Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's a little late, but here's this year's Christmas letter

I didn't get our Christmas cards out in the mail this year like I wanted to and I am so mad especially since we have the best picture ever this year. So I am just going to post it here for everyone to read and enjoy (if you don't like it, blame Dan he wrote it!).
So without further ado u:

Twas the Friday before Christmas
And all through our home
All the creatures were stiring
while I tried to write this poem

Black and white fur was flying just past my head
with the cat finding safety on top of our bed
It seems that Mac had awoken from his short little nap
and thought to seek revenge from the last claw filled slap

Its difficult to write with such this clatter,
specially when you have to move to protect grey matter.
Just as pixel came in, she left in a flash
and with her, the dog ran out to continue the clash

Although not much happened in 2008 that I can name
However there is one event that unfortunately came
Buttercup passed away from us all, all too dang quick
The Feline Leukemia just had made her too sick

We got Mac to train as a service dog, just so you know
Although the puppy inside him still has some time to grow.
Guide books and trainers say this will take more then a year
I still say it could be shorter if we beat it through his rear.

Kristie and I are still doing the same old, old work
But hey, as the economy goes, a paycheck is still a nice perk
Maybe some day we will move where the snow no longer flows
but till then we're waiting to see where the market goes

I've ran all out of words and interested in this tale
and feel no need to continue until it is stale
So, as always, may your Christmas be jolly and bright
and to all our friends and family have a wonderful night!

Christmas 2008

Christmas at the Lent household this year was one of the best ever since we've been married. Christmas Eve we spent at mom and dad's for a few hours. I hadn't been feeling well since the day before so we took Christmas Eve easy so that Christmas Day I would hopefully feel better from my cold or whatever icky thing I came down with. We got home around 9 p.m. and worked on getting the rest of the house ready for Christmas morning. I still had a couple of presents of Dan's to wrap. I was also going frantic trying to find the present I had bought for my mom. We'd been looking for it all afternoon! Dan even went to several stores before we went to my parents just in case we needed a plan B gift. Yeah, funny thing...all the stores around here closed this year at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve! Yikes! Finally at around midnight we were ready to give up and go to bed....that's when it happened. Dan went to straighten out the sheets on the bed and found my mom's gift! Dan saves the day yet again :)

Christmas morning was so much fun this year, mainly because of the puppy. Mac did amazingly well. I had been training with him for the last couple of days to stay calmly on his mat when people came over and were at the house. He actually did it! He got a little nosy at first, but after we gave him his stocking treats he was happy as a clam and chewed on his rawhides and stayed out of the way while we opened gifts. Mom played Santa this year. Everyone got great gifts. Dan got me the wide-format printer I had been wanting for my scrapbook addiction. This way I don't have to spend as much money printing through Costco and can print out more pages than I usually do. Then he got me the one thing I didn't expect him to get at all (I already had figured out about the printer and knowing how expensive that is I didn't expect anything else from him). I got the new G1 android phone from T-Mobile! This is the best phone ever! It has more internet capabilities than any other phone I've seen or had. It can display 4 different browser windows/tabs at once on the screen. It has an application where I can scan a barcode using the camera and it will bring up where else you can by that item and at what price. I can go on and on about this phone! Mom and dad got me the IRobot Roomba too! We've used it a bit this morning and so far I'm impressed. It's charging right now so tomorrow will be it's first run for the whole house. The dog and cat are a bit leary of it which is funny.

Dan, mom and dad had some surprise gifts as well. Dan got Guitar Hero 3 and Wiifit from "Santa" which so far he seems to least Guitar Hero. He played it so much Christmas afternoon that his eyes started to blur. Wiifit is hopefully going to be a great exercise motivator for him as well as me if we can figure out how to get me to use the balance board. My mom got a pretty jade necklace from us and my dad got a new power drill which is apparently one he didn't have and "needed"...LOL! Mom also got him a stationary bike which he was very surprised by and really wanted so he can continue his therapy from his hip surgery. Since they can't use their treadmill anymore we are going to take it off their hands and turn it into a doggie treadmill for Mac.

Dan and I went back down to mom and dad's for Christmas dinner. We had some very yummy turkey that Dad picked out. Apparently if you buy a fresh and not frozen turkey a day before Christmas it turns out very tender and juicy. Some of the best turkey I've had. Mom made her famous dressing that I could just live off of! She's going to finally teach me how to make it....yay! We had some candied sweet potato souffle (however that's spelled), mashed potatos and rolls. For dessert we had the chocolate cherry cheesecake Dan made for me for my birthday. It was the best homemade cheesecake I've ever had! We were talking last night about how he can go into business being a pastry chef or at least specializing in cheesecake! For my birthday I got more gifts from mom and dad...yay! I got some pretty new clothes and accessories and a very nice new jacket with a fur hood that is very warm. That will definitely come in handy up here!

Dan took me to see Marley and Me for my birthday. We were going to go see The Curious Case off Benjamin Button, but the theatre showing that was very packed at 7 p.m. so we tried the other theatre. I'd been wanting to see that one anyways for my birthday. It was a very good movie and despite the ending I would recommend it to anyone who is a dog lover. There were so many scenes that reminded me of Mac! I can say though that Mac is much more behaved than Marley is!

So that's the Christmas report from the Lent home. Pictures will be added when I can get them all sorted.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nothing too new, but figured I'd write something

So it's been over a month since I've written any new blogs. November was a fairly uneventful month so I really had nothing new or exciting to post. It's mid way through December and we are gearing up for Christmas, or at least trying to. This past Saturday we had family pictures taken with Mac (for those that are reading this for the first time Mac is the new dog). Mac also got to have his picture taken with Santa. He's not quite sure what to think of Santa, but was happy that he got treats for being such a good boy.

Dan was suppose to go out of town on his first business trip at the beginning of December, but due to weather it got canceled. I think the Lord was trying to tell us something because that same week he started getting sick. My back and legs also have been getting weaker and around Thanksgiving time they started getting really weak and I started to fall more again. So I guess you could say it was a good thing Dan didn't go out of town. The last few weeks seem to be one doctor's appointment or another for someone in our family. This past week there's been doctor's appointments for either me, Dan or the dog. It's been kinda nuts. Dan still isn't feeling too hot and now has a sinus infection. The neurologist still does not have a clue as to what is causing my leg weakness and wants to send me back down to Utah so I'm just waiting to hear back from him to see what the next step there will be. The latest update is a CAT scan that was done last week didn't show anything too new other than the start of degenerative disk disease at L4-5 which could be the reason for some of my lower back pain I've been having since April. If I do have a tethered cord or anything like that, they might have to do a spinal tap to make sure because the CAT scan isn't showing it. The neurologist doesn't want to do that until hearing from the neurosurgeon first since it is a fairly painful procedure.

Our poor puppy is on lots of medication right now. We took him to the vet on Tuesday after our doctors' appointments and he had a whole workup done. They did skin scrapes again to check for mites which they finally found this time so he is on medication for the next month for that. I am really hoping that it helps clear up his poor little face where he has been losing hair. He also has a small yeast infection. The vet has no idea how that happened and said it's rare to have that and mites at the same time. She gave us these medicated wipes (Dan calls them stride-x pads) to rub over his face and neck and any other effected area. He also has to take his allergy medicine again. Poor Mac really doesn't like the medicated wipes but at least he takes his meds like a good puppy. I think so far the allergy meds and the medicated wipes are helping. He just started on the other medicine for the mite problem tonight so we have to watch him closely for side effects from that.

That's pretty much it. I just figured I would ramble a bit since I have a few people who actually read what I write. More to come as we get closer to Christmas and my birthday!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grandma's 90th Birthday Party

Today was Grandma Drury's 90th birthday. Almost the whole family was there! I think there was only about 7 out of 22 grandkids missing from the big event. I finally got to meet my great aunt Luana who I've not ever really met I think. It was great to see lots of family that I haven't seen in quite awhile as well. We took tons of pictures so as soon as I get to it those will be up.

The big hit of the night was the scrapbook that I had made for her. I of course can't take all the credit for how beautiful it turned out. Thanks to my husband, my Aunt Marva sending me pics, my mom having lots of pics and about 10 or so wonderful ladies from around the world and the USA putting the pages together! The book came out better than I could have ever dreamed! When I was presenting it to Grandma and told her that she couldn't cry otherwise she would have me crying to she said she couldn't because her tear ducts weren't able to produce tears anymore. As soon as I gave it to her though and she started looking through it she did start to cry some! She was very very touched by the book and couldn't believe how many of you made it possible!

The book was such a big hit people were practically wrestling each other to get a look at it! Dan's BYU page was definitely one of the highlights (you'd have to understand how much our family is big on BYU to really understand). Each and every page though was very special and brought about new memories as I sat with Grandma listening to her recount her memories of each picture. Everyone definitely wants a copy now! Everyone has also told me that I should go into business doing this professionally now! I don't know how I could ever do such a book all by myself so if anyone of you that helped out is interested, let me know...we are seriously contemplating it!

The youtube video will be up as soon as we can recover!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mac is under house arrest for the next week

Okay, I know it's been awhile since I've blogged here, but that's only because I've been using my other blog a heck of a lot more lately. I've got a cute video to share though of Mac, our puppy. Speaking of Mac, I'm afraid he might fail puppy school. We had a bit of an accident this past Wednesday. I was bringing him back to the house after going to enroll in doggie daycare. We had just gotten home and I was parking the car when the accident happened. I had transferred into my chair and Mac was sitting on the backseat. He usually is pretty good about waiting until the door comes open and the ramp is down before getting out to go into the house. Well things happened so fast that I still don't know what happened. All I know is that one minute the door is opening and things are fine and the next my puppy is yelping in pain worse than I've ever heard him do before. At first I figured somehow I accidentally rolled over his tail. When I looked though and realized it wasn't his tail but that his paw had gotten pinched in the groove of the door where the ramp unfolds I freaked out and as I was trying to help by putting the ramp back up that made things worse. I bent down to try and help him with his paw and he was so panicked that he accidentally bit me pretty good.

I ran inside and called Dan who got me calmed down enough for me to be able to go into the bathroom and start washing off the blood. He called my mom for me so she could come take me to the ER since he couldn't get off work right then. I calmed down enough to call Melissa who also rushed over. Mom took me up to the minor emergency center that is closest to the house since after washing my hand it wasn't as bad as we thought. We got in fairly quick. I was more worried about if Mac was okay, but I knew Melissa was seeing to him and was in good hands. I had to get a tetinus shot which if you've never had one, hurts like nothing else! They soaked my hand for a good 15 or so and dressed the bite wounds. The PA was very friendly. I was most upset that they were required to call animal control and report it. In essence, Mac is under house arrest now until next Saturday because of the bite even though it was my fault. I think it's a bit over the top, but I understand they have to be careful just in case.

So it was a very bad day for the puppy. Oh not to mention he had his first run in with a moose that same morning in our backyard so he already was in a hyped up state to begin with. Since he can't leave the house, we've had lots of time to train and really reinforce good behavior. We went out the next night and bought a shock collar. I didn't really want to until this happened, but I really can't have this again and want to correct his behavior before he gets any older. I like the one we got because it has two buttons on it that give off either a bad tone if he does something he's not suppose to or a good tone when he does what he is suppose to. The 4 levels of shock we only use when he really isn't listening or gets into something that we really want to correct right away like eating the cat's food. So far we have only had to use the shock part pretty sparingly.

Luckily my hand is healing up quite nicely now. I know Mac felt really bad about what happened because he has been very good since Wednesday. I think also he knows that I would never do anything to intentionally hurt him so now whenever something does spook him he comes right over to me and sits or lays right by me. Since he is under house arrest though looks like he might have to miss puppy graduation unless I can somehow sneak him out. It's only like a day or two prior to his 10 days. We'll see.

Meanwhile, here's a cute video we just uploaded to youtube of Mac drying himself off after one of his recent baths. Very funny!

Self Drying Dog

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mac's heritage revealed

We finally got Mac's DNA test results back today and boy was I a bit shocked. We knew he was definitely a Labrador mix so that was a no brainer that Lab came out on top. It's the other breeds that showed up that were interesting. Coming in second was Beagle (that I don't see at all!) then tied are Boxer, Rottweiler and finally shiatsu (that must be where he gets his curly hair from?). All in all, the personalities of each breed were also listed and he definitely does have personality traits of each breed. It now makes sense why he doesn't like being left alone as pretty much every breed listed hate being left alone or away from the pack. I think his funny little bark and mumble noises are the beagle or rottweiler. So now that we know what all he is it will be easier to know how best to train him and what he'll respond to. I just can't wait for him to start doggie daycare so that he can really start socializing with other dogs more.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Productive weekend

This weekend was fairly productive. Saturday we had the carpets cleaned, which were in desperate need of it! We had to have everything up off the floor and I wanted the house as clean as possible so we spent a bit of Friday and all morning Saturday cleaning. Now I have a fairly clean house...yay! I took Mac down so mom could puppy sit for us while the carpet people were here. He didn't necessarily like getting ready to go because he doesn't quite know what to think of his new backpack just yet (kills me I didn't take pictures!) but once Dan got his backpack on and loaded with his toys we were off to grandma's. Mom sure got a kick out of seeing him. It's just like dropping your human child off at the babysitter's. I gave her all the instructions as far as how to care of him since he is teething, etc. He cried a bit when I left but he did very well for grandma I am told. I was asleep when Dan went to go pick him up at 4, but he was apparently very tuckered out from playing with grandma because he didn't mind that he had to be in the garage last night. Today was a bit of a different story. He is ready to come back inside but the carpet is still a tad damp so he's got one more night in the garage. You would think he was stuck at Quantanimo Bay or something!

This afternoon we did some training in the garage. It is definitely starting to get cooler outside so we have decided to move our training sessions into the garage. It definitely seemed to work as he finally seems to have caught on to the "come" command. Dan took some rope he found and made a pretty long line that attached to his collar so that helped with his training because once we got outside I was able to call him back with just two calls which is a big improvement. I also used treats more this time around and that also seems to have helped too. We also worked on the "watch me" command. That one takes alot more work as he only really seems to do it if I have a treat in my hand. Otherwise he tends to ignore me. I've got lots of pictures I still need to upload, I just haven't felt much like it lately (you know I am feeling bad when I am not working on my scrapbooking and uploading pictures!).

I took some more pain medicine tonight. I am beginning to think I might have a kidney infection since my back is still hurting and the pain isn't shooting down my leg entirely like it did back in May. I sure hope whatever it is goes away soon! It's very very painful!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Semi good news from the neurosurgeon

Today Dr. Schmidt emailed with his thoughts about my latest MRI. Overall things seem to look okay. He said that it doesn't seem like I have a shunt blockage but he does want me to get a CT scan with dye injected just to make sure that I don't have any more deterioration of my upper spinal cord. If I do get more nauseated and feverish then it still might be a blocked shunt. So for now we are cautiously optimistic that it is just stress and anxiety. We'll see what the CT shows but for now I'm hopeful we don't need to be going to Utah any sooner than October as planned.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To go or not to go??

Okay, I know the title of this blog is a bit cryptic so let me explain. For the last month I've been having some weird medical symptoms again.....yep, again! A few days after Dan's birthday back in July I woke up with my legs practically on fire with an electrical/prickly sensation. I just figured I slept wrong and that it would go away. After the sensation still being there after a week, I made mention of it to my PT. We were hopeful that the "weird" sensation was a good sign that my body had finally decided to wake up from the paralysis caused from the syrinx on my spine and that the decompresssion surgery was finally showing real signs of working. Since I wasn't in pain perse just had this rather annoying sensation in my legs I didn't think too much of it. Yeah, that was until the pain really set in and the tingling wouldn't go away no matter how much medicine I took. Then the other symptoms started. To date, I am headachy almost all the time, nuaseated more frequently, losing my balance, extremely bad memory problems (I had to ask Dan today what my SSN was and almost forgot my birthday!). I went to my regular doctor a couple of weeks ago finally and she ordered the battery of MRI tests. Then I went to the pain specialist for my regular monthly appointment and she was able to pull up the MRI results. To her it looked like nothing major had changed since May so we were hoping it was all due to medication changes (okay that was her thinking and not wanting to face the inevitable I agreed with her). I still didn't think things were going quite right though even though I started back on my meds. so I made an appointment with the neurologist just as a precaution while waiting for the neurosurgeon to get back with me.

Well I stayed home from work last Friday with another bad headache. Saturday was a tad bit better and Sunday was okay, but I still felt very tired which has been the norm for about a week or so now. Yesterday I felt pretty good so we went to the fair for a bit. Then at 4 a.m this morning I started feeling nauseated and did throw up. My headache isn't too bad today, but my mental abilities have gone down the drain today so Dan had me stay home. My appointment with the neurologist was suppose to be tomorrow and I was just trying to hang on until then so I wouldn't have to go to the ER. As luck would have it, the neurologist's office called with a cancellation and felt like I would be the person they would need to see the most (thank you Heavenly Father!) so we rushed right in. Dr. Downs did all the usual neuro exam things and I don't think I passed as well as I had hoped cause she kept repeating a few of them. She reviewed the MRI results and she was a bit more concerned about one thing it said that Dr. Bertrand seemed to miss. Apparently the report said that there may be other things that they couldn't see very well in the imaging that could be contributing to my symptoms and that was because my spinal cord has had so much damage to my mid c-spine that it is hard to see exactly what is going on. There is apparently some more fluid around there than there was in May. So there might be a possability that the syrinx has changed or there is something else going on. Dr. Downs is deferring to Dr. Schmidt at this point. So we are just waiting on him to call back now.

So there might be the option of needing to go back down to Utah yet again for another visit with Dr. Schmidt. The only reason I wanted to be visiting Utah this soon was for Grandma's 90th birthday in October. I was checking on airfare and as luck would have it the tickets wouldn't be too expensive to go in October. I really don't want to be stuck back in the hospital this soon. I am sick of hospitals and sick of being sick all the time. If there really isn't anything more that can be done and this whole vicious cycle is just going to continue with more and more surgery, I really am doubting if it is worth it. I would much rather just learn to live with the symptoms. So that is the question, do I go to Utah now and see what these symptoms are caused from and face the possability of another surgery, or do I just finally say enough is enough and live with the symptoms? I suppose either way I'll be in Utah if not in September we'll be there in October for Grandma's birthday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's been a week

Well it's been just over a week since Buttercup crossed the rainbow bridge. I miss her terribly. This week was pretty hard, especially the first few days. I couldn't even drive by the vet's office without breaking down. By the end of the week things were getting a bit better. Having Mac and Pixel around really have helped to cheer me up. We will go either today or tomorrow to pick up her ashes. That I think is going to be really hard. I've been putting that off since Wednesday when they called to let us know they were ready. It just seems like that will be the final closure to her not being here anymore. Thank you to everyone who has sent cards, flowers and emails to cheer me up. She really was like a member of the family so it has meant alot to know that my family and friends cared and loved her just as much as I did!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Puppy Classes

The puppy started puppy classes this past Wednesday (I know I'm a little late in posting!) It was quite the experience! We had decided that it would be best for me to go through the classes with Mac by myself so that he doesn't get distracted by Daniel, but that didn't work! For starters, I arrive at Petco a good fifteen minutes early like the trainer suggested. We were the first pair there so we got to talk to the trainer some which was great. She said that she has also done alot of ADA service dog training so looks like I found my trainer for that portion once he settles down a bit. Well things were going pretty well until the other puppies started to arrive! The first puppy to arrive was some sort of beagle mix (I'll have to ask her again this week), anyway, I know I'm biased but this puppy wasn't really all that cute. I know most puppies are cute, but I think his personality really distracts from his cuteness! Anyway, as soon as he came along Mac wanted to start playing with him and vice versa. I had quite the time getting him under control. I'm not used to being around dogs yet so their version of play is not what I am used to. I know they were just wanting to play, but I was probably being overprotective since Mac isn't fully vaccinated yet (we get that done hopefully this week). This other puppy also has very sharp looking teeth and he was just very hyper which made Mac hyper. Oh, and not to mention, this puppy is getting trained by two children! Gimme a break!

Okay, so on to the class. Once we got everyone settled down and I was able to get ahold of Dan to tell him he needed to join in, things went better. We learned how to do loose leash walking, which is still taking a bit of time for him to learn, but he is getting better. He does alot better with Dan than me. I think he is still trying to get used to the wheelchair. We also learned the "watch me" command which has been very useful around the house. Now that we have treat training more consistent he is much more calm. Although, I do have to brag that he is a very smart puppy. He will sit before you even tell him to because he knows he will get a treat. Then if he doesn't see the treat or the bag he sometimes will ignore he is saying, sorry lady, no treat no sit. We also learned the wait command. This is so that he will learn that he has to wait and go second after Dan or I when entering the house, etc. This will be slightly modified since we'll be using him as a service dog and sometimes he will have to pull the chair. He is still having a bit of trouble with this one when we practice at home. Overall though, he did very well in class. Yes, I know I am a proud puppy mommy! I think is the smartest one in the class!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

R.I.P Buttercup

Yesterday our family was torn apart from each other as Buttercup lost her battle with feline leukemia. We thought she was going to be able to beat it and that perhaps her bone marrow would start regenerating again as this past week she seemed to be doing better. Friday night though she wasn't doing well at all. She hadn't eaten at all that day and not much the day before and had started to lose body functions. Dan gave her one last bath to help get her clean and we almost lost her during that process. It was just heart breaking to watch! We got her comfortable and stayed up with her for as long as we could until she fell asleep. We checked on her throughout the night and she was still breathing. I knew what we would have to do the next morning and just dreaded the thought.

Saturday morning we got up and Daniel picked her up and wrapped her in a blanket and brought her to me. I just held her and let her know everything would be okay and that she was going to go to a place that she could be happy forever and healthy again. She purred the whole time I held her. Daniel put her on the bed for a bit so we could get ready to go to the ER for one last time with her. My poor baby just lay on the bed and was trying to get comfortable, but still purred the whole time as I sat there and stroked her fur. Dan picked her up and placed her in my arms and we rushed to the vet. I could tell she was in pain as any movement caused her to cry out in a very mournful meow. We barely made it to the vet. Her breathing had become more labored and she had started gasping for air. I felt sick to my stomach that we had waited this long and she was indeed now suffering! They rushed us back to the exam room and took her from me. I wasn't with her when they gave her the I.V fluids that would help her relax enough to pass on to the Rainbow bridge, but they did bring her back in to me so I could hold her and talk to her and let her know it was okay to go on and keep Grandpa Marvin, Uncle Alan, Nanny and Dan's Grandparents all company while she waited for us to meet her again and cross the bridge together as an eternal family.

Even though I know she is in a better place and my heart is at peace with that fact, I still feel my heart breaking into a thousand pieces all over again every time I see something in the house that reminds me of her or find one of her toys or a piece of her hair. Losing her has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through and I don't know what to do without needing to care for her now. She was my best friend and was always there for me when I needed her. I'm trying to not be sad because I know she wouldn't want me to be sad. Whenever she saw me sick or upset she always came over to cuddle and let me know everything would be okay. I know I have to continue to be strong and go on with life, right now though, the mere thought seems impossible!

We decided to do cremation so that she could be laid to rest in the flower bed and pond that she loved so much. It was going to be very difficult to do a burial there since we will have to move it soon when we put in a new deck and porch and fence. So I picked out a very pretty ceramic urn with kitties on it to put her ashes in and next year on the anniversary of her death if everything is in place, we will spread her ashes in the flowerbed near the catmint plant.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ER visit to the Vet

Friday night we made an ER visit to the vet. I had found one that is open 24/7 and that also does more blood transfusions for cats so I wanted to take Buttercup over there especially since she didn't eat much today and I was getting very worried. We went in about 6:30 and finally got in to see the vet at about 8:30 or so. The clinic was actually pretty busy. This new vet is much better than the others she has seen. He examined her very closely and did a very good eye exam with her. He suggested some x-rays to see if she indeed did have a mass in her abdomen as well as some other blood tests and a test of her blood pressure. When he examined her eyes he did say that he say some hemorrhaging in the back of her eyes which could be from high blood pressure among other things. He did say that she was still able to see some because she did track his finger and her eyes did dilate. We had to leave her at the clinic for a few hours since the tests were going to take a long time and we needed to get home to Mac. We finally went back to the clinic about 1:30 in the morning. The news wasn't all that good. His prognosis is similar to the first vet. All of her other systems and organ functions did check out pretty well, so the culprit to her being sick is definitely her feline leukemia. He is sending off the blood to a special lab to see if they can tell exactly what kind of leukemia she has. He said though that she probably still wouldn't be a candidate for any kind of chemotherapy since she is already so sick. Her red blood count is now down to 6. We discussed a blood transfusion. Dr. Riddle gave us much more pros and cons of doing a blood transfusion. I'm still not sure if it is the right thing to do given that she might get an infection. What we are going to try first is a new medication to stimulate her appetite even more. She'll take this new medication in addition to the predisone and B12 shots. So far this new medication seems to be helping quite a bit. She has been alot more alert since Friday and eating and drinking alot more. I am still hopeful that maybe she'll gain just a bit more weight that doing a blood transfusion will be more beneficial. The other reason to send off her blood samples to the specialist is to see for sure if her bone marrow is definitely not regenerating. If it is even just a bit then we will do the blood transfusion. If it's not then there really is not point in doing the blood transfusion.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A New Addition to our Family

Tonight Daniel and I welcomed a new addition into our family. His name is Mac and he is a very cute black puppy. We aren't quite sure what breed he is, but we are pretty sure he is some kind of Lab/Retriever mix. He showed up at my husband's co-worker's house a few weeks ago and stuck around. She tried to find his owner for several weeks and even took him to see if he was microchipped with no such luck. Since Dan knew I'd been wanting a service dog for some time now, he thought this puppy might be the answer to getting one. After discussing it for about a week, I finally agreed to give him a trial basis. We've named him Mac, short for Macintosh. We figured we might as well stay with the computer theme. Although, I am noticing a animals around here tend to be more of Daniel's pet than mine! So we have lots of training to do with Mac, but so far so good. He is a very good dog and there really are only a few minor things that we have to work out of him, but that's mainly cause he is still a puppy. He learns pretty quick. This is the first time I've ever owned a dog so it should be very interesting. Walking him has been rather fun! I can actually do it with very little hassle and I am sure once he gets used to me more that it will be much easier.

So our life is now more hectic than ever! Buttercup is still with us and hanging in there best she can. The puppy actually likes her alot and seems concerned that she is sick and tries to watch out for her. It's rather cute. Pixel and Mac are still working on getting to be friends, but it is going much better than I expected!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Update on Buttercup

I wanted to give everyone a quick update on Buttercup's status. She's been doing pretty good the last couple of days since we got the news about her condition on Wednesday. I talked to the vet again on Thursday and she said she'd been talking to the internal medicine specialist about Buttercup's condition. They felt that a blood transfusion is still risky given the complications that can go wrong. She did say though that they had talked and felt that putting her on predisone steroid and vitamin B12 shots twice a week might help perk her up more and keep her appetite up. The pills have been a bit difficult to give to her and we've tried everything from the finger down the throat method to dissolving it in tuna juice. Even though she doesn't like it, for the sake of time and to make sure she gets her full dose every 12 hours, we're going with the finger method (i.e. prying her mouth open and shoving the pill in. I hate doing it and so does Dan but it's the best way to make sure she is getting the full dose. The shots are actually a bit easier to do. I'm going to talk to the vet this week and see if we can up those to like every other day or at least three times a week.

She's still eating and drinking. She's getting quite spoiled getting to eat on the couch and picked up to sleep in the bedroom (usually in the wheelchair). I'm hopeful that she'll be able to pull through this for a bit longer. I've started working on a scrapbook page with some pictures of us with her. I wanted something to remember her by Heaven forbid we lose her sooner than I expect.

Thank you to everyone for your love and support during this difficult time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Buttercup is sick

Over the last couple of months our kitty, Buttercup, has been losing weight. At first we just figured it was due to her losing some of her teeth last year and being on a softer food diet. Then in April shortly after I got back from Utah I noticed a small scratch on her chin. It didn't look good at all so I called the vet the next morning and got her right in. The vet, who is not the normal vet we see, said that it looked like nothing but gave me some antibiotics for her just in case. I gave as much as I could to Buttercup and the sore healed pretty quick so I didn't worry about it. Even though the vet at the time made mention of her weight loss she didn't seem all that concerned. I wish now that she would have looked into it more. Since we took her in for that appointment, Buttercup has continued to lose weight and this last couple of weeks I noticed a dramatic change in her. As soon as I could on Monday. The vet (BC normal vet thank goodness) said that her weight loss was definitely not normal and wanted to run some bloodwork. She said that it could either be something with her thyroid since she was still eating fairly good or it could possibly be a tumor.

Today the vet called with some very bad news. The blood work came back showing that Buttercup has a very low red blood count. The pathologist's conclusion was that the feline leukemia has become active and has gotten into Buttercup's bone marrow and that's whey she isn't producing any new red blood cells. She is now down to 7 lbs! I feel horrible that we didn't take more action sooner when we saw her losing the weight. She was and really still is quite active that I just figured that the weight loss was actually doing her some good. The vet said there really isn't much we can do for her now other than keep her comfortable and try and get her to eat as much as possible. I am still praying for a miracle that maybe by gaining some weight she'll go into remission or something. Since she is anemic from the low red blood count there is the possibility of doing a blood transfusion but the vet said that would only buy her about a month. We are going to see how this next week goes and then make a decision on what to do. I am just not ready to let her go yet! If doing at least one blood transfusion gets me at least another month to be with her then that's what I want to do if we can afford it. She is actually still doing pretty well so I am hoping that as long as we stay on top of things from this point on and keep in regular contact with the vet that may she'll be able to pull through for a bit longer. I just can't bear to lose her right now but I also don't want her to suffer either. I need to do some more research about feline leukemia so if anyone knows anything about this disease please let me know!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend Getaway to Fairbanks

Dan and I went to Fairbanks this past weekend for the 4th of July. We really haven't been on what I would consider a true vacation, especially roadtrip since we have been married. We've gone places, but it's usually been because of family gatherings or medical reasons. So this was a nice 3 and a half days just by ourselvces for the most part. Our mini-vacation started on July 3rd right after work:

Day 1 - (July 3rd) We left Anchorage about 2 p.m and headed north for our 6 our drive. We couldn't have asked for a better day to be driving. The weather was perfect (something we haven't seen alot of lately) and the further we got the prettier it got. It was Dan's first time going to the interior and my 3rd. Since we were getting a late start, Mr. Speedy didn't make much allowances for stops for I took as many from the car as I could while we were driving. Luckily my camera takes pretty good photos through glass and has a great stabilizer on it so I hope most of them turned out. I did talk him into stopping once into a turnout so I could get a picture of Denali State park and one of the prettier views. We got to Fairbanks about 8:30. The place we stayed at is called River's Edge Resort and they have either the lodge you can stay in or individual cottages along the banks of the Nenana river that runs through Fairbanks. They had handicap accessible cottages so we opted to stay there to get the fully unique Alaska experiene. They have patios that you can sit out on and watch the river and sunset (which we didn't really see much of given that Fairbanks has nearly 23 hours of daylight right now) When we got to our cottage, Dan opened up the room to find rose petals and candles lit....courtesy of you know who arranging that beforehand ;) It was very romantic. We decided to go get something to eat after taking a break from driving for six hours so we went over to the Chena restaurant. It's on the restort property and we sat out on the veranda area. Even though Anchorage isn't that big of a city, it's definitely a city with traffic, etc. This was just nice to get away and feel as though we were actually in a different state! The food at Chena's was wonderful. I had a apple and spiced walnut salad and Dan had a chicken dish if I remember right. We had a yummy chocolate mousse for dessert. It was a very peaceful dinner along the river. We got to see a family of ducks swim by that was very cute. We also saw lots of boaters, people in canoes or kayaks or others that were just floating down the river. It was still plenty of daylight out and you can do those types of activities all night long here in Alaska, especially Fairbanks.

Day 2 (July 4th) Happy 4th of July! We got up early and went on the Riverboat Discovery for a three-and-a half hour cruise. The cruise takes you into the heart of Alaska and the heart of a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for four generations. We got to see a bush plane taking off from a "bush" style runway, visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher, and gain insight into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture. Alaskan Native guides who have worked and lived in Alaska took us on a personalized tour of the Chena Indian Village. Our guides were very friendly. One girl was a native Eskimo Indian who has grown up here in Alaska and the other young girl was from Texas and was full-blooded Cherokee up here going to UAA. They were great hostesses and I wasn't bored at all.

After the riverboat experience we headed 10 miles outside of Fairbanks to the town of Fox, Alaska. Here we boarded the Tanana Valley Railroad Engine No. 1 and headed through a Permafrost tunnel to learn about goldmining. Fairbanks got it's start from goldmining so going panning for gold is still alive and well today. The tunnel was interesting, but definitely not for those with claustophobia. I tried to listen to the miner that was telling us about the mine and how to tell the difference between Mica and Gold, but trying to find the right camera setting, I missed alot of what was said! I should have been listening more too when "Yukon" Yonda and her husband Dexter Clark, our hosts for the day explained how to pan for gold because I was so lost when we got to the trough area with our "poke" of pay dirt. We ended up doing pretty well though and between the two of us got about $8 worth of gold. I think we'll just continue to let that appreciate for awhile! Dan was so cute with his goldpanning technique! He sure didn't want to miss even the smallest fleck of gold. I love my OCDish hubby! After we got done finding our gold, we got to go into the tourist trap (aka the gift shop) and treat ourselves to free warm cookies!

On the way back to the restort, we stopped by the Alaska Pipeline viewpoint. It's one of the few viewpoints where you can see the pipeline and touch it. Dan didn't want me to try and even touch it given how hot it pooper! We went back to the room for a bit and rested before going to dinner. I'd heard about this restaurant called The Pump House and we actually passed by it on our cruise so we decided to go back out there. The food was good, but not as good as the review I had read about. We were going to sit outside again, but after being outside all day, the sun was really getting to me. That's the thing about Fairbanks, it's so different weatherwise from Anchorage. It was at least 75-80 every day we were there. It was a nice change of pace! Dan had a chicken dish and I had Chicken Marsala. We topped it off with Boston Cream Pie for dessert....yummy.

Day 3 - (July 5th) Today was one of the highlights of the trip for me. You've heard the phrase "Christmas in July" Well today it pretty much was! We got up and drove to North Pole....Alaska, that is. North Pole, Alaska is about 30 minutes from Fairbanks. The whole town is decorated for Christmas 365 days a year! It is definitely not a place for Christmas Grinches that can't take hearing Christmas music in the heat of the July Sun. We finally found the Santa Claus House which is on St. Nicholas Dr. They also have other streets such as Snowman Dr. and Santa Clause Dr. The Santa Claus House is all decorated for Christmas. Right now there is Dancer and Blitzen grazing the grounds. We were greeted my Santa and Mrs. Claus and I talked Dan into getting his picture taken will all of us. The gift shop is huge and has almost everything you can imagine relating to Christmas. I say almost because there were a couple of things I was looking for for my two best friends in the whole world who love Christmas as much as I do ;) but I managed to find gifts for everyone....even Clarissa and Anthony ;)

We had to hurry back to Fairbanks for lunch with my friend Peggy. She works in our Fairbanks office. After lunch at Pike's landing we got in Peggy's van (finally got to get into an accessible van for the weeken as we came down on Dan's car) and toured the town. Our first stop was St. Matthews Episcopal church. Built back in 1905, it's one of Fairbanks oldest churches. The stain glass windows depict the church's history which also includes the first hospital in Fairbanks. Clarissa, these pictures are for you! We also stopped by to see Peggy's I don't feel so bad about our cramped quarters here in Anchorage! Poor Peggy! We also toured downtown, the botanical gardens that is run mainly by volunteers such as Peggy (we even got to see her flowerbeds, very cool!) and we drove by the Musk Ox farm (kinda hard to see them on the side we were at) and Creamer's Field. At first we didn't see anything at Creamer's Field, but then saw a few ducks, cranes and Canadian geese. It was pretty serene looking out on the field.

We went to dinner at The Turtle Club back out in Fox. This restaurant was recommended by a friend of mine at work and I see why. Dan got the 20 oz. Prime Rib and I got 3 Prawns. Neither of us finished our meals because the entrees were so huge! You wouldn't think prawns could get that big, but I only managed to eat 1, maybe one and half. We were so full this was the one night we didn't get a dessert!

Day 4 (July 6th) We got up and checked out of the resort this morning. There were still several things I wanted to do (the whole trip was about a day too short!). Since Chena Hot Springs is apparently a once in a lifetime experience, we decided to head that direction first and see how long we had afterwards. It was about an hour away. Along the way we passed through Two Rivers, Alaska an unincorporated little town of about 500 or so people. We also finally got to see some wildlife. Along the road was saw two moose. The river passes through that area and the moose were just there chillin taken a bath and drinking in the water. We see moose all the time here in Anchorage, but to see them truly out in the wild is something to see!

We got to Chena Hot Springs just a bit too late as the tour we were trying to make that started at 11 had just barely started and you can't join in late. The tour is for the ice museum. We had to wait around till 1 to go on the tour. IT WAS SO COLD! I think they said the temp. was -20 in there. There are several ice sculptures made of two different kinds of ice and also 4 rooms that if you are brave enough you can stay there overnight for $600 a night. So far only like 1 or 2 couples have gone the whole 12 hours. I did pretty well except for my hands which even with gloves got really cold! Some people got to sit at the bar and enjoy appletini's. Since we don't drink we couldn't get one, not even a virgin one because alcohol is the only beverage that won't freeze in there. I did get to hold one of the ice martini glasses though. Chena Hot Springs was definitely a once in a lifetime experience unless we have visitors because I don't know if I could put up with the cold again at the ice museum and the area around the hot springs was just covered with mosquitos and nats. I didn't find it all that enjoyable.

So we drove back to Fairbanks and stopped at Wal-Mart to stock up for the drive back to Anchorage. We got back to the car just in time because it started to rain really hard! We weren't able to stop at the other places I wanted to but we did drive by Pioneer Park so I could get my picture and mark it off my "odd pictures in Alaska" list. So we headed back to Anchorage. We made it home at 12:30 in the morning. It took longer because we made alot more photo stops on the way back.

So that was our experience in Fairbanks. I definitely would like to go back next summer so someone please come visit so we have another reason to go back! It's definitely a place you have to go to if you come visit Alaska. So now I get to go scrap over 3 gigs of pictures! It may be a day or two before I get them posted here for you to see.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day trip to Mirror Lake

Today we went out to Mirror Lake where Dan's company was having his company picnic. We got fortunate enough that the weather stayed fairly nice the whole day. It was a bit overcast when we got there but the sun came out within an hour or so and things warmed up a bit. It was a nice time getting to meet more of Dan's co-workers and their families. Two of the ladies that work in the office as clerical support were in charge of putting together some fun games that we got to participate in. The first one was a treasure hunt around the park area. It was total chaos as Dan pushed me along the grass and gravel really fast so we could keep up with our teammates. He wanted to make sure I participated though and was great about keeping me involved. The second event that we, the wives that is, made our husbands do was the obstacle course that they had set up. Dan and his two friends didn't want to do it because they were afraid of looking silly in the "tech" suits (aka garbage bags) so they decided to let that go as part of the rules. Dan, Buddy and John all got out there and "ran" the obstacle course mainly out of defiance I think. It was pretty funny to watch. The third event was the smashing of old computer equipment that three employees whose names were drawn got to do. Dan was one of the three and had alot of fun smashing up old printers and copiers to find the hidden gift certificate that he found. They also had water balloons for the kids as well as a pinata. It was a great day and a good chance to take lots of pictures of an area I haven't really ever been to before. Dan's company is really good to their employees and we ended up getting several gift cards as prizes.

I'll upload pictures tomorrow as right now it is very late and I'm pretty tired. So check back here in a day or two for more posts and pictures. I'm actually post editing our blog as I really haven't had the time in the last couple of weeks to post our major activities.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update on my dad

I wanted to give everyone an update on how dad is doing. I haven't had the chance to get on in the last couple of days...sorry!

Tuesday we went up to the hospital to see him after Dan and I got off work. We took him a strawberry shake which he loved! He said he hadn't been too hungry, just really thirsty. He looked much better on Tuesday compared to Monday. They took his I.V out and had started getting him up for PT. He had managed to get up about 3 times on Tuesday. He said his butt muscles hurt more than anything else! He seems to be in good spirits and is getting back to is awnry self!

Yesterday I talked to mom on the phone and she said that he was still doing good. He has to watch his pain level though and not let it get out of control. He apparently finally asked for his pain medicine at about 5 in the morning and then felt better. He'd been up again doing his PT and had managed to make it around the nurse's station. Mom was getting all the equipment he will need at home and as soon as the lift chair gets delivered Dan will go over and help get it setup. Last night was Dan and I's 3rd anniversary so we went out to dinner since we expected dad to not be released until Thursday. However, mom called right as we were getting ready to leave the restaurant and said he had been discharged already and she had just gotten him home. We had planned to take him home in the van, but she said she might as well start learning how to get him in and out of their vehicle. She said he was able to walk into the house with his walker okay. We stopped by on our way home to see him and take mom something to drink. He was sitting up and had a friend over and was doing good. He is looking really good and his color is also back to normal. He will start his home health in the next few days which will include in-home PT for a couple of weeks and then will start out-patient therapy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

Today was our 3rd wedding anniversary. Since we couldn't really take time off right now to go anywhere as we have the last two years and seems to be our anniversary tradition, we kept it fairly low-key. Next weekend we will be going to Fairbanks so it will be like a belated anniversary trip. Dan got me the patio bench I had been wanting to complete the front garden. He also got me a gift card to the spa I go to which I know will come in handy soon. I couldn't decide what to get him this year that was within my budget so I just opted for the easy way out and got him a gift card to Best Buy. He liked it as it will get him exactly what he wants. We went to dinner at Kinley's which is a nice new restaurant in town. We thought we would be okay having the night to ourselves as mom said dad would be in the hospital for one more night. However, right as we were leaving the restaurant mom called on my cell to say she had just brought him home. The doctor said he was doing so well that there wasn't any point in keeping him there when he could go sleep more comfortably in his own bed. So we stopped by to see him on our way home. He is doing very well but tires out easily still. He has his sense of humor back for sure and is really glad to be home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dad's hip surgery

I don't know how many of you may know this, but my dad has been suffering from really bad hip pain for some time now. We finally got him to schedule his hip operation which was today. I took the day off to be there at the hospital with him and my mom so she would have some support while waiting for him to get done with his surgery. It was quite a different experience to see your own parent in a role that you've usually held. Walking into the pre-op room and seeing him all ready for his surgery definitely hit me harder than I thought it would. I am so used to seeing my dad being the big strong stubborn type that to see him laying there in such a vulnerable state was very hard. I knew I had to be strong though for my mom and for him. My dad just has never been sick before so this was quite a new experience.

The surgery went well, but longer than we expected. When the surgery was finally over, the doctor told us that dad's hip was "pretty nasty". It was much worse than he expected it would be. The bone was very soft. Usually for someone my dad's size and age, the bone should be much harder than it was. Mom and I went upstairs and waited for him to get up to his room. They were able to do a spinal anesthetic rather than a full general so it was suppose to be easier on his system. They also gave him a good sedative that would essentially make him take a nice nap during the surgery. Despite all that though, he still started coming out of the surgery right as they were finishing up so he did sense some of the surgery. He didn't necessarily feel pain or anything, but felt the pressure of them pounding in the new titanium parts. He also got pretty nauseated too after getting to his room. Mom and I stayed with him for just a little while and then went back to the lounge area because it looked like he was falling back asleep. About 45 minutes later I told mom that she might want to go check on him and sit with him for a bit. The rooms are so small at Alaska regional that we really could only do one person at a time in his room. She came back out the the lounge about 15 minutes after that and said he had gotten sick while we were out in the lounge and had vomitted all over his gown and pillow. He'd used his call button to let the nurses know he was sick but they didn't come at all. We were so upset that they let that happen. I wanted to go chew them up and down, but mom said they had gotten it all taken care of. I know if it happens again I will definitely be callling the CEO of the hospital who I happen to know because that is just totally unacceptable.

Dan got to the hospital about 6 after he got off work. By then dad's nausea had calmed down and he was pretty much asleep so we went and got mom some dinner. When we got back he was still pretty much asleep as he had started using his morphine more since the spinal block was wearing off. So we said good-bye for the evening so he could sleep. I'll go back up to the hospital tomorrow after I get off work and post how he is doing.

Thanks for keeping him in your prayers.

Happy Summer Solstice

This past weekend was Summer Solstice which is the longest day of the year. This is especially true here in Alaska where it means that the sun either never sets or only sets for a few hours depending on where exactly you are in the state. Yesterday was very busy. We've been trying to gather things up for another garage sale and just get rid as much junk as we could. This weekend we finally got around to having it. Friday we didn't get to bed until almost 2 in the morning because we were busy setting up for it. We got done setting up about 10:30 at night, but we wanted to get the signs up that night because the weather report turned on us and it looked like it might rain on Saturday. Putting up the signs was fun. I just rode around with Dan and he got out to put them up. We had to run back to the house and grab some more signs. As soon as Dan ran inside, something caught my eye and I turned around and there was a moose running down our street! It's a common site actually but they are usually just strolling down the street. This little guy was booking it though to somewhere! It was a site to see for sure. I love living in Alaska!

The garage sale went pretty well. It did end up raining in the morning, but we still got some die hard people that came out. We made enough money for part of our trip to Fairbanks that we are taking over the 4th of July. Then we took a drive toward the inlet near the ocean to watch the sunset. I got some pretty good photos. Even though the mosquitoes were pretty bad, Dan indulged me long enough to take a picture. The young man that took it for us should have let us know we needed to move over a bit so that the sun wasn't shining directly on us still!

We left that area and stopped for gas. Since the sun was still setting or had set but the colors were still out and very cool looking, we drove up to the parking area of Flat top for a better view of the city at night. We walked all the way up to the one major lookout spot and got some pretty neat pictures. For those that live here or have visited, you know what an awesome site this is. It's even more spectacular at night. It's one of the best places to see the whole city skyline and mountain range. Then we started walking back down and stopped at another little spot on the way down to take another look. There was another young couple that we stopped to and wish Happy Solstice to (it's a big day up here!) As we were watching the view, that's when we noticed Mt. McKinley was out and visible. It's a rare site to see it so clear from Anchorage and I have never gotten to see it at night. This was Dan's first time seeing it too, but I can't wait for him to see it more up close when we drive up to Fairbanks (maybe then he'll see what all the fuss is about) I got some pretty descent pictures, but wish I would have grabbed my telephoto lens from the car.

So that's more about our weekend and life in Alaska! Happy Belated Solstice everyone!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our New Blog

Well I wanted to try out blogspot as a new blog site to see if it was any better and easier to use. We still have our other site at so I am not sure which one I'll keep around since I do the majority of the blogging for the family. Please let me know which one you like better!

This past week and weekend were quite busy. I started back to work on Tuesday on a part-time basis. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday doing pretty much nothing but going through e-mails I missed out on for the last three months! Friday I had therapy appointments all day long so I didn't go into work. Friday night mom and I went to the Elton John concert here in Anchorage. It was undoubtedly one of the top three concerts I have ever been to in my life! He truly is an amazing and gifted performer! For about half of his songs there was an accompanying laser light show used for the backdrop that was just amazing to watch! He sang and played for nearly 3 hours straight! The concert started at 8 and we didn't leave till after 11 p.m! I highly recommend his concert to anyone and everyone that can go to one.

Saturday I slept in some after getting home so late from the concert. After finally managing to get up and showered, I got ready for the jewelry party I was hosting that evening. After Dan got back from Costco we ran to Wally World to get a few things we needed and take some medicine to a friend of his who was sick with a migraine. We got back to the house and finished cleaning the house up. I got done with my filing project with an hour to spare! The jewelry party went great! I LOVE Lia Sophia jewelry and if I can swing it, might get into selling it part-time. Dan and I watched Iron Man afterwards. It was another long night and I didn't get to sleep until almost 1 in the morning! Today I didn't even get up until noon....yep, decided to be lazy! I watched a good bit about Niagra Falls on the Travel channel and now I want to go there even more than ever! Dan tried his hand at making some chocolate fondue with some extra stuff we had left over from last night. It turned out okay I thought. Then we went down and had hamburgers with mom and dad for dinner. We took our Wii down there so we could all play the new trivia game we just downloaded. It was lots of fun. All in all, it was a great weekend. I love summers in Alaska and especially now that Dan doesn't have to work on the weekends for most of the time we can actually get out and enjoy doing things on the weekend!