She Freidman’s right on the mark, as usual. I am grateful she works so hard on behalf of families just like mine. Please take a look at her latest blog post.

Thoughts from FORCE

Recently a dear friend sent me a link to an article in the February 1996 issue of Nature Medicine. The article by journalist Adam Marcus covered a media event and panel of women’s rights advocates expressing concern about Myriad’s impending patenting of the BRCA1 gene. Panelists declared unregulated genetic testing to be the coming century’s foremost threat to individual liberty. Incredibly, 17 years after the publication of Adam Marcus’ article, the debate is still ongoing—the issue of gene patenting and the consequences of lacking regulation regarding gene patents are still present and as relevant as they were then.

Admittedly, I missed this article the first time around. In 1996, I was more likely to be reading the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association than a human medical journal. With a toddler, a budding veterinary career, and no significant family history of breast cancer, my focus was not on…

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Goofing Off

For an entire year I have looked forward to spending a week in Maui. This trip was planned shortly before I learned that 2012 would be spent having multiple surgeries. I will take a bit of the aloha spirit with me on October 31 when I have my next procedure.

Jim and yours truly at Mama’s Fish House in Maui.

Well, Rat Turds.

I put off vet visits for all 3 of my cats until this week. My two British Shorthairs are big, burly critters. Typical for the breed. Their oversize carrier is known as the Horse Trailer around here. After my last surgery it was too heavy for me to tote. Just routine vet stuff. Shots. Exams. The oldest cat goes every six months since he is an ancient geezer. No big deal to let this chore slip behind a month, but I could have taken the old guy sooner. He is roughly half the size of the other beasties, although he is the alpha cat and clearly in charge of us all.

I did not want to go see the vet. Why? Because I knew she would tell me our old cat is near the end of his life.

Count Catula as a youngster.

The breeder named him Adonis. Poor cat. The Greek god of beauty and desire was a bit much for the little old man who bought the wiry, talkative Burmese at a cat show in 1997. The old fellow was my father-in-law, Chuck. Adonis promptly became Donny. Or as some of the elderly ladies who lived in his retirement home called him: THAT DONNY. Chuck was fond of letting Donny escape and then making a show of chasing him up and down the building’s long hallways.

Donny was the apple of Chuck’s eye and they were inseperable until Chuck passed away last Christmas. By that time Donny had already lived with my husband and me for a year. Even as his body and mind failed, Chuck still believed Donny was with him in the hospital bed he was unable to leave. “Watch the cat,” he would caution his caregivers in as stern a voice as he could muster. They always did.

How did Donny become Count Catula? See the evidence below. Not only does he have enormous long fangs, he bears a strange resemblance to the great Bela Lugosi. Once removed from Chuck’s tiny overheated apartment, Donny became more active and playful, enjoyed being the boss of our two larger, younger cats and learned some new tricks. Like not getting on the counters and tables. Not scratching the carpet. Not shooting out the door.

Donny becomes Count Catula.

Now at age 15, Count Catula is a senior citizen with a bit of arthritis, some neurological issues and a penchant for barfing. Nothing new there. What is new is an obvious decline in his weight, a lack of grooming, increase in appetite and more weakness in the caboose.

Tomorrow the vet will tell us the results of $227 in tests to determine which crappy disease he has. Might even be two or three. The results almost do not matter. Count Catula will be scarfing up treats in kitty heaven soon.

Right now I’m just sad and angry that we have to deal with yet another loss in what has been a difficult year. I’m pretty resilient, but not today. Good thing there is plenty of chocolate in the house. I need it.

Count Catula figured out how to open the only door in the house that is always kept shut. The wine cellar!