Monday, April 6, 2009
Der Keiker Blau
This is my cat. Her name is Shadow, but she mostly answers to "Kitty". She will talk to you and occasionally tell you an entire story and mostly she just wants to hang out, get her belly rubbed and sit in your lap. She's a snuggler. She is the best thing when you are home sick - she will just curl up next to you and purr. She's had some health problems, namely megacolon (for which she got a colectomy) and more recently diabetes mellitus (DM). When she was diagnosed with DM, I was a little shocked - I have always taken care of my animals - how could this happen? And then she became "unregulated", which basically means that I couldn't get her blood sugar to come down, no matter how hard I tried. We went through a battery of tests and finally she was diagnosed with something called acromegaly. It's basically a tumor in her brain (pituitary gland, to be specific) that causes her body to require large doses of insulin to regulate her blood sugar. I'm not going to lie to you, this will eventually kill her, we just don't know when. And treatments are experimental, at best, and much too expensive to afford on a grad student's salary. Instead, we've changed her diet (all wet food, she LOVES it) and have added some supplements to her daily food. She's actually doing well, and her blood sugar occasionally comes down, so I am hopeful we are on the right path. I found a message board on the internet which is a collection of all kinds of cat owners trying to regulate their cat's DM. It's been a fascinating few weeks, exchanging info over these boards and talking to other owners who have an "acrocat", as they like to call them. While on the board, one of the other owners contacted me, telling me she had some extra insulin, would I like it? Insulin is expensive, so of course I said YES!. She shipped me insulin overnight from WA - all on her nickel (I offered to send her a check and she politely declined). I've seen other owners with a newly diagnosed cat, panicked, putting up messages. Within a few minutes, there are responses, offers to help, offers of free equipment, etc. It's a whole other world. And while people have always teased me for having cats and being a crazy "cat lady", I try to take it as a complement. The people on the board are some of the most thoughtful and caring people I have come across in this world. If that's what being a cat lady means, then I'll take that as a complement. As for Kitty, I think we'll be all right. I know she will tell me when it's time for her to pass on into the great beyond. And for now, we'll just enjoy the time we have left.