Friday, September 21, 2007

Wayback Machine: Yom Kippur

It's that time of year again where I repost my article on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah as come and gone, and Yom Kippur started tonight.

Self-Judgment Days

CEE Video

The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford College has produced a promotion video. In the video, Dr. Stephen Hicks, CEE's Executive Director, explains the center's mission and introduces its expert faculty (ahem, that includes me!).

Sylvia Update 9/21

Sylvia's latest checkup provides us with some good news. Her kidney function has started to return to normal and they appear to be returning to normal size. She is still somewhat anemic, but with her kidneys coming back into normal function this should (but might not) get better.

She's being eating quite normally (though not drinking which has us a little concerned). She sleeps a lot--but let's remember that she's a cat after all. She is in the windows a lot and is just generally more 'catlike' as of late.

Because of her improvement, her meds have been reduced to finishing up the antibiotics and administering her daily steroid. This reduces the stress on all of us!!

This is truly wonderful news. We are trying not to get too excited about it, however. Even if she goes into full remission, the cancer will almost certainly return. We are hopeful (and hoping) that she continues to improve and that she continue to be with us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sylvia 9/18

First, I want to thank all those who have emailed Kristen and I with the well-wishing regarding Sylvia. It is always uplifting to know that one's family and friends care about that which one cares about as well.

Second, Sylvia seems to be doing a little bit better. She's been up and around, more alert. She goes up and down the stairs on her own. She sleeps with us again instead of hiding in a closet somewhere. Much of this morning she sat in the front window that overlooks the valley we live in. I take all of this as a sign that she is feeling somewhat better.

All of us are getting a little better at medicine time. Sylvia certainly doesn't like it and struggles with us. But we have learned how to settle her down (relatively speaking) and get her the medicine more quickly and efficiently. This is, I think, helping her overall situation because she is getting more of the medicine in her and the situation is less stress on her.

We struggle everyday with whether we are doing the right thing with Sylvia. We hope we are giving her some more quality of life and not just prolonging her suffering (and ours). Nonetheless, she doesn't seem ready to give up yet, and so neither are we.

Sylvia's next treatment is on Thursday. We are hoping that her blood work will show some improvement. I'll likely blog Thursday evening or Friday with an update.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sylvia Update 9/15/07

On Thursday, we took Sylvia to the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital to see an oncologist specialist. VMTH-UW is a leader in veterinary oncology, so we are getting some of the best care possible.

They confirmed the diagnosis and ran some further tests. Sylvia was very anemic and dehydrated. Her kidneys were starting to lose function. They recommended a blood transfusion and keeping at the hospital for a few days so that they get her fluid levels up. They would also start the chemotherapy.

We were able to pick her up today. She was more alert and perky when she got home. She ate some food and walked around. She was still weak, and slept some as well.

Sylvia goes back on Thursday for more chemo. In the meantime, Kristen and I have to administer several drugs and fluids. She’s on anti-acid and anti-ulcer medicine. These are to help with some of the side effects of the lymphoma and failing kidneys. She also gets a daily steroid and some antibiotics. The fluids, to help keep her hydrated, are administered subcutaneously--that means delivered by needle under the skin (between the skin and the muscle). We reviewed this with doctor and he demonstrated. It didn’t look easy, but it didn’t look too bad either. Well, it took Kristen and I about an hour to do it. I couldn’t get the needle in or I went to far and Sylvia would squirm. Finally, I think I got the feel for it, but even then, it was hard. The pill was no easier, she just wouldn’t swallow it! And we have to do this twice a day. I think (hope) it will get easier as all of us get used to it.

After this hour long poking and prodding, Sylvia is definitely stressed and not interested in eating. Hopefully, after a night of sleep in our house, she’ll be happier tomorrow…until I have to poke her again. Sorry Sylvia!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Look Ma! More Quizzes!

Here's one that Patrick discovered. Results are a little surprising, but not that much. I wouldn't have expected that Existentialism would be so high, but the rest of it seems in order.

You scored as Existentialism, Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”

--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”

--Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...



Strong Egoism


Justice (Fairness)












Divine Command


What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ethical Philosophy Selector

I took this quiz years ago, and had somewhat similar results (though I don't remember the exact ordering).

Here's my Top Ten:
1. Aristotle (100 %)
2. Ayn Rand (97 %)
3. John Stuart Mill (94 %)
4. Epicureans (91 %)
5. Aquinas (86 %)
6. Plato (81 %)
7. Nietzsche (78 %)
8. Thomas Hobbes (78 %)
9. David Hume (73 %)
10. Jean-Paul Sartre (73 %)

Try it and see what you get!

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Kristen and I got Sylvia as a kitten, not more than 6 weeks old, one month before we were engaged. Born to a stray, she came into in our lives by luck, joining Malcom--the cat I had from my bachelor days in Arizona. She stole our hearts instantly and we loved her from day one. Well, maybe not Malcom, but he grew to love her as evidenced by his constant grooming of her and his protection of her from other animals. For the first months that we had Bella (our yellow lab), Malcom wouldn’t let Bella get too close to or too playful with Sylvia.

While Malcom is shy and hesitant around strangers and friends, Sylvia is always friendly and curious, making quick friends of any visitor. There is nothing as inviting and loving as the yellow wide-eyes of Sylvia as her tail flickers behind her.

On Friday, we were told by our veterinarian that Sylvia has lymphoma. She had lost a lot of weight in the last few months and had been throwing up. Her symptoms fluctuated, whenever we thought that maybe we should take her in to the vet, she would appear to get better. We also thought the weight loss was from the stress of the move to IL. But the last few weeks, she lost more weight and was throwing up more than ever. The vet took x-rays and her kidneys were twice the size they should be. After more testing this past week with results that were initially inconclusive, the final terrible results from the pathologist came back on Friday.

The news, as anyone can imagine, is devastating. There are some treatment options, and we will be exploring those, but the outlook is grim no matter what. Apparently, renal lymphoma in cats is one of the least responses types of cancer. Successful treatment might give us another year at best.

If Sylvia can have a decent quality life, relatively pain-free and happy, in that year(or less), it will be worth it. In the last 6.5 years, she has brought joy and happiness into our lives every single day. The mornings waking up with Sylvia sleeping on my chest. Her widened paws and big eyes when she wanted to be pet. The little cry when I would playfully pinch the tip of her tail. Her little pink nose and grey ‘goatie’. How small she gets when she curls up in my lap when I am at the computer. Her white paws so gracefully pushed together as she sits in her ‘paperweight’ position. And, of course, her flirty leg. Nearly impossible to describe, but Sylvia, when she wants to be pet, will stretch herself out against a wall, and push out one of her back legs and hold it there. Once performed, it is irresistible: one must pet her.

We don’t know how we are going to proceed or what will happen. We don’t know what to expect or how to deal with this. But we know one thing for sure: we will always love Sylvia. By sharing our lives, she has made them infinitely better.