Friday, September 26, 2008

Nerves Becoming Happy

Well, this evening was a nervously awaited time. We had another family talk and it went surprisingly well. I was so afraid of hoping it to go one way and it actually going the other. My grandmother wasn't involved in this one, because that didn't go over so well last time. We decided to get P and us all worked out before trying with her again.

I'm glad that P was willing to listen to our issues, and was really apologetic about becoming so distant and misreading some things. We worked out a plan to try and get something together that we can all agree on.

I am happy to say that the most important people in my life were there this time. My mom, dad, sister, (but not her husband because he had plans to go on a fishing trip beforehand), P, Roger and I were all willing to work past our own hurts and misunderstandings to figure out why the hurts and misunderstandings were there to begin with. There was no one being needlessly attacked or attacked for no reason, no fingers pointed, no yelling, no accusations were thrown, no tempers flared, or anything like that. There were tears shed, tight hugs made, love affirmed, some understanding became clear on some parts that weren't there before, my mom's feelings became validated, my feelings became validated, and a plan was sketched for us to work on together as a family unit for once.

I think it was the first step in a good direction for once in a long time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Donation By Answers

Get yours, help donate $1.00, and maybe learn something you didn't know, HERE .

It's only a few questions, and they're only to help raise awareness.

Chances are, you know someone, or are related to someone who has battled, or is suffering from, Breast Cancer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Crap

I really don't want to dig into any details. I just write to say that there has been another uprising of family bull going around again.

All I have to say to that is: Phone records don't lie, people do.
The last phone call I got from that side was on the 23rd of February, and that was only because the Linkin Park concert was the 29th. There were other calls from my end, but none of them returned. I actually have the paperwork to prove that fact. Why did I bother to look up that paperwork? Well, because the accusation that I wasn't returning calls and messages came to blame me for the reason I wasn't called at a later, more important date.

It isn't fair to blame me for things when the accuser is the one doing them.

What's been said makes me want to puke...oh wait...I have...

At this point, I wash my hands of it. I refuse to waste any more time and energy (and food) on that bull when my baby needs all the time and energy I have to spare. I am going to concentrate on getting her better.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Good Support Story

My mom is friends with a lady that she used to work with years ago, that now works for her. We will call her A. I've been to lunch a couple of times with my mom and A, and even been to her house. I met her chubby old tom cat that, like Sugar, seems to just get crankier the older he gets, but is loved dearly by his mommy.

Well, I heard a story yesterday about this tomcat. A said she used to work in a shelter, and they have to test every kitty that comes in, because they're not allowed to pass them back out if they test positive for the major ones, like FIV, FeLV, and FIP. She said that a spunky little baby kitty came in, and tested positive for FeLV, so they were going to put him down. She just couldn't justify putting down what seemed to be a healthy baby (sound familiar?), so she told them that she would take him home with her, she would care for him until he got sick, and would bring him back when he did. She has had him for 11 years, and he's never been sick a day in his life. She said she's tested him, and he still tests positive so he is one of the 40% that has a latent infection or has become a carrier.

She also said that about 3 years ago she found a little baby that had been dumped in a dumpster. She brought her home because she would have died in that dumpster. She knew that her tomcat has FeLV, so she had her tested and vaccinated. She's made sure to keep up on this baby's vaccinations, and she's never tested positive in the 3 years she's had her.

I felt that was a tidbit of good news for our decision and our efforts. I also felt that was a little bit worse, because older cats are supposed to have built up immunities to FeLV for the most part, and babies are much easier to expose. With Sugar being vaccinated, we thought the chances were pretty low. We realize that there is still a chance, but with all the research we've done, and the different vets, we heard the vaccine is about 80% effective. That 80% plus Sugar being 8 years old, puts her in the lower than 20% range. A's baby had a much higher percentage, being as young as she was and dumped off in a dumpster, but is still not infected and the older she gets, the less likely it will happen.

I needed the extra support, and thank you A for giving me that extra boost of hope.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Decision

Here is some stuff I’ve heard from a vet in Catoosa (who was the friendliest and most helpful person I’ve talked to thus far), and different websites:

First Said:

“About 30% of cats who are infected with the virus develop immunity to the disease and never become ill. About 40% will have a latent infection or become carriers. Latent feline leukemia is suppressed in the bone marrow or central nervous system and can come out if the immune system is stressed. These cats are not contagious but can pass the virus to kittens if they become pregnant. Carriers do not become ill, but have the virus in their bloodstreams and are contagious. About 30% of cats infected with feline leukemia are persistently ill, and about half of these cats die within the first 2 years.”

Second Said:

What can happen if a cat is infected with the FeLV?

"When we are exposed to a virus, such as a flu virus, there are two possible outcomes. Either our immune system responds to the challenge and protects us, or it is unable to respond successfully and we develop the flu. A number of factors determine which outcome occurs and whether or not we will get sick:
A. The amount of the virus (Did someone sneeze directly in your face?).

B. The strain of the virus (Some strains are more potent than others).
C. The status of our immune system (are immune suppressing drugs being taken?).
D. Age (the very young and very old are more likely to become infected).
E. The presence of other infections, which might cause debilitation.
The behavior of the feline leukemia virus in the cat’s body is not so black or white. Instead of the two possible outcomes described above (i.e., we get sick or we get well), there are four possible outcomes for cats with FeLV. Understanding these allows one to more fully comprehend some of the unusual situations, which may arise in cats.

OUTCOME 1: IMMUNITY - The cat mounts an immune response, eliminating the infection.
This is the most desired outcome because it means that the cat will not become persistently infected with the virus. During this period of virus challenge, the cat may actually develop a mild form of illness. Fever, poor appetite, lethargy, and swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck may develop and last for 3 to 10 days. Outcome 1 occurs about 40% of the time after FeLV challenges a cat. Immunity to the virus is more likely to develop in the adult cat than in the kitten.

OUTCOME 2: INFECTION - The cat's immune system is overwhelmed by the virus.
This is the least desired outcome because the cat becomes permanently infected with the virus. Although the cat may be sick for a few days initially (as described above), it usually recovers and appears normal for weeks, months, or years. Ultimately, most of these cats die of FeLV-related disease, but as many as 50% will still be healthy after 2-3 years and 15% after 4 years. Vaccination of these cats will not cause any problems, but doesn't help the cat, either. Outcome 2 occurs an estimated 30% of the time after a cat is challenged by the FeLV.

OUTCOME 3: LATENCY - The cat harbors the virus but we cannot easily detect it.
Unlike other viruses, the FeLV does not directly kill the cat's cells or make them become cancerous. Instead, it inserts a copy of its own genetic material (called DNA) into the cat's cells; these cells may later be transformed into cancer cells or cells which will no longer function normally. In Outcome 3, the genetic change in the cat's cells will remain undetected for an average of 2 ½ years, during which time the cat will appear completely normal.In the early stages of infection, the blood ELISA and IFA tests will remain consistently negative. The PCR test, a recently available diagnostic tool, will detect the latent infection. However, this test is somewhat expensive and not widely available so it is not used for routine testing.

OUTCOME 4: IMMUNE CARRIER - The cat becomes an immune carrier.
The FeLV becomes hidden in some of the cat's epithelial cells. Although the FeLV is multiplying, it is not able to get out of these cells because the cat is producing antibodies against the virus. The cat will appear normal in every way. This situation is uncommon and probably occurs only 1-2% of the time."

Third Said:

“Blood tests are available for screening for FeLV. The most commonly used test is the ELISA test, which looks for viral antigen (protein) in the blood. This is available as an in-house kit. It is imperative to follow the instructions for whatever test is used exactly, as the consequences of both a false positive and a false negative test are potentially severe. Staff members performing the test should be trained and periodically evaluated. The blood test may also falsely identify recently infected cats as negative. To be absolutely certain, cats must be tested 1-3 months after their last known exposure. Acutely infected kittens may have several years of good quality life before developing signs of disease, and some individual cats may live much longer.”

**(I don’t know what test was used to test her, but this seems to be the most commonly used one. I’ll ask tomorrow when I see one of the ladies that run OFR.)**

And I could go on and on…there is so much online to give me hope, even if it’s only a 25-30% chance that she could fight this off completely and never suffer from it at all. According to that one site, it’s only a 30% chance she could be persistently ill and die within the first 2 years. That is just too much of a margin of her possibly being okay, for even several years from now, that I just can’t justify putting her down at this time. Now, if that changes, and she stops eating and starts acting real sick, then we will do what is necessary for her. We will keep her, until we know for sure. We will have her tested again in 3 months, and hope to all that is holy that she will test negative.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bad News

I just got the second worst news of my life..

The first was that Ginger was dying, and then had died, of heart failure.
The second was that Bella tested positive for Feline Lukemia.

We adopted Bella through Owasso Feline Rescue, and they swore that they test before they adopt out. Well..Bella got sick, towards the end of August, and our vet said she was fairly certain it was FeLu. The OFR gave us the run around for several days, until my mom just made an appointment without them, and she tested positive.

What does that mean..? Well, it means that my vet is saying to keep Sugar and Bella separated and put Bella down. She is only 19 weeks am I supposed to do that? I am at a loss...I love her so much, and clung onto her even more because of Ginger's quick passing..

I just don't know what to do..