Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hard Week

This week I saw the acupressure massage lady. Unfortunately, it just didn't go well. She was an awesome lady and understood me. With CRPS, it is so hard to know how something will work since there is so little research on it. For me, the acupressure made me worse.
Honestly, it is a scary thing. I certainly don't blame anyone when it gets worse. No one has a clue. But this week, I can't tie my shoes anymore or grip my toothbrush correctly with my left hand. These days I feel like I have so much more insight into my Deda's life when he had Parkinson's. My mind is fine but my body is not cooperating. I despise having to ask for help for everything in my life. I was the independent one, the one who moved to a new city and was making a life for myself. My life was on track, I was going to achieve my dream and be a vet. I do know now that being a regular vet isn't what my heart wanted but I still wanted to be a veterinary behaviorist. And now I have to depend on everyone else for the smallest of things. My Deda was a strong man who always cared for his family. Then the Parkinson's robbed him of that and I understand how he must have felt. I remember him always trying to do things when he shouldn't have. I understand why he did, I understand how frustrated he must have been every day when his body betrayed him. He has always been one of my heroes but now it is so much more so. Even during his worst times he still said "This too shall pass"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On the road again....

Tomorrow Mom and I are leaving for Atlanta. I am seeing a woman who does the human version of the Tellington Touch (an excellent acupressure technique that started in animals). She has rave reviews from others who have been in significant pain, so we are hoping she will be able to help me. I'll make sure to blog updates while I'm there.

This weekend was great. Saturday was Halloween and I went to trunk or treat with my Aunt Kay and cousin. I took Dixie with me and suspended the no petting rule and she was a huge hit. Not to mention, Dixie adores kids so she was in heaven. After that I went to my best friend's sister's house and hung out there. I got to see most of my favorite people and I had a great time!

Here is a picture of Lola, me and Dixie in our costumes:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

At least I have a good excuse this time!


I have been ridiculously busy for someone who can't leave the house on her own. Last Thursday my mom's chihuahua found 2 kittens behind our pool pump. They were around 4 weeks old so we have been bottle feeding them (read: Mom and I have been bottle feeding them). They are doing very well and have started using the litterbox on their own consistently the past day or two! They will not be staying with us but we are fostering them until they are old enough to be adopted out.
The CRPS does seem to have spread to my entire left arm now. It sucks but there is nothing I can do about it. I'm going to an acupressure doctor in Atlanta next week so we will see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Le sigh

This week is not going so well thus far. My tests on Monday were bad and I just hoped I passed.
Yesterday wasn't too bad, just a pretty lazy day.
Today my hand is partially swollen and really painful. This is a normal progression of CRPS but it just sucks. I lost what little use I have of my left upper body. It blows.
The girls are doing great. I got Dixie a princess costume and am waiting for Lola's matching witch costume to arrive. Both of their costumes have corset tops and I am wearing my Ren Faire outfit so we all kind of match. I'm pretty excited about getting a partial family picture in costume :-p

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I know, I know, my poor blog readers are neglected

Although, honestly, this has been a sensationally unexciting week. Monday and Tuesday were spent studying and taking a make-up quiz for a class. Wednesday I woke up feeling like death and spent the day in bed except for the couple hours I was at the urgent care (where the doctor got distracted for CRPS and didn't test me for the flu despite my "FLU-LIKE symptoms").
Thursday I went to a local allergy doctor to get my Xolair injections transferred to them and they recommended I go to another urgent care because they were sure I had the flu. And they were right.
So I've been spending most of my time in my room in an effort to not make everyone else sick. And eating soup. Lots of soup. Because nausea is a part of it.
I did order Lola's Halloween costume today. Dixie already has hers and has pictures in her blog of her in it. I promise to upload pictures of Lola Belle too and eventually a group picture of all 3 of us in costume together.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The downside of blog popularity

So I realized that since everyone now has this blog address and got used to checking it for updates, I should probably become regular about updates. (And by realized, I mean one of my best friends said she was stalking this and Dixie's blog to keep up with me :-P)
We spent the weekend in Charleston, SC with Vogel and Granddad. We relaxed most of the time but did manage to get out to the outlets (where I got a coat that fit my arm!). We got back on Sunday and had to go to my Great Aunt Betty's visitation after that.
The rest of this week has been spent recovering and trying to get all of my school stuff worked out. It is quite a bit more difficult when you are 100 miles away from campus and can only talk through e-mail. Things are worked out so I will be spending my "fall break" studying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 7: Treatment Plan

Today I had the breast ultrasound done and it was normal. After that we went to try and get in with the pain doctor (since they scheduled it for next week). That didn't pan out so we just waited until my appointment with the pain psychologist
He is referring me to a pain program in Rochester Minnesota. It is 3 weeks long and includes everything from occupational therapy to medication. It isn't a cure but it should help.
This means that the diagnosis is most likely Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It has no cure but can be treated. It can come and go but there is not as much of a timeline as some think. Dixie will probably have her job for life. I probably won't go back to being a vet tech, since it will put too much stress on my arm if I'm healthy again. So now, I am definitely going to pursue behavior and training. After I'm done with Mayo Rochester, I'll be looking to be an assistant trainer to get my foot in the door there.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 6: Sorry I'm late!

I know this update is late but I was enjoying an actual hot bath for once. So many days of lots of walking in Rainbows caught up with my back and legs so I needed a good soak.
Today I went to my wonderful chiro again. We did another cold laser treatment and then she brought up some supplements she wants me to start. She did a test to see which of my organs were stressed, which nutrients were deficient and what foods I should avoid (most of which I allergic to in some degree). Anyone who has talked to me about how I maintain my animals and Mom and Dad's animals knows that I am a huge supporter of holistic medicine and using supplements for health so I'm definitely up for this. It certainly can't hurt like some treatments in the past have.
After that we went to Mayo for my appointment with the breast specialist. She was very ncie and said she doesn't think it is a problem with my breast but that the swelling and pain there are an effect of the original swelling and pain. She is sending me to a lymph clinic in case there is any lypmhedema (although she doubts it and it has been ruled out previously), a neurologist (to confirm the CRPS diagnosis she believes) and for a breast ultrasound just in case because of the severity of my pain.
I am waiting for all of that to be scheduled plus the stuff my doctor is still fighting insurance for. I do for sure have an appointment with the pain psychologist and will most likely have at least the ultrasound tomorrow.
Dixie did her job today perfectly. The exam by the doctor was really painful and after I got off the table, while she was talking, Dixie started alerting I took my medication and we AVERTED the attack! I got a little shakey but did NOT have a full blown attack!! This is the pinnacle of a medical alert dog's training.
I'm so proud of my wonderful Dixie! If this is CRPS, she will be my service dog for the rest of her life (well, until she needs to retire-which is a long way off) since it can't be cured, just managed.

Dixie's Story

I'm not sure how many people know the full story of how Dixie and I got into each other's lives.
I'm more and more amazed how our story has worked out.
When one of my best friends and I went to the shelter, we were just there to look and maybe give some dogs some time out of their kennels (it was a high kill shelter where the dogs rarely saw the outdoors). We made a list of dogs we wanted to play with and the first one was a spotted dog named Dixie of a breed neither one of us had ever heard of. This silly dog bounded in to the room with a smile on her face and her tail wagging like crazy. We were a little "eh" since neither of us really wanted to do the puppy thing (I wanted the cuteness but not the obnoxiousness). Then we called her name and she came. So we started trying to see if she knew commands. She didn't. So, on a whim, Jenn and I tried to teach her sit. She picked it up in the time we were in that tiny "get to know you" room.
Something had already clicked for me when a volunteer walked in a told us Dixie's entire adoption fee was paid but she had been there for a very long time (and at a high kill shelter, their days are numbered). Well, I knew that sealed the deal, Jenn loved her (and still does-she is Dixie's Aunt Jennifer and one of Dixie's favorite people in the world) and I couldn't leave without MY dog. I called Mom to ask if she would mind dogsitting for a month while I was in Australia. She agreed and I literally ran to the front desk to adopt my dog. She had to stay at the shelter to be spayed and I was a nervous wreck until they said they got her spay in earlier and I could pick her up 2 days early. She captured my heart and everyone else who met her loved her too (well, except Dad...he said she proved that animals could be evil!). Don't worry, Dad has come around too. I have yet to meet anyone that can resist Dixie's charm.
Today I have no doubt she is my heart dog, that four legged soul mate some people are lucky enough to have in their lives. She helps keep me healthy and improves my quality of life.
I've said it a lot, but I will never be able to repay her for what she does for me. Because of that, I want to help as many homeless animals as I can. So many people think that all shelter animals have problems. Guess what? They don't. The tope 3 reasons animals are dumped at shelters are :the owners moved, they had a baby or someone is allergic to the animal. There are purebreds and mixed breeds ranging in size from tiny to giant. Unless you show your dog in AKC conformation shows, I don't see the reason to buy an animal. There are millions of homeless dogs and cats killed every year and breeding your dog or cat without championships under its belt is simply irresponsible. The world does not need any more of whatever you have. If you breed your dog and it has 6 puppies, you have just sentenced 6 innocent animals to death. You can't guarantee that those puppies will go to great forever homes, generally at least 2 of those puppies will end up in shelters.
So next time you want to add to your family check out www.petfinder.org There are tons of wonderful animals out there waiting for their forever home!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 5: The joy of insurance

I got a phone call this morning at 9 am from the Mayo Clinic. My breast ultrasound was cancelled and the test we really need to proceed, the MRI of my brachial plexus, was denied. Instead, a few hours later, I was scheduled to see a breast specialist tomorrow at 945 am and have a breast ultrasound at 145 pm. My doctor and his staff were going to try their hardest to get the insurance to approve the MRI.
We had another day off (I'll get to that in a minute) which, while nice, is NOT what we are here for. I want a diagnosis and treatment plan so I can get on with my life one way or another.
We got another call this afternoon. The ultrasound was cancelled again and a different breast specialist had asked to take on my case. She rearranged her schedule to see me tomorrow so I suppose that is a good thing. My doctor and his staff are going to continue to try and get my insurance company to work with them and get the tests approved.
So after Mom did her work (and I tried unsuccessfully to get NCSU's websites to work so I could do some school work) we decided to go to the fort at St. Augstine. I loved it! It was really interesting to learn the history of it (yes I'm a nerd) and to see some of the craftsmanship on the Spanish cannons. Those things are pieces of deadly art.
We also stopped at a beach in Ponte Vedra. It was not crowded at all. Yea, that was for a reason. The beach wasn't huge and the waves were rough. Mom got soaked and Dixie and I almost got knocked over. At that point, Dixie decided she was not a fan of the beach. We will try again on a gentler beach.

Dixie and I on top of the fort

This cannon was made in the late 1700's

One of the Spanish cannons. Isn't that detail work amazing?

Dixie and I with another gorgeous cannon

My back tattoo-Dixie, Indie, Karma and Lola's paw prints (although I had the tattoo before Lola!)

Dixie and I being swamped

Not a fan

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 3 and 4: Exercise and Hurry Up and Wait

The May Clinic was closed on Sunday so after being lazy all morning (well, I was being lazy anyway) Mom and I were looking for something to do. My interwebz skillz (that's lolcat language for the not icanhazcheezeburger savvy) are not so good so Mom found (within 5 minutes of searching) that there was a zoo nearby. Since we both love animals, we thought it would be a good way to get out and get some exercise. After that we went to dinner with some wonderful ladies from my message board. Mom and I both had a great time with them :-)
Dixie and me by the fake elephants

People got to feed the giraffes

The monkeys were intrigued by Dixie and followed us around their enclosure

The cool stripey deer

Mom's favorite-the elephants

Crocodile!

Today we went to try and get a standby appointment for the breast ultrasound. It didn't happen, so we came back to the new hotel and I napped most of the day. It is in the 90's here and it is taking a lot out of me. We went to my wonderful chiro at 4 and she did more cold laser and tried the BEST method to "reset" my nervous system and try and help the emotional component of everything. I'm not sure how well it worked but it definitely helped me relax. After that we walked around the outdoor mall and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (and ended up with leftovers for dinner tomorrow!).
Dixie has continued to do extremely well. Nothing at the zoo phased her and she does great at doctors and restaurants. At the Cheesecake Factory our waitress and the couple sitting across the aisle had no idea she was there until we left (which is the best compliment an SD can get). My chiro and the rest of the employees love her. I love that I get to tell everyone that she came form a shelter. I can't ever give back to her what she has given to me, so I try to pay it forward to other wonderful dogs and cats who are homeless.
Tomorrow we have my breast ultrasound (we got it moved up a day at least!). We also hope that the insurance will have approved some more of the tests, since we called today to ask about it. Once the tests are done, we can start seeing more specialists!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 2...sort of

So Mom and I got up bright and early at 7 AM to be at Mayo at 730 to be on standby for a breast ultrasound and some other tests. I dragged myself and Dixie out of bed, we walk down there and guess what? Yup, Mayo is closed on the weekend. Apparently my nurse had her days confused.
So we came back and went back to bed. We "slept in" and then decided to go to St. Augustine and the outlets there.
There was an American Apparel store and they had Andrew (my brother)'s favorite polos on sale for 10$ so we got him 6 to tide him over for a few months :-p We went around to BCBG, Gucci, Guess, Coach and the Bebe outlet, just to name a few. Surprisingly, I found 2 really cute tops and a nice scarf at bebe. Mom got an adorable pair of flats and we got out ridiculously cheap. I also got a great new pair of low top Chucks at the Converse store.
We also stopped at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for the best candy apples any where. I got 2 carmel with white chocolate and sprinkles and one candy apple and Mom got a caramel apple (although we've nibbled on al of them!). They are so hard to find in NC so I was super excited to get them here (yes, I'm a fat kid...I own it!)
We got some dinner and came back to the hotel because we were all tired and I was really sore.
Dixie did great, even when some smallish mutt tried to attack her. One of the ladies at the RMCF owned a Catahoula as well and gave Dixie a free peanut butter cookie dipped in white chocolate. Dixie now says that is one of her favorite places in the world too (and she says Christmas hint hint :-P )
Tomorrow we are going to sleep in and then maybe take Dixie to the beach for the first time. Then tomorrow night we are having dinner with two friends that live down here! I can't wait!
Monday we are back to the hospital at 730 for the breast ultrasound and more stuff.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mayo Clinic Day 1

We got to Jacksonville around 5 yesterday and just hung out at the hotel because we were all exhausted. We've had no access problems with Dixie and she has done great! We couldn't get the internet figured out so I could only check my e-mail and get on Facebook from Mom's iPhone.

Today we had to be at Mayo at 8. We saw my main doctor (who supports holistic medicine and has been rated as one of the top 25 in the US the past 2 years) and he sent me to get bloodwork, a chest x-ray and an ekg today. He also referred me to an upper cervical chiropractor who did an adjustment and a cold laser treatment. She was wonderful as well and super gentle. I was decently out of alignment and it was much better after the treatment

Tomorrow we know I have a breast ultrasound (since breast cancer runs in our family) and a few other tests. I will see a pain psychologist, breast specialist and one or two other doctors. I'm seeing the chiro 3 times next week as well.

Dixie has done really really well and has made me so proud. It is really hard for her to watch the doctor mess with me because it hurts, but she hasn't been disruptive at all. We've got to tell so many people her story and everyone is surprised she came from a shelter.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dogs die every day for the greed of humans

Today is National Puppy Mill Awareness Day
This is a day for everyone to try and get the word out on the deplorable thing that is puppy mills. If anyone doesn't know, a puppy mill is a large scale breeding operation where the dogs are kept in tiny cages stacked on one another and forced to breed until they no longer can. Dogs that can breed are sold at auction if they are lucky and shot, blugeoned or killed in another horrible manner and tossed in the back.
These dogs never see sunshine, have never put their feet on grass, they don't know the joy that is being indoors with a family. They are bred and bred and their puppies are taken away too early.
So when you see those cute puppies in the pet store window for sale for thousands of dollars (like a product, a thing, not a living creature) remember their parents who suffer immeasureable cruelty for that puppy to be there. It doesn't matter if the store says they don't get dogs from puppy mills. They get the dogs from brokers who buy from puppy mills. NO REPUTABLE BREEDER WOULD SELL ANIMALS IN A STORE.
Reputable breeders do exist. They are few and far between however. Reputable breeders have champion dogs (NOT champion lines) which shows that these dogs are the best of their breed. They don't have more than 1 or 2 litters a year. They have a rigourous screening process and a waiting list to get one of their puppies. They don't breed until they have homes for all the dogs.
Now, I'm sure some of you are saying, well, my breeder wasn't like that, but they were still good. No, my friend, your breeder is what is referred to as a Backyard Breeder. They breed for many reasons: they have a great dog, they want to make money off of the dog they bought from another BYB, they want their children to see the "miracle of birth" (which by the way, is not miraculous as messy and heart-breaking when dead babies are born), they want their dog to have the experience of being a mother (dogs don't care. seriously. spay them and they will never know). These people are just as irresponsible as puppy millers, even though their cruelty, greed and thoughtlessness come in a different form.
There is a new trend in the US these days. That of "designer breeds." Guess what that precious labra-chi-pom-a-doodle-poo is? A mutt. People pay thousands of dollars for mutts that were started by these deplorable practices. It is just a marketing tactic so they can sell more animals. Any of those expensive mutts are just that: mutts. They can't be registered with a reputable registry and they can't breed more from 2 of the same mutt. So, for example, if you breed a lab/poodle cross to a lab/poodle cross, you can get labs or you can get poodles. Since a breed has to breed true for many years, guess what? Yep, it is NOT a breed. Don't fall into that trap.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3-4 MILLION dogs and cats are put to sleep every year. Why are they being killed? For the most part, because they committed the crime of being unwanted. A new baby came, the family moved, a new significant other didn't like them, they didn't have time for the animal.
At least 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. There are puppies, adult dogs who are already trained, tiny dogs like chihuahuas and dachshunds. If you aren't planning to show your dog, why not adopt one of these wonderful animals? All of my animals are rescued and from them, I have a service dog, a future dog sport star, a wonderful little dog with a great temperament. Our house only has rescue animals. We have few behavior problems, few health problems and the gratitude that comes from rescuing an animal.

PLEASE DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE HOMELESS ANIMALS DIE!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Holy Cow, We're heading to Florida!

Yep, we are heading to the Mayo Clinic! Next Friday if you can believe it. Honestly, it doesn't even seem real to me yet. In one week I will be in Florida.
This could be it. Where we figure out what the hell is wrong with me and how to fix it. When I can drive again and go out with my friends and go back to Raleigh and vet school and get my life back. No more sling, pain meds, sleepless nights, attacks. Holy shit.
But the other side of that is terror. We have been disappointed so many times, what if it happens again. If Mayo can't figure it out, who can? I won't go in to the other what ifs I have.
I have to admit, I'm excited to have a weekend in Florida. Dixie has never seen the beach, so I'm gonna try to find a dog friendly beach for her.
I promise both Dixie and I will blog our experiences while we are there!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My concept of a soulmate is much broader than most

Most people think that a soulmate is a person who is perfect for you, who is your other half. I don't necessarily disagree with that, I just think that a soulmate can take many forms. For me, my soulmate has 4 feet, a tail and spots.
I know people will say that I am just a crazy dog lady but why can't a dog be your soulmate? I doubt there is any human who can do what she does for me. She gives me quality of life, confidence that I can go out and not be totally debilitated if I have an attack and she give me comfort. She always knows how I feel and she is always there for me. No one can celebrate like a dog does, no one can comfort like them either. She is my heart dog.
So many people flip out when I say that it won't break my heart if I don't get married. Don't get me wrong, I would love to find someone I loved enough to spend the rest of my life with. But I already have so many wonderful people and animals in my life and I continue to meet more.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It was a one step forward two step back kind of week.

I am being referred to the Mayo Clinic in Florida. We had a little snafu with insurance, but it was resolved and I should find out my appointment time and date this week. We have used up our resources here in NC and we still have no answers. Not to mention, we'll be in Florida! Mom, Dixie and I will make a stop in Charleston at my grandparents' house and possibly pick up my grandmother then head down there.
Unfortunately, I also went down hill this week. I thought things had leveled off again (I even mentioned it to my therapist) and was happy. Sunday afternoon I was working on some school work when, out of the blue, pain like I haven't felt before shot through my left chest. It sent me into tears immediately and Mom and I were trying to decide if we should go to the ER.
We decided not to since there is nothing they can do and it isn't worth the hours wait and 200$ co-pay for a pain injection that will wear off in a few hours. I took some more pain meds and laid down to just wait it out.
About 20 minutes in to this, Dixie started alerting that an attack was coming. I took my meds and she stayed by my side the entire time. It was really a short attack and not as severe as the ones where she wasn't there to alert. I am honestly so so amazingly thankful for my wonderful dog. She improves my quality of life in a way no one else can.
Today the pain is still there but I haven't had any more attacks. I can't use my arm at all any more since any movement makes the pain worse. It is kind of scary, I guess I just wasn't prepared to get this much worse this fast.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Please Vote for Lola and Laura


Vote for Lola and Laura!
I entered the picture below in BAD RAP's calendar contest this year. The top 12 get to be in their 2010 calendar and we would love to be one of those! All proceeds go to pit bull rescue and education.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finally getting some forward motion








So we finally have some progress. Not towards a diagnosis but to the next level of diagnostic care. My PCP (who is wonderful and listens to me and Mom all the time and even lets us e-mail him)is referring me to the Mayo Clinic Diagnostic Division in Jacksonville Florida! Everyone in my family has heard nothing but wonderful things about them and the wonderful ladies on the Pets board I frequently shared some of their Mayo Clinic success stories with me. We really hope that this is the place that can figure me out so I can get back to life!
Dixie is doing absolutely wonderful in her training. We had a break through and are now planning on doing her certification test/performance in 2-3 weeks! She has been going with me to most places (all places if Dad or my Aunt Kay takes me) and I haven't had an attack in a few weeks! My physical therapist thinks it is because Dixie knows when I start getting too painful and will get agitated which alerts me that I need to stop before and attack is even set off. She also says I am much more relaxed when I have Dixie with me. CHeck out Dixie's blog to read more about her training.
I'm also "in class" now and I'm really enjoying it. I'm learning a lot of new things and it will be really useful in the future.
I've touched on this before, but I think one of the best things to come out of this illness is me figuring out what my calling really is. I was never 100% happy being a vet tech in a regular vet practice. Don't get me wrong, I loved the work but there was always something that was a little off when I sat down and thought about it. I realized that what I really truly love is behavior and training. Not tooting my own horn, but I have always been able to read animals and help them calm down. There were clients that would ask that I help with their "problem" dogs because they didn't get so stressed. Now that I know more, I know why that was. I want to help people work with their dogs that have behavior issues rather than dump them at a shelter or euthanize them.












Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yea, its been a long time

So since I last updated, I saw a new pain doctor, which was the worst experience I've had witha doctor in a very long time (maybe ever!). He was condescending (no, the piercings on my chest do not imply I am an idiot), unprofessional and he didn't listen to what I said about my health, which results in me getting a medication that really screws with asthmatics that almost put me in the hospital (and would have if I had taken the full dose he prescibed!). So I'm going back to my first pain doctor that I trust.
I started physical therapy and it went really well! My therapist was wonderful and worked with my pain limitations. I have exercises I can do in the pool to make it less painful. They even asked me to bring Dixie when I come so they will know if we are pushing too hard and so I will be more relaxed.
Dixie's training is going really well. I've kind of slacked off the past 2 weeks, but we are getting back in to things.
I also start school (via distance ed) on Wednesday. I'm taking 6 classes and will have mostly completed my business and psychology majors.
I promise I will try to update more.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This is why I don't get my hopes up about doctors

Thursday Dixie was unable to go with us to my father's graduation. Unfortunately I had 2 separate attacks and severe heat exhaustion from trying to sleep off the attacks in the car with no A/C for a few hours. I now know how animals left in cars feel like and I can't imagine someone treating their dog that cruelly.

Friday I had an appointment with the orthopedic specialist who we all thought would be the one to figure me out. He didn't and gave up on me after an hour (a record). So we are seeing another doctor, but they can't get me in until October 13th!

It is really frustrating. I also realized that this upcoming week will mark 6 months since I first got sick. I certainly didn't think that this is how a seriously sore and swollen arm would work out.

This week is also going to be an intense training week for Dixie and I. I really need to get her certified sooner rather than later and I know she is up to a quicker pace. She also has a blog if anyone is interested in her journey to become a service dog.

Dixie's Blog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Silver linings are always there, sometimes we just choose to ignore them

So I feel like I need to write a not so down update since I've been kind of blah in the past few. There have been some silver linings, they just have been hard for me to spot recently.
As I said, I'm going to be taking classes this fall. The illness is giving me the chance to get a business and psychology minor, which wasn't possible before. That will strengthen my resume and help my GPA out, so hopefully I will get accepted next time I apply to vet school.
I've gotten a break from the insanity that is a pre-vet student's life. Tons of classes that are obnoxiously difficult, work at enough vets to get the references you need and other activities to make you well-rounded. There is a reason that people who graduate with an ANS degree with pre-vet say they are crazy. You have to love and want this career to make it through. I was nearly burnt out and it was taking a toll on my health, my relationships, even my dogs.
This break has also given me a chance to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. Now, before anyone starts thinking anything too crazy, I do still plan on going to vet school. For the past 10 years I thought I wanted to be a general practitioner. Side note: yes, I mean ten years. I have been telling people since I was 2 (we have video proof) that I was going to be a vet. Anyways, I have had a chance to look at what I truly loved and what didn't constantly stress me out. I've realized that my heart really lies in veterinary behavior. I love learning how to communicate with animals and help those that have problems. Indie and Dixie have both had behavior issues we had to work through and I loved it! I know so much more now and I know there are so many dog owners out there who don't know what to do and give up on problem dogs. There are so few veterinary behaviorists and people don't know about them. I want to work to change that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The mystery illness sometimes gets in the way of blogging

Yes, I know, I haven't updated in a while. The mystery illness has been throwing some curveballs and it has gotten in the way of blogging.
So I continue to get worse. The swelling and the pain continue to reach new heights. I told my mom that every time I think I have reached the worst pain I've ever felt and then the stabbing pain comes back and it is always worse than the last time. Then I swell more.
We are still waiting to hear from the orthopedist. He was on vacation until today and we found out that he doesn't take all the cases referred to him. Instead, he reviews the case and takes a few then sends the rest to other doctors. The neurologist hopes that we will hear something next week. I've also been referred to a pain clinic near Baptist that deals in hard to diagnose pain. They also do alot of research so my Raleigh pain doctor thinks I might be able to get in on a drug trial. I'm seeing them at the end of the month so we will see where that goes.
Life has been pretty good otherwise. Dixie's training is getting ready to kick in to high gear as soon as we get her new backpack (around the end of this week or beginning of the next) and we make her "Service Dog in Training" patches. Lola is growing like a weed! She was 5 lbs the week she showed up and now she is around 12 lbs a month later! She is so smart and already knows how to sit. Dixie loves her and is teaching her good dog manners.
The 4th was fun, I got to spend almost 6 hours out by the pool! We had a cookout with the whole family and it was just low key. I had a great time and ate way too much food!
I've been spending alot of time with my Aunt Kay and Laura, who I am so thankful for. We've gone to the movies, shopping, and even crafty stuff. We are making a dog bed for Dixie and a fleece blanket for me and the dogs. I will post pictures once we finish!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm not dead yet! I think I'll go for a walk!


I am back from our yearly family beach trip (and family reunion). My family, my 2 aunts, 2 cousins and my uncle all go to Oak Island for a week and stay in a rent house. My Aunt Kay isn't in that picture but she was there. For the most part it was a good beach trip. My older cousin is a spoiled brat who refused to listen to anyone, even when it concerned her avoiding my arm. She is the blonde in the pink shirt on the far left. I avoided her most of the trip. The other little girl is my Mini Me that I adore and look at as my little sister. She was awesome this week and was very helpful if I needed anything. I spent a few hours on the beach most days and overall, it was a good week.
My arm is ok. It swelled up more (along with a good part of my upper torso) and the pain has spread. I had to switch from my smaller sling back to the big one because of the swelling. I only had 2 tremor episodes which I thought was good since I had the sling off while I was on the beach.
We are still waiting on the referrals to the orthopedist and the pain clinic in Winston. Back t the hurry up an wait.
Dixie is doing great. This week I am hoping to make her some service dog in training patches so we can start taking her into more environments. Lola is growing like a weed and smart as a whip.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honestly, the end is not in sight.

This illness is insane.  My arm and everything else is more swollen.  Much more swollen.  I hurt more.  It is just insane.
Yesterday I had a stomach bug.  That really sucked.  You know, just in case I didn't have enough health problems. Thankfully, I am over it today.  I hate puking.
Today I went with Mom to Southpoint Mall to do store checks.  It was insanely hot and part of the all is outside.  I had a good time but didn't feel 100% after the heat.  I didn't find anything I fell in love with, but I have a lot of new 1 armed, swollen arm friendly clothes thanks to my wonderful mother!
I was ok for awhile but started feeling faint after dinner.  We don't know what could have caused it, except maybe that I had a bit of a fever.
It really sucks because we are supposed to leave for the family beach trip on Saturday and stay for a week.  It is supposed to be ridiculously hot and we know now that I just can't tolerate the heat.  So I will be stuck in another house and the ultimatum was delivered that Lola absolutely can not come with us.  I won't have internet and I can only read for so many hours a day.  My mom said we could go to my grandmother's house in Charleston, but it is so hard when I have been looking forward to this trip for so long.  This is the first time I've had the chance to go in 3 years.  Bah
I just realized my readers might not know who Lo
la is.  Lola Belle is a (now) 7 week old puppy (age is guesstimated) that showed up in our front yard.  She is such a sweetie but has some spunk to her.  Dixie absolutely adores her.  I'm totally in love.  I've been having a hard time feeling like I am a huge burden on my family and that I am pretty useless lately.  I (and my family) seriously believe that Lola is in my life to give me something that depends on me totally (yes, Dixie does, but she is such a wonderful, self-sufficient dog AND she is also doing things for me as my assistance d
og).  Thanks to Eric Velarde for the gorgeous picture!  Visit his website HERE

Friday, June 12, 2009

A long overdue update

I know, I know.  I have totally slacked.  But I'm here now...so all is well?
I saw a neurologist at Wake Forest Baptist.  He thinks it might be Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, but it isn't presenting like it normally does.  So he is referring me to an orthopedist that specializes in CRPS and hard to diagnose upper extremity issues.  I'm not getting excited, since we've been through this once already.  So we shall see where this goes.
My upper arm and everything else is still swollen.  And painful.  It hasn't gone down.  It actually got a bit bigger after the appointment, but I think that is because of all the manipulating and poking the neurologist did.
My family is leaving for the beach a week from Saturday.  I don't know how that will go.  My mom and I might come back early, depending on how I feel.  It is so hard to plan things, since I have no clue how I will feel that week.  I have to work up to going out for a few days and then I am exhausted for at least a day or two after.  I love to lay on the beach, but being in the sun wears me out.  Once again, we'll see.
I promise I will be better about blogging.  No more week long breaks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm an awful blogger some days

Like, for  the past week.  However, I'm in a much better mood since then, so that makes up for it right?
I'm going to Baptist today to see a neurologist there.  I promise I will give a full update once I get back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

There is a reason I only have 4 periods a year

Yes, I recognize that might be TMI.  Honestly, I don't know what is TMI is anymore, since I repeat my story so many times.  My medical history is basically public record.  but I digress...
When I PMS I am a flaming bitch.  My mood swings are titanic and I am a holy terror.  Then I get really sad.  Happy isn't in the wheel of moods though.  I get cramps from hades and migraines that make me want to gouge my brain out.  It sucks and I wish people "spays" were more readily available.
Being sick is getting to me, which I have no doubt is related to my PMS from hell.  I feel like I'm all alone since I rarely leave the house.  Everyone else has a life and I have my sickness.  I know its silly and I never verbalize this because I don't want pity.  Instead I bitch to all of my internet readers (who I never see in real life :-p).
My parents are fighting.  My dad has been in a bad mood for weeks.  I know it sounds self-centered, but I know I'm a big part of the cause.  If I wasn't sick, if I hadn't moved back in, if I didn't take up so much of my mom's time, if my dogs and I weren't here, things would be fine.  If I wasn't sick and here, Mom wouldn't be stressed out and Dad would be happy.  She would still be going to church every Sunday, which would make my dad happy.  He wouldn't have to deal with his heathen, non-church going daughter on just a few weekends a month.  He would only have his perfect Christian son who is following in his footsteps and his pride and joy. I know his surgery and eye problems play a role, but it really got bad when I started getting sick.  I know I'm a burden on this family and it frustrates me to no end.    I know it stresses my mom out and that breaks my heart.  She has been so good to me and I'm a big part of the trouble in their marriage.
I know most of this is due to my PMS.  The atmosphere when the whole family is together is so tense it makes me anxious.  It is interesting that my dad has been rude and mean to my mom (and occasionally me) for the past few weeks yet my brother said my dad has been in a great mood for the past few weeks.  I'd like to think that my dad loves me as much as he loves my super fantastic Christian brother and that my religion (or lack there of) would not affect it.  But it does.  I will forever find it interesting how hypocritical many Christians are.
I swear, there will be no more woe-is-me entries.  I know how obnoxious they are.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day Dixie!


On May 29, 2007, my roommate and good friend Jennifer and I went to the shelter to scope out dogs, since I was planning on getting one after my month-long study abroad in Australia and I wanted her to approve my dog choice.  We weren't planning on adopting, but thought that we might take a few out of their kennels to give them some play time.  The first dog we decided to take out was a smiling, spotte
d puppy.  We got her into the playroom and she was bouncy and adorable, just like any other 5 month old puppy who had been stuck in a cage for 3-4 months (yes, months) would be.  We called her name and she responded immediately, which struck both of us.  As an experiment, we told her to sit.  Her butt hit the ground immediately and we knew this puppy was something special.  Suddenly, one of the volunteers comes in and asks if we were interested in Dixie.  We told her we weren't sure, that we hadn't come in to adopt since I was leaving for Australia in a week.  The volunteer then told us that Dixie was free since someone (we suspect it was her) had sponsored her en
tire fee.  Jenn and I both knew that we couldn't let this pup
py go.  I called my mom and begged her to watch this puppy for a month.  My mom, being the softy that she is, agreed, and I pretty much ran up front to get my name down to adopt her.  They told me her spay would be done Thursday and that I could take her home on Friday.
                                                                                                                                                           
Later that evening, I got a call that Dixie's surgery had been moved up and I would be able to pick her up on Thursday!  I was ecstatic and went out to get everything I needed for my new angel.
On Thursday, May 31, 2007, I picked up the first love of my life, my canine soulmate.  She charmed all of my roommates and loved her Aunt Jennifer (as you can see in the picture on her first day home!

Dixie has been an absolute joy these past 2 years.  She has been with me through illness, a broken engagement, and now she is training to become my assistance dog and tremors alert dog.  She knows me so well and we work together like a dream.  Training her has been a breeze since we are so in tune.  She knows when I am about to have an episode of tremors and alerts so I can take my medicine early.  Everyone that meets Dixie falls in love with her.  She is probably the most special dog I have ever met.  I adore my Dixie and am so thankful we found each other.
HAPPY GOTCHA DAY DIXIE!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soul mates come in all shapes and sizes

Most people believe that your soul mate is a person that shares a deep bond with them or someone who completes them, their other half.  I think this definition is too narrow.  My soul mate has four legs, spots and a square head.  I know, for the non-dog people that read this, that probably sounds crazy.  Dixie is my heart dog and I have known that for a long time.  We have a connection that some dog owners never have.  We get each other, we know the other's body language.  She is my canine soulmate.
These days, she has become a rock in my life.  We are getting her a new backpack that is easier for me to get into so she can be my purse.  She is also going to become a people and item retriever for me.
What I discovered today is that she is also an alert dog.  I was extremely stressed out from everything and my pain medicine was wearing off.  I started feeling crappy and Dixie came over and started pawing at me and licking my face.  Then she went to the door and whined, then came back to me to sit by me and lick my face.  I took my Ativan and the episode only lasted 20 minutes. I hadn't even started thinking about this kind of assistance training but it seems Dixie is a natural at this. 
The paperwork comes this week.  I think Dixie will be certified in a month or two.  I am so thankful we work well together and that she learns so quickly.  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm a walking fault line

So this weekend was going well.  I got my hair washed and styled at our favorite salon.  I got some cute new shirts, a great skirt and some fabulous heels.  I got to hang out with my mom, aunt and little cousin.  I was frustrated that my favorite pair of heels was MIA.  I was irritated that my arm stopped me from doing alot.  Moving around alot made my arm hurt and the pain meds wore off a bit quicker than they do when I'm resting at home.  I got in the car to come home and I started shaking.  The tremors were back but they weren't as bad and I took an ativan as soon as I got home.  This time I only shook for 2 hours.  Dixie was there for me along with the rest of my family that went shopping.  At one point she laid on my lap while I was shaking.
I'm better now.  I m going to worker harder to get Dixie certified so she can be with me all the time and hopefully alert before this happens.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My thoughts scatter with the breeze

I'm feeling a bit random and thoughtful right now, so this is going to be a bit scattered.
I don't know if I've said it as much as I think it, but my mom has been my angel through this illness.  She has become my best friend and my rock.  She doesn't get angry when the pain and frustration makes me snippy.  She holds me and comforts me when I'm overwhelmed by the pain or the situation.  She accommodates me with anything I need.  She helps me take care of my animals even when it inconveniences her.  She never, ever complains about anything.  She has been so proactive about this illness and researching what it could be and where I should go.  She gets me out of the house for little excursions so I don't go stir crazy.  I don't know that I would have made it this far in an ok frame of mind without her.  I am so proud of my mama.  I owe her a debt that can never be repaid for everything she is doing for me through this illness.
Dixie is my 35 lb angel.  She sleeps with me now and keeps an eye one me while I sleep.  Today we took a nap and she crawled up to lay against my back and keep me cozy.  Her obedience continues to improve leaps and bounds and I think her assistance dog certification will be achieved in no time.  She already has some behaviors that just need to be polished a bit more that will count for it.  Being able to take her everywhere with me will not only be great for her physical help (my 4-legged purse and helper) but for the mental aspect of it.  She calms me down and always lifts my mood.  We really do have an uncommon connection and it is amazing how in tune she is with me.
I got to see Kim and Mary for the first time in over a month on Friday.  That lunch was like therapy for me.  Being with them again lifted my spirits so much.  They are two of my best friends and when we get together it is hilarious and we are always laughing.  I miss going out with Kim, Tory and everyone else.  Parmalee is playing at Downtown Live next weekend and I want to go so badly.  Those concerts are some of the best times we have in Raleigh.
We are back to square one with the illness.  We thought we had a diagnosis but it doesn't look like it now.  I think we are going to head to UNC and see what they can figure out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This illness is always an adventure

So this week has been an adventure.  Tuesday was a marathon medical day.  It actually started with my whole family moving me out of the house, which didn't take very long at all.  Since we had time, mom and I went to my piercer (Progress Body Piercings on Hillsborough, who are fantastic) and got the plastic fillers for my piercings for the mri.
I went by my allergy doctor and got my xolair injections, which was uneventful, even with them only having one arm to work with.
Next was the nerve conduction study.  Oh, the ncs.  We are not friends.  It hurt.  I was shaking when I came out from it because the pain was so intense.  Unfortunately, that hasn't gone away yet, which is a little scary.  To combat the pain and trauma, mom and I went to Starbucks, which our family knows has mystical healing powers.  I managed to recover enough to go to my mri, which went well (with the help of some valium for my claustrophobia).  The pain was still there, but I held still for it.  My nurse for the mri was fabulous and very sweet.  The receptionist hit it off with my mom and I since she has a thing for tattoos and she has been pierced by my piercer.
On the way home, the pain and stress of the day must have started getting to me.  I know it was mentally, but physically I started having violent tremors and problems with my speech when we were driving through Burlington.  We got home and after talking to my doctors, rushed to the hospital.  I finally say an ER doctor around 11 and he gave me 2 IV injections of Ativan, which stopped the tremors.  I slept until 4 the next day and was still having some speech problems but no tremors.
Today my speech is much better, I just have to think a little harder to speak.  I'm still in immense amounts of pain, but it is amazing what your body will get used to.  My NCS and mri were normal.  My PCP thinks we may have figured out an idea in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  I see him and the pain clinic tomorrow, so hopefully we will have a plan.
In other news, I am going to start training Dixie as a true assistance dog.  I've been emailing my trainer about it and I think Dixie will be fantastic.  I truly adore my pup and she already knows me so well.  She is also super smart and very easy to train.
I've also decided I'm going to get a tattoo at the end of this to celebrate making it through everything.  I'm not sure what it will be yet.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ok, a happy post

Pictures of the herd!


Prissy and Thing Two in the middle of bug hunting

My vicious beast with her toy


Pippin being his strange self


Runt guarding the house

Karma about two seconds before she fell off the bed!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ah, irony

When I named this blog, it was a reference to an inside joke in my family.  When I was younger (preschool aged) I didn't like to color inside the lines.  My teachers told my mom that this needed to be corrected and she responded that I could color outside of the lines if I wanted to.  I've always been a "unique" individual, so I thought it fit.
 Now it seems that this concept has taken on a whole new meaning.  When I started this blog, I didn't expect it to be a blog about illness.  But that has become a central part of my life and oddly enough, fits with the title.  Ah, the irony.
I took a "turn for the worst" (I know, it sounds so dramatic, but it is true) on Thursday night.  I woke up at 1 am to throbbing, excruciating pain in my upper left arm.  None of my pain meds worked.  I saw my regular doctor, but he has no clue what I have.
So now I am the one-armed wonder in truth.  I am using a sling that totally immobilizes my arm.  It is quite an adventure, but it helps with the pain.  I hate feeling helpless, but there is so much I can't do now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My animals are the bright spot in this illness

So the mystery illness has started to take its toll on my body.  The past two days I have felt truly sick.  I have no energy and I just feel blah.  My left side keeps swelling and it just sucks.  My arm hurts a lot.  No one knows why anything is going on and I think that is starting to wear on me mentally.  I haven't seen anyone other than my family since I moved home.  I can't do much of anything.  Going out to the mall and walking around for an hour or two totally exhausts me.  It is very frustrating when I was so independent.
Karma and Dixie have been fabulous.  They both stay by my side around the house.  Dixie is so good around me and never jumps on my arm.  That dog has always been my rock and she continues to be that for me.  Karma stays by me too and is always ready to be my little lover.  She sleeps by me and sits with me and just purrs.  She is a bit of a brat to others (she has a foul mouth) but that cat adores me and I love her too.  I tell people that she treats me like her long lost kitten.  She even gives me kisses!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

If things had gone according to plan, I would have walked today

Today was supposed to have been my graduation day.  My farewell to NC State and the past four years.  My cousin, my best friend, a ton of my close friends all graduated today.  I am elated for them, I really am.  But it hurts, since my world is a giant question mark.  I can't move on because I have no diagnosis.  I feel as though I am stuck in limbo, like someone paused my life and forgot to hit play again.
I'm trying to stay upbeat about this, I promise.  If I say anything other than something hopeful, my family starts up with "encouraging" things like "this won't be going on forever" or "you'll be back in school this fall!" and "its not a big deal, you will still graduate."  I know these things.  Well, I don't really.  I just wish that they could acknowledge that we don't know where I will be in the coming months because we can't figure out what is wrong with me.
It is also draining to live in a house where you are mocked for not ascribing to a certain set of religious and thereby political beliefs.  I said I didn't care who our President prayed to as long as he was doing a good job running the country.  This shocked everyone and got the rebuttal of "yea, well, what about eternity?"  Not exactly an open environment for dissenting opinions and reason-based debate.
Ah well, anyways...

CONGRATULATIONS Deidre, Annette, Kristin and everyone else!  I am so proud of everyone! 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear Mystery Illness, You SUCK!

As I'm sure the title alludes to, I am no better.  My arm and shoulder are swollen up to the base of my neck.  If you look at my shoulders in the mirror, I look decidedly lopsided.  Since there is still so much swelling, the pain has not gone away at all.  This means that I am on Vicoden 24/7.  So that makes driving impossible.  The pain makes alot impossible, actually.  I can't wash, dry or flat iron my hair.  Bandannas have become my best friend.  A shower has become a very long, arduous endeavor.  Cooking is far beyond me (which isn't a total loss, as we know how I used to feel about cooking).
The hematologist officially gave up this week.  Her nurse told me that she was only there to rule out cancer.  Nice, huh?  My doctor was under the impression that she was a super diagnostician who can figure out the mysteries.  Apparently that is only if you have cancer.  They recommended that I see a neurologist, so thats who sees me next.  I don't have my hopes up.
I think this illness is finally starting to get to me.  I'm in a lot of pain and right now there seems to be no end in sight.  I should be celebrating, worrying about finals and counting down the days until the end of my undergrad.  Instead I am trying to fill up endless hours with TV, books and my computer.  I can't go out because my arm hurts and being out on Vicoden is no bueno for me.  My dad doesn't seem to understand the extent of this and has frequently left me to fend for myself, which leads to me eating Baked Lays for my meals.  Its interesting that someone who recently went through a period of forced helplessness can be so callous.  He is upset that my mom is going to miss his graduation from the Duke summer program for a trip he has known about for months.  Seriously?  I kind of want to hit him and shout "At least you ARE graduating!"  I have no idea when I will be back at school and therefore no idea when I will graduate.  I took so many things for granted before and I will appreciate so much when I'm healthy again.
My animals have been a bright spot through all of this.  Karma will not leave my side if I am in the house.  Dixie is the same way and her obedience has been impecable.  She has never once jumped at my arm.  Indie is a goof and is always fun to watch.  They are keeping me sane right now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes I don't want to believe my ears

So as I was heating up my dinner tonight, my dad had on the CBS Evening News and I was listening half-heartedly when this story came on (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/30/eveningnews/main4981452.shtml).  I very nearly gave myself whiplash when I heard this: "Why would you care? If we get the information we needed and America is better protected, who cares?" replied former CIA officer Michael Scheueur. "These are not Americans."
I know my jaw hit the floor.  Now, let me say that I harbor no love for murders of any type.  But really?  These people can be tortured and it is perfectly ok because they aren't Americans?!? To me this just smacks of the racism and sexism that our country has worked so hard to overcome.  Why are we allowed to determine that a non-American is less of a person?  How can anyone think it is ok to take away another person's humanity?  I get it, these are people who were willing to commit terrible crimes.  But to torture them and then disregard them so?  You make them no better than animals.
Many of the terrorists were doing what they felt was called for by their religion.  So many Christians today smirk down their noses at all Muslims because of these few.  Perhaps one should examine their own history before becoming so arrogant and smug.  The atrocities committed in the name of Jesus are appalling.  But, those are ok, because it was in the name of Jesus, right?  It is ok to dehumanize a fellow man as long as he is not and American (and that usually follows with the Christian caveat).
We wonder why the entire world holds little love for us.  Well, people, maybe this is why.  We allow people to make these terribly crass statements on national evening news programs.  Why would they not think we have a god complex?
Regularly scheduled blogging will return soon, but this boggled my mind and I had to get it out. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I've been a bad, bad blogger

I know, I know.  I have neglected my poor blog for over a week (I think).  But hey, at least I am remedying the situation before it managed to sink into bloggy depression.
Dixie and I went to Charleston to visit with my grandparents, (great) Aunt Ann and (great) Uncle Sam. My mom also came down and a great time was had by all.  Dixie managed to charm everyone, especially Aunt Ann.  She once again proved that she is the best dog in the world.  There was nearly no fighting or grouchiness.
Dixie, Indie and I were supposed to walk in the SPCA K9 3K, but Dixie got into something toxic and I had to rush her to the emergency vet for what we thought were petit mal seizures.  She stayed over night on IV fluids and then I transferred her to where I worked before I got sick.  950$ later she is perfectly healthy and I owe my dad a small part of my soul.
On Tuesday, my mystery illness got worse.  My whole arm is swollen and the pain has reached a new level of excruciating.  The hematologist thought it was a blood clot, so off I went to let an ultrasound technician press on my super tender arm.  Yea, no blood clot.  So now we are waiting on bloodwork results and I am headed to a pain management clinic on Monday.
So now I have completely moved home and am constantly on narcotics, so I can't drive anywhere.  Although going out for more than an hour or two is more than I can handle at the moment.  Such is like with the mystery illness.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge is brighter today


My brother's heart dog passed away today.  Spot was 14 years old, which was truly amazing, since he was 114 lbs.  He was a very special dog with an amazing personality.  Everyone fell in love with him and he loved most people.  He had a huge bark, but was a total chicken.  He and Andrew fell for each other at our old church's bazaar when he was a wiggly hound puppy.
Our family was truly lucky that we were all together with him today.  He had everyone he loved today.
Here are two of my favorite poems:

Walk With An Old Dog" -- by Gayl Jokiel

Because you will not be forever,


Hope against time though I may,


I paint your picture in my memory,


Eyes blue with age, muzzle gone gray.


Because you walked with me in Springtime,


Puppy-clumsy, running free.


As you grew, we grew together-


You became a part of me.


Because you shared with me my sorrows,


Not understanding- simply there.


Often spurring me to laughter—


My friend, you know how much I care.


Because the years have slowed your fleetness,


Though your spirit still is strong.


I promise I will take more time now,


So that you can go along.


Because you do not fear the future,


Living only in the now,


I draw strength from your example-


Yet time keeps slipping by somehow.


Because the day will soon be coming


When I will no longer see


You rise to greet me-but in memory


You will always walk with me.


The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown...


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My immune system and I need to have a heart to heart

So my doctor put me on 2 new meds, one antibiotic I haven't been on yet on the off chance I have some rare form of cat scratch disease, the other a possible alternative to the percocet.  Unfortunately, as the day progressed, I started turning into my allergic alter-ego with red spots all over and a nice sexy wheeze (haha).
In 22 years of having allergies I have never had any medication allergies.  Now, within a month, I've had 2 pop up.  Already it seems that my immune system is a bit wonky, since I have a swollen upper arm and tons of pain, but this is getting a little ridiculous.
The stumped doctor count is up to 9 now.  They are going to send me to a hematologist/oncologist who has been compared to Dr. House and can apparently find the right diagnosis no matter how rare it is.
Now I'm off to continue to drug myself with Benadryl and hope I'm not red and splotchy on Thursday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thank Yous continued

To Indie,
Thank you, little man, for being the soul of goofiness.  You have the most joyous personality and it never ceases to amuse me.  Thank you for having a smile through all experiences.  You show me that optimism is always a good thing to hang on to.
Thank you for working so hard with me.  You found me and didn't know who you could trust, so you were quick to use your teeth.  You showed how far you've come when you didn't bite anyone during the x-rays of your broken leg  Now, I am hoping you will become a therapy dog.  You show what hard work and kindness can do.
Thank you for loving to cuddle and always wanting to be petted.  You love to be with people and share it with everyone.  Your silly antics and idea that you are a German Shepherd always make me feel better
I love you.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's go for a little less depressing

So I realize that my blog has taken a turn for the depressing and whiny.  I need to remedy that and prove I am not a total emo (haha) so I decided to steal from a message board I'm on.  Someone asked what you would say if you wrote Thank You letters to your pets.  After mulling on this a bit, I thought I'd post them one at a time since they will probably be rather long.

To Dixie,
Thank you for being my heart dog.  When I walked into the shelter that day, I wasn't planning on walking out with a dog.  I wanted a big dog and had never even heard of a Catahoula.  Thank you for always being happy to see me and greeting me with total love and exuberance.  You have a smile that I know you save for me.  Thank you for always knowing when I'm sad and letting me cry into your fur.  Thank you for being brilliant and learning everything I teach you.
Thank you for always wanting to be touching me when you sleep on the bed.  Thank you for wanting to protect me when you think something might harm me.  I know you wouldn't hurt a fly, but your protectiveness always make me feel safer when I'm home alone.
Thank you for being so fabulous that everyone loves you.  Even when you get excited and forget some of your manners, everyone still adores you.  Thank you for progressing in every issue we've worked on.
Thank you for giving me hope of being healthy and training both of us for agility.  Thank you for letting me see the gorgeous sight of you in full run, totally enjoying yourself.  you remind me that life really is about enjoying the simple things and living in the moment.
Thank you for being so gentle with all the other animals.  You are part of the reason Indie is such a great dog now.  You were perfect even when Karma was a one pound ball of fluff.  You even managed to charm Pip, and he was terrified of everything.
Thank you for finding me and getting me through every rough time.  You have been a life saver for me.
I love you.