Monday, December 28, 2009

Answers...or Not...

This morning, I got the results of my latest skin biopsy - as I predicted, NEGATIVE. Now, this is a good thing...this was a definitive lupus test - and the Mayo Clinic said no, I do not have lupus. This is very good.

However, we are back to square 1 - itchy, nasty rash that keeps coming and going, swollen fingers and fatigue, and an elevated antibody count in my blood. So now, we just wait for three months, to give the medication (Plaquenil) an opportunity to work. While this is a very good drug, "fast" is not an appropriate adjective for this medication. I return to the rheumatologist on March 10 for further bloodwork to see if the Plaquenil is working. If it isn't....then I don't know what is next.

So for now, our goal is to manage the rash as it comes - my dermatologist has asked me to come back during the healing process of the rash, because that is the only stage she has not seen it in. She is quite fascinated by all of this - not surprising given her interest in research. So I laughed and said sure.

On a positive note, I seem to be regaining at least some level of energy - enough to go through the unfinished part of the basement and the garage and clean and sweep them out. I also painted over the burgundy wall in my living room yesterday - all of which are good signs. But I still tire easily and some mornings, feel the full effects of gravity in my warm bed...

So that is the plan of action here. Can't say I am surprised, but am somewhat relieved to know I do not have lupus. Merry Christmas to me. :) Hope everyone had a great holiday with family and wishing everyone a safe New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How can you not love this face???


Long Overdue Vegas Photos...

Yeah, so I have been not such a great blogger...these are pretty tame. The one with Scott and the girl in the bikini was the Margaritaville Volcano girl that slid down the slide into the big bucket of Margaritas - it was quite interesting. Enjoy!

















Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving into this Millenium....

No, I did not get a DVR...plenty of people are still working on me for that, but it is not a DVR that is moving me into this Millenium, but a GPS!!!

I got a Garmin for my birthday - I borrowed my parents the first time I went to see Scott and it was a neat little toy to have, esp in the middle of Nowhere, Pa. I would be at the mercy of my map reading skills if I ever had to get off of I-80 in PA, so it is as much a safety thing as anything. My map reading skills are suspect on a good day! Now I just have to figure out how to use the darn thing...

I know I have been a bad blogger as of late...I hope to update soon with some pictures of Vegas and other random things. Still no word on the rash, hope to hear sometime this week.

I hope everyone is ready for the holidays!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Doctors, Doctors and More Doctors...

As most of my readers know, I have been dealing with some puzzling health issues as of late - primarily random rash that tends to show itself about every 2 weeks. I have also been extremely fatigued - beyond anything I have ever experienced.

One month ago, when I saw the rheumatologist for the first time, I had a very elevated antibody count in my blood, typically associated with auto immune disorders. My most recent blood work as of 2 weeks ago showed the antibody count to be the same it was a month ago - yet all additional screenings performed were negative at this time for the associated autoimmune issues. My counts remain 5x the normal level, concerning to all the medical professionals treating me.

Suffice to say, this is a bit frustrating - on a positive note, several serious things were ruled out for now, which is a good thing. However, we still don't know what it is. The rash is back again this week, and I am as uncomfortable as I have been in awhile. My rheumatologist is also a bit surprised with the results of the tests - while he is happy several things have been ruled out, he is still very concerned that I show high antibody counts in my blood.

The next step was taken on Friday morning, when I returned to my dermatologist for an additional skin biopsy. When the first biopsy was taken, we were not testing for autoimmune issues. This skin biopsy is a definitive lupus test - in talking with my dermatologist, basically someone will know when within 30 seconds of looking under a microscope whether I have lupus or not. I actually had 2 biopsies taken - one in an area affected by the rash, and one in an area not affected by the rash. Key to the diagnosis process is that the area is a non sun exposed area - sun exposure can impact the make up of your skin. The focus will be on the non affected area - if that sample is consistent with the patterns presented in a lupus diagnosis, that will be very, very telling. The samples will be evaluated by the Mayo Clinic, which is just absolutely amazing to me - apparently, they have an amazing set up for stuff like this and my slides will be evaluated under a $60k microscope. And I know this because my dermatologist is in a one year research fellowship with heavy lab focus. How lucky is that???

Although my blood work does not seem to indicate lupus, autoimmune issues often present in their own unique circumstances - my experiences are very typical of many patients with autoimmune issues. Moreover, I am very blessed to be working with doctors committed to my care - my dermatologist had a question about the sample she was taking and she walked right out of the office and called my rheumatologist while I was there (before she started poking me with needles and cutting me!). I have her cell phone number and can call her anytime. How lucky is that??

So I hope to know the results by the end of next week...if not, I will know the week after Christmas. In the meantime, they are treating me for general connective tissue disorder. Basically, my body is attacking the good guys - for some unknown reason. Your skin is what holds you together - connective tissue - and as far as my doctors can tell, something went haywire and what holds my body together is at war with my own immune system. For now, I have started taking a drug called Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. I was very hesitant to start this because they do not know what they are trying to treat - I was also hesitant because this is something that is a long term thing, meaning it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 months before I see any results. The reason I agreed to take it was because he said if it was autoimmune (and in his mind, I have some sort of autoimmune issue, he just doesn't know what yet!) that the medication will help with the fatigue. So I gave in gracefully...sort of. One of the very less frequent side effects of the drug is retinal issues (1 in 200k peeps affected) but I am very freaky about my eyes and I told him that - I have been close to someone who does not have their vision and I am in no way willing to risk my eyesight. Accordingly, at the recommendation of both the rheum and derm, I will now add an opthamologist to the long list of my doctors. My dermatologist is working on finding one in my insurance group. Did I tell you how much this woman rocks? She even waived my co-pay on Friday morning ($40 a pop every time I see someone and we are now approaching about 15 visits in all of this)...and her bedside manner is just awesome. Dr. Mary Jo Kerns....Dermatologists of Greater Columbus for those in Cbus if you ever need it.

At this point...I just wait. The biopsy spots are very sore...a little different from last time - the ones from last time had stitches, these dont, and these hurt more!!! Go figure. And usually I can ignore that rash, but it has come back in triple whammy format in three spots and I am far more uncomfortable than I have been in a long time. Past history shows the stuff clears up in about a week, so I am hoping history continues to repeat itself. :)

I will keep you posted as I know more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Highlight of the Week

So it has been an up and down week...just sort of there. And freezing...miserable cold.

I have to walk Chelsie for rehab, and there was no way I was going out tonight. It was 19 before the wind chill. No, no and NO way was I going out. So I asked Belinda if I could use her treadmill - Chelsie did ok on it...but it still made me nervous. She was a little panicky on it, and sudden movements are not good for her little knee, so please pray for warmer weather where I can actually walk her.

So off we troop to B's...where I was greeted with the most amazing little greeters...Bryce and Teagan!!! Bryce looked so grown up tonight, and Teagan loves her big brother and wants to do what he does. Tonight, I taught Bryce how to leave treats on Chelsie's paws and then tell her it was ok to eat them. He told her to "leave it" and then put them on her paws..he started out with one paw and then saw me put them on both paws and wanted to try it. So proud of him, he mastered the skill in his first night! I also put a treat in Teagan's hand, and showed her how to give it to Chelsie. The look on her little face was priceless when Chelsie took the treat out of her hand!

After treats, it was bath time, so we trooped up and supervised bath time. Chelsie has to be in the bathroom with the kids during bath time...and I mean right there - like her nose is almost over the tub. She sits like a nice puppy should during bath...and I sure somewhere in B's bathroom, Chelsie's fur is the gift that keeps on givng.

The highlight of the week was definitely my evening Bryce and Teagan...my little buggers!! (and I guess Mark and Belinda too!) They are growing up so fast....Every time I see Bryce, he looks taller and Teagan's vocabulary and communication is changing by leaps and bounds. We are working on her saying "Cole" and "Chelsie Belle".

My little buggers rock...they definitely made a cold, dreary night a happier night!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Being Militant Has Paid Off....

This afternoon, Chelsie saw Dr. Kennedy for her 6 week post surgery check up. This was the visit where they took xrays of her knee to see how the repair was healing. The plates and screws were incredibly clear on the Xray.

All news was good. Dr. Kennedy was very, very happy with how the knee had healed! Told us he could tell we had been working very hard, and assured me that the hardest part was over. She has just a little bit of arthritis on her leg, which is why sometimes she locks it up during her stretches. He was also happy to learn she was going through the rehab she was at my vet - he feels the underwater treadmill will help quite a bit.

So, what does this mean?

- We can now go up and down stairs in a controlled manner.

- She can go on her retractable leash and have more freedom to trot about on her walk. We have been "walking with a purpose" - which resulted in continued use of the leg over a given period of time. In short, when I put her gentle leader on to go for her walk, she walks like a missile for 15 minutes. I can now give her the freedom to roam a little on her walk. I will still make her walk like a missile on most of her walks though...

- Still no jumping on furniture or playing with other dogs.


But, best of all....WE HAVE BEEN CLEARED TO RETURN TO OUR THERAPY VISITS!!!!!

I am feeling an overwhelming sense of relief tonight. I was pretty sure all was ok...but you just never know. I was laughing with Dr. Kennedy about that - not knowing how much is too much, how much is not enough...I told him I screwed up on night one by giving her too much water, he laughed and asked if she threw up. Yep, I said, EVERYWHERE!!! This has been such an upheaval to everyone's routine...esp Chelsie. I am so, so proud of her for getting with the new program so quickly and being such a good dog. She has accepted my new rules and seems no worse for the wear. I am incredibly thankful for my parents - her little spirit would not be what it is today without the care they gave her over the past 7 weeks. I have no doubt that her not having to be in a crate all day with an ecollar has had a significant impact on her recovery.

So now, we continue on with the new routine..more freedom in the house and on our walks, stairs, no other dogs or roughhousing. Our last appt with Dr. Kennedy is month from now, which will be 11 weeks post surgery. We will likely continue to do underwater therapy, and hopefully, at our next appointment, we can talk about an agility timetable. My guess is that we will be cleared to trial sometime in April or May.

Thanks again for all your support.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hey Baby, Let's Go to Vegas

No, I did NOT kiss the single life goodbye!!! (Faith Hill song) Scott and I thought about posting a picture to FB in front of some little random wedding chapel and posting "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" but we thought better of it! I had an amazing time. Quite honestly, I don't have the energy to upload photos at this point, and honestly, I didn't take very many...although I do have some appropriate silly ones...think me fighting a gorilla for entertainment value...

My Vegas posse consisted of the following:

- Brother Joe
- BF Scott
- Cousin Michelle
- Cousin Kathi
- Roger, cousin Kathi's hubby
- Adrienne & Leno - friends from California

Anyway, here is my top 10 of my Vegas trip.

10. I was reminded of how much I love dueling piano bars. Scott and my cousin Kathi thought it would be funny to get me up there and have them sing to me...and trust me, it was NOT happy birthday they were singing to me!

9. I was reminded of how much I despise cigarette smoke.

8. Hoover Dam is an amazing structure. Took a tour of it and actually went inside the dam - took a photo from one of the little vents actually in the cement of the dam. They have a model of how the dams were built to control the Colorado river...the dam system to keep it under control spans 8 states or something like that! Never seen so much cement in one place.

7. Sat at a blackjack table and won $260 my first time out. I made some friends with some guys from Ireland and they schooled me on how to play. Came away with $220 in the black. Not bad. Set limits, stuck to them.

6. Saw crack and muffin top like I have never seen it before...all on the same girl. I seriously considered walking up and telling her that those jeans might not be the best for her. I will spare you the details...it was awful.

5. Sat in a sports bar all day Saturday and watched Alabama DISMANTLE Florida and Arizona hand USC its 5th loss. Michigan wasn't playing, so they couldn't lose. :) Adrienne sat with us for a little while before venturing out...and we told her we would be in the exact same spot when she got back - and we were true to our word!

4. Best quote of the trip was found in the elevator of a hotel...it was above a picture of a martini....it said:

"Trust us, you had a good time last night"

3. Ate all varieties of steak...the Delmonico's version of fillet Mignon and Bill's Saloon's version at 3:45 AM. Both tasted equally as good in their own way and both were a heart attack waiting to happen.

2. I was reminded that I am indeed 35 and not a 22 year old that can party like a rockstar for more than one night. I think it was the Royal bomb shot that did me in...a shot of Crown Royal in a glass of peach schnapps and Red Bull. For those of you who know and love me dearly, you know my code name for Crown...yep, you got it....gasoline.

1. Number one goes to brother Joe, who had to make an emergency landing in KC, Mo on his way out because some lady got obnoxious and started threatening people. Apparently, she had never flown by herself, took something to help relax her and then started drinking on top of it. Joe said the pilot literally had the plane pointed down...that from announcement they were landing to landing was less than 20 minutes. Apparently, she also tried to resist arrest..which rsulted in the police tossing her down in the aisle way of the plane. Jesus lord, people, get a grip.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I spent it with people who are very dear to me, and we all just had a really great time. I lived it up...ate what I wanted, stayed out until all hours of the morning...it was an eye opening experience for Scott. He knows me as the reserved, routine oriented, anal retentive accountant that I am. He actually commented that he was glad I let loose a little bit...I laughed. Most of my friends that did not know me in college can't ever imagine me being wild and crazy, even on limited basis...but I am guessing there are a few of you out there that know better....

Thanks again to my posse for a wonderful weekend...I had such a great time. Thanks also to:

- Maggie (my mom) for watching our (Joe and I) puppies, Chel and El. They have to be closely supervised and cannot be left alone because Chelsie is still recovering. They got a good report from Grammie.

- Auntie (my mom's sister Eileen) - she watched Michelle and Kathi's kids, all 4 of them. Toddlers and teenagers, all in the same weekend (Amanda - 13, Jenn - 11, Tessa -5, Makenna - 3)

Tuesday is our 6 week xray day...please think good thoughts for my little bean's knee!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Progress

Wednesday marked 5 weeks since little bean's surgery. She continues to progress quite well. I still see a little limp, but that is to be expected. We are in a marathon here, not a sprint.

Over the past month, I have learned a lot more about her little personality - and I thought I knew her quite well! Her behavior over the past month has really taught me a lot about the pack mentality, particularly in the sense that dogs look for a leader. I have established a set of rules for her, she knows what they are and for the most part, she follows them. Sure, occasionally, she gets a little too excited and has jumped on furniture once or twice (which she was allowed to do before her surgery) But for the most part, she has been a great dog - a compliant dog, as I like to say. I cannot imagine doing this with a non compliant dog.

One other thing that has come out of this is that I do see she sometimes has it in her to be a little cuddly, at least. For the most part, I had just accepted that cuddling was not part of her little personality and that she was not the cuddly puppy she once was. But when laying on the floor, she is much more likely to be touching some part of me now. One thing that interests me greatly will be to see how she does when she does not have to be crated anymore. I haven't decided if I am going to take her crates down or not. At one point in her life, she abhorred them...but now, i think she almost likes them. Lucky for me, that is a decision I don't have to make any time soon. :)

I still miss our old life...a lot. I miss our agility friends, our agility competitions (esp because Scott ran RIP today in a trial near his house)and I especially miss our volunteering. I would be lying if I said I thought I was physically capable of keeping our old schedule at this exact moment, but that doesn't mean I don't miss it. Again, I wonder if this is divine intervention stepping in, forcing me to slow down...I could do without the torn ACL's and my own health issues, but hey we will go with that.

On a final note, continued prayers for the Rhodes family. Stephanie's husband started radiation and chemotherapy this week. Please keep them in your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nice Gesture

Tonight, on my way to Mexican and margaritas, a call came in on my cell from a number I did not recognize. It was my dermatologist. I had called her last week to let her know that one of my blood counts was off, and she was out of town, so she was calling to get further details. We talked through what had transpired since I had seen her last, and she too was quite concerned about my elevated ANA count - I think she said "that is abnormally high".

I took the opportunity to thank her for her efforts - she very easily could have said that this was just a rash that comes and goes and stopped there, but she didn't. She recognized this was beyond what she could treat, that this was not normal for me and actively assisted me in getting the next appointments set up. Not only that, the doctors she set me up with were equally as wonderful as she was. All three have consistently been amazing - all three saw me at the drop of a hat on the same day, the allergist gave me his cell phone number and called back within 15 minutes of me calling him and the dermatologist made the effort to call me and see how I was doing. All three also have an excellent bedside manner - which goes a long way in building your trust when you are frustrated after seeing doctors for the upteenth time.

So while this has been a rough health year for me, I feel very lucky to have received outstanding medical care. The ENT I saw earlier this year was fabulous (in addition to being fabulously cute) he actually read my history and was able to piece together the sleep apnea issue - and true to his word, I am a better person because I sleep.

What I have also learned is that you are your best advocate. You know your body and you know when something isn't right. And you need to make sure the professionals who are treating you respect that and if they don't help you, find some that will. I can't imagine what it would have been like had I not found such compassionate, caring doctors the first time around.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Video of the Rockefeller Ice Rink.


Photos from the Weekend

Weekend with Scott was awesome. NYC Friday, football Saturday (A BUCKEYE VICTORY!!!)and the TransSiberian Orchestra on Saturday night in Philly. TSO was awesome, absolutely amazing light show and special effects on top of the great music. Ate real philly cheesesteak on Saturday night too - learned you are either a "Pat's" or "Geno's" person. These are the 2 signature cheesesteak restaurants in Philly. Scott is a Pat's fan (not sure what the difference is), so we ate Pat's. Really, all it is is steak cooked on a grill with cheese whiz on it - and people stand in line all day and all night for it, whether it is 40 or -4 outside. :)

Enjoy the photos!


























Saturday, November 21, 2009

Health News - Mom and Chel

First, about Chel - she began rehab on Friday morning at my vet! Medvet offers rehab primarily for dogs that are struggling, but thankfully, she does not need that. Grandma took her on Friday morning, as I am in PA visiting Scott. I have not yet talked to the rehab specialist, but our initial conversations seem to take us to the same page. Good news.

Per my last post, I saw the allergist on Wednesday, and got the steriod shot - to make the rash go away. I got to thinking and decided I was going to drop into the rheums office on Thursday to see if he had availability to see it. I walked in and they got me right in - he was very happy that I stopped in so he could see it. I was supposed to see him Monday, but I knew the rash would be gone by Monday.

We discussed the results of my xrays and bloodwork. My xrays showed a minor congential deformity in my lower spine - nothing major, but could explain a lot of the discomfort in my lower back. All of my bloodwok was normal except for one count, which was 5x normal level. This count does produce false positives, but my doctor does not think mine is a false positive because of the high count. It was a count that was indicative of a high concentration of a particular antibody (ANA). Further bloodwork is necessary for more specific testing.

What this means is 2 things - number one, we are on a path to getting some answers, because number 2, this high count lends itself toward some sort of autoimmune issue. Of course, I asked what my doctor thought, but he said he did not want to speculate. I of course have googled what this elevated count means and seem to have eliminated some things based on symptoms, but who knows. Anyway, most important - we have a specific path to go down now. Until now, it seems we know more what it isn't than what it is, so it seems like we are on the path of finding out what it is this time. Yay.

So although I am not exited about what they are testing for, I have to admit I am relieved to know I am not crazy. My gut told me this was not normal and I am very glad I stuck to my guns and had some medical professionals who listened. I see my rheum again in 2 weeks, so I will keep everyone posted. Thanks for the good thoughts!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Health Update

Two weeks ago, in my attempt to figure out why I have random rash, I saw an allergist. Of course, random rash made itself scarce on the day of my visit and we agreed I would come back when it showed itself again. I honestly believe the allergist did not think it would come back...but I knew better.

It re-appeared on my leg earlier this week, and I decided today it was irritated enough to call. Dr. McNeil gave me his cell phone number, told me to call him when it came back and that I would be seen by someone immediately. True to his word, I called him today, he called me back in 15 min and said come in at 6:30 tonight - he works late tonight (how much sense does that make???It was awesome) Even better, I didn't have to leave work early to do this.

We both agreed the rash was not normal - 3 for 3 with the medical establishment on concluding this is not normal! He asked if I had just been running because I had shorts on - I told him no, that I HATED to run. He too is baffled by random rash. I told him I was going to see Scott this weekend, and he exact words were "well, we will do something to make that go away tonight so you are not miserable this weekend" That something was a steroid shot - called Celestone (nasty little shot - I still feel it!). We will see what that does. I will also go in for patch testing - which is where they put three strips of tape on my back for 2 days and see if I have any contact allergies. He did say he did not think it was contact dermatitis from something I was coming in contact with because of the bizarre locations of the rash, so it sounds like he will do his part to make sure that I am not allergic to anything...thus, it all the pressure at this point is on Dr. Antonchak, the rheumatologist. :) Poor guy. At least he doesn't think I am crazy and suspects there is some underlying cause of this.

So it has been a process, but I think we are getting there. At this point, we are confirming what it is NOT, but I would like to confirm what it IS. I feel very greatful that I have received what I believe to be very competent medical care - the approach to treating this was reasonable and rational. It seemed it was slow at times, but we are at the mercy of whatever is causing this rash - and hopefully on the path to the answers.

Lastly, extra, extra prayers are needed, this time for the Rhodes family. I reconnected with my high school friend Stephanie on FB earlier this year. Friday, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and yesterday, they learned it was very aggressive and had gone to his liver, bones and soft tissues. They have three children who are young, yet old enough to understand cancer. It does not sound good. Difficult decisions lay ahead, so please keep them in your thoughts and say a prayer of thanks for your health and the health of those around you.

And, given that it is Michigan week around here...GO BUCKS!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FREE AT LAST!

Today marks the biggest milestone yet. The staples are out, cone of shame gone.

I am still going to have to watch the bottom of her incision. They took the scabbing off so that it wouldn't itch, I am sure, but it is a little red and I still fear she might go after. So mom and grandma will be watching that closely. When I took her in this morning, the rehab girl came out and after we talked, she said to Chelsie "Let's go find someone to help me take out those darn staples!" Music to my ears.

On the whole, her rehab appt went very well. She is progressing nicely, and does not need any additional therapy. They did recommend the underwater treadmill to help her build her stamina back, but we can do that at my vet, and we likely will. She sees Dr. Kennedy on 12/8, at which time she will have xrays and he will evaluate her progress. Until then, we need to keep her on the same protocol we are on now - crate rest and taking it easy when she is not in the crate. For the most part, she "gets it" - in that she knows that if she is out of her crate she needs to be laying at someone's feet. The other thing today brought was an increase in her walking time, which is just huge. She is a pooch that firmly believes in her walks. She will be thrilled to go three times a day. We will have to watch closely to make sure we do not overdo it. :)

Tonight, after being picked up at Medvet, she went to a Varsity O meeting with me. I usually don't take her, but tonight I did. She was a good girl and rested under the table like a nice puppy should. We found her 20 minute walk loop, took a spin and now she is resting. She will be so excited tomorrow when she is not forced into the cone of shame...

Big Day

Today is the day, yes it is, yes it is! The staples are finally coming out! All the staples they put back in 2 weeks ago are still there! While the bottom of the incision is still a little scabby and is not nearly as aesthically pleasing as the top, it is still healed and I am confident she will be freed from the metal in her leg today!!! YAY. What this really means is LONGER WALKS AND BEING FREED OF THE CONE OF SHAME...more fresh air, getting out of the house - even if it is that time of the year where it is getting cold. I will still be watching the bottom part of the incision like a hawk until that scab goes away - call me paranoid, but I will go with that.

We will also learn today what her rehab will look like. It is very likely she will participate in the TPLO rehab protocol onsite at Medvet. I believe this gives her the best opportunity for recovery at this point, and I would do it even if I were not going to compete in agility again. I want her to be able to go back to her little life to the fullest extent possible, which means lots of walks, swimming, playing with her toys and most importantly, being able to safely chase her beloved red kong ball. She will likely truck up to Medvet twice a week for the next 4-5 weeks. I am excited for the underwater treadmill - I expect that will wear her out, which is what she needs to feel like herself again.

She is over on the other side of the bed in her crate, complaining at me for being up too early, and I totally agree. Yesterday, my calendar spiraled out of control for the week, so I was up late last night and early this morning to get things done. I knocked out something big, so it was worth it...but my little girl let me know that she was NOT happy about the lights coming on and the keyboard clicking away at 5AM this morning! Neither was I for that matter, but as grandma says, someone needs to pay for rehab and dog biscuits...

I will let everyone know what happens today...off to the races.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I see her spirit

Over the past few days, I can tell Chelsie is feeling better...her little spirit is rejuveniated. I told her to get a toy today, and she ran over to her toy box and got her lobster. She chewed on her bone this morning for an hour...sniffed in the grass during her walk and did doggie somersaults all over me. She also enjoyed a visit from her aunt Sharon, who came by to pick up some stuff. I got to meet Sharon's new dog Forsythe...he is a good boy. He is about as tall as Chelsie, but has a more blocky head than Chelsie does. Forsythe waited outside with Larry while Aunt Sharon came in and saw Chelsie. A field trip to Dayton might be in her future tomorrow to see her agility friends....from the view in her crate of course.

Here are a few picture. I really started to see her coming back the other night on the bed (I picked her up and put her on the bed of course...and carried her down the stairs with me tonight) You can see a slight curl in her back and all her paws are intertwined...a happy, content, tired pooch. First time I have seen that since her injury...



Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Update

This morning, my parents ran Chelsie up to Medvet so they could look at her incision. I had been watching her incision closely since re-suture last week,it was a little rough looking to the right of the incision. For lack of a better description, her skin appeared to be tearing. The wound was closed, but to the right of her incision, she appeared to have a scab that looked like it had started to heal and then came open with movement. The look of it made me call into question whether or not she had actually been licking at it....which would have been on my watch at night. I do not make her wear any ecollar at night, so if she was getting to it, it was at night. But based on the appearance of the rest of her incision, I was pretty confident that was not the case. Being as today was Thursday and we are getting the staples out Tueday, I finally decided I was going to call about. It had that "if this gets nasty it will take months to heal properly" look about it.

Turns out I was NOT crazy about this. A couple of her staples had twisted, which was causing the tearing. They took the afflicted staples out, and off she went to Marysville. She actually saw Dr. Kennedy, who said she was doing great. Weight consistent at 60.5 lbs. We will know a lot more about longer term rehab on Tuesday when she has her rehab consultation.

Tonight on my trip to the grocery store, I bought a box of brownies to bake for the staff at Medvet. They probably think I am nuts...and Chelsie probably says, yep, thats my old lady. A bona fide crazy....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Little Things

Tonight, I took my car in for a 75k service. (which caused my father to ask me where it was I drove, and tell me that I drove more miles in one year than the average person does - uh, yeah, I play soccer every which way all over Cbus!) Anyway, the Honda dealer I take the car to is great. They take you home after dropping your car off and then pick you up to come get - super convenient. Most of the time, when I go in for an oil change, I take Chelsie and wait there. It is a good opportunity for her to practice her manners. We wait in the service bay, and all the guys there love her.

So tonight I get there, and the service guys are like "No puppy?" No, puppy had to stay home, she has a booboo on her knee. The guy that picked me up - "No puppy?" No, she is inside the house, crouched down in her crate looking pathetic because she has to wear her ecollar. :) They all felt very bad. I told them they would see her the next time I came in, in 5k miles.

So that is just a little example of how much this has really put a dent in our routine. I would have tossed her in the car to come, but leaving her home was the better option. Suffice to say, she was still in the same position she was when I left, and had drooled all over herself. Gramma was at the house about 45 minutes after I left, and she did not spend much time in her house...she just hates the lampshade. We are enjoying some bonding time on the floor right now...I was thinking of carrying her downstairs to work in my office, but I am thinking I might just enjoy some bed time instead...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Long Week Over




A few photos from our trip to Medvet earlier this week. One is of Chelsie pouting on the floor because I told her to lay down, the other is of her deciding her old lady is OK because she had some cookies in her pcoket and shared them.

What a long week it has been...actually a long few weeks. I am somewhat surprised I am still awake at this point, but the old classic "Legends of the Fall" has sucked me in and therefore, I am still awake.

After our little adventure earlier this week, Chelsie's incision appears to be healing nicely. I was looking at her leg tonight, and noticed the staples (the newly inserted ones) were much closer together. Before the staples were put in, sutures were also put in subcutaneously. Between the cone of shame, the antibiotics and a lot of love from her mom, gramma and grampa, her incision seems to be healing nicely.

I am absolutely wiped out tonight...again, I would be remiss in not thanking my parents again for all they have done for us. My mom has been here by 9AM every day to get her out of the cone that causes her such misery. In the morning, she climbs all the way in the back of the crate and refuses to come out - which means I literally have to climb in the crate to get that thing on her - yeah, I know, picture that. She looks at me with such sad eyes when I put it on her, like she doesn't understand why she has to wear it.

As I pointed out in a previous post, my schedule has changed dramatically - down to soccer one night a week. Truthfully, I couldn't imagine doing anything more than that. Prior to Chelsie's injury, I had really been burning the candle at both ends...over the past few weeks, I have started to wonder if Chelsie's injury was God's way of telling me I needed to slow down. If so, I feel terrible that she has had to suffer so, but we have really bonded. She seems to know why she has to be in her crate, why she has to wear her gentle leader and that it is important to let mom stretch her leg and ice her incision. I will bring her up on the bed tonight for a little special bonding time.

Thanks to my parents hard work here all week, I will be able to enjoy a relatively chore free weekend - I am very greatful for that. I hope to enjoy a weekend that has a lot of "rest periods" in it....and I hope you do the same....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

But mom, I just wanted to "help"...

Well, my little Chelsie Belle, you did...it was so thoughtful of you to try and "help" take your staples out. For your efforts, you won:

- An afternoon at Medvet to get your incision flushed and re-sutured
- Ice pack and range of motion exercises for 2 more weeks
- Only 5-10 minute walks instead of 10-20 minute walks three times a day

AND, FOR THE GRAND FINALE....

- The lampshade ecollar when no one is here with you....


This morning, sometime between the time I left for work and my parents getting here, Chelsie was able to get around the inflatable ecollar and get at her incision. My parents found her eating away at her incision - which had gotten a little messy. In a panic, they called me, and I called up to Medvet to let them know what we were bringing - a bad labbie with an open wound. Fortunately, grammie and the GRAND Paw showed up soon enough to prevent her from doing anything other than making a mess of it - it was only superficial and subcutaneous (below the skin) sutures and staples on top were needed.

So thankfully, this is only a minor setback...the only real hard part will be leaving her in the lampshade - it causes her obvious duress. But I know it is only for a short period of time and that it is absolutely the best thing for her. I am just happy to have her home and resting in her crate next to me....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Answers

So, as many of you know, I have been dealing with an annoying skin rash on and off since the beginning of July. At first, I thought it was from wakeboarding in the river or stress, but that has long since passed and my visitor still makes an appearance quite frequently - only on my arms and legs, and never below my knees.

I first saw my dermatologist on 8/14 - since then, I have had a skin biopsy (arm and leg) been on three different steriod creams and have swallowed a lot of Zyrtec. The biopsy was essentially inconclusive - it was lableled as "contact dermatitis of unknown origin", but it appears there is a possibility it could be a reaction to some sort of virus. The rash is unpredicatble, itchy and gross. We had been waiting for the right opportunity to biopsy - in order for the biopsy to be effective, I had to leave some areas untreated, which basically meant I was very itchy for a few weeks. About a month ago, I had a nasty flare up on my arms, called and got in that day. My derm took one look at it, and said "That is not normal" At least we agreed on that. Two minutes later, she was looking for spots to sample.

The results have left my derm stumped - but thankfully, she is not ready to call it quits just yet. Next week, I will see an allergist and a rheumatologist. The only unfortunate thing about the allergist is that I will not be able to take any Zyrtec until next Wedensday, which helps with the "hive" symptoms that this rash tends to show. I am also somewhat apprehensive about the rheumatologist - for some reason, I associate these doctors with really, really sick people...

So hopefully, we are on the road to some answers. I certainly hope we are successful - this stuff is nasty, gross and uncomfortable. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Settling In to A Different Routine

We are now 10 days post surgery - and today marks our first milestone and that is completion of all medication. With her middday meal today, we finished the last of the antibiotics. She was taking 750 mg of Cephalexin three times a day to prevent infection in her incision, as well as an anti-inflammatory (which was finished with breakfast this morning) and pain meds, which finished Tuesday this week. The anitbiotics required food, so she was fed three times a day through today. Tomorrow, we will return to her normal feeding schedule of twice a day.

The last 2 weeks have been physically and emotionally exhausting - thank god my parents are here to help, esp for the first two weeks. Our next milestone will be Tuesday, when the staples come out. All our work (and when I say "our", I am talking my mom and I) to keep her incision from getting infected and get the swelling out of her ankle has really paid off. I am also glad I started her post surgery crating routine immediately upon diagnosis - she has adjusted to the the crate quite well.

What this really means is an upheaval to our normal routine. Crates, gentle leaders, stuck on leash all the time - all this is a great change in her normal daily routine, and while she is a dog that is happy to go with the flow, she also thrives on routine. She has done very well at accepting the new routine of all the above.

Me, on the other hand, is still trying to figure this out. Really, the only thing I have going right now is one night of soccer - down from 3 teams, no softball, no agility (class or trials) and no volunteering. Suffice to say, this is an adjustment for me! But maybe it will be good for me - I know it has already definitely made me appreciate what I have and all the friends I have...I do miss my agility friends, and I miss running with my partner. We are bonding in a different way now...especially when I am doing her exercises and icing her knee. She lays right out and lets me do those things, and then usually stays asleep until I get up and move. She flips on her back for lots of belly rubs now, not something she has done in the past. So I guess I can say that we are bonding in a different way.

The next three weekends will be very quiet...some big football games coming up to enjoy, but other than than, nothing much. The weekend of the OSU/Michigan game, I will make my way to Pa for the first time, as I told Scott we could watch the game on neutral turf - so that he would not be surrounded by Ohio State fans. I will leave on Thursday and on Friday, Scott is taking me to NYC for the day - that should give you an idea of how far in eastern Pa he lives! We will also be going to see the TransSiberian Orchestra in Philly on Saturday night after the game (he lives about an hour from Phildelphia)so that will be a lot of fun. And the first weekend in December will be the birthday blowout in Las Vegas. :)

So a few fun things are coming up, but everyday life as I know it has changed dramatically. Something tells me that I will find something(s) to keep occupied.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. The Buckeyes won, Michigan is losing...both good things on a Satruday afternoon. Chels did run errands with me, and is resting in her crate now. I got her some apple/peanut butter filled bones, so I will break out one of those for her later.

Stay warm everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A letter from Chelsie Belle

Dear Eggo, Cricket, Cabana, Oreo and all freinds (canine and humans alike),

Well, I am almost a week post surgery. Last Tuesday, mom had the nerve to take me to a new vet and leave me there...when I woke up, I was in pain, half shaved and in some run that was clearly NOT my mom's bed - having not eaten in 24 hrs, as my surgery was delayed due to incoming emergencies. Since then, I have endured the crate (with and without my inflatbale ecollar) am attached to someone with a leash when I am not in my crate, have been forced to potty with a leash attached to me and have been relegated to my gentle leader. SERIOUSLY?

All things being equal, what I can say is that my leg seems to work now. It is a little stiff when I get up, but my mom says that is to be expected, because I have plates and screws holding it together. I am very happy to get fresh air on my walks...yesterday, gramma and grampa did yard work for mom and I went outside and laid in my crate so I could be with them. I tolerate my gentle leader and am usually rewarded with a few Charlee Bears....I also tolderate my range of motion exercises and the ice. I much prefer the heat, but the swelling in my ankle is gone so I don't know how much more heat I will be getting.

I am very greatful for gramma and grampa...they come and spend time with me so I don't have to wear my ecollar, even though gramma walked in on me when I was asleep with it on in the crate...so I guess I really can't fool anyone any more. I do love having them here with me...either I sleep at their feet or sleep in my house, sans the ecollar. Then mom comes home and bonds with me all night!

I see Dr. Kennedy on Tuesday, which means longer walks and more fresh air on Wedensday. No more ice after that either, so that is good. I see the rehab team on 11/17 for my assessment to see how I am using my leg.

This afternoon, mom took pity on me and brought me some timbits. She said I better enjoy them, because I can't have these so much any more...not until my leg heals and I can exercise. She let granmda be the hero and give them to me. I am finishing up my last ice pack of the day, will get my dinner and then enjoy the World Series from my house while resting.

Thank you again to Adam, Keisa and Oreo for my get well card. I hope mom goes and gets me a new toy soon.

Very Sincerely,

Chelsie Belle

Monday, October 26, 2009

Princess on Board

Ok, so Chelsie and I have earned that little pink paw on the back of my car that says "Princess on Board"....

The last 2 months have been incredibly busy - trialing, traveling, guests in town, football games, and last but certainly not least, Chelsie's injury. I knew when I went into the September/October time frame that my life would be CRAZY until this weekend...and that was before Chel hurt herself. The stress of that over the last 2 weeks, along with burning the candle at both ends for the last 2 months (maybe like incinerating it) have left me totally wiped out tonight.

This afternoon, my mom and dad came over and rescued Chelsie from the ecollar...said she looked sad, but no stress induced panting or drooling. They dealt with all the laundry (sheets/towels from guests) moved the mattresses back up from the basement, made the beds and ran the vacuum cleaner, made dinner and had it ready pretty quickly after I got home. All I had to do was one more rehab session with Chel tonight, and then plop myself on the chair with my fleece blanket. Folks, you better sit down..because I have been for the last 2.5 hrs. Doesn't happen very often, but it happened tonight. About as far as I will go is to take Chel out one more time tonight and back in the house to bed.

So thank you again, ma and pa...Chelsie's rehab has been a family event. I think my mom and I have watched the TPLO rehab video 50 times between the 2 of us...they hate Chelsie being in the crate with her ecollar on, they prefer that she lay at their feet out of the crate. They were here practically all weekend so I could spend time with my friends, and were absolute life savers tonight when I walked in the door. And they will be here to start the process again all over tomorrow...minus the laundry...all of that is done.

Thank you again, ma and pa.....

Oh, Happy Day...

Chelsie's staples will come out next Tuesday at 12:30. Thank god...as I left her in her ecolar in her crate....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Still Doing Well

We are still doing well...still sticking to our walk, range of motion, ice and heat routine, despite our busy weekend of the Tuckers, tailgating and football game.

Huge thanks to grandma and grandpa, who came to babysit during all of our activities so Chel would not have to wear her ecollar. She still really hates the ecollar, even the inflatable one I bought. And unfortunately for her, I have caught her going after her incision twice. This afternoon, grandma suggested that perhaps Chelsie might like to rest on the bed...so I dragged the ramp into the house and she walked up her ramp to the bed. She is still on leash on the bed, in case she loses her little labbie brains and tries to jump off. I don't think she will, but no way I am taking that chance. I do think she is very much enjoying her time on the bed.

Here are some photos...overall, doing very, very well. Swelling in ankle down, incision looks great considering and she is walking amazingly well considering she just had her knee rebuilt!!!





Saturday, October 24, 2009

Doing Well

Despite some visitos (The Tuckers, Schwartz's and McCunes) we have managed to settle into somewhat of a routine. Overall, things are going very well, considering the circumstances!

We are only 4 days post surgery, and she walks better and better every day. This is wonderful, but also very dangerous as she continues to feel better as too much activity too soon can be very harmful. She continues to accept the crate and does very well with not coming out until we release her and have a leash on her. For walking purposes, we have gone back to the gentle leader, which she absolutely HATES. With a passion...did I mention she HATES her gentle leader? It certainly makes mom feel better about controlling her movement, that is for sure!!!

She is still VERY stressed about the ecollar - she pants and drools and generally pouts in it. I bought an inflatable one yesterday that does not seem as obnoxious, but she was still panting up a storm last night. As she does not seem to be going after the incision, I leave it off at night - but I am right next to her if she starts. Hopefully I won't have to cross the "ecollar at night" bridge.

She also has a bit of fluid build up in her ankle, similiar to what humans would have after such a surgery. We are treating that with warm compresses, something else to add to our routine. We have to wait an hour in between ice and cold, so that will be somewhat of a challenge.

But overall, we are doing it. I am sitting on the floor with her in between my legs - I bought one of those armchair pillows for the next 6 weeks, just to support my back as I spend more time on the floor with her. I have gotten her to lay down so that I have easy access to her leg, and she can stay that way for ice. My left leg is actually supporting her leg, so it has something to rest on and the ice pack (green beans) can be directly on the incision. I try to avoid touching her incision during range of motion exercises - even though the guy in the video looks like he would be holding right where the incision was...ugh, not me. Plus, I think it would hurt. So I avoid it. It looks pretty good, all things considering - little fluid oozing, but to be expected. After re-watching the video this morning, I saw that part - now how did I miss this part after watching the video no less than 10 times in the last 4 days????

Anyway..all in all, going well. Mom is going to the FB game (OMG, they better win) and gramma and grampa are coming over so she will NOT have to wear ecollar....thank god. I don't know what I would do without my parents...

We will keep you posted! Thanks again for the good thoughts!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Home and Our New Routine

I am very happy to report that according to Dr. Kennedy, Chelsie's surgery went quite well. She was a very good patient - ate when they asked her to (go figure), pottied when they asked her to and was very quiet during her stay. When I spoke to the tech caring for her yesterday morning, she said she thought Chelsie might be annoyed with the "barkers" around her, that some of her kennel mates were not nearly as quiet as she was. I asked if she was sighing and groaning...and the girl said yes. I laughed and told her she was telling them to "SHUT UP" in her own way, as she does this to me all the time.

Getting her back yesterday was a bit overwhelming...we had to watch a video and then had someone come out and give us all the instructions again. For the next 6-8 weeks, she will be confined to a crate and her slip lead that is about 2 feet away from us. Her movements must be very tightly managed at all times. I was very worried about this part, but they said as long as we keep her on the leash and in the crate, we should be fine as we can't stop all movement - which made me feel better. The $$ I spent on the ramp to get her in the car was worth every dollar yesterday. We waited outside by the car when the brought her up - she tends to pull when she sees me, and that was just not a good idea yesterday. We managed to get her in the car and then loved on her...where she had limited space to move around and be excited. I flipped up a thrid row seat and sat next to her on the way home.

She came home with 10 days of antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory and pain medicine. For the next 2 weeks, she will get walked 5-10 minutes per day, have range of motion exercises and then ice. After 14 days, she will have her staples removed. 2-4 weeks see us being able to lose the ice and move our walks to 10-20 minutes 3x a day. And 4-6 weeks see us 20-30 minutes three times a day. At some point, we will start rehab, and her movement will still be limited after 6 weeks, but I do not know the extent of that quite yet. We are really focused on the next 2 weeks, primarily because of the staples - if she is not IMMEDIATELY supervised, she will have to wear her ecollar. Lucky for her, her gramma and grampa love her dearly and will be spending a lot of time with her because they do NOT want her to have to wear that thing.

Undoubtedly, the best thing I did for her was start the crate routine prior to surgery. She goes right in it when I ask her to, and I am thankful that I don't have to worry about her fighting her crate at this point.

For now, she is resting next to me on the floor. We have already been on our first walk of the day, done our first range of motion exercises and had our first ice pack. Not too crazy about the ice, but never has been - and I repeatedly consulted the video of the range of motion exercises while I was doing them. I have this irrational fear that I am going to like break the screws and plates in her knee..I know I am not, but I can't help it.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts...she is already doing better, and I am glad I was able to get this done so quickly...she had surgery one week to the day after her injury. I will keep you posted as we go along!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chelsie Update

This afternoon, I left Chelsie at Medvet, her surgery will be tomorrow. The people were very nice, and the tech that took her wanted to know if it was OK to give her treats during her stay. Of course, I said yes.

As my vet predicted, the procedure they recommended was not the procedure he recommended. I saw pictures of both, and felt that the procedure my vet recommended was the one I still wanted to go with. Dr. Kennedy, the surgeon, agreed this was an appropriate procedure and feels she will have a great recovery. He is very happy with the physical shape she is in at nearly 8 years old.

What I did not know was how limited her activity would be after the surgery. Essentially, she will either be in a crate or on a least for 6 weeks - and I mean, she will literally have to be leashed as soon as she comes out of her crate. This is far from ideal, but the healing time is critical and controlling her movement is of vital importance.

So we are off. I will get her back on Thursday afternoon. I have been warned that her leg will look a little ugly and she will be doped up and out of it, but as long as she is my house with me, I don't care...it is already so quiet and lonely here....

I will keep everyone posted as to how she is doing!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Its a .....

Boy...for Sharon, that is. This afternoon, Sharon received her third guide dog, a male black lab named Forsythe. Sharon says he is goofy, and loves to have his booty scratched! Um, hello..don't they all???

So Truthie will have a little brother, that looks a lot like Chelsie! Forsythe weighs 62 lbs and is about 20 inches tall - Chelsie is 64 lbs and 21.8 inches tall. Sharon's last 2 dogs have been female goldens, so this will be a whole new experience for her. I am thrilled...you all know I am partial to the black labbies!!!

So please think of Sharon over the next few days...this is a huge life adjustment for her - learning to work with a new dog, learning to read his body language and trust him with her safety. Sharon has all the confidence in the world in her trainers, and this next 2 weeks will be long and busy.

Congrats again and welcome to our lives Forsythe!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unwinding from the Weekend...

Well, if you had asked me 7 days ago what I thought this weekend would have been like, I certainly would have said something other than what it actually was....

For how the weekend started, it is actually ending OK. It started on Friday morning with Chelsie's injury diagnosis of a torn ACL and me realizing exactly what this means, what it will take to get her rehabbed and healthy, accepting she will have to go back in a crate for the time being....As I said, I have no problem with the crate, it is just not part of our daily routine any more. It is part of our agility routine, and that is about it. I now have a crate in the kitchen, a crate in the bedroom and a crate in the car. I bought a ramp to get her in and out of the car, and tonight, we practiced going up and down that ramp, which she did with no problem. I was initially overwhelmed at the prospect of all of this, but have slowly taken my own advice to "reach out, grab on and get a grip". I still wish this hadn't happened of course, but am dealing better with it tonight.

While I have been emotionally drained most of the weekend, I have had a little change of heart tonight. I was looking on Facebook at my friend Earl's Europe photos, realizing he had gone several of the places I had gone. We commented back and forth about different things, and I took a minute to reflect on how fortunate I have been to have seen that stuff with my own eyes and not through someone else's photos. I also realized this weekend what great agility friends I have - they were all very concerned, wanted to know when her surgery was, which doctor was going to do it, how she was doing, how I was doing...I realized just how much I love agility and the people I have met, and how much I miss it already. Chelsie seems to as well...tonight, while practicing getting out of her crate in the car, she stopped at the bottom of her new ramp in her "spot" position, the way she stops at all of the contact obstacles on a course.

I hope to be back in competitions in the late April time frame...funny, last weekend, that was about the time I had hoped we would reach MACH...but I guess that just means the victory lap will be that much sweeter. Hopefully, Scott will be able to see it as well...my chances of him seeing it are much better the latter half of next year due to all his judging assignments.

I also stopped tonight to realize that although this is a bummer, this is not the end of the world. It is definitely not what I wanted for us, and certainly adds another blow to the serious cash outlay trend I seem to have going on at this point, but on the whole, my life is pretty freakin good and I am blessed with good health, a roof over my head, and great family and friends in my life.

So we made great progress this weekend in starting to prepare the both of us for her surgery and recovery...I have already told my parents that when she is released to come home, they need to be there with me so they can hear the instructions and ask questions, because I expect that they will be spending a lot of time with her in the 8 week recovery time frame! They don't like the thought of her being alone and in a crate if they are home to watch her and she can be out of the crate.

The physical exhaustion of the weekend is now taking over...a few more things here and then we are going to bed...early. Hope everyone had a great weekend...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crates, Laundry Baskets & More Trauma for Mom....

So, the healing time for the surgery little bean will have is 8 weeks. She will have very limited activity, and will not be allowed to jump on things, primarily furniture. This creates somewhat of a challenge, as she typically has free run of the house and can "go to bed" in all three beds in the same day if she chooses.

Therefore, starting tonight, she will have to be crated to sleep and crated unless immediately supervised. Now, I don't have a problem with the concept of a crate - I firmly believe in the crate, as a matter of fact. The crate is absolutely for her own health and safety. She was crated for the first two years of her life at home, and did just fine. But she has not been crated in the house since. She does fine at agility trials in her travel crate, but is not crated at night when we stay at hotels. She has never been crated in the car, but today, she was.

So my bedroom and kitchen are sporting some new decorations. The crate in the bedroom is the crate she stays in at agility trials. I cleaned up her crate pad and put her colling bed in it. The crate in the kitchen is a big wire crate she can see in and out of - I did not want to confine her to the corner of the bedroom during the day in a crate that is really not see through. Suffice to say, they make a decorating statement. Her travel crate will be hauled out of the bedroom every time we go in the car, and I will have to get a ramp for her to get in and out of the car, for both the short and long term healing process.

Unfortunately, every time she goes near the crate, she tucks her tail between her legs and cowers, like she is in trouble for something. This breaks my heart. The wire crate in the kitchen is big enough for me to climb in, so I got in and called her in, and rewarded her when she followed my command. She ended up getting in twice on her own, both of which she was rewarded for. My goal is to make the crate a positive experience for her so she will willingly go in after her surgery. I will start by feeding her in the crate with the door open, and then gradually close the door over the next few days.

As if that were not enough, tonight, her tags got caught on her toy basket (in a similar fashion to the grate) and she freaked out. She tore across the room - hello, exactly what she should not be doing - and flung toys everywhere. I finally got her to hold still and got her unattached...but man, scared the heck out of me...

I am off to try and put Chelsie to bed...and go to bed for me too. Hope everyone is well!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Update on Chelsie

This morning, my vet diagnosed Chelsie's injury as a torn ACL. When I woke up yesterday and she was still gimpy, I knew something more serious was wrong. Her leg is very limp, just sort of hanging there and she is hobbling around on three legs. Very hard to watch.

After my vet determined it was an ACL tear, I was immediately scheduled for a consult with another doctor in the practice who does these types of surgeries. He presented me with three options, one of which could have been done by him. He felt the best option for Chelsie was a procedure to be performed at OSU which essentially manuvers bone to support her knee. At first, it did not sound like an option I wanted to go with, but after letting him finish and asking some questions, I was in agreement with what he said. He also recommended OSU over Medvet (our local specialty vet hospital) because he felt the procedure Medvet would encourage did not have the data to show long term results. Essentially, Medvet is a cutting edge tpe of place, while OSU, being a university and teaching hospital, wants data to support long term outcomes of the procedures they perform. Also, one of the doctors that will be involved in Chelsie's case is one of the top in the world.

So while this is not what I had hoped for, I feel good about the treatment decision I have made. My focus now is to get her into a quiet routine that limits her jumping and movement in general, so that when she has the surgery, she will be able to recover quickly. For now, it is hard to see her hobble around - her surgery is not until 11/19, but I am hoping I get a cancellation call...

Thanks for everyone's good thoughts. Through this, Chelsie has been a trooper, and was such a good girl when everyone was prodding at her at the vet office today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Overload

This morning, I am on overload....

1. It is raining...again. To top it off, it is 43 and raining - which really sucks. Cold, damp and miserable are the words that come to mind. I think it has been raining for the past three months? Scott noted that he has been here for 7 softball nights, and has only seen me play 2 nights. It can stop anytime.

2. I have been dealing with a skin rash of unknown origin for some time now. It is red, nasty, itchy and gross - and I have had it since the beginning of July. I have been to the dermatologist probably 6 times now, have been on three different steriod cream and sport 4 stiches in my arm and leg from a biopsy. Biopsy results show nothing abnormal - but the way this looks, I would have to disagree with that conclusion. Back in next Wedensday to get the stitches out and figure out what to do next.

3. Last night in class, Chelsie hurt herself. I took her up the A frame and heard her yelp...and she came down holding out her left back paw. Scott and my instructor assure me it was nothing I did, but I still feel horrible. She lays down and wags her tail when I touch it - I have moved her little toes all around, her ankle, her knee, her hip...and it does not outwardly appear that I am causing her any pain. As of right now, she is a no-go for this weekend. :(

4. Scott has been here for almost 2 weeks now...and after the trial this weekend is going home. I have gotten spoiled having him here - I joke around about him being my dinner and house maid, but it will be very quiet when he leaves. Comes with the territory, but still not fun. He is staying in Zanesville tonight because the trial starts early and the club got a hotel for him, so tonight, after soccer, he will be gone. I am not sure what the weekend will look like now that Chels is injured, but we will see...

All these things will pass...but they just kind of hit all at once. I am sure next week, all will be back to normal...and it will only be quiet for a few days, because then, next Thursday...THE TUCKERS ARE COMING!!!!

Thanks for listening to my rant...I already feel better. Now, if i could just get our purchasing requisition system to let me buy office supplies...all would be good. :) Here is to no more rain...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seasons...

I was driving down Henderson Rd the other day, and for the first time, I noticed that the leaves were changing! I do love fall - except for the fact that it means winter is coming. Lots of beautiful colors to look at..reds, oranges, yellow...

As I was driving to work this morning, down Henderson Rd, I noticed again how beautiful the trees were. As it was pouring down rain YET AGAIN here, I realized that life has its trade offs...

Lots of rain = beautiful colors.

Lots of rain = beautiful flowers

Lots of rain = green grass

Lots of rain = tall grass

Lots of rain = no wakeboarding

Lots of rain = warm water for wakeboarding

Lots of rain = very depressing

Lots of rain = good time to cuddle up with Chelsie and nap

Verdict? I am tired of the rain...god only knows what old man winter will bring - but mother nature can stop showering us with her love anytime...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy...





No other title is appropriate.

I knew when I started planning out these few months of my life, it would be very busy - however, I was not prepared for how busy it is turning out to be! Agility comp, 2 weekends in Europe, three day agility comp...and that was just September! I have this weekend "off" from any planned activities, but the weekend seems to be filling up with things to do - which is why part of my Friday night was spent in the grocery store!!

After this weekend, it is 2 weeks of agility and then the Tucker's are coming to visit!!! I am so excited. Jodi got tix to the Minnesota FB game and turned it into a vacation for them. They will be staying at the casa Paloney, and I can't wait to see what little Dolan James looks like live and in the flesh! I am sure Chelsie can!!!

On another exciting note, I am in the process of confirming some final details for my 35th birthday blowout in Sin City (Las Vegas). I attracted quite the crowd...hopefully the Tucker's, my brother, my cousins Michelle and Kathi and Kathi's hubby Roger and my friends Adrienne and Leno from California. I am very blessed to have such good people in my life to spend such a big day with me!

I also have one other special guest coming to celebrate my birthday - his name is Scott, and I met him through agility. We have been spending some time together as of late, and seem to do very well together. He lives in Eastern Pa, north of Allentown - do the math, that is not close to here at all - which is somewhat inconvenient (ok, INCREDIBLY inconvenient!) He has been doing all the driving as of late due to the flexibility of his job and my schedule, but his agility judging schedule after the first of the year is CRAZY and means that pretty much for the first half of next year, I will be doing most of the traveling! We know things will get pretty hectic pretty quick, and are trying to make the most of every opprtunity we have to see each other. Major faults to date? His MICHIGAN-NESS!!! Yep, you read right. He is a Michigan fan. It is a source of great fun for us actually - however, I must fess up that he did go to the HOF induction for Varisty O last week, and is attending a wedding with me in December where the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe is the site of the reception. For his efforts, I agreed to have my first trip to Pa be the weekend of Ohio State/Michigan - neutral turf. There are already wagers out on that, so the Buckeyes have to win...otherwise, I have to compete at an agility trial in his Michigan jersey. I have attached a few photos for the world to see.

And on a final note, my friend Sharon's guide dog Truth, will officially be retired on October 18th. Sharon was supposed to go to class on 11/29, but they had a cancellation and they called her today to see if she wanted to come. These are the trainers who worked with her in getting her first 2 dogs, and apparently there are 2 in the kennels they feel are quite suited for her. Truthie is 10.5 years old and has earned her retirement...however, she still gets very excited when the harness comes out and very depressed when the cane comes out. Sharon knew this was coming, but it is never easy. :( We will likely see them tomorrow, and then I am going to be errand girl for Sharon on Sunday. So, all my GDB followers that have a puppy close to class ready in Oregon, stay tuned. They get home on 10/31. I can promise you that dog will have a GREAT life - nice big house, nice big yard to romp around in, a mom that likes to go for walks...gee, where do I sign up????

With that being said, it is 12 36 AM and WAY, WAY past my bedtime! Still 30 minutes left of the Galaxy/Fire game though...hmm...what is a girl to do??? Hope all is well for everyone.

And on a final notes...Happy birthday Megan Ellis!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where am I again?





















I think my last post was from my last night in Europe...and today I have been home for a week...so I suppose I should fill everyone in and let them know I made it home safely. It was not without incident...it had been raining in Atlanta, apparently in large quantities, and we were stuck there for 9 hours. Our final destination was Dayton, not Columbus - and at 12:30AM. By the time I got home, I had been awake for 24+ hrs and by the time I got to sleep, it felt like 8:30 in the morning. I still consider myself to be in the end stages of recovery from this trip.

I knew going into this that the schedule following my return would be NUTS...softball Tuesday and Thursday, agility Wedensday, a dinner event on Friday after day 1 of a three day agility trial where I was course buiding (not for my club, another club). On Monday, I made my way over to Indiana, where I am currently drafting this post. I will be returning tomorrow. As luck would have it, we happen to have the same schedule as our CFO, and we will reap the benefits of the corporate jet coming and going on this trip. I can't tell you how nice it is not to have to deal with the chaos at Midway...esp because I am TIRED. It is also nice to have the morning to work, because I have a new hire starting on Thursday and have not done much to get ready for him. Did I mention I have a presentation with some big wigs on Thursday afternoon as well? Such is life....busy hands are happy hands.

This weekend, I have NOTHING. The inside of my house is a mess by my standards...I had to deal with the outside before I left to come to Indiana. My grass was so long you could have made hay...it had been raining pretty much since I had gotten home, so I couldn't mow. Sunday provided a little break, and 4 hrs later, the yard was mowed (and I was happy) I hope to sleep in and spend some time with the bean - maybe take her to the park to chase her ball or on some nice long walks. I have not spent a lot of time with her as of late, and I miss her.

Blogger was crabby in Europe, so for those of you who are not my friends on FB, here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Hope everyone is well!!!