Here in Williamsburg, VA for the week to work on quilts, hang out, enjoy the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show. Big plans are to finish the Economic Realities series of art quilts, as well as the Cosmos series and maybe even do some more in the Armchair Travelers series. I could work all day every day & still not be done-have to remind my self that this is VACATION! And it’s supposed to be fun…will publish photos another day
OK, here we are at almost 6 months after diagnosis & Mr. B. is hopping on 3 legs just like usual. No indication that he’s in any pain, thank goodness & thanks to the tramadol & anti-inflammatory. He is still VERY food motivated, accepts his meds in peanut butter or soft cheese. He sleeps more but still goes through an occasional barking spell. Day care has been awesome in accommodating his needs by placing him in with the little dogs (less chance of a bump leading to a break). Sometimes he hangs out at the front desk & “helps”-this seems to happen when he’s barking & they can’t get him to settle. He’s so sociable, the barks aren’t due to pain, just missing human interaction! He will not use a ramp-not at home, not at day care. So we all let him hop & take the time he needs to get to wherever he’s going.
Little bugger got out on Memorial Day. C & I had been working at my house in 100 degree weather (dumb idea). After she left I took the masonry drill & bit back to the rental place. I hadn’t been there 2 minutes when my cell rang & a little voice asked “Do you have a dog named Bailey?” Turns out he must have hopped out behind me when the door was closing, unbeknownst to me, & ran down to the corner. Well, hopped down to the corner but he got tired so he laid down! If he’s had the use of all 4 legs he would have been on Market Street holding up traffic…
Anyway, I raced home to find 4 very nice people standing around him while he showed his belly to the world. They were so concerned about his “limp” & I explained his cancer situation. Took me a while to coax him inside the house, he was enjoying laying in the grass. That’s my boy!
He did have a GI bleed on the first anti-inflammatory so we switched him & added a stomach protectant. That seems to be doing the trick. Our vet just tells me that “He’s right where he should be” when I have the occasional question; we haven’t had to make an appointment for a while so it seems we are on the right track. This is not easy, I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop but he’s handling it so much better than I am!
5 year check & mammogram last Friday-all clear! Honestly, I thought I had a lymph node that was swollen & was trying not to freak out about it: saw primary care doc who called it a “cyst” & said “Come back in 6 weeks” but I just wasn’t comfortable with that. So I called the oncologist’s office & we moved up my appointment. Dr. K. checked it out & said I was fine…
She also did a little partner teaching-C. was so worried but Dr.K. reminded her that triple neg. usually comes back within the first 2 years, if it’s going to come back. It’s all good. I had been considering changing to an oncologist closer to home but, given the speed with which the appointment was changed I just don’t think I’d get that anywhere else. So I think not, at least for now. It’s a safety thing, I guess.
DId make me think about the care plan that is recommended after treatment. I heard about the concept but didn’t really think about it in my quest to be “normal” again. But seriously, this little adventure brought home the idea. Who gets “first crack” at checking out a potential problem? The PCP is closer but she’s not an oncologist. The oncologist is further away but she & all the test equipment are in one central location. If there really is an issue identified, where do I go for treatment? I need to think this over some more…
Caps For Good is a joint project of Save The Children & Warm Up America. Baby caps are knitted or crocheted from simple patterns & then sent to Save The Children, which then provides them to new mothers in developing countries. Such a simple thing, a cap. Babies are not able to regulate their temperatures for the first months of life. A cap goes a long way toward retaining heat lost from the head & keeping a baby warm, less vulnerable to infection.
Two venues in York are participating in this effort. Last week when I was at UnCommon Threads (at their new location in the Queensgate Shopping Centre), there were nearly 20 hats in the collection box. This store has really taken to this project. The caps will be collected on 17 Feb 2011. I’d like to think there will be 50 hats by then…
The other venue is the Kreutz Creek Library in Hallam, PA. This site has a very active knitting/crocheting group. Last Tuesday there were 6 hats in the box. In addition, some kind soul donated a good sized bag of soft pink & blue yarn skeins. I took home a skein of pink & plan to get at least 3 hats out of it. The hats work up so quickly & it’s a great opportunity to try a new design that might ordinarily take up a lot of time & effort. The caps will be collected on 17 Feb 2011, so there’s still plenty of time to make a hat or two. I know I made 15 hats last week, with all the snow. My plan for this evening is to sit by the fire, catch up on the TiVo’d shows & make some baby caps!
Snow dyeing is all the rage in some parts of the art quilt community. Good thing we have some snow here in PA! I’m planning to try this new technique today. Here’s a link to a good tutorial: DippyDyes@verizon.net I’ll post pictures of the process as I go along. It’s been a while since I dyed so I’m looking forward to this adventure! The basic premise is to use the melting snow over the dyed material to create intriguing colourations & patterns.
The next Sew Diva Meeting will be at my house. Since it’s right before Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking the food theme will be “red”. Maybe borscht & red velvet cake…now all I need is a red entree that will satisfy vegetarians & meat eaters alike. I may have to give up the borscht idea…oh well, I still have a while. And now that the basic food theme is set, I need to come up with an activity. I’m thinking Self Portraits so I’ll have to do a lot of fusing in preparation. We only have a couple of hours to fit in eating & creating!
It’s official-Bailey has cancer. The X-ray was pretty unequivocal, although we met with a veterinary oncologist last Sunday to discuss options. I’ll post some links below. Of course I went in with my list of options & questions, but everything I”d read noted the aggressive nature of a dog’s osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and the lousy survival stats.
The vet was very kind & had reviewed Bailey’s records & X-rays before she came in the room. B. had had only 2 doses of Xanex, so I don’t have to tell you he “played up”. I was able to muzzle him but he did not want those axillary nodes felt-by anyone. The vet tech was able to feel his armpit area somewhat while I basically laid on top of him to hold him still but he still squealed like a pig. The basic course of treatment is amputation and then chemo, since micro-metastises are quite common. Although his lung X-ray had been clear, the tiny cancer cells (aka micro-metastises) are not going to show up on anything until they have multiplied to a good sized mass.
Aside from the cost is the fact that, even with this treatment, the median survival is about 8 months. So the question became, for me, Why do this to him? He would be eating Xanex as he hates being examined and I would not be gaining him any time nor any quality of life. So after a lot of discussion & tears, I’ve decided to treat his pain, change his diet to a home cooked diet supplemented by zinc, Vit. C & Omega 3s (on the advice of the oncologist) & give him the best quality of life possible for as long as we can.
On Tuesday (11 Jan 11) I was upstairs working & boo-hooing over my poor puppy. While I had him practically dead & buried, he was joyously tipping over the trash can & happily strewing its contents around the kitchen. Go figure! I reminded him (loudly) that that was not acceptable behaviour but had to turn around so he wouldn’t see me laughing. The concession at this point is that he is now allowed on the couch, as it is much easier for him to get down from there than the high bed. I’m investigating a ramp that can be used indoors as well as to help him get into/out of the car. The great danger is fracture at the tumor site, although the oncologist has assured me that he still has a good deal of “good” bone at that site & fracture is not imminent.
He loves the new diet: ground beef & chicken cooked with potatoes (or pasta, or rice), carrots, green beans & apples. I’ve been mixing that with the current dry food to help his system accept it. Seems to be working just fine. The only glitch was yesterday when the pain medication kind of melted & gave a funny taste to the food. Even my food-motivated dog refused to finish that part of it! So now, the pain meds get wrapped in peanut butter & everything else goes into the dish. Worked like a charm this morning!
I woke up Wednesday morning thinking about a “Celebration of Life”. After working through the idea that it was probably pretty weird & I knew no one else who had done it, I decided that I wanted to do this. Just because no one else has ever done it-since when has that stopped me!? I wanted to do it with all of B’s doggie & human friends. And I wanted to do it while he was still well enough to enjoy it. So on Sat. 05 Feb 11 from 2-4 PM at the dog park, people will be invited to stop by & say hello, etc. I’ve made up a couple of posters: one for day care & one for the dog park, & we’ll see who shows up. Can I buy stock in Kleenex before then??! I don’t want it to be sad but it won’t be easy. Doing it early after diagnosis will ensure that he will be well enough to play with his friends. I can’t think of much that would be more difficult for him to be at the park not be able to run & play (due to the fear of fracture). And it just goes along with my philosophy of not spending my life yelling!
Yep, it’s that time of year. Making resolutions but this time, I’ll be keeping them!
This is what I have resolved for Q1 2011: to learn 2 new techniques; to complete 1 piece per month; to organize my 2011 submission list & place “send by” dates on the calendars; blog weekly. For 2011 overall, I’ve resolved to enter 3 major exhibitions & 3 smaller competitions.
Making time for these has been an issue in the past. It will most likely continue to be an issue but since these are important enough to resolve, they are important enough to make time for. If I can get up one hour earlier on week days that I don’t travel, that will be the biggest help. Evenings are good time wise but the animals are banned for life from the studio so I feel guilty being in the studio at night after being in the office all day. The office & studio share the upstairs at home. Let’s see how long the getting up early lasts. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to come up with something else.
Bailey’s limping on his right front leg, with an obvious swelling at the ankle joint. Due to his past vet phobia, I dosed him with a Xanex when we got home last night & then another one this morning. It still works, but more than the drug, it’s the trust that he’s established with an amazing vet. He walked right in the front door, tail wagging, stepped onto the scale no problem, & walked into the exam room without a fight. Then, he proceeded to check out the room! HUGE progress for a dog that fought the minute he got to the front door & would back himself into the corner of the door once inside the exam room.
So there are 3 working diagnoses. The best case scenario is a simple sprain or strain. The other options are Lyme Disease or bone cancer. According to the vet, a lot of the big dogs get these issues. He is almost 8 years old, so logically I can’t be surprised. But…I still am!
We have some Deramaxx for the pain and he’ll go in on Thursday to have X-rays & blood work. Once we get those results, we can plan accordingly. So stay tuned for part 2, to come later this week!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted-too busy with the new job & the Fiancee. But, it’s official. I am engaged.
The proposal was a complete surprise to me. I had been so occupied with Frankie being sick that I wasn’t putting together some of the more obvious signs. I know I just sat there, with my mouth open, for what seemed like 3 minutes! Very attractive, I’m sure (not)! Anyway, I did recover enough to accept.
We’re going the European route-where the civil ceremony is separate from the religious ceremony. And it will be small-25 people or so. Looks like the middle of May, either the 14th or the 21st. Far from feeling overwhelmed by the details, we are both so calm about it all. After the holidays we’ll have to search out dresses but we know what we want & where we want it. That helps a lot.
Anyway, that means that my house will go on the market in a few months-I’m more stressed about that! As for Frankie who was sick, he is well now & operating on all 8 cylinders. He’s happily un-decorated the lower branches of the Christmas tree several times already. I sent out the thank you cards with his picture in them to the 3 vets that have been involved in getting him well. Male cats & urinary blockages, I could write a book!
Announcing the PA Fiber Trail. More details to follow but this is what we have so far: One Sat in March or April will be Fiber Trail Day where people will go to the participating shops, get their passport stamped & hopefully be eligible for some cool prizes. Along the way, the merchants bring in business & we all get to know each other when we meet up at the Kreutz Creek Library sometime later that day.
The librarian, Susan Nenstiel & I, worked on the PA Knit Out last August. It was so much fun & I’m looking forward to seeing those faces and a lot more new ones this spring. So far we have one yarn shop & an alpaca farm on board, with feelers out to 3 more yarn shops. Small, but for a new effort in this economy, I expect a big turn out. Once the holidays are over, we will move into high gear.