Saturday, October 12, 2013
Ferrett and I have been watching Cesar Milan in the background while working, and one of the things that he emphasizes is giving dogs enough exercise. He rollerblades with his dogs, and encourages people to bike with them as well.
I don't rollerblade, but it's been noted that I do bike, so I thought I'd give it a try with Shasta.
The problem is, Shasta is terrified of bicycles. When we walk, she lunges at them with a ferocity that is unmatched by her reaction to anything else. But, hey, Mommy was gonna be the one on the bike; it would be okay, right.
The first time out, I got about 6 houses down the street before giving up. She was biting her leash, snapping at the tires, snapping at my ankles, and barking her head off. I almost ran her over three times, and almost crashed twice. I staggered back to the house, laughing at the disaster.
But if at first you don't succeed! And we have lots of experience with her being terrified of something the first time she encounters it and getting better. So this morning after taking her for her walk, I decided to try again.
First of all, I used the mountain bike, which is smaller. Secondly, I rode on the sidewalk--something I never do when riding regularly, but in this case it seemed the wiser. As we began, Shasta was barking and snapping just like the first time. This time, though, I was ready to be more patient. I stopped and reassured her, pedaled a few more feet, stopped again and let her sniff the bike, pedaled a bit more and stopped to make her quit biting the leash.
After the third stop, she turned and fled the bike. And after a few yards, she began to get the idea.
And suddenly I wasn't pedaling; I was being pulled down the street by 15 pounds of black, streaking energy. To the point that I was braking. We got to the first corner, and getting her to turn to the right caused me to almost hit a telephone pole. Next corner, I had to come to a complete stop to get her to turn and head back up the length of the block. It's slightly uphill, so we weren't going as fast, but there were distractions: dogs being walked, birds, fire hydrants. So I went back and forth between pedaling and braking, and being suddenly yanked by a sprinting dog such that I had to recatch my balance.
We turned the third corner, and keeping her from going straight and into the street I had to stop completely and pull her back, then sort of waddle the bike around the corner. And things fell apart there. We were back to the snarling and snapping and barking and biting the leash. Fortunately, this was the short side of the block and we were almost home. So we fought our way around the last turn and I was resigned to heading home, glad we'd made some progress.
Then, headed downhill, Shasta started running again. So we went around again, and then a third time. It was better, but we are clearly both still learning. The lunging and slowing for her, the braking and then getting almost pulled off the bike for me. By the time I got home from those three miles, I was hot and sweating, despite the fact that Shasta was doing most of the work.
But she got the corners, and we had a great time.
And now she is flopped beside me, worn out. So yay!
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Today I am officiating at my first wedding. Our dear friends are getting married, and they asked me to be their celebrant. I am excited and nervous. We are getting hair and makeup done now, and the wedding is at 5:30. It's a wonderful day!
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Last Saturday we participated in the CureSearch Walk. It was a beautiful, perfect day, and the purple-shirted Team Rebecca people were out in force. We made up about a third of all the walkers. And we raised about a third of all the money. Our group got a plaque for raising the most money.
In a way, this made me sad. Pedal to the Point, which benefits MS, had over a thousand riders. This benefit for children's cancer research had only about 150 walkers. There simply isn't enough awareness of the fact that so many children die from cancer. The statistics talk about a high cure rate for kids, but that is just kids with leukemia. For other children's cancers, the survivor rate is generally no better, and sometimes worse, that that of adults. Only 4% of the money spent on cancer research goes to pediatric research, and with the government shutdown several research studies that could be saving lives are simply being shuttered. It makes me want to cry.
This is probably my favorite picture of Rebecca, being chased by my husband, who, lacking a purple shirt, had instead dug a purple cape up. Becca remains so very alive and vibrant that it's almost impossible to believe her life is at risk. But at this moment she is undergoing her 16th radiation treatment, out of the 31 that are scheduled before she begins the year of her two-drug chemotherapy regimen. And it's still only a 50% chance that this smiling, high-energy little girl will be with us in 5 years.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Mom is out of immediate danger. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. I am so very grateful for them.
It turns out that she isn't actually bleeding internally. We burn through red blood cells on a regular basis; we dispel them through sweat and urine and such, and our kidneys tell our body to make more red blood cells accordingly.
Mom's kidneys are now so weak and subfunctional that they no longer signal the body to make red blood cells. She has to start kidney dialysis, but she wanted to go on one last vacation before she started. She went to her doctor last week, who told her that she needed to get a iron pack and a blood transfusion. But since she has had so many transfusion over the last couple of years it makes her blood very difficult to match due to antigens, so she didn't want to wait for the blood to be ordered, which would have disrupted her vacation schedule, and decided to wait until she returned from vacation and at that point her blood numbers weren't that bad.
Well go figure, the morning they were to leave it all went south. She was lucky to have made it to the hospital in time because she was in heart failure due to the fact that her blood level was so low. The doctor said if her body wasn't used to running on low she never would of made it. Then the big problem came--the only blood to match was in Salt Lake. It was basically over (do not resuscitate papers and all Ugh) And then we got our miracle: someone in the hospital had blood that was close to hers and didn't need all the blood that they had ordered from Salt lake. It was a bit risky but her only chance and thank God it worked.
She burned through that blood really fast because it wasn't a perfect match, but close enough to hold her until 4 in the morning when the good stuff got there. Now her numbers are up and with dialysis and the occasional transfusion we get to keep her with us for a little longer. Thankfully she is so determined to be here she just keeps fighting.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Now? My mother is in the hospital. Yesterday they didn't think she was going to live. Normal red blood cell levels are a 9-10. People die when they drop to 6. Mom's were 5.7. Because of her previous health problems and the number of blood transfusions that she has had means that she has antigen reactions to most blood, so they have to have very specific mixture of blood.
Which they did not have at the hospital. My sister, who lives in Montana, too, was called to race to the hospital to be able to say goodbye. Miraculously, they found some blood that had been sent to the hospital for another patient's surgery who hadn't used it. It wasn't a perfect match, but it was all they had left to try. When they gave her the blood, they had her sign a release saying that she understood that the blood could stop her heart.
Fortunately, it did not. But her body can't use the blood efficiently, so they keep having to give her more. The doctor says her heart and kidneys are so weak that they don't signal her body to make more blood cells so she just plain runs out of blood. I understand that her doctor told her last week that she needed a transfusion and an iron pack, but she was leaving on vacation and didn't want to delay it while waiting for the blood to arrive. She thought she could make it. Instead, she ended up in the hospital on the morning she was supposed to leave.
She is now not in immediate danger, but every blood transfusion damages her heart and kidneys even more, and she now has to go on dialysis. Basically, this is going to kill her in a matter of time. But not today.
I am kind of completely done with this year, and with hospitals.
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