Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Please indulge me in a personal plea.


Sponsor Surgery for a Little Boy's Cat
Luna with her boy

Official fundraiser description

Luna Twilight Miyu, the 4-year-old kitty companion of a 6.5-year-old boy, needs surgery. She has gone through months of medications, treatments, and misdiagnosis, and a surgery. Because of this, her owners have depleted their financial resources.

Luna needs more extensive surgery to remove a large polyp that is deforming her palette and blocking her airway. The estimated cost for soft palette surgery is $3,000. She will not survive without this surgery.

And now the personal story

After my son lost his first cat to a terminal illness (Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP), I put out feelers for a long-haired Maine Coon Mix type of cat. My son randomly started talking about adopting a black and white cat.

A week later, I received an email about a cat that had shown up on the doorstep of a rescuer. The cat was about two years old and had obviously been living on the streets; she had no microchip and no one claimed her. Her description: black and white Maine Coon Mix. It seemed meant to be.

Luna before she got sick.
We brought our new cat home in August 2014. Our family jointly named her Luna Twilight Miyu, meaning “beautiful, soft moon.” The seven-pound cat proceeded to turn the house upside down with her mischievous energy. We laughed at her antics. My son enjoyed playing and cuddling with his new friend.
Two years later, Luna developed a runny nose and her appetite was poor. I took her to the vet, not knowing that this was the first of many visits. Her vet diagnosed a respiratory infection. Over the coming months, Luna endured numerous medications (antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, etc.), follow-up visits, x-rays, blood tests, a stay at the vet hospital for intravenous fluids, vitamins, and medications, and more. None of the medical interventions worked.
Luna resting with her pink teddy bear.
When Luna’s nose became so stuffy that she couldn’t smell, she stopped eating on her own. I started syringe feeding her. Four months later, I am still syringe-feeding her. We run a humidifier 24/7 and she gets daily nebulizer treatments. We also give her subcutaneous fluids.
In late January 2017, we took her to a new veterinarian at Central Texas Animal Hospital. The vet examined her and listened to her noisy breathing. Minutes later, she had a new suspect – nasopharyngeal polyp. We were referred to Heart of Texas Veterinary Specialty Center.
On January 31, 2017, Luna was sedated to allow for a thorough exam and surgical removal of the polyp. The veterinary doctor worked for two hours, but she couldn’t remove the entire polyp.
Luna came home the next day. She is healing and regaining her energy, but she still requires intensive nursing, including syringe feeding. Her soft pallet is distended and she will not survive without a more extensive surgery.
Luna Twilight Miyu is a little cat with a big personality and will to live. She is a survivor who has fought back from all of her challenges. Now she needs soft palette surgery to remove the polyp so she can breathe and thrive.
We finally have the correct diagnoses; however, we have exhausted our financial resources over the months of medical interventions. Please help us save our little boy’s cat.


Luna after her first surgery.
You can visit the donation page on GiveForward.com, or use the widget on the top, right of my blog. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My newsletter: catching up on issues from July 2013, April 2013 and January 2013

Some of you may have followed my newsletter by subscribing, but here is a quick run-down of the issues I have published since my unintentional disappearance from the blogging world. More later on how my temporary absence lead to nearly 10 months of silence.

Click here to read the July 2013 issue of The Laboratorian.
  • Lab Tour: Specimen Acquisition
  • Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Newborn Screening
  • Laboratory Response Network: Texas Style



Click here to read the April 2013 issue of The Laboratorian.
  • Lab Tour: Consumer Microbiology
  • Newborn Screening 50th Anniversary Celebrations
  • The Question of Mutual Tuberculosis Transmission


Click here to read the January 2013 issue of The Laboratorian.
  • DSHS Laboratory Celebrates New Life-Saving Test for Newborns
  • Laboratory Aids in Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
  • Celebrating Immunizations

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Newsletter: West Nile Virus, Gen Probe testing, and new building name

Click here to read the October 2012 issue of The Laboratorian.

"Laboratory Testing Key in West Nile Virus Surveillance" was one of the most difficult articles that I have written for The Laboratorian — mostly because of the dearth of interview subjects. I don't really blame them. Being involved in outbreak response makes for long, intense days. Even though I felt like I was extracting material one tiny grain at a time,  information did gradually trickle in. A couple of people even agreed to be quoted. They were duly interviewed on the phone, via email and in person. Their contributions made a significant improvement by allowing me to include more than "just facts," for which I am extremely grateful. Writing about West Nile turned out to be a great learning experience, and the result is one of my favorite newsletter articles to date.

In comparison, the article titled "Laboratory Building Named for Former Legislator" came together quickly. My sources were willing and very helpful in providing information and verification via email.

The article on "Gen Probe Testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia" is the result of hard work by a member of my newsletter committee. Jan persevered in tackling a subject that often makes people squeamish. According to an old adage, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” As much as those of us who don’t like going to the doctor would like to argue, this is certainly not true in Public Health where diseases left undetected and untreated often lead to severe health problems.

Another member of my newsletter committee stepped out of his comfort zone to write the editorial on water testing. Andrew also willingly served as the photographer for many of the photos in this issue. I am extremely grateful for his help, which allowed me time to coordinate the numerous other details that go into a completed publication. Each issue brings its own behind-the-scenes challenges, and I couldn't do it without my dedicated group of volunteer committee members.

The layout of the publication is still lacking — due to limitations imposed by the work-in-progress that is our Web Content Management System — but the information is what really matters. I doubt that there are many out there scrutinizing it with my critical artistic eye.