Phrase of the year

I’ve seen a lot of my friends post on their blogs or on social media that they have discovered their word of the year. It’s a word they’ve chosen (or a word that has chosen them) that will guide them throughout the year.

Well, I’m not sure about a word, but I’ve found a phrase that I’m pretty sure defines me.

“She believed she could, so she did.”

What does this mean to me? Exactly what it says. If I believe I can do something, I do it. I’m not wishy washy about it, I’m confident. If it fails then it fails, but at least I tried.

  • I believed I could write, so I did.
  • I believed I could raise money for a cause, so I did.
  • I believed I could become a BCBA, so I did (in process).
  • I believed I could organize a major fundraising event, so I did.

I’m not sure if this phrase could equate to just one word. I keep thinking something like “determination” or “unstoppable” or “fearless.” But those words can mean so many different things, and I feel like this phrase leaves no room for interpretation. It’s straightforward, and I like that about it because I’m also straightforward.

Anyway, do you have a word or phrase of the year? Or if your life? Do share.

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

It may be cliché to say that, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe how I felt letting Daisy go yesterday. People said she’d let us know when she was ready, and she sure did. She was a dog with so much spirit, and it was just gone.

This is how we will forever remember our girl…

I can’t say enough good things about Charleston Veterinary Referral Center. From when we took Daisy for a late night ER visit, to the oncology department who helped evaluate her and keep her comfortable and deal with my incessant canine cancer questions, and finally to the evening ER visit last night…they were absolutely wonderful. I honestly don’t think Brad and I would have made it through last night if it wasn’t for them. It was different from any other veterinary experience I’ve ever had with her or any other pet. Hell, they were better than a lot of human doctors I’ve met. They are compassion, plain and simple.

Brad and I got to hold her and rock her, and she fell asleep in our arms. We were the last thing she saw before she closed her eyes. She was snoring peacefully and looked like the little snoozing baby dog we remembered. The doctor took her to the back to put her fully at rest; we weren’t sure we could handle that. I mean we’re pretty strong people, but we’re not that strong.

As difficult as it was to make that decision, we knew it’s what she needed and, among the emptiness in our hearts, we feel an odd sense of peace, too, because we know she’s at rest. She’s probably playing with her friends and fur-siblings on the other side. She was always a happy dog, and she always bounced back, and I have no doubt she’s causing some trouble as we speak.

She was the best girl and she’ll forever be in our hearts, and the hearts of those who knew her and loved her. Thanks for all the kind words. ❤

Daisy Update

I realize I sort of left everyone hanging about Daisy, and for that I apologize. It was a busy week dealing with the start of a new semester at work and an ailing dog.

So we’re doing supportive care and she’s hanging in there. She has meds similar to what I had when I had cancer: steroid, pain killer, anti-nausea, and anti-diarrheal.

She hasn’t been eating voluntarily, so we’ve been using our NutriBullet to grind up some food and vitamins into mush that we can put in a small medicine syringe and squirt in her mouth. She’s been drinking a lot of water, and when she’s a bit doped up, we use the syringe for that as well. She mostly sleeps and chills out, checking things out.

We had a ultrasound guided aspirate done (biopsy) and the pathology came back with her tumors most likely being hemangiosarcoma. It’s not what we wanted to hear as we were hoping for a lymphoma that could be quickly treated with chemotherapy.

Hemangiosarcoma can be a hit or miss with chemotherapy as sometimes it responds well and quickly, and sometimes it does not. The other difficult part is that the fine needle aspirate is only able to sample a small part of her liver, so it’s not representative of the entire thing.

We’ve decided to try one round of chemotherapy to see if there are any positive changes. Her oncologist said we would definitely be able to tell after one round of chemotherapy, maybe two weeks time, if the chemotherapy is helping. She’ll be going in on Wednesday morning, so please keep her (and us) in your thoughts.

Chemotherapy for dogs is much different than chemotherapy for humans. According to the vet, dogs handle the drugs much better than humans do, and the side effects are usually just nausea and diarrhea, which we are already treating her for. So hopefully she’ll feel minimal changes/ discomfort there. She also may have metabolites in her feces, so for the first few days following chemotherapy, we will need to use gloves when cleaning up after her number twos.

This is sort of our “Hail Mary,” last ditch effort to see if she can be treated before we make the decision to rely solely on supportive care. Every day she shows a little bit of the feisty personality we know and love, so we want to give her a chance to kick this, even if that chance is small.

Daisy: Bad to Worse

You know, they don’t tell you about this part of being a pet parent. You may be well-versed in the concept of life and death, but when you spot that tiny black and white blob of fur and ears, you don’t think about how she’s gonna go.

I’ll skip the details and just share the specifics.

We took her back to the emergency vet last night, this time a different one. Her abdomen was still distended and hard, and she hadn’t had a bowel movement in over 24 hours.

Diagnosis: she has a 6cm mass on her spleen and an 8cm mass on her liver, as well as multiple other masses throughout all lobes of her liver.

The options suck.

Surgery is no good because while they can remove the spleen, they can’t do anything with the liver since it’s all over the liver. I even asked about liver transplants, but that’s not an option for dogs.

Chemotherapy may not improve her quality of life since she’s already feeling bad and side effects can be miserable. It would also depend on the type of mass as some are not responsive to chemo, including the type they suspect she has.

So supportive care is the best option in terms of doing something…and that’s basically like hospice for dogs. The other option, of course, is putting her down, which is in unfathomable right now.

I hate this so much. I wasn’t this emotionally wrecked at any point during my cancer diagnosis and treatment. No lie. I dove into all that head first, but this? I want to run away to a land where cancer in dogs doesn’t exist.

I don’t know what to do. Logically, I know what the most humane thing to do is. Illogically, I’m wondering if she’d want the opportunity to kick cancer’s ass like her momma did. I’m wanting to selfishly eke out more time with her because I’m not ready for this.

Some may be thinking, “She’s just a dog!” Then stop reading. She may be a dog, but to two people who can’t have children, she’s their child. We’ve raised her for more than 12 years. She’s our baby.

Having to make a choice regarding the life or death of a loved one is absolutely agonizing. I would rather go through everything I went through with breast cancer again than have to go through this. I’m not even kidding. This is so hard.

Anyway, she’s pretty lethargic from the comfort meds. She’s not the same Daisy right now, and she probably won’t be again, I know that. Brad’s been at work all day, so he hasn’t seen her yet today. Just keep us in your thoughts as we make literally the most awful decision of our lives.

Happy New Year!

2019. It’s gonna be a great year. Lots of good things.

However, it’s off to a rough start.

First of all, Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful holiday, I did. Brad and I spent the holiday with his family, and we went to the Festival of Lights, too. Here’s one of my faves this year.

After Christmas, I ended up with a stomach bug that lasted straight through Friday. It was glorious.

We went to the South Carolina Gamecocks bowl game in Charlotte over the weekend. Our seats were in the sky and the team lost miserably, but it was an experience I can cross off our 101 list, so that was pretty cool.

See that concrete wall a few rows behind us, behind that girl? That’s the back of the stadium. That’s how high up we were. I had about 15 minutes of vertigo/anxiety when we first arrived because I felt like I was going to fall the heck down.

Also, there was a little excitement in the nosebleeds. I didn’t see all of it, but from what I heard, some UVA fans were celebrating an interception and spilled some beer on some people in front of them, including some kids, and the father said something, and the UVA fan lady dumped her drink over his head. That I did see. Needless to say, security came and threw the UVA fans out.

On the way back from Charlotte, I ended up with a sore throat and fever. Body aches were insane. Being stuck in the car three hours was pure torture.

The sore throat stuck with me through New Year’s Eve, which was really fun since I had some great drinking games planned. I sat sober on the couch while everyone else partied, which is fine but it still sucked. For me anyway.

And guess what? I still have a fever. And guess what else? I’m pretty sure it might possibly be strep due to the white spots on my tonsils. Hooray!

Oh, and I can’t forget the other New Year doozy. We had to take Daisy to the emergency vet because she has had diarrhea and a distended stomach and was also very lethargic. Turns out it’s nothing serious, thank God, and she’ll be on some antibiotics and a special diet for a few days.

So tomorrow I’ll be heading to the doc. I should have figured it was more than a cold when days passed and I still had a fever a horrible sore throat. I mean, I can barely swallow solid food and it’s not getting any better. Boo!

So that was the end of my 2018 and the beginning of my 2019. It can only get better!

Right?!?!

What’s in a victory?

I’m in a couple Beachbody fitness groups. One is on Facebook for members of Beachbody on Demand, and the other is a challenge group with other people living the lifestyle.

It’s been a week since I’ve fully committed to this again. Back in the beginning of this year I had some major losses with inches and pounds. This time, not so much. I still lost, but the numbers weren’t as high so it gave me pause. I did the self-doubt thing, the shaming. Then I straightened myself out. Loss is loss. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I could have gained muscle, which weighs more than fat, so the scale wouldn’t have reflected that. Not to mention, I have non scale victories! I can sit up just by using my core. I don’t need to use my legs to grip onto or propel myself forward. I feel better, emotionally and physically. Whether or not I see it on the scale or on the measuring tape, I can FEEL the difference, and that’s huge!

So I’m going to exercise again today, tomorrow, and the next day. I’m going to do it because it makes me feel good.

3 more months

Another doc down! I went for my one month follow up at the plastic surgeon today. He said everything looks great. He felt around and said I don’t have any fluid build up and everything is healing nicely. Big change from the major surgery in May. BIG change. 

I go back in three months. The skin over my right nipple should be healed more by then and we’ll be able to talk about options for that, like a tattoo or possible reconstruction. 

Aside from my Lupron shots every four weeks, I don’t have another doctor’s appointment until March! Seems crazy since I have pretty much had an appointment every Monday for the past year.

Soooo, my plan is to return to Dr H in three months much thinner! I’m back to eating clean and healthy, and he said I could exercise, so I’m doing it. 100% balls to the wall exercise. I’m excited because this is the LAST TIME I’m going to experience that new exercise muscle soreness because I’m not going to stop this time. 

As Dr. YB said…I’m off to live my life!

This is the part where you find out who you are.

One of my Facebook friends posted this today and it resonated with me so much that I felt the need to share it here right now.

This is me in 2019. This is me now. I’m cancer-free, BS free, and working on maintaining a healthy mind and body in the new year and forever.

This isn’t “another one of those new year’s resolution” posts that we see so many of and criticize. Shame on us for that, too. We should always be lifting our friends up, not letting them down. If they’re making an effort to get healthy, we should be their biggest cheerleaders, regardless the circumstances. Maybe they’re doing it for the 12th time because they didn’t get the support they so desperately needed but were too embarrassed or proud to ask for in the past, so they’re having to do it again and again. Let’s lift those friends up.

This is a lifestyle change. A mind and body cleanse and overhaul. I’m eating healthy again and ready to be active. I’m ready to exercise my mind and do some personal development as well.

This is the part where I find out who I am.

How about you?

Doc update

Nothing exciting.

He recommended half a Benadryl to help me sleep. Labs looked good. I don’t need scans unless my labs come back abnormal, so that answers that question.

And that’s it! I like those kinds of appointments. I’ll be there again in January for my shot, then my next appointment with labs is April 1. I have an appointment with Dr H for my surgery follow up in a week, and then I’ll be free from doctors for a little while!

Normal is on the horizon! 2019 is going to be a good year.