Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And then some bad news

We have two dogs, Bailey and Floyd. In the summer of 2004 we took Bailey in when a friend's daughter needed to find a good home for him due to family allergies. Bailey seemed a bit lonely because he was home alone all day, something he was unused to in his first home. So we talked about getting another dog "after the holidays".

Every Sunday one of our local TV stations features an adoptable dog on its morning news program. Some weeks it's a dog from the city kennel, other weeks it's an older dog being fostered by an organization called Sanctuary for Senior Dogs. I always try to catch this segment. One Sunday before Christmas, they came on with a senior dog named Floyd. He was sitting there on camera with his silly grin, and the woman was saying that he was good with kids and with other dogs. Wow, sounds like a possible fit, I thought. Jim didn't get a chance to see him on the TV but agreed that I should call in. We ended up being the only people who called for him, and he came to live with us.

He's a great guy; very friendly and sweet. He is protective of his "babies" and goes into their room to check on them every night. His main faults are shedding (our house is in a cloud of black hair) and the fact that he acts like a cat, trying to wind himself around us as we move around the house. Not bad faults, really! He's definitely a homebody, who would rather be inside than out in the yard. We think he might have been mistreated by a prior owner, so we're extra happy to be providing him with a happy retirement home. He and Bailey get along very well; Bailey thinks he's the alpha dog, and he is, unless Floyd feels like asserting himself. :-)

His age was estimated at 11 years, so he's about 13 now. He has terrible arthritis in his back legs, for which he takes medication, but it doesn't get him down. He'll slip, fall, and get right back up. He seems to ignore the arthritis and keeps on trucking.

About a month ago I noticed a lump under his right eye. The vet diagnosed an absessed tooth, and he took antibiotics but they didn't help, so they did surgery and removed two teeth. Still the swelling didn't go down, so Jim took him back to the vet. They xrayed his head and decided it wasn't an infection, so they took biopsies. The diagnosis is metastatic bone cancer. The vet doesn't know where it might have spread at this point, and we're certainly not going to worry about finding out. Jim discussed with the vet how Floyd has been acting happy and "himself" (he really enjoyed company we had last weekend) and so it was decided that we'll just keep an eye on him. When his appetite goes and he starts sleeping all the time, it will be time do take action. I cried a lot when I heard the diagnosis but am now trying to just have happy time with my guy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Very good news

"No change". Such a beautiful phrase when you're talking about possible growth of cancer. On Tuesday I was waiting for the doctor to call, but had to leave early to take Carly for her well-check. So I emailed him with my cell phone number and asked him to call me. He did call, as I was pulling into the girls' day care. He had the results of the abdominal and pelvic scans, which showed that the enlarged lymph nodes they're watching have not grown. However, the chest CT is read by a different radiologist and that report wasn't in yet. So I had to wait another night for the full results.

On Wednesday I was in a class all day, so Dr. R called me on my cell while I was on my way to class. (He's a great guy!) The lung nodule has not changed. So, while he remains "suspicious, because that is {his} job", he said that it made sense to wait 5-6 months for the next scan. So I can relax for the next 5 months and 3 weeks. :-) I was talking via email with his nurse the next day and I told her that they have been so good to me but I hope I don't get to know them any better, lol. She agreed. :-)

By the way, my plan to be better hydrated and therefore have easier-to-find veins wasn't as successful as I'd hoped. I ended up with 4 sticks, which was better than the 6 sticks last time, but was still not fun. Then on Wednesday morning I noticed that the site of one of the sticks was a bit infected. I put neosporin on it and it seemed to get better, but got worse again Thursday afternoon. I called my doctor's office and now am on an antibiotic for 10 days.

I celebrated by having a Pampered Chef party at my house on Friday! (Hey, if you need any Pampered Chef items, email me! You can order online through Monday, lol!) Ok, so I had actually committed to this back in November, but still... it was good timing. I had invited a number of former work friends, some of whom I haven't seen in a long time. It was wonderful to reconnect with these ladies. Of course I was stressed about the condition of the house. Up until about 2 hours before party time the living room looked like a toy factory explosion. And I had really hoped that Jim and I would get rid of more junk that is lining the hallways. But it just didn't happen, so I just pressed forward. This year I am trying to make more of an effort to see friends and do fun things, rather than just talking about how "we need to get together!" Life is too short, even when you don't have a cancer scare.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today is the next check point

And I am nervous... it's been 5 months, so time for my next CT scan to see if there is any change. I'm hopeful that everything is stable, but until I hear my oncologist tell me that, I am a bit scared. I'm trying something a little "new" today before my test. Usually I schedule it for first thing in the morning, to get it out of the way. I have to be NPO (nothing to eat or drink) for 4 hours before the test, which has ended up being more like 12 hours. Then they always have a really hard time finding a vein to place the IV line for the contrast. Once long ago when donating blood I was told to make sure I drank a lot of fluids prior to donating, to hydrate myself and "plump up" my veins. So, I scheduled this test for the afternoon (3:15PM EST) and am drinking away this morning. We'll see if this helps. I am also sick with a cold so hopefully that isn't dehydrating me too much.

I'll post after I talk to the doctor.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Funny times at our house

I know it's been too long; sorry about that. The holidays are always such a whirlwind. Just thought I'd share some little girl funnies while I am remembering them.

On Saturday Becky went to spend the night at her cousin's house. She was soooo excited; he is 6 1/2 and they have a lot of wild fun together. She wanted to put her pajamas on before going over there; I discouraged her because she was going to be eating supper with them. We got there only to discover my nephew in his jammies already! So she changed before I left and they tore off to be maniacs together.

Well, the fun only lasted so long. They called us at about 8:30pm to let us know that she needed a new easy-up because she had, well, used hers. She was having so much fun dancing around and playing that she didn't make it to the bathroom in time. Then they called again at 11:30... she had thrown up. Great... I threw on a coat and went to get her, being happy that they only live about 2 miles from us. B was upset and wanted to go home, but said she felt fine. In the car I learned what had happened... she and cousin were in bed talking and he filled her with tales of Bigfoot. It's unclear whether he told her Bigfoot was real or imaginary, but she got so scared that she felt sick. So, they went to my sister's bedroom, where B promptly barfed on the bed. On the way home she told me she was hungry but once inside decided she was too tired to eat. She was fine after that but keeps asking about Bigfoot. Also, Jim had been trying to explain to her how Bigfoot is just considered a legend, and told her about the Loch Ness Monster. Bad move; she started asking about the monster in the water then!

Sunday and Monday were without incident, just the usual toddler and preschooler fun and games.

This morning (Tuesday) it was cold and icy out, since it rained a lot yesterday. Jim was outside warming up and scraping both cars. I helped the girls into their coats and then needed to leave. I kissed them both and asked Becky to watch Carly, who was crying because I was leaving. When I got to my car I realized that I needed to go back into the house. I walk in to see Becky sitting at the bottom of the stairs, alone.

L: Where is Carly?
B: I don't know.
L: You were supposed to be watching her?
B: I WAS watching her.
L: Clearly you weren't since you don't know where she is!

Our downstairs is a big loop of foyer, hallway, kitchen, dining room and living room. I turned to go down the hallway and notice a paper towel on the floor. Not just any paper towel mind you, but the one that was wrapped around the sandwich I stuck in my purse to eat in the car. No sandwich in sight.

L: Was this my sandwich?
B: I think so.
L: Did the dog eat it?
B: Yes.

So I continue through to the living room to look for Carly, while Becky went the other way. She found her first, and Carly was disassembling a drawing kit of B's.

B: No, you aren't supposed to have crayons! This is unacceptable! (guess she does listen to mommy sometimes)
L: And it is unacceptable that you weren't watching her!
B: Sorry, Mommy.

We got everyone into the car without further incident.

At work today I called a local dance school to see about getting Becky signed up for "ballerina classes". She has decided she would prefer ballet over her current gymnastics OR the Irish dancing she had wanted to learn. I'm waiting for a return call to go check out a class.