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Drama, Drama, DRAMA!!!!

October 14, 2010  8:58 PM

Like it says, there is too much drama around here! The good part is that my oncologist called yesterday and said my tests were normal and it did not look like I had any obstructions or intestinal problems from the radiation. This new med seems to be helping but it makes me feel pretty goofy! Out of the blue I will just meow loudly and I do not even know why.

Kevin had sent a request to to office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests and as usual with the government, they are backlogged and they said it will most likely take more than the 20 days, plus the 10 extra days allowed, to get the information. Basically they said "Don't hold your breath" but Kevin will contact them again in 30 days if he has not received it. Under the Freedom of Information Act, he asked for the following from them:

1) ALL reported cases of Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS) caused by injection site vaccinations. I would like the name of the vaccination, manufacturer and lot number and dates.
 
2) ALL reported cases of injection site reactions, including the same information as above in #1.
 
3) ALL studies and findings submitted by the pharmaceutical manufacturers in regards to injection site reactions, specifically but not limited to, studies of Vaccine Associated Sarcoma.
 
4) ALL correspondence from Boehringer Ingelheim and Ft. Dodge Pharmaceuticals relating to any of their findings about injection site reactions, specifically but not limited to Vaccine Associated Sarcoma.
 
5) Any and all studies relating to Ft. Dodge Rabvac 3TF rabies vaccination. Ft. Dodge is now a division of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.
 
Date ranges goes back as far as possible.

So, it will probably fill a huge box but Kevin is on a mission. These big pharms are selling a product that is killing cats and they are doing nothing to change things. They've messed with the wrong kitty!

The Smudge, the cat we met in Columbia, is now a Rad Grad too! He completed his radiation therapy yesterday so now he is a fellow alum. I heard he did not like the vet at the end either but that is to be expected. He had a little more complicated cancer going on than I did and he had to do 20 fractions and I only had 18. At least his caregivers live in Columbia and they did not have to live in a hotel room for a month. I hope I never have to do that again. Congratulations Smudge!

 

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Baloo and Chula were once again in trouble today. First it started off that the people were here removing the old chain link fence and installing a wrought iron fence. The left a big gaping hole in the fence and when Kevin came home at 8:00 PM, they were both gone. He looked all over for them but trying to find two dogs on seven acres, at night, and one of the dogs is pitch black, not an easy task. So, he hopped in the car and drove down to the gate and while he was securing the gap, he heard the dogs barking ferociously. He drove over to the corner and found Baloo and Chula had cornered an armadillo! Have you ever seen an armadillo? They have got to be one of the funniest looking animals alive. The armadillo got the better of them and Chula has some battle wounds. Kevin was not happy. He loaded the two into the car and drove them back up to the house and Chula took off down the hill again after the armadillo. Baloo got locked into the greenhouse and once again, Kevin had to drive down to the gate to round up Chula. This time she did not get away. Instead, she is now in the dog house. Baloo is in the dog house too but unfortunately he is banished to the living room and he is sleeping on his, er, I mean MY bed. These dogs are always in trouble.They are not as pleasant and easy going as I am.

Kevin ran into Dana today at Panera Bread. Dana is a good person. She has taken care of me a few times. She and her husband Chris run the Real Rescue and they have helped in the rescues and rehoming of some cats. She is the one who found Mr. Butters in the storage shed when he got locked in there the day Kevin and I left for Columbia. She and Chris rescued him and took him back to their place and they took care of him and Mr. Baloo. One day Kevin wants to volunteer there and help build some shelters and play areas for rescue cats. Too many cats and not enough homes. I am lucky to be in a home where I get all the food and care I need as well as Mr. Butters, Ms. Privet and Ms. Scarlett. I just hope no more cats show up!

That's about all for now. Paws out!

Farewell Johanna Blue

October 21, 2010  9:50 PM

It is another sad day. Johanna Blue lost her battle to VAS. We are sorry Joanne, for your loss. Every time we learn of another cat losing his or her battle to VAS, it makes you sad, it makes you angry, and it makes you feel so helpless and guilty. Our caregivers give us these vaccinations with the thought that they are trying to help us. Who knew that when we got that shot, it was that ONE cancerous shot that would eventually cost us out lives.

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                JOHANNA BLUE
                            Born June 30, 2001
             Lost her battle to VAS October 21, 2010

A poem, written by Johanna Blue's best friend, Joanne. It is hard to read, it brings tears to your eyes.

My Johanna

You came in a downpour of rain,
Kissing the grassy blades upon which you lay.
Alone, frightened, your tiny mewl
Christened the summer day, brought you to my arms,
Nestled you deep within my heart,
Forever there to stay.

How often you danced before me,
Humming your mystic song--
Your mouth so like a small brown heart--
Entreating me to leave you never long.
And I would not leave my angel,
I would never walk away.

I would hold to you forever,
Companion to my soul most true—
My breath, my heartbeat, my love.
I cannot conceive a world without you,
A world without color, without music,
Only night and never day.

How often would I press my face,
Into the silk of your shining fur,
And breathe the sweet scent of all that is you,
And hear the soft thrumming of your purr?
Were the choosing mine, I would never let you go.
Tears stream down my face as I pray.

You came in a downpour of rain,
And soon you will leave in the same,
Blinding my eyes, choking off my breath,
Tearing out my heart as I cry out your name,
Johanna, don't leave me, my precious, my love!
Please, Johanna…stay.

I was going to write some more in my journal tonight but really, I am too sad. I will write more later. RIP Johanna Blue.

Some updates


November 4, 2010  10:17 PM

There is a lot going on around here. There are no new members of the family but Scarlett, Butters and Privet are doing well and seem to cohabitat well. Butters has to be supervised and quarantined at times because of his FLV + status. Today Privet and Scarlett was fixated on something in the yard and when I looked to see what had garnered their interest, it turns out there were two strange dogs in the yard. At first, I thought they were dead and someone had dumped them there. They did not respond to noise but as I approached them, they lifted their heads. It turns out it was two stray pit bulls. I ran them off because that was the last thing I wanted on the property. I knew if I called the Oklahoma City animal control it would be a waste of time. Our tax dollars apparently do not stretch far when it comes to stray dogs.

I have not received the requested information from the USDA yet in regards to VAS. I used the Freedom of Information Act to request it and all I have received so far has been a letter telling me they are behind. I have posted another letter to them just to keep on top of them. I also contacted the USDA office here and asked for assistance on any rulings that may pertain to the pharmaceutical companies and their negligence and being allowed to sell a product that causes cancer and kills cats. I asked our neighbor for some contacts as well. She was a state Senator for two terms and she said she would get me some names.

I sent Boehringer Ingelheim another certified letter. This time it was directed at their legal department and I pasted a copy of the Pet Cemetary picture on the envelope. I am researching actually posting a billboard in the St Joseph Missouri area with the same picture on it. I will have to admit, after sending it, I almost wished that I had not sent it. Why? Not because I thought it was a stupid thing to do, but later that day, we noticed some small lumps in Stimpy's incision area. Fear set in that the cancer has returned. I was sorry I sent it because if indeed Stimpy is stricken with cancer again, the only thing I want from Boehringer Ingelheim is their destruction. Not in a physical sense, but I want those SOB's to be exposed and embarassed by what they do and I want them to pay dearly. I know Stimpy will die someday, I just pray it is not from this cancer. I will be so devastated when it is time to say goodbye to Stimpy. She has taught me a lot about love. I cannot even put into words how much I love Stimpy. I will not let Stimpy's illness be in vain. I will not let the month we spent in Columbia be in vain. Something positive WILL come from this, it is the only way I can heal from this. I know it sounds odd, but that month I spent in Columbia with Stimpy was really a happy time. I was happy because I knew I was doing everything I could for Stimpy. My devotion to her was undeniable. My love for her was so intense.

When I look over at Stimpy, she still looks bright and happy. She loves her food, and she has a good appetite. The mertazapine has helped her nausea. Tomorrow we take her into the oncologist again. We will probably have to do another CT scan and the doctor said something about aspirating (?sp?) the lumps to see if they are cancerous. I will not be able to sleep tonight. I think about losing that time with Stimpy. I need to go home and visit my mother, but I hate to leave Stimpy and lose that time with her. I am not sure I will travel to Tucson in February for the Gem and Mineral Show, a show I have gone to for 25 straight years now, because I do not want to lose that time with Stimpy. During the day, when I am working on the house, I think about Stimpy and losing that time with her. Damn, it can drive you mad. I just do not know how I will handle this.

I know Privet, Butters and Scarlett have come into my life to help me deal with this but Stimpy will never be replaced. She is my first pet and no pet will ever be able to replace her. Privet is wonderful in that she is so curious. When I am doing work, even when it is loud, she comes and sits by me and watches what I am doing, often getting in the way. Yesterday I was laying the tile in the new walk in shower and she sat right on top of the area where I was trying to make a template. Today, when I was trying to place a floor medallion in the entry with the new wood floors, she sat right down on the medallion and did not want to move. She is so sweet.

Scarlett is still a little skiddish but a real sweetheart. She has such a tiny meow but she loves being picked up and stroked. She purrs immediately. Butters is a little imp so you have to watch him all the time. Butter's has such a soft purr that you usually cannot hear it. He was obviously weaned too early because every time you pick him up, he tries to nurse on your shirt and soaks it if you allow him.

I am rambling. It helps me to not think about tomorrow. I need to prepare myself for bad news if it is bad news. Where do we go from here? I do not think I can put Stimpy through radiation again. I would gladly spend the money again if it would help her but I think putting her through another 18-20 fractions, having to be put under every day, may be too hard on her little body.

I will write more tomorrow. I am not sure how long the test results will take but we'll see.


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MY SWEET PRECIOUS STIMPY! I hope you will always be as peaceful as you are here.

Rough Day...


November 5, 2010  7:15 PM


Today was a long, rough, depressing day. It is good I was concentrating on doing the new wood flooring because I needed something that required a lot of concentration in order to keep my mind off of Stimpy's appointment with the oncologist. Poor Stimpy threw up twice this morning and had some diarrhea. I think it is because of the milk I gave her last night. She is so aggressive when you are eating cereal. I usually use skim but last night it was low fat. She will sit on the arm of the chair and each time I lift the spoon to my mouth she will reach over and pull the spoon over to her mouth. It is kind of cute. I usally give her what is left in the bowl. I think the low fat upset her stomach. I gave her the Pepcid with her breakfast and I waited until noon to give her the mertazapine. I took her in at 1:30. The doctor aspirated the three lumps. For now, she said that there are no cancerous cells and that they are not foliating. Still she is concerned that these lumps are there. She suggested a CT scan so it can be sent to Mizzou to see if it is scar tissue of if the evil cancer has returned. I immediately called the surgery center and scheduled Stimpy for a CT on Monday. The lady on the phone knew who I was when I told her I needed a CT scan to see if the VAS had returned. When I told her my name, she said she thought it was me but was hoping it was someone else. She said she was sorry. I nearly broke down and cried at the oncologists office and nearly did the same when I was on the phone scheduling the CT scan. I told the oncologist I did not care how much it cost, I would do whatever I could to help Stimpy, even if that meant taking another 30 days off to take her back to Columbia. I asked about chemotherapy but she said that one of the drugs they use for chemo is hard on older cats because it can cause some renal problems. Stimpy is not in any danger but she does show some early signs of renal issues so they are being monitored. Damn this cancer! It makes you so angry when you have to watch your cat suffer from it. How is it even possible that the pharmaceutical companies can manufacture a vaccination that they KNOW causes cancer, yet they do nothing to disclose it? I know Boehringer Ingelheim is not the only guilty party but their RABVAC 3TF caused Stimpy's cancer. You never learn about VAS until your cat is hit with it. They lie when they tell you it is rare and they lie about the frequency of it. It is far more common than they disclose. Typical corporate greed.

So, I have a few days reprieve before Stimpy's CT scan. It will be hell waiting for the results. I just cannot imagine life without Stimpy. All I could think about today is that Stimpy does not know she is sick. She will not know when the day comes that she will never see me again. I just cannot even think about it.

When I came home today, the gate was wide open and Baloo and Chula were walking down the road. It is fortunate I came home when I did. It is not a frequently used road since we are the only house on the mile long stretch of road, but still, it only takes one car to hit one of them. Baloo is hard to see at night too. Too many people have the gate code. There really needs to be an automatic closer on it when a car passes. It would at least be a cure for the ones who do not seem to understand that when a gate is open, a dog WILL run out. I am sure it was the grounds crew again.

So, once again I am rambling. It does help to write about it and it also makes a permanent record of it. I will sign off for now. I will probably write more on Monday after Stimpy's CT scan.

Another long night

November 8, 2010  3:56 AM

It has been another long night. All day Sunday I had a monstrous headache, very reminiscent of the one I had after the spinal tap on July 4th. I hope this one does not last as long. The stress of worrying about Stimpy is getting to me. I am happy to see her sleeping peacefully right now. I came out of the bedroom around 1:45 AM and let Baloo out and Stimpy always follows me wherever I go. I am in the livingroom and she is asleep on the chair next to me. Her CT scan is scheduled this morning but I will have to call and see if they still want to see her. I could tell she was very hungry and thirsty so I caved in and gave her some water and a small amount of wet food around 3:00 AM. Even with the CT scan being at 10:00, I would think 7+ hours would be plenty to fast. This brings back the memories of staying in Columbia for a month. I hated taking her food and water up every night and I stayed awake as long as I could just so she would not be deprived of it. The weekends in Columbia were a welcome relief because things were "normal" for a few days.

The home renovation is coming along finally. The new marble, mantle and fireplace are in. The wood floors in the dining room and hallway are in and now I have to lay the floors in the living room. Yanking up old floors and installing new ones is brutal work. I did a medallion inlay in the front entry. It turned out very nice but what a pain! Privet, being the curious little girl she is, was always right there in my face having to know what I was doing. I love that about her actually. She is very inquisitive and loud noises and lots of activity do not spook her. Here is a picture of the entry. It is a little blurry. Those phone cameras are not the greatest.

wood floors 

I am glad I have this work to keep my mind off Stimpy's cancer. If I sit and think about it I just stop functioning for a while and have been known to start crying when thinking about it. 

I am sitting in the living room and I think we have a mouse. I frequently open the door to the garage so Stimpy can have her little adventure out there and sometimes a mouse will venture in. I hear some noise off in the corner and it sounds like a mouse. Stimpy is curious about them but would never catch one. I remember the night she kept dashing back and forth in the room, shoving her paw behind the night stand, running to the other side, trying to "catch" a mouse. I finally got up and turned the lights on out of frustration. All the racket kept me awake. The mouse ran across the room and into the bathroom. Stimpy followed pursuit and I went in and the mouse was no where to be seen. On a hunch, I took the towel that was hanging on a hook that allowed the towels to almost touch the floors, and I shook it out in the bathtub. Sure enough, the mouse fell out. I knew Stimpy would not do anything so I put her in the tub and she just sat down. The poor mouse was running frantically back and forth past her and she just sat there looking at it. I finally picked the poor thing up in  a bag and took it outside and released it. Stimpy, the Great Mouse Killer. Butters, Privet and Scarlett are a different story. They have deposited mice, birds and even a gopher on the back step as gifts.  I thnk Stimpy thinks it is unbecoming of a lady to hunt for your food. She more or less takes the Mae West approach. She sits backs and says "Peel me a grape!". Yes Stimpy, right away Stimpy. She is such a spoiled princess. Often I will put out two kinds of wet food for her so she will have a choice. She is so particular about her food. I do not care that some goes to waste. She deserves the comfort and luxury of choosing her food at this point in the game. 

Rambling, rambling, rambling. At least it keeps my mind on other things. Stimpy is still sleeping in the next chair, snoring. I am hungry but I will wait to eat. She will want something if I am eating so I will run to Panera for a breakfast sandwich in a few hours. I refuse to eat in front of her while she is having to fast.

Her appointment is at 10:00. I will write more this evening after we are home and I have a moment. I am hoping all is well and the CT scan just shows some scar tissue or something that is not harmful.

 


The waiting game...

 

Warning: Repeated use of meloxicam in cats has been associated with acute renal failure and death. Do not administer additional doses of injectable or oral meloxicam to cats. See Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions for detailed information.

 


November 10, 2010  8:18 PM

We took Stimpy into the surgery center on Monday for her CT scan. Poor thing, she did not understand why she could not have any food or water in the morning and I could not bear her looks so I left the house until it was time to take her in. She is getting better about being in the car but she still stresses about it. I went home and worked on the floors so it would take my mind off of it, but I finally had to call and see how she was doing at 1:20. They told me I could pick her up any time after 2:00. When I arrived there, there was a woman waiting for her dog, and she started talking to me about how they are like our children and we do what we can for them. It turns out her dog was there and most likely she had a brain tumor. The vet tech came out and told her the doc would be with her soon and when she asked how her dog was doing, the vet tech said she would let the doc talk to her. She knew it was bad news. She had tears in her eyes and I did not know what to say to comfort her. I am afraid I will have to hear the same news some day. So, now we wait. The CT scan results were sent off to MIZZOU for diagnosis so we have to wait to hear from them. I am afraid that when the oncologist calls, she will have bad news about Stimpy. I pray the lumps are scar tissue or sutures.

Today I got an e-mail from the office that handles the Freedom of Information requests. As usual, the government is behind and she wanted me to clarify my requests because they encompassed large volumes of information. I told her I could not narrow it down any further than simply state that I want everything pertaining to VAS, the studies, the findings, etc. It sounds like there are crate loads of material and I am sure the fee for all of it will be in the several thousand dollars range but that is OK. It is a small price to pay to help save other cats. There are so many ideas churning in my head on how to handle this. I want to start a group that will head up a task force of our own and there are several people I would like to be officers. I have found that the VAS Support Group has some very intelligent people, people who have been affected by VAS and will be passionate about the cause. I also know others who are smart when it comes to the scientific side of things and their input will be invaluable too.

Here is the e-mail I got from the Freedom of Information office:


Mr:  Sexton:

I have been asked by the program office to contact you for clarification and narrowing the scope of your request.  

Several weeks will be required to search for all of the existing cases for parts 1 and 2 of your request.

Part 3 of your request will involve searching prelicense studies of approximately 2000 actively licensed veterinary biologics.  Each study is anywhere from 25 to over 500 pages.

Responding to part 4 would require pulling all applicable records from the two requested locations and will result in several boxes of records, some of them having to be retrieved from Kansas City archive center.

The above is merely a description of the search process.  The records will then have to be reviewed and redacted accordingly which will result in additional delay. of

Can you please advise me by Monday, November 15, 2010 so I may execute the search request as soon as possible.  Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,


Bev Whitfield
FOIA/PA Program Specialist
USDA, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
Freedom of Information
Legislative and Public Affairs
Ph:  (301) 734-5250
Fax:  (301) 734-5941

"Remember yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is the only cash you have - Spend it Wisely".


So, like I said, it is now a waiting game. Good thing I have time.


A reminder  to everyone who would like to post a picture of their cat on the VAS Memorial Page, please visit the page here http://vasmemorial.livejournal.com/ and you can submit your picture and information from a link there.




November 12, 2010  11:35 PM

No news today from the vet. Every time the phone rang I would hold my breath and pray it was not bad news. I finally called the surgery center around 3:00 PM and they had not heard back from Mizzou yet. I may e-mail the doctor there who was Stimpy's oncologist and see if she can tell me. Waiting until Monday is going to kill me. I keep clinging on the fact that the oncologist said there were no cells present when she aspirated them, but it seems that one lump is getting bigger, in the area where the original one was. I doubt scar tissue would get larger. I'm so depressed. I literally feel like parts of my life have been taken away from me. I try to reflect on the happy times with Stimpy, the moment when Erica asked me if I wanted her (I was so thrilled that day when she asked me if I would watch Stimpy while they went to Mexico, but before she even left the driveway in Tucson, she had turned around and asked me if I wanted her, since she liked me better anyway). They say cats choose you. I believe that with Stimpy. I used to feel OK about leaving her when a trip came up. Now, I hate to leave her for any time at all because it takes away those precious moments with her. I need to go home and visit Mom and the family but I can't leave her right now.

Stimpy "kissed" me last night as she curled up next to me. Every now and then, she will lean forward and lick me on the face somewhere. Last night she licked me three times on the lower lip. It is like her way of saying "thanks". I really treasure those moments because she is not the touchy feely type. She does not like being picked up or held, she is not a lap cat, she doesn't always listen to you. I love seeing her face light up every time I say food. She gets so excited because she knows that means the wet stuff. I just gave her some of her favorite...venison. She really loves that and she licks the bowl clean. It's OK it costs $2 a can. She is worth every penny.

I went ahead and sent an e-mail to her oncologist in Columbia, I hope she reads it tomorrow and will look at the CT and call me.

I guess I will try to sleep. It is almost midnight but this headache will probably keep me awake for a while any way. I gave Stimpy some catnip and she is over there on her scratch pad, off in catopia. She really loves her catnip!



November 13, 2010  7:41 PM

No news today from the oncologist. This is going to drive me mad. I did not get any work done today. I did not sleep very well last night so I just did not feel like doing any work around the house.

For some reason, the dogs have been a real pain lately. They are always getting out of the fence. Someone will have to have someone walk the fence line and see if they can find a hole somewhere. When I came home, Baloo and Jasmine were running down the road...again. They were with a very scruffy looking stray too. I rounded them up and after I put them inside the gate, Jasmine bolted through it and took off down the road again. Once again I rounded her up and when I tried to get her inside the house to put her in her crate for a while, she kept playing cat and mouse with me. Baloo escaped from his crate again and he and Chula were down by the gate again and that stray was on the grounds. I had to confine Baloo and Chula and try to get the dog to leave the grounds but he or she was being pretty defiant. I finally managed to get it outside the fence and close the gate but we are keeping the dogs confined inside tonight. The stray was acting kind of odd so no point in taking chances. I just do not want to deal with these dog problems right now.

I went to Pet Smart and stocked up on Stimpy's favorite foods. I also bought her a cat tower and she has taken to it already. She is curled up in the little cave right now. Stimpy does not like the other cats. She has always been a loner in that respect. She has her own wing of the house and the other cats are blocked off from her. She has plenty of room to roam as do the others so there is no real problem there.

I guess I have to wait some more. I hate to say this, but I just have a feeling in my heart that her cancer has returned. I am not sure where to go from here. If we can do radiation again, and they think she can handle it, I guess I will have to return to Columbia with her and go through all that again. I hate to even think about it but if it will save her life, I will do it. I am not sure how long you have to wait between radiation but I will find out soon enough I am sure.


Still waiting...

November 16, 2010  6:30 PM

Still no news from the vet surgery center. It has been eight days and still no news. I have called several times and they keep telling me they will get back to me and they do not return a call. Today I called the radiology clinic in Columbia and I found out why. The surgery center here let it slip through the cracks and they did not even bother to send it until yesterday. Columbia just received it this morning by Fed Ex. How annoying, do these people not understand how stressful it is not knowing? Day after day worrying about Stimpy.

This past weekend was such an unbelievable stressful time. It seems like the dogs were on a mission to make my life hard. No less than six times they got out of the gate. The dead deer carcass was too appealing to them and they just had to get to it and roll around in it. Baloo was confined to the house for most of the day, only getting out for supervised runs. For some reason, every time he went outside, he headed straight for the other side. I discovered the places where they were getting out. When the new wrought iron fence was installed, they left some gaps big enough for them to squeeze through. Also, the stray was digging under the fence to get on the property. I do not know why it was so hell bent on getting in and the others were intent on getting out. I found out from Dana that the stray has been at her rescue in the past and the owner is actually an architect who lives close by and apparently does not care enough about his dog to keep it safe.


A lot of work was not done on the house today. I am too depressed to be able to concentrate on it. We did get the grand piano moved. Dang...moving a 900 pound piano from the old floors to the new floors without scratching things was not easy. We finally managed so the new floors in the living room can be finished tomorrow. I have decided that if Stimpy needs more radiation therapy and she is cleared for it, I will go ahead and do it again. That would mean another month in Columbia, something I dread but if it saves Stimpy, it is a small price to pay. Taking the month off is not a big deal. It would delay the home renovation but that is OK. It is nearly complete anyway. It would come around Christmas time. That could go either way. Either it will be a wonderful Christmas gift or it could turn out to be the worst Christmas of my life.

I bought Stimpy a new cat tower the other day. Originally I got it for Butters, Privet and Scarlett but decided to give it to Stimpy because she has never had one. She has taken to it and loves it. I will go buy another one for the other cats. It is nice seeing Stimpy happy with something. She refused to take her mertazapine for a few days. Normally I insert it in a pill pocket and place it in her food and she usually eats it right up. I think she is on to me and now she eats around it. One day it looked like some archaeological dig. The pill pocket was avoided and by the time she finished, it was up on a little pedestal! She finally ate it today and she is eating everything in sight.

So, once again, I ramble, hoping to pass time. I was sent this link by someone following the blog. Oh, the ironies of life. The ironies is that Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors it!


http://www.haveweseenyourcatlately.com/

Seriously, they put out a brochure talking about cat health and vaccinations but no mention of the dangers of vaccinations and how they can kill your cat. The brochure our group is putting out will be something on this line, but it will talk about vaccination education. A suggestion was made for a place on the brochure to make note of the vaccination date, manufacturer, lot number and type of vaccination. It would be something the animal caregiver can reference quickly in case of some adverse side effect...like cancer! I just looked up who owns the above mentioned website...no surprise it is Boehringer Ingerheim. If they can put out a brochure like this, they could certainly put out an educational brochure about the risks of vaccinations and what to look for. We all know why they won't though...profits. This is such a blatant campaign to get you to take your cat into the vet for vaccinations. More money in their pockets. I do not believe for a minute that they are doing this for the good of your cat. If they were, they would not be so afraid of disclosures.

I better stop for now. I can see my bitter side coming out again. I must channel that energy into more positive outcome in fighting this. Paws out for now.


Stimpy in her cat tower

Stimpy in her new cat tower. It has four levels but she really loves the "mouse hole".



November 17, 2010  3:35 AM

Stimpy woke me up just a short while ago. She was being so affectionate and purring loudly I thought it was time to get up and feed her. I did and then I saw it was only 2:30 AM but I got up and gave her some venison. She loves the stuff. I figure I will give her what she wants, when she wants it. The mertazapine makes her so hungry and I am happy she is gaining some weight back. So now I am up for the rest of the morning and she is resting quietly on her cat tower. Baloo is not far from her. He is dreaming and barking in his sleep. He is probably chasing Stimpy. He knows he cannot bother her in real time so only in his dreams....

I am worried sick about Stimpy. I am afraid that today I will be told the cancer is back. I just cannot function these days. I would just hate to lose Stimpy to this cancer. The feelings of guilt are already overwhelming, giving her a vaccination that caused this. I got a card in the mail the other day from our vet telling us it is time to bring Privet in for her booster shot. I am going to insist on a titer test before any more vaccinations EVER. I do not care if it is expensive, it is far less than what this cancer has cost and the stress and heartache isn't worth it. I know I should not dwell on losing Stimpy but I cannot think of anything else other than she will be gone someday.

Today my heart will sink every time the phone rings. The dread of hearing the news. Even if it is good news, I think I will still collapse. It has been nine unbearable days of waiting so not matter what, the news will land like a ton of bricks.


Why does it always rain on days like this?


November 17, 2010  6:10 PM

I feel like my heart has been torn out. The call I was dreading came around 1:30 this afternoon. At first I was upset that it took nine days for them to get these results, but then I realized, what does it matter? It does not change anything.

The oncologist said the CT results were "worrisome". She talked about several things but all I heard was cancer. I could not listen any more so I had to hand the phone to Andy. They always treat doctors better. They are more up front and Andy knew what to ask. Our options. She does not think it is good to do radiation again so soon. She said that when you do it less than a year apart, you sometimes get bad side effects, more sever burning. Chemo does not sound like an option because some of the meds cause kidney problems. I do not want Stimpy to have to deal with that too. The other option...amputating her leg. It tugs at my heart. Do I do this to her at her age or do I let this cancer take over her body? There is no guarantee the amputation will resolve it either. It hurts me to think poor Stimpy would have to hobble around on three legs at her age.

For now, she is scheduled to return to the surgery center on Monday and they will do a biopsy. I guess there is some hope it will be negative but I do not want to kid myself. I need to deal with this. So, once again on Sunday she will have to fast and once again she will have to be cut open and have the lumps removed.

I feel like I have been punched in the chest. When the call came, everything stopped and I went cold. I just sat in the car and could not move. When I finally went into the house, Privet and Scarlett seemed to understand that something was wrong. Both came up to me and rubbed up against me. Scarlett crawled up on my shoulders and just sat there.

The leaves are falling and the rain in coming down. It is cold outside. I think winter will be a little rougher this year. I think I will cancel my trip to Tucson in February. I just do not think I can leave Stimpy now. I hope she is still around then.

I hate to think about this, and I have to admit that when I first heard about them, I thought they were somewhat macabre but now I think they make perfect sense. There is a place that makes a diamond from your pets DNA. It is a two month process but then you have a permanent gift of your pet. I think I will do this, it will keep Stimpy close to me always. I just do not know how I will ever be able to say goodbye to her. She is my first pet. I have never had my own pet and she is so special to me. I would give up everything I have to keep her with me. I look at everything around me. Most would be envious. Most would think what a wonderful life but it all means nothing. Stimpy is the most precious thing I have. There is nothing that will ever be able to replace her.

I need to go for now. I have never felt such heartache. I have been lucky I guess, that I have never lost anyone really close to me. I have never really had to deal with death. How is it that this little ball of fur that walked up to me all those years ago and rubbed against me and stole my heart will also be the one that causes my heart to break? I remember the first night I met Stimpy. I was outside in front of the house in Tucson. She came up to me and rubbed my leg. I gave her a can of albacore tuna because that is all I had. I started buying her wet food and she came to see me every day. She spent the days with me and she would venture into the house. I remember how happy I was when Erica asked me if I wanted her. YES YES YES! I do not think Neal and Erica expected Stimpy to live to be 16. She was just a cat to them. She has been well provided for since she became a member of the family. I am glad she has been loved so much these past several years.




Sunday November 21, 2010  9:05 PM

So, here we are, the night before Stimpy's surgery. I know it will be a restless night for me again. I just gave her some food since she was supposed to fast after 9:00 PM. She goes into the surgery center at 8:00 so I will be worried about her all morning. I hate every time they have to put her under. Everyone is trying to tell me it is scar tissue but I am prepared to hear the worst...that the cancer has returned. It has only been six months since first discovering the lump but it seems like years. It has been the most stressful time in my life I believe I have ever endured. Stimpy's fur was just beginning to come back and now she will be shaved again and there will be another hideous incision. I wish I could take her place.

The other animals are doing fine. No runaway's this weekend so that has been nice. They pushed all my buttons last weekend when they kept getting out of the gate. All the dogs need baths because they smell like something dead. The new cat tower for Privet, Butters and Scarlett was a big hit. Stimpy still loves hers. Yesterday the fireplace was going and Scarlett and Privet were mesmerised by the flames. Scarlett's head kept craning in all directions and she even reached out and slapped the iron door on the fireplace a few times. Privet just sat there and looked at the flames for a long time.

I will curl up with Stimpy on the bed again and hold her close. She will not understand why she cannot eat in the morning and why the crate is out again.

Monday November 22, 2010  10:00 AM


My heart has been ripped out. Although I knew it was coming, I had to face it today. Even when I was taking Stimpy into the surgery center this morning, I knew in my heart this time was different and Stimpy did too. When the doctor came in, I could see it in her face too. She was very sensitive about it but she told me I really needed to consider amputation. The lumps were bigger than they were a week ago and I knew I would have to face this reality. So, through many heavy tears, I signed the consent form for them to amputate Stimpy's leg. I sat in the parking lot for an hour crying, too numb to move.

For twenty years now, the vet community and the pharmaceutical community has known about VAS. Stimpy is 16 years old and during her entire life, they have known about the dangers. Why, after 20 years, do you not learn about VAS until your cat has been diagnosed with it? It is time for changes.

My hatred for Boehringer Ingelheim is at an all time high. Their vaccination, a Ft Dodge Rabvac 3TF caused Stimpy's cancer. Their black box warning states "an adverse reaction may occur at the injection site." Bastards! I do not care that it has cost nearly $20,000 to fight this and try to save Stimpy. I do not care that it will cost another $1500 today for this surgery. I would not care if it cost every penny I had, nothing can replace Stimpy, nothing can take away this hurt and guilt and nothing will ever excuse the apathy that surrounds the disclosure about this horrible cancer. The emotions I have already had this morning are hard to express. From absolute agony while holding Stimpy to absolute anger at the pharmaceutical companies. They do not care that they are killing our cats. They  care about their profits. Boehringer Ingelheim had this "Have We Seen Your Cat Lately" campaign. It was a card that vets could send out to pet owners in an obvious blatant attempt to get you in the door to vaccinate your cat. NO WHERE in their campaign do they mention any risks of their vaccinations.
Boehringer Ingelheim, I would like to submit my revisions of your campaign to more accurately reflect the sinister meaning behind it:

VAS,cats,vaccine associated sarcoma,Boehringer Ingelheim


How can I possibly say it any clearer than this?

At least writing about this has helped the ache somewhat. I need to prepare the house for Stimpy's return tomorrow. We will go visit her tonight and take her some of her favorite wet food. I am sure I will start crying when I see the poor little girl in a cage with her leg missing. I must stay strong for her and fight this. I LOVE YOU STIMPY!

The Longest Day...


Friday November 26th, 2010   8:30 PM

It seems like an eternity since I have written in here. The day Stimpy had her leg amputated was a horrible day. They did not even start her surgery until late afternoon so the poor thing had to go hungry all day. She came out of surgery OK and they moved her next door to the emergency hospital since there was care there all night. They said it would be OK to see her after 6:00 PM. We were taken into a small room and I heard poor Stimpy crying in pain. It was unbearable. She was brought in wrapped in towels and they placed her on the table. I knelt down and started crying. She looked so worn out and her eyes were glazed over. She immediately laid her head against my chest and she calmed down and even purred. I just held  her for close to an hour and I finally had to say good night. She started crying again (as did I) and I could not take it any more so I just ran out to the car. I could not sleep all night, all I could think about was Stimpy's leg was gone. She went in with four legs and she will leave with only three.

When morning finally came, I started early. I needed to prepare a place for Stimpy and I had to take care of the animals. I called the vet clinic first thing and they told me to call back around 9:30. I had called the emergency room around 4:30 AM to check on her. I was told I could pick Stimpy up before noon or after 2:00 so naturally I went in around 10:30. I had set her up a small space away from everyone and the other animals. I looked high and low for a low profile litter box and the do not exist. Out of desperation, I went to a cooking store and found a large square cake pan, 18" x 18" and only 2" deep. It was perfect but $45 for a no frills litter box was kind of overboard. Nothing is too good for Stimpy though so after setting up her crate areaI went to get her.

It seemed like an eternity before they brought her out. When they brought her out, to my surprise she was standing in her crate! I broke down and started crying again. I finally managed to drive home and she came out of her crate with no prompting and she started walking around and eating immediately. It helped alleviate some of my feara but seeing the poor thing hobble around was very painful. I set her crate up in my desk area. It is a little cluttered but I managed to sift through most of my piles of paperwork before she came home.

Here is a video of her resting on the floor. This was taken immediately after she came home. I cannot believe how well she did by walking the first day. She is a real fighter.






She gets her sutures out in a week. Hopefully the biopsy report will be back and I pray they got large clean margins. Her surgeon was so sad she had to amputate and she said she was pretty aggressive about the removal. Poor Stimpy, the skin from her belly was pulled up over the incision so now she has a nipple on the side near her tail.

Cats really do calm me. The dogs, not so much. They have been driving me nuts these past few weeks. Privet has learned that the new fireplace is a wonderful warm place to curl up in front of. She was laying there yesterday and Scarlett came up to her, looking innocent, and she suddenly jumped her and a wrestling match ensued. It was funny to watch them. Today, Privet was outside and she found a perch on the wheel cover of the Toyota. It was one of those pictures you are glad to get.

 Photobucket

At this point, I am just functioning day to day. I have my ups and downs, far too many downs though. As soon as I am able, I am going to start working on the awareness campaign again. A few weeks ago at a party, I had the chance to meet Megan Mullally (Karen Walker from Will & Grace!). I wanted to talk to her so much about it but I was too down. I will get another chance though in the future. She and another friend went to school together here in OKC and she visits often. Hopefully I will have some things together to share with her. If we can only get some high profile people to lend a hand, I think we could get the pharmaceutical companies and vets to finally own up.

Paws out for now. I will keep updating as we journey forward. Everyone's support has been wonderful and I thank you. The people in the VAS Support Group were stunned when I posted that Stimpy was a tripod. Truly, I am still stunned myself.



Monday November 29, 2010   7:15 PM

One week and counting....


It has been exactly one week since Stimpy had her leg amputated. It has been one week to the hour that I sat with her and she cradled her face up against my chest after coming out of surgery. It has been one week of such intense emotion and heartache. Every time I look at Stimpy and the big gap where her leg used to be, it is really hard to bear. She is doing pretty good, better that I thought she would but she acts different. She is actually jumping up on the bed and back down. She still cradles up to me and purrs at night and that is such a calming sound.

Baloo seems to have calmed down a bit too. I do not know why he has been such a bad dog these past few weeks. He is still on probation though. I finally "patched" the hole under the gate where they were all crawling under. Hopefully there are no more holes in the fence where they can get out. 

Privet really seems to enjoy the new fireplace more than any of the animals. She sits and looks at the flames and stretches out in front of it. There is still a little work to do in that room but at least it is usable again. The renovation took way too long but this thing with Stimpy set me back some. Emotionally it is hard to get motivated some days to do anything.

Here is a picture of Privet in front of the fireplace. It was taken with my cell phone so it is not a great picture. I do love cats, they all have such wonderful personalities. 


  Photobucket

I made an appointment for Stimpy to get her sutures out. Her oncologist wants to wait until next Monday for some reason. That will be two weeks. I hope the skin does not close up over them. I will watch them and if it looks like it is, I may have to take her in sooner. I did not want to take her back to the surgery center. It is further away and I did not want to traumatize Stimpy more. Her oncologist is only about two miles from the house.

I got another letter from the Freedom of Information office about my request for documents. It was a two page letter. It almost sounds like they do not WANT to give me the information I asked for. It sounds like there are crate loads of documents. I may have to dedicate an entire room in the house to sort them. Several people in the VAS Support group have volunteered to help. Ultimately, we are going to form our own task force. These documents are just the beginning. Already we have some very smart people willing to be on the board. There are several Phd's in the science field...biology, microbiology, a doctor (human doctor), hopefully a veterinarian, and possibly even an attorney. VAS has affected many walks of lives and there are a lot of people who are wanting to step up. I think the pharmaceutical companies will eventually understand that we are here to make a difference and we are not going away. The person who called me from Boehringer Ingelheim to discuss Stimpy's case asked what are the pharms supposed to do to get the vets to start educating people. It was a weak excuse. I know enough people in the medical industry to know that the pharms and hospitals and doctors work hand in hand to each of their benefit. I also know an extremely well connected person in the pharmacology world who has give some good insight. This person is actually one of the most respected pharmacologist in the world. I have met many interesting people in my life.

I guess that is all for now. Just wanted to keep friends, family and Stimpy's fans up to date on things. I would like to thank everyone for all their well wishes. Reading the e-mails has been comforting and it helps to stay focused on Stimpy. Thank you everyone. Paws out for now.


Back again.

I was just going through the e-mails and there was this one from Milo's caregiver. Milo was a beautiful siamese cat who lived in Spain. At the age of 17, Milo was diagnosed with VAS and eventually lost his battle to it. Here is a video of Milo. Just another statistic to the pharmaceutical companies and vets, but a very sad loss to his caregiver and all of us who are affected by this.


Photobucket Wed. Dec. 8, 2010 6:15 AM

Post Op rantings....

It has been just over two weeks since I had my leg amputated. They have given me some nicknames and I have let them know about my contempt for them. I have left some hairballs in shoes and at the foot of the bed, exactly where the foot comes down in the dark. He he.

They have been calling me "Trip", short for Tripod and even worse, they have been calling me "Stumpy". I get no respect around here.

This past Monday I was taken into the oncologist and I had my sutures removed. While I was there, another cat was brought in. He was in a crate as well. It is clear we are feared more because we always have to be in a containment unit. Someone brought in a dog and he was on a long leash and was able to move about freely. Every time they called him, he happily returned. Fred, the cat, is my age. He was there for a thyroid problem. It sounds like he is going through a rough patch too. Like me, he found a better home next door. I have gotten better food and care since moving across the fence when I lived in Tucson.

It turns out that Fred also goes to my old vet here in Oklahoma City, Dr. Nicolosi. He is a good vet, very gentle with all the animals. Privet and the others still see him but I guess I am special now. I have to see all sorts of vets these days.

Getting around on three legs has taken some getting used to. If I walk fast or run, it seems easier. Just tagging along though, I seem to lose my balance at times. I am starting to jump up on the bed without assistance. Getting down is easier. I have commandeered the only chair in the bedroom as my own.

Baloo, Chula and Miss Jasmine have been banished from the house. I talked them into going down to this dead deer carcass on the other side of the fence. I told them to roll all around in it so they would smell good and then they would get some treats. Ha ha...my plan worked perfectly. They did as they were told and they all got out of the fence and rolled around in the dead deer. Now they have been banished and we can roam freely without having to run into the dogs. I read a story a few weeks ago where someone claimed dogs were smarter just because we cats show no interest in their reindeer games. Yawn...that person obviously does not know that dogs have masters and cats have staff. Someone go peel me a grape.

Meet George Heidgerken, BIVI President, COO. 


              George Heidgerken

Mr. Heidgerken is the President and COO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. They manufacture the rabies vaccination that caused my cancer and caused me to lose my leg. Imagine, at 16 years of age, 80 in human years, you lose your leg to corporate greed. They do not disclose the facts about the dangers of their vaccination. It has been known for 20 years that these vaccinations can cause cancer yet they keep silent. Their black box warning on the vaccination (which, by the way, is only provided to the vets, not the patients) states:

"A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration"


Wow... this is what they call a "local reaction"?!? What they should say is:


"A deadly cancer can occur following subcutaneous administration...but do not tell the patient".

Boehringer Ingelheim produced a large full color 12 page brochure that was directed at the veterinarian community. This was just after they acquired a large part of Fort Dodge. Fort Dodge was in the business for many years manufacturing vaccinations. How nice that BI can produce such a beautiful brochure directed to their veterinarian customers but they have never taken any steps to produce a brochure to go with their vaccinations to warn people about VAS. Early detection is the key to long term survival. Boehringer Ingelheim says it all at the very beginning of their brochure:

"Animal Health  / Customer Focus"

We all know the customer is the veterinarian community. They are focused on THEM because vaccinations are HUGE profits for the pharmaceutical community. BI alone netted over $600 million dollars in sales for the first quarter in 2010. I guess that would be some incentive to NOT tell people about the deadly cancer their vaccinations cause.


Kevin has decided to send some of the executives at Boehringer Ingelheim all over the world a Christmas card. I can't imagine why he would want to send THEM a Christmas card.



Paws out for now...time to exercise.


Boehringer Ingelheim Christmas card


Wednesday December 8, 2010  10:00 PM

I just came across this letter from Boehringer Ingelheim. It is signed by Dr. James Hall, the person who called me from Boehringer Ingelheim after they received my letter with the Pet Cemetery picture on the outside of the envelope. He asked me just what Boehringer Ingelheim was supposed to do about getting vets to inform people about the risks. This would be a start. They have added a black box warning to this product which reads:

 

Warning: Repeated use of meloxicam in cats has been associated with acute renal failure and death. Do not administer additional doses of injectable or oral meloxicam to cats. See Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions for detailed information.

 

 

You can read the letter in it's entirety here:


http://www.2ndchance.info/pain-metacamwarningletter.pdf

It really makes you wonder when they are going to finally do this for vaccine associated sarcoma. You can't help but wonder what they are hiding. I suppose they added it to Metacam only because Meloxicam (for humans) also contains a black box warning. I suppose it is also because they know they can be sued for things caused by the Metacam if they did not contain the warning because they are not allowed to get away with that one yet. They always have to watch out for those corporate profits. In my last letter to their legal department I posed this question:


"Could you please give us a number of how many cats have to die and how many claims you have to pay before it becomes less profitable to not disclose this cancer? If you can, we will go away until that number of cats have sacrificed their lives for your profits."

I wonder if they will come up with a number for us?

Friday, December 10th, 2010  1:30 AM

Sleep just isn't coming...

After what seemed like an eternity of bad dreams, I awoke at midnight to the sound of Stimpy throwing up. I had only been in bed for two hours but even in my sleep, it felt like I wanted to wake up. I got up and cleaned up the floor and poor Stimpy just stood there looking at me. Earlier in bed she had curled up in my arm and just looked into my eyes for the longest time and purred. After cleaning up, I lifted Stimpy back up on the bed and once again she curled up with me and just purred. As usual, she jumped down after about ten minutes.

I laid there sleepless again. Every time Stimpy wakes me in the middle of the night, I cannot sleep again because I worry about her too much. I heard her rustling around in things in the next room so I just got up.

So, here I am sitting in the TV room and she is on her little bed. She threw up a second time about 20 minutes ago but she seems comfortable now and she is sleeping. I will probably be awake until morning, which is usual for me these days. It is good I do not have to work, I would never make it. Too many distractions and I would be too tired. I usually try to take a nap on the sofa in front of the fireplace during the day. I see why the cats love it, the warmth is wonderful.

Tomorrow I take Privet in for her check up. The vet is telling me she needs some updates on vaccinations. I will ask him to do a titer test first to determine if she needs any. In the event she does need any, I do have some requirements. One, I specified Merial PureVax. Merial produces a line of vaccinations and while I know there have been some reported cases of VAS, at least Merial has taken some measures and have addressed the issue of VAS. For one, their Purevax line does not contain an adjuvant. Adjuvants are hard to describe in a short paragraph at 2:00 in the morning so I would recommend just Googling it to learn more. Basically, it is recommended to NOT give your cats any vaccinations that contain adjuvants. The Rabvac 3 TF rabies vaccination that Stimpy received does contain an adjuvant. Boehringer Ingelheim will not release what that adjuvant is, it is a "trade secret", according to their material data safety sheets. I know someone who has a Phd in biology and one day I am going to get a sample of the Rabvac 3 TF and have the chemical composition broken down. The formula may be found in some of the documents that I have requested from the Freedom of Information office so perhaps I can find out there.

Anyway, I got a little distracted there. They recommend having your vet massage the area where the vaccination was given to help minimize inflammation at the injection site. Our VAS group is printing a full color brochure and on it, it will have a place to record the vaccination type, lot number, manufacturer and date. It will become a part of a patients record for easy referral in case it is needed later. I have printed this one out for temporary use and will ask the vet tomorrow to fill in the information. You have the right to know this. Feel free to copy this and use it for your office visits. As soon as the color brochure, I will post a link to our website that contains VAS information and where to download or order a brochure. If your vet does not want to provide you with this information, I would find a new veterinarian. 

Photobucket

At the very least, it will make the vet realize he or she is dealing with an informed patient. If the pharmaceutical companies and the vets will not do anything to disclose this deadly cancer then we can use the power of the Internet and advertising to get the message out. One thing we will do as soon as the brochure is ready is to contact the cat magazines and run an ad in their periodicals. I am willing to cover that cost as well and we can have our website listed so people can learn more about VAS.

Andy made an excellent recommendation yesterday. He suggested that I contact all the insurance companies that handle the malpractice insurance for veterinarians and ask them to make the vets start disclosing the risks of this cancer. I think there is a good chance they may comply. We all know how insurance companies want to save their money. If they are aware of the new campaign to educate people about VAS, they may step up very quickly. I do not care who does it, I will use every mean I can to get the mesage out. The salad days are over for the pharmaceutical companies. No more cat deaths for corporate greed.

Andy also said he could get all the black box warnings for every product that Boehringer Ingelheim makes. They manufacture a lot of human medicines too and it will be interesting to see how many black box warnings there are for humans in comparison to the number of black box warnings there are for our pets. Andy has easy access to all of this information through Epocrates and other data bases available to doctors.

I contacted the FDA again and inquired why the pharmaceutical companies are not required to have a black box warning on their vaccinations, products that have been known to cause this cancer for 20 years now. Typical of any government agency, they pass the buck to some other department and are as vague as they can be in answering your question. I will put my request in writing and send it certified tomorrow. We have talked about pursuing the FDA and USDA as well in litigation to
challenge them on their apathy about allowing this to go on for 20 years. I will tackle Boehringer Ingelheim first and then go after the other ones.

The pharmaceutical companies claim that VAS only occurs in 1 in 10,000 cats. We all know that is a lie. For one thing, there are several people in the VAS Support Group who have had 2 or three cats who had VAS. We also know that there are many unreported cases. I wonder how many cats have died from this and the pet owners did not know what it was? Even my sister believes one of her cats died from VAS now that she knows the facts. Andy said that if it were a human medicine or vaccination that had the same number of incidents, he said the FDA would shut it down immediately. I do not care what some people say about pets. They ARE family and they aren't just a piece of property. For some people, their pet is their greatest friend and sole companion. We do what we think is right for them only to be riddled with guilt later when they get sick from these deadly vaccines. Profits before lives.

It is now 2:30 AM and I am wide awake. At least Stimpy is resting peacefully on her little pad. I miss being able to pick her up and cradle her. She gives off a little cry when she is picked up. I think she is still feeling some pain from the amputation. I need to consider doing chemotherapy for her too. They say the combination of chemo, radiation and surgery drastically increases the chances of survival. The very least, it can extend her life more. I need to decide when I am doing this for her and when I am doing it for me. Right now, she has a good quality of life. She gets around, eats, pretty much what she did before this cancer hit. I just cannot imagine life without her. She is my first pet so she is very special. I wish I could grow old with her but the cards are stacked against that.

Monday December 13, 2010  11:40 AM


Moving right along...

Stimpy seems to be adapting now, She scampers up the steps easily and she goes down them easily too. It is so nice to see that she picked up on it so fast. She is really a brave little cat. She has been through so much.

Privet seems to really enjoy the new fireplace. When I walked into the living room yesterday, she was sitting just inches away from the screen. I am surprised her whiskers did not curl. She really loves the flame and warmth. It is nice to see her enjoy it so much. I know I do. I think she is trying to figure out how to operate the remote so she can turn it on herself! She is so funny when I am working. She has to sit down right in front of you and watch what is going on. I was under the sinks in the bathroom today, installing the new drains, and she got right in there with me. I don't know about her, but I was getting a little buzzed having to be in such tight quarters with the fumes from the primer and cement. I opened the window and that distracted her enough to leave me alone.

I have  checked on some rates to place a billboard in the St. Joseph, Missouri area, where Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica is located, and it is really quite affordable. I am going to do a billboard that will educate others about vaccines and vaccine associated sarcoma. I wonder how many people in the St. Joseph / Kansas City area, realize that Boehringer Ingelheim manufactures vaccinations that can kill their cats and they do not disclose this risk? I am sure it has crossed Boehringer Ingelheim's mind that perhaps the statute of limitations will run out on me filing suit against them. The best thing about that is that there is no statute of limitations. I can challenge them on their lack of disclosure any time. Bastards. I wonder how many of them have to wonder is this will be their last Christmas they will have with their cat? I wonder too how many of them vaccinate their cats knowing what they do? 

I guess I had better start working on the bathroom again. I need to get the new door hung and try to get the crown moulding installed today. Today is going pretty smoothly so perhaps the crown and door will go smoothly too. Never again will I tile an entire bathroom! There is floor to ceiling tile and the 1" stuff...uughh!

This page takes you through December 14th. To start on the next page with the most recent entries, click here thecatstimpy.livejournal.com/ recent entries.

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

This page takes you through April 12th. You can scroll to the bottom to read the journal entries up through April 12th. To start on the next page with the most recent entries, click here thecatstimpy.livejournal.com/

Wednesday December 15th, 2010  1:00 AM

Here I am again, wide awake, but this time there is a headache and a cold to add to the misery. At least I did not disturb Stimpy when I got out of bed. She is curled up with her one paw over her eye. She truly amazes me how she has handled this all so well.

Life changes so quickly. It has only been seven months (although it feels like an eternity) since she was diagnosed with VAS. She had her first surgery in May, a second one in June when the cancer returned, a non invasive laser surgery on her eye in July, radiation therapy for the entire month of July, several CT scans since May (I think five now) and now this radical amputation of her leg. How she has done it I do not know. The stress is killing me. Back in July, the day before I was to leave for Columbia with Stimpy, the stress took me down. I had to go into the emergency room and I had a CT scan myself, followed by an agonizing spinal tap. That is the day when I had just finished swimming and went inside the house to shower and it felt like something popped in my head. It was followed by a horrible headache so it worried me enough to go into the ER. The only reason I consented to the spinal tap that day was because I had to know myself if there was something wrong. I did not want to get to Columbia and end up hospitalized and have to worry about Stimpy being there alone. What a way to spend the Fourth of July. I guess there are many dedicated pet owners out there who think the same way so I know I am not nuts.

Every week more and more people join the VAS Support Group. How they can claim that 1 in 10,000 cats are affected by this is beyond belief. It will be interesting to see the actual number of reported cases when I finally get the information I requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Even if the number was 1 in a million, that number does not matter to you when it is your cat that been diagnosed with this aggressive cancer.

While watching the news yesterday morning, someone mentioned the weatherman's cat and asked how she was doing. Turns out they just went through some cancer treatment too. I sent an e-mail to the station and asked him if it was VAS. I also asked them to do a story on it. Not only is it costly, the emotional toll it takes is far more serious.

After getting the run around from the FDA about why the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to get away with not placing a black box warning on their vaccinations, I sent them a certified letter. At least someone will have to sign for it and hopefully someone will actually take the time to reply with an actual response instead of a canned one. Getting answers for this is like pulling teeth. At least I am getting a lot of  the ground work covered and organized.

Here is a portion of the actual package insert that comes with the Rabvac 3TF, the rabies vaccination that caused Stimpy's cancer. Getting it was a real task. As you can see, they are rather casual about disclosing any risks and absolutely NO MENTION of a deadly cancer. How disgraceful this has been going on for 20 years and they  have gotten away with it.

Rabvac,Boehringer Ingelheim,Vetmedica,VAS,Vaccine Associated Sarcoma




This is an older label, but the wording is still the same on the new lots. I got my hands on an actual hard copy for comparison so since 2005 and 2010, they still refer to this deadly cancer as a "local reaction".

I always worry (too much!) about the cats when they are outside. Poor Stimpy's greatest adventure these days is going out in the garage to snoop around. The other three, Butters, Privet and Scarlett are let outside for short periods but I hate leaving them out too long. Not too long ago there was a beautiful red fox in the back towards the wooded area. There is of course the bobcat too that has been seen numerous times. The other day, Butters was chasing Scarlett and she ran up a tree, probably a good 20-25 feet up. I was able to coax her down and she slowly just walked down head first. If you look hard, you can see her. Her coloring blends in with the tree very well.

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It has been so cold here lately. It is quite a change from Tucson. In Tucson, I wore shorts pretty much year round. I really miss Tucson. Last year, the fountain by the koi pond froze. I am amazed the koi pond itself did not freeze over and even more amazing is that the fish survived! An invisible fence was installed in this area recently to keep the dogs out. It seems to be their designated dumping ground. At least cats bury theirs!

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This is the area where poor Dr. Watson drowned. He was such a cute little puppy. That seems like an eternity too.

It is now 2:00 AM and I am still wide awake. Sitting here in the TV room, I can hear Stimpy snoring on the bed in the next room. It is a peaceful snore and I am glad she is sleeping.

Here are a few more pictures of Stimpy, while she was still a four legged cat. These were taken in the hotel room in Columbia while we were there for her radiation therapy. I love seeing her comfortable and asleep. What an unforgettable experience that was. I hope none of the other cats are ever hit with VAS. I would do the same for them but I am not sure how I could stand the stress again. It has taken its toll on me for certain. I would like to go home and visit the family but I worry about leaving Stimpy and I do not want to subject her to travel. My sister left her home in Laramie, Wyoming yesterday and she is going home to visit for two weeks. Two weeks...I wish I could afford the luxury of having two worry free weeks but Stimpy's cancer has changed all that. It is a loving sacrifice though, and I have no regrets.

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Paws out for now!

Ho ho ho...

Thursday December 16th, 2010

Well, I finally got some Christmas stuff done yesterday. I am so glad there is the Internet. I hate shopping and finding things on line is so easy. I am not a big Christmas person and I do not like buying gifts and I do not like getting them. I would rather just celebrate Christmas with a nice dinner with friends and family without the expectations of gifts. Of course with nieces and nephews, they expect something, at least until they become adults.

I did get my Christmas cards done. Once again I could not sleep so I started working on them at 3:30 this morning. Coming your way Boehringer Ingelheim....  

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Who is this man? This is Dr. Andreas Barner. He is the head honcho at Boehringer Ingelheim. I wonder if he has a cat? If he does, I wonder if he vaccinates it with Boehringer Ingelheim products? Lastly, I wonder if they disclose to HIM the risks of their vaccinations causiing a deadly cancer that can eventually kill your cat? It is obvious that money does not make a difference here. It does not choose which cats gets hit with this cancer based on income. The only thing money does is to increase your chances of saving your cat. We have spent nearly $20,000 on Stimpy trying to save her life, just since May, and if we do chemo, it will be another $2000. I would spend $100,000 on her if it could save her but it is all a crap shoot. I wonder if people like Dr. Barner cares what kind of grief we go through, watching our cats die? At least when you are informed of the risks, you know what to look for and hopefully can save your cat even if it means amputation.

At first, I was very adamant against amputating Stimpy's leg. I hated to mutilate her tiny body. She seems to be adjusting well though so at least that takes some of the horrible guilt feelings away. I know when she stares into my eyes when she gets up in the bed with me, she knows how much I love her. 

Yesterday was the first inaugural shower in the new bathroom! FINALLY! It was worth the wait. Renovating the entire bathroom, reconfiguring it, making it larger, was quite a task but it is finally usable. There are some things to do still, like hang the mirrors, crown moulding, etc. I am pleased with the cabinet. I built this myself and put an  antique pewter finish on it. It turned out great. As soon as I put water in the sinks to test them, Privet and Scarlett were on the counter and they started drinking from the bowl. I think they decided the sinks were considerably nicer than their bowl downstairs. When I was in the shower, all three, Butters, Privet and Scarlett just sat outside looking in. They were probably wondering what I was doing in that giant aquarium! 


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A few days ago when the cats were outside, they all decided to become "Cruiser Cats". They all jumped on the Toyota and just camped out. It reminded me of the scene in South Park when Cartman started a Christian Rock Band and he had Token and Butters pose for their album cover.

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See the similarities? 

It is time to head to get some work done. I am battling a cold so I am moving in slow motion these last few days. The headaches do not help either!


I came across this picture of Stimpy. I think this was taken while we were in Columbia. She is in her crate and we are on our way to radiation therapy. I was amazed at how calm she was through it all. She is an amazing cat.



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This video pretty much sums up my feelings (and apparently others) about Boehringer Ingelheim and how they are killing our cats. It is hard to understand how such a large pharmaceutical company can allow this to continue without trying to lift a finger to disclose the risks, but we all know why...PROFIT$.


The Constant Gardener

Sunday December 19th, 2010  8:41 PM

I love the movie "The Constant Gardener". In it, the main character's wife is murdered by the big pharmaceutical company that she worked for (one that will remain nameless here but if you Google it, you can find the culprit. No need to point a finger at them here) because of some corruption she uncovers in the industry. Her husband begins to look into her murder, and uncovers the truth behind her death, something that ultimately costs him his life as well.

I am beginning to feel like The Constant Gardener. I keep digging and digging into this whole thing about VAS. It will be interesting to see what kind of things I find in the paperwork I requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Hopefully my story will not end like The Constant Gardener.

This movies revolves around AIDS drugs and Africa and the subject of "Informed Consent". The big pharmaceutical companies tend to take on the third world countries and use them as guinea pigs it seems, I suppose because they know there is less chance of legal ramifications. The movie is based upon a true story and it is amazing how the Internet is such a valuable search tool these days. What did we ever do without it? In just a matter of seconds, I found these stories: (do a CTRL F on your keyboard to search for specific words, such as Boehringer Ingelheim).

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/03/0080961 (Out of control:
AIDS and the corruption of medical science)

Here is another:

http://hangerclips.blogspot.com/2006/02/guinea-pigs-and-constant-gardener.html (Guinea Pigs and "The Constant Gardener")

Yet even more stories on things going on at Boehringer Ingelheim:

http://www.dddmag.com/news-Boehringer-Ingelheim-Settles-Fraud-Suit-42110.aspx

http://www.jerebeasleyreport.com/2009/09/kentucky-medicaid-settles-medicaid-fraud-lawsuit-with-boehringer-ingelheim/

Is it any wonder why medical help costs so much in the USA? We have to pay for it somewhere while others are stealing from the system.

I pay $350 a month for my Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage. I know this is impossible for a lot of people these days but even with that, you do not get a lot for it. Seriously, you are better off if you are in this country illegally, you get more assistance. Yesterday, after dealing with a brutalizing headache, I finally ended up getting a prescription for the headaches. My stress level these days is so high. Dealing with Stimpy's cancer has taken it's toll, that is for sure.

My prescription was for Relpax, a drug made by Pfizer. Anyone care to guess what 12 pills cost? An unbelievable $325! With my Blue Cross card, it shaved the price down to $275. Is it any wonder the pharmaceutical companies are so rich? Why do they have to steal from Medicaid to pad their pockets further? (A note here, when these settlements were made for the Medicaid fraud, the pharmaceutical companies of course denied any liability or wrong doing and I do not recall if Pfizer was one of the guilty parties). Well then, if they are just handing out free money for doing nothing wrong, I know about some animal charities you can "donate" some money to, one in particular helps people who cannot pay for their cat's cancer that was caused by your vaccinations).

Another interesting site I came across was

http://www.cafepharma.com/

It is a website for pharmaceutical and medical sales professionals. It is interesting to read thier board postings and they have an easy search engine. Nothing like having insider information to really know what is going on with the drug companies. Here are a few examples:

http://www.cafepharma.com/boards/search.php?searchid=2348693


http://www.cafepharma.com/boards/showthread.php?t=171809&highlight=rabvac

(on this post, the sales reps argue over animal vaccinations, it is kind of interesting)

And if you have a LOT of time, read all about Boehringer Ingelheim here. Sounds like a great place to be:

http://www.cafepharma.com/boards/forumdisplay.php?f=43

I guess you could call this posting my "Sunday Morning Cup of Coffee". Maybe I should do I weekly posting? 

I do have to thank Pfizer though. Even though their pill costs an arm and a leg, it did wonders for my headache. Oh well, what is another $1000 a month expense these days? I might as well do my share in making the pharm companies even wealthier.

 

YET ANOTHER WEBSITE ABOUT BOEHRINGER 
INGELHEIM AND HOW THEY KILL OUR CATS:

http://www.metacamkills.com/

Is anyone really surprised? They act like they are here to help our cats but it is apparent they are more concerned about their profits. That is why they have started their new ad campaign "Have We Seen Your Cat Lately". You can read about it here:

http://www.catchannel.com/news/2010/08/19/have-we-seen-your-cat-lately.aspx

The quote from this page states

"Annual feline visits fell from 70.8 million in 2001 to 63.3 million in 2006, the latest statistics on the topic, according to the St. Joseph, Mo.-based company. The campaign is designed to reverse the trend of taking cats to the vet less often"

It is obvious Boehringer Ingelheim is concerned about this trend. It affects their profits greatly. For the first quarter alone in 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim had over 650 MILLION DOLLARS in sales in the vet medicines ALONE. I would be concerned about losing that too. Since they are not a publicly traded company, this represents HUGE paychecks to the Boehringer Ingelheim execs.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners and the AAHA should be ashamed of themselves lending their names to the campaign when they know Boehringer Ingelheim products KILL OUR CATS.



 


 

No more mirtazipine at night!

Monday December 20, 2010  8:19 PM

Last night I gave Stimpy her mirtazipine around 8:00 PM and that was a mistake. It makes her yeowl oddly and for no reason. All night long she was in the bed and in my face meowing loudly. I kept reaching out to pet her but being so tired, my heart was not in it but she kept insisting on some attention. So, for the next several hours, I drift in and out of sleep and Stimpy keeps coming up to me and purrs and meows. Oh well, at least I did not have to get up and go to a job.

I get lots of e-mails from people who are dealing with this VAS. It is always the same story. They never heard about VAS, they cannot afford the high cost of treatment and they have the same feelings of guilt and anger that we all feel.

The pharmaceutical companies are so quick to wave a check in front of your face. They usually cap it at $1500-3000 and of course they have exclusions and make the people sign for the money, promising not to disclose details. What this tells me is they are guilty. They waved the money in my face and I basically threw it back in their faces.

One thing people should know here. I am not an attorney but I do know some things. Check with your local small claims office and see what the limits are for suing in small claims. In many small claims courts they allow you to sue in the county in which the event happened. So, if that is true in your city, you can sue the pharmaceutical companies for the maximum allowed by your small claims courts in your city. That means they would have to travel to you to defend it. Chances are, it would cost them more to do that. I know this about small claims because years ago when I had booked a flight through Priceline.com, they screwed up my flight and did not disclose some portions of it, even though they said they would. Long story short, they were asses about it, I gave them every chance to make it right but they refused. I sued them in small claims in Pima County (Tucson) and just a few days before the trial, they called and settled it. Do not be so quick to accept their pittance they are offering for your cats life. Hold them responsible not just for the medical expense, but your heartache and time needs to be considered too.

I received an e-mail from a USA Today reporter. She wrote a story on VAS and she said it would be OK to link the story here. It is good to know there are some stories being written about this. If we can get some more exposure, it would at least let people know how disgraceful the pharmaceutical companies are and how they are killing our pets.

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/stories/2009/03/29/spotlight_cats_vaccination.html


I have just read some of the release forms that these pharmaceutical companies have people sign. Personally, I cannot believe anyone WOULD sign one of them. The pharmaceutical companies keep telling you that you CAN'T sue them, but they have to put a section in the release form stating that you will never sue them? The WHOLE reason you can sue these pharmaceutical companies is because they do not disclose the risks. Some think the vets are the responsible parties. Really people? If that was true, then why is it the pharmaceutical companies are the ones who get sued when a drug starts killing people? Why was it when Fen Phen was found to cause all the problems, it was the pharmaceutical companies that were held responsible and the doctors were indemnified by the manufacturer? Wyeth aka AHP was sued because they did not disclose the side effects of Fen Phen (there was a black box warning but the patient never gets to see it usually). These pharmaceutical companies act like some compassionate group, when in fact they dance every time they get someone to sign one of their releases. Here is an example of one of the release forms Ft. Dodge was getting people to sign several years ago. This was before Boehringer Ingelheim purchased the Ft Dodge vaccinations.



They know what these vaccinations do, they know they give our cats cancer and they know it will most likely ultimately kill most of the cats that get VAS. What low down pieces of scum!


Another thing to remember is that they cannot make you sign a release that releases them from future occurences. Some of the releases that I have read basically say you cannot sue them for ANYTHING in the future, That is pretty vague, A release like that can be challenged and HAS been challenged in litigation and the releases have been thrown out. Andy tells me this happens all the time with malpractice claims. People sue doctors, hospital and pharmaceutical companies and they sign this release and later, when something else occurs, the defendants try to pull this out and scare away another lawsuit. Even if you have signed a release in the past, you can go after them again. The above release is pretty vague in its terms too. It releases them from ALL future claims. Think about it. What if another one of your cats gets VAS? They are including THAT cat in this release. Like I said, low down pieces of scum. Challenge them if it has happened again. It would not hold up in court on their end.

Thanks, for all the fish...

Boehringer Ingelheim Christmas card 

WOW! Ever since I have started this journal, there have been over 50,000 hits! I appreciate the support and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. I do not think Boehringer Ingelheim appreciates the Christmas card I put so much effort into. They have deleted it from their Facebook page twice now. That's OK, it just tells me they are squirming in their seats! I have never been a big fan of Facebook, but what an amazing way to reach people. I look at the stats daily and it is funny to see what picture spikes the chart. Overwhelmingly, in the past, it has been the one of Stimpy in her "mouse hole", the one in her cat tower. Yesterday it had 146 views. It has now been left in the dust by the Boehringer Ingelheim devils with total hits of 407 hits in one day! Sorry Stimpy, I guess people would rather see the ugly face of Boehringer Ingelheim than they would of your sweet face. I am sure Boehringer Ingelheim wants to sue me for "trademark infringement" but I believe the Supreme Court ruling on Parody Laws protect me here. I am willing to fight them on it. Besides, I WOULD LOVE for them to sue me over this. Just imagine all the publicity I will get then to expose them for their vile evil ways. Hmmm...I just noticed, VILE and EVIL have the same letters in them. Interesting. Too bad LIVE does not factor into the equation when it comes to their vaccinations that are killing our cats.

I have gotten e-mails from other cat owners who have been affected by this too. In their case. They are dealing with Pfizer on their end and the products they have had to deal with are:

Defensor 3. The "warning" on their package simply states

"Defensor 3 has proven to be uniformly safe in experimental
tests, and no significant adverse reactions were reported in extensive clinical trials of the vaccine."

NO SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE REACTIONS? Oh I see, they clear their butts with the "in extensive clinical trials". I wonder how the poor cats who participated in their clinical trials are doing now and I wonder how long of a period they were observed? That might be something to ask the Freedom of Information office, for those clinical trial results to see how long of a period they actually lasted.


Leukocell 2: Postvaccination reactions have been observed in about 2% of vaccinated cats. These included stinging on injection, transient listlessness, depression, and brief temperature elevations. Hypersensitivity evidenced by myxedema and gastrointestinal distress(vomiting and bowel evacuation) occasionally has been reported.

Once again, NO MENTION OF THIS DEADLY CANCER. With all the side effects of this one, seriously, is the leukemia much worse?

The question always arises, "Why don't the pharmaceutical companies disclose the risk of cancer?" That is easy, THEIR PROFITS WOULD DROP. It is OK for us, the pet caregivers, to go through all the grief and heartache, seeing our cats die from this horrible cancer. It is OK for US to pay the high costs of treatment. Stimpy is one of the lucky ones, not everyone can afford to pay the $20,000 + that has been spent on her care since May 2010, especially in this economy. The pharmaceutical companies are so quick to wave $1500-3000 in the faces of the pet caregivers, hoping to ease their worries about the cost of this cancer. They need to be 100% accountable, not only for the cost of care but for the heartache that they put us through. I truly despise the pharmaceutical companies. I do not take it out on the vets so much. Yes, they could disclose it too, but you know the vet does care about your animal (at least most do). Most of them are vets because they love animals and do not want to see them go through this. I admire the vet in Tucson who actually gave Stimpy this vaccination. She has been 100% honest with me about this and has never tried to cover up anything.

I think this is kind of funny. When you do a Google image search of Boehringer Ingelheim Vaccines, the image of the BI Devil shows up before the BI logo does. It is number nine (at the time of this posting) out of 13,500 images.

http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1189&bih=485&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=boehringer+ingelheim+vaccines&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

If you do an image search of Boehringer Ingelheim, it shows up on page 24 of the search, it shows up around picture number 250 out of 169,000 images! That means the word is getting out and people are clicking on that image and learning about vaccine associated sarcoma.

If anyone cares to send BI a personal message, their e-mail contact is:

techservices-ca@bi-vetmedica.com

I would encourage people to send them an e-mail and demand safer vaccinations for our cats and more importantly, FULL DISCLOSURE!

If you prefer to write them, here are a few contacts:

Dr. James Hall
Sr. Associate Dir Vet Tech Services 

Dr. Kurt Peterson
Technical Marketing Manager

Mr. Michael Herman, Legal Department

The address for them is the same

 

Boehringer Ingelheim
2621 N Belt Hwy
St. Joseph, MO. 64506

They especially appreciate if you print it on a large envelope with some message on the outside such as the BI Devil of the Pet Cemetery one. That way it stands out in the crowd of mail and doesn't get lost in the sidelines. It is also a wonderful advertising tool as you are standing in line at the post office. I carry cards with me that have Stimpy's journal website and I freely give them out when people ask me about the envelope. Believe me, it is a real eyecatcher when it is laying on the counter and you just slide it along as you wait in line.



I spoke to Stimpy's oncologist yesterday. I am still having reservations about her starting chemotherapy. I hate to put the poor little thing through so much more, she has already been through hell. Then there is the thought in the back of my head, "what if this is what finally combats the cancer?" I hate this. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT!

I am thankful for every day I have with Stimpy. She still curls up with me in bed and purrs deeply, those big green eyes looking straight into mine. Every now and then she reaches over and gives me a little lick on the nose. It is her way of saying "Thanks for all the fish". (For those of you who do not know where that phrase came from, it was in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

Stimpy is resting comfortably. She is curled up on Baloo's bed right now. Poor Baloo, he has always been very respectful of her. He walks in and see her on his bed and he just plops down on the floor where he is at.

I have two new woodworking projects in the plans now. Since I hate to see the ugly things the pet stores have for pet beds, I am going to build some furniture quality ones for the animals. Stimpy's will of course have to look like something Marie Antoinette would have for her cat and the dog beds will look something like a sleeping berth on a first class ocean liner. Some raised paneling and red velvet should be just fine   :)


The dogs have thighs

Turkey thighs that is. Yesterday UPS delivered a smoked turkey to the house. It was a gift from an attorney in Dallas. I guess the driver was in too big of a hurry to ring the bell at the gate so he just left it inside the fence. Well, it took no time at all for the dogs to rip it to shreds and eat the smoked turkey. There were bits of box and turkey carcass everywhere. I suppose the first clue to the UPS driver that this was a bad idea could be the signs posted all over the gate and fence that say BEWARE OF DOG. I suppose the second clue that perhaps it was a bad idea was the PERISHABLE SMOKED TURKEY on the outside of the box. That might have tipped off Sherlock Holmes to the fact that just maybe, the dogs would EAT THE TURKEY! So, UPS, the dogs extend their sincerest thanks for the early Christmas dinner. I wonder if the attorney in Dallas will see the humor in it? The UPS driver dropped off another package today, this time it was full of cheese but fortunately I saw him from up at the house. He did not even bother to ring the bell at the gate so I quickly high tailed it down to the gate before the dogs got to it. 

Yesterday I got an e-mail about our "foster cat" in Columbia. We met Smudge while Stimpy was getting her radiation therapy there. Smudge has cancer too and he had to undergo RT as well. This week they found a few small polyps on his lungs but they are small so now he has to undergo chemotherapy too. Poor little guy, he has been through a lot too. I hope he does OK. I always hate to hear about another cat dealing with cancer.

There is another new member to our VAS Support Group. Her cats name is Chicken and she just had a VAS tumor removed from her scruff area. She was the victim of a Pfizer vaccination. Let's face it, these pharmaceutical companies just do not care. You can follow Chicken's story here:

http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/

I hope more people write blogs about their VAS cats. The more there are, the more we can expose the pharmaceutical companies. It is truly sickening that his has been going on for 20 years and they still do very little to inform us.

The cats have all found their favorite places in the house. They have discovered the floors are heated in the bathroom. If you cannot find them, they are sometimes all curled up in a ball there. Privet absolutely loves the fireplace. She will sit just inches away from the screen taking in the warmth. It is so cool to see. It is nice to see her enjoy something so much.

Hey...who farted? Dang Baloo...take that outside and someone light a match! I think that smoked turkey is finally kicking in.

 




Vaccine Associated Sarcoma,VAS,Injection Site Sarcoma,ISS,Cats,cat cancer,Boehringer Ingelheim,Vetmedica

Who let the dog in?

December 23rd, 2010  9:30 PM

In our last episode, we closed with Kevin posing the question "Who farted?" Turns out it was Mr. Baloo. He came in the house and since Stimpy had confiscated his bed, he plopped down next to the chair Kevin was in. He must have been in stealth mode because he went undetected.
 
Who was that? I look over at Stimpy. It couldn't have been her and her litter box...that was in the next room. Continue reading.... Dang! Who WAS that?  Stimpy is still in her bed, curled up in  a nice warm ball. Continue reading. Now my eyes start to water. WHO WAS THAT?!?! Just then Baloo reared his head from below looking pretty pleased with himself. Dang Baloo, I guess that smoked turkey has kicked in. A short while later Baloo is putting his head in my lap, wagging his tail, his sign that he wants to go out. I let him out and a few hours later I get up and go check all the doors and windows. It takes some time as there are six entrances on the first floor alone. I take care of the dogs, make sure the gate is closed and Baloo wants to come in again. Stimpy has vacated his bed for a spot on the big bed, so he goes and lies down. Around 4:00 AM I wake up, pretty groggy. That smell. I look over at poor little Stimpy. She is looking at me and purring. I know you have a hard time burying things in the litter box Ms. Stimpy but could you please make an effort? I got up to bury the offending pieces. Come to think of it, Stimpy has had me trained for years to do this for her. Much to my dismay, there was nothing to bury. I was wide awake now. With dread, I went into the other room. Right there, with Baloo wagging his tail and looking pretty pleased with himself, was a fudge factory spread over about a four square foot area. Half solid, half "softer". NO MORE TURKEY FOR BALOO...EVER! Baloo was evicted and I had a small job on my hands. It took an hour for the candle to kick in!

What a "crappy" way to start the day!  There are a ton of workers running around right now and the house is covered in scaffolding. The hail damage is finally being repaired. A lot of the clay tiles were busted up all over the roof so those are being removed and replaced. These workers are some of the most unhappy looking people I have ever seen. Quite frankly, they are a little on the scary side and they kind of throw some evil glances at you now and then. I have tried to be friendly but they just kind of glare at you. I will be glad when this job is finished. Even the dogs seem somewhat uneasy around them.

Today I got a wonderful phone call. It was from a lady at the Freedom of Information office who had been assigned my request. She said that she just received some disks that contained over 2700 pages in reference to the things I asked for. She asked if she could have 60 more days to process the request because some of the documents contained confidential things and she needed to actually return them to Boehringer Ingelheim and ask them what I can have. It seemed odd but she explained that some of them contained trade secrets, financials, personal information, etc, that could be deemed harmful to their business. I really do not care what harm comes to Boehringer Ingelheim quite frankly because of what they have done to Stimpy. I was polite and told her to take as much time as she needed. I explained to her why I am going after them. I told her how little Stimpy got cancer from their vaccination and even though they know the risks, they refuse to disclose it. I told her how Stimpy had to undergo radiation therapy for a month, only to have her little leg amputated later. The image of Stimpy hobbling around on three legs was enough that I did not have to supply a video of her. I am glad to know they have taken my request seriously and I am glad to know that Boehringer Ingelheim will soon know how serious I am about getting the information. I have heard that it costs something like $2-3 per page but that is OK. I will never forgive them for what they have done to Stimpy. They will be held accountable for her suffering.

 I found these articles on the Internet about Boehringer Ingelheim. Is it any surprise they were fined $20,600 for animal cruelty in their labs in 2006?

Is it any wonder that SAEN - Stop Animal Explotation NOW! has named Boehringer Ingelheim as one of the worst violators of US law?

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Boehringer_Ingelheim

While I am generally not a fan of PETA, it is no surprise that they have pointed their finger at Boehringer Ingelheim too. You can take that one with a grain of salt however since PETA themselves generally kill about 90 %+ of the animals in their care every year. It seems rather hypocritical to me.

http://www.peta.org/features/top-ten-worst-CEOs.aspx

I guess I had better get some painting done. I have tried close to 20 shades of yellow for the living room before I finally found the right one. What a PITA! The living room has a lot of details so painting it takes a while. There are two doors that go outside and there are seven windows to work around. Oh well, it gives me something to do. Paws out.


Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25th, 2010  10:15 PM

Another Christmas has come and gone. We did not do anything special around here. I did some painting and spent some time with the animals. I made a new video of Stimpy, showing how she is doing a month after her leg was amputated. She is getting around nicely. She takes a courageous leap off the dining table to the hardwood floors which kind of made me gasp but she did OK. If you look at 2:27, she drops a piece of food from her mouth. It looks kind of funny. The macaw caught her attention. I had to cut the sound because the bird was screaming bloody murder in the background because she was being ignored. She almost became the Christmas dinner! I have not brushed Stimpy for a while. I am afraid I will hurt her. She is probably a lot stronger than I am. She has been through so much.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Paws out.


A coward's response...


Sunday December 26, 2010  12:57 PM

As you know, I allow comments to be posted on here. There have been people who have e-mailed me directly and have expressed disgust that we are saving Stimpy's life. They do not understand how so much money can be spent on "just a cat". I pray these people do not have pets, let alone children. Some people do not understand the commitment that comes with an animal. If Stimpy was suffering, I would not be doing this to her. She has a wonderful life and when the time is right, she will let me know. Most of the people who are critical are people who are somewhat self righteous. "You know how many starving people there are in the world? You know how many children are homeless?" You get the idea. I have found that these same people often whine the loudest and do the least for their fellow man let alone an animal that depends on us.

My friend Dana once told me:

"We are forever responsible for those that we tame"

That pretty much sums it up for me. I am responsible for Stimpy. I can afford her care and she gets it. I wonder if the person who wrote this ignorant hateful post would feel the same way about a family member? I pity this person's family. Interestingly enough, even though the person was too cowardly to identify themselves, the post came from Lee's Summit, Missouri. not far from Boehringer Ingelheim's Vetmedica headquarter's. It would not surprise me if it was a Boehringer Ingelheim employee. It does not effect me when someone is critical of the care and love I give Stimpy. I simply pity them.

Their post:

Subject: Are you for real?
If you really cared for your cat you would have had it put to sleep peacefully long ago. Your sadistic need to prolong her agony (to satisfy your needs) is sickening.

This poor cat is made to suffer simply for you to justify your finger pointing "blame game". Stuff happens to both humans and animals. Look at the people that tried to blame Autism on child immunizations....

What a JOKE you are Kevin! Get over it and let your poor cat rest in peace, she deserves it.
It is obvious that this came from someone in the field of medicine or law, whether it be human or animal.  I do blame Boehringer Ingelheim for Stimpy's cancer. They manufacture a vaccine that they KNOW causes cancer yet they are too greedy to disclose it. Blame game? I think not. The blame is theirs 100%. The attack from this person is a little too personal to be from a casual reader. I strongly suspect it is someone I have dealt with directly at Boehringer Ingelheim. It is so meticulously composed and to attack me by name just doesn't make sense. It is a pretty transparent attempt to belittle me. Too bad it did not work.

"A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration"

I didn't write it. Boehringer Ingelheim prints that on their Rabvac 3TF box.

Thank you for your comment. It lets me know my message is getting through.

WOW! Yet another nasty comment from the St. Joseph, Missouri area. THANK YOU! I am so happy my journal has reached the Boehringer Ingelheim community. It is obvious from this person's comments that he or she is directly connected to the BI community. They believe everything that the pharmaceutical world pushes in front of them. It is "meticulously recorded"? I would love to know what meticulous records those are. I wonder if those will be included in my Freedom of Information request? This person fails to realize how many cats go unreported because of the non disclosure. When you do not know what to look for, how are you supposed to know what your cat needs when this lump occurs? He comments that it is not the fault of the pharmaceutical companies that I did not read the product label? What a complete fool. I do not know of ANYONE who has been given the product label from the vaccination. Even if I was given it, it certainly does not indicate a deadly cancer. It is pretty sugar coated in fact, so even if you do read it, God himself would not be able to read between those lines and see "This can cause a deadly cancer"

Rabvac,Boehringer Ingelheim,Vetmedica,VAS,Vaccine Associated Sarcoma

"A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration"


Is it just me, or does anyone see anything more serious with this product label? Does anyone infer from this label you may be killing your cat with a deadly cancer? Hey, maybe I am just an idiot and cannot understand English.

Yes, the pharmaceutical companies are at blame here 100%. Perhaps they should take some of those billions spent on safer developement on some education and disclosure? How difficult is that? Why have they not done that? It is pure and simple: GREED.

The newest comment:

You're an idiot.
This is something that happens to a well documented percentage of cats. It is not the fault of the manufacturer of the vaccines that you nor your vet read the product label information. The pharmaceutical companies spend billions annually to develop better and safer medications for you and your pets. The percentage of cats affected with a sarcoma has been meticulously recorded for several years. It is a known fact that a large percentage of cats a susceptible and the risk is well worth the protection the vaccines provide. And often reactions to vaccines are not the fault of the individual vaccine itself, it is caused by the person administering the vaccine not following the directions and giving the vaccine the wrong way or in combination with other vaccines.

This person has missed the entire point here. Perhaps I should have typed slower for this person and maybe they would have gotten the point.  There is no argument that vaccines do some good. I still vaccinate Mr. Butters, Ms. Privet and Miss Scarlett because they are outdoors frequently. My entire problem with the pharmaceutical industry is that they do spend billions on research, and they make billions on the sales of these vaccines, but why do not they not disclose the risks? My guess, although the poster of this was a pharmaceutical rep (I know...I have my resources) is that this person would want to know about any dangerous side effects if their life was in question. It is simple, the pharmaceutical companies do not respect the lives of our pets. They disclose the risks when humans are involved because they know they are accountable for their products. It should be no different for our pets. Boehringer Ingelheim sold Metacam for years knowing that it caused death in some of our pets. I am not sure when vets started using it for cats or who even approved of it. Apparently Boehringer Ingelheim was aware of its use in cats because they took the step to issue the following warning letter. To me, it implies that they knew without a doubt it was being used for cats but it was not until the FDA made them add the black box warning did they issue this warning, at least here in the USA. They still promote it in the UK as some wonder drug. How sickening that they promote its use there when they know it kills cats.

http://www.2ndchance.info/pain-metacamwarningletter.pdf

I wonder how many cats (and dogs) ended up dying before they released this vital information?

Thank you for your comment. I am glad this journal has reached you. It warms my heart!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So here we are at the beginning of a New Year. There are a lot of things that I hope are accomplished and changed. Of course, the number one thing I will work on is VAS education and getting some things rolling with the pharmaceutical companies. I am putting together the "Year in Review" about Stimpy and her battle with VAS and I will be printing and binding that and sending copies out to the St. Joseph office as well as the Ridgefield, CT offices and the corporate office in Germany. I figure the more exposure VAS gets, maybe one day the pharmaceutical companies will start disclosing the risks of their vaccines. The Google image searches are revealing quite a picture. They are telling me people are seeing the journal and the pictures. I think it is somewhat amusing that Boehringer Ingelheim is now the first pharmaceutical company that is featured under the term vaccine associated sarcoma, and the pet cemetery picture is very befitting considering how many cats die from their vaccines.

There were no big parties here last night. I actually went to bed at 8:00 pm. I am just so tired these days. The dogs continue to push their luck by getting outside the fence. It does not seem to sink in to the workers around here (the ones working on repairing the hail damage) that if the gate is left open, the dogs will run out. I was standing outside a few days ago looking down at the gate from the house and one worker entered and did not bother to close the gate. It is so frustrating. I had to give Stimpy her Mirtazipine today and I hate the side effect that lasts for a few hours. She just gives off this mournful meow and it is so distressing. Thankfully it does not last and it does help her appetite. She is so tiny. just 8 pounds 3 ounces after her leg was amputated.

This Tucson trip is still up in the air. I just hate to leave Stimpy. The only person I really feel like I can trust to watch over her and the others is Dana but I hate to ask Dana to commit to the 2x a day to come and take care of them. In the past we have asked the housekeeper or groundskeeper to watch after them but since Stimpy's amputation, I would need someone who really knows what to look for in the event Stimpy has any problems. I hate this. I have not missed a Tucson Gem Show for over 20 years now. I loved it when we lived in Tucson, we could walk to the shows from our house, but now I have mixed feelings about leaving Stimpy for a week. I hate to take her too because she hates traveling.  We'll see.

The more I have thought about the comment that the pharmaceutical rep left on the post above this one, the more I am actually thankful for it. His comment that is is not the fault of the pharmaceutical companies if the vet or I did not read the product label, blah blah blah, only goes to show how the labels DO need to be changed to disclose the risks of this cancer. The "local reaction may occur" hardly covers it and it certainly does not provide the vet or the consumer with the required information. THANK YOU drug rep...you really made my point. Who's the idiot now?

Andy also pointed out something the other day. He was commenting on the other post from the BI family, the one who said I should have killed Stimpy long ago and put her out of her misery. Andy pointed out that NO animal has ever chosen death over living. It is a natural instinct to survive. If a hurt animal is confronted, that animal still fights to live or tries to escape harm. It is a fact that no animal has ever commited suicide to escape pain or illness. How quick people are to pass judgement and say "kill the animal". It does not surprise me the comment came from a BI person though. I am sure they would like to see me dead about now too.  I am not the type to walk away from a fight. They messed with the wrong kitty this time!

So, here's hoping the New Year brings some wonderful changes. Right now, the animals are all nestled in their beds. It is cold outside. Frida stands guard at the gate no matter how much you try to coax her inside. Stimpy loves going out in the garage for some reason and she likes to curl up on the dogs bed (sans the dog, of course). I just do not know why she likes it so much. I guess it is a great adventure for her.

Paws out for now. Everyone have a happy and safe New Year.

I just had to share this. I just came across this on Boehringer Ingelheim's web site, under the tab "Our Responsibility"

"For 125 years Boehringer Ingelheim has been committed to building and sustaining a culture of caring and responsibility. Driven by our vision to deliver Value through innovation, our commitment extends not only to patients and their families but to our employees, our communities, and the environment. We recognize that we are more than just a business, we are part of a global community and as such our family of employees feels strongly about making a difference in our own backyard and around the world."

What a load of you know what! Someone get the shovels!

Same old games...

Sunday January 2, 2011  7:00 PM

Today I made a disturbing discovery. While going through the drawer of pet things, I came across a box of Metacam. I was stunned. As I posted earlier, Metacam oral suspension is not licensed for use in cats in the United States. It has been known to cause death in cats and even though this has been a known fact for the past five years, Boehringer Ingelheim did not release the update about the dangers and add a black box warning until this year in the past few months. You can read a copy of the sugar coated letter here:

http://www.2ndchance.info/pain-metacamwarningletter.pdf

Fortunately Stimpy is notoriously difficult to give medicine to. Even when you try to hide it in food, she still knows and will not eat it and getting her to take something orally is incredibly difficult. It is funny how things become clear to you later. Stimpy could have become one of Boehringer Ingelheim's Metacam statistics if she was not so stubborn about taking her meds. It seems they have it in for Stimpy! I will not complain so much in the future when she gives me grief about this. I tried a few times to give her the Metacam but abandoned it after a few tries.

So, after perusing the Internet, I came across this site, not surprisingly, from Boehringer Ingelheim UK.

http://www.metacam.co.uk/cats/cats.html

It does raise the question about "How does a drug that is known to kill cats in America, manage to save cats in the United Kingdom?" I suppose some people would chalk it up to America being a litigious nation but perhaps it is a good thing. I wonder if there is a package insert with the Metacam in the UK about the risks to cats? The package insert for the oral suspension that Stimpy received very clearly states that it is not for use in cats. This was even before the September 2010 release from Boehringer Ingelheim telling doctors in the US not to use it for cats. I wonder when and whom approved it's use in cats initially? It really makes you want to never take another drug again, there seems to be some much deception.

So, have they seen your cat lately? I sure hope not! The last time I was at the vets office I specifically told him I did not want any Boehringer Ingelheim products used for any of the pets...EVER!

The weekend has passed somewhat uneventful. It is hard to get excited about a New Year, it seems like just another day. It did give me a chance to get some things done. Ever since the move from Tucson, things have been crated up, specifically a lot of the art. Since the piano room is almost complete, I uncrated the Beethoven. This is a work done by a former student of Andy Warhol's. The influence is very obvious. This artist just died in 2010 at a fairly young age. I hung it just above the piano. In Tucson, the ceilings were 25' high in the living room and there were polished concrete floors so  the acoustics were great. They are OK here but the floors and ceilings in Tucson really made a difference. No matter how hard you try, you cannot keep a piano free of paw prints when you have cats. You dust it, and two minutes later it is covered with their tracks. You cannot open the cover because they just have to go inside and explore. The least they could do is learn how to play it so they can do a concert with Nora, the piano cat!



Beethoven revealed after being in a crate for nearly three years!

I managed to get some good pictures of the cats today. I had to expel Miss Privet from the dining room because she was trying to eat the flocking off of a Christmas wreath. I swear that cat will eat anything! It is probably good  that there is no aquarium in the house or she would probably be fishing every day.

So, without further ado, here are some pictures of the pack.


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Miss Scarlett...she is starting to get a little wider in the middle! Time for the New Year's diet.


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Miss Privet on her favorite bed. This is in front of the fireplace (far enough away so it does not combust!) They look so angelic when they are asleep.


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This is probably the best picture I have of Mr. Butters. He really did well posing for the camera on this one. He loves this bed he is on.

And finally, this would be the picture Miss Privet would have on her driver's license if she had one. They are always this bad. She is up on the "forbidden sofa". The plastic has not been removed yet since this room is not officially done so the plastic is driving the cats crazy. This picture is bad. I will let it speak for itself!



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More TAILS from the city


Wednesday, January 5, 2011  7:30 AM

I guess the dogs had to start the New Year off with a mini "Homeward Bound" adventure. There were a bunch of workers here yesterday and the gate is opened and closed constantly. I think it is doing something because it seems to malfunction frequently. Yesterday when we returned home, the gate was wide open and Chula (the boxer) and Jasmine (the bloodhoud) were both missing. A search party was launched but there was no sign of them. Finally, after a long search, I found Chula wandering around on the open land next to the house. She was panting so she was obviously running a lot. I rounded her up but there was no sign of Jasmine. I locked Chula in the garage and Baloo in the house so we could leave the gate open. I went out looking for Jasmine and fortunately, just a short way out of the drive, she was spotted but in a dangerous spot. She was sitting next to a busy road where cars were whizzing by. Being 5:00 PM, there were plenty of people going home. She seemed scared and would not come to me but finally I was able to coax her over. I was in a bad place too, having to leave my car on the road with flashers, hoping no one would come along. She was loaded up in the car and returned home. Why is the grass always greener on the other side? These dogs have seven acres to run around on and there is plenty to do and get into here but they always have to do this! I worry about leaving them when we go to Tucson because I am not confident that any one will go look for them if they run off again.

After finding that bottle of Metacam, I found the name of the agency that regulates the drug in the UK. I sent an inquiry (I suppose that would be ENquiry in the UK) and asked them why it is approved for use on cats in the UK when the FDA in the USA does not. I pointed out that there have been numerous incidents of death here and that Boehringer Ingelheim recently sent out a letter telling vets not to use it in cats. Once again, here is the link to that letter:

http://www.2ndchance.info/pain-metacamwarningletter.pdf

I posed the question to the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency)
 
"How does a drug that kills cats in America, save cats in the UK?"

It will be interesting to get their answer. I also e-mailed the tech support at BI Vetmedica in St. Joseph. I told them I was a little confused about giving Metacam to my cat. I voiced my concern since the label states not to give it to cats but then I came across their website in the UK that says it is safe for cats.

My first reply went like this:

Thank you for contacting Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. regarding Metacam. 

 Please respond with your country of residence so that I may direct your question to the most appropriate person.  If you reside in the United States, you may call our technical service team at 866-638-2226 between 8am and 5pm CST to discuss your questions.

So I replied again making some excuse for not being able to call and then I got this reply:

Each pharmaceutical product formulation must be submitted to and approved by each country’s regulatory agency for specific uses in each country and in this product’s case, the UK has approved the use of Metacam Oral Suspension in cats.  In the United States, Metacam Oral Suspension is approved for use in dogs only. Metacam Oral Suspension has NOT been approved by the FDA for use in cats in the US. 

 Prior to administering Metacam Oral Suspension to your cat, I would recommend discussing its use with your veterinarian, especially if you have concerns regarding off label use. 

Is it just me, or does this seem very unconscionable to anyone else? Boehringer Ingelheim KNOWS this is killing cats here in America but since it has slipped through the regulatory agency in the UK, they sell it and even set up a website promoting how wonderful it is for cats. It only proves that they care more about their profits than they do the safety of our animals. It kind of blows their "mission statement" out of the water. There is nothing caring at all about what they are doing.


On other fronts, I once again got the runaround from the USDA about why there is no black box warning on these vaccines that are killing our cats. No matter who you contact there, they pass you off on someone else. The FDA does not want to answer the question and the USDA does not want to answer the question. No one wants to tell you the name or office that can actually help you and answer your question but that is OK, I will persevere. They have no idea how stubborn I can be.

I did get a certified letter the other day. I was hoping it was from Boehringer Ingelheim telling me to cease and desist. No such luck. I have sent them numerous letters starting back in July when Stimpy started her radiation therapy but they have never replied except that one time Dr. Hall called me. That was after I sent the envelope with the Pet Cemetery picture on the outside:

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica

Maybe they are taking the "ignore him and he will go away" approach? Not going to happen. They have messed with the wrong kitty! Anyway, the certified letter was actually from the Freedom of Information office. It simply confirmed our conversation they other day where I agreed to the 60 day extension for my request of material. It seemed kind of silly to send it certified but I guess they have their rules.

Paws out for now. Time to get some things done around the house.

Gabrielle Giffords

Sunday January 9, 2011 6:22 AM

It was a sad day in Tucson yesterday. I am sure everyone has heard the news now that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson, along with many others. Several people are dead including a nine year old girl. It is so sad to see the images on the news and the Internet, showing places you have gone to, some people you know, and it really saddens you. We voted for Gabrielle when she first ran for election. She is a good person. None of the people deserved this.  It really sickens me to think how messed up people have become. My hearts goes out to the people in Tucson. To the families of the people who were shot and to Gabrielle's family. I hope she makes a full recovery. It was odd to see some of the doctors on television, doctor's you know, and the nations attention on a place you love so much. It will be a somber visit to Tucson this month.

I woke up this morning with another one of my $30 headaches. I just cannot even function with these things. I took one of the Relpax tablets and thankfully it has worked. I hate to think it has come to this, every time I get a nasty headache, it will cost me $30 for a pill that helps.  Dang!

Stimpy is starting to explore with balancing on her one leg now. She used to stand up and crawl up the cabinet when I was getting her food but she has not done that lately. She has always been aggressive when it comes to something she wants like the milk from my cereal bowl and in yesterday's case, she wanted to see what I was eating so she stood up on her back leg and hauled herself up into my lap. I was so proud of her. She really is a brave little cat. I look at her now and I know the right decision was made. She is doing well. She grooms herself, purrs, runs, and she appears to be overall very healthy. I have decided to postpone her chemo until after this upcoming Tucson trip. I just want to make sure I am here with her all through that. I will take her in before leaving and have some labs done to make sure she is still a good candidate for chemo. I just want to make sure her vitals are all still good. I will not stress her out if she is not ready.

I have grown tired of the idiots who tell me we should just put her to sleep. She is not suffering, she does not deserve to die because she got cancer from a vaccination. If anyone deserves to suffer for it, Boehringer Ingelheim does. They are as low as you can go. At dinner last night, I was talking to a friend who is a lawyer. We were discussing this in great detail. She mentioned a few things that I had not thought of. When Boehringer Ingelheim made their first offer to me of $1500 towards Stimpy's medical care, she is the one who raised the red flag. She also found it odd they were so quick to offer the money. I guess you can call it hush money. They would really like you to just go away.

This whole deal with the Metacam sickens me too. After the last reply from BI tech services, I sent another reply, this time using my real name, and simply asked

"So how is it that a drug that KILLS cats in AMERICA manage to SAVE CATS in the UK? Hmmm. Does the UK also have laws that allows BIVI to kill cats without any liability?"

I have not received a reply.... I am going to contact a reporter in the UK and send them a copy of BI's warning letter to the vet's here in the US, telling them about the dangers of using Metacam in cats, and see if they would be willing to write a story on it. I have a good friend who lives in Birmingham UK who knows some people in the media so hopefully he can put me in contact with someone there.

Speaking of replies, I did get one from the Missouri State Attorney General's office yesterday in regards to my complaint against BIVI. As usual, with any government office, things were misinterpreted and I had to write a letter of clarification to make sure they understand exactly what my complaint was about. In their letter they stated that they could not act as my attorney to sue BIVI. Yes, I do understand that. I never ASKED you to act as my attorney in the matter. I simply asked you for some clarifications on the Missouri laws. Hopefully their office knows the answers. Anyway, it is a good step. Their office should get my letter tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how BI responds. I am sure they will have some sugar coated response just like they do on their warnings about how their products kills your pets.

It is supposed to get bitterly cold here again tonight. Privet sure loves the fireplace. We decided to put a gas fireplace in that room because quite frankly, wood is a hassle. I love real wood but it is so much easier clicking the button on the remote than it is to build a fire. Many years ago I used to sell fireplaces, just after high school, and this Mendota was the best, and still is in my opinion. It is a little TOO efficient though. It really cranks out the heat and it warms the whole room. Privet absolutely loves it. I have to turn it on low when she is in front of it. I am afraid her whiskers will curl!

This is not the best picture, but once again her she is on the hearth. The marble really retains the heat nicely so she loves curling up in front of it. The other cats have not caught on yet. Privet really needs to go on a diet. I am struggling on how to feed all these cats and let each one have their share. I may have to quarantine them to a room and do individual feedings and take the food up when they are finished.



The work on the house here is nearly complete. Their have been workers here almost daily. They removed the clay tiles and replaced them, the stucco on the house had to be repaired and painted, a window got broken from the hail and many others got dinged up on the frames, and new shingles were placed on the caretaker's house and this little red stone building that is just refered to as the "potato house". It is an odd little building, maybe 12' x 12' that is half in the ground and half exposed. It is built from the red barite rocks that are common here in Oklahoma, the same stuff the barn is made of. The roof on the barn still needs replacing and a lot of the glass on the greenhouse was busted out. That was a horrible hail storm we had. I heard it did 1.2 billion dollars in damage here in OKC. I am not sure how much longer these guys are going to be here but there is a trail of oil all over the concrete from where they park their cars. What a mess.

It has been decided that the dogs will have to be boarded while we are in Tucson. Too many people are coming and going and the gate gets left open too often and lately, the gate opener has been malfunctioning. For whatever reason, the gate clicker will open the gate but not always close the gate. In about 20 minutes it tends to reset itself but too many times, it is left open because no one knows what to do. The workers will just go on and leave it open and that is usually when the dogs get out. So,  in order to avoid any of the grief that goes with runaway dogs, Baloo, Chula and Jasmine will have to go off to doggy school for a week. Frida will stay here because she never leaves the grounds. She knows her boundaries  and she absolutely will not go outside the gate. I have told the "gatekeeper" that I think he installed the wrong gate opener and that I do not think it is adequate for the size of gate. Supposedly the maximum width is 12' and this gate is 14' x 7' and it is not supposed to exceed 500 pounds. I am positive this new wrought iron gate exceeds that. The old gate was probably 300 pounds and it was smaller in height and not as heavy as this one as far as the rod size. It has been very frustrating dealing with it.

I have mixed feelings about this Tucson trip. In a way I will be thrilled to return and visit old friends and neighbors, but this thing with Stimpy just continues to dwell in my mind and I hate to leave her. I will ask Dana to take care of the cats. I know Dana will take good care of them.   She was very good about taking care of them while I was in Columbia with Stimpy. There are just some people you know you can trust with your pets. Dana and Chris were the ones who rescued Mr. Butters from the storage shed when he got locked in there the day we left for Columbia with Stimpy. What a horrible day that was. Poor Mr. Butters!

Stimpy is up and exploring. She seems thrilled to be reaching places she used to go to. She stood up on her back leg again a while ago and stretched towards me (she wants some milk!). She is now curled up on the ottoman and seems pretty content. A trip to Petsmart is in order again today. The food supply is running short again and I think I will get her a new dry food. She does not seem to care for this Science Diet stuff (this is the dry stuff, a small bowl is kept out for her so she can snack on it when she feels like it). She is pretty adamant about getting her wet food though. I remember once in Tucson I had been gone for most of the day and when I returned home she was waiting for her wet food and there was none in the house. I put some dry out for her and she refused to touch it and she just sat down in front of me and just gave a big sigh and stared at me. I was dead tired but I dragged myself down to the convenience store and bought her a can of wet food and brought it home for her. She devoured it and kind of gave me that "Thanks for all  the fish look" again and went about her business. These cats have way too much control over me!

Paws out.


Thank You For Being A Friend

Monday, January 10, 2011


smudgesm.jpg


                             SMUDGE

                                                   January 10, 2011

                                            RIP...you will be missed


The "Smudge"

Saturday January 15, 2011   4:05 AM

It has not been a week since learning about Smudge passing away. I have really been kind of sad over it all.  It was such a shock to learn about his passing and I really have not felt like writing much.

We met The Smudge while we were in Columbia for Stimpy's radiation therapy. It was on July 9th, just after we arrived in Columbia. Smudge was there with his caregiver's in the morning and when I picked Stimpy up that afternoon, they were still there. That's when I first met Alison and Eric and we talked for a short while before they brought Stimpy out. I did not see them again for several days and I worried that their cat did not come through surgery. I did see them several days later and we caught  up and they said Smudge came though OK. Turns out he had throat cancer and would have to undergo radiation therapy too. Smudge became a "rad grad" on October 13. We were to become "chemo comrades" soon too but Smudge was battling some respritory problems so that was postponed. When I got the news he had passed, it was from a severe asthma attack and the medicines were not helping him.

It makes you realize how fast time goes by. While in Columbia, we became friends with Alison, Eric and Ali's sister Ren (it was meant to be...Ren & Stimpy!). We went out to dinner, I went to their house for dinner, and we just bonded I guess because we knew what it was like to be in the other person's shoes. I am forever touched by meeting Smudge and it will be a memory I will have always. It seems like it was just yesterday.

It has been very cold here again. I just cannot deal with this cold weather. It makes me miss Tucson. Although I worry about going to Tucson and leaving Stimpy, I am sure she will be OK. She will be in good hands and I will be in constant contact with the people. I may set up  a mobile camera so I can check in on her myself. I will drive since I truly hate flying, especially these days. It is an enjoyable drive. I stop in
Albuquerque and then onto Tucson the next day. I love going through ABQ and from that point on, it is very relaxing. Being back in the southwest desert is wonderful and I like to soak it all in.  The fountain by the koi pond froze again this week. It was more spectacular than last year's freezing although it is not an event I especially welcome. Here are a few pics. At least it was nothing like the blizzard the east got. I do enjoy snow, as long as I am inside looking out, sitting by the fire. To me, it is one of the most peaceful things, to see the snow illuminated by the moon, sitting in the dark with only the fire giving off light, and seeing the snow drift softly down to the ground. Going out in it...no  thanks.







I'm surprised the koi pond did not freeze over and I am even more surprised that there are no fish flaoting!


This morning someone posted this comment on the journal. It came from Boonsboro, MD.

Jan. 15th, 2011 01:02 am (local)
Poor cat
 
How many legs is your cat down to now? I think I read just One? Do you not think it is sick that you are forcing this cat to live in order to bring you some kind of happiness? How do you know that cat doesnt want to die? Because he purs and eats? Please, put this cat to sleep. He deserves it. No one would even put a human through what you are putting this poor cat through. Let him go. You don't have any children do you? Doesn't matter. What you are doing is cruel and disturbing.

How do you even respond to such an ignorant post? Normally I would say, "thank you for reading the journal, I am glad it is reaching people" but wow, this one kind of leaves me speechless. I think we can chalk this one up to someone who has not seen the inside of a university!

For starters, if this person had actually taken time to read the journal, my first thought is that this person would know that Stimpy is a girl, NOT A BOY. Second, the opening line..."How many legs is your cat down to now? I think I read just One?"  OK, this one boggles me a bit. Are they sure they know HOW to read? They do realize we are talking about legs and not nine lives? I just cannot even come up with a retort about the One Leg thing. Do they realize that ONE LEG was removed and THREE were left? Maybe I should have typed that post slower so people like this could understand it. Wow. 

So, once again we have someone passing judgement. Am I FORCING Stimpy to live? Hardly. She is a healthy happy GIRL. You can see that in her eyes. How do I know SHE does not WANT to die? Really person? Do YOU want to die? Perhaps your life is so miserable in Boonsboro that you DO want to die, but to each his own. Every living creature has the natural instinct to live. Stimpy does everything she did before this cancer hit. She is just absent one leg. A person can get by on one leg, just as a cat can get by on three, and even two legs. Stupidity...well that is a different matter. YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID.

Stimpy DESERVES to die? Really? Wow, I did not realize we were in the presence of omnipotence. You have life's answers down, don't you. I bow to your intellect.

     

No one would put a human through this? Again, mind boggling? I have not met any cancer survivors who have told me they wished that they had just let the cancer spread so they could die a painful death. I have not met an amputee who has said they wished they had just died because they are short one limb.

Lastly, this person asks if I have children. I am assuming they are referring to the human kind, and the answer is No, I do not have children. I have never had the desire to have children. I dare hope that this person does not have children either, and if it does, I pray these children do not have a beloved pet! It is easy to develop a mental picture of this person and it is not far from Grant Wood's painting of American Gothic.

                    

                         My apologies to Grant Wood!



I allow these comments to be posted for several reasons. It shows that the journal is reaching a wide spread audience (did you catch that Boehringer Ingelheim?). It allows people to express their opinions, although seriously, this one lacks very little intelligence. In the case of this posting, it is educational and could be used in screening a potential person for ever having a pet, let alone a child! Scary!

Stimpy is sleeping soundly as are all the other animals. There is peace in the house for the time being. I will spend a little time at the antique flea market this morning and then I told a friend I would help her frame in some doors at her house. Not my favorite thing to do but it is always nice to help out a friend. She is having a party on Sunday so I guess this weekend is looking pretty booked already. Hopefully it will be a relaxing one.

Paws out.



 

One legged cat


Monday January 17, 2011   7:10 AM

We attended our first party of the year last night. It was at our neighbor's, the former State Senator, and it was actually a lot of fun. The food was good, we got to meet a lot of new people and they had this white elephant gift game. You picked a number, drew a gift and you could keep it or someone with a number after yours could steal it. I walked away empty handed because I did not want my gift so I discreetly left it behind. I hope it does not find its way home! I did discover a new appetizer that melts in your mouth. It was a small puff pastry from Omaha Steaks that had tenderloin and mushrooms inside. Dang! I could have eaten the whole tray but too many people were watching!


The comment the person left the other day still sticks in my brain. Maybe it was because of the one legged cat comment. Someone suggested that perhaps they were being sarcastic but I don't know. I usually pick up on sarcasm easily enough. Maybe this person just does not have the art of sarcasm down, but it did conjur up some sad, although somewhat funny images. I imagied a cat with one leg, taking a hop and falling face forward. It is truly sad but in a cartoon setting, I guess it could have its moments. I guess it is the way the person said it, making it sound like we systematically are removing Stimpy's legs. I don't even want to think about that scenario.

It does amaze me though, the attitude that some people have. They think that when an animal gets sick, the solution is to kill it. How utterly cruel can you get? People like that should not have pets. Just like children, pets are a responsibility and you have to take things into consideration when you have either one. They both cost money and they will both need health care. People who get a pet and think that they will have no vet bills are so dillusional. It is like the neighbors near us who had Mr. Butters. They got him, never did anything to help him, they let him wander the neighborhood un-neutered. When I told them I had taken him to our vet when he got sick and he tested positive for feline leukemia, they were more worried that it would spread to their dogs. I told them they should not get another cat....EVER. So, we catnapped Mr. Butters and he has been doing well since. I think Ms. Scarlett and Miss Privet came from the nearby estate. These people are never there and I think they got these cats to act as mousers but when their caretaker decided to get a dog that is four feet high on all fours, I think that is when they started showing up at our house and they have stayed. Sigh...I did not want four cats but I could not let them starve and go untreated. They were all so skinny when they showed up. NO MORE PETS FOR  A LONG TIME!

So, back to the one legged cat rant. My apologies, but I could not help this one:

                                                           


It will be good to get back to Tucson. I am still not sure how long we will stay though. At first it was going to be two weeks, but I hate to leave Stimpy that long. Someone will be here with her at least and in the event something should happen, I will hop on a plane and come back to OKC.

The old neighbors who gave Stimpy up are still there so we will all go out to dinner. I think they are surprised she has lived this long. I think they thought she only had a few years left. They even commented on the fact that she was old and she deserved to live the rest of her life with someone who really cared for her. I think she would have died it she did not get that first surgery. That was a year after they gave Stimpy to me. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was a nervous wreck. The vet wanted Stimpy to spend the night prior to the surgery just so she would more calm and used to her surroundings. I remember going to Zivas for dinner that night and I could not eat a thing. I hardly got any work done the next day until they called me and said she was fine. I was so relieved. She was so happy to get home. I remember thinking at the time, wow, $1500 for  a surgery. It was my first taste of what it cost to have a pet. That of course does not even touch what has been spent on Stimpy because of this cancer. It has surpassed the $20,000 mark and I am not sure how much the chemo will cost. It does not matter. They say chemo is easier on cats. I hope so. I will call the vet tomorrow so I can get some labs done on Stimpy and a health check up before this Tucson trip. If the doc gives her the OK, I will feel better about going to Tucson. She seems to be doing great. Good appetite, she runs a lot more now, plays with toys.... Oh, and she "purs" a lot. So, in answer to  the one legged cat poster, she does eat and "purs" and so yes, I do think this is a good sign she is doing good. I do not think she is any discomfort at all. I am amazed at how resilient she has been through all this.

I guess it is time to feed the animals, myself included. A movie is in the works this afternoon, The King's Speech. There is a theatre near OKC that has a balcony, large comfortable heated seats and they serve you dinner at your seat! Best of all, no one under 21 is allowed. It is a great way to see a movie!

Paws out.

Who let the dogs out?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011  7:15 AM

So, once again we return home and there is no sign of Baloo and Chula. Once again I have to drive all around looking for them. Once again there is no sign of them.

There are some workers building some kind of behemoth that goes to the back lot. I am not sure what they are thinking but it looks like we have dinosaurs back there. It is so gigantic that it looks like the fence that was at the entrance to Jurassic Park! I walk back in the lot and after a few minutes of calling Baloo and Chula emerged from the brush and stopped in their tracks. They looked a little startled to see me and after I scolded them, Baloo looked at Chula and it was almost like he said "RUN!". They knew they were not supposed to be outside the fence and they both took off through the bramble where I could not follow. I returned to the house and one of the workers tried to say they never saw the dogs. Seriously, I do not know what some people think. You leave a gate open A DOG WILL RUN OUT! Grrhhh! 

Back inside the fence, I found Chula but there was no sign of Baloo. Chula had run down to the gate so I opened it for her but Baloo was no where. So, once again I get in the car and go look for him. I spent a good 1/2 hour looking for him but he was no where. After returning to the house, on a hunch I went into the garage. Sure enough, he was HIDING OUT in the garage! He was actually hiding out like a child! I was so ticked off at him for making me worry and run all over looking for him. I do not know what the solution is with these workers who are here almost daily. They just cannot seem to get it that they need to keep the gates closed. How difficult can that be? We will definitely have to board the dogs during the Tucson trip. I just know the groundskeeper and the housekeeper will not go look for them if they disappear. 

Stimpy goes in on Monday for a health check up. She will start chemo after we return from Tucson. I just have so many feelings of intrepidation about starting chemo. People say cats handle it well but I just have these visions of what human go through for it. They say it is nothing like that for cats. I hope so. On one hand, I hate to make her go through it. On the other hand, I would hate to think that this is the one final thing that takes care of this dreaded VAS.I hate these pharmaceutical companies. They act like they are doing such good for our pets. I just do not understand why they will not disclose the risks about their product. They will be help 100% responsible for what they have done to Stimpy. 

It is amazing what you can find on the Internet. In my searching through files, you can find things that would have otherwise been impossible just a few years ago.

I came across this settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica and the Environmental Protection Agency. Of course they admit no wrong doing but everyone knows what that means. They were fined for mislabeling a pesticide. Apparently it had higher contents of  Dichlorvos than what the sample showed so they got busted for misbranding the product. I realize that this has nothing to do with Stimpy's vaccine associated sarcoma but since it shows Boehringer Ingelheim in a bad light, so be it. I can't wait to get these documents from the Freedom of Information office. It will take a while to scan and sort them, but I will be posting them on here as I come across them. Every time I think about what Boehringer Ingelheim has done to Stimpy and the other cats, I start to boil.

http://www.epa.gov/region7/businesses/consent_agree_final_order/2008/boehringer_ingelheim_vetmedica_inc_st_joseph_mo_090808.pdf


I will be cutting my trip to Tucson short. I just cannot leave Stimpy alone that long. Instead of driving though, I have decided to fly. I HATE flying. I hate it so much that I bailed out on a two week cruise that went from Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Bangkok and Singapore. It was on board the Regent Seven Seas Cruise and the master suite was booked. It is a 2000 sf suite on board a ship. I bailed at the last minute because I just could not stand being inside a plane from Chicago to Hong Kong for 14 hours. I guess a good time was had by all but I was pretty content back in Oklahoma City. Admittedly too, I just did not want to leave Stimpy alone for two weeks either. I never really wanted to go on that cruise from day 1 and I kept thinking, I could do it. I just could not. How I ever managed to fly from LAX to Auckland New Zealand in 2001 is beyond me. Even hopping across the pond to the UK or France is agonizing. I will return to Europe again but the next time, I am going to book the Queen Victoria and take my time getting there and back. So anyway, back to Tucson, the flight leaves on Saturday the 29th and returns on February 5th. It is a short trip but it will be good to go back and visit people.  

 

Another kitty from the VAS support group lost his battle to cancer on Sunday. Here is a copy of the e-mail we got from Kermit's caregiver. It made me cry and it made me almost want to give up. At times I just cannot deal with the grief associated with this cancer. Reading this only makes me think about Stimpy and I pray that when it is her time, she goes peacefully.

I am sorry to write you all that my sweet Kermit passed over the Rainbow Bridge Sunday night.

My poor boy took a turn for the worse Saturday morning. He had thrown up violently the night before and early that morning. I took him to the doctor and was told that there was nothing they could do for Kermit besides give him subcutaneous fluids and asked me if I wanted to euthanize him. I told them that he could be just having a bad day and that I wanted to take him home and try to help him feel better.

That afternoon I spoon fed him wet cat food mixed with Pedialyte. Kermit would walk over to the water bowl, with his head hanging low, lick his lips and stand there for a few seconds looking at the water bowl as if he wanted so badly to drink, but couldn't muster up the energy to do so. I gave him water and Pedialyte through a dropper every hour and a half. Then he began to walk around
the house, taking the same path from the kitchen, to the dining room, hall, hall bathroom, back down the hall, through the living room, past the sliding glass window and back into the kitchen again. He did this about 15 times throughout that afternoon and night. He even stood by the back door looking at me as if to say "Let me out, please". I carried him to the front yard and let him sniff around, then he walked to the back door and looked up at me to let him back inside where he laid down in his favorite bed. It was almost as if he was trying to memorize every little detail about his house. Later that night he developed a 104 degree temperature.

I slept with Kermit on the living room floor that night to keep an eye on him.  Around 6AM I woke up to see him not beside me and I panicked. I ran to the kitchen to see him looking at his water bowl again and he let out a faint "NNNNNOW" (Kermit doesn't say "Meow" he says "NOW". This gave me some hope because I hadn't heard him talk since Friday night.

By Sunday afternoon Kermit got weaker, his breathing was faster than normal, and he was very restless. I was sick with worry. I didn't want him to suffer but was also terrified of stealing a day or a week from him if I was to have him put to sleep. I kept telling my heart that he wasn't going to get better and that he was suffering. It was the least I could do for my best friend of 19 years to give him a dignified death.

After calling every veterinarian in the phone book and them telling me that they couldn't help me with it being a Sunday night, I finally got a call back from a veterinarian in Richmond Hill, GA. She told me to bring Kermit in.

Kermit sat on my lap while my husband drove us the 30 minutes to the office. He never made a sound, he just purred and rested his head on my arm. Every once in a while he'd look up at the lights out the window.

At 7:15 my baby died in my arms. He didn't fight the doctor who gave him his fatal injection. He just looked at me and purred. Then he slowly stopped breathing.

Yesterday morning was the first morning I wasn't woken up at 6AM with him yelling at me to feed him "NNNNNOW". I miss him so much that I physically ache. My 3 year old son asked me this morning why I was crying. I told him that I missed Kermie and he said so matter-of-factly "Don't be sad Momma. Kermie is in heaven with Grandpop!"

Kermit never got to participate in the study at NC University. So, I don't know what his cancer was caused by. It could have been the vaccines he received 2 years ago or it could have been a wound he had gotten while on one of his tough guy fights. I would like to think of it as being God's will.

Thank you all for your prayers, support and advise through this awful time.


SANY0109


               RIP Kermit

Wednesday January 26, 2011 9:00 PM

I have not written in here for several days. I have been too busy doing things before we leave for Tucson on Saturday. No matter how much you plan, it seems like you always forget something.

Three of the dogs will be sent off to doggy boot camp. Too many people come and go here and the gate is left open all the time. Two days in a row now I have come home to find the gate wide open. Baloo, Chula and Jasmine will make a break for it whenever they get a chance so they have to be supervised. Frida never goes outside the gate so she can stay home. The cats are planning a party on Sunday and fresh sushi is on the menu. They are planning on "inviting" the fish from the koi pond.

Stimpy went if for her wellness check up this week and all the tests came back very good! Her blood work was unremarkable, her creatinine was normal, the BUN's were slightly elevated but that could have been because she did not fast beforehand. The thyroid results came back the next day and they were normal too! I was so relieved. She is remarkably healthy for a 16 year old girl. She starts chemo right after we return from Tucson. I hate that she has to go through that. I hate everything about this cancer. If it wasn't for this cancer she would be a wonderfully healthy cat. I have no doubt she would have lived to 20 easily. I am still hoping for that. I know I did the right thing treating her for this cancer. Those who think I should have euthanized her at the beginning are happily proven wrong.

So, we leave for a week on Saturday. I may cut it short still but we will see. I have become so bonded to Stimpy through all this. Leaving her for a week will be difficult. The weather here is supposed to turn kind of lousy so it will be nice to be back in Tucson and the warm weather.

The fight has officially begun with Boehringer Ingelheim. The "intent to sue" letter was sent to them. I am sure they will think it is still a joke but that is OK. Someone was a little surprised by the amount that requested but seriously, no amount of money will ever cover for what they have done. I suppose to some people it would seem like a great deal of money but that is not what it is about. It is about making them accountable for what they have done to Stimpy and how it has changed my life. It really did not matter what dollar amount was requested, they will treat anything with contempt, just like they treat our cats lives with contempt. We could have asked for $1000 or $1 million, it is irrelevant. I do want them to know I am serious about pursuing them. No matter what it takes and no matter how much time it takes, I will not give up.

There is a new Rad Grad in the group! Chicken the Cat just completed her radiation therapy and can enjoy her days again without having to fast at night. I know that feeling all too well. Having to remove Stimpy's food every night while we were in Columbia that month was horrible. I waited until the last minute so she could eat and drink as much as possible. Chicken will be starting chemotherapy too so hopefully her cancer will be permanently eradicated. It is such a shame how many of our cats have to suffer because of the greed of the pharmaceutical companies. Chicken's caregiver is fighting with Pfizer for the same things that we are fighting Boehringer Ingelheim for. Pfizer is another one of those companies that have that "it's just a cat" attitude. Their statement on their website states:

"Passionate About the Health and Wellness of Animals"

There are those of us who know this is not true. Too many people in the VAS support group have had to deal with Pfizer and their products that have caused VAS in their cats and Pfizer, like so many of the pharmaceutical companies, refuse to step up and take responsibility. Merial is at least making a real effort to produce vaccines that do not cause VAS. The last time I took Privet in, I specifically told the vet I did not want any Boehringer Ingelheim products and I requested Merial Purevax. At least they seem to understand the problems associated with VAS.

You can read more about Chicken the Cat on her blog here:

http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/

Send Chicken some congratulations for becoming a Rad Grad.



                 Chicken the Cat 

I always advise people dealing with these pharmaceutical companies to really take a strong stance with them. It is unbelievable that they have known about the risks of VAS for 20 years now and we are still at square one. Whenever I send a letter to Boehringer Ingelheim, I use the opportunity to tell the world about VAS. I have sent letters to their offices all over the world and the envelope is quite eye catching while standing in line at the post office! It has never failed to garner attention and I always take the moment to tell them about Stimpy and her fight with this cancer and that it was caused by her rabies vaccination. It's funny, most people have never heard of Boehringer Ingelheim, but they have heard of their products such as Dulcolax, Spiriva and Zantac, just to name a few. A few of these are over the counter and I make sure that I do not buy a Boehringer Ingelheim product. I always opt for the drug store brand or the generic. I refuse to support BI in any way. 

Here is a sample of the envelope that I send to Boehringer Ingelheim. Please feel free to use my idea!

 

On the reverse side, I post a picture of the Pet Cemetery or the Rabvac 3TF label. I print these on a large white envelope so they stand out. 

Paws out for now. Thank you for all the messages! I really appreciate them.

  

 


 


Always a line at the litterbox!

Friday January 28, 2010  9:00 AM

Without failure, the cats wait until I finish scooping the litterbox before they use it. Stimpy has her own private litterbox, since she is the ruling queen, and if it is not cleaned after each use, she will sit there and look at it, look at me, loot at the litter box, look at me, repeat, repeat, until I drop what I am doing and then she will use it. So, I stand their, tapping my foot waiting for her to finish so I can refresh it for her next use, and then she goes running for the living room where her scratch pad is and she tears into that.

Privet has been known to hop in the litter box while I was scooping it...excuse me! If there was a butch cat amongst the group, it is Privet. She can give the other cats a stare that basically says back off or die. This morning, I scooped the litter box, so Butters went in immediately and Privet sat outside the litter box and waited until he was finished. These cats have me wrapped around their little paws. 

                    

It seems something always happens when you are getting ready to leave on a trip. The gate opener malfunctioned as usual and they came and installed a new one yesterday. We were assured this was "the fix". They asked us to leave the gate open so the motor could cool, why it needed to be opened to cool is still a mystery, but we complied. The dogs were rounded up and the gate was left opened. An hour later, I went to close it...nothing. IT WAS NOT WORKING AGAIN! ARRRGHHHHH! So, we called them again and supposedly the mother board is fried and it will be replaced today.

I went through the rounds with the person taking care of the animals while we are gone. I am worried about this winter storm that is supposed to hit on Monday. Snow, sleet and ice. It has been mild up this winter so far so why  did it have to wait until we leave on a trip to hit? I am sure the animals will be OK but I hate  for something to happen and have the storm get in the way. It is never a dull moment with animals. Yesterday Butters was acting odd. He kept licking his back leg and tail vigourously and yeowling like he was in pain. I tried to examine him but he would have nothing to do with it. I gave him a small dose of kitty morphine (not sure exactly what it is called, it starts with a "B", some of the pain meds left over from Stimpy's amputation). The doc said it would be OK and it calmed him a bit. I ended up taking him into the ER about 8:30 PM. I did not realize I was running low on gas and I was just hoping I would make it without running out. I did and got Butters in. It appears he has been bitten by something. Another snake? He seems to chase anything that moves. It has been warm lately so I wonder if a snake has come out. Who knows, there are so many animals and things running around here. He has some swelling so we discussed an antibiotic. It is amazing what vets do NOT want to tell you. After all this with Stimpy, I have learned to become a fierce advocate for what our pets are given and how. Some vets act so secretive and kind of blow you off. I was asking this vet about the side effects...none to worry about. I asked about allergic reactions...none to worry about! We discussed one called Convenia, an injectible one that takes the place of the oral ones given over seven days. His first words...it's kind of expensive. Yeah, so what is new? Again, no mention of side effects etc. I remembered my friend Alison (a wonderful person to know when it comes to biologics!) mentioning the side effects of Covenia so I called her. She confirmed what I suspected so when I questioned the doc further, he finally did come out and tell me more. How annoying. So, I had to make the decision to administer Covenia and hope for the best. I made sure it was not a Boehringer Ingelheim product first and foremost. It is a Pfizer product but they have not incurred my wrath yet. I hate what Pfizer has done to some of  the other cats and how they are one of the worst ones to deal with when it comes to them being responsible. The other option was to have the person taking care of the animals to administer it 2x daily for a week and I was not sure that was a good option.

Upon checking out at the front desk, the girl looked at her screen and said Holy Cow! I looked at her with the best Bette Davis look I could and asked "Is it really THAT expensive?" Expecting another $500 vet bill, she said no, it was just that her screen was full of patients all of a sudden. So, the bill actually came to $165. It did not even phase me. After spending over $20,000 on Stimpy since May of 2010, it was actually a welcome relief it was ONLY $165. When I left, some jerk parked their car so close to me, leaving me only about 10" of room to get my door opened. Well, they obviously were not worried about a door ding so I did not worry about it either. When I managed to squeeze into my car, I wrote a note and left it for them. It said:

"Next time leave a ******* can opener so I can get my car out!"  There were a few other *** words there too.

I just do not understand the mentality of some people!

So, I stayed up half the night with Butters to make sure he was OK and he seems to be doing much better this morning. At least that is one less thing to worry about. I hope.

I cannot even think about this trip tomorrow. There is so much to do. I have decided I am not even going to pack any clothes. I am taking what I have on, one pair of comfortable shoes, my laptop and a toothbrush and toothpaste, and I will buy what I need there. I will just buy the clothese, etc. I just hate packing and do not want to deal with it. I do not want to deal with the luggage either. There is a huge Gem and Mineral show in Tucson every February. I have attended it for the past 27 years. I am not as excited about it this year for some reason but it will be nice to get back to Tucson and visit friends and old neighbors. I usually drive because I hate flying so much but I have decided to fly this time. Someone said I should take a valium but I told them no thanks, if the plane is going down, I want to be coherent so I can say that last prayer and possibly jump out of a burning plane! I REALLY hate flying, I cannot emphasize this enough. Last October, I canceled out on a planned trip for nearly a year to Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Bangkok and Singapore at the very last moment. The night before I announced, I just cannot do that trip. Spending 14 hours in a plane, and going to a place I really did not have much interest in seeing in the first place, just was not my idea of a good time. If I am going to invest two weeks of my life, it has to be something I have a strong interest in. I guess I am kind of boring that way.

Stimpy is doing great thankfully. The people who gave her to me in Tucson do not know she lost her leg to this cancer. I have decided not to tell them. When I first told them she was undergoing radiation therapy, they were a little angry about it. I was told through the grapevine that they thought we should have just euthanized her. She was old, blah blah blah. They will certainly be mad about her leg being amputated. What concerns them the most is the amount of money we have spent on Stimpy's care. I do get tired of people getting up on their soapbox telling me how horrible it is that so much money has been spent on a cat. She is not just a cat. You will notice I have never referred to Stimpy as a piece of property. I do not consider Stimpy a piece of property at all. She is a cherished family member. I would do the same for a family member. There is no reason she does not deserve a chance to live. Having the support of the VAS group is wonderful because they all know what it is like to have to deal with this heartache. We are their caregivers, and we make that commitment to love and care for them no matter what it takes. OK, so I guess I will climb down from my soapbox. I need to get some things done around here. This trip is supposed to be Saturday to Saturday but I am seriously thinking about coming home on Thursday. They can all do without me. Several friends are flying there as well and it is a wonderful time, we went out to dinner, did the gallery walks, went south (but not into Mexico this time). I used to love that about Tucson...you could drive to another country in an hour! Nogales, Sonora was not a very exciting place granted, it is a typical border town, but it was interesting nonetheless.

       


Paws out for now. More updates  later.


And we're off...

Saturday January 29, 2011  10:58 AM

We are just about to leave for the airport. Each cat and dog, and even the bird, has been talked to and petted. The three dogs are off to doggy boot camp and all is well with the others. Frida is a good watch dog and she will never go outside the gate, even if it is open. I laid down beside Stimpy on the bed and she was purring and doing some head butts. She even reached over and licked me on the chin. It is her little way of saying "thanks". She does not do it very often so when she gives me that little kiss, it is pretty special. I sure hate to leave her but she will be in good hands. Butters has improved and back to his impish self. I will miss all of them.

We fly to Las Vegas first and then onto Tucson. We have dinner reservations at one of our favorite restaurants with the old neighbors. It will be good to see them and be back in Tucson.

I will post periodic updates while in Tucson. I'm not as excited about going this time but maybe it will change when I get there. I wish I did not have to worry about Stimpy so much. We have rented a house in Tucson so at least it will be more relaxed than staying in a hotel or resort. It has a pool but it may still be too cool to use it. Still, it is nice to sit around it at night and relax and look at the sunset.

Paws out.

                    

                                                  

There were many beautiful sunsets in Tucson like this almost daily. It is one of my favorite places in the world.




Time for Stimpy's morning feeding

Sunday January 30, 2011  5:30 AM

Oh wait, I am in Tucson! Even across the miles, Stimpy has me on her feeding schedule. Right now she would be up on the bed, in my face purring, rubbing her whiskers against my face, sitting on my arm until it goes numb...it's all her passive aggressive way of telling me to get up and feed her. I missed waking up to that furry face. Last night I had to enlist the help of some local surrogate cats so I could get my daily dose of furrballs. Our friend Ret has a cat that is about the same age as Stimpy and she is a nice loving cat. We went out to one of our favorite restaurants where the resident alley cat has been a fixture there for years. He is a most unfortunate looking cat, and his name is Gray. He is FIV+ and he has been hanging around this restaurant Delectables for years and they feed him and take care of him. This poor cat has never known anything but life on the streets but he is a fixture there and he seems content roaming his realm and keeping things in order. I know many people have tried to take him in, but he is very indepedent.

The flight here was OK with the exception of a husband and wife who boarded in Oklahoma City. They were drunk before getting on and throughout the nearly three hour flight, they were being loud and obnoxious. We were in the wide exit row and the woman was directly behind me. Her voice could pierce a dogs eardrum. So, I did what I could to annoy her...I put my seat all the way back. If she was going to make me miserable the whole trip, well you know...do unto others. Even when we landed, she and her husband kept whooping it up. Lets hope they stay in Vegas. I made a comment when we got up to deplane that we must have gotten on the short plane. I think they got the message.

We donated the gratuitous $20 to the slot machines while waiting for the flight to Tucson. Upon the arrival in Tucson, the baggage carousel got jammed up with a baby car seat. Another wait....We got the luggage and headed to the rental cars. Now, weeks ago, I called this car rental place and was very specific on our requests. Last year when we rented from Enterprise they gave us an Infiniti. We absolutely hated it. It was a very low quality car and the "wood" trim was peeling off the doors! I told them we DID NOT want an Infiniti. The guy was very vague and I specified a DTS but he just passed the buck. We got to the counter and I asked what car we were given and again, she was vague and tried to pass it off to the guys outside.

We go outside and they try to pass of a Mercury Grand Marquis as  a luxury car! No way. I demanded something else. They offered a Chrysler 300. No thanks...been there, very uncomfortable car. They offered a Camaro for an "upgrade". Again, who did they think they were fooling? I told them they were all unacceptable and I walked through the rental lot and found a CTS at AVIS. I kind of snapped when the Enterprise guy told me there was nothing we could do about it. So, we rented the CTS and told Enterprise where to go and as a last dig to them, we drove past the guy who told me there was nothing I could do about the car choices. The message got through. When I owned my business, I went out of my way to make everything right for my customers. Is it too much to ask that you get what you pay for these days? OK, rental car rant over.

Being back in Tucson is WONDERFUL! Oklahoma City is not known for it's grocery stores. They do not allow liquor to be sold in the stores so it attracts no good grocery store chains. We stopped at our old Safeway to get some things. I thought I would cry! How wonderful to be back in a REAL grocery store. Being back in Tucson is like being back home. I think the decision was pretty much made last night that a move back here is definitely in the works. Now is a good time too, with the housing market like it is. When we left, prices were very high. We lived in a wonderful historic neighborhood. It used to be somewhat run down, but people decided it was a cool historic place, people bought property and fixed it up, and now it is a beautiful place. When we lived here, our street was the most photographed street in Tucson. The houses were all painted bright colors, great neighbors, close to everything. For years we wanted to buy this 1/4 acre lot across the street from our house and build but the family who owned it did not want to sell, at least not cheap. They wanted $750,000 for the empty lot! Needless to say they never got it and it is still empty. If they lots there were worth that much, our house would have also been worth at least that much and it was a far cry from that but I guess you could dream. One thing about the neighborhood though is that you are not allowed to tear down anything. It pretty much has to fall down. Here are a few pictures from our old neighborhood. I just love it!

                                 


                                  

                                                              

                                               

                                       


There is a lot of old mixed in with the newly renovated so it really adds a lot of charm to the neighborhood. The houses are close together, but you never felt crowded.

This is the neighborhood where Stimpy found us. She looked like a scruffy old cat from rolling around in the dust but she trusted us and came up to us. That in itself was unusal because the people who used to take care of her said she hated everyone and hissed at them. Their friends called her Satan. She just needed some love and needed to be socialized. Everyone who meets Stimpy now loves her and thinks she is the sweetest cat. Being at the spot last night where she first came up to me was a melancholy experience. I wish she was here right now.

Our new digs for the weeks are pretty comfortable. Lots of space and much better than a hotel. It is quieter and cleaner. This Gem and Mineral show attracts about a million people every year. People from all over the world descend upon Tucson and it is chaos. You have to have reservations for dinner even at McDonald's! Just kidding, but there is a line everywhere. Our old neighborhood is south of main show downtown so we park at our friends house and walk there and take the shuttles everywhere. The shows are all over town. It is great having the parking connection. The street where we lived is blocked off to everyone except local traffic to prevent all the cars from taking the parking places. It kind of feels like having the A1 boarding pass on Southwest!

Today the other friends start arriving in Tucson. Some more come tomorrow and then some on Wednesday. Most have never been here so it will be a treat for them. Last year we rented the Breasted House at the Arizona Inn. It was amazing. It is a private residence on their grounds (I think they have 3-4 private residences there). The Arizona Inn is a wonderful place to stay when visiting Tucson but they are way overpriced in my opinion. Many famous people have stayed there, even royalty. Our friend we went out to dinner with last night used to work there and he told us the Duke and Duchess of Windsor used to stay there but they were so cheap they would not leave a tip. They would simply sign their name on a napkin, thinking that was honor enough. I would be watering down those drinks!

If you come to Tuscon, try to stay here. You will not regret it. Reserve early though, they are always booked! We had to reserve the Breasted House a year in advance.

http://www.arizonainn.com/

Dang, all this writing about Tucson is making me so nostalgic. I think I will just have to send for the animals and never return to Oklahoma City!

The city is starting to awaken. We are going to head to our favorite little french bistro in the university area for breakfast. Tomorrow we will probably go look at some of the minerals. It is amazing what the earth produces. Even though I am an avid mineral collertor, I cannot help but worry about what is being done to the earth to harvest these specimens. Lots of destruction to reach them. It used to be you went out with a little pick axe and shovel and dig a little to find a rock. Now, those days of rockhounding have given way to more aggressive means to get to them so I have a problem with supporting this now. I do enjoy looking at their beauty though.

I will write more later. I know some of you will be bored with this. It is kind of like being forced to watch someone's slide show of their vacation but this is meant more for a record of my trip to share with friends and family. You may want to check back in a week for Stimpy's blog  :)

Monday January 31, 2011  9:00 AM

This is one of my favorite lines from "Murder By Death". Unfortunately, we had an experience like that last night.

I was out by the pool and as I passed the gas meter, I smelled gas and heard a hissing noise. I called the maintenance guy who turned out to be a real redneck piece of work. He tried to tell me it was normal, he had installed the gas line himself and checked it for leaks. I was not comfortable with that explanation so I called the gas company. They came out and this maintenance guy was talking in a whisper to the gas guy and basically calling me a  "SOB who knew nothing and I was paranoid, blah blah blah". I told him not only was my smell very sensitive but so was my hearing and I could hear what he was saying 30 feet away.

The gas man checked it and sure enough, there was a leak. Things were shut down and repaired but not before the maintenance guy was on the phone complaining to the owner that I called the gas company and now they would have to pay a service call. After it was repaired he was on the phone again to  the owner and said it was "just a MINUTE leak and it would have taken six months for anything to happen." He actually said that! What, six months before it blew up? As the gas man was leaving and was talking to me and the maintenance man, I asked, "So, was I unreasonable in my actions to call you?" He said with a very definitive "Absolutely not!" At that point, I started doing my little na na na na na na Cartman dance.

It's funny, but after that incident, every little thing bugs you about the place. To add par for course, as I got in bed last night, the bed broke down! I had to sleep on a bed at an angle! I have fled the place and the others can stay there but fortunately there is a second backup home that was also rented and I will be staying there. It is smaller and more central but it is safe. I just really hate that other house now. I will go there and hang out with everyone but I will leave at night.

I called the lady taking care of Stimpy. She has taken care of her before but that was before the amputation. She is absolutely in love with Stimpy. She said she is the  sweetest cat. I feel better that Trudy is there because she is an animal lover and she will take good care of all of them. The three dogs are at doggy boot camp and I heard that when the groundskeeper went to round up Baloo, he tried to bite him. Baloo is extremely protective whenever anyone goes near the caretakers house. That is HIS turf. He likes to sit on the porch because he can see everything from up there and if someone is going by on the road, he charges down to bark. He has never bitten anyone but he does give some attitude.

I have a throbbing headache so I cannot write much. I am going to head back over to the other house and we can go out to breakfast. It is about a 30 minute drive from here unfortunately but it is better than staying there. I forgot my Relpax (btw Pfizer, even though your Relpax helps my headaches...I HATE you. You suck, you kill too many cats every year with your vaccines, just like Boehringer Ingelheim and you do not take any responsibility for it). I will have to ask Andy to write me another prescription for it. I hate to get more. At $30 a pop, it makes for an expensive headache.

It is another beautiful day in Tucson. I love wearing shorts and t-shirts in January! Woo hoo!

Make sure you read up on my buddy Chicken the Cat. We need more blogs about our VAS kitties.

http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/chicken-got-a-new-sweater/

                         

The Homecoming

Sunday February 6, 2011 7:30 AM

We are finally home! It was a long week in Tucson but it was also good to get back and visit friends and neighbors. I could not help but worry about all the furry ones at home so it did put a damper on some things.

The first rental home was a major disappointment. The owner acted like we were complete fools when we complained about the gas leak. There were two doctors, a lawyer, a zoologist, a CPA, a former CFO of a large oil company and a former NASA scientist at this home. We were not exactly idiots. "It is just a small leak, you couldn't even light a match to it". They actually said that. The leak was loud enough to hear it hissing and the smell was strong too. The first night I sat down on my bed, the bed rail broke. They had simply screwed it into the side of the headboard with three screws. I slept at an angle at the end of the bed.

The roof leaked which was an added bonus...we had an extra shower in the garage! This home was supposed to supply everything you needed, you just needed to bring a suitcase with your clothes. We had to buy toilet paper, soap, shampoo. There was not even a cutting board. To top it off, there was a gas crisis in Tucson because of the cold snap and the house was without heat and hot water for 1 1/2 days! All that for an unbelievably low $4000 for the week!

I did not stay there. After that first night, I went to the backup rental home. It was more central, more private and it had heat and hot water. We hit all the major shows and found some nice things. I bought some nice jewelry gifts for friends and family. My niece and sister are starting to dabble in jewelry making so I bought them some stones. I bought some gemstone carvings including a white polar bear that I really love. There was a white rabbit with red eyes but someone else already grabbed that one.

The snow storm in Oklahoma caused some concern. The roads were impassable for a few days so the cats were left alone for a short time period. I could hardly sleep with worry. I had to enlist the help of some others to look in on them. I was so relieved when I finally got a report from home. I think Butters, Scarlett and Privet really took the hiatus on a more emotional level. They were always hiding under the bed and did not want to come out even for food. I finally managed to lure them out when I got home and after snuggling and playing with them for an hour, they seem back to normal. Privet was stretched out in front of the fireplace again and the others were playing. Stimpy was sleeping on  the bed on the fleece top I left out for her. I had worn this one for about a week so it had my scent on it and I placed it on the bed for her. It is covered in her hair and when I went into the room, she kind of blinked and looked at me like "Is that really you?" She gave off a soft meow and came up to me. She was so happy! She followed me for the rest of the evening and was by my side in bed all night. Even now, as I write this, she is curled up on the ottoman in front of me. She is so lovable. Stimpy fared better than all of the cats during this trip.

I thnk poor Scarlett was the most scared. She is such a small fragile cat. She has a meow like a kitten still. She was the last one to emerge. She was skiddish for a short while but after I held her, she seemed to do just fine and was purring and playing again.

We will go get the dogs from boot camp this morning. I am sure they will be thrilled to get home. I hope they do not smell too ripe. I hate that smell and I do not want it in my car!

While at the Gem and Mineral show I took the opportunity to pass out Stimpy's blog to everyone. I printed out her picture and blog address on the back of my business card and made sure I handed them out. It was facing up when I handed it to them so they saw it. I passed out nearly 1000 cards and I also left them at the airport, plane, restaurants...everywhere. It has obvioulsy worked because just in this past week, the viewing traffic of Stimpy's blog has increased dramatically. People just cannot believe that the pharmaceutical companies have known about this cancer risk for 20 years now and they still do not disclose the risks. I made sure everyone I spoke too knew that Boehringer Ingelheim was responsible for Stimpy's cancer. The mail has been on hold since we left so when it comes tomorrow, I will see if Boehringer has responded yet. If they ignore this last letter, we will go ahead and file a lawsuit against them. I do not care what people say. People say they can't be sued. These same people act like they are untouchable. No one is untouchable. Even if there were laws to protect them, it does not mean the laws are right and it does not mean they cannot be challenged. This is not about money. I fully expect this will cost more than any financial judgment but that is not the issue here. I want change. I want disclosure, I want exposure. I want these companies to be exposed for the low down greedy a** es that they are. I want people to know how they are killing our cats and act like they have no responsibility for it. Boehringer Ingelheim is at the top of my list obviously since they are responsible for Stimpy's cancer. Every time I look at Stimpy's sweet face I get so angry that they have done this to her.

I am going to contact LAMAR this week and get the ball rolling on a billboard in the St. Joseph area. I want the picture of Stimpy sleeping on it and I will have her blog address on it. It will be irresistable for people to NOT check it out. I am dead serious about this too. At this point, I do not care how much it costs to pursue this. Now that this Tucson trip is out of the way, I am going to really attack it in full force.

I do have to return to Tucson in a few weeks. Some large items were purchased and I will go back and pick them up. I will pull a trailer home but I am not planning on staying there long. It will pretty much be and in and out trip. At my favorite antique store in Tucson, we found an Art Deco wet bar that is really cool and we also found a fantastic Henredon dining set. It has a wood base and a large octaganol glass top. It has eight Chippendale chairs. I love a table where there chairs are arranged in a circular pattern. It makes dinners more pleasant because you can see everyone around you.

On the way home, the flight was early so we had to leave for the airport at 5:00 AM. We got checked in and the flight to Vegas was pretty full but at least there were no loud mouthed imbeciles like the flight from OKC to Vegas. In Vegas, there was a few hours to burn so I thought I would make the gratuitous $20 donation to the slot machines but to my surprise, I won $50! I know $50 is nothing but somehow, WINNING $50 is kind of a rush. I cashed out and took the money and ran.

There is a lot to do around here now so I will sign off for now. Anyone have some ideas on a Billboard design, please let me know. This is kind of what I have in mind. Keep it simple and make people curious.

billboard.jpg Stimpy billboard

The Kitties are Alright!

Monday February 7, 2011  1:15 PM

Yesterday was kind of a crash and burn day. We went and sprung the dogs from doggy boot camp and they were all doing great. I think the cats have recovered from their first one week ordeal. They have never been left alone that long so it was tough on Privet, Butters and Scarlett. Stimpy came through remarkably well. Now I have to face her chemotherapy. I just hate to do it. I do  not know why but for some reason it is difficult. I think it is because I know how hard it is for humans but they say cats tolerate it very well. I hate that she has to go through all this. The VAS group lost another kitty to this horrible cancer on Saturday. Jasper lost his battle with it. It is so sad. Every time you read about another one, it just tears at you. We in the support group know that the numbers, supposedly 1 in 10,000 cats are affected, is way off base. There has been one person in the support group that had either two or three cats affected by it. Either their number is way off base, or they are lying about it. I think it is  the latter. For some reason they want to keep it a big secret. That is why we learn about it when our poor cats are affected by it.

There is supposed to be another storm tomorrow, maybe 6-10 inches of snow they say. A few homes were looked at in Tucson. Now is a good time to buy indeed so hopefully we can all move back to Tucson within the year. It would be nice to be somewhere that you love being year round.

At the Gem Show, it is kind of boring. I have been going to it for 27 years now. I generally just glance at things until something catches my eye. I did buy some gifts for people but that was about it. There is little room to add more minerals so very few of those were purchased. I will return to Tucson in another week or so. I will only be there a very short time, just long enough to pick up the things that were purchased. I am sure it would be cheaper to ship them but it gives me another excuse to return to Tucson.

I'm just hanging around waiting for the mail to arrive. I have no energy to work at the moment. I really need to get some work down at the house. There are a lot of details that need tending to. I will just have to make my list and chip away at it.

Paws out for now.

                 Boehringer Ingelheim Devil


If anyone has gotten this card from their vets, (I added the devil artwork, you will probably not get that part) it would be a good opportunity to tell them about your disgust in Boehringer Ingelheim for the way they do not disclose the risks of this deadly cancer caused by their vaccines. It is our responsibility to be the voice of our animals. The vets should speak freely about this. If they do not want to discuss it, I would look for another vet.

Cat tails

Wednesday February 9, 2011  10:00 AM


We are having a wonderful snow storm at the moment. Big white fluffy flakes gently falling. The cats are curled up in front of the fireplace, the dogs are cuddled up on their warm beds and it is wonderful to just sit here and watch the snow fall and not really worry about anything at the moment. The cats were having a bit of cabin fever going there for a short while but I cured that by letting go outside in the snow. That lasted for a good five minutes. Privet was walking along and decided to take a leap to the next spot, instead she disappeared in a snow bank. I wish I had the camera handy because she was covered in snow from tail to whisker and she made a bee line straight for the house. Scarlett and Butters lasted about 30 seconds more untill they decided they would rather sit in front of the fireplace.

I am returning to Tucson sometime next week, perhaps on Monday. This will be a short in and out trip. Going back to pick up the things we found there. Depending on the weather, I will most likely leave on Sunday or Monday. I will drive to Albuquerque and then on to Tucson the next day. There is supposed to be a window of warm air so hopefully the trip will be trouble free. The Toyota does wonderfully in the snow, it is just the other drivers I worry about. Stimpy will start her chemo soon. I get so angry when I think about it. It makes me so mad our cats have to live with this cancer.

Someone sent me an article from a Ft. Dodge, Iowa paper. Apparently Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica is expanding there and the State of Iowa has given them a $3.2 million forgiveable loan! This really makes me boil. I do not care about the arguments that it will create jobs. It is baffling that in this present state of things, high taxes, government waste, that the State of Iowa has taken $3.2 million dollars, money that came from Iowa taxpayers, to give it to a privately owned German company. Being privately owned, the Boehringer family and officers are the ones who rake in the profits. Being privately owned, no American investor is allowed to own stock so all that money goes to the greedy corporate entities in Germany. More US money being sent out of America so that a company that produces deadly products for our pets can profit even more. You can bet that I will be writing to Governor Branstad and the elected officials of Iowa and point out that Boehringer Ingelheiim produces deadly products and do not disclose the risks.

Mr. Michael Herman is the legal contact at Boehringer Ingelheim in St Joseph. I am sure he thinks (hopes) I will fold and go away. He has NO IDEA how stubborn I am. I can give him some references from people who can verify that I do indeed follow through to the end, much to their dismay. Since he keeps ignoring me, it is time to raise the stakes some. I wonder if corporate will be as happy with him by the time I am through? I have contacted LAMAR (the billboard people) and I will start that campaign as soon as possible. Apparently there are not a whole lot of billboards in the St Joseph area but there are other venues to spread the word. I do not think Mr. Herman will appreciate the next round. Neither will some other Boehringer Ingelheim executives. They will pay for what they have done to Stimpy. They have messed with the wrong kitty!

We discovered a friend of ours lost her dog while we were in Tucson. Jasmine was a mastiff and apparently was not feeling well and when they checked on her over the lunch hour, she had passed away. She was only six years old and our friend is pretty devastated. I hate to hear about someone losing their friend. I justy do not know what I will do when Stimpy is ready to cross that bridge. I look at her and think she needs to live forever, she will live forever. Stimpy is my first pet so I cannot bear to lose her, she is very special. I am so proud of having her. She looks at me and I know she is a happy girl. I know she loves me and relies on me. She was a cat that was just someone's pet when I first met her. They cared for her but not in a way that she was special. They had other priorities like their children. She was never socialized that much and to many people, they probably would have thought she was a horrible cat, not worth caring for. Indeed, some of the friends of the people who gave her to me used to call her Satan. She was meant to come into my life. Now she is a sweet loving cat, so gentle and caring. I have done very well by Stimpy. I have cared for her and provided everything she needs. She has always gotten the medical care she needed and will continue to get whatever she needs. To all of those people who have been critical of the $20,000 + that has been spent on her in the past year, you just do not understand. Money is just money. It can be replaced. It really does not buy you happiness. It buys you THINGS but I would give up everything for Stimpy to have another healthy five years. Time goes by so fast. It seems like it was just yesterday when I met her. While we were in Tucson, I stopped by the very spot where she came up to me that first night. It was at our house in the Barrio. Suddenly, this scruffy gray cat appeared out of nowhere, looking thin and ragged. The only thing in the house at that time was some albacore tuna so that is where the journey began. I gave her the tuna and she eagerly ate every morsel. It was not a week before the cabinet was stocked with cat food and not long after that, a small stucco house was built for her so she would have shelter outside. It was so cute to see her sitting in that little house. She would hang around the yard, sleeping in some of the flower pots, watching every move. One day the neighbor poked his head over the fence and saw her sitting under the mesquite tree as I worked on a project and said "There's my cat!" He called her but she completely ignored him. It was not long after that when they asked me if I wanted her.

I will never forget that first surgery she had in Tucson. She had some auto immune thing that was causing some infection in her jaw so she had to have surgery to remove it. She would have suffered and eventually died from the infection without the surgery. That surgery cost $1500 and I remember going to Zivaz for dinner that night after we dropped her off and I could not eat. I just cried, fearing she would die during surgery. I was up all night worried about her. The next day, they called me and said she pulled through fine. I was so esctatic! We went and picked her up at 4:00 pm and I remember holding her in the back seat, so relieved she was with me. ***Sadly though, that was the same day Stimpy received the Ft Dodge rabies vaccination that would later cause this horrible cancer. How many of us have beaten ourselves up for that life sucking shot? In Stimpy's case, we know for certain it was the Ft Dodge vaccination as it is the ONLY vaccination she received there. After moving to Oklahoma City, she was strictly an indoor cat because there were too many dangers on the estate that could harm her and I just could not let that happen. We have a bobcat, foxes, peacocks, deer, armadillo's and an occassional stray dog that wanders onto the estate so I just would not risk her safety. I am relieved now that she has missed those vaccinations. If only I knew then what I know now. The people who gave Stimpy to me was in disbelief that $1500 was spent on that surgery.  I wonder what they would think if they knew we have spent $20,000 on her since May? When we were in Tucson last week we went to their house for dinner and the fact that she lost her leg to this was not mentioned. They thought we should have euthanized her at the very beginning of the cancer.

It must be time for the mid morning snack. Ms. Privet is on the table next to me giving me that "I am so weak from hunger" look and she is walking on the keyboard too. It has taken me 5 minutes to type this sentence so I guess I had better sign off for now.

Paws out.

*** I need to make a correction to the above sentence in red. I just looked at Stimpy's medical records and this was NOT the day she received the rabies vaccination. She received the rabies vaccination on September 17, 2007. At the time she was taken in for her health check up and full labs were performed. Everything came back OK so the surgery was scheduled for 10 days later on the 27th. I thought the vet said it was autoimmune related but it turns out it was something in the jaw instead called a Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL's)...not sure where I got autoimmune out of that but I am not a doctor. Someone has suggested that the vet in Tucson was negligent for giving Stimpy her vaccination when she was "sick". Stimpy was not sick at the time of the vaccination. The surgery was to remove some bad teeth and a part of the jaw caused by FORL's. In my research, FORL's are not a reason listed for a vet to NOT administer a vaccine.

Rough weekend

Sunday February 13, 2011  6:30 PM


By now, some of you have heard about the accident that happened yesterday. As we were returning home, just after we pulled through the gate, Jasmine the bloodhound was hit. The dogs always tend to congregate around cars when they enter, and this time was no different. Frida, the border collie, takes her job of herding the cars very seriously. She leads you down the drive and back up the drive, always staying ahead of you and out of the way of the cars. The other dogs think it is a game and they constantly harass Frida as she is doing her job. Jasmine would often get right in front of Frida challenging her and sometimes the other dogs would surround Frida and bark at her. Yesterday morning, Frida was doing her usual thing and she darted in front of the truck and Jasmine followed her. We couldn't have been going even 5 mph and the next thing I knew I had hit her. She walked away and at first we thought it was just a broken leg. We rushed her to the vets and they took her in immediately  but she died soon thereafter on the table.

Words cannot express how horrible I feel. I know it was an accident but it does not ease the hurt and horrible feelings that I killed Jasmine. I have decided to postpone my trip to Tucson, it just doesn't seem right. Although I could really use some time away from everyone and everything, it just is not in me to travel at the moment.

I found myself looking through real estate ads in Tucson today. I know there are some people who understand how a place you love can heal you. I truly love Tucson. Ever since leaving Tucson, I just feel like a part of me is missing. I hope someday we can return. It will be a more difficult journey that is for sure, with all the newly acquired animals! I thought moving to Oklahoma City was an adventure with just Stimpy, I can't imagine what it would be like with the acquired menagerie now. I would have to rent an RV I guess and take them all in that and sleep in it the first night. Dreaming for now I guess.

There is a red dog that wanders onto the property almost daily now. It is not a stray, it belongs to the people behind us. There is a hole in the fence there I have discovered and the dogs comes and goes at will. I need to get out and patch it. I will install some wrought iron panels that I brought from Tucson. The dog is pretty aggressive too. Lately he has become more bold in his charges at me as I run him off. I turn around and he is coming at me again. I love animals but aggressive ones have no place in my life. Today he chased Butters, Scarlett and Privet. Butters stood his ground, Scarlett fled to the house and Privet climbed way up in a tree. After getting Butters and Scarlett secured I had to take a latter to get Privet. I could not coax her down low enough and she was very stressed in the tree. I finally had to back the Toyota up to the tree and climb on the roof. Being closer to Privet seemed to ease her a bit and she slowly made her way down to me where I could get her. She did not even claw me, she simply climbed into my arms. I guess I will have to send them a letter and let them know about their aggressive dog.

I need to call Stimpy's oncolgist tomorrow and schedule Stimpy's chemotherapy. I wish I felt better about this. I have some mixed emotions. I look at Stimpy and I see she is doing well. She struggles with the three legs now and then but if it were not for this cancer, I think Stimpy would have lived to be 20. I hope she still will, even more. She has been such a wonderful gift in my life, she will always be more special than the others, although I love them all.

A member of the VAS group lost one of her kitties this week to a dog attack. It is a good group of people you lean on through everything. Another one is having to deal with losing her Kitty Kat soon to this VAS monster. Every week you read the sad stories and every week you question your ability to go on. I have often thought I never want another pet after these guys are gone, it is just too heartbreaking. Then you remember all the joy they bring you, how you become a part of their lives and how they come to love, trust and depend on you and it makes it all worth while. I know Stimpy has come into my life for a reason. I just have to remember that and I know why the others are here too.

Paws out. Time to go scoop the litter boxes. I swear it is like an archaeological dig every time! How can these cats poop this much? I wish it had some resell value to it, I would be oober rich! I did not go to college so I could rake cat s*** three times a day!



DSCN1660.jpg

I love this picture of Privet. When you see them sleeping and so content, it makes you feel good and it helps you forget how rough your day was.

The coward returns

February 17, 2011   1:15 PM

A month ago, a coward posted a hateful reply on here basically stating Stimpy should be killed. It was posted by an anonymous coward in Hagerstown, MD and it really did not bother me like this person hoped. There are always those who have to empower their pathetic lives by hiding behind a keyboard on the Internet.

Today, the same coward posted this response:

"Well, Is this cat dead yet?"

First off, I do welcome comments, even ones from imbeciles such as this person. I am pleased that Stimpy's Journal is reaching people all over the world. There will always be some loser like this who has to validate their pathetic existence by putting down others. It's OK, Hagerstown, MD. From what I understand about where you live, you have good reason to be bitter. As far as Stimpy and I are concerned, we are doing wonderful. Thank you for your concern. Stimpy is a special cat. I know some people cannot fathom why we would spend over $20,000 on saving her and making sure the cancer does not spread, but I am thankful that we are blessed enough that we can afford to give her whatever she needs. Here is something that is sure to enrage you too Hagerstown...provisions have been made in our will to take care of our animals. Imagine that, in the event something happens, the person chosen to take care of Stimpy and the others will be provided for substantially. I imagine it is more than you have made in your lifetime. Perhaps after you have left this miserable life, you can come back as an animal and maybe someone like me will adopt you so you won't be so miserable. Good luck.

Stimpy starts her chemotherapy this coming Tuesday. I will hate dropping her off at the oncologist and I will be worried about her all day. From what I have read, it is a good precautionary measure to make sure any last strings of  this cancer are attacked. I would hate for it to spread to her lungs. Everyone I have spoken too says that cats handle it very well. She will be monitored and if it looks like it is causing her problems, it will be stopped. She has been such a strong trooper throughout all this. In a few months, it will make her a one year survivor. No matter how long it takes, I will fight these pharmaceutical companies on their non disclosure issues. Boehringer Ingelheim has been presented an offer to settle this but they keep taking that "lets be silent and he will go away" stance. Yeah, right. I have all the time in the world to pursue them. We are currently waiting for the Freedom of Information request as well as an answer on the complaint with the Missouri Attorney General's office, and after that has been completed, we will have the attorney file suit. Untill then, I plan to continue my campaign against them. We have no statute of limitations we are working on so we are good there.

The trip to Tucson has been scheduled again. The weather will be much nicer this time thankfully. The trip will be shorter this time but that is OK. I do enjoy the trip. Being back in the southwest desert is wonderful.

I will post more soon. I will have some pictures up for those of you interested in the 712 Renovation project. It is coming to a conclusion finally and I am so grateful! Never again do I want to do a renovation on a house. I thought it would be fun but my bad!



Here is Stimpy in the hotel room we lived in during the month of July 2010 while she underwent radiation therapy in Columbia, Missouri. It rained all the time while we were there!


More musings

Thursday February 17, 2011


Writing in this blog has really been good for me. Not only is it a permanent record of Stimpy's Journey but it also serves as an educational tool for people dealing with this cancer and the pharmaceutical companies. So many of the people I have spoken too have this feeling of helplessness and the big pharmaceutical companies do everything they can to try and take away the rights of these people. Pfizer seems to be one of the worst to deal with (besides Boehringer Ingelheim that is). For some reason, Pfizer keeps everything all secret about their legal department, who to contact, etc. They claim it is for "security reasons". What a bunch of crap. Pfizer also refuses to talk directly to the pets caregiver. They are lucky they are not dealing with me. All of these companies offer compensation to the victims, meager as it is. I can guarantee it is not out of the kindness of their hearts. Boehringer Ingelheim typically offers people "up to $1500" but they also only pay parts of the bills and some of the funds are left in some kind of an escrow account for future use by the victim. They make the victim sign away all their rights too. It is only a matter of time before a class action can be started against all these companies on the disclosure issue alone and my guess is that will cost them millions, not only in legal fees, but I think we can seek damages too that have resulted from their non disclosure. They are supposedly protected for damages directly caused BY their vaccines. This speaks nothing of non disclosure so I think that is one area we can tackle them. I have seen some of the release forms from these pharmaceutical companies and some are downright illegal. Some ask you to sign away ALL your rights against that company for basically everything. Andy tells me this is typical practice in the medical, pharmacy and insurance field, and sometimes it works, but a vague release like that would never hold up in court. All these people who have accepted money too think they cannot talk about it. Seriously people, do you honestly think that if you disclose the details of the settlement that Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and the other pharmaceutical companies are going to sue you over $1500, give or take a few hundred dollars? What a major embarrassment and public image nightmare for them. Why do you think they offer the measly amount that they do? They wave it in your face and hope you will go away. Guess what Boehringer Ingelheim, I DO NOT NEED YOUR MONEY! That must really suck dealing with someone who does not need your money and can throw it back in your face. Do not get me wrong, it will COST you money to settle what you have done to Stimpy, not because it will correct anything, but because it will hold you accountable. Perhaps a few high profile cases will make you guys rethink what you are doing to our cats and perhaps one day, it will dawn on you in the legal department that it is less costly to DISCLOSE the risks than try to cover them up.

A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration

I wonder if this is how they refer to their cancer drugs? I wonder if they just refer to cancer in humans as a local reaction?

Not everyone knows all the products that Boehringer Ingelheim makes. I would like to ask everyone to join me in boycotting their products. There are some over the counter items that they make, which have alternatives to them. Typically, you can buy the drugstore brand that is just as effective. As far as their prescription drugs, ask your doctor what alternatives are available. I always make it a point to tell my doctor that I will NOT use any Boehringer Ingelheim products. Here are just a few OTC ones:

                                                           zantac 


                                                 



                                 





A few days ago another member of our group lost her beautiful cat to VAS. Kitty Kat, we all loved you and will miss you. RIP beautiful girl!


                                                 After Surgery In Mom's Bed       

Chemo on the horizon

Monday, February 21, 2011  6:00 AM

Tomorrow, Stimpy starts her chemotherapy. It has kept me up because I do not know what to expect. I take her in first thing in the morning and then they start the chemo. I hate to put her through it. How do you explain to your sweet trusting cat that this is what needs to be done so the cancer can be tackled?

I have reached my point of exhaustion I believe. I haven't really slept the past two nights. I went to bed last night completely wiped out, around 10:00 PM. I drifted in and out of sleep, waking to the sounds of the Brit comedies on PBS and Stimpy keep coming up to me purring and meowing. Yesterday was her mirtazipine day so it gives her a little buzz and she always wants food. I finally got up at 1:00 AM and just played games on the computer.

My physician has scheduled a sleep study for me this Thursday. I am not looking forward to that at all. I go in at 8:00 pm and check in and I guess they hook you up to machines and monitor your sleep. I wonder if they give you something to help you sleep because if it is anything like what I usually do, I will be needing my laptop and a TV and a Coke Zero in order to fall asleep. Yes, caffeine actually puts me to sleep. I usually drink one before bedtime and it works great. I did not drink one last night though, we are all out!

I leave for Tucson again this Saturday. I will spend the first night in Albuquerque and then on to Tucson on Sunday. We have rented another house for the stay. I just hate staying in a hotel for any length of time. It is so much more comfortable. Hopefully it will not be as disasterous as House Number 1 earlier this month. I am not sure how long we will be there but it will be a short trip. Stimpy will be left in good hands along with the other animals so I will not have to worry about them but that is  impossible of course.

Sadly, there have been two new members who have joined the VAS support group this week. Once again, they had not heard about VAS and it is always after your cat is hit with it that you learn about it. When is it going to stop? I have started writing a petition that will be published on line so we can start gathering signatures for a class action suit against the pharmaceutical companies. I hope people understand that even if they have accepted any money from these companies, they can still add their names to the petition to show how they have been affected by VAS. They hide behind these antiquated laws and so far everyone has been lead to believe (by the pharmaceutical companies primarily) that you cannot challenge them. They CAN be challenged! Even if there is a law, that does not mean it cannot be challenged or changed. They have been so negligent for too long now. Twenty years is long enough  for them to disclose these risks. It is my feeling and some lawyers and doctors I have spoken to that they can be held accountable for the non disclosure issue at the very least. It is like they are intentionally doing harm to our pets for the sake of their profits. How unbelievable is it that 20 years have passed since the discovery of VAS and they still do not disclose the risks? TWENTY YEARS!

I have a personal mission against Boehringer Ingelheim. They own the product that caused Stimpy's cancer which ultimately caused her leg to be amputated so I will never rest until they are held accountable for it.

YOU ARE KILLING CATS BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM! WHERE IS YOUR CONSCIENCE?

Bastards!


Is it any wonder my stress level is so high and I have sleep apnea? Thank you Boehringer Ingelheim? Tell me, do you make a product for stress and sleep apnea? If so, I would rather suffer than take a drug manufactured by you murderous people! On Boehringer Ingelheim's Facebook page, they always promote what goody two shoes they are and how they help and support our communities. Everything they do is so they can place another feather in their cap. If they truly cared about issues that effect us, they would voluntarily start disclosing the risks of their vaccines so we would know.

Bastards!



Having just read what I wrote I guess it makes me come across as somewhat militant against Boehringer Ingelheim. Good! I will not edit it and I will not apologize for having these feelings against the pharmaceutical company that has given Stimpy cancer and cost her a leg. They are pure evil in my opinion and I sincerely hope that there is karma in the universe and it ultimately destroys them for what they have done to Stimpy and all the other cats they have murdered. Yes, murdered. As far as I am concerned, by not disclosing the risks of their vaccines, they had a hand in all the deaths of cats before Stimpy. If these were human lives, people would consider their negligence an act of murder if their loved one died from one of their products and they had not disclosed the risks.

This is Moosie, so named because of his size. He is one of the newest members of the VAS support group. The first picture shows him about four days after having his leg amputated. To the pharmaceutical companies, he is just another one of their statistics. To Moosie's caregivers, he is a beloved family member. I know the agony they felt when they had to make that decision to amputate Moosie's leg. It is still very clear in my mind and how I sat in my car Novermber 22 and struggled with the decsion that I had just made to amputate Stimpy's leg. I can still hear her cries when we went to visit her that night and how she cradled her head against my chest when she saw me and calmed down. There are no words to describe it.

                                  about 4 days after surgery

                                                       Moosie, four days post amputation


                                            


                                                    Moosie's amputation incision and stitches


                                          

                                                                                   Moosie all set for a night on the town!


This is Patches. Her VAS tumor was in the scruff. Years ago the VAS Task Force recommended new protocols for veterinarians that included desiginated vaccine areas. It was recommended that the vaccines be given in the legs so in the event of a VAS occurence, the leg could be amputated in an effort to save the life of the cat. Sadly, some vets still vaccinate in the scruff making it more difficult to remove the tumor. Again, this only hits home the point that THERE MUST BE MORE EDUCATION ABOUT VAS! It does no good that the VAS Task Force came up with these recommendations when the vets and pharmaceutical companies do not pass any of this information along to the caregiver. When you do not know what to look for or even know of the risks, it lessens the chance for our cats to survive this horrible cancer. It is all about profits. They simply do not WANT the public to know because the vets and the pharmaceutical companies fear how much it will cost them. Plain and simple...GREED!


                                           

                                                                                                           Patches, post surgery


                                            

                                                                                                        Patches incision



                                               


                                    


We are all hoping that Patches and Moosie beat this cancer and become long term survivors. Every time a new member joins, it touches all of us deeply because we all know the feelings associated with VAS. There is often terrible guilt because we THINK we are doing the right thing for our cats by vaccinating them.



I came across a few older pictures of Stimpy from when we lived in Tucson. I mentioned earlier that I had built a house for her when she first started showing up. I wanted her to have some protection outside and since I had never had a pet before, I was a little green on how to take care of her properly. She loved the house and was often seen sleeping in it. The roof lifted off for easy access for cleaning.



                                                            



Stimpy often took up residency whenever something new appeared. Here she is on top of my suitcase right after I had returned from a trip home. She slept there for a few hours so I had to wait to unpack my bag. It's funny, when you take these pictures you did not realize at the time just how precious they would become. This was taken probably about six years ago.




                                                                        

And finally, here is one of the beautiful sunsets we always had in Tucson. These always made the evenings so enjoyable. We used to sit out on the patio and just look at them. Simply amazing colors!


                   

 


Stimpy in chemo...

Tuesday February 22, 2011  9:00 AM

Well, the day has finally come. I just dropped Stimpy off at her oncologist a short while ago and she is starting her chemotherapy today. I am a bundle of nerves. For the third night in a roll, I have barely slept. I just feel so horrible right now. I hate that Stimpy has to go through this. I would gladly have given my leg and have undergone all this myself to save her from this. Of course, had this happened to a human, the pharmaceutical companies would be very quick to respond. They fear human lawyers more than they do the caregivers of cats. I will certainly give them reason to rethink that reasoning.

Shortly after I dropped Stimpy off, I got a call from the sales rep for the billboard in the St Joseph area. I am going to go ahead and go through with it. I am waiting for permission from Google to make sure it is OK to use their name with the "Google thecatstimpy" on the billboard to act as a keyword so people can remember the blog address. I am looking into doing some posters around the St Jo area as well. Apparently there is an electronic billboard near Boehringer Ingelheim that sounds promising.

I cannot write a whole lot this morning. I have an excruciating headache coming on so I need to return to the other house and get my Relpax. I hope this day goes quickly. I just cannot think of anything else.

I did place a phone call to Boehringer Ingelheim this morning. I was actually seeking their fax number but instead they gave me the voicemail of Michael Herman. He is the legal counsel for BI Vetmedica. Instead of faxing him my message about Stimpy starting chemo, I left him a voicemail. I suppose my file there is getting pretty thick. It is about to get thicker too, with the next mailing this week to 15+ people and agencies and I plan on doing another mailing from Albuquerque and Tucson so more people will be exposed to this cancer.

I will post more as soon as Stimpy is home. Paws out.

Here is a picture I took of Stimpy last night. She curled up on the floor so I put my fleece top down for her. She seems to really like that so I take it wherever I go in the house where I will be for any length of time so she will have a cozy place to curl up on. She looks so sweet.

                                   

One other thing before I forget. Sometimes I wonder how effective this blog is. It is always encouraging to get a note from someone wishing Stimpy well. The other day I heard from a lady who told me she was unaware that Zantac was a Boehringer Ingelheim product. She has joined in the effort to boycott this pharmaceutical company until they agree to make some changes. THANK YOU!

Tuesday February 22, 2011  2:30 PM

We have survived the first round of chemotherapy. I say survived because I think it was harder on me than it was on Stimpy.

The good news is that they said she handled it well and that her weight was up from the last visit. She was always a tiny cat, only 10 pounds when she first joined the family, and after the amputation she was down to 8 pounds and now she is up to 8 pounds 5 ounces.  They started her on carboplatin for the chemo treatment. The vet prescribed Cerenia which is supposed to be given for the next five days to control the nausea. I am a little leary about this drug since it is made for dogs. Like Metacam, it has not been licensed for use in cats so I need to look into that some more. It looks like the chemotherapy will run about $300 per session for a total of $1500. I hope it works. I just cannot bear to think about Stimpy being eaten up with this cancer.

So now Stimpy is resting on my fleece top. She ate some of her Fancy Feast when she came home. I am glad she is gaining weight. Sometimes I have placed 2-3 varieties of food out for her and she seems to like the gravy ones the best. I bought her all the so called better ones for her...Blue, Wilderness, Newman's Own, and she absolutely would not touch them. I then tried to give them to Privet, Butters and Scarlett and they walked away from them too. I have about 20 cans of this stuff so I guess I will donate it to Dana at the rescue and hopefully her cats will not be so picky. I do not even think the dogs would eat it! we usually give the dogs a Beneful wet meal once a day. Have you seen that stuff? Dang! It looks better than what I have for dinner at times. Warm it up, put it on some toast...you have a casserole just like Mom made (sorry Mom). No, my mom did not feed us dog food but seriously, that Beneful looks really good!

Here is a picture I took of Privet this morning. She has taken up a new favorite spot on the chair in the laundry room. The sun shines through in the morning she is one happy camper.

Paws out...I will post more later.

          


My offer to Boehringer Ingelheim

Saturday February 26, 2011  5:30 PM

I am in Albuquerque at the moment. I left Oklahoma City around 8:00 AM and it was pretty foggy the first few hours. Something was odd, as I have never seen so much road kill in all my life! I know I must have seen around 70-80 dead skunks between OKC and Amarillo. I must have seen 15-20 dead deer and other misc. animals. It was kind of surreal. I hate seeing all those dead animals.

I am now in the room just kicking back. I will head to Tucson tomorrow and will probably get there early afternoon. They put me in a corner room on a high floor and these windows go to the floor. I am kind of like Richard Gere's character in Pretty Woman where he was afraid of high places. I cannot even get close to the window!

I hated leaving the animals behind. I held Stimpy and combed her fur, so she rewarded me with some head butts and purrs. I picked up each cat and held them before leaving. It is hard not to worry about them. Trudy will take care of them and she never minds when I call her every day and ask how they are doing.

Before leaving, I composed one last offer to settle to Boehringer Ingelheim. I addressed the letter to Michael Herman in the legal department as well as George Heidgerken, the COO. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica has the following mission statement:

The mission of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is to benefit the health and well-being of mankind by contributing to an adequate supply of safe, nutritious food and by promoting the emotional and physical benefits arising from the human-animal bond.

Did you catch that last part? According to them, they understand this human-animal bond. I wonder if they truly do? I wonder if they truly understand how emotionally devastating it is to watch your beloved cat die from a cancer that you never heard of because they do not disclose the risks?

In my letter to them, I offered to settle this matter for the cost of Stimpy's care, plus her future care. I estimate that to be around $35,000 as we are already pushing the $25,000 mark. This is not an unusually high amount as I have communicated with others who have spent the same amount of money to save their cats. It comes down to your cat being more important than money and if you can afford to give that cat the care, I would rather spend the money on Stimpy's health than anything else. I do not need those who get on their soapboxes preaching to me about the homeless, etc. I help these people as well. I am a very generous person. Last Christmas, I gave a homeless person $500 and I did not even know the person.

Another part of the offer to settle was for them to start some educational program aimed at the pet caregivers so that they know the risks of VAS. It would be a positive gesture on Boehringer Ingelheim's part. If they truly do care about the human - animal bond and want to help come up with safer vaccines, they need to take this step and start informing the consumer. A pamphlet could be created to effectively tell people what to look for. Since we learn later, that a small percentage of cats get VAS, it seems to be a genetic thing. It would be a first step gesture on the part of the pharmaceutical industry to educate the public, not the professionals, about the risks of VAS. When Andy gives a vaccine to a patient at the hospital, they are informed of the risks and side effects. They sign a paper stating they were told about these risks. Indeed, if you look up the data sheet from the CDC, it is loaded with things to look out for in human vaccines. The only warning we get for our cats is like this:

A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration

It is not much, is it? So, the ball is in Boehringer Ingelheim's court. They can settle this with me if they truly do  understand and care about this human animal bond, and the can be at the top of the game by being the first pharmaceutical company to take that first step in educating the public. If, on the other hand they decide that their profits mean more and they want to ignore me, that is OK too. I have several plans on pursuing them, one of which will include litigation about the non disclosure. I really do not see how they get away with that. At the very least, these pharmaceutical companies owe us this.

I may go venture out a bit around the hotel. I see there are a few restaurants close by so I may do an early dinner and then settle in for the evening. I hate dining alone so I may just order some room service and watch a movie. I don't know why, but my mood always improves as I travel closer to Tucson. It is like going home. I love Albuquerque but I really love Tucson. I love the southwest. They say OKC is part of the southwest but it really is not...it is just...Oklahoma. There is something wonderful about being in the desert for me.

I got an e-mail from the Askin's in New Zealand. Trevor is the person who created the bronze for me entitled "My Friend". I commissioned that from him after learning about Stimpy's VAS. Anyway, they are OK as are their friends in Christchurch. Apparently the gallery where I first saw Trevor's work was heavily damaged. It is near the cathedral that toppled. At least they are OK. Christchurch is such a beautiful city, it will take some time for them to recover. It is so sad. I hope the death toll does not rise dramatically.

This is the bronze Trevor made for me. I think I will commission another one from him, this time with a cat that has three legs. Poor Stimpy. It is so sad to see her hobble around. She can really run fast though and that is wonderful to see.

                         My Friend


Goodnight to Stimpy and the others back at home. I will see you in a week. I am already missing them all terribly!

          http://thecatstimpy.livejournal.com/
                 
This is my favorite picture of Stimpy. I love seeing her sleep so peacefully.


It's Always Sunny in Arizona

Sunday February 27, 2011  7:00 PM

I made it Tucson safely. I woke up in Albuquerque at 4:00 AM as expected, that is the time Stimpy usually gets me up in OKC. She has me well trained. The weather in ABQ was supposed  to turn bad this morning but when I got up it was nice and clear. I left ABQ at 6:00 AM and everything was fine until I got near Truth or Consequences. There I ran into 50 mph wind gusts. At the short cut at Hatch that goes to Arizona, I got hit with snow which soon turned into white out blizzards almost! I plugged along and almost as soon as I entered Arizona, it was sunny again! It was not without its snow on the mountains though. I took these pictures at a rest stop. It is the first one as you enter Arizona on the I-10. It is not a sight you see often in Arizona...snow on the mountains. Right around this point too, my FJ clocked over to 10,000 miles. I owned an identical yellow FJ when we moved from Tucson. It got destroyed in the hail storm last year so I got this 2010 since I loved it so much. I stopped at the gas station in Socorro, New Mexico and it brought back some memories of the move. I was in the FJ with Stimpy and she was so scared. I had made a cave for her in the back and that is all I had in the car other than her food, water and litter box. When I stopped in Socorro, I opened up a can of Fancy Feast for her but she would not touch it. That first night was spent in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and as soon as she was out of her crate, she fled to the only hiding place in the room, a hole behind the bed. She did eventually come out and eat and sleep on the bed and day 2 in the car was much easier for her. I think she was afraid she was going to be abandoned somewhere.

          


           


         


It was pretty cold when I took these pictures. I was wearing shorts! I always wore shorts when I lived in Tucson, even when I was visiting a customer in their million dollar home. No one cared in Tucson, we were much more casual than they were up in Snotsdale.


Tomorrow will be a mission to hit all the old places. I saw a natural pet store so I will go check that out. I have all but given up on giving Stimpy anything other than her Fancy Feast. It is what she loves the most so I will give her what she wants. There was someone selling cat towers on the side of the road too, I may stop and check those out as well. I have not seen a red carpeted one before and Stimpy would look good on red.

I did not contact any friends tonight. I just wanted to relax this first night. I have another nasty headache on the horizon. This one was caused by someone in the line in front of me who had doused themselves with cheap cologne. I have no tolerance for fragrances, and when people put so much on that they are flammable and it burns your eyes, there is a problem.

For those of you reading this, there is a fund for VAS cats. It is called the Kobi Fund. If you feel so inclined, please make a tax deductible contribution. The fund is for those who cannot afford the care needed for their vas cats. You can read all about it here:

http://www.fveap.org/page_6.html

You will need to earmark it for Kobi's Fund since this group does all kinds of fundraising for cats. Kobi is a long term survivor of VAS, I believe going on nine years now.

kobiheader

I am going to head out for some dinner. I absolutely love being back in Tucson. Paws out for now.


Missing the kitty


Monday March 3, 2011  7:30 AM

Although it has been wonderful here in Tucson, I am really starting to miss Stimpy and the others. I have seen my "surrogate cat" every day so that has helped somewhat. This is our neighbors cat, and her name is simply "Cat".



Cat is pretty playful  She takes it seriously too and will draw blood. She is out to win. She and Stimpy were friends while in Tucson. I think they are about the same age too. Every time I see Cat I always check her out for lumps. It has become the norm for me now and I always educate people about VAS. We stopped and talked to the people who live in our old house and their dogs were quite friendly and came out to play. It is a great neighborhood, people are always friendly from Day 1.


Today was a perfect day in Tucson. This is the kind of weather that people come to Tucson for. It was 75 degrees and I had my shorts and tee shirt on...loved it! I also found out that the lot across from our old house is now for sale. It was not on the market when we were here two weeks ago. It might be the time to buy it and hang onto it for building later. The Barrio Viejo was such a wonderful personable neighborhood. I would love to live there again. It is one of the few remaining lots there too. The Barrio is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tucson. Years ago it was ghetto but then people decided it was a cool historic place and they started fixing things up and now it is one of the hippest old Barrio's in Tucson. People are constantly photographing it. Today, as I was driving down our old street, there were two amateur photographers blocking the street. We got so tired of that when we lived there so we usually did not show them too much courtesy. Our friend lived in what used to be a church built in the 1800's and one day someone actually knocked on his door and asked him to move his car so they could take a better photograph! I just Googled some search terms and I easily found his house. Dang, I am so homesick for Tucson right now!


                                                    

.
We finally return home tomorrow. It will be nice to get home. I am not really looking forward to the return trip though, it is never as exciting as coming here. Paws out for now.

Dirty Little Secrets

Tuesday March 8, 2011  11:00 AM


                                                                       


We made it home from Tucson on Saturday pulling the trailer with the new furniture we found in the antique store in Tucson. The road trip was fine but it got pretty cold as we approached Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We stopped at the hotel there and spent the night. It started snowing heavily soon after we checked in. All was fine the next morning, so with snow on the ground and car, we headed home for OKC.

It was wonderful seeing the animals again. Stimpy was asleep on the bed in the master bedroom and when I went in, she just kind of blinked like she could not believe it was me. She followed me around for the rest of the day. The others all did fine and were happy that we were home. I sure miss them when I am gone. I always worry about them terribly, especially Stimpy.

Stimpy has her next chemo round a week from today. She did well with the last one and did not throw up once. I was so relieved. I really worried about that. She was so affectionate these last two nights. I woke up this morning around 4:00 AM and she was sleeping on my chest. I did not move. I did not want to disturb her. She was curled up in a little ball, it was too cute to move her so I just laid there watching her until I fell asleep again.

A short while back, I wrote to Purina and asked for their help in spreading the word about vaccine associated sarcoma. It would be nice to find a sponsor who would be willing to add some much needed recognition. This was their reply that I received a few days ago:

Thank you for contacting Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.

While we can understand the concerns in wanting to make vaccine associated sarcoma better known, we would not be able to assist at this time.   This is a subject that would be better addressed by the veterinarian community.  We suggest discussing your concerns with veterinarians in your area.

Again, thank you for visiting our website.

How typical is that? No one wants to spread the word about VAS. Everyone wants to pass it off onto the next guy. I thought Purina WAS a part of the veterinarian community. They certainly profit off it tremendously. Thanks anyway Purina. Even though you are the makers of Fancy Feast, I will continue buying it for Stimpy since she loves it so much. At this point of the game, Stimpy can have whatever she wants.

My reply to Purina was this:

This is disappointing as I have always thought that Purina WAS a part of the veterinarian community. You certainly come across that way in your ads. Why is it when it comes to this "dirty little secret", no one wants to talk about it? The vets do not tell us about VAS when we are vaccinating our cats. The VAS task force acts like they are goody two shoes by coming up with these new vaccination protocols but they do not tell the consumers about their risks or findings. They stop at a professional level.
 
Thousands of cats have died from VAS. Most because people cannot afford the cost of care for their beloved cat. We have spent over $25,000 on Stimpy's care since May 2010. We are fortunate that we can afford to do this.
 
I will continue to contact pet food companies, pet suppliers, basically anyone connected to the cat care community. I will manage to get the word out somehow even if I have to front the hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. It would be nice to have a sponsor that people know and trust. No one seems to care about VAS except those of us who lose our cats to it due to the negligence and irresponsibility of the pharmaceutical industry and the veterinarian community.


I know I have a long battle ahead of me. Sometimes it feels like I am going it alone though. So many people are lead to believe that our hands are tied and we cannot do anything about the pharmaceutical companies. So many back down when a little bit of money is waved in their faces. I guess I cannot blame them. Not everyone has a fighting spirit in them. I guess I was born with it, being close cousins to the Hatfields and McCoys (my great grandmother was born a Hatfield). Here is a typical reply from the pharmaceutical companies. This one is from Pfizer.



pfizer3.png


Gesture of good will! Thanks Pfizer, there in yet another statistic to shove in your cap (or you can shove it elsewhere as far as I am concerned). I wonder how Laura J. Beres, VMD lives with herself every day? They know they are killing our cats and they offer some paltry sum as a good will gesture. What absolute BS!

Now comes the release form from Pfizer:

pfizer4.png


Not an admission of liability? We all know what these releases mean. It means very clearly they ARE quilty and want to make this dirty little secret go away. It is such a paltry sum too, approximately $1500 each time. Is this how much our cats are worth? A snowball would have a better chance of surviving in hell that Boehringer Ingelgeim does in getting me to go away without they accepting full responsibility for what they have done to Stimpy. Go ahead and send me some BS release Boehringher Ingelhgeim...I will sign it. As long as you send a check to cover all of Stimpys care costs. I do not need your money but I want your money so you will be accountable for what you have done to Stimpy.

I am sure Boehringer Ingelheim is cursing the day they inherited me. Interestingly enough, Pfizer owned Fort Dodge at the time of Stimpy's vaccination. It is their misfortune that they bought the company after Stimpy's cancer attacked her. Liability does not go away when a company is sold, it is inherited by the next owner. It works the same for doctors. When a company takes over an emergency room department, the doctor's liability does not disappear because of new ownership. The doctors have to maintain their malpractice insurance for quite some time afterwards to cover any such claims. In most cases, the group running the ER picks up the cost of this.

I would be interesting in learning the conditions of the sale of Fort Dodge from Pfizer to Boehringer Ingelheim. I would love to know if there is a specific clause dealing with vaccine associated sarcoma and the liability for it? My guess there is. I will ask my financial adviser if she can get this for me. I will be meeting her on Saturday and I am sure she would know how to get it. She is brilliant when it comes to these things and it does not hurt that she is also an attorney. My guess is that if they do not disclose the terms of the sale, I could probably request that from the Freedom of Information Act office as well. I have not heard from them recently about the status of my request so I will give it two more weeks before contacting them. I do not want to antagonize them as they have been very helpful.

The pharmaceutical companies act so disgracefully in this matter. I made an offer to Boehringer Ingelheim to settle this with two conditions:

1) They pay for all of Stimpy's care and

2) They start some educational program to make the CONSUMER aware of VAS.

So far they have not replied. I guess they truly do not care like they say. I've noticed on their Vetmedica website that they do not list vaccine associated sarcoma as one of the diseases they cover. I guess they would not since they cause it with their vaccines. Just one of their

 

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

Boehringer Ingelheim runs a little program called "Boehringer Ingelheim Cares". Supposedly they have made millions of dollars for good causes that are tied to tax deductible charities. One of their core focuses is to provide health care for those who cannot afford it. It would be nice if Boehringer Ingelheim spent some of that money for our VAS cats. Most people cannot afford the care required to tackle this cancer. You would think it would make sense for one of these pharmaceutical companies to start a VAS program, to show they really do care. Just think, it would actually make it SEEMED like they care and the majority of people would believe it. They would of course have a harder time convincing all of us prior victims of their irresponsible behavior but if it saves some cats in the future, they can redeem themselves somewhat.

I wrote to the Governor of Missouri about VAS, Boehringer Ingelheim, and how they do not disclose the risks of this deadly cancer. I got this hysterical canned response back. They wanted to thank me for bringing it to their attention and even though they cannot help in every case, blah blah blah, my feedback makes the lives of every citizen in Missouri better. It must not be election year. No matter, I knew I would get a canned response. The whole purpose of sending these letters out is because every time it goes somewhere new, the viewing activity skyrockets on the journal. It means it is reaching people. I always put the blog address on the outside of the envelope, along with the BI devil. My mother thinks the Pet Cemetary one is most effective. It is hard to tell, I like them both. I have some new ones I am working on so stay tuned.

I guess I will close for now. I need to run to PetSmart for some more food. I discovered Dick Van Patten's food at a store in Tucson and Stimpy seems to really love it. This is good because it is grain free. I guess at nearly $2 a can, it should be. Paws out for now.


Cat whiskers

Sunday March 13, 2011   9:12 PM

I've been noticing lately that Stimpy's whiskers are really getting long and wild. On one side of her face, some of them curve up sharply, giving her this Salvador Dali-esque look. Compared to the other cats, she really has a lot of whiskers. I hope they do not fall out from the chemotherapy. Someone in the VAS Support Group said that their cat lost his whiskers from the chemo.


                                  



This weekend has been somewhat stressful. Stimpy has another round of chemotherapy on Tuesday. I just hate to drop her off. I wish I could stay with her during the treatment. There will be three more treatments after this one so they should end sometime in April. They do one every three weeks. Never before has three weeks gone by so fast.

I put together another video of Stimpy. I did a little better job on it this time and I have added some music. On the first one I had to cut the sound out because the scarlet macaw was screaming bloody murder in the background. Stimpy kept looking around. Every time you ignore the bird she squawks like it is being strangled. This video is kind of sad. It shows Stimpy with all of her legs and it starts while we were in Columbia, Missouri in July, 2010 for her radiation therapy. I especially like the part where she is playing with the ball. She still does it but she has to really balance herself.



It looks like a busy week ahead. Things are starting to turn green. The grounds crew was here this weekend and got things cleaned up. The daffodils are popping up all over the place.

I wish I could concentrate on something other than Stimpy's upcoming chemotherapy. I will be glad when Tuesday is over.

Paws out.

Chemotherapy...Round 2


Tuesday March 15th, 2011   10:10 AM

Today marks the second round of chemotherapy for Stimpy. I dropped her off at the oncologist this morning. It is hard to describe the emotions I am feeling. Sadness, guilt...anger at Boehringer Ingelheim. None of these pharmaceutical companies care what they are doing to our cats. This is such a huge travesty. For 20 years now, they have known what their vaccines do but they still do not care what they are doing. Boehringer Ingelheim obviously does not care. I have made several offers to them to settle this but I guess they did not like the part where I asked for them to start some kind of educational program to make people more aware about VAS. Why would they? They make millions of dollars every year off of their vaccines.

I have been silent in the VAS support group for a while now. I still read the e-mails. Sometimes I do not feel as if I am on the same ground as everyone. Every one wants changes but no one really wants to do anything other than to sulk and take on the attitude that we cannot do anything. So many walk away from the fight as soon as a little bit of money is waved in their faces. I know everyone cannot afford this fight but it does not take much to write letters, make contacts, and stay on top of people. I do a weekly mailing to Boehringer Ingelheim, with some graphics printed on the outside of the envelope. I really do not care if they throw them in the trash. The fact is, every time I do a mailing, the hits on the blog increase dramatically.

Here is a graph showing the number of photo hits from the journal last Saturday...

photobuckethits313.png



A total of 4,084 photo hits. I did a mailing which would have started arriving in the 20 mailboxes yesterday. Here is another view of that chart showing the photo hits:

photobuckethits314a.png


As you can see, it jumped to 4,586 hits in a few days. The Pet Cemetery and Boehringer Ingelheim Devils still rank consistently high in the number of hits they get each day. My favorite picture of Stimpy and the bronze that I commissioned also ranks high every day. These pharmaceutical companies are so interested in data, so add this to your data bases...Stimpy's Journey is spreading and the more mailings I do, the more people will learn about vaccine associated sarcoma. I have decided to add five names to the mailing every week and every week, I mail out these large white envelopes with the graphics on the outside. I have a surprise for the next mailing.

Every week it seems like another person joins the VAS support group. Here is an e-mail that just came today. I cannot even begin to comprehend how this person is feeling, knowing that her cat is dying from vaccine associated sarcoma and has to put her to sleep. I cannot even think about it. Here is a copy of that e-mail:

We have been successful in draining Sadie's tumor at home approx every 2 days.

Unfortunately, in the past week, she has lost a lot of weight. Not being a big cat to begin with...she is now skeletal with just a lot of grey fur hiding the protruding bones. I have started syringe feeding as she is no longer showing interest in food. I try to give a tablespoon of food every couple of hours. I am also rushing home during my luch hour to feed her. She has become very weak and lethargic. She seems to stumble when walking. I took her out in the garden this afternoon and she seemed to perk up a bit then tired soon after and lay down in the grass.

I had one hours sleep last night as I am so upset. My heart is breaking. I have made the decision to have her put to sleep either on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. What makes this decision so difficult, is that she is still purring when I look at her or pat her. But I know she is suffering. She can't use the litter box properly anymore. She puts her front legs in and one back leg and sticks the other one straight out in the back of her and does a wee like that all over the floor. I have been putting newspapers down to soak it up.

I don't know what state I am going to be at the vet as I can't stop crying now
.

How many more cats have to die? When are the pharmaceutical companies going to start being the evil, vile slimeballs that they are and start educating people about these risks? I imagine not until it costs them more to pay off people to shut up and go away then it does to disclose this dirty little secret.

I still remember the call I got from Boehringer Ingelheim and the asked me if $15,000 would settle this matter. No, it will not settle this matter Boehringer Ingelheim. I want you to start disclosing these risks. It was quite a generous offer I suppose in their eyes. After all, it's "just a cat".

Stimpy is not "just a cat" Boehringer. She is so much more than that, something you will never understand.

I need to sign off for a while. I will be pretty worthless until Stimpy is home. I just cannot stand to think she is with some people she barely knows while having to go through this chemotherapy.

The chemo waiting game

Wednesday March 16, 2011   7:30 AM

Yesterday was a tough day. I dropped Stimpy off at 8:30 AM and by 3:00 PM I still had not received a call from the oncologist. I hate the waiting game. All day I could think of nothing else but Stimpy sitting there with an IV stuck in her little leg, probably scared, and I was not there. It completely dominates my day so I can do nothing else.

I finally called and they said she was ready to go home. My first clue something was different when I got there was that the bill was only $125 instead the $300 that we were told each session would cost. The doctor came out and told me that they could not do the chemo yesterday because her white cell count was too low and she had also lost 9 ounces in the past three weeks. I did not think I would make it out of the office without crying, but it just makes me wonder if this is not the ineveitable setting in. I am very concerned that she lost so much weight in the three week period. Andy tells me this is normal and the low white cell count is normal too  in chemo patients but no one seems to really want to be up front with me. I guess Andy has learned to look at all sides of things after being an emergency room doctor for over 30 years, but I just need to know. I ended up calling Stimpy's vet in Tucson. From the beginning she has always been straight forward with me and has not tried to hide or deny anything. She was at a Humane Society meeting so she said she would call me back today. She is a good vet, and she always took good care of Stimpy in Tucson. Ironically, she is from Oklahoma City and so there is that connection too.

I think it is time to move on, at least from OKC. Ever since the move here three years ago, I have never been really happy here. OKC has so little to offer considering it is such a large city, a population over 1 million. The racism here is rampant. People will put on their choir robes on Sunday and on Friday, they are wearing their KKK robes. I truly hate it. 

After all this hit with Stimpy, I lost interest in a lot of things. I never realized how devoted I am to Stimpy until this past year. It breaks my heart she is fighting this cancer. She was never a big cat but she seems so tiny now, just 7 pounds 12 ounces. My anger flared when I got home and I called Boehringer Ingelheim. I asked for a FAX number (which they repeatedly refuse to give to me) but I spoke to some doctor in their technical support area. It was clear she knew who I was. When I asked her if Boehringer Ingelheim has any plans in the future to start disclosing the risks of VAS and educating the consumer, her answer was that since this has been moved to their legal department, she could not comment. Apparently, having a conscience is a legal matter for Boehringer Ingelheim.

Yesterday, after I fed Stimpy, I sat down and started reflecting on things. I do not want to live in OKC anymore, I know that for certain. I do not want to live in Laguna Beach...too many tourists now and one day it will probably slide into the ocean. I always feel some peace in Tucson. At the very least, I think buying a house there now in anticipation of a move back is a good idea. The lot across the street from the old house in Tucson is now for sale. It is not even a 1/2 acre lot and years ago, during the boom, they wanted $750,000 for the empty lot. It never sold and now it is being sold for less than a third of that. Building there was a thought but after doing this renovation here in OKC, I do not think I want to go through that again.

Privet has this habit of crawling up your legs. I will be sitting at the desk and she will dig in and climb up. I usually wear shorts so I have quite a few battle wounds now. She is such an inquisitive cat. Every time you open a drawer or door, she is right there checking it out. She will sit outside the shower while I am in there and as soon as the door opens she is inside checking it out. I opened the drawer on the dresser and sure enough, out of nowhere, she was there. Scarlett wanted in on it too but when she tried to climb in, Privet smacked her. Privet is somewhere possessive when she is on my lap and she will smack anyone who comes near. Scarlett is somewhat of a trouble maker and she will always intice the other cats to wrestle but will cry foul when she gets pinned. You would think she was being tortured by the way she screams out.

Here are a few pics of the rascals. Privet and Scarlett are on a diet. I have taken them off the dry kibble completely and now they get one can of the wet food a day, half in the morning and half in the evening. They both need to drop a few pounds. 

                    


              

  


Monday March 21, 2011   6:25 AM

Last week was an emotional week. I worried about Stimpy all week and after having a heartfelt talk with her vet in Tucson, we have decided to not continue the chemotherapy. Stimpy has never been a big cat. I think the most she ever weighed was just over 10 pounds and that was when she first started hanging out at the house in Tucson. She loved the wet food so much that she just ate and ate, so much that we thought she was pregnant! After her first round of chemo, she lost nine ounces in three weeks. She only weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces after her leg was amputated. I am not sure how much a leg weighs but her vet in Tucson honestly told me that she did not think she could survive five rounds of chemo. I guess I knew that before I was told, I just needed someone to confirm it. Her white cells dropped a lot too so that was worrisome.

I was relieved actually after the decision was made. Right now she is symptom free so I will hope she stays that way. I just do not want her to live the rest of her life being poked and prodded, she deserves better. Somehow, it is almost like Stimpy knows too. She was so affectionate this morning. She crawled up right by my face and snuggled and she purred as loud as I have ever heard her purr. It was so wonderful. It reminded me of the time I went to visit her at the hospital the day of her amputation, she did the same thing. She cradled her face in my chest and calmed down. It was such a great bonding session. I cherish every single one of those.

I have been taking Stimpy outside for walks every day. She really loves them. A decision was made when we moved to Oklahoma City that she would be an indoor cat. I knew it would be a tough transistion on her as she always loved being outdoors in Tucson. There are too many dangers on the estate. There are seven fenced in acres, and the back lot has 65 wooded acres and we are surrounded by an additional 300-400 wooded acres that is privately owned. Even though we are within the city, it is like we live in the woods. We have a resident bobcat that lives on the property just east of us, there are deer, peacock, armadillo, red foxes, raccoons, and the occasional stray dog. With all that area and so many dangers, I just did not want to risk it. In Tucson, we lived in a small historic quiet barrio and it was not a problem. I just do not like cats being outside where so many dangers are present. Even Butters, Scarlett and Privet are only allowed outside for short supervised periods.

When I take Stimpy out, I usually make sure the other dogs are not present. Baloo is such a sweet little dog. He has always been very respectful of Stimpy and has never been aggressive towards her. He will walk along side her, watching her, wagging his tail, almost as if he is there to protect her. He is her own personal bodyguard. I walk along with Stimpy too and the other day she walked all over the place. We went inside the greenhouse and she was sniffing around a large ceramic pot and suddenly a small  green frog jumped out on her nose and she went nuts. She chased it all over the place until it found some safety between a crevice. She was reaching in with her paw but she soon gave up. Knowing Stimpy though, had she caught it, she would have just shrugged and walked away. She is the same way with mice. We walked up by the barn and through the grass and it was wonderful to see her enjoy it so much. Now, every time she is near the door, she wants to go out. Here is an unedited video of Stimpy's journey outdoors, the first time since we moved to OKC. She has been out for brief periods but this time she was given more freedom to walk around.




I will call Stimpy's oncologist today and inform her of our decision to halt the chemo. I think the right decsion has been made. If love could save you Stimpy, you would live forever.

Post chemo


Tuesday March 22, 2011   9:49 PM

Today would have been the day that Stimpy returned for her second round of chemotherapy. I felt some relief all day knowing she was not there. It was really a decision of the heart and I think the right one was made. Her little body just could not take four more rounds. So, I guess we just hope for the best and that is all we can do. At least she does not have to be poked and prodded for the rest of her life. Her oncologist called today and I am not sure what they think about all this but they want to see Stimpy next Wednesday to do some labs. I am not sure what the point is but I guess I do want to know what her white cell count is and I want to make sure she is not still losing weight.

Today Baloo bit one of the workers that was here installing new copper gutters. Baloo has claimed the area around the caretakers cottage as his and he does not allow the other dogs, or people, to hang out there unless someone is with them. He did not bite him hard, but he did tear the jeans and nip the skin. I felt so bad about it. The guy insisted that he was OK but I told him to get it checked out and give me the bill. I also gave him $100. I just did not know what else to do. I felt so bad about it. The bite was not serious but it bothers me that Baloo did it. So, now he will have to be quarantined for the next few days while they are here installing the gutters.

I have stepped up things with Boehringer Ingelheim a bit. Last Saturday I mailed one of the large white envelopes with the graphics all over it (with the Pet Cemetery one on the back side) to George Heidgerken, the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. I did not mail it  to him at the office. I am not even sure he has gotten any of them. For all I know, Michael Herman, the lawyer, had the mailroom confiscate them as they arrive. Anyway, I mailed it to his home in Kansas City, Missouri. I wanted to make it more personal. I wanted him to know just how this touches my life on a personal level, every single day. Not a day has gone by since learning about Stimpys cancer where I have not thought about losing her to VAS. I want him to think about what everyone who has ever lost a cat to VAS to know what it is like to go to bed thinking about it, waking up thinking about it and spending the day thinking about it.

Dang it! A Boehringer Ingelheim commercial just came on TV. They are advertising Dulcolax. It is such a bad commercial. Even before I knew it was a Boehringer Ingelheim product, I hated the commercial. It is a laxative and they advertise "When it's HARD (really??) or it HURTS (seriously!!!)  to go..."  I guess it is a good thing they do not make Preperation H. I suppose they would use the Johhny Cash song "Ring of Fire" to advertise it. It is really a tacky commercial. Seriously, why don't they just come out and say, "When it gets stuck, use Dulcolax!" Yeech.

I just feel like my life is at a standstill at the moment. I do not want to travel while Stimpy is sick. I need to go home to visit my family but I hate to leave Stimpy. I guess I will have to do it. It is about a 12 hour drive from here. I just hate flying so much. At least there is a direct flight to Chicago from OKC so if I go that route it is just a few hours on the plane. I bailed on that trip to Asia last year the night before. I just could not stand being on a plane for 14 hours. If I am going to be on a plane that long, it had better be going to a place I want to see. Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Bangkok and Singapore are at the bottom of my list of places to visit. I kept saying I did not want to go from Day 1, but no one would listen, so finally the night before, I just simply said "I'm not going". It shocked everyone but once I make up my mind, there is no changing it. I guess that trait will come in handy dealing with these pharmaceutical companies.

Stimpy is curled up on the ottoman in front of me. She usually follows me around the house and watches me. She looks so peaceful curled up right now. He wheezes a little while she sleeps but she has always done that. In Tucson, you could set your clock by her. She would come and stand in the doorway to the bedroom and she would just give off a loud, demanding MEOW! That was her demanding her breakfast, followed by the door being opened so she could go outside. It was so wonderful in Tucson that you could leave the door open all day. If I did not get up right away she would walk downstairs and start scratching on a chair. She knew that would get me up, usually to chuck a rolled up sock over the loft down to the living room. On any given day, there were a dozen rolled up socks under the furniture. On the day we left Tucson, her vet gave us a small pill to give her to calm her and make her drowsy. I remember loading the last thing in the FJ, and the house was empty, she was sitting at the top of the stairs looking down trying to force herself to stay awake. I put her in the back of the FJ in her "cave" and she stayed there until about 50 miles outside Tucson. She then came up and sat in the seat next to me the rest of the trip. The first night was spent in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and she immediately fled and hid behind the bed most of the evening. The second day in the car was a lot easier and I did not have to give her the pill. I was glad when that trip was over. That seems like an eternity ago. I will just try to  write down as many memories of Stimpy that I have. It does help. I am not giving up on Stimpy by any means. It is just important to remember these things. The month we spent in Columbia, Missouri was really one of the greatest journeys we have ever had together. I am so grateful for the days I have with her now. It is amazing how much a first pet means to you. I really love all the others too, but Stimpy is so special.

This is my favorite picture of Stimpy. I took this at the hotel in Columbia. It was on a day after her radiation therapy and she was so beautiful and peaceful looking curled up on the bed.

http://thecatstimpy.livejournal.com/

Reaching out.

Thursday March 20, 2011  8:54 AM

Just needed to take a break from this renovation project. I will NEVER renovate a house again. It has been challenging, and somewhat fun, but I am so ready to be done with it. I would like to just get it finished and get the house on the market. These past two days I have been working on building a coffered ceiling in the dining room. It is a small dining room so I figured it could not be that bad, but  I did not realize how tedious it was. It has to be very secure, after all it is hanging over your head. The house will be pretty nice when it is finished. It has been five  years since the last person lived in it and that person had no style whatsoever. I do not mind doing small projects here and there, but a whole house...never again!

It was a sad start to the day yesterday, waking up to learn that Elizabeth Taylor had passed away. She will always be one of the greatest actresses ever. Having lived in Palm Springs for a while, I did have the opportunity to meet a few stars. A friend once hosted a birthday party for Jane Russell. That was a thrill to meet her. Even at her age then, she was still stunning and quite a person to meet. I cannot remember who else was there, it did not matter that day. I think Mrs. Proctor was there, of Proctor and Gamble and some candy heiress. It was so funny, the friend who hosted the party actually had these two helping out in the kitchen polishing silver! I think it was Mrs. Proctor who said "Doesn't he know who I am? I did not come here to polish silver!" They were so full of themselves in Palm Springs, so entitled. On several occassions, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Mrs. Hoover, of Hoover Vacuums. She was the widow of Mr. Hoover and she married him after his first wife died. She was his secretary. I think she did well for herself! It was such a strain at dinner trying to hear her. She was always telling some story and then she would start laughing and you had no idea what she said so you just nodded your head and smiled.

On another occasion, I met Margaret O'Brien. She was the little girl who had the dolls with the fatal illnesses in Meet Me in Saint Louis. It is so odd to meet a person you remember seeing in a movie as a child and then meet them many years later, old and sick. It was kind of sad. I guess it will happen to all of us.

My mother has always been a beautiful woman, even now in her 70's she still looks like she is just in her early 50's. She was often told she looked like Elizabeth Taylor. One day, while standing in line at a grocery store with my nieces, one of them spotted a magazine cover with Elizabeth Taylor on it and she asked "What are you doing on that magazine cover Granny?" Everyone turned to see what my niece was talking about and I think my mothers head swelled a little that day! Elizabeth Taylor will never be forgotten. I guess we can all strive to leave a legacy like that.

Ever since my letter was sent the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica at his home, Stimpy's journal has had a record number of hits. I deliberately did not mail any other letters last Saturday, I wanted to kind of gauge the response. I think it must have hit a chord. I imagine George Heidgerken did not like having this issue brought home to him. I do not care. I bring it home with me everyday and so do many others. As the pharmaceutical companies profit off the vaccinations of our cats, they have a moral obligation to inform us of the risk of this cancer. I wonder if the legal department will finally send me a letter? To date they have ignored everything I have sent them. If they want to battle this out in court, that is OK with me. I can turn this into such a publicity nightmare for them. Imagine, a pharmaceutical company suing someone over a journal that exposes them for their non disclosure of a deadly cancer in our cats. No matter what the outcome, it would make them look like the greedy corporate bastards, putting their profits before the lives of our cats. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica's mission statement says that they understand the "human - animal bond". Yeah, sure they do. If they do, then they will understand why this matter makes me so angry. I do have a bond with Stimpy, and nothing will ever change that.  I still like their campaign to get pet owners in the door of the veterinarians office. Have We Seen Your Cat Lately? They  would love for you to take your cat in and use their product. It makes millions for them. Have they seen your cat lately? Did your vet inform you of the risks of vaccine associated sarcoma? My guess is no. No one wants to talk about this dirty little secret.

One of my best art works I have done in this campaign against Boehringer Ingelheim, is this parody of their Have We Seen Your Cat campaign. Here is the card that they wanted their vets to send out to the consumer, with my little devil added:

                                   bidevil6.jpg Boehringer Ingelheim Christmas card


The Santa hat was added at Christmas time and I sent these Christmas cards out to the executives at Boehringer Ingelheim all over the world. Notice the little drop coming out of the needle saying VAS? To me, this states it very clearly. I guess they could sue me for this parody and that would be OK. I would love the added, free exposure.

Yesterday was a record day for the number of hits that the journal pictures got too. It was nearly 6000 in just one day! WOW! On this chart, it shows a huge spike on the number of views of the picture of Stimpy on the white sheets, sleeping. It is my favorite picture of her. To the left, it shows the total number of hits for the day. The Pet Cemetery picture was in second with 177 hits, and not far behind are the Boehringer Ingelheim devils, with 152 and 129 hits. Stimpy has gone global, I get notes from people all over the world. I am always amazed how even fewer people in Europe have heard of vaccine associated sarcoma. It makes me think that the rabies vaccine is the number one culprit of this cancer as it seems that a lot of the reported cases in the USA are from a rabies vaccine. I know there are probably thousands of unreported cases since people do not know what to look for. My sister said her cat had some of the same things I have described in one of her cats that she lost years ago. Education is key here.

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One way that I can gauge on how much the journal is getting around too is by the number of image searches on Google. Obviously, the more hits, the earlier it shows up in their search. On the Rabvac 3TF search, the rabies vaccine that caused Stimpy's cancer, the images that I uploaded showing the sugar coated "warning" from Boehringer Ingelheim, the one that only states "A local reaction may occur at the injection site following subcutaneous administration", it now holds the number 2 and number 3 spot on the searches which means it gets the most hits. It even shows up before the Boehringer Ingelheim logo or Fort Dodge logo shows up. How funny is that?


 rab3.png


If you do a search of "Have we seen your cat lately", this is a tremendous leap in exposure. It used to be out of over 3,000,000 images, the Boehringer Devil never showed up in the first 50 pages of searches. Look where it is at now!  PAGE TWO! My apologies to Anne Hathaway, I am sorry your picture shows up AFTER the Boehringer Ingelheim devils. Hmmm... The Devil Wears Boehringer Ingelheim. Not as catchy I guess. My apologies to Meryl Streep as well.

hwseen.png

Poor Baloo is being quarantined again today. The gutter people are at the house installing the copper gutters. I hated leaving him this morning. He was on his bed, looking pretty sad. I will go home at noon and give him a supervised break. He will have to stay indoors for a few more days while they do the work. I would bring him over to the renovation house but there is no fenced area for him there. He'll survive.


I suppose I had better get working on this coffered ceiling. It is not going to build itself. I will post more later. Paws out.

One more thing I would like to add, Chicken the Cat, another Rad Grad has just started chemotherapy. I hope she comes through it OK without the side effects Stimpy had. You can read Chicken's blog here:

http://chickenthecat.wordpress.com/

In Memory of Jazz

Friday, March 25, 2011  4:52 AM


Yesterday a member of the VAS support group posted a note that today marks the third year anniversary of the passing of their cat Jazz. Instead of writing anything today, I just want to dedicate today's posting in honor of Jazz. Below is the e-mail Todd mailed to the group three years ago. I was not a member then, but it brings tears to my eyes. You have touched another life Jazz, thank you.

I am writing today to let you know that Jazz (aka "Miss May 2008" in
the current VAS Awareness calendar) was peacefully euthanized
yesterday and awaits those who loved her so much in this life at the
Rainbow Bridge.

For anyone not familiar with Jazz's history, she was diagnosed with
fibrosarcoma and underwent her first VAS surgery in November of 2006 (to remove the tumor in her scruff). First recurrence was eight
months later in July of 2007 and she underwent her second VAS
surgery in September of 2007 (pre- and post chest x-rays were done
one month apart during that time – her lungs showed one small yet
suspicious marking but its size remained constant a month later, so
we proceeded with the second VAS tumor-excision surgery in Sept. of 2007. Just recently, on March 15, a hard pea-sized mass was again discovered in the general proximity of the original and first
recurrence (this is 6 months after her second VAS surgery). I took
Jazz in yesterday (3/25/08) to repeat the chest x-rays and proceed
with her third VAS surgery if her lungs were clear. Unfortunately,
this time the chest x-rays revealed a golf ball-size tumor in her
lungs along with several other caner nodes. The cancer had now
metastasized significantly to her lungs. I had noticed that Jazz
seemed more lethargic and had lost some of her appetite during the
past month. I did not want for Jazz to experience the respiratory
problems that seemed all too imminent (in her case).

I would appreciate any thoughts and prayers for my baby Jazz. Sure
she was almost 12, but she was and always will be my "baby girl!" I
love her so dearly! The agony my wife and I felt yesterday was
tremendous – it is never easy even when you are convinced that the
time is right for `giving the final gift.' Though I will continue
to mourn for some time, more and more of my tears will be shed not
out of grief but from recalling all the beautiful memories that Jazz
left us with! Her spirit, of course, will always be with us! As we
said our goodbyes at the vet clinic, I told Jazz that I loved her
and always will, and that so did mommy and (adopted) brother
Sampson. I told her, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with God
in Paradise" (Luke 23:35-43). During the half hour my wife and I
visited with Jazz prior to her passing, I tried to be strong…to be
brave…and did a pretty good job (I had wept like a baby before-hand
and afterwards, but I didn't want Jazz to see me upset). I held her
in my arms and kissed her furry little head and we played one last
time (can you see my tears as I type this?) The hardest thing for
me to tell her was that "You fought the good fight," and that mommy
and daddy and Sampson are so proud of you! I could never (and still
cannot) say those words without crying. It is written, "You will
suffer in this world. But take courage, for I have OVERCOME the
world" (John 16:33). I also believe that "The Cross of Christ has
conquered death." Though Jazz did not defeat the VAS monster, she
has indeed conquered death itself, by the grace and power of God! I
hope I haven't offended anyone with my religious quotes above – if
so, please accept my apologies. It is how I cope with something so
tragic – and grieving is a very personal experience. Thoughts and
prayers are also respectfully asked for Jazz's little brother
Sampson, who has lost his sister and playmate, and who now struggles to make sense of all this. Please pray that he not become too depressed for too long.

Just seconds after Jazz was injected with the euthanasia solution,
her long-time favorite doc took her stethoscope to her chest and,
looking up to my wife and I, quietly said, "Jazz is gone." Even
though I knew this full well, it was all-too-difficult to hear these
words and so I lost it again. However, I would like to share a
beautiful feeling that I experienced just afterwards. My wife and I
spent some alone time with Jazz after she expired and, both sobbing
uncontrollably, we hugged each other as Jazz lay by our side. I was
then overcome by an incredibly powerful sense that Jazz's spirit was now looking down upon us and letting us know that she is safe and well, and that she knows how much we love her, and to not be
afraid. I thank God for this, and you too, Jazzy girl! It is what
I needed! 

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CAT- Lateral Damage

Sunday, March 27, 2011  8:24 PM

                

It was kind of a somber weekend. My last post was about Jazz. I was just so moved by Jazz's story, I just did not feel like writing much more. When I read stories like these, and hear the stories from others on the VAS support board, it stirs deep emotions. Some times it is so depressing I just want to quit. After I think about it though, it makes me realize I need to keep fighting to educate people about VAS.

Collateral damage. That is what our cats are to these pharmaceutical companies. I have asked them how many of our cats have to die before they start disclosing the risks. That way we can leave them alone until that many cats die.

I have sent so many letters to Boehringer Ingelheim since we learned about Stimpy's VAS. EVERY letter has been ignored by them and it seemed as though they took the "ignore him and he will go away" approach. Only once did I ever hear from them, and that was a phone call from their head veterinarian, Dr. James Hall. It was right after I mailed them the first of many "graphic" envelopes. It featured the photoshop Pet Cemetery image and just days after mailing it, Dr. Hall called me. It was a call that lasted 20-25 minutes and in concluded with him promising to present my claim to the "powers that be" and that he would call me back. I never heard from him again. Just like all my letters, they seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

A week ago yesterday, I decided to mail a letter to the CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica directly to his home. The envelope contained a before and after picture of Stimpy, the Boehringer Ingelheim devil and on the back, the Pet Cemetery picture. It appears it was effective as I FINALLY received a letter from Boehringer Ingelheim's legal department via Fed Ex this past Friday. I imagine the CEO did not like having his private life invaded but that was the point. My life has been invaded by this cancer since first learning about it.

The letter of course is typical. It begins by misquoting me by stating that I disagree about vaccines being necessary. I have never stated this. In fact, at the beginning of this blog, I clearly state that I DO understand that vaccines are necessary for the health of our pets. My argument with the pharmaceutical companies is that they do not disclose the risks of these vaccines. BIG DIFFERENCE. They quote me the Arizona and Oklahoma laws that require vaccinations. I am very much aware of these laws and I am also aware that changes need to be made in these laws. If we are required to vaccinate our pets then we sure as hell deserve the disclosure about the risks of VAS. In the letter, they go on to pretty much point their finger at every one else except themselves. Everyone else is responsible for the effects of their product except them. They basically hide behind the robes of the government to excuse their behavior.

They also made a point that they did not own the Fort Dodge Rabvac 3TF at the time of Stimpy's vaccination. It does not matter. Unless they have some agreement with Pfizer in the purchase, that Pfizer will be liable for any claims, it is a moot point. I am certain they do not because I know of other claims they have paid to victims that were caused by Fort Dodge vaccines at the time Pfizer owned that division. They paid those claims without mention of the Pfizer connection. They also stated that they had not seen Stimpy's vet records prior to 2007. I am not even sure why they brought that up. According to their own rules, they only consider claims where a VAS tumor occurs within three years of vaccination. Stimpy's VAS occurence did occur within their own stated three year window.

I love the way the letter concluded. They stated:

"With respect to Stimpy's health care costs, we have previously offered to review  the costs associated with Stimpy's diagnosis and treatment. It is not clear from your February 25, 2011 letter, however, whether this would be acceptable to you. If this remains of interest, please feel free to let us know. If you do provide that information, please also provide your cat's complete vaccination history.

Sincerely,

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc."

First off, I found it kind of funny that the legal department did not sign it with a name. Perhaps they are afraid to let me know their name out of fear they will also receive a letter at home? I do not know, but it just seems kind of comical they would just sign the company name. Their reference to my letter of February 25th only proves once again they did not even bother to really read it. Even in that letter, I stated that I understood the need for vaccinations, yet they opened with the statement about me disagreeing with the need for vaccinations.

The line, "we have previously offered to review the costs associated with Stimpy's diagnosis and treatment" is simply an outright lie on their part. They have made no offer whatsoever to review Stimpy's costs associated with her cancer. The phone call from Dr. Hall on November 10, 2010 was obviously only made to feel me out. Boehringer Ingelheim has ignored every letter I have sent, the ones to their St. Jospeh office, their office in Ridgefield, CT and the ones sent to their office in Germany. There has been ZERO contact from them other than that one phone call. Was this some kind of attempt to make it look like they had actually done their job and put the blame back in my court? Nice try.

As far as Stimpy's records go, I have sent those to them on no less than two occasions. I sent them a bound volume that was almost 1" thick with her records, right down to the treatment she received while in Columbia, Missouri. I also sent them updates every time Stimpy's status changed, including her CT scans, her amputation and her chemotherapy. Again, everything fell on deaf ears.

Anyway, like I said, the letter was basically a tap dance to excuse their actions and lack of concern about VAS. Like I said, our cats are collateral damage to them. They really do not care, and they really do not understand the human - animal bond as they state, they care about their profits.

I shot them a letter back already and have given them until April 15th to settle this. I told them I will not play their legal games. They know what the solution is to settle Stimpy's claim. Their biggest mistake with me was to ignore me. I will not let them bargain with me on Stimpy's life and guess how long she has to live with this cancer. They have acted deplorably so far and I am fed up with them. Honestly, this journal has been such a success spreading the word, I have found it a great way to reach others and educate them about VAS. Calling the pharmaceutical companies out on their public deception is worth a great deal more to me at this point. They all trivialize the emotional stress this puts us through. The pharmaceutical companies, the AVMA, the vets do not understand what we go through. Those of us in the VAS support group have dealt with it on a more profound level. To them, the deaths and number of cases are just statistics. To us, every time another cat dies or is diagnosed with VAS, it is like losing a family member and the hurt is felt by all. Collateral damage. That is what we are.


Melancholy Day


Tuesday March 29, 2011  8:43 AM

I don't know why, but I seem to be consumed with this overwhelming sense of sadness today. Maybe it is because it is gloomy outside with some drizzle and grayness, but that doesn't usually bother me like this. Maybe it is because Stimpy seems to be winding down a bit. She does not seem to be eating as much and today she did not even want to go outside. I have made this little cave for her inside the walk in closet. It has her little fleece bed in there and it is positioned under some clothes hanging down so it gives her a nice little hiding place from everything going on in the house. Last night she did not even get up on the bed with me.

I take her in tomorrow for some labs. Her oncologist wanted to check her weight and her white cell count. I know that someday I am going to have to face losing her and on days like this, it is hard not to focus on that thought. I have kind of just stopped myself. I have no desire to go over to the renovation house. I want to get that house done so I do not have to focus on it and so it can be placed on the market. I would contract the work out except that I am so particular about details, and finding someone who will do the work is getting so hard these days. It is not a matter of how much it costs, it is a matter of pride in workmanship. Everyone just wants to get it finished and be done. I have done most of the work in the house, from building the cabinets, installing the floors, drywall, trim work, etc. The few things that were contracted out, the plumbing and having the main power line hooked up to the house, all required call backs to fix things that were wrong. I have always been detail oriented so it bugs me when people do sloppy work. I hope it means the house will sell quickly. The house started out as a simple remodel, and then as you picked away, it became known as "The Scab House" and now it is just referred to as the 712 Project. I have been working on the coffered ceiling for a few days and it looks great. I need to finish it but I am too worried about Stimpy today. I just cannot bear the thought of losing her to this cancer.

Building things helps me to deal with this. I enjoy creating things. This coffered ceiling has been therapeutic these last few days. It gives me a goal to shoot for so I need to focus on getting it finished. It has been a challenge but it is paying off. It is far from finished. The center sections need to be installed, and then there will be silver leafed inserts inside each cube and trimmed out in crown molding. The woodwork will be painted white to match the trim in the dining room and I found this magnificent Swarovski crystal chandelier in a St. Vincent de Paul store in Tucson for only $35. I restored it and it will hang in the center.

coffered.jpg



                      


Laying out the skeletal work on this was the most difficult. It had to be very secured and prior to hanging the drywall on the ceiling, I had laid the whole outline down and installed additional supports to give me a solid mounting surface. I would not recommend this as a weekend DIY project. I would also recommend having an assistant. I did not and working overhead was not very easy, balancing the wood and the tools.

I made another video of Stimpy outside. I know most people do not find these very thrilling but I cherish them. In Tucson, we did not have anyt grass whatsoever. Our yard was landscaped in low maintenance desert, which means lots of rock and cacti. The trees were never very large in diameter. We had primarily mesquite trees and a few citrus trees, but these rarely get big in the desert. Stimpy seems to be in awe at the soft grass and the huge trees. She stops and looks up at them when she comes to one. We kind of keep the grounds natutral. Not much fertilizer or weed killer is used. Since there are so many concerns about the animals, it is kept somewhat rustic which is wonderful. Even though the house is pretty much very central in Oklahoma City, it is the only house for quite a distance. It is surrounded by hundreds of acres so it is like being in the woods. Few people are lucky enough to experience living in the woods in the middle of the city.

I do not edit these outdoor videos of Stimpy, I want top preserve every second. The white patch on her back is from her radiation therapy. It will always be white. I wish I had more videos of her when she had all four legs but I do have a lot of pictures of her in Tucson before she became a tripod.




Boehringer Ingelheim is sponsoring a "More Health" photo contest. I have submitted a few pictures of Stimpy but they have vetoed them. I guess it did not meet their "More Health" criteria, coming from a cat with a deadly form of cancer. It's kind of funny though, I have uploaded a few pictures to their photos section (see the Photos tab on the side on their Facebook page) and no one has deleted them yet. Anyone want to place bets on it now?

http://www.facebook.com/#!/boehringeringelheim?sk=app_115776725164009


I am going to go see if I can get Stimpy to respond to going outside. She seemed so sad this morning. She has never been one of those cats who likes to be held. When she allows it, it has always been on her terms. If there are any typos in this journal, I blame them all on Privet. She has this habit of sitting between me and the keyboard. Since I am not a great typist, I tend to look at the keyboard more than I do the screen, with somewhat good results. It was only after I looked up the other day to discover all my typing was in vain. Her butt was on the "zero" key and the whole screeen was 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000's as far as the eye could see. Privet needs to lose some weight.




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