I came into this world in the usual way right before Christmas 2003.
Then I found my family--or they found me. They loved me at at first sight. What is not to desire? I’m a blonde. I threw my long locks everywhere, and they still loved me.
I finished rearing two amazing girls; I saw them go to college and then come back home briefly. and lived through two weddings. And the big move to Houston. And in the last year, a precious grandchild to love and rear. Life is a big cycle.
I got my Mom and Dad to finally retire. Mom was a school administrator. Dad is an engineer; still gets called for consulting when no one else can handle the problems. My Dad is so smart and wonderful. Dad loves woodworking.
Then Friday night April 17, 2015, I was having trouble breathing, pressure on my diaphragm. I started bleeding internally and collapsed. Luckily the bleeding stopped.
My spleen had a large tumor. I thought OK simple take out the spleen. But there was a complication. The tumor was in an unusual location. It had grown on the head (top) of the spleen & attached to my back bone, aorta, and diaphragm. Darn tumor !
I was very weak and stayed in intensive care until Dr. John Maurterer of Baton Rouge Specialities removed my huge spleen and took biopsies of my liver. I loved everyone that pulled me through and cared for me, but oh boy ! I was glad to get back home.
Almost immediately I was transferred to oncologist, Dr. Liz Kergiosen of Med Vet in Mandeville. She was so nice and very positive about my high grade splenic-stromal Sarcoma--really a fibrosarcoma. One of the meanest tumors that there is. Several options were given to my family, and they chose the best for me. A plan of chemotherapy after surgery. It was adriamycin IV. That stuff was strong and I really didn’t want to eat. My family helped with nausea medication. I got more IV adriamycin doses every three weeks. Then another chemo drug a pill, cyclophosphamide, was added. Dad tried to fool me but I knew it wasn’t a treat. I got really weak; My CBC on June 17, 2015, showed that I was anemic. So I had to stop the cyclophosphamide, but I got to eat cooked liver. At first it was a treat, but everyday? Come on.. But I started to make red blood cells again just had to get stuck for a CBC every 10 days. So I had to go back on the cyclophosphamide and I continued IV adriamycin for a total of 7 treatments.
September 2, 2015, I thought I was really doing well. My abdomen and chest were clear for mets. But Dr. Liz started a new chemo cocktail, IV carboplatin. That stuff bottomed out my WBC. So although I received it every 4 weeks, a smaller dose was given. All the time, I’m really doing what I can to keep the family positive. My cutest butt wiggle was very effective.
November 16, 2015, I was back for my usual re-evaluation. Oh Oh, a small nodule near my left kidney was found on ultrasound. My chest was clear; so I was happy, but Dr. Liz was cautious. Dr. Liz knows more about ugly cancer than I do. IV Carboplatin treatment continued December and January. February, Dr. Liz stated that my tumor was re-occurring and began monthly palladia treatments.
So, I’m still here. I’m mildly anemic; my appetite seeks out the finer foods in life. I keep my Dad guessing as to what I want to eat. I’m not losing weight, so he is doing a good job. I get to go on family trips to Texas now; no boarding for me. I can see the wear on the family, so I don’t have as many demands for play and walks.
Here is my life with Cancer 460 days later. Cancer has not changed my love and devotion to my family. Cancer cannot change the memories of the great times with my family.
Ginger passed away June 21, 2016 surrounded by her loved ones.
Closing time had come and gone, the hospital was cleaned, and the patients tucked into their kennels. Dr. Beier, Victoria, and Jessica were about to take their tired bodies home. The emergency bell rang, and groan, we knew somebody’s pet was in trouble.
At the door was a young girl, ultra pale, ultra thin, about sixteen years old accompanied by an older man who did not move or say a word. The young girl was clutching a shoe box with a laid out and “way too still” cold kitten about six or seven weeks old. The kitten was literally covered with blood sucking fleas stuck in his skin. We had to really look to make certain the kitten was even alive. Everyone went into exam room one for a better look.
The girl’s pupils were pin point and her gait was unsteady. She began to explain that the kitten’s mother was a “bad mother cat” and would not nurse the kitten. Dr. Beier asked about the other kittens in the litter. The girl replied that this kitten was jumping around and playing with the other kittens just this morning. Doubting the accuracy of the information, Dr. Beier questioned if the kittens were nursing or eating solid food. The girl in protest got up from the chair and almost fell face forward. Doctor Beier grabbed her by the shoulders seating her in the chair and told her to stay. Again Dr. Beier questioned the girl; she blurted out that all the kittens were dead as if she didn’t realize that she had just pronounced all kittens well and jumping around in the morning. She stated that the mother (queen) was fine and this kitten needed to be saved. Taking control of the dialogue, Dr. Beier stated that the problem with this kitten was not a bad mother! Showing the palour of the oral cavity, nose, and foot pads to everyone, Dr. Beier stated that this kitten did not have enough blood left in his body to be alive. The flea infestation was severe enough that fleas had sucked all of the blood out of the kitten’s body. The queen also had to be covered in fleas. But the girl protested that all the cats lived inside with her and fleas had not been noticed or treated.
Dr. Beier explained that the kitten needed an immediate blood transfusion and then flea removal. Due to the moribund condition, she explained to the girl that the transfusion might not be effective, there might be permanent damage to organs, and flea removal with a flea product was high risk to life. The girl agreed, signed consent for treatment, left a modest deposit and both people were escorted to the door sending flea medication home for the queen.
Then the scramble began. Victoria and Jessica knew their responsibilities and quickly got the transfusion equipment together. The kitten was placed on a heating mat; fleas were running up Dr. Beier’s hands as she handled the kitten. Jessica sealed the infested shoe box in plastic. Victoria set up a warming chamber. Ethel Anne was selected as blood donor; everything was OK until Ethel Anne realized what was happening; she flagrantly declined to give blood by jumping off the table and climbing to the top of the kennels. Dorie was the back up plan. Dorie was cool with the procedure. She got her neck clipped, cleaned, and a large needle placed in her jugular to collect blood. Dr. Beier calculated that this frail kitten could probably take about eighteen to twenty cc’s of Dorie blood.
Now the blood was collected; Dorie was given special treats and put back in her kennel. Time to transfuse. Small mosquito catheters failed time after time as evidenced by lack of red blood flash back to find a vein in the kitten. There was some unfamiliar white material accumulating in the catheter needle. The right and left cephalic (front legs) and saphenous veins (back legs) were not accessed. The tiny catheter could not even seat in the two jugular (neck) veins. It looked hopeless as the fleas continued to jump off the kitten to Dr. Beier’s hands.
Dr. Beier stated that the last chance was to put the blood directly into the heart’s left ventricle. It was risky, but the kitten was dying, and there was nothing to lose. She warned Victoria and Jessica that if this heart stick failed, it would be hard to watch.
By a miracle, Dr. Beier accessed the beating left ventricle. The little kitten was so out of it that he never moved during the heart needle stick and the slow addition of blood to his body. In amazement, Victoria and Jessica noted that the pink color from the blood was slowing filling the kitten. Starting with his foot pads and ending with his tongue, the kitten became rosey pink. It was like he filled with blood --like putting gas in a gas can.
Kitten was still unconscious; now to eliminate the blood suckers. Cotton balls were saturated with Adam’s flea mist that was streaked on the body to stop the fleas. A 0.1ml drop of feline Advantage was applied to the skin of the neck. The kitten was wrapped in a towel and then in the cocoon-like heating unit. And that is the way that he stayed for the next four hours. In that time, perspective gave insight that the unfamiliar white material in the catheter was actually white blood cells from the veins. There was no flashback because there was just not any red blood cells in the kitten’s veins. He really should have been dead.
Later that night, the kitten began to stir and we thought, he might make it. Canned kitten food and water was left with the kitten. A really tired and good team went home.
Well, this kitten was a fighter with strong survival instincts. In the morning, he had eaten all the food and was climbing on the bars of the kennel. We were amazed that the only residual effect was a slight left head tilt. The kitten was abundantly grateful and friendly. He never looked back or missed a meal from that day.
Dorie was praised on facebook, and Ethel Anne was shamed. Ethel Anne stated that transfusions was not in her “job description” , and she was never going to let this bother her.
On the next day, it was time for kitten to go home. But the young girl was offering reasons why she couldn’t pick up the kitten. This went on day after day for two weeks. The very day that Dr. Beier sent a registered letter to pick up the kitten, the young girl called and stated that she could not take care of the kitten. She revealed that she had two young boys and needed to take care of them. That revelation shocked Dr. Beier, who had become a kitten admirer. Dr. Beier assured that young girl, if she would come into the office to sign ownership of the kitten, a good home could be found.
The young girl complied. The next day, her phone was disconnected; we have never heard from her since.
So that is how Dr. Beier became Vie’s (french for life) new owner.