Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Little Panic For A Moment but We're Ready

This afternoon I was tying up alot of loose ends and taking more pictures of Carmella when I decided it might be educational to show on my blog what NDV looks like, so I opened my refrigerator and held it up to the light and took a picture of that and another of the dillutant that goes with it.

Everything was going smoothly when I got down to cropping and editing my pictures and when I came to that one as I cropped it and showed it to "fit on screen" I saw the magnified tiny lettering below the title and it said B1, not LaSota strain. I freaked out because this was why the procedure was rescheduled the first time, thinking that would not work, but this time it was too late.

I rushed around writing e-mails to Dr. Sears and Dr. Norwood in a panic asking if they knew whether this strain would do the same job or whether it would hurt her if it was not LaSota strain. Being around 6:30 pm Dr. Norwood was already gone and I figured I may or may not hear from Dr. Sears in time unless he checks his e-mail in the evening. I waited until around 9:00 pm and kept checking and since tomorrow when I got up would probably really be the crack of dawn for him I figured I better call him.

He answered the phone and I told him the predicament. Luckily he said it would still work and that as long as it did not have other viruses mixed with it there would be no risk of a reaction. I took a magnifyer and looked at the little bottle very carefully. There were no other names on it, so we should be OK.

Dr. Sears told me that we should not expect the fast kind of recovery that we saw in the body to take place in the CNS, and that for the kinds of symptoms due to demyelination that Carmella has we should not expect to see noticeable improvement for a minimum of 4-6 months. He said that's how long it takes for the regeneration of myelin and new pathways to be created via stem cells. This in and of itself is exciting because in documents written earlier he is conservative on the prospect of regeneration but focused more on the heading-off of further damage, although it is alluded to in certain paragraphs.

He asked me to stay in touch and I said I would. I was too nervous to stay on the phone for very long.

As an aside; it is uncanny that the theme of regeneration keeps showing up in my life.

Both Carmella and I have been nervous as hell this evening. Everytime I go into the kitchen she wants to chew on me. I tried getting her to eat as much as she could earlier because after 10:00 pm she is not supposed to eat anything and she can just have a little water. I need to take her outside on a leash tonight before I got to bed and in the morning because she will eat anything she can get off the ground, even sticks or dirt if I don't stop her.

Tonight I put together a folder with her medical records, the protocol procedure, and other related papers and took out all the stuff from it that would not be pertinent.

Watching the news coverage of the gas shortage I am still a little nervous about taking a taxi in the morning, as the forecast is that lines are shorter but many stations are still running out. I hope there are enough drivers working tomorrow so that they are not too backed up. I plan to call at 7:00 (two hours before we need to be there) just in case.

I also wish that a friend could sit with me while I'm waiting in the waitingroom to see how the surgery comes out. It feels alot like when my son was in the hospital being evaluated for brain surgery. I was pretty much handling it alone.

Well pretty soon the hard part will be over, the last shreds of the virus will be gone, and Carmella will be out of the woods. I'll be glad when she is home, safe and sound.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Preparing for The Cure!

Today started out full of activity. Having eaten late before I'd gone to bed I awoke with a slightly upset stomach and the alarm seemed to go off way too early. The repairman was coming to get the security lights put up and take care a a few other odd jobs around 9:00 and I wanted to call and get the news from Dr. Muller as to whether he had located the NDV and talked with Dr. Norwood yet. When I called a receptionist told me that he wouldn't be in until 2:00 today. She said that Dr. Norwood had just called and she had to take a message. I asked her to have Dr. Muller call me so I could find out if everything was set.

A little while later the receptionist called back and said she'd gotten in touch with him and that he said I should bring Carmella in Wednesday and get the NDV from Dr. Norwood's office and bring it when we come. I assumed that the two of them had spoken by that time, but the receptionist hadn't asked. She said she'd ask him that and ask whether Dr. Muller felt the vaccine was still viable that Dr. Norwood had.

Then I called Dr. Norwood's office to find out whether they could have it up at the front around 4:30. Felicia had to check with Dr. Norwood and see if it "came in yet" so apparently he had ordered a new batch!

While I waited to hear back from Dr. Norwood's office I took care of some Etsy-related things and wrote Dr. Sears several e-mails and also Dr. Muller to give them the link to my blog and the Carmella-cam.

I called back and Gwen told me that it was ready.

The woman who lives just a mile away got off work early and picked me up and we headed up there.

In the waitingroom was a woman sitting there with two dogs; one tiny little Chihuaua puppy and an older Dachsund. I commented on how cute the puppy was and pointed him out to my friend, saying you could hold it in the palm of one hand. The owner smiled appreciatively and jokingly commented for the other dog, "What about me?"

Felicia turned around as we approached the front desk smiling broadly. "So you found somebody to do the treatment! That's great!"

I said yes and gave her a thumbs up. "And it's just in time. She has gotten worse over the weekend".

"So you won't need the news media?"

"Well, not to get her treated but once she's had the procedure it will be an even bigger story. I'll just need to change my press release."

Just then I noticed Dr. Norwood standing to my left inside the half-door leading to the back. He was smiling and seemed to have come into the room nearly unnoticed.

"Hi!" I said looking his way. "Yes, sometimes she jerks so much it's like she's dancing in place". I did an immitation of Carmella's jerking with my arm and hand on the desk in front of me.

"Oh, wow", he exclaimed, concerned. "I'm glad you were able to find one."

"Did you make contact with Dr. Muller today?"

"I tried, but they said he was out until 2:00, so I e-mailed him, but never heard back" Dr. Norwood responded. "I had a hard time getting this" he said, as Gwen brought out the box containing the precious vaccine and proceeded to tape up the box. "There's two bottles in there but he'll probably only need one."

"When are you taking it over there?" Gwen asked.

"Wednesday. Our appointment is at 9:00 in the morning. I was just going to put it in the refrigerator at home until that day."

"Oh, OK, then the best thing is to take it out of the box when you get home and put it in the refrigerator and put the ice packs in the freezer, then put it back in there together before you leave for the appointment."

I asked Dr. Norwood if he gave Dr. Muller the contact information in his e-mail for the supply company so he'd know in the future where to get it. I didn't quite register his answer, but it seemed as though they might not have normally carried it. The box had an Atlanta address on it which was stamped "late delivery" but no date.

"How's she eating?" Dr. Norwood asked me.

"Great! She almost finished a whole 50 Lb. bag of dog food in one month! I have a webcam on her now documenting her recovery. I hope that with Carmella's recovery we can educate other vets about this so that they realize that rather than putting dogs to sleep there is a real option. If you decide to publish this you and Dr. Muller should collaborate", I said to Dr. Norwood. "After all, your name should be on that paper, because you were a big part of this."

Tears came to his eyes, and suddenly my peripheral vision sensed movement from all corners of the room. I realized at that moment that there was an audience. It seemed as though over the previous minute or so 6 or more people had slowly gathered to watch this unfold.

"When should I bring her in next for you to see how she's doing?" I asked him.

"Well I would bring her in a week later, then a month, then at 6 months, then at a year, but I'm sure he'll want to see her for a follow-up too. Anyway I'm sure he'll want to keep her a few days for hospitalization or at least overnight."

"I hope she gets rid of the jerking."

"We won't know for awhile whether that's temporary or permanent" Dr. Norwood replied.

"Yes, that's true. But myoclonic jerking is considered a type of seizure, so maybe it won't be permanent."

I thanked them and headed out the door, the box in tow.

Once at home I found Carmella stretched out in front of the kitchen entrance as I entered. This was not normal, as she usually jumped up and waited with nose pressed against the crack as soon as she heard people in the garage and jumped up enthusiastically as I came in, but not this time. In fact I had to squeeze by her and move her aside to come in. That worried me.

I unpacked the box and looked closely at the bottles inside. The NDV bottles were amazingly small, each only about one inch high, and they were each packaged side-by-side with a very large bottle of delutant liquid about 5-6 inches tall that was sort of bluish in color. It occurred to me that the vaccine must be very concentrated for such extreme proportions. The writing on the bottles of NDV was very tiny. One would need a magnifyer to read what it said. After putting them into my refrigerator and the ice packs in the freezer I sat down on the floor to play with Carmella. She started trying to chew my pants leg but still seemed particularly inert and avoided standing, moving about mainly by tossing and turning from one side to the other, rolling onto her back and onto her stomach.

She had been outside several times earlier and had been energetic, but usually she has not remained tired for very long after exerting herself. Tonight she seemed notably different, as though her limbs were sluggish and it took some effort to move them. If she can just manage to hang in there until Wednesday everything should work out.

Be sure to check out the Carmella-cam at the top right in my sidebar to see her live.

If you'd like to help Carmella please use the donation button in my sidebar, buy an ad slot, and/or purchase handcrafted and unique art jewelry from my Etsy store; http://Giftbearer.etsy.com/ in advance of the holidays. Proceeds are going to pay off her vet bill. Many thanks to those who have already given, and to those who have commented and given other types of support. Keep reading, commenting, and do whatever you can. Carmella still needs your help, good thoughts, and prayers as she embarks on this next phase of recovery. The next few days are going to be very crucial.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Watch Carmella Live!

You can now see Carmella in motion! Even better than still pictures you can even hear her. Just click on the link at the top of my sidebar that says "Carmella-Cam" and it's almost like seeing her in-person.

The computer technician came out and installed it today and it's really cool! I can even spy on her from the other room and know when she's chewing on something she's not supposed to. That is a big surprise when she hears me but can't see me. She looks around, wondering how I could possibly know what she's up to all the way from the computer room.

When she's not sitting under the kitchen table you can see her quite well, but even in the relative dark under the table you can see her leg jerking quite overtly. I have noticed the past day or so that her back left leg also jerks sometimes.

Hopefully tomorrow Dr. Muller and Dr. Norwood will have spoken and the NDV will be on its way to Dr. Muller's office.

Carmella-Cam Coming Soon!

I've decided to let the whole world wittness Carmella's recovery. Just a quick post before I go to sleep, as somebody could be coming to hook up my wireless system as early as 8:00 am!

I figured I better start this before Carmella has her procedure so that readers can see the before and after footage that still pictures can't quite illustrate alone.

The webcam I'll be using is a Linksys Wireless-G Internet Home Monitoring Camera that works with a wireless router.

Today I spent some time throwing sticks for Carmella in the back yard and got some more pictures of her.
She fell a few times, but is still holding her own.

Tonight she has been jerking, and then I noticed her toenails were very long and needed to be clipped so I had to really wrestle with her to get that done. She acted as though she was being killed even though it doesn't hurt.

She also managed to find a tear in the linoleum and pull off a piece about a foot long, to my horror!

I had to spray some bad-tasting stuff on the area to see if I could keep her from picking at it any more but that doesn't always deter her.

In just a few more days I should hear from Dr. Muller as to when he can get the NDV and do the procedure. Stay tuned! You may be seeing live feed of Carmella's motion starting today or tomorrow. All Carmella, all the time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Scheduling The Procedure

Yesterday was a mad rush. I got a call late in the day asking me to order the NDV myself and was given a link to the company a vet tech had located, but upon closer inspection it did not say in the description whether it was LaSota strain or another. (NDV comes in a whole variety of strains). We were shooting for tomorrow as the day for the procedure but when I went to the website I saw that they only ship 2-day service Mon-Wed. and it was already the end of the day, so it looked like it would really take a miracle to get ahold of the right stuff in time for an 8:20 am appointment tomorrow. Besides, the customer service line had already closed, so I had to wait until today to contact the hatchery supply house.

When I got up I called only to find that the strain was B-1, not LaSota, and that was all they had. They also didn't know where to get it, so I called Dr. Norwood's office to get his source, but he was tied up.

Then I put in a call to Dr. Muller at Briarcliff Animal Clinic. It took him a minute to realize who I was but then remembered and I told him that I was trying to get Dr. Norwood's source since we knew he was able to find it for the first part.

Dr. Muller told me also that he had a female vet friend whose husband was a researcher and owned a hatchery and that he could probably get it through them. I don't remember which part of Georgia their place was located but it sounded as though he thought we could get it before the end of next week.

We talked about possibly Wednesday and hoped to get it done before next Friday so that she wouldn't get any worse in the meantime.

He said he was excited about meeting me and Carmella, and was very nice.

Gwen, the Office Manager at Dr. Norwood's office called to get Dr. Muller's phone numbers and e-mail address because Dr. Norwood wanted to contact him with the information directly. I gave her the information, and asked if everything was OK because I hadn't heard from Dr. Norwood in ages. She said that he had just had an unusual number of surgeries and emergencies lately.

He'd had a meeting with some drug reps recently who specialized in vaccines and he presented Carmella's case to them. They were very impressed and urged him to publish his findings!

All this is great news but it also comes at a time when the one friend who is usually home that time of day can't be with me because she'll be out of town the entire week. Carmella and I will probably have to take a cab at least on the way over there, and I won't know if they'll be keeping her overnight until that afternoon when she wakes up from general anesthesia. I'm sure I will be nervous as hell on that day waiting to see how she is afterwards.

Tomorrow I am going to the first bead show I've been to in many months. I need to get some good accent beads to go with my new line.

The woman doing proofs for my custom stamps still hasn't gotten back to me with all of them but I hope to hear from her this week or on Monday so I can decide which ones I want made first and put in an order.

Carmella has been as rambunctious as ever, grabbing at my legs and chasing sticks in the back yard, but I can tell she knows something's up. She has started whining at the baby gate even when she doesn't have to go to the bathroom when I put her back in the kitchen so I can do my work.

If my bedroom door is open she runs and takes a flying leap onto my bed and wants to stay there but pretty soon she starts trying to chew on me and gets restless, then begins looking for trouble to get into on the floor and I have to put her back in the other room.

If the debate isn't cancelled between McCain and Obama tomorrow night I want to watch it. Current events in this country seem to have risen to a general state-of-emergency. Except for snippets of news here and there I've been so busy trying to get treatment for Carmella I have missed alot of what's going on lately.

This gas crisis reminds me of that movie "The Day After" with people operating on a basic survival level fighting over their place in line and arguing over who needs it the most.

Once this treatment is complete Carmella will probably start to calm down. The virus is most likely messing with her head and once the virus is gone she can really begin to start living instead of merely surviving.

If you'd like to help Carmella (God knows what this next part will add to the bill), you can purchase ad space here on my blog through Scratchback, use the donation button, and/or purchase handcrafted jewelry here:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ding, Ding, Ding! We May Have A Yes!

I don't want to jump the gun, but I believe I've found a vet to complete Carmella's treatment!

While looking over that recent list I decided to start with clinics I had been to before even if it was many years ago and I called Briarcliff Animal Hospital. This was a place I used to take my dog to when I was a teenager, a dog named Hector who was half German Shepherd and half Collie. I had her from the time I was about 8 years old until I was 17 or 18. You may be wondering why a female dog was named Hector. Well, my mother brought her home one day after having been told by the owner of the mother with a litter of puppies that she was a male. She was so covered with hair you really couldn't tell by turning her over, and it wasn't until she was 6 months old when she went into heat that we really knew she was a female. When all the male dogs in the neighborhood started lining up in the front yard and we found drops of blood on the kitchen floor that answered that!

I remember first when my family moved to Atlanta from Baltimore we took her to Dr. Tyree who then worked at Briarcliff Animal Hospital. At the time it was a tiny building not much bigger than the one Dr. Norwood works in now. Dr. Tyree was great and the place was within walking distance from my house. When me and my friend Charlotte who lived down the street found injured animals in the woods; stray dogs, baby birds, etc. we'd walk over there and take them to her. Usually there was no charge for these wild animal consultations, and when an animal died she never charged anything for the emergency care to try to save it.

At 15 I started volunteering for a local dog breeder on weekends and after school a few nights a week to help with her obedience classes and show training classes. This breeder took all 25 Irish Setters to Dr. Tyree also.

At some point Dr. Tyree moved on and then in her place came Dr. Hedge. I had forgotten about Dr. Hedge until the male receptionist mentioned her. I think I may not have taken my dog to her for near as long, and as I remember she was not quite as open to treating these wild animals for free, and since the dog breeder already had a paid assistant and couldn't afford to pay two I had very little moneyt for vet bills so I didn't go in there as much when she came on the scene.

Monday morning when I called the receptionist listened to Carmella's story and he said that Dr. Hedge was still there and that there was one other vet, Dr. Muller. I told him all about Dr. Sears' treatment for Distemper and how well Carmella had responded to the injection of NDV in the body, and how I was having trouble finding any vet who would do this second part. He told me he'd ask the two vets there and get back to me.

I actually thought it would be Dr. Hedge if anyone from there, but in an hour or so I got a phone call and it was the same male receptionist on the line. He said he'd spoken with Dr. Muller and that he wanted to know whether I'd tried Loving Touch since they did holistic veterinary medicine, and I told him that the guy there was almost going to do it but then got cold feet and backed out.

What the receptionist didn't tell me right away is that Dr. Muller had said he'd do the procedure if there looked like there were no others who would! He said it almost in passing and I had to do a double-take.

"Really? He said that?!!!" I could hardly keep myself from jumping up and screaming. Not wanting to jinx anything I tried my best to remain calm. "Well I've been going through this long list, and I've checked 5 board certified neuro vets, 2 of them at UGA and one at GVS. I've asked at least 20 vets in the past month since she's been sick and was making my way through this current list..."

"UGA and GVS already turned her down? Well that's good enough for me" said the receptionist. "I'll go back and let him know all this."

"Do I need to set up an appointment for him to see her?"

"Well let me see what he says and I'll have him call you himself."

I was floored. "Thank you! Thank you! This is such a relief! I didn't know what we were going to do."

"You're welcome" he said, after a brief hesitation, a bit self-conscious by my show of emotion. It seemed as though he was smiling on the other end of the line.

I didn't hear anything later that day, and nothing by around 1:00 pm yesterday, so I called back to see if Dr. Muller was in and if he had indeed gotten the receptionists' message. I had to leave a message on his voicemail. Then around 5:00 pm the call came in.

"Hello, Ms. Charlington?"

"Ms. Carlington; yes this is she."

"This is Dr. Muller from Briarcliff Animal Hospital."

"Oh yes! Great!"

"I understand you want to have a spinal injection done on your dog who has Distemper?"

"Yes. Did the receptionist tell you all about it?"

"Yes, I think it was David"

"The other receptionist told me she thought it was Dwight"

"Well it could have been him. He said you moved here from California?"

"Oh, no not me. It was Dr. Sears who moved from California. I live here. Dr. Sears who developed the treatment is retired and he moved from California to Utah."

"So it's Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine that's injected into the spinal canal?"

"Yes, into the Foramen Magnum; the same way they do a spinal tap."

"That's interesting. Some vets are now starting to give epidurals for surgery these days, so that isn't so far off from the way that is done."

"And Dr. Sears can give you exact instructions for this. He told me he'd work with any vet I work with on this."

"And he has never had any problems with the dogs he's treated?"

"Well there was one he had problems with, but it was too far gone by the time he tried to save it, in the full paralysis stage. The others were successful. I'm hoping that this will be done on Carmella soon before it's too late for her. She could still be saved, but she's been getting worse neurologically."

"Oh, she's already got neurological symptoms?"

"Yes, myoclonic jerking in the right front leg".

"Oh, seizures", he said as though making a mental note to himself.

"She's a beautiful dog and otherwise healthy. The first injection cured every other symptom in the body. Her paw pads started healing within two days afterwards, and two weeks later they were completely healed."

"Oh really! Cool!"

"Yes, since Newcastle Disease is related to Distemper but in birds Dr. Sears just theorized that it would work, stumbled upon it and decided to try it, and it worked. The manufactured stuff is made by Merial, but Dr. Sears also came up with a formula for a dog-based serum."

"Is that antibodies?"

"I'm not sure, but it could be."

"Yes, I bet it's antibodies, spinned down. This is quite interesting. Did you check with Loving Touch?"

"Yes, there was one guy there who was going to but then got freaked out because it was "experimental" and talked himself out of it."

"How come your regular vet wasn't able to do it?"

"He's never done a spinal tap in his life and there'd be too much risk that he'd hit the spinal cord."


"Don't you pretty much have to do it by feel to knw what you're doing."

"Yes, true. They don't always teach that at least in any depth in all vet schools."

"I know. He has never done one and I can imagine if you don't know how far to push the needle it's not something you can just do from a book. You had to have had some actual practice to really know how."

"Yes, I see. Well I've done it, not tons of times, but I'm capable of doing them. I just wish a neuro vet could do it. They do that kind of thing all the time. I'm not afraid to do it myself, but I just want to make sure I don't make her worse neurologically than she already is."

"Well, that's the thing that really kills me. The most qualified board certified neuro vets won't seem to touch this and they're willing to let her die rather than do something new to save her. If somebody doesn't she's going to eventually die. They know that and still they won't do it. She has had no side-effects from the first injection, only positive results. Her coat is shiny, she got rid of the pneumonia, her pads are healed, she doesn't have crud in her eyes, and she's eating, drinking, and very active, just like a normal puppy. If you didn't see her jerking you might not even know there was anything wrong with her. She looks good, but the ironic thing is the virus is still in the Central Nervous System and the neuro symptoms are getting worse. Do you want me to bring her in for a preliminary appointment?"

"Yes, that would be a good idea, but let me call Dr. Sears and find out all about this, and I'll call you afterwards. I'll call him around 10:00 or 11:00 am tomorrow morning and then get back to you."

We got off the phone and I felt stunned. It had all happened rather quickly, but I was glad because that probably meant this guy will take action. I think he gets it that we don't have all the time in the world and that each day she goes on without the treatment the virus damages more of her brain. There's only one solution and that's to kill the virus. Then she can look forward to a normal life, this will all be behind her, and the black cloud will be gone. Things can only get better from there.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Little News on Sunday

ABC news got back to me to let me know the process for submitting stories to three of their shows that do investigative reporting and human interest stories.

Here is their e-mail to me below:

"To submit a story idea to one of the ABC News shows listed below, write a single page letter including your name, phone number, and address. Include photocopies of backup information. On the outside of the envelope, write "Story Idea." If a producer is interested in your story, he/she will contact you.

Here are the show addresses:

147 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

147 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

Nightline/This Week
1717 DeSales Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

World News With Charles Gibson
47 West 66th Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10023

Good Morning America
147 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

If you are submitting a Local news story: -Go to ABC.com -Go the very bottom of the screen and click on “LOCAL STATIONS” -Follow the instructions on the map to find the local station e-mail, website, address and phone number."

This gives me a few more shows' contact information I had not thought of in addition to the ones I already listed.

I need to contact Dr. Norwood tomorrow and ask if he'll write a letter certifying the positive results he's seen in her body after giving the first injection of NDV.

This story qualifies as both local and National; local because a local vet did the injection on Carmella, and National because the treatment was debeloped by a vet from California who now lives in Utah, and people as far away as the Phillipines have used it.

I also need to see if I can get the name of the vet in Alabama that uses the dog-based serum and see if she's willing to be interviewed, and Dr. Loubinar and possibly Venus's current vet in the Phillipines, and also possibly Daveyo's vet in Indonesia.

If anybody out there reading has a vet who has used either the shot of NDV (or Dr. Sears' dog-based serum) into the body or the injection into the Central Nervous System please contact me or have that vet contact me about sending a letter regarding their experiences with it in their private practice. I would like to gather as many such letters as I can to be fully prepared with supporting documents.

These news agencies will be more likely to do a story if they can get several letters from vets saying they've tried it and it worked.

Today I was really tired most of the day and needed to catch up on some sleep and continued to take it easy, but spent some quality time with Carmella throwing objects for her to fetch and then sat on the kitchen floor and petted her.
She falls pretty easily nowadays when going from a standing to lying down position or when stopping walking or running. Her right, front leg will just suddenly give out and she'll almost bump her nose on the ground. I've also noticed a few times her left, back leg jerking too. I hope the virus is not spreading to the other side of the brain now.

I really hope someone will do a big news story on her soon before this gets any worse. Carmella needs all the help she can get right now, and maybe this media coverage will help other dogs out there in need so that Distemper need not be a death sentence for them.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Going Nationwide

To recap for any new readers who are just joining me, my puppy, Carmella, who I adopted from a local animal shelter has Distemper and has been cured of the virus in the body with Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine, the LaSota strain (manufactured by Merial), a discovery made by Alson, Sears, DVM, but still needs an injection into the spinal canal in order to kill the virus in the brain and Central Nervous System. The second injection must be done directly into the spinal canal because NDV does not cross the blood-brain barrier from the body. While searching for a vet with the experience and willingness to work in the area called the Foramen Magnum (the area where spinal taps are done at the base of the skull), Carmella has developed myoclonic jerking, some incoordination in balance, and stiffness in her right front leg. This has gotten worse over the past month.

Each vet that refuses her the procedure who is capable of performing it allows the virus to continue to do further damage to the brain, and each day she waits brings her a little closer to paralysis, grand mal seizures, and ultimately, death.

One of the excuses used by a number of the vets I've asked has been that this is still "experimental", yet so far none are jumping on the bandwagon to advocate clinical trials and further study, even though there is quite alot of empirical evidence that it works. I would love it if some vet would read this blog and decide to go ahead and help her out of the kindness of his/her heart in spite of all this, but so far that hasn't happened.

In one of my previous posts, I outlined some of the National Veterinary Ethics Board regulations, and it is pretty clear that vets who may be afraid to try this for fear of liability have really nothing to fear, as the regulations would actually support them in doing it, thus saving a dog's life, removing suffering, and advancing the current understanding of a possible cure for Distemper.

The continued failure on the part of Veterinary Medicine to move forward on this discovery becomes a vicious cycle in which the treatment just sits there tabled until somebody takes up the mantle and does what is necessary to officially legitimize it. This leaves dogs like Carmella at a stalemate much as humans with deadly and thought to be incurable diseases are left out of luck when stem cell research is held up because of ominous, albeit unfounded fears and religeous beliefs regarding the "tampering" with nature or "God's plan".

Then there is the agenda of Big Pharma in which a potential cure for any disease threatens to make obsolete current "supportive care" drugs and procedures. Nevertheless, when a cure is on the horizon man is foolhardy to turn a blind eye to it. Even from a religeous standpoint, I don't believe that a loving God would provide us the brains and creativity to come up with this new science and not intend for us to make use of it. That just wouldn't make sense.

After sending out press releases to all local TV stations and to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution I decided this weekend not to wait any longer to hear back from them, but to go to the National media, so I sent out more of these to Frontline, Dateline, and asked for the story submission process for 20/20. The latter's webform was a little unclear as to how stories are submitted or decided upon, and it only allowed 500 characters. My press release was a little more than that, so I'll have to get more information as to where to send it in full so that they aren't left saying, "Huh? Where's the rest of the story."

If the local news picks this up that's fine too, but there's no guarantee that the one vet who finally steps up and volunteers to do this will even be located in Atlanta or in its surrounding suburbs, so I have to be prepared to look further than my own backyard.

Considering that I've probably asked 20 or 30 now in all and still none has agreed to it, the job may take someone so rare that that vet could be located anywhere in the US.

Although stories might not be harvested on the weekend, at least these first National news requests will be waiting for their producers and investigative reporters come Monday morning and they can hit the ground running. I just hope it will spark the interest of the right people and that I'll start getting phone calls next week sometime, as the number of news contacts made reaches critical mass. Maybe the more news agencies who receive it, the bigger it's chance of getting on the AP wire or sent around to various affilliates. I still need to look into how to submit my press release directly to the AP wire, as that will make this notification process alot easier.

If any of you out there reading work for a news media agency; print, TV, online, or radio, please see what you can do to have some influence and ask that they cover Carmella's story. If you would like to have me interviewed by your agency please leave a comment on my blog about how I can get in touch with you and I'll get you or the person doing the story my contact information. If you have an Etsy account and would like to contact me more privately about news coverage, their convo system is another way you can reach me and I can make contact with you or your "people".

This morning Carmella woke up as usual wanting to go out and go to the bathroom, and after she'd done that I let her lie on my bed for awhile. Amazingly she sayed there pretty well-behaved for about a half an hour before she got restless again and wanted to chew things, jump down onto the floor and get into mischief. I'm crossing my fingers that she will get over her restlessness and urge to chew up everything in her path. It was really nice to just have her curl up and keep me company while I looked through my supply catalogues and rested and watched TV. I woke up very fatigued this morning. I think my own autoimmune disease may be flaring up somewhat, so I had to kind of take it easy today. Just making myself lunch seemed like alot of work. I've had to take something for pain two nights in a row.

I plan on watching some comedy on TV tonight and to try to get a good night's sleep.

Carmella's paw seemed to be curling under this evening when I checked on her in addition to the usual jerking.

Earlier today I worked on training her for awhile. She is particularly good at fetching things I throw for her and is becoming more and more consistent in bringing them back each time. She still tries to chew on my pants leg but seems to be gradually doing that less. When I tell her to sit or to lie down she often stops at that moment.

I'm looking forward to ordering these rubber stamps I'm having custom-made, but I have so many designs that I've adapted to black and white that it might take a few days next week for the woman I'm communicating with to finish the proofs. Some of them will be round and some square or rectangular. I was looking through some supply catalogues for some very fine gemstone beads and high-end cabs to go with this new line. There's a bead show next Friday that I'm planning to go to to look for some of that stuff in-person and I also want to pick out some really nice oxidized chain for the necklaces and maybe bracelets.

Many thanks to all who have donated to Carmella, bought an ad here, and to the recent buyer who purchased my "Click Beetle" bracelet, and those who have posted supportive comments on my blog.

If you would like to help Carmella and haven't had the chance yet please use the donation button on the upper right of my blog, or purchase an ad in my "Top Spots" further down my sidebar, or you can start your holiday shopping early and purchase something from my Etsy store. Your help will allow me to pay down Carmella's vet bill more quickly and will help greatly if I end up having to take her out of town to get her treated.