Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dog part 4

She loves laying in the sun

Dog, Diesel, and Colton
Dog and Casper
You can really see her age in this one

So I took Dog to MSU yesterday. They did the initial exam and full history. Then they did more blood work and an ultrasound, at this point I had planned on treating her medically with a drug and diet. I left her there a couple hours for them to do their tests and they called me back when all was done and results were back. When I went back and we went over everything it came down to 2 things, the meds would be about $200.00 a day, we could do surgery, or take her home try to make her comfortable and eventually have to put her down within weeks. I opted for surgery so they did a chest x-ray to check and make sure her heart was good for surgery and that looked good. I came home last night very sad I had to leave my baby and she whined when I said goodbye breaking my heart. The plan was that she would have a CAT scan today and they would call me with the results. I was lucky enough to get an update at 9:30pm from a family friend who works nights at the clinic said she was doing good and he would give her extra love while he was there. They called this morning letting me know she had 2 seizures early this morning but had recovered from them and was going into her CT scan. I got another call at about 3:30 with the results from her scan. She has 2 tumors on her pancreas, 1 on her spleen, and her lymph-nodes are swollen. The plan was to talk to the surgeon after she reviewed her case and she is scheduled to go into surgery tomorrow at around noon. I talk to the surgeon at about 5:00. She gave me a run down of insulinoma's and 50% of dog's that show with symptoms it has traveled to their liver, with Dog's very high amounts of insulin she believes that even though it has not shown on the ultrasound or CT scan it is most likely it has spread in Dog as well. Also because of the high amount of insulin she is not sure after surgery that her blood levels will come back up. And she estimates that with Dog's case with surgery she will have about 7 months after surgery and she may not be back to herself. There's no way to tell what will happen until going into surgery, but at this point I am thinking it's time to let her go. I think putting her through a grueling surgery and long hospital stay for "maybe" 7 months of "maybe" good health is not humane. I am very conflicted and have not made my final decision yet. I have been crying pretty much since I got off the phone with the surgeon. I have to make this decision on my own, Brad will support whatever I decide to do but will not tell me what I should do.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dog part 3

My birthday party Halloween 2007

Dog and Diesel This is where they spend most their time
"Honey you feel awful furry this morning"
Winter Fun
"You talking to me?"

So over the past 5 years after we moved to where we are now Dog has come into aging quite well. Other then the thyroid problem, which she is medicated for, she has been healthy. Getting old suited her fine she liked to avoid Colton because he was always in her face bugging him, she never growled or snapped at him, which surprised me because if he was bugging me like that I probably would have. So she has spent the majority of her time sleeping on my bed to stay clear. Now Colton knows that she loves her belly scratched and gives her the loving she likes. But she has gotten gray in the face and moves slower then she use to. But by gosh if she see's a cat she still thinks she's a puppy and will chase them. The only bad memory I have of Dog is earlier this summer we found 3 kittens who's mother had abandoned. We were going to nurse them back to health and find homes for them. Well Dog got into the pen where I was keeping them and killed them, she just mouthed and shook them until they were dead and then dropped them. I was so mad at her I sent her away to my Mom's for 4 days. I knew it was her natural instinct and everything but I was so mad because Colton had seen it and he was very upset. I forgave her and let her come home. We also added another Dog to our family about a year and a half ago, he's a English Mastiff and his name is Diesel. Dog does not like him at all! But he has learned to leave her alone and steer clear when she comes around. We also have a cat that is outside, this is the only cat that stood up to the dog's when it came around and they tried chasing it, he would not budge and batted them in the face giving them some scratches, he was a stray that stuck around so we name him Stray. And a goldfish named Nickname. So back to Dog. We had noticed a couple times that she didn't seem herself, she would come out of the bedroom more then usual, wander around, she just wasn't herself. We had watched her mom die from seizures and after she would have seizures she would act the same way, I told Brad that I thought Dog was having them and we weren't seeing them because she was either in the bedroom or we were gone. So I made her an appointment at the Vet for a Tuesday, we went in she was not having symptoms and seemed fine, we made an appointment for the following Thursday to do blood work to re-test her thyroid to see if it was off balance. The Sunday before her appointment I woke up to the bed shaking (she sleeps right next to the bed on my side) looked over and she was having a seizure. I got down with her and tried to keep her calm until she came out of it. Called the emergency Vet, they said as long as her temperature was good there was nothing we could do until Monday morning. I call Monday morning and get her an appointment for 3 that day. Brad calls me (I was on my way to Michigan's Adventure) not a half hour later, she was having another seizure. He had to wait for her to come to and she still couldn't move, and have the neighbor lady's come help him carrier her to the car on a blanket. I would have canceled my trip but there was nothing I could do, she would be at the vets all day having test's. They tested her blood and 2 things came back abnormal, her blood sugar was 24, normal range for dog's is 75-100, and she had high amount of ammonia in her system. The vet thought with her symptoms and test that we should test what was called a live shunt, she had to send it out so we didn't know until Thursday that it was not a liver shunt. The whole week she was having these spells and now we know it was her blood sugar dropping. So I had to take Diesel in because he had bites all over his belly, the vet said bring Dog too and we will send out another test, glucose test. So we did, that was last Friday we got the results Wednesday that they are pretty sure she has what is called an insulinoma, a tumor on her pancreas. This tumor secretes insulin all the time so it is taking all the sugar out of her body, if we don't keep her feed every 4-5 hours it makes her blood sugar plummet causing all these symptoms and seizures. So that brings me to tomorrow, the vet said it's is treatable with surgery or diet and prednizone, which is a steroid that will stimulate her body to produce more sugar. I'm taking her to Michigan State University(MSU) tomorrow to have a consultation. MSU is the best Vet school in Michigan. They will reveiw her case and give us advise about what's best for her and her quality of life. There is a lot of different things that factor in to this. These tumors can spread to the lungs, when removed they sometimes come back, and after surgery most only live 1-2 years. This has been very stressful for Brad and I, we love her like a child. It is very costly, if she has everything done they would do for surgery, x-ray, ultrasound, and cat scan it can cost up to $4,500.00. The money is not an immediate issue for us we will figure that out if we have to. My main concern is her life and what is best for her. We are having to force feed her right now because she is so sick of eating all the time, and we have to keep changing what we give her because she gets sick of it fast. The thought of losing her brings tears to my eye's, I had to have my horse put down when I was 17 and my mom had to have our 15 year old Cocker Spaniel put down too around the same time. I know what that loss is and it is heartbreaking for me. I'm praying I can make the right decision and be ok with whatever that is.

I will update after tomorrow when I know more.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dog Part 2

"Look Ma, I broke him down, he loves me!"

She was getting Big, fast!

If you haven't read Part 1 you should do so with this link Dog my first child part 1

So Dog was a healthy good puppy. She had a few BAD DOG moments, but honestly she was really good, the one thing she did like to do was get into my mom's plants rip them up or tip them over, and my mom is a plant enthusiast so she has lots of plants! But she was getting big! She kept growing and growing and eating though my wallet in dog food. I knew when I got her she would be big since her mom was a large St. Bernard, but I really had no idea she would get as big as she did. I got her in January and was like I said before having huge transitions in my life. She was a huge part of my getting through some tough times. I meet Brad in March and Dog was 4 months old still a puppy, but a very large and playful puppy. Lets just say she was very fond of Brad but the feeling was not mutual! Brad liked to wear hooded sweatshirts with the ties in them and Dog loved to attack and chew on his ties, so she was always on him and in his face. I could tell he really didn't like her, but he liked me so he pretended it was fine and that he liked her. He learned to love her over time. By the time she was a year old I had gotten married, moved to a new house and was gonna have a baby in a few months. I was really worried about bringing Colton home to this huge dog, I knew she would never hurt him intentionally but might on accident. She loved to greet you at the door in your face with kisses by jumping on you. We loved this but it would not be ok with a baby in tow. We broke her of this habit by greeting her at her level more calmly and giving her love before trying to run in and ignore her. After Colton was born she calmed down a lot! This is when she started getting less attention. But she stilled loved to chase cats, play with the neighbor dogs and chase people riding horses. She was a great Dog only leaving the yard to go to the neighbor guys house, for good reason, he would make her homemade meals! One night she got left out while I was gone and a rain storm started before I got home. I got home and searched frantically for her, she was no where to be found went to bed worried sick only to find the next morning he had let her stay with him when it started raining and she stayed the night on his couch. Some of her other cooky habits that drove us nuts and made us laugh, she liked to bite at your hands if you had gloves on, and chase and bite at your feet with boots or shoes on! It was weird, annoying and hilarious at the same time. When Dog was almost 2 we decided to get another dog, we thought it would be good for her and she would be able to teach the puppy the good habits she had. So we got a yellow lab mix and we named him Casper. They were good together, but he was much harder to train and that was Brad's job this time because I was taking care of Colton who was 7 months old. Well over the course of a year we had moved again, Casper ended up being tied on a chain all the time because he was a runner and I couldn't keep my eye on him and an infant. So Dog was back to the only Dog in the house. Colton loved her and until recently she was not a fan of his. Over the years she has been a great dog probably been ignored more then she should have, and has spent a majority of her time sleeping on my bed. She developed a skin problem and gained a lot of weight, we found out she has a thyroid condition this caused her skin problems and her weight to get up to it's highest of 175! She has been on meds for this a couple years and has lost a lot of weight down to 130 and her skin is shinny and smooth again. I have such a bond with her that she senses when I'm sad and will seek me out to try and make me feel better. She knows when I am getting sick, I can almost tell when I need Iv's by how she treats me, she won't leave my side and follows me everywhere. The first time I had to go in the hospital that Colton was old enough to realize I was going to be gone, I was very upset while I was packing started crying and having an anxiety attack, I laid down on the bed to try and calm myself, she came up on the bed and laid over top of me and would not move until I was calm, and you can not move her if she don't want to be moved! She is special and I love her very much.

Part 3 coming soon

Dog my first child Part 1

Hiding in the the couch cushion

Ripping on Grandma's Hair

Can barely see her hiding behind Dad's Head

Dog is my 7 year old Black Lab Saint Bernard mix. Dog is her name and she is also my baby. This is Dog's story. My brother had a full blooded St. Bernard, Annabell was her name and she got pregnant by the neighbors Black Lab. November 14th 2002 she gave birth to a litter of puppy's (I don't recall the exact number). I love animals, always have, had them my whole life. Dog's, Cat's, Hamster's, Rabbit's, Goat's, Horse's, not all at the same time, well some at the same time. Anyways you get the picture always had pets. When Annabell had her puppy's I did not have a pet and had not had one for a while. I had just moved back home after moving out of my boyfriends house and we had pretty much broke up. So I would go play with these puppy's and feel in love with them, they were all black with white patches on their chest and some had white on their feet. Every time we would go see them there was the runt she would slink to the back of the Dog house and bark and growl at you being tough, while staying as far away as possible. That was Dog. When we were growing up when we would get animals my Dad always made us choice the runt, he thinks they are the best in the bunch. So I took her home when she was 8 weeks old. He said I couldn't keep her, well yeah right I batted my eyes, made him play with her and voila I get to keep her, but there was a stipulation...I had to name her Dog! I had already named her Riley but he called her Dog so much that is what stuck thus her name is Dog. She was the best puppy ever, I had her potty trained in 2 weeks to get me up and go outside, she is so smart and had I took the time to train her could do amazing things, but I just wanted a companion. I had just broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years and she made me feel better. My Dad loved her too and to this day when my dad comes over Dog gets really excited, more so then other people. He took care of her when I worked. I took her to all her vet appointments and got her fixed when she was old enough. This is how I got Dog and the beginning of our story. I will post more soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Speech I wrote for Great Strides event

This is something I wrote to share with people at a great strides walk a couple years ago and thought I would share it on here. I was unable to make it to the walk because I was in the hospital but a friend relayed the message for me.

My name is Jamie I am a wife, a mom, and a daily fighter of Cystic Fibrosis, (CF). My parents got the diagnosis of CF when I was 2 weeks old, they were told I probably wouldn't live to be a teenager. I will be celebrating my 26th birthday next month This is in part to major funding and research from events like this and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, that's why this event and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is so important to me. The funding from this event and others like this are what has enabled me to beat this disease as long as I have.

Growing up with CF was not easy as a child. I always had medicine and therapy's to take and do, this always made it hard to make friends, keep friends, and have regular playtime with friends. This was also hard because I was living for everyday and didn't think I would graduate high school, told I would be lucky to make it to 16. As new research came and new treatments were available that median age was raised to 20, when you get to high school it's all about planning to make your future. By the time I made it to high school the idea of making plans for my future was hard, I didn't want to waste the years I had in school. So I didn't I chose to date, work, and eventually marry and have my son. Also being told you only have so many years to live can do a number on your physiological health. But it can also be a gift, I was given the opportunity to live life to the fullest and experience things in life in the time that I thought I had. And yet with more drugs and therapy's came more years to live. When I got married when I was 21 the median age was 32, two years later it changed to what it is now which is 37.

With these added years comes added life, but also added challenges. All the new medications and treatments mean more time and energy into my health, which is time and energy taken away from the things I love such as family, hobby's, and even the ability to have a job or career. To give you an idea of what these treatments and medications entail I'd like to give you a run down of the things I do during the day. I take no fewer then 11 separate medications a day to manage my CF. I wish this meant that I only had to take 11 pills a day, but thats not the case I take approximately 50 medication each day. These medications include several different pills as well as inhalers. My treatments also include several different lung clearance exercises. These are designed to loosen up mucus so that I can cough it out easily. One of those is a chest vest that I put on twice a day, it shacks me to loosen the mucus, each session takes about 30-40 minutes. The other lung clearance that I do is cardio and weight training about a hour a day. I also have do nasal washes twice a day to clear mucus from my nasal passages. These treatments and air way clearance exercises take up a great deal of my day. I do all this daily in the hopes that it will keep me infection free for months,and if I'm lucky up to a year and sometimes longer. As much as I keep up with these treatments daily it does not guarantee that I won't get an infection and be put in the hospital for what is called a clean out in the CF world. I have been hospitalized more then several times in my almost 26 years, my friend is relaying my message today because I am currently in the hospital, my third time in the past 12 months. These hospital stays require me to stay in patient for 1-2 weeks, and under go vigorous lung clearance and IV antibiotics. All of these things are what I do to maintain my health, I also have daily duties as a mother and wife that can sometimes add stress to my routine. The older I get the harder it is.

I'm telling you all of this because this is the reality of this disease that I fight on a monthly, weekly,and daily basis. I would give anything a side from family if it meant I didn't have to fight this anymore. That's why I need your help to raise not only money but awareness. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation uses the phrase "adding tomorrows everyday" as their tag line. I am deeply appreciative of all the work that they do and for the ways that fund- raising efforts are enabling researchers to make "Great Strides" toward finding a cure for CF. The foundation has lived up to their motto and has done much to add many tomorrows for those of us with CF. But they can't do it alone they need everybody they can find to get involved, and to get their friends and family involved. We need all the people we can get to beat this disease. As I stated before I will celebrate my 26th birthday next month. The odds that I will get to celebrate my 37th birthday are 1 in 2. I thank all of you for getting involved to raise money for CF, it is greatly appreciated. I don't want to die waiting for a cure when so many others have already lost their life waiting.