kitchen table math, the sequel: 4/21/13 - 4/28/13

Friday, April 26, 2013

a palisadesk post

I don't remember now, but I think palisadesk may have been writing comments on kitchen table math from the beginning.

I do remember my first impression: WOW.

This person knows what he/she is talking about.

My first impression was right. In all these years, I don't think I've ever seen palisadesk stray from the mark.

So when Surfer got sick, and palisadesk turned out to have saved a dog with mast cell cancer(it would be palisadesk, wouldn't it?)......I was initially thinking 'vegan' and then palisadesk weighed in with her quasi-ketogenic** approach to treating mast cell cancer via diet.....

.....And a few weeks into the whole business, contemplating my growing collection of resources on dog cancer, Kinvaet, mast cell cancer, obesity as a precursor and possible cause of mast cell cancer, diet, etc, occurred to me that my best best was just to do whatever palisadesk did and call it a day.

And that's pretty much what I did.

At this moment, Surfer is better than I've seen him in a long time. He's frisky; he's acting like a much younger dog. And he's turning 12.

Surfer may yet die of mast cell cancer, of course. Just a moment ago he walked past me and I spotted a new bump on his side. That's been another fun part of the mast cell adventure: Surfer sprouts lypomas on a monthly basis, and I can't tell the difference between a lypoma and a mast cell tumor. So I spend a lot of time palpating new growths (and old growths I can't remember whether I've seen before): a bad idea because palpating a mast cell tumor can cause it to "degranulate," sending the dog into an instantaneous and fatal case of anaphylactic shock. I have been specifically warned not to be palpating growths.

I'm sure palisadesk would say Don't do that.

Anyway, as I say, Surfer may yet die of mast cell cancer.

But if he does, my view of palisadesk's advice won't change. Mean survival time for surgical treatment alone, without chemo, is 18 weeks. (Mean time from diagnosis? from date of surgery? Nobody ever seems to say.) Surfer had his surgery February 4, and I'm pretty sure he developed the tumor in early January. (The vet found the tumor during a routine check-up.)

So it's 12 weeks since the surgery, a good 16 weeks since the tumor appeared, and the Kinavet didn't work out. And Surfer is not on his last legs.

I may be tempting fate, writing that.

But that's fine.



I'm listening to the YouTube discussion of Kinavet. You're supposed to wear gloves to pick up a Kinavet pill your dog has spit out.

How many Kinavet pills did Surfer spit out?

And how many did I pick up with my bare hands?***

A lot.

Oh, well.

This may be one of the best review articles I've seen: Clinical Management of Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs

* The dog is still alive today, 10 years later.
**or really ketogenic - I don't want to put words into palisadesk's mouth
*** I could not get pills down Surfer's throat wearing gloves. I tried. I didn't know the bit about "the seal being broken" once the pill has been spit out, however.

Home stretch! back soon--

Down to the last 100 pages of Debbie's book, which is fantastic.

So still no blogging, but ----- I have bullet points!
  • The tuna cure: Surfer and Abby now eat tuna, lentils, and olive oil (plus, starting in the past week, a few carrots). Basically: a low-rent version of palisadesk's high-protein diet for mast cell cancer in dogs. Surfer--who, it turns out, can't tolerate chemo--appears to be fine. (But we'll see.) The younger vet told me mast cell cancer is the dog equivalent of pancreatic cancer: Surfer, with a Stage 3 diagnosis, was a goner unless the Kinavet worked. Older vet, back now from his own brush with death, says: "It's not a death sentence." (Ed says: Can we always see the older vet?) Funnily enough, we encountered the same division of labor during the two years my mother was sick. The younger doctors would waylay my siblings and me for The Talk (Your mother is dying. Let her die with dignity. If she doesn't want to die with dignity, persuade her.) Then the older docs would say things like "In intensive care we support your mother's organs until her body is strong enough to handle those functions again." The older docs were always right. And they never mentioned death with dignity, which was wise because my mother didn't give two figs for dignity.
  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Common Core illustrative texts v. what 7th graders read in my districtxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • 4.6% tax increase proposed (I'm voting no, thank you for asking)xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Borrowing to pay teachers: the tax-cert loopholexxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • SAT score decline (also in bullets)xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Erica Meltzer's book is out!!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • New high school principal for Irvington who worked for TFA
One board member told me that when the board met the new principal he must have used the word accountability in every other sentence.

Are we the first affluent district ever to hire a TFA person?

We may be. A TFA alum certainly seems out of place here in Westchester, where affluent districts are snapping up superintendents fleeing New Jersey's salary cap.

Our new super replaces the superintendent against whom a number of us waged a running battle for 5 long years (or was it 6?). He is a man in his late 30s or early 40s, trained in elementary education, whose only previous experience--in New Jersey, where his wife and son continue to live--was heading a tiny K-5 district.

We are paying him $250K per year on a 5-year contract. During a minor depression.* (Did I mention I'm voting no on the budget?)

I think it's possible, perhaps likely, the TFA hire would not have happened without 6 years of citizens' op eds on the Irvington Parents Forum.

Ed told me, when I started the Forum, that revolutions always have writers.

I believe him, and All revolutions have writers has been my essential reason for carrying on. Well, one of the essential reasons, the other essential reason being that both sides of my family came from Ulster.

That said, I don't expect a revolution. The new superintendent has thus far been more of the same, and he was supposed to be The One; all 5 board members said so. The new principal will come into a gatekeeping culture that has been in place for many, many years.

The single best observation anyone ever made to me concerning my district's unshakeable self-regard:
...[W]e're great because 10 kids do spectacular things by senior year. The other 150 will get by and there are no glaring inadequacies.
That's not going to be easy to change.

* Depression at historinhas