Look into my eyes.

Look into my eyes.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last few days of the raffle

I have been collect envelopes and tickets all day.  I am still missing some people's money and tickets but so far we have raised more than $2000.  Tickets are still available if you want to buy some.  THANK YOU!!!!!!

I have a great group of supporters.

Today is a big day for the little guy.  We have legislative brunch in St. Louis and then the planning meeting with some fabulous people.  Cosmo will be loved on all day.  He thrives on the attention.  It will be a good day for him.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Outside World

Last night Cosmo went to visit the neighbor.  I put him down on the ground and rolled around on the ground like a very happy kitty.  He walked (hopped) around for a little bit and then went inside.  He was walking around the house and acted like his typical nosey little guy.  It was good to see him acting like himself.

Yesterday one of my cousins donated $100.  I was overwhelmed.  Thank you Connie for your help.  My parents donated the money they received from an insurance claim so there is another $300.  This money will be used for the pasta dinner on March 27th.  I am waiting to receive the ticket envelopes from the TV Raffle.  All of that money will be processed through SDWR. 

Saturday a great group of people will be meeting to plan the Pasta Dinner.  I will be posting contact information of the group if you want to help with the planning or getting donations, or helping out that night.

Thank you for all of your support and sharing my story.  My dad told me that you never know who will see this blog or Facebook page and what could happen.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A week of healing

This past week has been so very long.  Cosmo is home and resting comfortably and is very loving.  He is still confined to my room but he doesn't appear to mind.  Just as a human he is spending most days and nights sleeping and healing.  He is moving around better each day (bunny hop) and is able to get up and down off the bed.

This is the last week of the TV raffle.  It will be interesting to see how many tickets have been sold.  Cosmo has some very special people trying to help us.  Words can not express how thankful I am to have these people in my life.

Next Saturday is  the first planning meeting for the Pasta Dinner.  It will also be Cosmo's first outing.  More people have been dropping off items for baskets and door prizes.  So many special people are helping. If you want to help at dinner please let me know.  Or if you are willing to talk to business for donations that would really help.  Any and all help will be great.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Surrounded by Strong People

I have believed that if you know something is the right thing to do then... do it and ask for forgiveness later. 

A smart woman did just that!  Cosmo and I have people who are going up to bat for us and asking some hard questions to people.  This person is asking my NEA family to help me.  It will be interesting to see what the response will be.  She is someone who has supported Cosmo and myself for many years within NEA.  Thank You.

Cosmo's pain seems to be under control.  Next Thursday he will have stitches removed and another blood test to how the anemia is going.

Yesterday was Better

Cosmo was experiencing pain and stopped eating and hid under the bed on Tuesday during the day and night.  I took him to the vet on Wed. and they drew blood and put him back on pain meds.  Within 30 mins I had my old cat back.  The team at the vet noticed a big difference in his attitude because he was trying to attack them.  This morning after he got his meds he cuddled in bed for a few hours.  We will see how long he has to be on pain meds. 

Thanks for all the encouraging words.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Not Feeling Well?

I think that Cosmo is not feeling well, he has been under the bed all night.  Tuesday was the first day with no pain meds.  I will be calling the vet Wednesday morning and if needed taking him for an appointment.  I will not have him suffer. 

Why can't he just tell me what is going on?????

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This is the proto type for the pasta dinner. Tell me what you think

I woke up to a furry friend in my bed

Sometime around 3 AM I woke up to Cosmo staring at me.  I happened to be sleeping in my bed at the time.  He settled right down and fell asleep in his usual place.  He gets to stay home today and be safe at home.  I will shut the bedroom door since he keeps going over to the baby gate.  My little guy figured out how to jump up and get off the bed safely.

Monday, January 19, 2015

He Tried to Jump Up to the Bed

I saw a cute face at the end of the bed.  Cosmo tried to jump up but couldn't.  I picked him up and put him on the stairs and he walked up to the bed!!!!!!!!!  He looked around and then jumped up and landed on the pillow.  I have my buddy trying to get close. 

The swelling is down and you can see how much muscle he lost.  But in less than a week he has figured out how to walk, go to the bathroom, go up 3 steps, and jump off a bed.  How do animals adapt so much faster than humans?

Cosmo has to be caged while I'm at work.  I think I will take him to school with me.  The kennel fits behind my desk and I can cover the kennel.  There will be no student contact or staff.  Wednesday he will have to be kenneled at home. I have SNAP and one of my students is allergic to cats.  It will be a long day for him but it's best for him.  The other days he can come back to school with me.

My little friend meowed to get more soft food.  He is making his wants and needs known. He was even walking and rubbing up on my legs.  He is feeling better every day.

Dr. Visit and Some Myths

Today the drain tube came out of Cosmo.  I didn't know how long it was,  about 6".  I couldn't blame him for crying just a little.  He was so good today.  He has to be crated at home or at school for another week.  I would much rather him be with me but we shall see.  I also went out and purchased pet stairs for him.  He has to learn steps sooner than later and he looks up at me while I'm in bed but he can't come up.  Independence is the name of the game for my little man.  He is walking very well.   

Here are a few myths:
Myth-Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth-Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease

Myth-People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in saturated and trans fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. Diabetic and "dietetic" foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols

Myth-People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

He purred!

Many of you know that Cosmo is not a talker.  Except at the Vet's office.  Tonight as I was cuddling on the floor with him he started to purr.  I was rather loud and comforting for me. 

He is doing the bunny hop so much better.  He takes a loop around the bedroom and will go under the bed to complete the loop.  He is amazing me.

I woke up dreaming about dogs in my bed hogging all the blankets and pillows.  I look forward to the day that a lab is in my bed and Cosmo is making sure there is room for him also. 

Thank you for sharing our story.

Of course he's up

Cosmo is awake and walking around the room.  He has eaten an entire can of food and is as loving as ever.  He is walking so much better.  He is figuring it out and amazes me.  I had to exchange the heater for one that produced a higher temperature.  He has always loved sitting in front of the heater so this is nothing new for him. 

I am amazed at how he is adapting.  I never thought I would end up with a 3 legged cat.  I know that some people are not happy with my decsion but how could I not save him when he has saved my life numerous times. I also know that some people do not understand why I am so attached to Cosmo.  What people need to know that when you have a companion who allows you to live a life of freedom you will do anything for them. 

I give thanks for the medical staff who has looked over Cosmo these last few months.  Dr. Williams has gone above the call of duty.  He has been so patient with me and is so understanding about my situation.  I have to call him later today and check in.  Cosmo and I will go back on Monday to get the drain removed.  I know that the staff will see the scared side of Cosmo and not the little guy who is sitting in my lap right now. 

Oh, and by the way I woke up an 15 mins ago to cries from Cosmo and my sugar level was at 415.  I am going to get dressed and take a walk.  Thank goodness it is warmer.  I am sorry that Cosmo will not be able to walk with me.  But he will snuggle down and take a nap. 

Love my baby.

Friday, January 16, 2015

We are Home!

I am home with my best buddy.  I was told that Cosmo was not a good kitty today and that the staff thought he would bite.  I don't think they believe me that he is not at all like he was with them.  When I explained to them about how the kid will pull at him and love crunch him they couldn't believe it.  So I will be inviting them to the party in March so that they can see how mellow he is no matter what is going on around him.  He is sleeping in a new bed in front of the heater and he ate 1/2 a small can of food.  My little guy is glad to be home.

More later......

Reunited the First Time

When I first saw the little guy yesterday he was standing sideways so I didn't his right side.  Then I got a full view of him.  I was more impressed that he was up walking around the exam room. Dr. Williams came in we discussed his progress. 

Seeing Cosmo shaved allowed full view. If you have never experienced a shave cat it is not a pretty sight.  The line of stitches went all the back to his penis.  Dr. Williams informed that currently his penis is pointed sideways but Cosmo is swollen and once that goes down it should shift back down. 

Cosmo came only close enough to me for me to scratch his head but then turned and walked over to Jerry and arched Cosmo arched his back to let the doctor scratch his head for a much longer time.  Since Cosmo was not happy in his cage they put a cover over his door and then he settled down.  Which is normal for him.  He does not like to sleep in light but will seek out the darkest place to go fully into a deep sleep.

I will pick him up tonight after school and bring him home.  I do have to pick up the recycled paper kind of litter for him.  He is able to get in and out of a dishpan (the vet's little pan),  So he is able to go over about a 5 inch side.  This is great! 

Again I am thankful for all of the support by Cosmo's friends and mine.  As we spend this first weekend together I will keep you up to date.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

First Night Alone in 6 years

Wow!  I never realized how much I depended upon Cosmo to alert.  Even now with his poor accuracy at least he would let me know if I was over 300.  Stress does not allow your body to process insulin or sugar very well.  I had to monitor all night.  I ended up taking a walk around 2 this morning trying to get my level down.  It was peaceful and quiet.  The train came by and you could it see in between the houses.  I am glad that Dr. Jerry Williams has Cosmo heavily sedated and on a warming blanket.  His life has changed forever.  I still question my decidsion on the surgery.  He is turning 9 in a few months and has a long life ahead.

I have heard through the grapevine at work many sad comments about my situation.  I am amazed that some people do not understand how important a service animal can be for someone.  I have tried to post information about how others people have been able to live more independent lives with their DAD but some people just don't get it. 

I was told yesterday that I have to stop talking about the fund raising activities at school.  I'm allowed to post things on a part of the email system called Shop n Swap but not on my schools email.  I know that many people have lots of things happening in their lives but it amazes me that my little activity is not being allowed.  So I will continue to post on Facebook but I need your help.

Please repost everything from this blog.  I have to use social media to help raise the needed money. I know that if you share my story and ask your friends to share the story it will help me out.  Please encourage people to hit share.  I know that $25,000 is a lot a money but even a $5 donation can make a difference. 

At this time I am feeling more unsafe then ever in my own home. I have been offered to stay with people but how can I live my life like that.  Please understand the Power a Dad can offer a person.  Having a DAD in my life will help to lower my A1C.  The continuos glucose montioring system is not working for me.  I am constantly getting false readings.  A DAD will alert at the slightest change and will allow me to not become as frustrated as I feel now. 

The other part of the equation is the cost associated with the using a continuous glucouse system.  One sensor site costs me $90.  The site should last for 6 days.  In the mean time my skin becomes raw where the site is attached and I am using 6-9 testing strips each day.  For me a site only lasts about 4 days. The insurance says it should 6 days and so I can not have the quanity I need for the entire 3 months.  So I become frustrated and run out of supplies.  Please know I am thankful for the insurance coverage that I have right now.  But I get sick and tired being tied to a machine. 

Today at work will seem like forever until the end of the day.  I will be the first one out of the parking lot heading to see Cosmo.  Tonight will be spent modifying my bedroom for him.  Last time he spent most of the time under the bed.  So there will be several blankets and pillows under the bed and a space heater going full blast.  I will be making a custom litter box for him.  My bed will ultimately have to be lowered so that he can make the jump up but I can't do that until he stops sleeping on the floor.

I have never rambled on like this before but I had to vent.  Sorry if this bothers you but please put up with me.

Thank you to my dear friends for listening.

A special thank you to the family who is putting so much time and money into helping Cosmo.  You know that there is always a special place in my heart for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surgery Update

Cosmo woke up around 12:30 this afternoon.  The vet will not let me see him.  He is under heavy sedation.  I explained to them I just wanted to see him and nothing else but they said no.  I asked about Thursday morning and they said no.  I will go after work Thursday to see him.  (I may sneak out early)  I am sure he looks like the video I just looked up (the cat looked like it was dead). 

Separation from this guy has not happened in 6 years.  My stomach is a mess and I have a headache.  But I will get through this.  I have not posted pictures of Cosmo after his last surgery but many of you saw him.  I am not going to show pics until much later.  I'm sure he will be flying through the air to prove to everyone he is still a little stud muffin.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Thinking back to beginning

In the fall of 1999 I came down with a stomach virus.  I was off work for 2 weeks.  Afterwards I felt find until around January.  I was not attempting to loose weight but I was starting to loose weight.  I was also eating very differently due to my body cravings.  I would eat dinner and fall asleep watching TV and wake up at 1 or 2 in the morning not understanding why slept through the phone ringing or the doorbell ringing. 

During the winter months I had a medical procedure done and had many blood tests but nothing showed up as a problem.  I continued to loose weight without trying until the spring.  I had been using the scale in the nurse's office at school during this time until one Friday morning.  I weighed myself and calculated that I had lost more than 70 pounds.  The two nurses in the room were congratulating me on the weight loss until I told them I was not trying to loose weight.  They both became concerned and told me I had made an appointment with my doctor.  So on that Saturday I was told that I had Diabetes and immediately admitted to the hospital.

After changing doctors I found one that explained that I was not a Type 2 diabetic but that I was
Type 1.  My life of insulin injections started.  Life changed but I was happy to be alive.

Now jump to 2006.  I adopted a kitten and started training for him to become an assisted touch therapy animal.  This meant that he went with me everywhere.  We adopted a nursing home in Valley Park.  Every week would visit with people and Cosmo was always willing to sit and listen or act silly and play.  Cosmo learned where the residents rooms were at and he would decide the order in which friends were seen. 

When Cosmo was one and half years old I figured out he was alerting to my blood sugar levels.  He was very accurate.  I started taking him with me everywhere.  He would come to school on my "sick" days as the "classroom" pet.  But this meant I could work and not have to take time off from teaching.  This also meant that I could leave my home and not have to worry as much about being found unconscious in a store, parking lot, or in my home.  

Take another jump to 2014.  In October I felt a lump on Cosmo.  After a surgery was performed and a biopsy completed it was determined that he had Feline Vaccine Associated Sarcoma.  The vaccines he was given during the summer had created the cancer.  1% of all cats vaccinated get this type of cancer.  This type of cancer does not respond well to typical cancer treatments so now he is going to have his leg amputated.  This is not a decision that I want to make but Cosmo has saved my life so many times how can I not save his.   As you can imagine when Cosmo and I are out in public we are looked upon as an oddity.  Now that he will only have 3 legs I am not able to put him and I through even more embarrassing times.

Over the last 4 months Cosmo has not been able to alert as accurately.  I am not sure why but I can't imagine that things will get any better.  So I am on a new path to attain a DAD, diabetic alert dog.  This adventure is making me open up and tell people about my medical condition and also to ask for help.  My friends will tell you I am very independent and rarely ask for help.  But I am in need of help.  The choice to get a DAD is not one that I wanted to make but one that I had to make.  So now I am in need of more help then I ever thought I would need.    The choice of organization was very difficult.  The group Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is the company I have chosen.  I have to raise $25,000 in order to get a DAD.  After raising the money it will take a year to get a dog.  So until then I am daily danger.  The following is a little information about how Cosmo has helped me as well as how a DAD works.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tomorrow Will Change My Life Forever

Tonight is very special for Cosmo and I.  It is the last night that Cosmo will have 4 legs.  This has been a very hard decision even though I know it is the correct one.  I can not thank my friend and her family enough in their offer to pay for the surgery.  I know this surgery will save Cosmo's life but my best friend will never be the same.  He will be changed both physically as well as mentally.  I know he will always be Cosmo but he will just be different.

I am sitting here writing this and tears are streaming down my face.  I have just never had such a close connection with an animal like this one.  Cosmo has touched my life and so many others.  There are prayers coming from around the world for my furry friend.  I know he is strong and make it through the surgery but this MOM will be freaking out!

Thanks for all the prayers and I will keep you all posted.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Surgery is scheduled

The first week of being 50 is starting out with a bang!  I need prayers sent my way again.  Cosmo will be undergoing surgery on Wednesday.  They will be removing his right rear leg where the cancer is at.  He will have to be there for 2-3 days.  I am getting the house 3 legged proof this weekend and trying to figure out how to lower my bed and have a platform around it to help him get up.  The decision to remove his leg is not an easy one.  But he will live a long and happy life. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Feline Vaccine Sarcoma

This information is from the Humane Society of America.

Few people think twice abut having their cat vaccinated. The wide use of pet vaccinations in this country has made diseases such as distemper and rabies rare in U.S. cats.
But vaccinations come with their own set of risks. For cats, one of the most serious is fibrosarcoma, a type of cancer that appears at the injection site and spreads rapidly.
Fortunately, fibrosarcoma is uncommon, occurring once in approximately 10,000 vaccinations. But it's often fatal for any cat who develops it.

How fibrosarcoma develops after your cat is vaccinated

A lump may appear at the injection site after your cat receives a vaccination. This is a result of your cat's immune system reacting to the vaccine. The lump should disappear within a few days or a few weeks after the shot.
Sometimes the lump doesn't go away and a tumor appears. At first, small tumors can be successfully removed with surgery, but they tend to recur and become larger each time.
For decades, vaccinations were injected in the loose skin between a cat's shoulder blades. A tumor in this location would eventually become too large to take out because of the amount of skin and tissue that would have to be removed with it. By that time, the cancer had usually spread to the cat's other organs, and the prognosis was grim.

What causes fibrosarcoma?

It's not clear why these tumors form, but studies suggest that it's the adjuvant in the vaccine, not the virus itself. An adjuvant is a substance added to a killed-virus vaccine to enhance the immune system's reaction. In the case of cat vaccines, the adjuvant was aluminum salts, and aluminum has been found in excised tumors.
There are also studies indicating that the frequency of vaccination could contribute to the development of fibrosarcoma.

How the vaccine makers and veterinarians are working to protect your cat

As a result of all this research, there have been changes in the way vaccines are made and administered. Some manufacturers have stopped putting aluminum salts in vaccines, and veterinarians now give injections in cats' upper legs. If a sarcoma does occur, the entire leg can be amputated to prevent and limit the recurrence of the cancer.
Vaccination schedules have also changed. In the past, veterinarians prescribed annual vaccines. Now veterinarians may recommend that they be given every three years to cats at low risk. Researchers have found that vaccines often provide immunity far beyond one year, reducing the need for frequent revaccinations. Rabies vaccinations at certain intervals may be required by law.

How you can protect your cat from fibrosarcoma

  • Since outdoor cats are most at risk for being exposed to rabies, feline leukemia, and distemper, they must be vaccinated regularly. The simplest way to avoid revaccinating is to keep your cat inside, eliminating the need for certain shots.
  • When your cat needs to be revaccinated, ask your veterinarian about the type of vaccine used. Is it a killed or live virus vaccine, is it for one or three years, and does it contain the aluminum salt adjuvant?
  • Cats may be required by law to get rabies vaccinations, even if they're always kept indoors. Your veterinarian must follow the law. However, you can ask your veterinarian about doing a blood titer test to measure your cat's rabies antibodies. If the titer level is high enough, your veterinarian should be able to exempt your cat from being revaccinated at that time.
  • If your veterinarian insists on giving optional vaccines against your wishes, find another veterinarian.

Understanding Diabetes

Now that I am on this journey to get a DAD it has become very clear that people do not understand diabetes.  So I am going to attempt to explain my situation and how diabetes is controlling my life.

Here are some facts:

-In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.  For me this means using an insulin pump and testing my blood 5-6 times a day.  It means that my pump uses several different settings throughout the day and is different Monday-Friday and the weekends.

-All people have the “dawn phenomenon,” if they have diabetes or not.  The dawn phenomenon is a surge of hormones that the body produces daily around 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.  People with diabetes don't have normal insulin responses to adjust for this, and may see their fasting glucose go up. My pump is setup to keep my blood sugar at the appropriate level but my body has a mind of it's own. There have been many, many times that if it wasn’t for Cosmo I may not have woken up.

Here are a few myths:

-Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

-Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease

-People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
 Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in saturated and trans fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. Diabetic and "dietetic" foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols

-People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.

 I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning because Cosmo has been alerting all night.  I have been drinking juice trying to get my blood sugar up to 100, and I have had to turn off my insulin pump.  That means no sleep until I am stable.  My alarm is set to go off every 40 minutes to remind me to check my levels.  I know that later on in the morning my levels will be out of "whack" and the start of my day at school will be impacted.  

Please know I am not complaining.  I am so happy to be alive and thankful that Cosmo is here to help.  Cosmo has not been alerting accurately  since the cancer came into his body.  So to have him alert this morning was a miracle.