew here, spent a lot of money and since their little charade did not work with me, they want to wash their hands of me. The letter was somewhat comical. I sometimes have that ability to fluster people and make them throw their hands up in exasperation. It makes them look ridiculous to deny any liability after they had already accepted responsibility for Stimpy and paid all that money. They lied to me and made promises to change the way they handle things but I have learned from others that they pretty much treat VAS victims in the same manner. Noted, they do not ignore you unless you demand they pay for ALL the costs associated with the devastation their vaccines cause. As long as you are willing to accept their paltry $1500 payment, it is worth it to them to pay it so you will go away. I was a little more of a challenge for them since the money was never the issue. Spending nearly $40,000 on Stimpy's care in the past 18 months was never the issue. Making them accept the damage they do to all VAS cats and changing their disclosure protocols is what I want from Boehringer Ingelheim and the other pharms.
I sent a copy of this letter to Pfizer this week and it will be interesting to see how they feel about Boehringer Ingelheim trying to pass the responsibility for a Boehringer Ingelheim product onto them. I have repeatedly asked Marla and Michael Herrmann (the attorney for Boehringer Ingelheim in St Joseph, Missouri) to show me an agreement they have with Fort Dodge that releases them of any liability after they purchased the product and of course they cannot. Unless Marla and Michael skipped that day in law school, they certainly know that liability for a product does not disappear just because the product is sold.
George and Marla made promises to me while here in Oklahoma City that they were going to work on ways to educate veterinarians and consumers about VAS. They have a website about cat health. It speaks for itself when you peruse the website and not a single mention is made about Vaccine Associated Sarcoma. Why should they? It is their dirty little secret and since they have blackmailed the US government into giving them protection against any liability, why should they?
Here is one of the personal notes that I received from George Heidgerken following their meeting here in Oklahoma City. They did send a check to Kobi's Fund in the amount of $10,000 and Marla sent me a letter promising another $10,000 over the next two years. Still, in all their shallow words, they still do not want to accept what their product has done to Stimpy, or any victim of their vaccines. Their label has not changed so apparently the program to educate consumers and veterinarians has not yet been implemented. I will not hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
The label on the Rabvac 3TF, the vaccine that is taking Stimpy's life from her:
The other day when I had the meltdown after returning from the oncologists office, I sent George and Marla this letter to their homes via FedEx. They will ignore it of course but I wanted them to know what a dark day it was for me.The pictures were included in the letter.
October 4, 2011
Today we took Stimpy into her oncologist for what was very likely her last visit there. The culmination of the events of these past 17 months finally came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks.
We took Stimpy in to discuss wound care. Her tumor has started to ulcerate and I needed to know how to take care of it properly. Andy already knew of course but I did not. The room was like a morgue. It had a cold steel table and the colors looked institutional. Stimpy was weighed and is now about ½ the weight she was when this all started. We had her nails clipped because she snags them on the bedspread as she hobbles across it. She looked defeated as she sat there in her crate.
Hearing the oncologist say that we are nearing the end of the journey was too much to bear. Stimpy has been the love of my life since she first walked up to us as we stood outside the house in Tucson and she looked up at us and meowed. She was dusty and scruffy looking and all I had to give her was a can of albacore tuna. She gladly accepted it and ate the entire can. She would come by every day looking for more so we started stocking the cabinet with Fancy Feast. By the time we discovered she was our neighbors cat, she had already made her choice. They finally gave her to us because she spent all of her time in our yard. It really was one of the happiest days of my life.
I can still remember the time we took her into the veterinarian. We thought we were doing the right thing for her by having her vaccinated. What a terrible ironic fate awaited us. The very first vaccine we gave her turned out to be her death sentence. I always felt guilty that we did not take her in sooner but my work kept me busy and of course Andy being the director at Tucson Heart Hospital kept him constantly busy.
Today I asked the veterinarian if we could possibly compound her medicines so they would be easier to administer. Stimpy really puts up a fight and I am always afraid we will hurt her tumor. We were told the tramidol and prednisone are very bitter and she did not think it was a good idea. How ironic that Stimpy is dying from something created by the pharmaceutical companies and she now has to take medicines created by the pharmaceutical companies to ease her pain. You profit in all aspects of this terrible cancer.
Stimpy’s tumor is hard to look at. It is now the size of a small egg. Looking at this horrible ugly mass, knowing it is going to open up and ooze all over the bed sheets is incredibly hard to bear. Seeing Stimpy turn around and around trying to get comfortable, confused about how to lie down so she does not rest on her tumor, it truly does make the heart break.
I finally collapsed from all the strain today when we got home. All I could think about was the events of the past 17 months. Living in a hotel room with Stimpy for a month, getting up and taking her into the veterinarian school every morning for radiation therapy, seeing her play with the fluffy pink ball in the hotel room (which was the last time I ever saw her play so freely), taking her into the surgery center last November when a new lump appeared, thinking I was taking her in for a simple biopsy, but instead I walked out of that office agonizing over the decision that I had just made to have her leg amputated. I still see her on the dining table a month later, jumping to the floor on Christmas day. I see her as we went out for our daily walks on the grounds and how much she loved it by the greenhouse. I cannot take her out for walks now because I have to worry about her wound. I cannot let infection set in.
I went through the whole range of emotions today. I have never felt such rage as I did today. I was wishing that you, Marla, Michael, Martin…would all have to feel the pain that I was feeling. Stimpy is just a cat to you. She is a part of my soul, much like the members of your family are a part of your soul. Just imagine the pain you would be feeling if this was happening to a member of your family. That is exactly what I am feeling right now. I would do anything to take away Stimpy’s pain. I am not brave enough to make that appointment with death, taking her into a cold office, holding her in my arms as they inject her with a liquid that will make her heart stop while I am holding her in my arms. I cannot bear the thought of her looking up at me with those beautiful eyes as I let the veterinarian take the last remaining breaths in her tiny body. They say it is the last act of love we can give our pets. To me, it is a betrayal and something I cannot bear to live with, especially after all we have been through together.
Marla once wrote to me that Boehringer Ingelheim is not responsible for Stimpy’s care. She stated that since Boehringer Ingelheim did not own the product at the time of Stimpy’s vaccination, you were not responsible. Marla is not a stupid woman. She knows that liability does not go away when a product is sold. I have asked her and Michael to show me an agreement between Boehringer Ingelheim and Fort Dodge that would release you of any responsibility for the product once it was acquired by BIVI and I have never been provided with any.
Boehringer Ingelheim accepted responsibility for Stimpy on the very first day I called your company and spoke to Dr. Stacy Martin. According to your own “rules” you offered a paltry reimbursement of $1500 when the vaccination was within a three year window. You accepted responsibility for Stimpy when you and Marla flew to Oklahoma City to discuss Stimpy. Whether you like it or not, Stimpy IS your responsibility. Your product has caused this horrible cancer and you have acknowledged that already. You have simply refused to accept the physical part of your responsibility. You should have saved your breath and money and not visited Oklahoma City if all you were going to do is say “I’m sorry we ignored you”.
You sealed your fate with me when you chose to ignore me for a year. Letter after letter went unanswered. You let me agonize over Stimpy’s cancer and chose to act inhumanely towards me and her. You trivialized DEATH. Isn’t acting humane and being concerned about mankind something all the pharmaceutical companies lie to the world about? You state yourself in your mission statement about the human – animal bond. You have no idea what that even means. If you did you would not have treated me in the manner that you did. You would understand just what Stimpy means to me and how she is bonded to my soul. You are now ripping away a large part of my soul.
I wonder, George, do you teach your children about doing the right thing? Do you teach them morals, and about being ethically responsible for their actions? Have you told them how I am just some deranged person who is whining over a cat? How do you explain to them that your company manufactures vaccines that cause vaccine associated sarcoma in cats, yet you do not do the morally right thing by disclosing this to the consumer? Do you tell them how the big pharmaceutical companies have basically blackmailed the US government into protections against any liability for the death and destruction that your products cause? Do you teach them that it is OK to act unethically at your job as long as it makes you successful? Do you tell them it is OK that these cats are dying from VAS, after all it is a “rare” form of cancer and only a few cats draw this unlucky card? Do you tell them the pain and suffering the cats and their care givers go through is all OK because you are the good guys, helping out humanity with these vaccines? Studies after study has proven we over vaccinate our cats. Even Boehringer Ingelheim’s “Have we seen your cat lately?” campaign was an underhanded way of getting pet owners into the door of the veterinarians so you could increase your profits.
Stimpy is not just a cat. She is a cat who will be remembered by anyone ever touched with VAS. I will never let her memory die. I have not posted in the journal for some time because I am too heartbroken. I have written down my thoughts though and someday I will share them with Stimpy’s readers. She will be remembered because she has made a lasting impression in this fight against VAS. Someone once wrote to me and told me that “there are many VAS cats, but Stimpy is one of those who you feel like you know personally and will be touched when she is gone”.
I thought about driving up to St Joseph and personally delivering this to you. It is only a six hour drive from Oklahoma City but I do not think I would have the strength. I would have to leave Stimpy alone for 12 hours and you simply are not worth the effort.
This is not the “farewell, I am defeated” letter. No, I’m afraid not. Stimpy is dying and whether you believe it or not, you are responsible for her death, just like the blood of so many cats are on your hands and the other pharmaceutical CEO’s. You are all in a position to make changes, act responsibly and humanely and yet you all treat this like it is not important. You can make promises like you did when you were here in Oklahoma City, but as long as you deny any responsibility for all the cats you are killing with your vaccines, they are nothing but empty words.
You will continue to ignore me, I am certain. It does not discourage me. I see the number of hits jump on the journal every time I do a mailing so I know they serve a purpose. Does it bother you to act so hypocritically? Does it bother you how Boehringer Ingelheim has antagonized me over the past 17 months? You probably think that is an ironic statement, but I want to remind you that your actions have prompted my reactions.
Today was one of the darkest days of my life. I just wanted you to know that.
So, that is pretty much how my week has gone. The excitement over moving to Tucson has been diminished a great deal because of all this happening with Stimpy. I hope she makes it back to Tucson with us. She really loved it there and I know she would love hanging out in the courtyard in the grass. I want her last days to be good ones. I take some comfort in the fact that she is 17 years old and I know I have done everything I can for her. I know she would have died a while ago had I not made the decisions for her that I have these past 18 months. I regret none of it. It is amazing how this little 5 pound ball of fur has affected me so much. When I pet her, I feel her bones through her beautiful thick fur. She is less than half the weight that she was when this all began.
George and Marla have made it very clear that they do not care about our VAS cats. They are corporate zombies and their goal is making Boehringer Ingelheim wealthier. The lives of our cats have brought many great things for them. Wealth, comfortable homes (George lives in a house that is over 9000 sf in Kansas City, Missouri, Marla lives on a comfortable estate in Ridgefield). George can afford to send his children to a private school that costs over $20,000 per student. It's nice to know that the lives of our cats have brought happiness to some people (insert sarcastic face here). It is clear ethics do not play a role in the corporate world of Boehringer Ingelheim. Only money does.
If any of you have been the victims of Boehringer Ingelheim or simply want to express your feelings about how they treat our cats, I would encourage you to write to them at their homes. I have found that it is a waste of time sending it to the office. Who knows who gets ahold of it before it reaches their desk, if ever. Tell them Stimpy sent you!
Ironically, Boehringer Ingelheim posted this on their Facebook profile today:
Perhaps they have decided to turn over a new leaf. If one is to believe what they write, we have nothing to worry about. They will be sharing information any day now about the risks of vaccine associated sarcoma. I wouldn't hold your breath for it though.
So, as I prepare for this upcoming trip to Tucson, I will be driving all the animals except Stimpy to Tucson. A friend is going with me and we will leave early and drive straight through. It is about a 13 hour drive including stops. A friend in Tucson will take care of the animals at the house and we will return to Oklahoma City the day after arriving in Tucson. The moving truck comes on the 27th and after that is loaded, Stimpy and I will travel in the FJ and stop in Albuquerque the first night and arrive in Tucson the following day. I do not want to stress her out with an all day drive. By the end of October, we will be back in Tucson. There is something about Tucson that calms me. I hope it still has that same affect on me as I will be needing it! Paws out.