TAKING A BREAK OF SORTS

MM

After 11 months, it’s time to give blogging a rest.  I need to take care of my cat who has cancer and myself—as I finally came to terms with the fact that I had turned blogging into a full-time job, which is typical of a workaholic who can no longer work.  I stared this blog right before my cross-linking surgery (CXL) for keratoconus with the aid of my brother from afar and only had the intention of posting on my experience with CXL, as I couldn’t find any patient-perspective information online.  Then, I researched a co-morbid condition, saw a geneticist, and was correctly diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome after 11 years of illness, and thus the blog continued.

Personally, I don’t find writing posts cathartic or a form of self-expression for the most part like so many other bloggers.  I really didn’t even know much about blogging before my brother created a blog for me.  I wrote in my About section nearly a year ago that I am a scholarly writer by nature and a horrible perfectionist, and writing posts seems more like work to me, and I’m on disability due to my inability to work from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.  Blogging has actually made my pain worse, yet I continued to write posts that were so carefully thought-out with over 1,500 word counts.  It may sound like a small feat, but for me, it would take a week to put a post together and hours upon hours of writing and editing.

However, what I finally found in my little life of solitude were some great friends on WordPress and they know who they are: the ones who always commented on my posts (and vice versa, of course) and have been there when no one else has since recently posting on my blog that my beloved cat, Moush Moush, has cancer again after 4 years in remission with an excellent prognosis due to an amputation.  Moush Moush’s story, which is really our story, can be found in this very long post.

As I can’t find any better way to manage blogging and I refuse to fold my cards due to the positive aspect of having friends on WordPress, I plan to stop posting indefinitely and continue to comment—or chat—with my friends on here.  I hope the day will come when I can figure out how to just write a short post and call it a day, but I think I would need a lobotomy for that.  I would like to again express my deepest gratitude to my true friends on WordPress, who are really the only friends I have. Living with a debilitating disease and losing a lot of vision has left me stuck in a motel room nearly 24/7, so this is my lifeline and I miss talking with people and sharing information and all that comes with finding people in this world dealing with the same trials and tribulations.  It makes me feel less alone and I hope my friends feel the same.

While I have been in constant contact with some, not everyone has had an update on Moush Moush, and I do appreciate everyone who finds my blog through search engines and hope this will be of some help to the cat-owner community, as well.

After seeing Moush Moush’s wonderful oncologist at the specialty center who dealt with her primary cancer—a myxosarcoma deep in her shoulder joint 4 years ago—it is suspected that Moush Moush actually has a type of vaccine-associated sarcoma (VAS) from when she was vaccinated in her scruff in the early 2000s and this created an area predisposed to developing these cancers, akin to a human having sunburns in youth and then developing skin cancer years later.  This was a concern 4 years ago, but the shoulder location was atypical.  Her oncologist feels this is possibly a new cancer and not a recurrence, even though it is in the area where her arm was, as the chance of recurrence after an amputation with wide, clean margins 4 years out is maybe 1%.

Moush Moush had a CT scan a few days ago which revealed 2 superficial tumors, one which was biopsied a couple weeks ago and one which just popped up.  The cancer is superficial and there is no sign of metastatic disease in her lungs or elsewhere.  This seems like good news.

However, due to the fact that the cancer is on her body where most of her connective tissue was removed during the amputation, it would be impossible to get the 3 cm margins needed without cutting into her body wall and ribs, which I wouldn’t do and her doctor agreed, but she was scheduled for less invasive surgery as I trust her oncologist’s advice. After the surgery was completed Friday afternoon, the surgeon called and said she did have some muscle left over her ribs after the amputation and he was able to remove some tissue under the cancer, as well as laterally, and he performed a scar revision on her recent biopsy, as that area would also be full of microscopic cancer cells.

Moush Moush did fine in surgery and in recovery and I was able to get her around 24 hours later, which was Saturday. She is 1/4 bald and has a long, arc-sharped incision going from her lower neck near her spinal column clear to the middle of her chest, which is almost a reversal of her amputation scar, which I can’t see.  I must say I wasn’t expecting that huge incision, but she is acting fine and is on a strong narcotic for pain, which gives her too much energy for her lounge-y self and then she passes out into a deep sleep, which is best as I’m supposed to limit her activity, which normally isn’t an issue.

We are waiting on the histopathology report to see what the margins show and to get a definitive diagnosis, although any type of soft-tissue sarcoma on the body, not just myxosarcoma, is essentially the same as far as surgery and prognosis.  If it is VAS, wide margins aren’t exactly curative, but I am trying to hold on to hope.  Looking at that incision, it sure seems like she had radical surgery, but I know she didn’t. Moush Moush will return to the oncologist in 9 days to have her stitches removed and hopefully start a targeted, cancer drug taken at home that was not available until 4 years ago and is now being off-labeled in cats.  It will be hit or miss if it works to keep the cancer in check, so I’m having to bet all my money on Palladia, this promising new drug, even if the efficacy rate is less than 50%.  There is little information on use in cats, but Palladia is being used on vaccine-associated sarcomas.  For basic information on Palladia, click this link.

I have primarily been updating on my friends’ blogs, but if you have a pet affected by cancer, please check back as I will attempt to update this post if I have good news, which may take awhile to determine, and I presume information will be in my comments, along with lots of unrelated chatter.

To end on a positive note, this post only has a 1,199 word count.

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58 thoughts on “TAKING A BREAK OF SORTS

  1. You just take it easy. 🙂

  2. Bhavya says:

    I understand that you need to stay away from blogging because of all the pain that it causes you, but I wish you well. Hope you and Moush Moush feel better soon and return to the world of blogging.
    You should know that it was a pleasure meeting you and that you will be missed. I might not have commented on every post of yours, but you should know that you are special 🙂 🙂

    Take Care, Stay Happy!

    • Oh, thanks so much. I hope I didn’t sound like I was excluding those that drop by on occasion (you can say the same about me!), but 2 bloggers who are always on here really came through for me when I got the terrible news about my cat and I wanted to indirectly recognize them for that.

      I’ll still be around as mentioned and will be getting to my bookmarks (your blog included) as I don’t have all that many bloggers I bookmark in all honesty–it’s just been crazy lately and having all my health issues is not helping. I think you’re pretty special, as well! 🙂 It won’t be the last time you hear from me…
      A x

  3. dyspatient says:

    “It makes me feel less alone and I hope my friends feel the same.” I do.

    Thank you for the update. I was thinking of you yesterday but was stuck on the couch with bad BP. Glad to hear she’s home, and I am really glad that they were able to get at least some margin in the surgery!

    I call how Moush is right now in her drugged but energetic state “drunk sorority girl”. They’re intoxicated and they’re looking for trouble! “What’s in here? Where does that go? can I get up there?” I know you have your hands full.

    • Thanks, D ❤

      Blogging has been a problem for awhile and I couldn't figure out how to manage it, and then this happened and I sort of found a silver lining. I've had the same problem when I've tried to volunteer in the past, etc. So, I'm glad I could make it work and count on my friends! Thank you…

      Yes, Moush is a little off (funny description) but has calmed downed and is relaxing since last night (no more wandering all over). She does keep looking up at the bed, which I feel awful about, but I found one of the motel pillows I had shoved in the closet and threw a towel on it so she has an extension to her pyramid now and it's soft enough for her–she's on it right now. I hate the damn lampshade but know she can lick that incision in 1 second. Only other news is she's eating and drinking, which is all good, but I just got back from PT (she didn't even move spots) and then she ate and b-a-r-f. I think things are backing up now since she's massively constipated from the narcotic. Great! 3 more days of it, too. Good thing I have all the towels down! It's in the wash right now (poor people who use the laundry room here). My nausea came back a hair yesterday but I was fine today. Wtf? We can't both be barf-y messes (along with you too, of course). Omg. Pharmacist said it could be from the nortriptyline (at 2.5 mg!), even though no mention of it online. It's much drier out today so I'm thinking a combo of the drug and pain now. Argh.

      • dyspatient says:

        Poor girl. I know how she feels. Did the vet give you anything for motility for her? I know with Max, they recommended pumpkin for the fiber and I’ve seen it referenced for backed up kitty gut. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/constipation Not sure if she’d eat it or if it’s a good idea for her…we had a cat who LOVED canned pumpkin when I was a kid.

        I wish you could have some of my zofran. that stuff is amazing. Or maybe some medical marijuana? Do they do that out there?

        Closet bed is a nice idea for the kitty. I hope she likes it.

      • So funny (high kitty–she gets enough from the doobie smokers in this place) and we think alike, as I’ve been giving her canned pumpkin for over a yr as she whines in the litter box (no one can figure this out) and then the fur on her ears grew back! Amazing stuff. She took a poop last night–yes!!! I’ve never praised her so much before and she’s so confused. Praise for a poop? So, I think we’re out of the bad zone (also on the drug every 12 hrs now) and only 2 more days. Bigger concern is with the Gi side-effects with the Palladia. Oy vey. Starting that in a week or so. Oh, she’s actually under the built-in table in that picture (closet is so packed as I have zero storage in here). 🙂

      • dyspatient says:

        They like having places to hole up in now and then when they’re not feeling good, don’t they? Yay pumpkin! Wooo!

      • 🙂 She’s still eyeing the big bed, but hopefully will be up there within a week.

      • dyspatient says:

        She wants to have a slumber party, eat fritos and stay up late to watch Fantasy Island.

      • Lol! Besides that, she REALLY wants the damn lampshade off her head and to be back on the bed, which she’s still eyeing. I hope she can be back up there after her follow-up/suture removal early next week. It’s killing my back to bend down to pet her on her pillow on the floor. Well, she’s in a worse situation that me, even if she’s not in pain.

      • dyspatient says:

        Oh the lampshade. I used to turn my cat’s upside down, he still couldn’t reach the stitches and he looked like he was wearing a jaunty poncho. Or a cape. Super kitty!

      • A poncho! Lol! I never thought about that, but I think she’d just push it up as it’s a soft collar (fabric). If I had the plastic one, I don’t think she’d be able to walk? I think they sell some type of thick collar (just around the neck) so they can’t do the ET neck and reach all those odd areas (like their neck!), but apparently her clinic doesn’t use those. Rats. The funny thing is now that she’s on ground level, she’s walking around way more, even with the lampshade–go figure.

      • dyspatient says:

        Max had the hard “elizabethan” collar but that did NOT work so we switched to the soft one, but a little big. That way, if he tried to bend his head or body into a “C” (to get at his leg or tail, where he had lumps removed), he just encountered more poncho. I have a pic of him in it, he looks adorable. If she can tolerate the collar in its upright manner, I think that’s best. Max was just insane when we put a collar on him like that, so poncho was the best we could do.

      • Got ya. She was supposed to have a soft collar and I luckily peeked into her carrier to kiss her when I picked her up and saw they screwed up. The Elizabethan collar looked so awful and she never would be able to eat/drink with that thing. She doesn’t pull on it and I take it off if I’m right by her for a few mins., but she just looks miserable, so can’t wait ’till it’s off. 😦

  4. So glad to hear MM is home with you. That will do wonders for her too. That’s where she belongs. Still keeping my fingers crossed. I can’t imagine how difficult blogging must be for you so I think it’s good that you take a break. You need to take care of yourself and your little girl.

    Something awful happened to us last night, Blakey flew away. Poor little soul. He must be terrified and this is awful for Gen. Sorry to post this here but had to let you know, my blogging friend. 😦

    • Thanks, Sheep!
      I have a major problem with putting 1,000% into things and then falling on my face since getting sick–it’s how I lived my life before and could pull it off. I didn’t want WP to be an all or nothing thing like everything else I’ve tried, so I figured out a way to make it work. I really doubt I’ll post again as I just can’t manage it and really don’t get much out of it as mentioned. It’s people like you that make being on here worthwhile, so here I am still–and commenting is so much easier than writing/editing those posts! I had PT today and am just getting to e-mails, but I got the post on Blakey and left a comment at your place–I’m sooo sorry, but he’s in my thoughts, too. 😦 Is there something going on with animals lately? I’m hoping for a good outcome for all our pets.

      Btw, I put this post up because I did want to give thanks and do an update–I actually do have a good search engine crowd on here and suspect the cat group will find me soon. However, the main reason was so I’d have a page on my blog to chat, so mentioning Blakey on here was the whole point! No worries! The last post was the one for Moush. This is like my contact page for comments so I don’t blow up your blog (or anyone else’s), which I’m known to do. 🙂
      Talk soon and I hope Blakey flies down to eat so you can grab him…

      • Thank for everything my friend. I’m trying so hard to get a grip as I am completely heart broken over Blakey and am feeling worse by the minute it seems. Gen keep “picking me up” – how selfish of me given that he’s her baby.

        You know, I’ve put a post on Facebook thinking my local family members would share the information for Blakey’s safe return. Only two people shared it. One is an aunt who lives miles away and the other is a friend – sort of like you. Of all the people I cared about and thought they cared as well, none of them commented or even liked the post to show any type of support. It reminds me of you and what you said earlier about your true followers. Now I know what you mean and it hurts like hell. I’m going to flush all of these idiots down the drain. I don’t want “fake” people around me or my family. They make the air stale.

        Maybe you are right about blogging. I often feel it’s like a job… Not even sure why I’m blogging. The thing is though, I am so very grateful for having met you through this unusual system and some other people as well. The difference this has made in my life is so very significant.

        Hoping MM is doing better by the minute. Please give her a kiss on the head for me. xox

      • I feel the same and completely get it. I’ve had a lifetime of relationships where I give way more than I get in return. On WP, I gave people a 3 strikes and you’re out rule. If I commented/liked their posts 3 times and they never dropped by, then I deleted them from my bookmarks. I have no time for people like that or fair weather friends, which is what you’re dealing with. I just slowly gave up on people, going way back to when I got sick and my 2 best friends (one of nearly 30 yrs) walked out of my life and it’s just gotten worse since moving here. I have no idea what is wrong with this world, but I don’t think it was always like this. I think the Me Generation is now, not back in the ’70s. Everyone is so busy with their gadgets that they’ve shut themselves off and are just so self-absorbed it’s really disgusting. I don’t do FB or any of that (have to say that doesn’t surprise me about what happened–sad).

        I do hope you can keep blogging. I was really blown away that this is where I found real friends in the end (had to go through all the Me People first). The good thing about your blog is you don’t just have to write about EDS (or EDS/KC in my case) and your posts are short–I WISH I could do that. I really think you have a unique/versatile blog and people are drawn to it and you for a reason. I may have gone above the rest on there, but we have more of a connection (plus I’m the crazy, cat lady!). I’d love to see more of your art or what you did with the Lang post, etc. Just easier things that are of interest to you (and others on here). Maybe you can take your focus off of EDS on the blog for awhile–I’ll still comment as I like all your posts!

        I really feel so bad about Blakey. I know parrots are pricey and that he is not replaceable, but maybe the day will come when Gen can have another (and no going out of the cage!). What a hard lesson to learn and who would know? It’s back to physics there (aerodynamics/thrust). Bird Man and I were talking about him on the way to the optom. So sad, but I just hope he finds a fruit tree and a flock takes him in, even if he can’t fly. Not sure how long it takes for those feathers to re-grow (if they do).

        Btw, a little good news. I got my scleral lenses at the appt. and I can see–very long appt. as it’s quite a process learning to get them in/out (huge contacts filled with saline solution that suction to your sclera and fit under the lids). No dizziness at all except looking close-up (hope we can fix that as that vision isn’t great, but better), but my doc said my VA got better (distance-wise) in the eye with the worse scar so I’m going back in a few weeks as he wants to re-order since this is part of the process and why they cost so much, but my insurance THIS year is covering. Anyway, he wants me to give these a whirl so we can make them better the 2nd time. Some things are still off like halos around lights at night (night driving isn’t great still) and if the sun could not be so bright, I could drive great during the day–I could see everything going east! It was hard to gauge the sun sensitivity as it was smoggy or dusty or something when we left the office. I could see so much driving back to my neighborhood with Bird Man: signs, cars, bldgs.! We went to Wal-Mart to get the supplies for the contacts and I could see the people’s faces, the signs, what was down the aisles, and on and on. I even saw a piercing on this woman’s face who was at least 10′ from me! I can’t see anything in that huge store normally–it’s a total mess and I was just used to it! The TV is clearer but there’s some minor ghosting with the text. Computer is better, but still blown up for now. My corneas are saturated with the saline solution in the contacts, but the insides of my lids are really dry so lots of drops. This was the concern and why I’m lens intolerant, but way more doable than dry contacts sitting on my corneas–owww. So, once we get the Rx right, my long KC journey will hopefully come to an end (aside from dealing with sclerals for life). Good timing. I also saw my face and scrawny body clearly after 2 yrs or so–OMG! 🙂

        Hugs again and you can always count on me–loyal for life…

      • OMG A! I’m so happy about the lenses. It must have felt like some crazy cool thing for you. I can’t imagine!!!! I’m sure that because you are so careful everything will be fine. Nothing is ever perfect, and yes maybe you’ll have sclerals for life as you say but being able to see will make it all so much better. Can’t believe you had to go through that for so long. You must have been like a little child while driving with bird man. 🙂 I like him. 🙂

        Yes, I like to write other stuff too. I find that writing about Gen pulls me down. It’s good to get some some out but I found that my last post on anxiety was very negative. I’m going to try to stick to it but in a more positive way. Maybe when I speak about Gen I can mention positive stuff instead.

        My art. I can’t seem to find the mental energy to paint anymore. I seem to be overwhelmed by so many things. Yesterday I was looking at this local artist’s work (from Eastern Canada) and I couldn’t believe she is actually living off of her stuff. I’m really picky when I paint – perhaps a little too much. And it’s odd really because in the end it’s always presentable but I always feel as though it’s not good enough. I’m the same with my professional writing even though I’ve been told over and over again it was good. I think I need to move on from being a medical writer ever if I really love it. I’m so tired – and this thing with Blakey made me realize that I have little room left for bad surprises.

        How’s MM? I hope she’s back to your bed. Poor little girl – it was bad enough having that operation, I think she deserved to be back in her little comfort zone with you. Maybe they were afraid she’d fall off the bed?

        Boy you’ve had your share of stuff lately, eh?

        Anyway A., I’m really happy to have you as a friend. 🙂 Thank you for being there fore me. xox

      • No problem! Yeah, the lenses are strange, but I just hope they’ll work out. My eyes are totally bloodshot now around the lenses, which I think may be from the severe dryness–under the lenses they’re bathed in the solution and white around my corneas. Argh. Bird Man is not the best person and I knew him from Seattle, so you can probably figure that one out. Really don’t want to bring it up on here. He’s helping me out right now so I try to not complain and put up with him when he’s in one of his moods. MM is really fine w/this surgery (phew) and the swelling is going down. They don’t want them to be active (jumping on/off the bed) and w/her 3 legs, she sort of falls onto her chest jumping onto the ottoman and then down to the floor. It’s awful and even though her front leg is huge due to all the muscle, it just doesn’t support her when jumping down (not far at all and she 1/2 climbs/slides). As her incision runs across her chest, I think it may be awhile before she’s allowed to come up and she loves the bed (never leaves it!).

        I thought your anxiety post was fine and informative, btw. However, I do think you seem better when you post on different subjects (not on Gen). I’m the same way with my work as you (not my career, but w/design). I over think everything and then people have their own crappy taste! My brother makes a lot of money with his art and commissioned murals, but it’s what he does and he has the confidence. I had confidence in my career. I get what you’re saying though. If I hesitate on things, then time to move on. You’ll figure it out! Well, I have to hope I can get these lenses out w/my suction thing and off to bed as I have appts. all week and stayed up late for the 1st time in weeks (so no sleep now!) and I so don’t want to be on this schedule!!! Glad to have you as a friend, as well! ❤
        A 🙂

      • OMG, A. Bird man. I get it. 😉 Thanks for sharing that little bit.

        Poor little MM. I’m thinking she’d need one of those little slanted platform instead of stairs or something (slanted platform, lol – am I making sense?).

        I can imagine that your eyes would be irritated.. that’s what I meant when I said I think you’d handle them well.

        I think I lost most of my confidence. Odd eh? But while I am “doing” something (like for real without a choice) I have a lot of it. Sounds a little crazy but it’s true.

        I have an interview this PM. Hope it goes well. Don’t know how i’ll handle everything if I work full time but then I’ve done it before when Gen was worst off and it gives me structure – which makes things better.

        Good day night for now. 🙂 No word of Blakie. Going to go for a walk to see if I can hear him.

        xox

      • I’m checking these in order per usual so hoping you spotted Blakey. The thing with the bed is I have an airbed on top of the bed in here, so it’s pretty high. We’ve had bedbugs in the bldg. (gross, but never in my room) and I get much worse w/hard beds or furniture and tried the bed one time and that was enough. I had the old airbed with me so just used that and it’s been nearly 3 yrs now (really great for my spine but feels better than my pillow top mattress in storage!). That would have to be one long ramp to get off here and the edge of the airbed sort of collapses, so she can slide/climb down a bit onto the ottoman and the again down to the floor as the ottoman is upholstered (she can get her nails into it). Sometimes she lands on all 3s (what she needs to do), but sometimes the angle is wrong so she lands on the front leg like a normal cat and then the little crash. It sounds worse than it is (she gets right up and over to her food bowl), but as the incision area is swollen still, etc., I have to watch it. I have to climb onto the nightstand to get into bed (lol) and then slide out! Well, I think it’s the best I can do and she’s been an amputee for 4 yrs and never had this down pat, even when we had my regular bed (normal height + bench at the end of the bed). Sigh.

        I hope the interview went well! I’m think working full-time would get rid of a lot of the stress if you can get help w/Gen. Does the gov’t cover any type of care up there so you can be gone all day? I get you on the confidence thing–I have it with some things and not with others. Oh, did I mention Etsy to you? I mentioned it to someone. I wonder if you could sell anything on there and if it would be worth the effort–at least you know how to set up blogs!

        Wore my sclerals again today. Vision wasn’t as good and it’s going already (8 hrs later). I called the office and hopefully some things can be fixed with the new Rx (distance/close-up/minimal ghosting), but I’m supposed to wear them less to give my eyes a break so I can use my ointment and I’m going to go w/o if I’m not leaving the motel. Boo hoo. I guess the vault that has the solution gets replaced by natural tears with time, but I don’t produce tears so thinking the vault goes dry and that’s why my vision isn’t stable all day, which it should be. So, cautiously optimistic still! Next appt. is in 3 wks and then at least that long for the new pair. Ugh.

      • Keeping my fingers crossed for your next eye appointment. Isn’t 3 wks far off? Or maybe that represents the time you need to get used to the lenses? Just hope it can all be managed.

        No word from Blakey but I could swear I had seem him the other evening. Even yesterday, saw the same bird flying the same pattern. Like he’s living in that little area and learning how to move around. It would make sense wouldn’t it? Or do they not do that because they’re so used to being taken care by humans? I’ll go walk in that area with Cole today. Cole was always keeping him company whenever Blakey would call us if we didn’t go to him. He would lay on the floor in front of his cage. We also use to put Blake on Cole’s back. 🙂

        About the interview it went well. But then it always does and often they pick someone with less qualifications. But then they just called me for references and I know they’ve been calling people as one person called me. Gen had given me two of blake’s little feathers as good luck charm which I had stuck into my wallet. Crossing my fingers because it would really help. And yes, the Government would send me someone here to take care of her for free for full days because she needs someone to cook for her and clean. Also, she can’t wake to take her meds on her own and she always has breakfast in bed. But then maybe she’d manage on her own because now she can stand a little. The picture of her on the beach was from last year btw.

        I’m feeling better A. Still crying now and then but your support means so much. I consider you as one of my best friends. I have one in Montreal, one here, and now you online. 😀

        xox

      • Aw, thanks. I feel the same about you–that’s why I’m still on WP! It’s actually easier for me to write on here (where the world can read it!) than by e-mail, as I use a HUGE font and lose all train of thought. So, here I am. It’s not like I know anyone here and people are soooo stupid (truly), so finding like-minded people like you makes my day. 🙂 Oh, I can only get rides on Tue. usually and am booked w/doctors so that was the soonest I can go back. Then it will be 3-4 wks to get them again. Argh! I’d drive myself a different day but it’s so bright and my doc is west, and you know I can’t get up (I’d be too tired to read the eye chart and mess the Rx up more). Lol.

        I’m very superstitious and hope those feathers help! If they’re checking references, that’s a good sign and I’m so glad you can get free help with Gen. Hoping for a win-win!

        I think you probably are seeing Blakey–as long as he can find the food he eats, the rest is just natural I think. All animals have a certain amount of instinct. I sure hope he’ll come back still and the story of him sitting on Cole was so sweet. Cole must not be the big, bad wolf! I think our Shepard mix would have lifted her lip to that one. 🙂
        Fingers crossed! ❤

      • I keep hoping. We’re sort of in and out of despair for Blakey. I think the features helped for the job. Only now they are offering me a ridiculous salary. You wouldn’t believe. The last time I earned so little I was 24. I don’t really have a choice for now so i’ll take it and start looking for something else at the same time. I was frustrated and now I’m feeling like they are taking advantage of me. Or is it me and I don’t stand up for myself? I’m broken in so many ways….
        Yes Cole, is very gentle. He’s tiny something like 90 pounds which is small for a male shepherd. I like him that size. Hailey is so big you can’t really cuddle her – so strong. She pushes with her head and you need to get a grip not to fall off the couch…
        Always so nice to read you. I get up in the morning and it’s the first thing I do. I look to see if you replied. lol

      • Aw, thanks Sheep. ❤ I feel the same and then can't get to all my comments–about to get to your posts again! I had awful salaries in non-profit, especially after 9/11 when all the federal grants dried up. I read that men negotiate on salaries way more than women so I tried it and it usually worked, even if only $3k more a year. They would tell me the salary and I would just ask, "Is that negotiable?" so it's not awkward and more people do it than you know. Then they have to get back to you, but you usually luck out. Sometimes they'll say they'll re-evaluate after 90 days, but that never worked as they never had the money or some BS, so you have to get what you want before you sign on the line. I’d hate for you to have to work numerous jobs again, so worth a try. If they want you, they should make some accommodation. Think of it as haggling for a car–they always highball you first. You can do it! 🙂

      • I know they could offer me way more, at least 10 K. But some things they said threw me off and I’m so desperate at this point that I was scared shit which is really bad. So they raised by 1 and gave me group insurance and said 90 days review. That’s always proven to be crap in the past. I was frustrated all morning because of this but then I figured hey… I’ll just keep applying and will move on to something better. Will not tell people that I’m there when they call or on my resume as it’s considered “a contract” and if I get the chance to back off I will. I also know for a fact that they get other greater positions. So once I’m there, I’ll speak to the big boss who was “missing” today and will tell him that I’m expecting a promotion as that is what I was told during the interview and shortly afterwards. That will give me a reason to get out as well. In a way it secures me because my unemployment benefits are ending in a month or less. I’m starting there on Aug 12 which will make me able to feed my girls a little longer… :S

        How’s MM? She still off your bed? Sweet little girl.

      • Hmmm. Rather weird I’d say. You know about the 90-day review trick! Well, at least it will help in the interim and buy you some time to keep looking or hopefully get something better there. Fingers crossed! I did a couple of contract jobs after 9/11 and there was never insurance, so that’s a plus (I thought you didn’t have to worry about that up there or is that like the better, private program you have?). It probably doesn’t help that you’re not in the big city, but any work is better than no work if benefits are cutting out. I REALLY hope it will get rid of some of the stress and not cause any more. Let’s hope. Congrats, nonetheless!

        MM is healing very well. She’s all wrinkly on her shaved side so I know the inflammation is way down. No jumping on the bed still. 😦 We’l see what her oncologist says next week when she gets her stitches out, the new drug, and more info on the biopsy (not that it will make much of a difference w/o super wide margins I know). Just hoping this doesn’t come back–especially after this surgery. She really was fine, but hate the lampshade and her not having her big bed!

        Thanks for asking. I sure wish Blakey would come back–it would give me more hope (no telling me he did so I feel better!!!) Haha. 🙂

      • I have a strategy for work. When I come in there I will speak with the so called boss and explain to him that joining his team means a lot to me. It is an interesting job and society to work for. I’m also going to tell him that I understand that perhaps he couldn’t offer more because as they said it’s a provincial rather than a national project – because they are funded – but that I’m sure he understands that my qualifications are way up there and that it is my understanding that they will consider me for future openings. I don’t want them to take me for granted and I will let them know politely. If I get better elsewhere, it won’t be difficult to leave like that… What do you think? Am I making sense?

        Oh and MM, her skin. Poor little girl. When you first told me how much she was shaved I felt so bad because it sort of makes them look even more vulnerable. Anyway, I know how good and caring you are to her and she’s so lucky to have you as her mommy.

        I haven’t heard of Blake. Keep walking and now everyone’s talking about him in town. Still hoping. I will share something with you later. Gen’s videos on youtube. Worth watching. He was so beautiful. We are sort of mourning – watching the videos. At the same time, today, I contacted a couple who just had a baby and who have been looking for a home for their baby conure (9 month old little girl). They were so excited to hear from us and I shared Gen’s videos and they’ve decided to choose her as the proud parent of the little girl. If we’re lucky enough that Blake comes home, it will give him a friend. Now that he’s fully trained and a real little wonder it would be very nice. The little girl for now will be a new challenge for Gen as she will teach her all sorts of things. What do you think? I can’t leave gen without a little companion. It put so much order in her life. I want her to keep going. 🙂

      • I like your strategy! Don’t ever let an employer take advantage of you and always try to leave on good terms (even if that means getting out early than expected). Sigh–and I want to work so badly again!

        MM does look more vulnerable being so bald (and all 3 legs for IV lines: the biopsy/CT scan/ surgery. I do take very good care of her, so thanks! She’s my little love.

        I also think that if Gen is receptive, the new bird would be a very good thing. I know having Moush helps me out so much. We’ll still hope that Blakey comes home and that he’s just being a wild bird for now and discovering new things. I’m still wondering if you can get the word out that he’s lost just in case? I presume you have a small, town paper there–maybe that might spread the word. Just a thought.
        xo

      • Yes, I put up little flyers with a picture at strategic areas in town. Will put more of them up. Also put it up at the vet’s office and have sent one to the local SPCA. Sent a note to the local radio station as well. So hoping he’s just learning and having a little bit of fun out there. The weather has been amazing so we’re lucky. The bird I saw twice, I sure it’s him. Maybe I’m wrong but my guess is that he’s living in an area where he found these little tree fruits (no clue) what they’re called. Hope he can feel on them safely as I know some of them are toxic. But birds I think are good at sorting them out. Don’t know how they know but they do. I’m soooo hoping. 😦

      • Glad you did all that and I’m hoping right along with you. Hold on to those feathers!
        A x

      • Look at this A! Blake the beauty!

      • So cute and he really can flap his wings. Is that clumsy? What do I know. I though he was cream and yellow–where did I get that from? No wonder you’re confused about seeing him being a gray bird and all. Glad Gen put a video(s) up with him. Oh, where is Blakey? It just started to pour again–it’s like 5 mins on and 5 mins off. Go away monsoon. At least the net is up. 🙂

      • Did I tell you A, I got the job? They called this morning for references – they wanted three which I gave them. Then they called again to tell me I had been selected. Even better they want me to meet someone higher up to discuss the salary and then also because they feel they may need me for another position (upcoming??). Whatever it is, it sounds promising. In my wallet, I carried Blake’s tiny little feathers as good luck charms.

        Am I repeating myself?

      • Un peu, but who cares?! That’s such great news and try to negotiate that salary as I know you need it! It was the feathers–I know it. I’m super weird about things like that. Oh, yay! Finally, some good news and you really needed it. Now, if I could ever get my pain under control and work again… 🙂
        Hugs… So excited for you!

      • What’s happening with the new pain medication? How about clonidine to control nerve impulses? Did you ever look into that? It was on that vimeo. Somedays Gen’s pain is really bad. Under her feet, the bones of her legs, all over essentially. But for her the fact that she couldn’t stand was the worse thing – I sure hope that this means her pain was sort of more bearable than yours. I’m scared it will keep getting worst.

      • Thanks for asking and btw, my pain is just stagnant (I think–hard to gauge over 12 yrs), although Gen’s sounds different than mine. This med is a different TCA, if familiar. It raises my pain threshold, but I have to take a teeny, liquid dose due to the side-effects. I suspect my afternoon nausea is from this one, but my pain is maybe 10%-15% lower. Not sure and not enough to make a big difference in my life. My thing is that my pain is ALL myofascial (feels just muscular) and it’s isolated to my upper body with a TCA: back/neck/shoulders/jaw mainly. I don’t think it’s nerve related and got so sick from the fibro drugs when they thought I had that (neurontin, Lyrica, etc.). Actually, I really can’t take any meds! Also, narcotics do nothing and make me so sick I have to refuse them after surgery. So, that’s where I’m stuck. I haven’t changed my little cocktail since ’07 as I got so sick of getting sick (haha), but asked about a super low-dose of nortriptyline–the TCA I’m on now instead of liquid doxepin (sinequan), as it did lower my pain yrs ago, but I had the capsule and the anti-cholinergic side-effects were too much. I also got relief from Strattera, an NRI used for ADHD but same side-effects. Argh! So, if I could just get more norepi. w/o the crappy side-effects, I’d be so much better. Really frustrating! I don’t know why that Strattera isn’t in a liquid (I cut that pill into teeny pieces and it still worked!), especially as most kids take ADHS meds. Well, I keep an eye out for anything new and there are other straight NRIs, but not FDA-approved, of course. Grrr. I hope Gen isn’t like me–it’s totally debilitating. This is what keeps me from working/being able to do anything without major effort. Before I went on doxepin again in ’03–I was on it for years for my GI issues prior–I just threw up all day from the pain. Oh, that was so bad. I couldn’t even take a deep breath from the muscles around my chest/ribs. Pain is the worst–pure torture.

      • … and how can we measure or describe pain? It’s not like we can compare and measure. I just hope something amazing comes up at one point. I was watching Katie tonight and there was a neurologist talking about the substance in marijuana and the pain relief that came from it. The modified drug doesn’t give the effect of “woohoo” but are greatly relieved. They showed this boy who had this terrible painful condition affecting his diaphragm and he was on that stuff. My only question is can’t they turn it into a pill? Gen’s tissues are so sensitive smoking anything would be detrimental to her. I mean she can’t stand perfumed stuff around the house…

      • If it doesn’t give me dry mouth/eyes and mess with my gut, I’d take a pill form. Smoke of any kind makes me sick and bugs my eyes and nose and there are a lot of pot smokers in here so the halls stink like it. This is why we need you to work in a lab! 🙂

      • Yeah right! Only working in a lab pays even less… lol

      • Your supposed to be in bed! Go to bed or you’ll be up all night like me (so trying to change that). That’s why my step-father (biology major) went on to medical school, plus he hated that the head researcher got all the credit! Lol.

      • It’s always like that about “getting all the credit”. Frustrating.

        lol – I know… I’m falling asleep here! And have to get up for the new bird tomorrow. Hopefully we can get it!

        Goodnight! xo

      • Good morning or night? Didn’t sleep much. Excited about the new bird. Waiting for them to give us an appointment! Different from a hospital or doctor’s appt!!!!! Gen is feeling better already.

      • Oh, that’s good news about Gen (and you I know). I hope the new bird will bring her as much joy as Blakey did. Keep me posted (or post!). Hugs…

      • Was a little depressed yesterday. Finally got a hold of the people only today. They weren’t getting back to us as the guy works a lot and I was afraid they may have changed their minds. We are picking her up tomorrow. I’m sure Gen will find a lot of comfort from her new little friend’s company.

        Still looking for Blake. Finally put up an add on Kijiji and this Quebec bird rescue association contacted us to put him up on their site. They also gave us quite a few pointers (very similar to those of the “bird man”). I know we did the good thing. It’s been nice here except for the wind last Monday. Maybe he’s around somewhere – who knows….

      • Aw, so sorry about the wait. Glad you got more info out about Blakey and got some pointers–yes, Bird Man is good for certain things as mentioned. Just hang in there. I know the new bird will be great for you both! ❤

      • I’m having a bit of a hard time. Want to write but I feel so all over the place.

        How are you doing? All these huge emotions you have gone through with your little girl… Hoping you’re OK…

      • Oh, I forgot to answer you about Moush, but funny observation first. I think we’re total opposites at times (opposites attract?). I get so overly focused it drives me crazy, but if I don’t I’ll go crazy, too! It’s just my nature, but I have lists upon lists and prioritize everything and do the one-day-at-a-time thing since getting sick. Otherwise, it WILL get totally overwhelming. If I think of every appt. and issue going on right now, I will feel like you do now–especially with this horrid weather making me feel so much worse. Just food for thought.

        MM is healing great but then she started sneezing like crazy about 48 hrs ago. She caught a virus in ’06 or so that was like that and then got VERY bad so I freaked out due to the crazy costs at the ER (and hwo to drive if it floods), so I hit the net. We never knew what she caught (my brother drove here with a kitten he had adopted from the pound who got sick while here). So, I saw that cats can get a virus that lays dormant ater the initial infection until they are overly stressed and it can reactivate about a week later and we were at a week. She stopped eating and drinking so I at least syringed water into her mouth, but her eyes and nose were clear (what a mess last time). Well, luckily it just seemed to be a 48-hr thing and she ate last night and I caught her drinking this morning and she was walking around last night. Phew! So, not a new virus from being in the hospital for 2 days as presumed. We see the oncologist next week so assume we’ll get the new med then (worried about the GI side-effects and she hates pills) and she gets her stitches out–no more lampshade!. Thanks for asking! Again, I’m just taking it one day at a time and that keeps me sane. xo

      • I HATE smoke and hate the smell of everything that comes from smoke – especially pot. And yes, it can’t be all that good with all the side effects. I mean smoke literally burns the inside of the airways.

      • I agree and that’s also why I won’t go that route–have no idea if they have the medical marijuana here or not but I’m just sick of it being around me (and the rest of it)–glad it doesn’t get into the room that I can tell.

  5. Hi A. I know you’re right about me seeking help – someone to talk to. The thing is, I have trust issues. I need to really think about this – and perhaps figure out who the best person would be for this. We can have someone here for Gen (40 hours a week I believe) because of her condition and for free because my salary last year was low and also because she can’t really be left alone all that much. Especially now given that her neck is really causing issues. That same organization that provide that help (NB government) must have someone who deals with caregivers. I also know they have sessions. Perhaps that’s where I should start looking for now as I’ve been burned by so many unprofessional people (social workers, psychologists, etc.). I’ve been working a bit on myself – I need to gain my self-confidence back. It’s all gone – I swear. Anyway, I would love to write to you more. But need to get up early so have to go to bed…
    I hope little MM will be OK with the meds. Hang in there. You are often in my thoughts. I have so much more to say and share about what you wrote in there… your living arrangements (where you live). Will get back to you soon. xox

    • I have MAJOR trust issue, too (with everyone!). I go in with a pretty high wall and play it by ear, which is how I am in real life. I really can’t believe things have worked out w/my counselor after all that happened at 1st (and he still acts weird at times), but I feel I can trust him, which is very good. I had about 5 very bad therapists in this town and didn’t go for years as a result, but the low-cost place seems better prepared to deal with what I have going on vs. the ones who take insurance and deal with bad marriages and whatnot. I do hope you give it a try! If you get a bad feeling and get nowhere after addressing it, then fire them!!!
      We’ll talk when you can. I’m dealing with the crap weather and 1/2 here. Argh!

    • Btw, feel free to delete comments from me on your blog that are too personal. I forget you actually have other readers (I just have D and a few who drop by on occasion). 🙂

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