Friday, February 22, 2019

Lucy and Vi

The Noah-like rain has continued all week long.  One night we were awakened several times with loud thunder booming in the night.  Thunderstorms in February!  More roads are flooded, several landslides briefly closed others and all of us are sick and tired of hanging rain coats out to dry.  And wiping out the car seat because you sat down wearing a wet coat.

Lucy hates it even more than we do.  We had to buy more boots for her because they got soaked every time we took her outside.  We put paper towels inside and hang them on hooks to dry.  So far we haven't had to resort to a hair dryer.  We've washed a lot more dog towels that get wet and soiled when we dry off Lucy.  (Another great perk of a long marriage is that one accumulates a lot of towels no longer good enough for company but just fine for dogs.)

We've kept more lights on during the day to pretend it is lighter than it really is.  And we've treated ourselves with more "comfort" foods than usual. And we hope for the rain to stop.

We periodically take off Lucy's boots to give let her feet air out.

Our son had a birthday so Violet got up early that morning to make him a cake.  She took her job quite seriously.  She has a great little kitchen center,

She starts with the eggs of course

As you can see from the playroom floor, the poor child has so few toys.  Believe it or not, most are gifts and not purchased by her parents.

Next comes the cake mix.

Don't forget to put the mixing bowl back under the beaters, Violet

It won't be long before she is really stirring things and helping in the kitchen.  Her daddy is an excellent cook so I'm sure she will learn her way around the kitchen as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, a pretend birthday cake will do just fine.

I had my scans but have not met with the oncologist for the results.  That will be on the day for the next chemotherapy treatment where I will either continue the present regimen or switch based on the scans.  The worst part of the scans involved NO CAFFEINE that morning, only water.  I can deal with fasting easily but no coffee?  It was almost 11:00 when the scans were finished so I drove immediately to a bagel shop near the hospital and grabbed a large coffee.  Oh my, it was good.  I also bought some New York style bagels to freeze.  Many people from here drive over regularly to buy those bagels.

Today's quote comes from my daughter's favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character, Eeyore:

"The nicest thing about the rain is that it stops.  Eventually."

An anonymous quote in keeping with my negative attitude about this excessive rain:

"Remember; not every rainy day holds within it the promise of any rainbow."


Friday, February 15, 2019

We Love Lucy

Sunshine!  We have had sunshine for three consecutive days now.  And I love it!  One of our camellias is bursting with buds and even has a blossom or two.  I'm sure the buds will get caught in another cold spell and turn brown and drop off.  Such is the price you pay for planting something at the very cusp of its planting zone.  But you do get the occasional reward of a fully blooming tree,  And the plant itself is lovely and I enjoy it.  We actually have three of them and they are among my favorite plants.

Our Lucy is about the same.  Certainly no worse and perhaps a bit better as she accommodates for the lame leg.  She moves slowly but does not appear to have any pain.  We bought more boots for her since we have had rain and we want them to completely dry out when they get wet .  She is much more comfortable with the boots on her hind legs since they give her a more sure footing.  They also protect the foot which she sometimes drags as she goes up the driveway.  It is a real plus that she seems to enjoy the boots and does not like for us to take them off to let her foot get some air.

She's looking a bit unkempt since we no longer take her for a bath and grooming.  Getting her into and out of the car and then having the bath seems like too much trauma for her.  So we groom her ourselves, trimming inside her ears and doing her foot/paw care.

My son sent me a photograph of one of his cats.  He and his wife picked her from the shelter when she was a tiny kitten.  She has a congenital neuro-muscular problem and was destined for euthanasia.  Of course that is the kitten they chose to be the companion to their other cat that wandered into their lives.  She is not  often seen when Violet is around.  But when Violet is safely in her crib the cat takes full advantage of one of the soft blankets I knitted.

Thankful that active little toddler is tucked away.

Today's quote comes from the famous Daniel Webster and could not be more appropriate:

"The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power."

The other quote comes from American journalist Garet Garrett.  I don't agree with all his opinions, but this one is spot-on.

"Loyalty of the law-making power to the executive power was one of the dangers the political fathers foretold."


So ends another week.  I will be having PET (positron emission tomography) scans this weekend.  These sophisticated scans will reveal how effective the new chemotherapy has been on containing the remaining spots of cancer and to see if any new areas have popped up.  The scans will be extensive, from "skull to thighs."  We are cautiously optimistic since my cancer marker levels in the blood have not risen.  But after 30 weeks on the new treatment, we need to know exactly where we stand.  My oncologist will explain the options we have based on the result of the scans.  Keep your fingers crossed and petition the deity of your choosing, please.


Friday, February 8, 2019

We Love Lucy

What a strange week this has been.  Spring one day and winter the next.  One day with dreary mist and fog and the next with bright, warm sunshine.

I do appreciate the sun and have a touch of seasonal affective disorder.  When we built out house, the first thing I wanted to know was the orientation.  Our main living areas face the east and southeast so we get the morning sunshine if there is any to be had.  The great room wall toward the deck is primarily windows and double doors.

Our Lucy is also fond of sunshine and seems even more so as she ages.  It must feel good on her old, arthritic bones.  (I know it does on mine.)  She seeks out areas of sun puddles when the sun is shining even in summer.  She loves to lie on the hot deck when it is warm.  She snoozes on her bed with one of her pillows as the sun shines upon her.  If the sun has moved by the time she awakens, she gets up and moves to find another sunny spot.

Lucy seems to be sleeping more and is slower to get up and moving.  But the leg is the same and she does not appear to have any pain.  She is eating and drinking well and is able to walk reasonably well once she gets started.

I love the tiny spot of sunshine on her nose

Our granddaughter has been introduced to a new food.  She might live in the Midwest and she might have been born there, but she is a real daughter of the South.  She recently had first hushpuppy.  Quickly followed by her second, third, and fourth.  She crammed them in her mouth with gusto.  Fortunately, she loved the smoked turkey that followed so she gave up on the hushpuppies without much fuss.  But she clearly thought those hushpuppies were among the best things she had ever eaten and she has a broad taste in foods.

Proof that toddlers can focus.  Nothing comes between Violet and her hushpuppy.

I do hope you are having some sunshine (and perhaps hushpuppies) in your life.  Isn't it wonderful to notice the lengthening of the daylight hours?  And it will only get better from here.

Today's quote is from William Cullen Bryant:

"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds
And swells the leaves within."

And a quote from Winston Churchill, simply because I like it:

"The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman."

While I am certain our Violet will be educated, I doubt very seriously if she will have a southern accent.  Neither of her parents do.


Friday, February 1, 2019

We Love Lucy

The news about Lucy is not good.  Not good at all.  At first we thought a strained muscle was the reason for her lameness.  But as the day progressed, it became apparent she also had foot drop in that leg.  My doctor husband checked and she had no reflexes in that leg but full range of motion did not elicit any pain or discomfort.  The veterinarian had told us previously that there was weakness in the muscles of her left eye, causing the eye to recede a bit.  She speculated it might be a brain tumor.  She did not feel (and we agreed) that we should put Lucy through the tests (especially since it would mean substantial travel), that would be needed to confirm the diagnosis.  Further, at her age she would not be a suitable candidate for brain surgery.  You can see from this photograph that the left eye looks smaller.  That is because the muscle that "pushes" the eye forward in the socket is weak.  Fortunately her vision seems fine.

So this new semi-paralysis of the right leg is likely the result of a spread of the tumor to the spinal cord.  There is really nothing reasonable that can be done except to make as many accommodations as we can to make life a little easier for her.  So we moved her food and water dishes upstairs to the laundry room and blocked the stairs down to the den so she will be living on one floor.  We have a lift support to use when she starts to have more difficulty getting up or walking outside.  We put boots on her rear feet.  The primary reason is to protect the dropped foot from scraping on the pavement when she goes outside.  Another big benefit is that it gives her better traction on the hardwood floor.  Finally, it does give some support to the foot and makes walking much easier for her.  In fact, when we take them off for periods to air out her feet and massage them, she clearly wants the boots back.  We do passive range of motion to the leg so it won't become stiff.  We have reduced her rations so she doesn't gain weight now that she is so much less active.  And we don't leave her alone since she clearly is anxious if no one is visible.

And so we are sad.  But we are also realistic.  We know that unfortunately loving a dog almost always means outliving that dog.  We have much for which to give thanks.  We are delighted that she is not in pain and she is adapting fairly well to the changed physiology.  We will do what we have done with other dogs.  We will love her and care for her and she will let us know when it is time to go to the Rainbow Bridge.  We have no timeline and she may remain stable for quite some time.  We certainly hope so.

Lucy seems to love the boots.

And speaking of boots...our little granddaughter loves them.  Not the toddler-sized ones but her mother's boots.  Many of them come up well above her knees when she tries them on.

Violet loves the boots, too.

Our son says this next photograph clearly indicates that they need to start looking for a pre-school for the gifted!

Don't worry, Violet.  I often want to hide my head too.

Today's quotes are for all who are caught up in the polar vortex:

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."
e e cummings

"Cold!  If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd have frozen to death."
Mark Twain

And isn't it a sad thing when elementary school children have to send drawings to educate the President of the United States on the relationship between global warming and the polar vortex?