Friday, July 8, 2011

High vs. Low Tech.

I have twice tried to pass out a few cards to friends that have a link to the donation site because of my experiments with high technology:

I admit it! I do not have clue how this thing works on smart phones and devices... but if YOU do, see if this works to bring you over to the donation page.
Still experimenting!

But..... both of my friends took the card and handed me cash toward my cat's repair. Who would have figured the fastest way to low tech cash was a phone app that nobody knows how to use!

Busy day running around so tomorrow will have a few more notes and stories. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hyper Thyroid.

Long time ago, I heard about this disorder when a former roommate had an old girl with the problem. She was a very grumpy bony little old lady.

I had to treat her with the TRANS DERMAL gel. Morning and evening... first you had to catch her.... then rub the TINIEST amount of Vaseline stuff in her ears. I really had no idea what it was.

Then when the Dude got it, I woke up.

I am going to ramble. I would really appreciate anyone who could do it more clearly, jumping in and giving me some corrections, but here goes:

The thyroid is sort of the gas pedal in the body. It tells all the other systems how fast or slow to run. If it is sending out too little hormone, you get fat, bad slow and bad hair.

If it is too much, everything makes you crazy. Much like me on coffee, hyperthyroid can give a cat upset tummy - it is always hungry, but it burns it up too fast too - intolerance to heat which is bad as I am cheap so I keep the house very warm in the summer. It ramps up the heart, the kidneys . . you name it, it can go hyper! Old cats get it a lot.

The gland that does the work gets whacked out and works too hard. Some of the cells get big and sloppy and take over the whole process. Much like the normal guys in social situations, the fat sloppy hyper cells go amok and the sane ones (notified that there is WAY TOO MUCH thyroid in the system by the pituitary gland) hide from sight, laying low, not wanting to be involved. But they are still there but seriously chilling.

Three ways to treat it are:
By meds. It basically negates all the hormones. My cat is really very easy compared to my old friend. He is not HAPPY but hardly protests and even reminds me to get up and NOT to go to bed too early without his treat (an that ugly thing I shove in his mouth too.) They have pills and plungers and rubs and it is all pretty effective really. The symptoms go way back, the weight goes up and they look real good on the outside. BUT they are not cured. The meds put a lot of wear and tear on these organs too.

Surgery. I guess now that they have micro stuff, it might be better, but a cat is a small body and it needs anesthesia and cutting open and recovery. All that and HOPING they got the right stuff. Lots of cats have other issues and it is always risky working on sick cats or even sick people. This is sort of a last resort and I have heard some sad tales.

RADIATION (spooky music please!)
My vet has recommended Radiocat which is a franchise. It has a procedure that is really amazingly simple with a nearly unbelievable success rate.

Remember back in the Japan earthquake they were giving everyone iodine? Thyroids and iodine have a very wonderful relationship. Our salt had iodine in it as a good thing. Keeping everything regular as it were. Apparently thyroids attract the stuff. The idea was to jam tons on NON radioactive iodine in and fill up the places the bad stuff would go - they are just that tight!

It also seems that the Radioactive stuff is a sizzling hot shot. Where it lands it fries. As with all radioactive stuff it moves fast and dies young. SO the idea is:
Shoot a specific amount of the isotope into the system to have it go home to the tissue that makes the thyroid hormone. As the good guys are quietly hibernating keeping out of the damage caused by the screwed up cells, by the time the I131 had burned the intruders out, the healthy tissue comes back to work in a clear clean environment. Both the iodine and the bad cells are gone. The pituitary notices the levels going back down and calls the normal cells get back to work. With a little settling in everything should be up and running fine in a month or so!

ALL (and I have looked real hard for bad stories) of the info I read on it is really good. The potential damage is so small, and the damage itself is much LESS nasty (hypothyroid... the fat cat?) and much more easy to manage.

Feel free to comment and correct. I have a lot of fun trying to make sense of complicated things so I may be having TOO much fun and not really understanding it.

The called me back and I missed the call, so we will probably NOT get a slot until August. Hopefully that make it PAID IN FULL . . . .

A Little Too Excited.

Short but sweet:

I got in touch with Radiocat, which will be its own post next.

They explained the whole procedure, how it works, what is so right about it and why it is the best idea! I talked to my vet and she will start her end as SOON as we have a schedule from the Radiocat. She is fine with waiting on her end.
Another baby picture. He still kisses me, and still runs like heck after!

The Dude is really doing well enough that he is fighting with me again. And purring SO LOUD it is like another cat. Getting his meds right is a big revelation. With a couple more weeks fattening him up before we have to take him off ALL of his meds for a week before he goes, I hope he doesn't crash, but I have this weird sense that I won't know him when he is healthy! (I wouldn't mind if he stayed aroung 14 pounds - 18 was just embarrassing!)

Thank EVERYONE for their donations, I am overwhelmed with the generosity!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What A Diagnosis Means.

When Dr. Delac got all of the tests back, she explained a lot of things, and basically told me that Hyperthyroidism is pretty common in old cats. Their metabolism gets boosted because their gland secretes too much. Apparently there are many causes from goofy thyroids to simple tumors to full blown cancer. She said her parents old cat had it and the radiation procedure was marvelous! It literally cured it. It was non-surgical so it did not stress them out physically in healing or potential infections. The older cat lived many more YEARS and was very happy. I was excited. Until I found out the cost. The number $1800 seems what I recall from the initial phone call to the Radiocat facility. JUST the facility. Not the added tests and scans BEFORE the procedure, nor aftercare.

No matter how good, how safe how easy, it was not possible to budget. As a self-employed artist, I am what they call paycheck to paycheck. Unless I have a stack of commissions (which has not happened since 2009) backed up, there is no budget, just paying the necessities.

But the doc was a good kid! She has supported my art career and we have been able to be sure he would be taking the twice daily medication for as long as he needs.

Until this spring. . . . .

He started really dumping pounds.
By the end of the cool months he was down to just 10 pounds. I would watch him and think of how life would be without him. It was like prepping for the inevitable. . . . . . I just couldn't. . . .
Who would I have to say almost nothing to at any time and spend 5 minutes coaxing a disinterested mew from? What would wake me up in the morning begging for the treats that came with the meds?

From My Cat - The Dude
This is a very seasick movie of a normal chat when I give him the treats he LIKES before and after the little syringe full of fluid that we have down to a piece of cake!

I had to take him back in when for two days in a row he chased his treats, and caught them, but spit them out. He stopped eating all together. FREAKED ME OUT!

Poor old guy tends to pant when upset and with the summer here, I did get a friend to drive so he didn't totally freak, but The Dude was not a happy camper. He was mad at me for a few WEEKS.

AMONG the options for blame, I feel that I was a bad mom because I had FORGOTTEN to shake the bottle thoroughly. (You know how. . . when the vet tells you all the stuff . . . and you nod, you don't actually hear?) I noticed this bottle had some particulates. I figured it was some coloring separating down and totally forgot hearing to shake it . . . so for a couple of months apparently, I had been dosing with less and less and the thyroid went wacky again.

I feel like a terrible mom.

Even since the blog started, he is improving a LOT. I don't feel his shoulder blades and when he sits on my tummy, I do get a tiny bit of air knocked out. Last month, I barely noticed him!

I have a call in today to recap and review and get more numbers so I can see if I am in a fools paradise. Apparently there MAY also be situations that he would need meds, even if the thyroid is fine. I am seriously feeling paranoid. Perhaps I am one of those people who has a hard time believing in good news. It seems impossible so I shouldn't get my hopes up.

My hopes are really high and today is just a plunk.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Old Family Movies...

I was looking through old movies and found these micro movies. Here is is coming to sniff out the cameras. I can't make them smaller! The little early web camera, like RIGHT at the turn of the millennium, was taking nice little movies that my CELL PHONE would be embarrassed about 5 years ago!

I LOVE little monkey sized cats. The itsy bitsy ones are just a little too cute for me. Teenaged cats just tickle my fancy. Long and lanky, although still somewhat micro, here he is discovering his tail JUST as the long legs start up.